News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Commodities one of the worst asset classes of 2012; ASIC keeps watching brief on ICAC coal inquiry; and support slipping for surplus among voters.

Lou Caruana

A rotten year for commodities

Commodities will end the year as one of the worst-performing asset classes, despite an improvement in demand amid a slight recovery in the world’s two biggest economies, says the Australian Financial Review.

Deutsche Bank analysts said returns for key commodity indexes varied from -1.4% to 0.2% since the end of last year, with much weakness in livestock, energy and – until the past fortnight – industrial metals.

Iron ore has risen above the doldrums, continuing a two-week winning streak on Friday to close at $US129.3 a tonne, a rise of 2.29%.

It was just $US115 a fortnight ago and the price rebound has seen a corresponding spike in stocks such as Atlas Iron, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

ASIC has watching brief on ICAC's coal inquiry

Australian Securities & Investments Commission investigators are intently following the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation.

The Australian. reports that the corporations law of 2000 makes it an offence to put misleading information into any announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Already, two of White Energy’s published statements to the ASX do not tally with the evidence that's been given to the inquiry.

Support for surplus falling

Voter support is growing for the federal government to abandon its surplus promise.

The latest poll shows a sharp drop-off in those concerned about the need to return the budget to the black this financial year, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The AFR/Nielsen poll also found the Labor government was seeing out 2012 within striking distance of the coalition ahead of next year’s federal election, but with its momentum stalled.

While the coalition remains a strong chance, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s personal standing has crashed and burned.

Just last month, he officially overtook Mark Latham as the most unpopular Australian Opposition Leader in living memory.