1. The RBA has laid out the risks of China’s debt bomb. In a speech last night discussing the breadth and depth of the Chinese-Australian relationship, RBA governor Phil Lowe also pointed out that a stable China is crucial to Australia’s future prosperity. Business Insider’s Sam Jacobs has more.
2. Bitcoin cash sank more than 12% Wednesday, falling below $1,000 for the first time since April. The fourth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap is now trading near $997 per token, even after its recent fork which increased its block size fourfold.
3. Donald Trump is already backtracking on the China trade agreement, days after celebrating the deal. On Wednesday, the US President tweeted that a new China trade deal “will probably have to use a different structure” than the one announced just four days ago. The reversal comes after heavy criticism of the deal by Democrats, Republicans, and economists.
4. Australia is terrible at some things more than others. While some would argue rugby is right up there in the rankings, there’s a new World Competitiveness Index which gives a lay of the land. The research covers 63 countries and uses a combination of survey responses and statistics to produce its results, with around two-thirds of the weight given to hard numbers. One concerning insight from the index is that Australia ranks 56 out of 63 countries for “relocation threats of services”, reflecting the risk that some industry could rapidly move offshore. Here’s more.
5. Facebook has the power to influence democratic processes around the world, and Mark Zuckerberg seems to have no idea how to handle it. The CEO appeared before European lawmakers this week to explain his company’s privacy scandals, its attitude toward regulation, and its role in election interference. It didn’t go too well. Lawmakers attending and watching the session said they were extremely worried about how Facebook could influence future elections. They said Russian groups were highly practiced at disinformation and that Facebook needed to understand how its platform affected elections.
6. US citizens in China are on alert after an official suffered “mild traumatic brain injury” similar to reports from Cuba, where US officials reported symptoms consistent with a “sonic attack”, or exposure to harmful frequencies. The US State Department warned those who experience any “unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises” to leave the area immediately.
7. Turnbull’s new foreign interference laws could be at risk after Liberal MP Andrew Hastie named billionaire political donor Chau Chak Wing as funding the bribery of a senior United Nations official. According to Fairfax Media, some Labor MPs were angry at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s decision to pursue the government over Hastie’s surprise move, and that some regarded it as a breakdown in traditional bipartisanship on sensitive national security issues. More here. Chinese media has since called for Turnbull’s visit to be called off. The Prime Minister is due to visit Beijing this year under an annual leaders dialogue agreement and last Friday said he looked forward to doing so.
8. The “holy grail” of shipwrecks. A submarine owned by the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund has discovered a shipwreck that may carry $US17 billion in treasure. The 300-year-old ship, the Spanish galleon San Jose, sank during a battle with British ships in 1708. The submarine that located the ship is owned by the hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio through his Dalio Foundation.
9. Uh oh. A widening gap between house prices and incomes could spell danger for borrowers. Check out this chart:
It shows the median dwelling price for Sydney, along with the maximum amount that could be lent with a debt restricted to six times earnings. While only a rough guide (we emphasise that point), it’s clear that median prices are currently well above maximum borrowing capacity.
10. HTC’s new phone has landed — and it’s see-through, squeezable, and super futuristic. And not only that, but the U12+ has a stellar dual camera, a nearly edge-to-edge display, is water resistant, fast charging, and has no headphone jack. The high-end Android smartphone, which is aimed at the Samsungs and LGs of the world, is the only flagship phone HTC plans to release this year, and we got our hands on one. Check it out.
BONUS ITEM: What does your day at the office look like compared to this Aussie sailor?
— BrunelSailing (@brunelsailing) May 23, 2018
Have a great day.
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