ASX sinks, oil prices crash, more support need amid extended lockdown
Here’s everything you need to know about finance markets for today.
ASX: The Australian share market looks set to sink again this morning. According to the latest SPI futures, the ASX 200 is expected to open the day 70 points or 1 per cent lower.
Wall Street: US stocks had a very poor start to the week. The Dow Jones crashed 2.1 per cent, the S&P 500 dropped 1.6 per cent, and the Nasdaq fell 1.1 per cent. The Dow had its worst day since October amid concerns rising COVID-19 cases could stifle global economic growth.
EU stocks: European stocks took a dive as COVID-19 cases surge ahead of the UK’s ‘Freedom Day’. The FTSE 100 had moved 2.3 per cent lower by the closing bell in London. Germany’s DAX also declined 2.7 per cent and in Paris the CAC 40 was 2.7 per cent down.
AUD: The Australian dollar is trading at 0.7343 to the US dollar as at 7.20am this morning.
Oil: Energy producers could come under significant pressure today after oil prices crashed overnight. According to Bloomberg, the WTI crude oil price is down 7.6 per cent to US$66.34 a barrel and the Brent crude oil price has tumbled 6.9 per cent to US$68.52 a barrel. News that OPEC plans to remove its production limits hit oil prices very hard.
Gold: Gold miners will be on watch after the gold price softened. According to CNBC, the spot gold price is down 0.15 per cent to US$1,812.1 an ounce. A strong US dollar put pressure on the precious metal.
More COVID-19 support: Coronavirus support payments could be tweaked again if outbreaks persist as Australia’s two biggest cities stare down the barrel of extended lockdowns.
Outlook u-turn: At the start of the month, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe, following his monthly board meeting, was extolling the virtues of Australia’s economic recovery and how it was on a “positive path”. Two weeks later, economists are now warning of the prospect of Australia recording a contraction in the September quarter as a result of twin lockdowns in Australia’s two biggest cities.
ATO tips: Australians have been encouraged to make use of the taxman’s occupation-specific guides when figuring out exactly what to claim as a deduction at tax time. The Australian Taxation Office has released expense claim guides for nearly 40 occupations, from lawyers, IT professionals and recruitment consultants to truck drivers, pilots, firefighters and cleaners.
Global hacking: Australia has joined the US and other allies in calling out China over its global hacking activities, saying it has undermined international security. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews and Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the activities by China’s Ministry of State Security are malicious and concerning.
Amazon cloud: Amazon.com Inc’s cloud service, Amazon Web Services, has shut down infrastructure and accounts linked to Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group whose spyware was used in attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, government officials and human rights activists around the world.
UK cyber attack: Ticket machines operated by the UK government-run Northern Trains have been put out of action by a suspected cyber-attack intended to extort money.
US recession: The US recession touched off by the coronavirus lasted only two months, ending with a low point reached in April 2020 after the start of a sharp drop in economic activity in March of that year.
NSW fast rail: The construction of a fast rail network between Sydney and Newcastle could serve as a fillip for NSW’s post-pandemic economy, an urban think tank has advised. But the NSW government strategy for the long-discussed initiative is yet to be finalised.
Work perks: Prior to COVID-19, many companies showered their staff with flashy in-office perks. But since the pandemic turned our lives upside down, catered meals, alcohol on tap and yoga lessons – aimed to energise and motivate staff – have suddenly become less important to workers.
Have a great day.
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