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Survey: Aussie firms more confident of economic growth, profits

Australian companies were more confident of economic growth in January than in December despite a weak U.S. economy and the threat of war with Iraq, according to a survey Tuesday.

Expert: Drought has devastated Australian farms

Farmers in Australia's drought-ravaged Outback are having one of their worst ever years, the nation's chief agricultural forecaster said Tuesday.

Iraq, drought will weigh on Aussie budget

Australia's finance minister, Treasurer Peter Costello, warned Monday that a crippling drought and Australia's commitment to a possible war in Iraq would weigh heavily on the budget.

Australia's current account gap swells to record level

Australia's current account deficit stretched to a record 11.6 billion Australian dollars (US$7 billion) from the impact of the drought, slow global growth and a high demand for imports, official figures showed Monday.

Favourable OECD report boosts Aussie to 3-year high

The Australian dollar powered through 61 US cents to a three-year high yesterday after the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) praised Canberra for its sound management that made Australia one of the world#039;s best performing economies.

Australia holds rates as drought hits growth

Australia kept interest rates on hold yesterday against a backdrop of global uncertainty and slowing growth as farmers fight the continent#8217;s worse drought in a century and sluggish export markets.

Nortel to focus on small and medium-sized businesses this year

NORTEL Networks Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a telecommunications equipment and solutions company, will focus on the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as part of its global marketing and channel initiatives this year.

MDEX plans to introduce FMG3 and FMG10 futures

MALAYSIAN Derivatives Exchange Bhd (MDEX) will look into the possibility of introducing three-year Malaysian Government Securities (FMG3) futures and long-term 10-year FMG10 based on the success of the country's first bond futures contract, the five-year FMG5.

Banks earn bumper fees on cash call of France Telecom

Investment banks are set for their second big payoff in a week, with fees from France Telecom#8217;s multi-billion euro rights issue expected to reach more than 130 million euros (US$138mil), sources said.

Oil World expects CPO prices to hit RM1,600

ISTA Mielke GmbH, a Germany-based publication, maintains that crude palm oil (CPO) prices will spring back to RM1,600 per tonne within the next three months from RM1,450 now.