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Australia’s business conditions and sentiment increased solidly in January, consistent with rebounding surveys throughout Australia and globally. The report details also came in solid. This implies that the Australian business sector is starting 2017 on a strong footing, and that growth is expected to improve after the recent softness, noted ANZ in a research report.


Australia’s Business conditions index rose sharply by six points to 16.2 in January from December’s 9.9, starting this year with a bang, with overall conditions rising for the second straight month to the highest level since 2007. The surge in business conditions data affirms the view that the Australian economy is in fundamentally good shape. The unexpected softness recorded in the third quarter GDP might be just temporary.


The affirmative view is underpinned by the report’s underlying details. The employment index seems to have bottomed and risen in January to the highest level in more than five years. Business profitability is also at higher levels and implies that the future employment growth outlook is strong, following the flat patch toward the end of 2016, noted ANZ.


The divergence in conditions throughout industries is the only real downside to the report. Even if conditions rebounded throughout most industries in January, certain sectors continue to be weak. The mining sector has witnessed some recent rebound due to solid commodity prices; however, it stays subdued as investment continues to decline. In the meantime, the retail sector continues to struggle from increased competition.


Meanwhile, Australia’s business sentiment has also risen strongly in January. The index rose from December’s 5.7 to 9.8 in January. The recent rebound in global PMIs and improved domestic trading conditions are expected to have underpinned the strong jump in Australia’s business sentiment.


At 6:00 GMT the FxWirePro's Hourly Strength Index of Australian Dollar neutral at 28.74, while the FxWirePro's Hourly Strength Index of US Dollar was neutral at -18.78


Source:Economic Times

The government might ask the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) to assess farmers’ income once every five years, instead of the current practice of every 10 years.


This is part of the stated objective of doubling farmers’ income by 2021-22. A senior official said the Centre is aiming at the real income of farmers, adjusted for inflation. The base year would be the 2016-17 financial year, ending next month


The earlier such NSSO study was in 2012-13. This showed the nominal (not adjusted for inflation) income of farmers usually doubles every six years. It pegged the income at Rs 6,426 a month in 2012-13 as against Rs 2,115 a month in 2002-03, annual increase of 11.7 per cent


For real incomes of farmers’ to double by 2021-22, agriculture and allied activities need to grow at a much faster rate than the current average


The official clarified that when the government talked of doubling agriculture income, it does not mean only from the crop sector but the gamut of economic activities in which farmers are engaged, including masonry, during their off-season. “We (mean) joining a whole lot of economic activities and processes like providing a proper market for agricultural commodities, proper utilisation of fallow land, horticulture and so on,” the official explained


He said Gross Domestic Product data on agriculture and allied activity also gives a fair idea of farmer income and could be used to track the rise or change. The sector’s size was Rs 16.7 lakh crore in 2016-17, according to advance estimates from the Central Statistics Office


To achieve all this, the Centre has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of an additional secretary in the ministry of agriculture. It will determine the growth rate needed to double farmers’ or agricultural labourers’ income in five years. “We are working on various aspects and will come out with a full-fledged strategy to accomplish the objective,” the official added. He said sub-groups were working on issues like ways to improve the cold chain network, crop productivity, how to expand horticulture, other crops, animal husbandry, etc


“The report, which can be expected in the next few months, will have implementable strategies on all aspects of agriculture, which together will double farmers’ income,” he added.



Crown Resorts will build Australia’s tallest skyscraper – a massive 90-storey hotel and apartment tower – on Melbourne’s Southbank next to its existing hotel and casino complex after the Victorian government signed off on the project today.


Crown’s One Queensbridge hotel will rise a staggering 323m over the city, pipping the nearby Eureka Tower by around 26 metres and the planned Australia 108 in the city by 3 metres.


It will feature 388 hotel rooms and 708 residential apartments and provide $2.1 billion in economic benefit, the company says. The hotel has been designed by London architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre.It will also feature a rooftop bar, restaurants, retail and office space, along with a new, 24-hour pedestrian laneway connecting through to Freshwater Place.


When completed, One Queensbridge’s six-star hotel will give Crown more than 2000 rooms across its hotel and casino complex, which the company says is currently running at 90% capacity.


Premier Daniel Andrews called it “a bold transformation of Melbourne’s skyline” that will create up to 4000 jobs – 3000 during construction, then another 1000 jobs once the tower is open.


As part of the negotiations between Crown Resorts and developer Schiavello Group, the companies will spend $100 million to upgrade Queensbridge Square and the disused Sandridge rail bridge.


The deal includes landscaping and two new cafes in the square, while $15 million spent on the old rail bridge in a plan premier Andrews says will turn it into an area like Manhattan’s High Line park in New York.Southbank Boulevard will also be improved, including a new bike strip.


Schiavello Group hopes to get construction on the 5000 square metre site under way next year, with a construction time frame of five to six years.


Source: Business Insider

Australia’s shock economic contraction in the September quarter last year was likely a one-off, and the economy should keep growing for the rest of 2017, according to some of the country’s most senior economists.


It means this year Australia should pass the Netherlands and snatch the record for the world’s longest run without a recession.


The annual survey of macroeconomic forecasts from the Australian Business Economists (ABE), released on Tuesday, shows 17 members of the ABE’s 21-member executive committee believe the economy will keep growing through 2017.


It was a unanimous decision of those surveyed – four members could not take part because they work for government or the Reserve Bank.The Netherlands holds the record for 26.5 years of uninterrupted growth.


If the ABE’s executive committee is correct, Australia will pass that record at the end of the June quarter (with the June quarter figures released in September).


The group’s annual forecasting conference will be held at the Reserve Bank offices in Sydney on Wednesday, where they will discuss the forecasts.


Justin Wolfers, professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan, will talk to the group about the state of US politics and policy under Donald Trump.


The ABE’s executive committee was asked about Trump in this year’s annual survey. Most committee members said they expected Trump’s policies to boost US economic growth in the short-term, but over the medium to long-term they were divided.


Some members predict a “boom-bust” economic scenario, expressing concern about the inflationary impact of policies, the ageing population and low productivity. But other committee members expect a sustained boost to growth, with Trump’s policies driving a lift in the potential rate of growth, boosting investment and spurring productivity.


The election of Trump has encouraged Australia’s business community to call loudly for business tax cuts. Since Trump plans to cut the US corporate rate to 15%, Australia should at least cut its rate from 30% to 25%, they say.


Despite the likelihood that Australia will pass the Netherlands’ growth record this year, the ABE executive committee thinks economic conditions will still be sluggish this year. They think underlying inflation will remain near 2% for the next two years.


They expect wages growth to remain weak through 2017 and 2018.


They think the unemployment rate will edge slightly lower by the end of 2017 to 5.6%, and then again to 5.5% by the end of 2018.


And they expect the budget deficit to improve over 2017 and 2018, with a median forecast deficit of $36.1bn in 2016-17, and $26.6bn for 2017-18.


When asked what the policy priorities of the Turnbull government should be in 2017, many committee members highlighted the importance of budget repair.


However, a few said the government should not be concerned about losing its AAA sovereign credit rating.


They also highlighted the need to prioritise tax reform – particularly company tax reform – the goods and services tax, tax concessions and infrastructure spending.


Asked about whether higher iron ore prices would prevent the loss of the AAA rating, treasurer Scott Morrison told Sky Business the price had improved since the December mid-year update, which would help the budget if it was a sustained rise.


Morrison also reserved the right to draw down on the Future Fund in 2020-21 to help achieve a budget surplus.


He noted the ability to draw down from that date was part of the system set up by John Howard and Peter Costello, and under Labor changes those sums were counted in the budget.


Source:The Guardian

Wheels India Ltd, engaged in manufacturing of steel wheels has clocked net profits at Rs 13.21 crore for the third quarter ending December 31, 2016. 


The Chennai-based TVS Group company, registered net profits at Rs 5.98 crore during corresponding quarter of previous year, Wheels India company said in a statement.


Total revenue for the October-December 31, 2016 went up to Rs 537 crore from Rs 470 crore registered during year ago period. 


For the nine month period ending December 31, 2016 net profits of the company surged to Rs 40.90 crore as compared to Rs 23.02 crore registered during year ago period. 


Total revenue for the nine month period ending December 31, 2016 increased to Rs 1,616 crore from Rs 1,480 crore registered during corresponding period of last year. 


The company's Board has declared an interim dividend of Rs five per share. 


"We are on track to meet our revenue growth targets for the year. The company has seen a good growth in the non-wheel business and in the domestic agricultural tractor sector.", Wheels India, MD, Srivats Ram said. 


The company which expanded its presence in non-wheels segment witnessed a strong growth in air suspension business during the first nine months of the year. The lift axle suspension also grew on a year-on-year basis. 


Over 50 per cent of Wheels India revenue comes from automotive wheels for trucks and cars while balance from wheels for agricultural tractors and construction equipment, air suspension system and energy equipment, it added.


Source:Business Standard