Archive for June, 2019

Retail spending stays weak


Australian economic growth is still subdued, with retail spending staying weak.


Retail spending rose 0.1 per cent in July, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported, worse than the 0.4 per cent rise economists were expecting.

Spending in June was unchanged (0.0 per cent) and only rose 0.2 per cent in May.

RBC Capital Markets senior economist Su-Lin Ong said the likely sub-trend pace of economic growth in the June quarter is continuing into the September quarter.

“We were particularly surprised by the weakness in retail sales,” she said. “We had thought the school kids bonus would boost retail activity, but that was not the case.

“It was another disappointing result, sales themselves remain pretty lacklustre.

“When you look at the breakdown, you can see weakness in some key categories, particularly department stores.”

The ABS also released trade and international investment figures which showed the current account deficit widened to $9.35 billion in the June quarter.

Ms Ong said the international trade figures were also quite weak.

“Net exports are pretty much not going to make a contribution to growth,” she said.

“It will confirm this below trend pace of economic activity.

“A pretty weak set of numbers all-around.”

Ms Ong said her forecast of 0.5 per cent economic growth for the June quarter is staying unchanged.

The gross domestic product data will be released by the ABS on Wednesday.

CommSec chief economist Craig James said consumer caution ahead of the federal election, along with a warm winter, had contributed to flat retail spending in June.

“Clearly the election has had a big influence in terms of slowing down the desire for consumers and businesses to spend,” Mr James said.

“We have to wait until the election is out of the road to see how the economy responds to low interest rates.”

Mr James also said the international trade figures pointed modest economic growth in the June quarter.

“The contribution of net exports to GDP in the June quarter was effectively zero, and then you’ve got government spending which is actually going to detract from GDP growth – it suggests a very modest outcome in terms of the economy for the quarter,” Mr James said.

“It suggests that for the first time in a long time, we could see the US economy growing at a faster rate than Australia, which is just quite remarkable.

“The positive is that the trade sector is not restraining or detracting from economic growth in a big way but the other side of the equation, the bad news, is that exports are not adding to growth at the moment.”

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Teen refused bail over school stabbing


A 14-year-old boy charged with stabbing another boy at school had the victim’s name ticked off on a note titled “soul list” in his bedroom, a court has heard.


But the teen’s lawyer has told the Brisbane Children’s Court it was a playfully named note relating to a group of children selling lollies.

The boy was denied bail in court on Friday.

He has been charged with attempted murder after a 15-year-old boy was stabbed in the neck with a knife at Mt Maria College at Mitchelton, in Brisbane’s north.

The stabbing happened in the school’s auditorium on Thursday afternoon and sent the college into lockdown.

The 14-year-old’s lawyer Adam Magill downplayed the significance of the list in court on Friday when he applied for his client’s bail.

He said there were a number of people named on it including the complainant.

According to the boy’s mother it was over a year old and related to a group of children involved in the selling of lollies, he added.

Outside court Mr Magill told reporters his client had been bullied by others at the Catholic school but would not elaborate.

“It appears to just be a set of facts which have spiralled out of control, unfortunately with some devastating consequences for everybody involved,” he said.

The court also heard the teen allegedly talked with a friend about stabbing the victim in the hours before the attack.

The injured boy was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and his family have requested his condition be kept private.

Police charged the 14-year-old late on Thursday night.

In denying bail, Magistrate Leanne O’Shea said the stabbing appeared to have been premeditated and the teen needed supervision.

“With a child in this state I’m of the opinion it is an unacceptable risk to all people in society at the moment, including his parents,” she told the court.

The boy is being held at a youth detention centre in Brisbane.

He was not in court on Friday although his parents were.

They are devastated, according to Mr Magill.

“They feel as though they’ve let their son down,” he told the court.

He later told reporters the boy still had not grasped the gravity of his situation.

“I just don’t think the penny’s dropped at this point in time,” he said.

“He’s fully unaware of the ramifications of what’s happening.”

Mr Magill said there would likely be another application for bail.

The case is expected to return to court on October 17.

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Scott says no golden ticket for Chapman


All that glitters about Paul Chapman’s AFL career does not give the Geelong star a “golden ticket” back into the senior team.


Cats coach Chris Scott has made it clear that one of the AFL’s best big-occasion players is having to earn his recall.

Injury trouble has kept Chapman out of the senior team since round four, but he showed strong form last weekend in his third VFL match.

Scott said on Tuesday that Chapman was among eight or nine players trying to force their way into the senior team with the finals less than a fortnight away.

“We’ll make a really considered decision around when he’s ready to play and how he’ll help the team,” Scott said.

“As with all the players in our team, no-one has a golden ticket.”

Geelong will host Sydney at Simonds Stadium in Saturday’s blockbuster, with the two teams trying to secure a top-two finish and home ground advantage for the opening week of the finals.

After missing the away win over West Coast, key forward Tom Hawkins appears a strong chance to return for the Swans clash.

Hawkins is managing an ongoing back injury.

“The early indications are really positive, but as we’ve said a number of times, we won’t take a short-term approach with Tom,” Scott said.

“Obviously towards the end of the season, the timeframe is getting shorter, but him playing this week isn’t as important as where he is in three or four weeks’ time.”

Scott said Hawkins’ injury was more complicated than just a bulging disc.

“Suffice to say, it’s something he’s been able to play with all year,” Scott said.

“In the context of what AFL players play through, it’s actually not that significant.

“It’s clearly inhibiting him, but it was never something that our staff were worried about longer-term.

“They were confident he actually would be better by continuing to play.”

But the Cats have conceded that Hamish McIntosh will not play in the AFL this season.

They recruited him from North Melbourne to bolster their rucks, but injuries have kept him out of the senior team.

Scott said it was now up to McIntosh to bounce back.

“Whether it’s fair or not, Hamish now has a responsibility to do everything he possibly can to get himself right, so he can contribute through the pre-season and next year.

“The club has made a big investment in him, we still stand by that investment.

“But through no fault of his own, Hamish has to come back and do something extraordinary for the next couple of seasons.

“It was just a situation where he ran out of time.”

Fellow ruckman Dawson Simpson is also unlikely to play in the senior team again this season as he recovers from a knee injury.

“We haven’t absolutely ruled it out, but it would be very unlikely that Dawson would be available,” Scott said.

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Thurston hopes Gallen isn’t fired up


Another Twitter spray could be directed at Brian Smith if Cronulla captain Paul Gallen helps derail North Queensland’s unlikely NRL finals tilt on Sunday.


Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston on Wednesday didn’t sound excited by the prospect of Gallen being fired up by a social media exchange with the ex-NRL coach ahead of their cut-throat clash.

Smith had a crack at Gallen following his man-of-the-match effort in Cronulla’s shock 32-22 win over Sydney Roosters on Monday night, accusing the Sharks hardman of avoiding Dylan Napa after the young forward delivered a huge hit.

It emerged that Gallen’s father Garry was the author of the resulting Twitter exchange with Smith but the Sharks captain was clearly not happy, saying he wanted nothing to do with the former Eels, Roosters, Newcastle and Dragons mentor.

Thurston – who delivered an Instagram spray to ASADA officers who woke his infant daughter with an early morning visit this year – may be tempted to deliver another at Smith if Gallen emerges fired up on Sunday.

Thurston hoped Gallen’s legendary toughness being called into question by Smith did not work against them as they tried to keep their top eight hopes on life support.

“I have played alongside Gal (for Australia) so I know exactly how tough he is and hopefully he is not running at me,” Thurston said.

“They had a good win on Monday night and no doubt it will be a tough afternoon at Shark Park.

“But we are confident in the way we are playing that we can get the job done (but) it’s not going to be easy.”

North Queensland remarkably have not lost a game since coach Neil Henry was told his services will not be required at the end of the season.

Four straight victories have lifted the Cowboys to eighth spot but Thurston was not counting his blessings ahead of must-win games against Cronulla and the Wests Tigers still remaining.

“Not really. I know we are in the eight at the moment but there is still two games to go,” Thurston said.

“If we lose our finals chances are just about diminished.

“We are approaching it like the last four weeks.”

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Raikkonen joins Ferrari on 2 year deal


Finnish Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen will rejoin the Ferrari stable on a two year contract for the 2014 season, the team announced on Wednesday.


Raikkonen, 33, the 2007 world champion, will drive alongside Spain’s Fernando Alonso, the man who replaced him at the Italian stable in 2009.

“Welcome back, Kimi! read a headline on the team website.

“Scuderia Ferrari announces that it has reached an agreement with Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn will join Fernando Alonso in the driver line-up for the next two racing seasons,” continued the statement.

He will take over from Brazilian Felipe Massa to form an experienced partnership who can boast more than 50 Grands Prix wins — 32 for Alonso and 20 for Raikkonen — and three world titles between them.

Raikkonen’s success in 2007 was the last time Ferrari won a world title, after which British duo Jenson Button, in a Brawn, and Lewis Hamilton, in a McLaren, claimed the championship before Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel began his three-year domination.

Raikkonen left F1 in 2009, moving to the World Rally Championship, and was replaced at the Italian team by Alonso.

The flying Finn won nine Grands Prix with Ferrari, having also won nine during a five-year spell at McLaren, where he twice finished runner-up, in 2003 behind Michael Schumacher and then in 2005 to Alonso.

After a stint in NASCAR he returned to F1 in 2012 with Lotus, where he has won two Grands Prix.

The departing Massa said he wanted to remain in F1 but has yet to find a drive for 2014.

“For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the Championship which remains my greatest objective!” he said.

Massa spent eight years with Ferrari since joining from Sauber in 2006.

In 2008 he came within a couple of bends of winning the world title, only for Lewis Hamilton to snatch it by overtaking Timo Glock two corners from the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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