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Business news and updates: Australian business conditions recover in August

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for September 15:

Australian business conditions recover in August

A measure of business conditions in Australia showed a positive improvement in August, as both sales and earnings managed to weather lockdowns in sections of the country, implying that the current restrictions may be lifted soon. 

National Australia Bank’s business conditions index rose four points to +14 in August, recouping some of July’s severe 14-point decline, according to a poll released.

The bank’s confidence index, on the other hand, rose only two points to -5, after falling in July as lockdowns expanded from Sydney to Melbourne and Canberra.

Petrol prices hit 22-year low in 2020-21

According to a new analysis by the consumer watchdog, petrol prices in Australia have reached a 22-year low as a result of the COVID-19. 

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the decline in crude oil prices last year resulted in a 4.9 cents per litre drop in pricing. 

In 2020-21, the average petrol price in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth was 129.7 cents per litre. In actual terms, the last time prices were lower than that was in 1998-99, when the average fuel cost was 115 cents per litre. 

The ACCC warns that prices have already begun to rise in the last quarter due to an increase in worldwide refined oil prices.

Biggest rise in consumer confidence in over 22 weeks

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index increased by 3.1%, the most in 22 weeks, reaching an eight-week high of 103.1. Sentiment rose 10.6 per cent in Sydney and 6.2 per cent in Victoria but fell 3.2 per cent in Queensland. 

According to Commonwealth Bank (CBA) Group economists, national household credit and debit card spending for the week ending September 10, 2021, was “tracking 8% higher than the corresponding week in 2019, similar to the 9% pace recorded the week before, but up from 5% recorded in the week ending 27 August.”

More support for virus-hit Tasmanian businesses

Tasmanian businesses suffering as a result of ongoing border closures will be eligible for an additional $50 million in state and federal government assistance. The award package, which is jointly funded, has been increased from $20 million to $50 million, according to an announcement made. 

The Tasmanian government is also assisting some struggling businesses by waiving expenses such as payroll tax, car registration, and Parks and Wildlife licence payments. 

Tasmania is cut off from Victoria and New South Wales, its two largest domestic tourism markets, as well as the ACT, New Zealand, and other high-risk jurisdictions.

U.S. inflation slows down as prices increase slowly in August

Underlying consumer prices in the United States rose at their slowest pace in six months in August, as used car prices fell, indicating that inflation had likely peaked, albeit it could remain high for some time due to continuing supply constraints.

Walmart denies claims of cryptocurrency partnership

Walmart has denied any partnership with the digital currency Litecoin. According to Walmart representative Molly Blakeman, a news release suggesting cooperation between Walmart and Litecoin is “not real.” 

Charlie Lee, the Litecoin developer and managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, verified the release was a fake. The false news was briefly carried on a major press release wire as well as in sites such as Reuters, CNBC, and Yahoo Finance until it was removed and corrected.

Seoul fines Google for market abuse

South Korea’s antitrust authority fined Google about $180 million for abusing its control in the mobile operating system and app marketplaces, the latest in a slew of regulatory actions against global tech titans. 

The penalty was imposed just weeks after South Korea passed a law prohibiting big app store operators like Google and Apple from forcing software developers to use their payment systems, effectively making the Play Store and App Store monopolies illegal. 

Since 2016, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) has been investigating Google for allegedly prohibiting local smartphone producers such as Samsung Electronics from customising its Android operating system.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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