Wednesday, October 26, 2011

SME Business Sales Raise in September, Eurozone Up Bailout Fund

According to the recent ANZ small business sales trends report, small business sales lifted for the fifth consecutive month in September. The report shows small business turnover increased by 5.2% year on year.

Based on ANZ data on the value of credit, debit and Eftpos transactions through its merchant terminals and ANZ card transactions processed through other systems for businesses, at least two-years-old with annual turnover less than $5 million.

ANZ Head of Australian Economics and Property Research, Ivan Colhoun, said year-to-date growth is "fairly flat" at 1.7%. "And with headline inflation running at around 3.5% y/y in 2011, this implies real (inflation-adjusted) small business sales growth is still relatively weak in September," says Colhoun.

The report also shows that it is because services and trade sectors outperformed retailers, with small retailers recorded 2.6% year on year growth versus 6.8% annual growth for non-retail and services small business.

Meanwhile, the Eurozone is set to shore up its bailout fund, with German MPs saying the plan could boost the fund's lending capacity to more than one trillion euro ($A1.34 trillion). A document obtained by The Associated Press shows the currency zone wants to boost the 440 billion euro ($A587.65 billion) bailout fund by offering sovereign bond buyers an insurance against possible losses and by attracting capital from private investors and sovereign wealth funds.

Eurozone governments hope that the enhanced European Financial Stability Fund, or EFSF, will be able to protect countries such as Italy and Spain from being engulfed in the debt crisis. To do that, however, it needs to be bigger or see its lending powers magnified. Leading German opposition MPs, who were briefed earlier on Monday by Chancellor Angela Merkel on the plan, said the fund's lending capacity will be boosted "beyond one trillion" (euros).

But the draft document by the eurozone working group - which Germany's government was sharing with key MPs on Monday - did not provide a headline figure for the bailout fund, stressing "a more precise number on the extent of leverage can only be determined after contacts with potential investors" and rating agencies.

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