THE DISTILLERY: Rates fracas

A rash of interest rates commentary takes on the big banks' reactions, while one jotter tells state governments to step up.

Treasurer Wayne Swan was quick to warn the big four banks to pass on the Reserve Bank’s interest rate cut in full – almost as fast as he claimed credit for the reduction on the government’s behalf. The reality is though that Europe’s increasingly desperate debt crisis means that erring on the side of caution for a central bank in this environment is to cut, not hold. The business commentators point this out in force, along with the sour chaser that many of the big four banks are unlikely to be able to pass on every one of those 25 basis points due to increased wholesale funding costs. Further undermining the government’s enviable economic narrative – by developed world standards – The Age’s Adele Ferguson finds that the federal government is squandering a ‘Steve Bradbury’-style moment to attract willing international infrastructure dollars and says it’s up to the states to sort it out, while The Australian’s Peter van Onselen finds Australia’s already poor reputation as a place to do business is slipping even further.

Firstly, Adele Ferguson is urging our state governments to take advantage of a once-in-a-generation synergy of factors that have made mature Australian infrastructure assets some of the most sought after in the world.


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