Moodys warns of Australian Property Bubble

It’s a familiar story to those in the USA & Europe but it seems the Australian property market has got a lot of the characteristics of the credit fueled calamity that befell the economies of the USA, UK, Ireland and much of the EU.

House prices in Australia have risen sharply, fueled by record-low interest rates and growing interest in Australian property from offshore investors, including those from China.

“The housing market appears to be increasingly likely to get caught up in a positive price-feedback loop and eventually could face a correction,” Moody’s said in its understated report this morning.

Moody’s reaffirmed Australia’s AAA rating but we all know what’s going to happen next.

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KPMG to protect La Senza lingerie chain from administration

Lingerie chain, La Senza, has become the latest UK retailer to face financial restructuring.

Global accounting firm, KPMG has been appointed to advise the company on a range of restructuring options, which could include administration or a company voluntary agreement (CVA) to shed some of its 158 stores in the United Kingdom.

News of the appointment of KPMG was first reported by Sky News and comes as a wave of high street retailers battle against possible insolvency as poor retail sales threaten their ability to pay basics such as rent bills


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UK consumers tp spend 350 million hours shopping online this Christmas

Experian Hitwise has made twelve key retail, social media and video predictions for this year’s festive season. Based on the latest data trends in online shopping, social networking, email and entertainment, here are their “12 Insights of Christmas”

  1. 350 million hours will be spent shopping online by the UK Internet population this December. This translates to an average of 8 hours and 45 minutes spent per person on shopping websites over the course of the month.
  2. Cyber Monday (5 December) will be the UK’s biggest pre-Christmas shopping day online with 85 million visits to retail websites from UK Internet users, an 18 per cent increase on last year.
  3. 2.1 billion visits will go to online retail sites in December, with record peaks in traffic both pre and post-Christmas.
  4. Lego will be the most searched for toy this Christmas, in particular Lego Star Wars games and sets.
  5. Hull will be the online shopping capital of Britain of December 2011, with proportionally more people doing their Christmas shopping online than any other city in the UK.
  6. Monday 19 December will be the biggest day of December for online Grocery visits as people do some last minute food shopping but also check store opening times across the Christmas period.
  7. Facebook will see a new peak in UK Internet visits as friends share messages of good will with one another. 25 million hours will be spent on Facebook on Christmas Day alone.
  8. iPhones will be a third more popular online than iPads this Christmas. If search intent was reflected in sales, for every three iPads Apple sold this Christmas they would sell four iPhones.
  9. Searches for the post-Christmas sales will start earlier than ever this year, with eager shoppers starting to do their research online as early as Christmas Eve.
  10. Friday 23 December will be the biggest day of December for retailers receiving traffic from email as the multi-channel retailers prepare their customers for the post-Christmas sales.
  11. The fashion sector will be the most reliant on Facebook traffic this Christmas, with TopShop, River Island and ASOS among the biggest recipients of Facebook traffic.
  12. 12 million hours will be spent watching video clips on BBC iPlayer this Christmas with the biggest driver of traffic being the Dr Who Christmas special.

“Christmas 2011 looks set to be another record-breaker for many of the online sectors and particularly for retail,” commented James Murray, Marketing Research Analyst at Experian Hitwise.

“Cyber Monday is going to be crucial in the online retail sector and we are predicting 85 million visits on the 5th December, 15 per cent up on last year’s figures. Boxing Day could be another big day for retailers as more people go online to check out which stores have the best deals on offer. This year we will are expecting to see a massive multi-channel marketing push as brands look to win online to drive web purchases and in-store footfall.”

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Subway overtakes McDonalds as world’s largest

Subway have today claimed that their Chain is now larger than McDonalds worldwide with 33,749 stores versus 32,737 displaying the famous Golden Arches.

However it is still safe to say that McDonalds is much larger in terms of revenue with turnover per store being much larger at McDonalds.

Subway has had a major push into international markets in recent years focused on the franchise model opening small, low-cost outlets.

Subway was established 46 years ago in 1965 in the USA and there are now Subway restaurants in a total of 95 countries around the globe.

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Obama’s Nuclear Plans suffer setbacks

US Preseident, Barack Obama’s hopes of reshaping US foreign policy stand on the brink of failure tonight, after two of his most cherished initiatives, nuclear disarmament and better relations with Moscow, suffered major setbacks.

According to a leaked NATO document seen by a UK newspaper, a move to withdraw US tactical nuclear weapons from European territory has been omitted from the alliance’s draft strategic plan.

Additionally in Washington, a Republican leader in the Senate signalled that the nuclear arms control treaty Obama signed in April with Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation, is unlikely be ratified this year. Most observers say that if the treaty (known as New Start) is delayed until next year, it will be as good as dead, as the Democratic majority in the Senate will be even thinner by then, following the party’s losses in the midterm elections.

Together the setbacks mark a new low point for Obama’s ambitions, set out in a landmark 2009 speech in Prague, to set the world on a path to abolition of nuclear weapons.

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UK offers help to bankrupt Ireland

While the UK is not part of the Euro currency, the Finance Chief in the new UK government has announced that the UK is ready to stand up and help it’s “closest neighbor”

“We’re going to do what is in Britain’s national interest,” George Osborne – the UK Finance Chancellor said, as he joined other European finance ministers for a crunch European meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

“Ireland is our closest neighbour and it’s in Britain’s national interest that the Irish economy is successful and we have a stable banking system. So Britain stands ready to support Ireland in the steps that it needs to take to bring about that stability.”

Discussions with the EU and IMF will begin tomorrow, Irish finance minister Brian Lenihan said in an interview with Irish state run broadcaster,, RTE this morning. “We’re part of a common currency, we’re not on our own”…………. “In relation to the position of the United Kingdom, that’s a matter for the United Kingdom, in general the UK has not participated in European Union-wide assistance, but I know that the British authorities are anxious to ensure any help that Ireland needs will be given.”

The cost of Irish dept remains volatile with default insurance jumping in price again this morning.

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GM to accelerate Volt Electric Car production

General Motors is stepping up production of its new Chevrolet Volt electric car in response to “huge demand,” according to a statement by a top executive yesterday.

GM product chief, Tom Stephens, was Speaking at an event where the Volt was named Motor Trend magazine’s 2011 Car of the Year and said: “If you look at where we were originally, in terms of what we thought the volume would be, we have stepped it up.”

He declined to give production volume forecasts however.

More info on this story is available at:

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