Australian dollar falls towards parity: Midday roundup

The Australian dollar is falling close to parity after more turmoil in Europe caused a disappointing performance in overseas markets last night.

The dollar has slipped to as low as $1.07 this morning, the lowest point since December.

The dollar had continued to fall last week after the Reserve Bank cut interest rates by 50 basis points – the currency had remained high due to the RBA maintaining rates at higher levels than other Reserve Banks around the world.

The fall in the dollar also comes as unemployment figures set to be released tomorrow are expected to show the jobless rate rising to 5.2% for April, with the economy having shed 5,000 jobs.

Economists also expect further rate cuts to come this year, which would impact the local currency.

Centro settles in $200 million deal

Property giant Centro has settled with shareholders in a $200 million agreement that is one of the largest of its kind, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The report claims the settlement comes in at $200 million, which may be paid in part by the company’s auditors, PwC.

The case started after shareholders accused the company of engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct by miscategorising $3 billion worth of debt before it collapsed in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Centro was placed in a trading halt yesterday, ahead of an announcement about the settlement.

ANZ chief slams Labor over surplus

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has slammed the Government over its move to put the budget back in surplus, saying the move can wait.

“If you look at the… way (Australia’s) economy is structured, it should fundamentally have a surplus,” he told a Brisbane function yesterday.

“That is not a bad vision to have…The question is, do you need it by tomorrow or is it sufficient to go to meet a target in the future?”

Smith said the Government had put too much priority on raising income rather than cost cutting, and that there needs to be a balance between stimulus and austerity.

“You’ve got to find some way to stimulate the economy and at the same time have some austerity somewhere,” he said, according to AAP. “That’s just good management.”

“But that inevitably is going to take you a little longer than a simple solution.”

Shares fall after Euro fears worsen

The Australian sharemarket has fallen this morning after a disappointing night on overseas markets, as fears Greece will reject a bailout deal continue to grow.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 34 points or 0.8% to 4279.8 at 12.00 AEST.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76 points or 0.6% to 12,932.1.


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