Here's our summary of the key news overnight in 90 seconds at 9 am, including positive news from the United States economy as speculation continues over when the Federal Reserve may begin tapering off its monthly US$85 billion quantitative easing, or money printing, programme.
US manufacturing unexpectedly accelerated in November at the fastest rate in more than two years. The Institute for Supply Management’s index rose to 57.3, its highest level since April 2011. Readings above 50 indicate growth. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 55.1.
Meanwhile Chorus, the Government’s partner in its ultra fast broadband rollout, is filing a High Court appeal against the Commerce Commission decision that would cut its wholesale copper broadband price by 23%. The company has also applied to the Commerce Commission for a final pricing principle review of its decision, which involves economic cost modelling rather than benchmarking against other countries.
CEO Mark Ratcliffe says Chorus has a duty to its shareholders to explore every option. Chorus earlier warned it may default on its debt with the ruling creating a $1 billion funding shortfall by 2020. A government commissioned review from Ernst & Young Australia into Chorus’ capability to deliver on its contractual commitments with the Government is expected to be completed this month.
Back in the US Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has unveiled plans for the internet retailer to use drones to deliver packages to customers.
The idea is for drones to fly packages directly to doorsteps in 30 minutes. Bezos acknowledges the plan needs more safety testing and US Federal Aviation Administration approvals. But he estimates delivery-by-drone, called Amazon “Prime Air,” will be available to customers in four to five years.
Those following the legal action taken by the Fair Play on Fees group against ANZ NZ and Kiwibank on behalf of some customers over exception fees will be watching the equivalent Australian case closely. It kicked off in court yesterday with a lawyer for 43,500 ANZ customers reading sections of high-level internal ANZ documents detailing the bank's plans to change the name of its exception fees to a ''fee for service'' and referring to strategies to fill the ''revenue gap'' left if they needed to be capped.
Fair Play on Fees is also pledging action against ASB, BNZ and Westpac.
The Trade Weighted Index (TWI) was at 77 this morning, with the New Zealand dollar at US81.72 cents, and A89.89c having briefly touched A90c overnight. The Reserve Bank of Australia will issue its latest review of the country's Cash Rate, currently at 2.50%, this afternoon.
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