Authorities in China extend Lunar holiday to discourage travel
Thousands of confirmed
cases of the new coronavirus have led Chinese authorities to extend the
traditional Lunar New Year holiday in an attempt to reduce travel and assist in
the containment of the epidemic. As of Monday there were 2,744 confirmed cases
of the disease and 76 known deaths. Although only limited cases of infection
outside of China have been identified the virulence of the disease has world
health authorities moving quickly to prevent a pandemic.
victims targeted by shady insurance middlemen
The Australian Financial Complaints Authority(ACFA) has seen concerning complaints of shady insurance ‘middlemen’ targeting bushfire victims. ACFA has received reports of door knocking, cold calling and bullying tactics to attempt to get people to sign up to contracts that charge high fees for services that have little to impact on the customer receiving their payout earlier. Typically, the fee is a percentage of the customers total awarded claim placing even more of a burden on already traumatised victims.
employment boom lifts job rate to 74.1%
Australia has seen record
growth in employment with 74.5% of working age Australians now in a job. The
boost comes on the back of a strong rebound in house prices and retail
spending. Australia’s treasurer Josh Frydenberg has hailed the figures as a
sign of a strong and resilient economy and claims it makes a mockery of
doomsayers. The strengthening economy is likely to dramatically reduce the
chance of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia at their next meeting,
Broad sell off in
the US on fears of epidemic
Stocks in the US
dropped sharply on last Friday as traders weighed concerns on the impact of the
growing coronavirus outbreak in China. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones
wrapped up their worst week since August 2019 while the NASDAQ also declined
sharply breaking a multiweek rise. Market pundits are claiming the sell offs
severity is a combination of virus concerns and a desire by investors to lock
in profits after the markets strong run over the last four months.
There are signs of a
revival in Australia’s moribund property market with auction clearance rates
jumping to 71%. Sydney lead the charge with 81.5% of homes selling at auction.
The data supports a recent survey from ME Bank that just 17% of people expect
property prices to fall over the next 12 months. It may be a little early to
call an end to the downturn however as the survey found only high-income earners
currently indicating that they’re more likely to purchase a property.