Business conditions at a four-year low, court rules Baiada Poultry is a bad egg: Midday Roundup

Business conditions and capacity utilisation has slumped to a four-year low, despite confidence being slightly improved.

The latest NAB Monthly Business survey shows conditions remain “very bad” in retail, mining and manufacturing, despite low interest rates and a falling Australian dollar.

The survey found weaker trading conditions and profitability combined with poor employment conditions contributed to the worsening business conditions.

Indicators such as forward orders, stocks, capacity utilisation and employment conditions remained weak, with little improvement predicted for the near future.

Despite the poor conditions, business confidence lifted slightly in June, although remained “lacklustre”, according to the report.

Court rules Baiada Poultry is a bad egg

Baiada Poultry and Bartter Enterprises, the processers and suppliers of Steggles chicken products, have been found by the Federal Court to have engaged in false, misleading and deceptive conduct.

On its product packaging and advertising, the companies claimed their eggs were free-range, with the chickens able to roam in large barns, but this was not the case.

The court ruled the ordinary and natural meaning of the phrase “free to roam” entails the chickens have a “largely uninhibited ability… to move around at will in an aimless manner”.

In contrast, it was ruled at times the chickens could not move more than a metre or so without having their movement obstructed, and the ACCC claimed the chickens had floorspace less than the size of an A4 sheet of paper each.

The Australian Chicken and Meat Federation was also found to have engaged in false, misleading and deceptive conduct.

Appropriate penalties are still being negotiated by the parties.

Shares rise on strong offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has opened higher this morning, following a string of solid leads from offshore markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 63 points or 1.3% to 4873.1 at 12.00 AEST, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 88 points or 0.6% to 15,224.7.


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