business

Low interest rates are here to stay, and the outlook for investment is brighter - that's the message from RBA Governor Philip Lowe.Speaking at a dinner in Brisbane, Mr Lowe said the central bank is aiming to stimulate the economy, without adding to already high levels of household debt.

Nissan's new Leaf electric car goes further on a charge, is equipped with autonomous drive technology and single-pedal driving, but it remains to be seen if it will catch on with anyone other than the most zealously green-minded.That's up from up to 280 kilometres for current Leaf models.

In a speech, US federal banker Robert Kaplan says the US balance sheet should be trimmed as soon as possible.This as damage from Hurricane Harvey - and also the expected damage from Hurricane Irma - looms ahead for the Trump administration.

Two global fashion giants - whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Saint Laurent and Gucci - have joined forces to ban extremely thin models from their advertising and catwalks.Unveiling a charter 'to ensure the well-being of models', the French companies also banned brands from hiring models aged under 16 'to take part in shows or shootings representing an adult'.

Santos and its joint venture partners at the Gladstone LNG project in Queensland have agreed to divert about 30 petajoules of gas to the domestic market, in an effort to stave off government export curbs.The gas, which would have been exported, will instead be sold to customers on the east coast over 2018 and 2019, Santos said.

Australia's trade surplus has slipped to its lowest level in three months, weighed down by a decline in LNG shipments and lower gold exports.The trade balance fell to a surplus of $460 million in July, about half of the $888 million surplus in June, seasonally adjusted data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

The strain of low wages growth and higher power bills on household budgets has led to a pause in retail spending growth in July.RBC Capital Markets senior economist Su-Lin Ong said there could be further weakness in retail spending in the months to come.

Western Australia's new Labor government has turned to big business in its bid to repair the state's diabolical finances, imposing a temporary payroll tax levy on large corporations, while changes to gold royalties will also help reduce debt.For five years starting on July 1, employers with a nation-wide payroll between $100 million and $1.

The financial pain will continue for Western Australia's public service after the state government announced in its 2017/18 budget it would seek 3000 voluntary redundancies.Treasurer Ben Wyatt said priority would be given to public servants whose jobs may no longer be required following a shake up of agency numbers.

The company's shares were down 0.5 per cent at $US161.

A last-minute legal challenge by media mogul Bruce Gordon over rival US media giant CBS's attempt to take control of the embattled Ten Network has bought him an extra week before the next creditors meeting.Ten's billionaire shareholders Mr Gordon and Lachlan Murdoch were in August given the regulatory all-clear to launch a joint takeover of the free-to-air network, only to be outbid by CBS days later.

Macquarie Group expects its result in the first half of the 2018 fiscal year will be better than the corresponding period last year and in line with the second half of 2016/17, as a result of stronger performance fees to be recognised during this period.The combined net profit for the full year is, however, expected to be broadly in line with the FY17 results, the banking and financial services group says.

The reports gave no possible target date, but Beijing is stepping up pressure on automakers to accelerate development of electrics.A deputy industry minister, Xin Guobin, said at an auto industry forum on Saturday his ministry has begun 'research on formulating a timetable to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles,' according to the Xinhua News Agency and the Communist Party newspaper People's Daily.
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