Economy

Petrol fixing case goes to court; Manufacturing industry turnaround; Sharemarket pain: Midday Roundup

Cara Waters /

Petrol retailers and convenience stores have faced the court to reject claims a third-party website listing petrol pump prices every 15 minutes enabled them to engage in price-fixing.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission brought proceedings against BP, Caltex and the fuel-selling arms of Coles, Woolworths and 7-Eleven – used their membership of the Informed Sources website to watch their competitors’ prices.

At a directions hearing on Friday the retailers rejected the claims. 

The judge set another directions hearing for February 13, 2015, and the start of what may be a six-week trial was set down for September 7.

Manufacturing industry turnaround for SMEs

Australia’s SME manufacturing sector has experienced some of the highest levels of revenue growth in the last 12 months, according to research published today by MYOB.

The September 2014 MYOB Business Monitor Report, found 29% of SME manufacturing and wholesale business operators reported rising revenue in the 12 months to August 2014, compared to 21% of SME businesses overall.

The figures show a significant turnaround in the last six months, with the proportion of businesses seeing revenue decline falling from 43% in the March Monitor to 32% in the latest survey.

Further sharemarket pain

The Australian sharemarket opened sharply lower this morning with escalating tensions in Hong Kong and softer data over the weekend from China.

At the 10.15am official market open, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 33.5 points, or 0.63 %, at 5,279.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index was down 31.8 points, or 0.6%, at 5,284.8 points.

The opening hour of the local trading session has seen further pain inflicted according to Niall King, sales trader, at CMC Markets.

“With iron ore holding firm and a strong performance from US equities on Friday, faint hopes for a rebound in the local market this morning have been dashed,” he said in a statement.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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