The Northern Territory news Thu 13 May 2010
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30 Northern Territory News, Thursday, May 13, 2010 www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 3 -M A Y -2 0 1 0 P A G E : 3 0 C O L O R : C M Y K BUSINESS Asciano in $1b Toll deal SYDNEY: AscianoGroup says it expects revenues of up to $1 billion over five years from its just-signed contract with Toll Holdings to haul rail freight on its behalf. Ascianos Pacific National Intermodal divisionwill supply rail haulage services to Toll to move containers and cars interstate for five years. AscianoCEOMark Rowsthorn (pictured) said the contract reinforced the relationship between the two companies. Tassie shipyard to shut HOBART: Shipbuilder Austal has announced the closure of its southern Tasmanian shipyard, citing a change in global demand for its products. Austal announced yesterday the Margate shipyardwould be closed by September, once the company had completed the construction of two more ferries at the site. The yard currently employs 121 workers,most of whomwill bemade redundant in the comingmonths. Austals head of Australian operations AndrewBellamy (pictured) said there was no longer a market for the ships built at the site. Banks face class action MELBOURNE: Litigation funder IMFAustralia Ltd says it will bankroll a class action against banks for the billions of dollars theymade fromwhat it claims are unfair exception fees. The class actionwould be for the repayment of exception fees deducted frombank customer accounts during the past six years by local and foreign banks. The claims relate to honour fees and dishonour fees on accounts and over-limit and late-payments fees on credit card accounts. Housing finance at 9-year low By EOINBLACKWELL in Sydney There are alsosigns that banks might be reducing supply of housing finance THE number of housing finance commitments fell to a nine-year low in March after a series of interest rate rises and the reduction of government stimulus crimped the demand for mortgages. Economists say the official data may also show that banks are now limiting their exposure to the home loan market and heavily indebted households after a rapid increase in market share over the past year. Finance commitments for owner-occupied housing fell 3.4 per cent in March, seasonally adjusted, to 48,260 to its lowest level since April 2001, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said yesterday. The March figure was the sixth consecutive monthly decline. Nomura Australia chief economist Stephen Roberts said the data was a good leading indicator of possible decline in housing activity over the rest of 2010. The heavily leveraged household sector is vulnerable to rising interest rates, Mr Roberts said. There are also signs that banks might be reducing supply of housing finance because theyve become such a big part of their lending books over the past 12 months. It also implies to me that the Reserve Bank ... has to give attention to the parts of the economy that are weak. The ABS data showed that bank lenders share of housing finance commitments fell from a seasonally $15.384 billion in October last year to $12.364b in March. Mr Roberts said the data suggested the RBA should pause and reconsider any further increases in the cash rate until the fourth quarter of 2010. The proportion of first home buyers in the market fell from 20 to 16 per cent of all home loans issued in March, she said. Between October last year and March, the RBA took the cash rate from 3 to 4 per cent in four, 25-basis point moves. It has since taken the cash rate to 4.5 per cent. The Federal Government, mean while, reduced the first home owners boost from $10,500 for new homes to $7000 on December 31. Commonwealth Bank senior economist Michael Workman said the data showed first home buyers had left the market after the withdrawal of the first home buyers boost. The weakness in the data over the past six months has been the withdrawal of the first homebuyers scheme, he said. Available until 10.30am at participating restaurants for a limited time only. The good news is your breakfast McValue Meal now includes a copy of the Northern Territory News. The bad news is this offer cant last forever. LJH Commercial Darwin 8924 0977 110 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT, Licensed Land and Business Agents Look into the future at www.ljhooker.com.au/commercial-darwin ImageNTC5177/13MAY Darwin, 3 Searcy Street For Lease CBD Office Area Available Now Approx. 630m over 2 levels, fully fitted out + multiple offices board/ training rm. 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