Asia-Pacific News Australia & New Zealand

  • Australia's central bank kept interest rates steady at 6.25% on Wednesday, as slowing inflation gave it scope to skip a tightening despite strong domestic demand and a drum-tight labor market.

  • St. George Bank, Australia's fifth-biggest lender, met expectations with a record first-half profit on Tuesday on strong loan growth and a booming wealth management business, andupgraded its full-year forecasts.

  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, Australia's third-biggest bank, said Thursday its first-half net profit rose 16% to $1.752 billion in the six months ended March 31 from A$1.81 billion a year earlier helped by the sale of the bank's vehicle leasing arm, Fleetpartners. 

  • Underlying inflation in Australia was surprisingly subdued in the first quarter while consumer prices rose at their slowest pace in two years, radically lessening the risk of a rise in interest rates.

  • Australian regional lender Bendigo Bank rejected on Tuesday a $2.3 billion takeover bid by Bank of Queensland saying the deal does not offer sufficient value and certainty for its shareholders.

  • Australia's producer prices were unchanged in the first quarter, confounding forecasts for a rise and offering hope that inflationary pressures were slackening enough to avoid another increase in interest rates.

  • A buyout group including Macquarie Bank said on Sunday it would not extend its A$11 billion ($9 billion) bid for Australia's Qantas Airways beyond May 4, but would speed up payments to shareholders who accepted.

  • Australian businesses reported strong trading conditions last quarter, generating more demand for labor and leaving the economy with little spare capacity, a survey showed on Tuesday.

  • The Australian dollar climbed to a fresh 17-year peak against the U.S. dollar on Monday, buoyed by gains against the Japanese yen after the weekend Group of Seven ministers meeting appeared unconcerned about carry trades.

  • Australia's jobless rate fell to three-decade lows in March while employers took on more full-time workers in a sign of underlying strength in the economy which may yet require a restraining rise in interest rates.

  • A bidding war is looming for Australia's Coles Group after the company said a Kohlberg Kravis Roberts-led consortium was confident of topping a $16.1 billion bid for theretailer, hoisting its shares to a record.

  • Kohlberg Kravis Roberts will still consider a bid for Australia's Coles Group, despite a $16 billion offer for the retailer by conglomerate Wesfarmers, sources familiar with the situation said.

  • Australia's central bank skipped a chance to raise interest rates on Wednesday, confounding speculation it would tighten to cool domestic demand as insurance against future inflationary pressures.

  • Australia's trade deficit was little changed at $687 million in February, defying expectations of a widening, as export growth matched imports in what might be a sign of a long-awaited export upturn.

  • Australian retail sales surged 0.9% in February, blowing past market market forecasts and heightening the risk of another rise in interest rates, perhaps as early as this week.

  • The global selloff throughout world stock markets triggered by the brief but sharp fall in the Shanghai Composite Index at the end of February has stirred up even more interest in already hot Chinese markets. This week, "A Fund Affair" features AMP Capital's China Growth Fund, which gives the investor rare access to China 'A' shares.

  • Australian energy infrastructure group Alinta, extended its share trading halt on Wednesday and said it was still in talks with potential bidders.

  • Qantas Airways shares slipped early Friday on reports UBS Global Asset Management was reportedly moving to increase its holding in the Australian carrier, increasing its power of blocking a $9 billion takeover offer.

  • Australia's employers created a solid 22,000 new jobs in February while more people were enticed into the labor force, boding well for consumer demand and economic growth this quarter.

  • Shares in Australia's Qantas Airways fell to a three-month low on Tuesday amid growing concern some key shareholders may block an $8.7 billion buyout bid for the airline.