Finance News Update, what you need to know


The Australian dollar has fallen but remains above 78 US cents after the Reserve Bank’s decision to keep interest rates on hold at 2.


25 per cent.

At 0630 AEDT on Wednesday, the local currency was trading at 78.26 US cents, down from 78.35 cents on Tuesday.

And the Australian share market looks set to open lower following falls on Wall Street.

At 0645 AEDT on Wednesday, the share price index futures contract was down 12 points at 5,911.


KIEV – Ukraine’s central bank has moved to shore up the country’s battered currency by hiking interest rates to 30 per cent as the government pushed through draconian reforms needed to clinch another IMF bailout.

FRANKFURT – German retail sales, a closely watched measure of household confidence, surged in January, official data shows, suggesting that consumer spending will remain the main growth driver in Europe’s biggest economy this year, analysts say.

HONG KONG – Macau casino revenue plunged a record 49 per cent year-on-year in February as gaming takings free fall as a result of China’s corruption crackdown, figures show.

GENEVA – Mining and commodities giant Glencore was back in the black in 2014, posting a $US2.3 billion ($A2.94 billion) net profit, but took a $US1.1 billion impairment charge on dwindling commodity prices, it says.

LONDON – Barclays fell into a net loss last year, the British bank says, hit by huge costs linked to its alleged role in the rigging of foreign exchange markets.

LONDON – British American Tobacco has launched a $US3.5 billion ($A4.48 billion) bid to take control of its Brazilian unit Souza Cruz, the Latin American nation’s biggest cigarette maker.

TOKYO – Sharp shares have dropped after a report said the struggling Japanese electronics firm will ask its key lenders for aid as it eyes the closure of money-losing units.

NEW YORK – Harsh winter storms chilled US auto sales in February, with Ford especially taking a hit with a surprise 1.79 per cent fall from a year earlier.

STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s left-wing government wants to scrap the country’s budget-surplus target, aiming to axe a policy that critics consider outdated.

BARCELONA – BlackBerry may be launching four new smartphones over the coming year, but the struggling company is staking its future on becoming a giant in software.