Australia suffered a surprise trade deficit in February, new figures reveal – the first such shortfall in 11 months.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that there was a $205 million deficit in February, well down on the $1.1 billion surplus for the month predicted by economists. The flooding in Queensland has been blamed for the unexpected result.
Call for tougher bullying laws
Unions and business groups are pushing for stiffer penalties for workplace bullies following a case of waitress Brodie Panlock, who committed suicide after experiencing sustained abuse from co-workers.
The ACTU and the Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce both said that other states should consider introducing similar legislation to Victoria, which will jail employees for up to 10 years if found guilty of bullying.
ASX-Singapore deal set to be blocked
Treasurer Wayne Swan looks set to block the merger of the Australian and Singaporean stock exchanges.
Swan said that the merger was “contrary to the national interest”, but said that no final decision has been made on the issue.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped by 6.13 points to 12,393.90. The Australian dollar upped to 103.27 US cents.