Commonwealth Bank customers hit with computer glitch, Housing starts fall 13.2%: Economy Roundup

Just days after NAB was hit with crippling computer problems, Commonwealth Bank customers have been hit with a computer glitch leaving them unable to access their accounts.

The company has said that 5% of accounts have been impacted, with “minor, short-term disruption to CommBiz and NetBank customers”. The bank blamed the corruption on a particular file, but says this problem won’t occur for too much longer.

“The file primarily related to business customer accounts, but in processing the file we identified a small number of retail customers who are also affected.”

Dwelling commitments fall 13.2% in September

The number of dwelling commitments made during the September quarter fell by a seasonally adjusted 13.2% to 39,399, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but increased by 12.4% on an annual basis.

Commitments for private sector houses fell by 4.3% to 25,761 during the quarter, but were up by 2.7% over the year, while commitments for other residential building fell by 13.5% during the quarter, but rose by 39.3% over the year.

Meanwhile, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority has said that banks need to be part of a movement to strengthen liquidity requirements.

Executive general manager for diversified institutions division Wayne Byres told the inquiry that local banks have strong liquidity and won’t have to struggle to reach new requirements under the Basel III framework.

“It’s not as though our banks were as robust as they could be on the liquidity front,” he said.

Fitch Ratings group director Tim Roche said the reforms announced by Treasurer Wayne Swan won’t affect the company’s ratings.

“The reforms announced by the Australian government are largely neutral for Australian banks’ credit ratings,” Roch said.

“Those initiatives focused on improving competition appear likely to have a modest negative impact on revenue, while those aimed at funding, including permitting the issuance of covered bonds and initiatives to develop the corporate bond market, partly address a key vulnerability of the Australian banking system: its reliance on offshore funding markets.”

BHP Billiton has appointed Shriti Vadera has its non-executive director, taking the number of directors on the board to a total of 12.

Chairman Jac Nasser said Vadera was an “excellent addition”, adding she was “highly regarded for her work in the private sector and with governments around the world.”

Shares higher after strong overseas leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning following on from a strong lead in international markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up two points or 0.04% to 4759.1 at 12.15 AEST, while the Australian dollar maintained its position at US99c.

AMP shares have fallen 0.6% to $5.23, while Commonwealth Bank shares have dropped 1.1% to $50.62. NAB shares lost 1.1% to 24.31 as Westpac dropped 0.1% to $22.87.

The Australian has reported that Nine Entertainment may be preparing for a $5 billion float in 2011, with April scheduled as possibility.

Sources have said that UBS could be involved, along with two other as-yet-unnamed investment banks.

“The business appears to be in good shape, particularly on the television and digital side, and there is certainly momentum there, but – as with all these things – it will come down to what kind of price people are willing to pay,” a source told the publication.

Meanwhile, a Productivity Commission reported has cast doubt on the economic benefits of Australia’s free trade agreements.

“While tariff preferences in trade agreements can benefit some industries, the commission found little evidence that Australia’s recent bilateral agreements had provided substantial commercial benefits,” the commission said in a statement.

“Where there is an interest in pursuing a trade agreement with particular countries, economic assessments should be based on realistic scenarios with any modelling overseen by an independent body.”

US Congress to pass tax legislation

The United States’ Congress is close to passing a tax deal that will see cuts extended for wealthy citizens along with extensions for employment benefits.

President Barack Obama has been criticised by the Democrats for giving in to Republican demands, but Democratic leader Steny Hoyer said at a news conference the bill is likely to pass.

“I think we’ll pass a bill, as opposed to simply not passing anything,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was recently up 60 points, or 0.5%, to 11,470.

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