Economy

Janet Yellen confirmed as chairwoman of Federal Reserve; Trade deficit smaller in November: Midday Roundup

Yolanda Redrup /

The United States Senate has officially confirmed Janet Yellen as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, the New York Times reported.

It is the first time in the 100-year history of the US central bank that a female has held the top position.

The 67-year old has been involved in the Federal Reserve’s measures to revive the US economy, and the paper reports she has the task of unwinding the “extraordinary measures” taken, and tackling subdued inflation amid a 7% unemployment rate.

In September 2013, Yellen was in the running with Larry Summers to replace former chair Ben Bernanke, before he pulled his name out of the ring. President Barack Obama appointed her to the role last October.

Murray Goulburn ups its bid for WCB

Dairy business Murray Goulburn has released a statement outlining its plan to buy shares in Warrnambool Cheese & Butter at up to $9.50, which would take its stake to 19.9% of the Victorian business.

Warrnambool Cheese & Butter is at the heart of a bidding war, with Canadian dairy company Saputo the apparent frontrunner in the fight to take over the company.

This week Saputo is aiming to maximise WCB shareholder acceptances for its $9 per share cash offer, The Age reports. This offer has been recommended by the WCB board.

The Murray Goulburn offer is still subject to approval from the Australia Competition Tribunal, with a decision on this expected by the end of February.

Murray Goulburn managing director Gary Helou urged shareholders not to “rush their decision to sell their WCB shares”.

“WCB shareholders should wait until the merger authorisation application process has been determined so that Murray Goulburn’s Offer can be considered on its merits,” he said.

“Murray Goulburn remains committed to acquiring WCB, and believes the combination of WCB and Murray Goulburn will deliver an Australian owned and operated globally competitive dairy company.”

Trade deficit smaller in November

Australia’s trade deficit decreased by 67% in November to $118 million, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The rebound exceeded analysts’ expectations, as the deficit decreased by a total of $240 million for the month.

In seasonally adjusted terms, exports were flat while imports decreased by 1%.

Shares open higher

Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, despite losses on Wall Street overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 12.4 points to 5337.3 at 12:03pm AEDT. Last night the Dow Jones closed 44.89 points lower, down 0.27% to 16,425.1 points.

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