THE NEWS WRAP: Swan set to cut support for smaller lenders

Treasurer Wayne Swan is set to announce the discontinuation of further investments backing smaller lenders in the registered mortgage backed securities market, according to a speech leaked to the press this morning.


According to The Australian, while the Australian Office of Financial Management will retain its current investments in the $45 billion sector, no further investments will be made, with Swan also backing the four pillars banking policy in the speech.


“Smaller lenders have been comfortably issuing RMBS [registered mortgage backed securities] at economic cost without AOFM support, despite its willingness to invest. They’ve raised $3.9bn this year on their own,” Swan says in the speech.


Ten Network reports disastrous $243 million half-year loss


The Ten Network has reported a half-year loss of $243 million in the half year to February, with its revenue from continuing operations down 15.6% to $302 million.


Chief executive Hamish McLennan cites cost-cutting, new programs, improved scheduling and an older audience mix as being the keys to a recovery for the troubled broadcaster.


“We chopped and changed too much last year, so we’re really going back to basics, which is making sure that we stabilise the business, and making sure that we have a more predictable schedule, and define what our audience should be,” McLennan said.


Gillard secures high-level annual leadership talks with China


Prime Minister Julia Gillard has secured an annual leadership dialogue with China, becoming one of just five governments, including Russia, Germany, Britain and the EU, to regularly share such talks with the emerging superpower.


“Right around the world countries are competing for China’s attention. They want to come to China and be heard. They want their issues to be right there at the forefront of thinking in China. That’s understandable as this great power continues to rise,” the Prime Minister said.


“It means that each year our public servants, our whole bureaucracies, our business, our public know that there will be a meeting between the senior leadership of both our countries and that brings forward the whole process of decision-making on trade, on visas, on investment,” Foreign Minister Bob Carr said.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 0.41% to 14,673.46. The Aussie dollar is steady on US104.90 cents.


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