April, 2019

Costa stable’s double win

WOORINEN trainer Joe Costa and stable driver Michael Bellman of Ararat combined to record a winning double with Madis Mate and Beachstar at the Nyah trots meeting held at the Swan Hill circuit on Tuesday night.
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Beachstar showed the benefit of added fitness as he had his third start back from a spell.

He was well rated out in front by Bellman and they held off the fast finishing Daylight Dan along the sprint lane to win by the barest margin possible, a short-half-head, after running the last half mile in a slick 55.9 seconds.

It was a thrilling finish as the third placed favourite Road To Rock, who had a tough run outside the leader, battled on strongly and was only a head away at the finish.

Beachstar took 18 starts to bring up his first win at Charlton in March, but he has raced in top form since then by winning six of his past 16 outings and has the ability to win a metropolitan class race this season.

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Australian dollar dives as March interest rate cut predicted

Most bank-based economists still believe the RBA’s next move will be up, but not everyone agrees. Photo: Jesse Marlow Most bank-based economists still believe the RBA’s next move will be up, but not everyone agrees. Photo: Jesse Marlow
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Most bank-based economists still believe the RBA’s next move will be up, but not everyone agrees. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Most bank-based economists still believe the RBA’s next move will be up, but not everyone agrees. Photo: Jesse Marlow

The Australian dollar dived to fresh four and half year lows on Wednesday as surprise weakness in the national accounts refuelled bets of an interest rate cut next year, with Goldman Sachs becoming the latest bank to change its monetary policy predictions for 2015.

In late trade, the Aussie was fetching US84.03¢, after bouncing off US83.90¢, its lowest point since the first week of July 2010. It was the first time this year the local currency has dipped below US84¢.

The trigger was Wednesday’s national accounts data, which showed a shock slowing in September quarter gross domestic product growth, to just 0.3 per cent from 0.5 per cent in the June quarter. The latest figures takes year-on-year growth to 2.7 per cent, compared with average GDP growth of 2.9 per cent over the past decade and a 15-year average of 3.1 per cent.

Another weak quarter could push calendar year GDP growth below 2.5 per cent, under the Reserve Bank of Australia’s minimum forecast.

Most economists had predicted September quarter growth of around 0.7 per cent, equating to 3.1 per cent over the last 12 months

Although many forecasters were relatively sanguine about the weak data, highlighting a pick-up in non-mining related investment, credit market traders immediately took new positions on forward swap rates, pricing in an almost certain RBA cash rate cut next year.

At one point a closely-watched Credit Suisse swap rate index had priced in a 96 per cent chance of a rate cut in 2015, although this later came back to 88 per cent.

The Australian government’s three-year bond also rallied, pushing the yield down from 2.45 per cent to 2.38 per cent.

Most bank-based economists still believe the RBA’s next move will be up, although many don’t expect monetary tightening to begin until late 2015 or early 2016. A growing band, however, has been shifting its position.

Deutsche Bank this week ventured that a 50 basis point reduction, to 2 per cent, could be on the cards if unemployment continued to rise and housing market price growth continued to cool.

Goldman Sachs re-joined the bear pack on Wednesday, forecasting a 25 basis point cut in March and another in August.

“Although third-quarter GDP growth was consistent with our forecast . . . we are shifting our view on interest rates back to interest rate reduction in 2015,” the investment bank said.

“Nevertheless, revisions to the back data and the composition of the GDP data were sufficiently poor to tilt the balance of probabilities towards a rate cut in the first half of 2015 as our base case,” it said

National Australia Bank’s senior economist David de Garis said on Wednesday that if leading indicators for the current quarter prove erratic, the central bank might consider more easing.

“The RBA can take some comfort from recent indicators on the economy suggesting that the pace of growth has picked up to some extent,” he said.

“Should such indicators show signs of faltering, then the RBA would need to address whether the current stance of monetary policy is sufficient to aid the economy’s transitioning to higher domestic non-mining growth,” he said.

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Lock it or lose it: Dubbo, Wellington top NSW crime figuresPOLL

Detective Sergeant Mark Meredith inspects the latest crime figures for the Orana region. Photo: GREG KEEN.BREAK-INS to non-dwellings in Dubbo have soared, with latest crime figures showing they have nearly doubled in the two years to September.
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The 96.2 per cent spike was the second-biggest increase recorded in that category across all of NSW, second only to the neighbouring Wellington local government area, which recorded a whopping 141.7 per cent increase in the same period.

The figures were contained in the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) quarterly report released yesterday.

With 153 of the incidents reported in Dubbo and 58 reported in Wellington in the year to September, break and enters to non-dwellings were happening at a rate more than twice the state average in Dubbo and nearly four times the state average in Wellington.

Orana Local Area Command Detective Sergeant Mark Meredith said non-dwellings could include buildings such as shops, farms, industrial sheds, storage warehouses and workplaces.

For Dubbo, the other crime category in Dubbo that experienced a significant jump was thefts from motor vehicles, which rose by 36.1 per cent.

Rates were calculated per 100,000 population, Detective Sergeant Meredith said, so there were not necessarily more offenders in Dubbo and Wellington than elsewhere. But there were a lot of repeat offenders, he said.

“We’re not looking at the wild, wild west, 90 per cent of the crime is done by a small minority,” he said.

“We are aware of that and that’s why we concentrate much of our effort on people who have recently been released from custody, and we liaise with other government agencies such as Corrective Services and Probation and Parole to monitor them.”

Information provided by members of the community had also been extremely helpful in the past and Detective Sergeant Meredith said he hoped people would continue to come forward if they had information that could help police smash crime locally.

“And through that we are getting results,” he said.

“We’re happy with our clear-up rates for significant crimes. And across the board, what’s reported in one day may well be solved on the same day or within a week.”

Detective Sergeant Meredith said local residents could feel somewhat optimistic in that police were using an increasingly impressive amount of technology to solve crimes.

“The sheer quantity of things we can obtain from crime scenes these days, DNA and the like, should give people hope,” he said.

“The technology is far greater than it used to be and as a result there have been some serious crimes solved that are 20 to 30 years old.”

There were measures local property owners could take to help prevent their premises falling victim to break-ins, Detective Sergeant Meredith said.

“Discuss security with our crime prevention officer or your insurance company,” he said.

“We can assist people with security, have a chat with us.”

Meanwhile Detective Sergeant Meredith said the growing use of security cameras in business premises was helping police catch crooks.

“CCTV is a wonderful tool and we rely on it heavily,” he said.

And while he had said it before, Detective Sergeant Meredith said he would keep reminding members of the community to secure their vehicles when they left them.

“Make sure you take anything of value with you, don’t leave your valuables in plain sight,” he said.

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Grunwald moves and grooves

Ash Grunwald will play at The Basin Concert on New Year’s Day.ASH Grunwald is openly opinionated, naturally relaxed and forever seeking a groove.
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This year has been a busy one for the Australian blues and roots musician.

Grunwald toured his most recent album, Gargantua, protested against the growing coal seam gas mining movement, worked with many of the country’s most influential musicians and still found time for a surf.

Ahead of his performance at Launceston’s 2015 Basin Concert, the passionate singer said he would always work towards making music with feeling.

“I just loved that bluesy kind of sound and I like a groove,” Grunwald said.

“Most of my songs have been always asking that question, what do you do with your life and how do we spend these few years that we have on this earth.

“The answer is usually some version of, live for the now, we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow but we do know what’s going to happen now.”

Through his music, the outspoken environmentalist said he felt it was his duty to publicise his protest against what he believed to be “Australia’s biggest issue” – coal seam gas mining.

“I just wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t speak up.

“Australian people who are actually environmental refugees now have to leave their own properties that they’ve paid for.

“You see people lighting their tap water and kids with these slow, ghoulish nose bleeds.”

Grunwald began to record his 11th album last week – an album he said was heavy on the drum, guitar and synth but sure to stick close to his environmental roots.

“I still don’t know how it’s going to turn out but I have a really strong feeling that it’s going to be one of the better things that I’ve ever done.”

A headliner of the Basin Concert, Grunwald said he was happy to return to Tasmania – one of the first places he ever toured.

“I always love Tassie and it’s always a massive party,” he said.

“I think I’d like to say I prefer the intimate shows but of course big festivals are sick.

“I’ve got great memories in Tassie, of some epic gigs at Falls Festival and there’s nothing like it – I like that energy.”

The Basics, Xavier Rudd, Reuben Koops, Emma Anglesy and Tash Parker and Younger Dryas are among the other acts at the New Year’s Day concert.

Limited tickets are still available for the concert.

Click here for more information

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Perth drivers urged to fill up while fuel prices down

Perth motorists keen to save money at the bowser are advised to fill up their cars with petrol this afternoon while the cost of unleaded is at its lowest in almost 30 months.
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According to FuelWatch, the government’s fuel monitoring service, the average price of unleaded fuel in the metropolitan area is 128.7 cents per litre, the lowest daily average since July 11, 2012 when the average price was 126.2 cents per litre.

The cheapest places to fill up with unleaded petrol on Wednesday are Caltex Woolworths at Warnbro Fair, Canning Vale and Winton Road Joondalup, where unleaded petrol will be selling for 124.8 cents a litre.

The cheapest fuel outlet in the eastern suburbs is currently United in Roleystone.

FuelWatch manager Lynne Gould said the reduced fuel price was in line with global trends driven by increased supply.

“Our benchmark for local petrol prices is the fuel price in Singapore, which has been decreasing and flowing on to Perth,” she said.

Ms Gould said that while some of the cheapest Perth fuel outlets would probably be busy on Wednesday, prices across Perth were generally similar, with 86 per cent of outlets selling fuel at or below the metropolitan average.

She said Perth prices were expected to continue to decrease in the near future but the price of fuel will go up on Thursday as it usually does as part of the weekly fuel price cycle.

The average cost of unleaded petrol is set to increase by about nine cents per litre on Thursday.

According to FuelWatch many sites will increase their prices with most of the Puma Energy sites hiking the cost of unleaded petrol by 14 cents per litre up to 142.9 cents per litre and just 35 metropolitan fuel stations will be selling petrol below 128 cents per litre.

Motorists can visit fuelwatch.wa.gov.au for more information on the cheap prices. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

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