A Sniippet of weekly news #17 – Aug 2020

Australian financial news is again dominated by the lockdown in Victoria and its impact on the Australian economy.

We also look at cancelled holidays and the pandemic’s impact on travel agents.

However, not everyone is doing it tough, with a 25 year-old YouTube gamer buying a $9m beach house in Sydney.

In other good news, scientists have come up with a blood test for Alzheimer’s which should allow for detection many years before symptoms kick in. 

The one-minute weekly recap

A Sniippet for You

Supermarkets head off food shortages in Victoria (AFR, 6 Aug)

  • Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has agreed to allow supermarket retailers to reduce staff levels in other parts of their businesses so as to avoid reductions in their distribution centres
  • There has been a 20 percent increase in demand from consumers fearing stock shortages
  • There’s no shortage of product, but the disruption of the supply chain could lead to some shortage of products at the supermarket level

Government will ease JobKeeper criteria, adding $15 billion to the coronavirus recovery scheme (ABC, 6 August)

  • Businesses will now only need to show GST turnover has fallen over one quarter, instead of multiple, to be eligible for the scheme’s extension
  • Workers will also qualify if they were already employed on 1 Jul, rather than on the previous 1 March
  • About 530,000 extra Victorian employees will now join the JobKeeper program over the September quarter

Superannuation early withdrawal won’t hurt retirement for most workers, argues Grattan (ABC, 7 Aug)

  • The typical worker would see a fall in their retirement income of just over 1 percent if they took out the full $20,000 allowed under the early super release
  • Much of the fall in super income for middle-income earners will be made-up with increased pension payments
  • For the very poor and very rich, a loss in future super income will not be made up by larger pension payments: the poor were already relying on the pension while the rich are not going to get any pension payments

The 25-year-old YouTuber who just bought a $9m home in Sydney (Domain, 7 Aug)

  • Watkins was a former intern at Gilbert+Tobin in 2014 when he dropped out of law to pursue a career in gaming
  • In 2017 he co-founded a talent agency for gamers, influencers and eSports players called Click Management and in the past month alone has averaged 53.65 million views ranking him eighth among Australia’s top YouTubers 

Australia experiencing critical shortage of antidepressants, contraceptives and HRT (The Guardian, 8 Aug)

  • Australia is experiencing a critical shortage of key drugs including antidepressants, contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies
  • The shortages are generally unrelated to the pandemic
  • Big Pharma is difficult to hold to account
  • The Therapeutic Goods Administration has authorised the import of products but these drugs cannot be subsidised under the PBS

Australians have cancelled holidays worth an estimated $10 billion, leaving travel agents decimated (ABC, 10 Aug)

  • Consumer bodies have received thousands of complaints
  • Travel agents are dealing with millions of cancelled booking and it could take 12 months to deal with them all
  • Without government support, 3,000 travel agents could go bust by Christmas resulting in 20,000 job losses

Breakthrough new blood test could diagnose Alzheimer’s decades earlier (ABC, 4 Aug)

  • Researchers have developed a new blood test which can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease with 96 percent accuracy
  • Doctors hope the test could allow for diagnosis before symptoms appear
  • The test could also speed up the search for treatment of the disease

Beirut explosion raises fresh concern about Newcastle’s much larger ammonium nitrate stockpile (ABC, 5 Aug)

  • Orica’s ammonium nitrate production and storage facility in Newcastle is four times larger than the stockpile that detonated in Beirut
  • The Orica facility is only three kilometres from Newcastle’s CBD and only 800 metres from North Stockton residents
  • The factory has has a controversial history in Newcastle, after a leak of carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium in the air over Stockton in 2011

A Sniippet of Finance advice

Three tips on handling SMSF assets if your relationship breaks down (AFR, 6 Aug)

  • A couple’s shared SMSF is one of the many assets that are considered “property” in a divorce
  • The two parties cannot informally decide to split up a SMSF, it requires a binding “Superannuation Agreement” or a court order
  • Get an accountant involved to make sure the split is fair in the broadest sense e.g. taking into capital gains tax for any sale of super assets made

A Sniippet of Brain food

Landmark study on 11,196 couples pinpoints what dating apps get so wrong (Inverse)

  • The person we choose is not nearly as important as the relationship we build
  • The most powerful predictors of relationship quality are the characteristics of the relationship itself
  • The shared norms, the in-jokes, the shared experiences are more important than the separate individuals who make up that relationship

A Sniippet of Trivia

The new space race (ABC, 10 Aug)

  • In the last five years,  almost a quarter of all objects ever sent into space have been launched
  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX is scheduled to launch another 57 of its micro-satellites into space as part of its Starlink internet service
  • More than 70 percent of all 2,600 active satellites are in Low Earth Orbit
  • There are forecasts that by 2030, as many as 57,000 new satellites could be jostling for an orbital position

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