THE NEWS WRAP: Business failures may rise again despite a five-month low in insolvencies

Political and media scrutiny on the banks doesn’t look likely to abate this week, with shadow treasurer Joe Hockey challenging his opposite number Wayne Swan for a public debate on competition in the sector. 

 

The offer came as other banks look set to follow the Commonwealth Bank’s interest rate rise, while the government is looking at imposing new rules that will lower exit fees.

 

Retail spending slows

 

Consumer spending habits shifted in the last quarter, with discount chains Big W, Kmart and Target all suffering revenue downturns, according to new data. The high Australian dollar and poor weather has hit retail spending, with consumers switching their purchases to cinemas and restaurants.

Insolvencies may rise again

 

Business failures may rise again despite a five-month low in insolvencies, industry experts have warned. A total of 766 companies entered external administration during September, down from 914 in May, but rising interest rates, the strong dollar and tenacious debt recovery by the Tax Office is expected to propel the total upwards again.

 

Aussie dollar hits historic high

 

The Australian dollar begins trading today after hitting an historic high of 101.6 US cents. The US sharemarket could see a strong day after new data raised optimism for the country’s faltering economy.

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