Bluescope to cut 170 jobs: Midday roundup

BlueScope is cutting 170 jobs from its Western Port facility as part of a “reconfiguration”.

“Whilst domestic coated steel demand has not materially declined, this is part of our strategy to continually find better ways to do business and remain a cost-effective producer,” chief executive Mark Vassella said in a statement.

“Regrettably, this change will mean a reduction in the number of employees we require to operate our lines at Western Port, with around 110 employees and 60 contractors expected to leave the business over the coming months.”

The Australian Workers Union says BlueScope must rethink its plan to shed the jobs by mid-March.

“The organisation will remain top-heavy under the reorganisation plans we have seen so far. They need to go back to the drawing board,” Australian Workers Union Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem said in a statement.

“They should be getting rid of some of their chiefs, not simply attacking workers.”

Job ads fall for 10th straight month

The number of job advertisements published on the internet and in print has fallen for a 10th consecutive month, according to the latest figures from the ANZ job advertisements survey.

The survey shows job ads fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.8% in the month, despite an upwardly revised 2.8% decline in November. The total number of job advertisements published is now 16% lower than at the same time last year.

ANZ head of Australian economics, corporate and commercial, Justin Fabo said expectations of a weak economy in 2013 have dampened the job market.

The figures suggest “conditions for a large share of Australian businesses remain challenging and the outlook uncertain”, he said.

“Further monetary easing is therefore necessary to generate sufficient expansion in interest-rate sensitive sectors to support overall growth and limit the rise in the unemployment rate.”

Inflation gauge rises in December

A private gauge of inflation increased in December, fuelling speculation over the Reserve Bank’s likely movements in the next few months.

The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute inflation gauge rose 0.4% in December, after a 0.1% decline in November.

In the year to December, the gauge rose 2.4% in line with the RBA’s target band of inflation between 2-3%.

“On balance, we are of the view that the cash rate should remain at the already record low of three per cent,” TD

Securities head of Asia-Pacific research Annette Beacher said in a statement, noting previous rate cuts had given the economy a boost.

Shares higher after Wall Street ends solid week

The Australian sharemarket has opened slightly higher today, following a modest lead from the United States late last week.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 7.8 points or 0.2% to 4,717.3 at 12.00 AEST.



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