The NAB Manufacturing Activity Index eased further in the second quarter of the year, remaining in negative territory – despite some divergent trends in individual sub-sectors.
It implies declines in quarter-on-quarter growth in the manufacturing sector – which continues to be burdened by global uncertainty and the strong dollar.
The activity index was down to -0.6 points from -0.4 points in March driven largely by declines in both Business Confidence and final prices growth.
Business confidence declined from around -3 points in the first quarter to -5 points in the second quarter, a trend that was broadly in line with those of the broader economy.
The largest declines in confidence were recorded in the metal products, machinery and equipment and chemicals sectors.
Fresh takeover offer for Billabong
Billabong International has received a fresh takeover offer from US private equity firm TPG, which is much lower than the bid the surfwear manufacturer rejected in February.
Shares in the company lifted on the news, rising 22.73% to $1.35.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, Billabong said TPG has offered to acquire all shares in the company for $1.45 a share, a 32% premium to Billabong’s last closing price.
The offer, made after the close of trade yesterday, values the company at $695 million, 18% below the original $850 million bid.
Shares fall after Europe fears surface
The Australian sharemarket has fallen this morning after new fears about Spain emerged overnight, causing European markets to dive.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 6.4 points or 0.2% to 4122.5 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar was at $US1.02c.
In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 101 points or 0.8% to 12,721.5.
Moody’s cuts German outlook to negative
Moody’s has taken the extraordinary move of cutting the outlook for the continent’s largest economy to “negative”.
“The level of uncertainty about the outlook for the euro area, and the potential impact of plausible scenarios on member states, are no longer consistent with stable outlooks,” Moody’s said in a statement.
The Germany finance ministry immediately released a statement saying the country is still the “eurozone’s anchor of stability” and said that it has “taken note of Moody’s opinion”.
Greens concede defeat in Melbourne
The Greens have conceded the seat of Melbourne to Labor, after state leader Greg Barber said it became clear the party would not win the election.
“Yes late last night we got almost the full recount,” he told ABC Radio.
“And during that day some more votes were found for the Greens, 150 or so, but also more votes for the Labor Party and on that basis we won’t get there when the recount is complete.”