House prices rise in June quarter: Midday roundup

House prices rose during the June quarter despite expectations they would fall, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show the weighted average of prices across the eight capital cities rose by 0.5% in the June quarter.

However, prices are now on average 2.1% weaker than the same time last year.

There were price increases in Darwin, along with Sydney, Perth and Adelaide. Prices rose 5.1% in Darwin, but only by 1.4% in Sydney.

In Adelaide, prices rose by 0.5%, with a 0.6% increase in Perth.

Melbourne prices fell 0.4%, Canberra was down 1.3%, while Hobart prices were also down by 0.4%.

Manufacturing activity drops in July

Manufacturing activity contracted at a faster rate in July, according to the latest Australian Industry Group/PwC Performance of Manufacturing Index.

The PMI fell 6.9 points to 40.3, well below the 50-point level separating expansion from contraction.

PwC partner for economics and policy, Jeremy Thorpe, said the July Index was now at a three-year low.

“Worryingly, the US, Japan, China and the euro zone are all simultaneously contracting and posting results below the benchmark reading of 50 points,” Thorpe said in a statement.

“This demonstrates the weakness of the global economy and the continued softening of the Chinese economy.”

AIG chief executive Innes Willox said the industry is still feeling significant economic pressure.

“The industry is experiencing substantial pressures driven by the strong (Australian) dollar, cost increases, slow growth in domestic demand and competition from lower cost sources of production,” he said.

“Manufacturers are responding by re-assessing and re-modelling their businesses but, as suggested by another drop in new orders and with the full impact of the carbon tax still to be felt, further falls in overall activity are likely in the months ahead.”

Shares flat after disappointing offshore leads

The Australian sharemarket has remained flat this morning after disappointing leads in both the United States and Europe.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 9.1 points or 0.2% to 4260.1, while the Australian dollar fell slightly to $US1.04.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 64 points or 0.5% to 13,008.7

Palmer attacks Swan for anti-billionaire campaign

Billionaire Clive Palmer has accused Treasurer Wayne Swan of implementing class warfare, in response to a speech Swan is expected to give later today.

In the speech reports suggest he will continue his campaign against Clive Palmer, along with other high-profile mining magnates Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest.

“I maybe am wrong more than I am right, but at least that’s a right all Australians have,” he told ABC Radio.

“The Treasurer doesn’t attack what I say. He attacks me personally. He doesn’t play the ball, he plays the man.”




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