Squiz Today / 07 August 2019
Squiz Today – Wednesday, 7 August
“Lips have been a waste-free alternative for millions of years.”
Was the helpful suggestion from Julian Kirby of Friends of the Earth on news that McDonald’s in the UK is using paper straws that can’t be recycled. The paper version has replaced plastic straws that could. Oops...
MARKETS REACT TO US/CHINA TENSIONS
How’s your week going? If your name is ‘Australian Stock Exchange’, then the answer is “not great”... Our stock market followed what’s happened in the rest of the world by wiping $90 billion off the values off our listed companies this week. After the New York Stock Exchange finished Monday’s trading with its worst result of the year, our stock market finished yesterday 2.45% down yesterday. The reason? The sharp escalation of trade tensions between America and China.
MAKE IT SNAPPY...
If it makes it any easier to stomach, yesterday’s tit-for-tat between the economic powers brought the high school drama….
• The US yesterday called China a “manipulator”. Full disclosure: that has more to do with China’s move to devalue its currency than anything with a Mean Girls tint to it...
• China’s decision to let the yuan fall to decade-low levels earlier this week (thus making it more attractive for the world to buy Chinese goods) is said to be in retaliation for US President Donald Trump’s decision on the weekend to put tariffs on another bunch of Chinese exports.
• By yesterday, the yuan’s value started to improve, indicating China, which centrally controls the value of its currency, was easing up on the hostility. That’s led to international markets recovering some of the losses in overnight trading.
All in all, what the episode shows is investors do not like the escalation of trade tensions between the two countries. Not one little bit.
AND INTEREST RATES ARE ON HOLD?
Nice segue… The Reserve Bank yesterday kept interest rates on hold at the record low level of 1%. Should all of the above impact our economy, it would be a factor the RBA considers when looking at future rate cuts. The bank has also given us a snapshot of what it expects is coming, and that’s economic growth of 2.5% in 2019 (which is a downgrade) and 2.75% in 2020. What it is feeling good about are the recent tax cuts, infrastructure spending and stabilising home prices. What it’s worried about is unemployment, our low levels of spending, and low wages growth. Aren’t we all…
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MORE ON AMERICA’S MASS SHOOTINGS
Patrick Crusius, the 21yo man accused of killing 22 people in El Paso, Texas on the weekend, went to the Walmart store to buy food before returning to commence his rampage. Some of his victims have been publicly identified, and it’s the story of an orphaned two-month-old baby boy who was saved by his mother and father that’s caught headlines. Meanwhile, as authorities try to find a motive for the killing of nine people in Dayton, Ohio, it’s been revealed accused shooter Connor Betts supported extreme left-wing causes.
QUICK RECENT NEWS WRAP
CHINA ISSUES NEW HONG KONG WARNING - After last week’s intervention didn’t deter pro-democracy demonstrators from participating in the territory’s biggest strike in decades on Monday, maybe yesterday’s stern words will… “Those who play with fire will perish by it," said Yang Guang, spokesman for China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. Yikes…
TEEN CHARGED OVER TATE MODERN SHOCK - A 17yo boy who was not known to the victim or his family has been charged with attempted murder of a 6yo boy whom he threw from a 10th-floor observation deck onto a roof five floors below. The injured French boy remains in a stable, but critical condition in hospital.
BREXIT STANDOFF - The European Union is "refusing to negotiate with the UK" on a new Brexit deal, says Michael Gove, the UK minister responsible for planning for a ‘no-deal’ exit. That’s left him feeling “deeply saddened”. Insert sad face emoji.
SIMMONS DOUBLES DOWN ON RACISM CLAIMS
Our most highly paid sporting star Ben Simmons is not backing down on his claim that Melbourne’s Crown Casino refused him entry on Monday night because of his skin colour. Yesterday, Crown said that was not the case - the basketballer was turned away because he refused to show security staff his ID. “It was all about entitlement - ‘don’t you know who I am,’” a ‘Crown insider’ told News Corp. Last night Simmons took to Twitter to say he felt singled out. “I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations,” he said.
LAWYER COMMITTED TO STAND TRIAL FOR INTELLIGENCE LEAK
A former Australian spy known as ‘Witness K’ will plead guilty to breaching the Intelligence Services Act, with his lawyer Bernard Collaery set to fight the same charge after he was committed to face trial in the ACT yesterday. Last year, the pair were charged after revealing Australian spies had bugged East Timor’s cabinet room during talks on a lucrative oil and gas deal in 2004. Collaery has also been charged with sharing information with the ABC about the spying operation. While the Australian Government says the charges have been made in the interest of national security, critics have questioned why the pair are only now being pursued, more than a decade after the incident.
WARMING UP TO RECORD BREAKING TEMPS
If you were lucky enough to visit the northern hemisphere last month (hopefully for pleasure, not business…), chances are you ran into some warm weather. And it wasn’t seasonal whingers overegging it - one European climate change service yesterday said July was the hottest month for the globe on record - ever - beating July 2016 by 0.04C. Pundits said other international monitoring agencies will have their say on July's temperatures in the coming weeks.
SALLY PEARSON RETIRES
World champion Aussie hurdler Sally Pearson announced yesterday she will retire from athletics, citing numerous injuries as the reason for the tough decision. Pearson suffered her fifth injury of the year last month when she tore a hammy. The retirement of the Olympic gold and silver medalist means she’ll miss out on the chance to defend her World Championship title at Doha later this month, as well as forego competing in the Tokyo Olympics next year. But it’s this iconic interview packed with true-blue Aussie gems that we’ll always remember her for. Wonder what happened to “mum’s travelling partner Vicki”?
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12.30pm (AEST) - Georgie Harman, John Mendoza & Luis Salvador-Carulla to address the National Press Club on ‘Mental health: how to fix Australia's crisis' - Canberra
ABS Data Release - Lending to households and businesses, June
Company Earnings Result - Commonwealth Bank
Birthdays for Aussies Greg Chappell (1948), Trevor Hendy (1968), Sophie Lee (1968) and Megan Gale (1975) and Abbie Cornish (1982)
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