10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Source: Getty.

Good morning!

1. Tit for tat. The US-China trade war has escalated sharply this week and everyone is asking two questions: will the US follow through on raising tariffs? And if so, how will China retaliate? It’s a messy divorce, but Australia won’t be getting two Christmases out of this one. The US looks to be standing firm on hiking tariffs up to 25%, and China may be forced to make a similar move — here’s the timeline of the trade war so far.

2. And the pressure hits the Aussie dollar. After gaining a little ground off the back of New Zealand’s rate cut announcement, the Aussie got forced under by the waves of US-China’s impending negotiations.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

3. Global Uber strikes hit Australia. Uber drivers went on strike on Wednesday, starting in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and finishing up in Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco. As the ride-sharing app went public and investors reaped in the rewards, drivers campaigned for job security, higher pay, and capping on the percentage taken from fares. Drivers from US ride-sharing service, Lyft, also joined the protests.

4. RBNZ cuts rates. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has decided to cut interest rates by 25 basis points. RBNZ said it wanted to support economic activity at a time when their inflation, employment and economic growth is weak. The bank said:

“Reduced population growth through lower net immigration, and continuing house price softness in some areas, has tempered the growth in household spending.”

5. Facebook payments could be around the corner. It looks as though Facebook is prepping for a cryptocurrency payment system as they change their crypto advertising regulations and reportedly beef up their team with ex-Paypal employees. Zuckerberg has previously announced that a payments system is on the cards for Facebook, looking to take on China’s social giant, WeChat. But it could be sooner than we think.

6. Billions lost under Trump. It seems Trump tax records are out after years of trying to suppress them. The New York Times has reviewed Trump’s records between 1985 to 1994 and have found more than US$1 billion in business losses during that time. The stats include billions in annual losses on his casinos, large acquisitions and “mysterious” interest payments. Here’s the full runsheet.

7. The art of the payrise. Wage growth figures are due out next week and economists are bracing for disappointments all round, with analysts expecting the sluggish wage growth to continue. It looks as though jobs growth is only going to get weaker.

8. And this chart shows something unusual going on between unemployment levels and wage growth, tracking along a path aptly described here as Mr Squiggle’s “bad day at the office”.

ANZ Bank

ANZ’s Senior Economist Catherine Birch takes us through their forecasts.

9. Amazon hit by fraud. Hackers have reportedly been able to redirect up to hundreds of thousands of dollars that were intended for Amazon’s third party sellers and businesses as a loan for startup costs. According to a UK regulatory board filing, Amazon was the victim of “extensive” fraud. The hackers targeted over 100 seller accounts to divert the payments from Amazon.

10. Witchcraft extortion. A “sorcerer” has promised to help clients find love through rituals, spells and incantations — and then blackmailed them for money. The fraudster has been sentenced to two years’ in prison. Rather than helping people find love, the clients were told they had to hand over “large sums of money” or have humiliating and explicit video footage released.

This video has gone viral, and personally, I think you’re all weird for watching this. A vlogger has tried to eat live octopus and the octopus decided to bite back.

Here’s the full video.

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