Alcoa to put 1000 people out of work; RBA reports rate cuts not on cards: Midday Roundup

Approximately 1000 staff employed by aluminium business Alcoa will lose their jobs as the company has announced plans to close its Point Henry aluminium smelter, as well as two rolling mills in August.

The Point Henry smelter has around 500 staff. Two rolling mills in Yennora, NSW, employ about 480 workers.

Alcoa chairman and chief executive Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement that these assets are “no longer competitive and are not financially sustainable today or into the future”.

VECCI chief executive Mark Stone said in a statement the announcement was “disappointing”.

“…Alcoa has made a significant contribution to the Victorian economy, especially in the Geelong region, for many years”, he said.

“We welcome Alcoa’s commitment to helping its employees transition and urge governments at all levels to work with Alcoa and its contractors, suppliers and community partners to minimise the impact of the closure of the Point Henry smelter.”

RBA reports rate cuts not on cards

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released the minutes of its February 4 board meeting, revealing that indicators were more positive for consumption, home investment, business conditions and exports.

It said if the economy evolved as expected, it would keep interest rates stable for a period.

It revealed that in the domestic economy, growth appeared below trend in the second half of 2013.

The board noted that unemployment rates were higher, while forward-looking indicators of labour demand had shown signs of stabilising.

Shares up on open

The Australian stock market opened slightly higher following a cautiously stronger performance on European markets with Wall Street closed for a public holiday. The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ are all closed.

At the official market opening, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index added 0.23%, at 5,407.1 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index increased 0.23 % to 5,395.3 points.


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