1. Donald Trump to the rescue. The Australian dollar’s been on rollercoaster ride over the past 24 hours, trading in a massive 1.63% range against the greenback. The Aussie dollar was under pressure until the US president indicated that he was “not thrilled” by recent rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve. His comments break with a longstanding precedent of the White House not commenting on central bank policy in respect of its independence. At 7am AEST the Aussie was down 0.58% to 0.7354.
2. Trade war fears flare. Trump tweeted that the EU’s record $US5 billion fine of Google was a sign the bloc had “taken advantage of the US,” describing Google as “one of our great companies.” The US president appeared to be using the antitrust fine as a salvo in his escalating trade war with the EU. He’s due to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next week to discuss trade. Although the EU is already preparing for trade talks with Trump to fail — and is readying a major retaliation.
3. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s leadership could be in trouble. The PM has suffered the most perilous week of her premiership after seeing numerous resignations and a parliamentary defeat. Her Conservative party remains on the brink of a challenge against her. “We’ve looked into the abyss in the last few days and we’ve all got a decision about what to do,” Conservative MP Simon Clarke said.
4. The end. The days of property prices in Australia only going up are well and truly over. That’s according to Doron Peleg, founder and CEO of RiskWise Property Research. He says there are now many high risks associated with residential property including oversupply, credit restrictions, the impact of the Banking Royal Commission and imbalances in the market. “Add to that the prospect of an ALP win at the next federal election, and with it reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax, and there is much cause for concern, especially if a blanket approach is taken with their introduction across the country,” he says. More here.
5. Boom. Shares in Afterpay Touch went on a tear yesterday after the “buy now, pay later” fintech released a business update showing strong top line sales and customer growth in the financial year to June. The fintech recorded a 289% increase in total underlying sales to $2.18 billion in the year to June. Meanwhile, Q4 underlying sales were up 171% to $736 million. A total 16,500 retailers and 2.2 million people have now transacted on the Afterpay platform. Shares closed the session 23.9% higher.
6. Russia has released videos of its next generation of nuclear weapons. The country’s Ministry of Defence released videos of five new weapon systems, which Russian President Vladimir Putin bragged would render US missile defences “ineffective”. Here’s a look at the Russian MoD video of the RS-28 Sarmat ICBM:
7. Australia’s first Amazon Prime Day is done and dusted. Among the best-selling items were the Amazon Echo Dot, Kindle Paperwhite, FIFA 18 PS4, and Huggies nappies. Meanwhile, consumers in other regions were after a different range of products. Here were the top-selling items from Amazon Prime Day around the world.
8. Voldemort, is that you? TIME Magazine in the US has blended Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin into one person for its most recent cover — and the result is creepy. The accompanying cover story describes the newly close relationship between the two leaders. Take a look:
9. Bluestone Lane is a New York-based, Australian-inspired coffee chain that’s about to take over the US with the help of a billionaire investor Stephen Ross, also owner of an American NFL team. Australian Nicholas Stone, founder and CEO of Bluestone said the chain wants to deliver “more than simply a caffeinated product” and “that’s why Bluestone is focused on a providing a broader experience that includes service and aesthetic elements as well as freshly prepared food like avocado toast.” With 30 locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, and Washington, DC, Bluestone now has plans to expand to 100 locations in the next three years. More here.
10. Are you the oldest child? If you said yes, then you’re in luck because firstborns tend to become the richest and most successful sibling. If you said no, you can blame your parents. According to research by economist Sandra E. Black, firstborns tend to be smarter, richer, and all-around more successful than their younger siblings, possibly because parents may be less invested in parenting with younger kids.
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