Business Update – October09
The annual Manning Valley Chambers of Commerce Business Awards were held in September before a huge crowd, with seventeen awards presented. Nominations were up from the inaugural year (2008), a pleasing result in what have been tough economic times. The mood of businesses who attended was buoyant, with all acknowledging they had experienced a downturn in business. However, most did say they expected to feel the pinch more and felt our region did not experience the same conditions as experienced in the cities. One of the iconic Manning Valley businesses, Steber International won the Business of the Year from four finalists: Steber International, Sorrenson and Caldon, Manning River Pharmacy and Bent on Food.
The winners were: Business of the Year – Steber International; Manufacturing – Valley Industries and Steber International; Construction – Sorrenson and Caldon; Services – Linda Photography and MGL Focus; Retail – Alex Fischer While U Wait and Manning River Pharmacy; Hospitality – Taree Motor Inn, Bent on Food, Waterbird Restaurant and Inspirations on the Water; Professional Services – Valley Vet and Energise Nutrition; Environmental – Valley Industries and Waterbird Restaurant; People’s Choice – Inspirations and Harrington Hotel.
Congratulations to all the winners and nominees, particularly for Focus for securing an award – to all the team, well done.
The first anniversary of the world economic crisis has been and gone. It all started when investment bank Lehman Brothers announced they were in trouble. It was the first to make a public announcement, which was followed by others who were exposed to mortgage-backed securities. The bail out by the United States Government did not work and Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, sending all similar banks worldwide into turmoil. Banks became nearly nationalised in England, with most of Europe’s bigger banks edging towards bankruptcy.
Here at home our stock market crashed, interest rates nose dived, superannuation was hit hard, with the Australian Government making a guarantee on all bank deposits up to $1 million and announcing a $10.4 billion of stimulus spending. This was followed by a further $42 billion in spending in February this year.
So in twelve months, has anything changed? Apparently a lot, according to Business editor, Stuart Fagg. “Firstly, we’re all $25,000 worse off. That’s according to analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics and Federal Treasury data carried out by CommSec, which showed that in the year to April 2009, average wealth fell by 12 percent – the largest annual fall since records began in 1960. If it wasn’t for house prices remaining relatively stable, we would have lost a good deal more.”
Fagg says we are all working less. While unemployment has risen over the past 12 months, there have not been as many job losses as had been previously feared. “It is pleasing to know Australian businesses have chosen to hold on to employees and reduce their hours, leading to Australians working the fewest hours per week since 1985.
“In Australia we’ve been remarkably lucky – the Australian Stock exchange is back near the same levels it was before Lehman collapsed, we’ve avoided a recession and house prices have held up well. But we, and indeed the rest of the world, are not living in normal financial times.”
It will be interesting to see how we are placed in another twelve months. I’m sure we will have more twists and turns.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that 23.2 per cent of households were reliant on Government pensions and allowances in 2007-08; a decline on the 26.1 per cent in 2005-06 and 28.5 per cent in 1994-95. Housing is the most expensive cost in terms of rent, with an annual increase of about 6 per cent. Low income earners were burdened by food prices rising by 19.7 per cent in the five years prior to 2008 compared to 14.8 per cent for the total Consumer Price Index: fruit rose 27.8 per cent, dairy 23.6 per cent, meat and seafood 13.7 per cent, and bread and cereals 17.5 per cent. In the 12 months prior to the March 2009 quarter, food prices rose 6 per cent. Unfortunately, the Reserve Bank of Australia noted that food prices were likely to rise further because of greater demand from developing economies and the trend towards biofuel production, which doubled in global terms between 2000 and 2007. It seems never ending for the lower income sector but with many in the medium bracket facing rising costs, it is predicted that they will be joining this lower sector.