The ‘big four’ banks have come under sustained media and political criticism after Westpac announced a $6.3 billion annual profit. The record surplus takes the four major banks’ combined profits to $21.7 billion.
The increased lending rates that look set to add to these profits are hitting businesses harder than homeowners, according to a report in The Australian Financial Review.
Building approvals down
The construction industry has suffered a setback, with home building approvals falling for the sixth month in a row. Total dwelling approvals are now at their lowest level since June 2009.
Murdoch oversees profit surge
Not many Australian entrepreneurs divide opinion quite as sharply as Rupert Murdoch, but the News Corporation chief has notched up his latest success, overseeing a 36% rise in first quarter profit. The increase came via News’ TV operation, rather than its newspaper assets.
Dollar hits new high
The Australian dollar hit yet another high against the greenback, leaping to a record 100.6 US cents overnight. The surge followed news that the US central bank is to pump money into the country’s flagging economy.