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Business news and updates: Fitch ratings upgrades Australia’s outlook to ‘stable’, affirms AAA rating

Business news and updates: Fitch ratings upgrades Australia’s outlook to ‘stable’, affirms AAA rating
Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for October 15:

Fitch ratings upgrades Australia’s outlook, affirms triple-A rating

Fitch Ratings reaffirms Australia’s triple-A rating and changes the country’s outlook from ‘negative’ to stable.’ According to Fitch, the improvement indicates the confidence in the Australian economy in the aftermath of COVID-19-related economic troubles. 

Lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria, according to the agency, are more likely to delay rather than eliminate Australia’s economic recovery.

Fitch’s rating, according to Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, is a “clear expression of confidence” in the Australian government’s economic management in the midst of the pandemic. 

However, the credit rating agency anticipates that falling commodity prices would result in a trade deficit in 2023, following several years of straight surpluses.

Australia’s employment falls by further 138K

The unemployment rate in Australia rose to 4.6 percent in September, as a further 138,000 jobs were lost due to lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT. 

As a result of people giving up looking for work, the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to a near-13-year low of 4.5 percent in August. 

In September, the participation rate of individuals working or looking for a job fell further to 64.5 percent, down from 65.2 percent in August. The number of hours worked increased by 15 million, or 0.9%. 

Westpac, CBA make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory for all staff

Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank have become the latest businesses to require their employees to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19, affecting around 76,000 workers across the country. 

Westpac employees in New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT will be needed to be fully vaccinated by December 1, and employees in other states will be expected to be fully vaccinated by February 1, 2022. 

Melbourne-based NAB and ANZ have yet to make a formal decision on a vaccination mandate. According to an employment law expert, the requirement is legal but might be disputed.

Oil prices rise after Saudis dismiss supply concerns

Oil prices jumped 1% after Saudi Arabia refused calls for more OPEC+ production and the International Energy Agency said rising natural gas costs could boost demand for oil among power generators. 

U.S. weekly jobless claims fall below 300,000 

For the first time in 19 months, the number of Americans submitting new claims for unemployment benefits fell below 300,000 last week, indicating that a labour shortage, rather than a weaker demand for labour, was to blame for slower job growth.

Disney announces expansion into Asia after Netflix’s success

Disney announced a significant expansion into Asian content, with ambitions to greenlight more than 50 original projects from the area by 2023. 

New shows are being developed by Disney in South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Many of the programmes, ranging from Bahasa Indonesia to Mandarin, will be delivered in their local languages.

China reopens coal mines and power stations

Following months of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and threats to manufacturing production, Chinese officials have decided to reopen coal mines and coal-fired power plants. 

According to CQCoal, a Chinese coal statistics agency, surplus coal storage in China’s major provinces has reached a historic low of nine to 14 days’ reserves as winter approaches.

Companies in practically every industry are experiencing production delays, in addition to those caused by the international supply chain issue.

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