THE NEWS WRAP: Australia secures free trade deal with South Korea

Australia has secured an historic free trade agreement with its fourth-largest trading partner, South Korea, with the Abbott government claiming the deal will grow exports to the nation by 73% over the next 15 years.

 

The deal will see South Korea scrap tariffs on a range of Australian commodities, including wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture, seafood, resources, energy and manufactured goods.

 

However, it acknowledges that some sectors, including steel, auto manufacturing, steel, textiles, clothing and footwear will face increased competition from Korean businesses.

 

“Independent modelling shows the agreement would be worth $5 billion between 2015 and 2030 and boost the economy by around $650 million annually after 15 years,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott says.

 

“We wish to appreciate the impact upon our budget and our economy, not least of all we want to ensure that Australian jobs are supported and maintained and Australian opportunities are available in the future to make sure our national interest is advanced,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.

 

Qantas warned its debt could be downgraded to junk bond status

 

Moody’s has warned embattled airline Qantas it is considering downgrading its credit rating to junk bond status, with the ratings agency tipping a full-year loss of up to $868 million.

 

The news comes as Qantas warned of a first-half loss of up to $300 million, its first since being privatised, with the carrier announcing plans to axe more than 1000 jobs.

 

The airline is also considering sell-downs of its Jetstar businesses in Australia, Singapore and Japan, as well as a partial sell-off of its lucrative frequent flyer program in a bid to shore up its position.

 

Holden set to announce it is pulling out of Australia early next year

 

Holden has reportedly made the decision to shut down its Australian operations as soon as 2016, with an announcement set for early next year.

 

Citing “senior government ministers”, the announcement was set to be made this week, but was delayed on account of continuing discussions with the government.

 

A decision to pull out would cost South Australia 13,200 jobs, along with $1.24 billion in economic activity.

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down to 15810.9. The Aussie dollar is up to US90.67 cents.

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