It’s rare these days that regulators are criticized for being over cautious however that is exactly the criticism being faced by the Reserve Bank of Australia who says that its own rules for access to the credit card system are so restrictive even the RBA itself is denied access.
Back in 2004 the central bank rescinded the right of MasterCard and Visa to decide who would be allowed to issue and receive their cards. The RBA argued that the system had to be open to any ”authorised deposit-taking institution” that is under the supervision of the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority (APRA).
The problem the central bank has is not that it does not qualify since it provides banking services to the Federal Government and its agencies. However it is finding that it cannot issue Visa and MasterCards in the same way other financial institutions can. The central bank would love to be able to issue these cards because it would mean that ordinary individuals could pay ASIC feed or taxes simply by quoting their card number.
Whilst consumer sentiment may be low, Australia continues to be ranked the happiest nation in the world amongst developed economies for the third consecutive year.
The Better Life Index is compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which cited continued strength in the overall economy as the reason.
Consumer confidence in Australia fell to its lowest level in over 17 months in response to both record low interest rates and a budget deficit according to the results of a survey..
The Westpac Melbourne Institute sentiment index in May fell 7 per cent during May, its largest decline since December 2011 and the first time the index level which is currently 97.6 breached the all important 100 mark which suggests that there are more pessimists than optimists.
The big four Australian banks are being tipped to earn a combined $13 billion between them during the first half which would be an all time record after all the banks failed to pass on official cuts in interest rates and sacked thousands of staff members.
Many banking analysts say the industry is currently in a “sweet spot” and is benefitting from profit growth that is in large part the product of reduced bad debt provisions declining costs and higher share prices as investors seek out higher yields.
The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Leading Index suggests the economy is on the rebound as commodity and equity prices rally.
The index grew by 4.2 per cent in February up from 2.7 per cent recorded in September and much higher than the long term trend rate of 2.8 per cent.
The index estimates the pace of economic activity for the next one to three quarters.
Matthew Hassan senior economist at Westpac says the results suggest economic momentum has clearly lifted since June 2012.
Mark Butler, Minister for Housing and Homelessness says housing affordability is a key concern for many Australian families.
Recently Mr. Butler met with some Adelaide tenants who are part of a government backed scheme that provides affordable rents.
The scheme provides incentives to build an additional 1000 homes across the country by next June.
A new report from Deutsche Bank has confirmed what many people have long suspected, Australians are paying some of the highest prices on the planet.
The report takes prices for a number of goods and services and compares them across many cities and countries around the world. People who live in Melbourne and Sydney pay nearly 40 per cent more to go the movies compared with people living in Paris or Manhattan.
A two litre bottle of Coke bought in one of Australia’s two major cities costs more than 50 per cent more than if it is bought in Auckland or Berlin.
ANZ has released its first half results and reported a 10 per cent increase in first half cash earnings and will pay a dividend in excess of forecasts.
ANZ earned $3.18 billion which came in ahead of an expected $3.13 billion analysts estimate. ANZ cited solid performance across its institutional, retail and international business units.
The lender says it will increase its dividend by 11 per cent and would seek to increase its dividend payouts as part of a drive to become more efficient.
Despite the recovery in house prices nationally, the Australian property market is paradoxically witnessing a decline in new home sales for the first time in four months,
According to data from the Housing Industry Association, new home sales across the country fell by 5.3 per cent in February driven by steep declines in South Australia and Victoria.
The New Home Sales report polls Australia’s largest builders and found that unit sales had fallen by 11 per cent whilst sales of detached homes had declined by 4 per cent.
Property prices in Sydney have regained all their losses since the property slump in 2010 making it the first Australian city to do so whilst Melbourne has maintained steady prices despite predictions that prices would fall further.
According to RP Data Rismark, property prices in Sydney rose 1.5 per cent in March making it the first city in Australia to regain all the ground lost over the last three years.
The Australian residential property market had a strong month in general with nearly every major Australian city recording growth.
The national house price rose by 1.3 per cent during March which was the second strongest month since property prices fell.