Oceania

New Zealand’s government took aim at property speculators with a suite of new measures to tackle runaway house prices and prevent the formation of a “dangerous” bubble, Bloomberg News reported. The government will remove tax incentives for investors to make speculation less lucrative and unlock more land to increase housing supply, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday. The moves come as surging house prices keep first-time buyers and people on lower incomes out of the market, raising concerns about growing societal inequality.

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Australian lenders Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Australia and New Zealand Bank on Monday separately said they had agreed to settle a 2016 class action, filed in the United States against them, for alleged benchmark interest rate rigging, Reuters reported. The suit had been filed by U.S.-based investment funds and an individual derivatives trader against 17 global banks, including ANZ's three domestic peers that make up the so-called "big four" with it.
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Greensill Capital’s talks to sell parts of its operating business to Athene Holding Ltd. were derailed after one of the firm’s key technology partners received funding that allows it to finance Greensill’s most creditworthy clients directly, Bloomberg News reported. Taulia, a financial technology company that had worked closely with Greensill, landed a $6 billion liquidity facility from banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. Taulia’s clients had an immediate need for liquidity because of Greensill’s insolvency.

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There are worrying signs company collapses could leap back to historical heights as pandemic-related assistance draws to a close after propping up “zombie” enterprises that would have otherwise failed, The Australian reported. CreditorWatch’s latest Business Risk Review data released on Tuesday shows external administrations spiked by 61 per cent in February – the highest they have risen for a year.
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Up to 250,000 workers could lose their jobs when the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends this month as insolvency data reveals just three companies have used the Australian federal government’s new rules to help struggling employers restructure to avoid shutting down, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The end of the $90 billion JobKeeper program on March 28 is expected to result in thousands of businesses failing, pushing 125,000 to 250,000 people out of work, University of Melbourne Professor Jeff Borland estimates.

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Lex Greensill’s ambitious plan to transform his arcane trade-finance business into a global lending force is rapidly falling apart, Bloomberg News reported. From Credit Suisse Group AG to SoftBank Group Corp., Greensill’s most ardent supporters have signaled doubts about the loans made by his supply-chain finance business, upending his multi-billion dollar empire. Greensill Capital, which as recently as last year was seeking a valuation of $7 billion and planning to eventually go public, is now discussing options including insolvency.

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Member countries of the World Trade Organization are aiming to resurrect a dormant system for resolving trade disputes that has been a point of friction between the U.S. and other nations, the Wall Street Journal reported. The WTO’s Appellate Body, the apex of the Geneva-based group’s dispute-settlement system, has been effectively shut down since 2019 after the Trump administration blocked the appointment of new judges. U.S. complaints about the system, which predate the Trump presidency, center on Appellate Body rulings against tariffs and other remedies, limiting what U.S.

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The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has suspended the certificates of Pacific Aerospace, after it told the regulator it is insolvent, but operators of aircraft made by the New Zealand aircraft manufacturer may continue flying, Smart Aviation reported. The CAA says the aircraft manufacturer notified it on 10 February that it was insolvent, “and as a result, we suspended Pacific Aerospace’s certificates which had previously allowed it to design, manufacture and maintain aircraft,” the CAA says in a statement.
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Australia’s unemployment rate declined in January as a second round of central bank stimulus combined with a big-spending government budget accelerated the economy’s recovery and further boosted hiring, Bloomberg News reported. The jobless rate fell to 6.4% from 6.6% in December, versus economists’ estimate of 6.5%, data from the statistics bureau showed Thursday in Sydney. Employment advanced by 29,100 in January, compared with an expected 30,000 gain, driven by the state of Victoria that’s still rebounding from its second lockdown.
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More than 100 million workers across the world’s top eight economies may be forced to change occupations by 2030 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released by consultant firm McKinsey & Company on Thursday, The Hill reported. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated globally trending changes in the workplace, prompting McKinsey to raise its prediction for how many workers will likely need to switch jobs in the top eight economies by 12 percent.
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