Australasia

South Africa's Woolworths to close all Country Road stores in Australia amid coronavirus

31/03 South Africa's Woolworths Holdings has temporarily closed all Country Road Group stores in Australia for four weeks and would stand down 5,000 employees there who will not be paid during the period, in a bid to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.  Full story

S&P says major Aussie banks not at risk of downgrade amid pandemic

07h33 Major Australian banks can weather a substantial rise in credit losses triggered by the coronavirus outbreak while credit ratings of most banks in the country are not at risk of a downgrade, ratings agency. . .  Full story

Australian home prices rise in March, but market seen cooling

05h59 Australian home prices extended gains in March, although conditions are expected to cool as the coronavirus pandemic causes widespread economic disruption and hits household confidence.. . .  Full story

'Very material' contraction likely in Australia due to coronavirus - c.bank minutes

05h05 Australia's central bank was worried about the potential for a "very material contraction" in economic activity when it unveiled quantitative easing in an emergency meeting last month, minutes released on Wednesday showed.. . .  Full story

Australia opens pop-up coronavirus test clinic at Bondi Beach

04h59 Australian authorities opened a pop-up coronavirus testing clinic at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Wednesday, as the country's central bank warned the economic fallout from the pandemic could last for more than a year.. . .  Full story

Australian shares rise on energy, financials; NZ gains

04h40 Australian shares kicked off the new quarter in positive fashion by rising 3% on Wednesday, as investors hoped unprecedented stimulus unleashed by governments and central banks around the world would soften the coronavirus' devastating economic. . .  Full story

Australia shares set to open higher, NZ down

31/03 Australian shares are likely to open higher on Wednesday in a start to a new quarter as a slowdown in new coronavirus cases is expected to lend support to investor sentiment, while higher iron. . .  Full story

Asian stocks set for worst month in 11-1/2 yrs on coronavirus jitters

31/03 Asian stocks fell sharply in March and were on track to post their biggest monthly drop since October 2008 on fears that corporate earnings could be hit due to lockdowns enforced by several nations. . .  Full story

Australia, NZ shares post worst month ever amid recession fears

31/03 Australian shares closed 2% lower on Tuesday, recording their worst monthly performance ever, as worries of a recession due to coronavirus-led lockdowns outweighed large fiscal support measures announced by the country.. . .  Full story

Australia's AAA rating under a cloud as debt, deficit blow out

31/03 Australia's coveted "AAA" sovereign rating faces growing risks from ballooning debt as the government ramps up spending to support an economy on the brink of its first recession in three decades.. . .  Full story

Rio Tinto to scale back NZ aluminium smelter operations due to virus

31/03 Rio Tinto Ltd will close one of the aluminium production lines at its smelter in Tiwai, New Zealand, to comply with government restrictions to contain the coronavirus, its New Zealand's Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) venture. . .  Full story

Australian shares rise on financials, but poised for record monthly drop

31/03 Australian shares extended gains on Tuesday, helped by quarter-end balancing and on measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak and contain its economic impact, but the benchmark index was poised for its. . .  Full story

Virgin Australia seeking government loan to weather coronavirus crisis -source

31/03 Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd is seeking a government loan of A$1.4 billion ($863.38 million) to help it weather the coronavirus crisis, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.. . .  Full story

Virgin Australia in talks with government about support for airline industry

30/03 Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd said on Tuesday it was in talks with government about support needed for the airline industry if the coronavirus crisis is prolonged.. . .  Full story

Australia shares poised to open higher, NZ up

30/03 Australian shares are likely to open higher on Tuesday, tracking gains on Wall Street, with the $80 billion wages subsidy stimulus package announced on Monday expected to continue to lift investor sentiment amid the coronavirus. . .  Full story

Air New Zealand to lay off 3,500 employees as virus halts travel

30/03 Air New Zealand said on Tuesday nearly a third of its employees, about 3,500, will be laid off in the coming months, as it grapples with severe global travel curbs due to the coronavirus. . .  Full story

Australia pledges $80 bln wages subsidy to protect jobs from coronavirus

30/03 Australia will spend A$130 billion ($79.85 billion) to subsidise the wages of an estimated 6 million people, marking a third tranche of stimulus designed to limit the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on the country's. . .  Full story

Anglo American Platinum declares force majeure on certain supplier contracts after coronavirus lockdown

30/03 Anglo American Platinum said on Monday it had declared force majeure on certain supplier contracts not considered essential as the bulk of its South African operations are temporally shut to comply with a three-week national. . .  Full story

Australia shares post record daily gain after stimulus package

30/03 Australian shares rose 7% on Monday in their biggest single-day jump in history, as a stimulus package to invigorate the coronavirus-hit economy and a slowdown in the rate of daily infections spurred buying.. . .  Full story

Australia pension industry will face scrutiny if withdrawals can't be paid

30/03 Australian pension funds unable to return part of their A$3 trillion savings to unemployed workers and to those in financial distress should expect to have their risk-management frameworks scrutinised by the regulator, a government official. . .  Full story

Australia's top retail bank boss warns of sharp economic slowdown

30/03 Australia faces a 10% economic contraction in the March quarter as shockwaves from the coronavirus pandemic rip through the economy, the head of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country's largest lender, warned on Monday.. . .  Full story

Australia unveils "job keeper" payments to keep economy running

30/03 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday committed a A$130 billion ($79.86 billion) package to help save jobs as shockwaves from the coronavirus pandemic rip through the economy.. . .  Full story

Australian shares rise on healthcare, financials; NZ down

30/03 Australian shares rose on Monday after a sharp drop in the previous session, driven by the healthcare and financial sectors, while fears of a deep recession due to the coronavirus outbreak continued to weigh. . .  Full story

Australia's Myer to close stores, temporarily shed 10,000 employees

27/03 Australia's Myer Holdings said on Friday it will shut all its stores for four weeks and temporarily shed 10,000 employees, as the spread of coronavirus leaves much of the country confined to their homes.. . .  Full story

Australia's iron ore giants push workers to stay at mine sites to escape coronavirus

27/03 Australia's iron ore giants are looking to reduce the threat to their operations from a coronavirus pandemic, by pushing workers to spend weeks on site away from families and relocate from the eastern seaboard, company. . .  Full story

Australia shares slip over 5% on coronavirus impact fears, NZ slips

27/03 Australian shares slipped more than 5% on Friday, but managed to clock a marginal weekly gain, as sweeping quarantine rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus intensified fears of a deeper economic fallout. . .  Full story

Australian shares drop, but set for best weekly gain since 2011; NZ higher

27/03 Australian shares fell on Friday as investors booked profits amid rising coronavirus cases at home, but the index was set for its best weekly gain since 2011 as policymakers launched a raft of. . .  Full story

Australia's Woodside slashes $2 bln in spending, delays key gas projects

27/03 Woodside Petroleum halved its forecast spending for 2020 and deferred go-ahead decisions for its two biggest gas projects to ride out the pain of the coronavirus pandemic and plunging oil prices.. . .  Full story

Australia shares likely to rise at open, NZ up 3%

26/03 Australian shares were set to open higher on Friday, tracking Wall Street peers, as investors focused on the passage of a massive coronavirus relief bill in the U.S. Senate and the possibility of more. . .  Full story

Aveng to stop mining activities during South Africa lockdown

26/03 Aveng will stop mining activities at its South African sites during a 21-day lockdown over the coronavirus crisis, while some of its operations in New Zealand have stopped temporarily, the construction. . .  Full story

Asia's coal markets diverge on quality lines as coronavirus hits India: Russell

26/03 Asia's seaborne coal market is increasingly diverging between higher-quality Australian coal, where prices are holding up despite the economic shock being caused by the coronavirus, and lower-quality Indonesian fuel, which is losing ground.. . .  Full story

Rio Tinto raps Australian lobby group for coal support

26/03 Rio Tinto said on Thursday it had found several cases where Australia's biggest mining industry body advocated for thermal coal in contravention of 2015 Paris climate goals, as it released a review of its membership. . .  Full story

Australia shares rise on U.S. stimulus; NZ hits 2-week high

26/03 Australian shares settled higher for a third straight session on Thursday, as investor sentiment was lifted by the U.S. Senate passing a massive stimulus package to mitigate the economic blow from the coronavirus epidemic. . .  Full story

Australia c.bank proposes to buy $1.8 bln in govt bonds as part of QE

26/03 The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) on Thursday proposed to buy A$3 billion ($1.8 billion) in sovereign government bonds as part of its quantitative easing programme to keep short-term yields around the cash rate. . .  Full story

Australia's Flight Centre puts 6,000 staff on leave, says some may be laid off

26/03 Flight Centre Travel Group said on Thursday that a third of its 20,000 strong workforce face temporary or permanent redundancy as the coronavirus hammers travel demand.. . .  Full story

ABC TV INTERVIEW

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Australian shares set to open higher, NZ rises

25/03 Australian shares are poised to open higher on Thursday as the U.S. Senate neared a vote to clear a massive economic aid package aimed at mitigating the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Australia widens coronavirus testing as death toll rises

25/03 Australia will expand coronavirus testing, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as Canberra struggles to contain an outbreak that it said has killed nine people in the country.. . .  Full story

Australia, NZ shares rise after U.S. govt agrees to massive stimulus package

25/03 Australian shares jumped 5% on Wednesday, ending just short of the 5,000 mark, fuelled by a bout of last-minute buying after the U.S. government agreed on a massive stimulus package to mitigate the impact. . .  Full story

Australia c.bank buys semi-govt bonds as state revenues crunched by coronavirus

25/03 Australia's central bank stepped into the semi-government bond market for the first time since launching its quantitative easing programme to combat the coronavirus pandemic as state revenues deteriorate sharply.. . .  Full story

Australia, NZ shares climb on hopes of massive U.S. stimulus

25/03 Australian shares rose sharply on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street gains on hopes U.S. lawmakers were moving closer to passing a massive stimulus package to curb the coronavirus outbreak's economic impact.. . .  Full story

Australia's Star Entertainment to put most staff on leave due to coronavirus lockdown

25/03 Star Entertainment Group Ltd said on Wednesday 90% of its 9,000 staff will be asked to stand down temporarily with two weeks paid "pandemic leave" due to casino closures mandated by the Australian government. . .  Full story

Qantas secures $628 mln against aircraft fleet to boost liquidity

25/03 Qantas Airways Ltd said on Wednesday it had secured A$1.05 billion ($628 million) of funding against its aircraft fleet to help strengthen its financial position as it grapples with a plunge in demand due. . .  Full story

Australia central bank suspends media lock-up due to coronavirus restrictions

25/03 Australia's central bank has suspended the media lock-up arrangement at its Sydney head office until further notice, it said on Wednesday amid restrictions on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Virgin Australia to cut 90% of domestic flights, put 8,000 staff on leave

24/03 Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd said on Wednesday it was cutting 90% of its domestic capacity, temporarily grounding 125 aircraft, and putting 80% of its employees on leave until at least the end of May. . .  Full story

Australian shares eye stronger open tracking Wall St, NZ jumps

24/03 Australian shares were set for a strong start to Wednesday, tracking Wall Street that surged on hopes of a massive fiscal stimulus to blunt the economic damage from the coronavirus. The. . .  Full story

Jet fuel refining profits disappear as airlines ground fleets

24/03 Jet fuel prices are falling globally from Singapore to New York as airlines ground flights amid stringent travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Australia's largest pension funds cut value of unlisted assets on virus hit

24/03 Australia's pension funds are slashing the values of their unlisted infrastructure and property investments, as countries around the world move into lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Australian shares jump on Fed's QE boost, NZ posts record daily gain

24/03 Australian shares jumped more than 4% on Tuesday, bouncing back from sharp falls in the previous session as investors cheered massive support measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve to temper the economic damage from. . .  Full story

Australia c.bank pumps in liquidity, buys bonds as deep recession looms

24/03 Australia's central bank injected A$6.9 billion ($4.1 billion) into the financial system on Tuesday and bought A$4 billion in bonds as economists predicted a spike in unemployment and the worst recession in the country's history. . .  Full story

Australian shares climb on Fed support; NZ jumps

24/03 Australian shares rose on Tuesday, regaining some of the sharp losses from the previous session, as a pledge by the U.S. Federal Reserve to spend whatever it took to stabilise the financial system lifted. . .  Full story

NZ announces mortgage holiday, business finance support to cushion virus impact

24/03 New Zealand said on Tuesday that retail banks will offer a six-month principal and interest payment holiday for mortgage holders and small business customers whose incomes have been affected by the economic disruption from COVID-19.. . .  Full story

Australia's Viva Energy sees up to 90% plunge in jet fuel demand on travel curbs

24/03 Fuel supplier Viva Energy Ltd said on Tuesday it expects jet fuel demand to plunge by up to 90% as airlines ground flights due to travel restrictions imposed to arrest the coronavirus' spread.. . .  Full story

New Hope sees lower coal prices, higher costs thinning 2H profits

24/03 Australian coal producer New Hope Corp said on Tuesday that attributable profit after tax fell 46% in the first half as it flagged slimmer second-half profits on the back of weaker coal prices and. . .  Full story

Australian shares to open slightly higher, NZ falls

23/03 Australian shares are set to open slightly higher on Tuesday as an aggressive credit boost by the Federal Reserve added to a worldwide effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic that could push the global. . .  Full story

Australia's pensions industry in urgent talks on coronavirus crisis changes

23/03 Australia's A$3 trillion ($1.72 trillion) pension industry was not consulted on the federal government's decision to allow the unemployed and sole traders early access to retirement savings and is now in urgent talks about the. . .  Full story

Australia shares end at over 7-year low on recession fears; NZ slumps

23/03 Australian shares slumped to their lowest close in more than seven years on Monday as widespread curbs on travel and public life fed recession fears, overshadowing policy efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Australia housing auction activity dives due to coronavirus

23/03 Australia's property market is on the verge of another downturn as new social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus threaten to scuttle auction activity, data showed on Monday.. . .  Full story

Australia, NZ shares pounded as widespread closures fuel recession fears

23/03 Australian shares slumped more than 8% on Monday in thin volumes as new government stimulus against a coronavirus-induced slowdown did little to soothe recession fears deepened by strict new measures to contain the outbreak.. . .  Full story

Australia regulator says banks must provision for virus loan holiday

23/03 Australia's banking watchdog on Monday said lenders must account for possible loss from the loan repayment holidays they offered borrowers affected by the coronavirus last week, to ensure banks keep stakeholders informed of action taken. . .  Full story

Australian financial watchdog to reduce regulatory burdens on banks

23/03 Australia's prudential regulator will announce plans shortly to reduce the regulatory burden facing financial institutions already battling the hit from the coronavirus pandemic, the Council Of Financial Regulators (CFR) said on Monday.. . .  Full story

Rare earth miner Lynas closes Malaysia plant due to coronavirus curbs

23/03 Rare earths producer Lynas Corp said on Monday it closed its processing plant in Malaysia temporarily after the government introduced strict measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.. . .  Full story

SkyCity Entertainment to shut Australian casino, prepares for closures in New Zealand

22/03 SkyCity Entertainment Group said on Monday it would shut its casino in Adelaide in line with an Australian government order and was preparing for the likely closure of properties in New Zealand to. . .  Full story

Australian shares poised to drop at open; NZ slides

22/03 Australian shares are expected to open lower on Monday as the widespread closure of venues across the country offset new fiscal stimulus from the government to stem a coronavirus-induced slowdown. Australia. . .  Full story

NZ central bank starts quantitative easing to tackle coronavirus

22/03 The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) said on Monday it would start buying up to NZ$30 billion ($17 billion) worth of government bonds, following other central banks' moves to offset the impact of. . .  Full story

China's Tianqi postpones commissioning of Australia lithium plant amid liquidity problems

22/03 Tianqi Lithium Corp , one of the world's biggest lithium producers, said on Sunday it had postponed commissioning of the first phase of its flagship Australian processing plant due to rising liquidity problems after the. . .  Full story

Australia takes stimulus to 10% of GDP and orders closures to combat coronavirus

22/03 Australia ordered pubs, cinemas, churches and casinos to close and two more states said on Sunday they would shut their borders, while the government pledged an extra A$66.4 billion ($38.50 billion) to combat the impact. . .  Full story

Australia's CBA defers home, small business loan repayments for up to 6 months

20/03 Commonwealth Bank of Australia on Friday joined two of its Big Four peers in deferring repayment of home loans for up to six months, as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.. . .  Full story

Australia c.bank buys $2.9 bln of bonds in first round of unlimited QE

20/03 Australia's central bank bought A$5 billion ($2.87 billion) in local government bonds on Friday, in the first round of its unlimited quantitative easing programme as it looks to cushion the economic shock from the coronavirus. . .  Full story

Australian shares mark worst week since 2008

20/03 Australia's benchmark stock index marked its worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis, but settled higher on Friday as hopes of a second round of government stimulus offered a measure of relief to. . .  Full story

Australian shares seek footing after rout on hopes of more stimulus salve

20/03 Australian shares rose on Friday after a 10% slump over the past two sessions as the government signalled a second round of stimulus spending, furthering a worldwide effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic that. . .  Full story

New Zealand steps up financial fight against coronavirus

20/03 New Zealand authorities increased financial aid for markets and bailed out the national airline on Friday, strengthening its efforts to prevent the economy from sinking into recession because of the coronavirus outbreak.. . .  Full story

Australia's Sonic Healthcare pulls earnings outlook on virus impact, shares drop

20/03 Australia's Sonic Healthcare Ltd recalled its full-year earnings outlook on Friday as it expects lab testing volumes to take a hit from a growing number of people self-isolating themselves to curb the spread of. . .  Full story

Australian banks announce $57 billion loan relief package for businesses

20/03 Australian banks on Friday said they would defer loan repayments for six months for small businesses impacted by the coronavirus in a A$100 billion ($57.34 billion) relief package.. . .  Full story

Australia's Telstra to beef up contract staff, freeze job cuts

20/03 Telstra Corp said on Friday it will freeze job cuts for now and hire 1,000 temporary staff at a time when other Australian companies are laying off workers and slashing expenses due to the. . .  Full story

Australian shares set to rise at open; NZ edges up

19/03 Australian shares are likely to open higher on Friday after shedding nearly 10% over the past two sessions, as investors pin hopes on measures by global central banks to stem the coronavirus-driven economic damage.. . .  Full story

Australia regulator lets banks tap capital buffers to step up lending

19/03 Australia's prudential regulator on Thursday loosened its capital requirements to enable banks to lend more freely, backing the government's efforts to stave off a recession amid the coronavirus outbreak.. . .  Full story

'Whatever is necessary': Australia dives into QE to save economy

19/03 Australia made a historic foray into quantitative easing on Thursday and said it would do "whatever is necessary" to ensure funding costs are low and credit is freely available as the coronavirus pandemic jolts businesses.. . .  Full story

-Australia closes borders to coronavirus, pumps $56 bln into economy

19/03 Australia is closing its borders to foreigners and pumping about A$100 billion ($56 billion) into the economy as it seeks to minimise the blow from the coronavirus epidemic.. . .  Full story

Australian shares drop as virus fears eclipse support packages; NZ down

19/03 Australian shares closed 3% lower at a more than four-year low on Thursday, as an emergency stimulus package by the country's central bank failed to ease worries about the coronavirus' economic blow.. . .  Full story

'Nothing is off the table' on policy stimulus, says Australia c.bank gov

19/03 Australia's central bank will do whatever is necessary to make sure credit is freely available and that yield on three-year government bonds stays at its newly set target of 0.25%, Governor Philip Lowe said. . .  Full story

Australia's CBA cuts rates for small business and household borrowers

19/03 Commonwealth Bank of Australia will cut interest rates for small business and household customers, after the central bank's second rate cut this month to battle a coronavirus outbreak, the lender said on Thursday.. . .  Full story

Australia bans non-residents from entering country on coronavirus fears

19/03 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday all non-citizens and non-residents would be banned from entering the country from 9 pm (1000 GMT) Friday.. . .  Full story

Australian interest rate changes since 1990

19/03 The Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash rate a quarter point to 0.25% on Thursday. The following is a chronology of the Reserve Bank of Australia's interest rate. . .  Full story

Australian shares lose steam to hit 4-year low ahead of RBA meeting

19/03 Australian shares gave up early gains to hit a four-year low on Thursday as investors turned their focus to a key central bank policy meeting amid rising fears of a coronavirus-induced recession.. . .  Full story

Australia's unemployment rate unexpectedly falls but virus risks build

19/03 Australia's unemployment rate surprisingly slipped in February though risks are surging as travel restrictions and lockdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic threatened to push the economy into recession.. . .  Full story

Australia's central bank pumps record liquidity into banking system

19/03 The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) used its daily money market operation to pump a record A$12.7 billion ($7.37 billion) into the banking system on Thursday, aiming to ease liquidity constraints in a stressed bond. . .  Full story

Japan's MUFG takes big loss on loan to Glencore-led coal port -sources

19/03 Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) sold off its $85 million loan to Glencore's Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) in Australia to a hedge fund on Wednesday at about 52 cents on the dollar,. . .  Full story

Qantas to cease international flying, stand down majority of workforce

18/03 Qantas Airways Ltd said on Thursday it would halt all international flights from late March until at least the end of May and stand down the majority of its 30,000 employees during that period. . .  Full story

Australian shares to fall ahead of RBA policy meet; NZ drops

18/03 Australian shares are set to drop on Thursday as concerns about a coronavirus-induced recession are likely to eclipse supportive measures anticipated to be announced later by the country's central bank. Markets. . .  Full story