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5 things you need to know today

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Published on: Wednesday, March 15, 2017

  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today urge Australia’s gas giants to increase production as a short-term solution for the domestic supply issue on the east coast. The Turnbull government will also work with the companies to demand the governments of Victoria and NSW lift moratoriums on the extraction of coal seam and conventional offshore gas. According to the Australian Financial Review, Turnbull and his senior ministers will have a meeting with 10 company executives and industry representatives today. “Unfortunately state and territory government bans are putting at risk thousands of jobs by stopping the development of our gas reserves even by conventional means. The only sustainable way to guarantee affordable gas reserves is through the responsible development of our gas,” said Turnbull (AFR).
  • The RBA assistant governor for the financial system, Michele Bullock, has indicated that renewed growth in investor loans could be met with further crackdowns on lending limits to protect the financial system in the event of a downturn. “We’ve seen things pick up again and that’s why we’re watching it (investor lending) very carefully and considering whether we might need to do more,” Bullock said yesterday (The Australian). “Certainly in terms of a financial stability perspective we are watching it because investors often are the first ones to get out if things turn down”.
  • The superannuation industry has opposed the assistant treasurer's proposal that first home buyers can dip into their superannuation balances to help them with a deposit. Michael Sukkar, the assistant treasurer, made the case for young people to access their super funds yesterday, but suggested the super option would work only in conjunction with increased supply to avoid driving up prices. According to the Australian Financial Review, Sally Loane, the Financial Services Council’s chief executive, said “we do not support diluting people’s retirement nest eggs to solve a housing affordability problem”.
  • US stocks ended weaker yesterday on the back of lower oil prices which weighed on energy stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 44 points, or 0.21% to 20,837.37 while the S&P 500 fell 8.02 points, or 0.34% to 2,365.45 and the Nasdaq fell 19 points, or 0.32%, to 5,856.82. Investors are also awaiting the Federal Reserve rates decision on Wednesday (US time), where it is expected the central bank will lift interest rates by 25 basis points.
  • At 0700 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price futures index was down 10 points at 5,752.

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