THE NEWS WRAP: PM to call on governments to get out of the way of business

Prime Minister Tony Abbott will call on G20 nations to avoid a “government-knows-best” attitude and get out of the way of private business, The Australian newspaper reports.


It says he will use his presidency of the G20 to promote global growth through national cooperation and encourage the private sector to take more risk and invest more to deliver sustainable economic growth.


“The challenge, right around the world, is to promote sustainable private sector-led growth and employment and to avoid government-knows-best action for action’s sake,” Abbott will say.


Australian inflation rate dashes hopes of further interest rate cuts


Australia’s inflation rate has come in higher than expected, dashing expectations for further cuts in official interest rates.


The consumer price index for the December quarter came in at 0.8%, taking the annual inflation rate to 2.7%, which is near the top of the Reserve Bank’s 2-3% range.


“The latest data closes the door on any further rate cuts. Financial markets see just a 3% chance of a rate cut in February,” CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian wrote in a note on the data.


BHP Billiton expected to lift profits


Australia’s biggest company, BHP Billiton, is expected to break a three-year losing streak and grow its full-year profits in 2014, Fairfax reports.


“BHP has been aggressively taking to their bottom line with the cost cutting, and the higher production volumes will certainly help to reduce unit costs and maintain or expand margins,” CIMB analyst Michael Evans says.


The wide consensus of analysts is that BHP will report improved profits in fiscal 2014 compared with 2013.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.25% at 16,373.34 points, while the Australian dollar is buying US88.5 cents.


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