In this issue, we learn that happiness gets better after 47 while a 68 woman becomes the first person to go to space and the deepest part of the ocean.
In the real news, the latest data shows that the economy struggled in March but is improving in May. Meanwhile the share market has a life of its own.
The one-minute weekly recap
- GDP fell 0.3 percent in the March quarter as household consumption was hit hard by the virus. Ouch!
- According to the NAB Business survey, Business conditions and confidence jumped in May but remain in negative territory.
- The ASX has cruised past 6,000 points, reaching its highest level since early March. An increasing iron ore price has played its part. But are we just in the “eye of the storm”? Mmmm, to invest or not to invest?
- The government has extended its Instant Asset Write-Off scheme for small businesses until the end of the year. Time to ask the boss for that new coffee machine!
- Qantas and Virgin Australia have halted international commercial flights after the government ended funding for select overseas routes. Some international airlines will persevere with Australian routes. Time to trade Fiji for Forster.
- The Government will apply a national security test for foreign investments.
- A study by KPMG and the University of Sydney found that Chinese investment in Australia has decreased by almost 60 percent in 2019 to its lowest level since 2007. The fall was driven by tighter Chinese regulations, negative perceptions around Australia’s investment rules, and a shift in investment towards Latin America and developing countries. Australian food and agricultural businesses were the largest recipients of Chinese investment.
- News Corp. and the ABC are cutting media jobs but the 85 year old newswire service, Australian Associated Press, has been saved by a consortium after major shareholders, Channel 9 and News Corp. looked to close it. Will we be left with only fake news?
- 52 world leaders pledged to make any future COVID-19 vaccine widely and cheaply available to poorer countries. One can only hope.
- Overseas, protests have continued in the US while China continues to clamp down in Hong Kong.
A Sniippet for You
Home builders get $25,000 grants (Domain, 4 June)
- Government to provide $25,000 grants to build a new home or start a major renovation
- Restricted to new homes and major renovations valued between $150,000 to $750,000
- Available for singles who earned up to $125,000 the previous financial year and couples who earned up to $200,000
- Scheme to last until the end of the year
Kogan.com worth five times more than Myer (AFR, 5 June)
- As of last Friday, Kogan’s market capitalisation was $1.2 billion, which is more than five times that of Myer’s $220 million.
- Mr Kogan said. “E-commerce in Australia has advanced several years in the space of a few months.”
- At the start of the coronavirus restrictions in March, the main items being purchased were laptops, computer equipment, keyboards and webcams but now the increases area across categories
- Australian banks have pocketed $6.3 billion from credit card customers by failing to pass on interest rate cuts over the last decade
- The card with the largest increase since April 2016 is the Coles-branded Coles Low Rate Mastercard
Two in three women will not return to pre-virus spending (AFR, 9 June)
- Australian women are less likely than men to go back to their normal spending patterns as restrictions are lifted according to research
- 35 percent of Millennial women said they did not feel financially secure, compared to 26 percent of Millennial men
Qantas will begin reopening lounges in July (AFR, 5 June)
- Qantas will begin reopening its lounges in July
- Goal is to reach 40 percent of pre-crisis capacity by the end of July
- The airline said it would enforce physical distancing, use disinfectant on surfaces and install hand sanitising stations.
Brisbane facing a year of apartment oversupply (AFR, 8 June)
- The market is heading for oversupply in the 2021 financial year according to a new report by m3property
- Covid-19 has reduced population growth and demand
- QLD population growth to halve in 2021
Now you can buy a Coke with bitcoin (AFR, 9 June)
- 1,200 Coca-Cola vending machines in Australia and New Zealand have started accepting bitcoin
- Requires a QR scanner on your mobile and a Sylo smart wallet
What Australia can learn from Sweden’s move to a cashless society (ABC News, 8 June)
- A report predicts Australia could be cashless within two years
- Elderly and disadvantaged have struggled with the switch to cashless in Sweden
- 500,000 Australians do not bank online
A Sniippet of Finance advice
The seven budget and savings apps every Aussie needs (Mozo, February 2020)
- Moneytree tracks your reward points and your finances
- Wiselist combines your grocery list with your budget
- Spendee can track your finances across multiple currencies
- Of course we also need to mention Sniip! Sniip allows you to pay, track and schedule your bills, and to earn full points with many of your reward programs on most bills.
A Sniippet of Brain food
Happiness is U shaped with age (NBER Working Paper, David G. Blanchflower, January 2020)
- Happiness decreases from around 16 years of age reaching a low at around 47 to 48 years of age after which it starts to increase again
- The U shape is consistent across 132 countries with different median incomes and life expectancies. It is consistent even after controlling for factors such as marital status.
- Happiness was measured by asking a person whether they were satisfied with their living standard, finances, and country
A Sniippet of Trivia
- 68 year old Dr Sullivan travelled in a submersible to Challenger Deep, a point 11 kilometres below ocean level
- In 1984, she was the first American woman to do a space walk