The Ticker: Modern business life

The real winner of low petrol prices: Melbourne; How to lobby like a bank: A three-step guide and three charts that explain why Qantas may see a profit next year.

On today's blog:

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3.10pm - The real winner of low petrol prices: Melbourne

These two graphs highlight the trend.

And, just in case you were in any doubt, here’s a chart that illustrates the sustained drop in prices in Melbourne:

Why is this the case? It’s difficult to say. As we’ve mentioned before on The Ticker, the petrol price market is far from transparent.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian says it may be a result of extra competitive pressures in Melbourne, which are forcing local retailers to deliver more of the savings they are receiving from lower oil prices. 

12.30am - Three charts that explain why Qantas may see a profit next year

Here’s a breakdown of Qantas’ underlying EBIT. Its international businesses (Qantas International and Jetstar’s international operations) are dragging down the rest of the business. 

This is largely because these businesses use more jet fuel than the rest of Qantas’ divisions. Here’s a breakdown:

And jet fuel is the largest cost to Qantas’ business. 

The latest drop in the jet fuel price (on the back of lower oil prices) will be an added bonus for the airline in the second half of 2015.

The airline has been saving costs on staffing and driving other efficiencies with its restructure. The easing of its domestic capacity war with Virgin is also set to help its bottom line. Taking all of these factors into account, it’s now happy to report that all of its businesses will be back in the black by H1 2015.  

After more detail on Qantas’ turnaround? Read Stephen Bartholomeusz's analysis here.

11.30am - Target just smashed this online petition in one tweet

Last week, Australian retailer Target caved to an online petition and pulled the notorious -- albeit year-old -- video game Grand Theft Auto 5 off its shelves. Given that Target is part of the Wesfarmers stable, its stablemate Kmart also pulled the game.

In reply, gamers around the world rallied to petition Target to stop selling the bible on the basis that it promotes violence against women -- the same contention as the GTA 5 petition.

However, there’s one problem: 


10.40am - How to lobby like a bank: A three-step guide

You have to hand it to David Murray. Despite the combined lobbying might of the big four banks, he held strong and delivered the one recommendation that none of them wanted to hear: a demand to hedge housing loans with more capital.

It’s up to the government as to whether it implements the reform. But given the banks’ lobbying efforts, there could be a few heated discussions.

How do we know? The appendix of the Murray inquiry’s report hints at how strongly Australia’s financial institutions pushed back against this idea. They met with the inquiry panel more than any other party over the past year.

The real lobbying strategy is likely to be far more complex than a three-point plan, but based off the data we have, here’s an outline of it:

1. Meet with the inquiry before the interim report to set the agenda, but don’t overdo it.

2. Redouble meetings after the interim report suggests an unfavourable reform. Try to deal with the problem behind closed doors. 

3. And when meetings appear to have failed, start a media campaign to try and turn the public against the report’s recommendations before it is released. 

And now we wait for the campaign to begin again with the federal government. 

9am - Interesting reads from around the web

The experts reply: A handy wrap of what Australia’s peak economists and heads of industry had to say about the Murray inquiry’s final report into the financial services sector.

Wiring the world: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to connect everyone to the internet.

The Seinfeld effect: Why chasing clicks and popularity online may not lead to long-term success.

Feeling tired? How sleep deprivation is killing your career.

And in significantly less serious news: Belgium wants to have potato fries declared a cultural heritage.

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