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 August 6:
Australia’s monthly trade surplus topped $10 billion for the first time in June, aided by a surge in exports in the month.
However, Australian Bureau of Statistics data further showed the negative impact COVID-19 lockdowns are having on the economy. The trade surplus for goods and services rose to $10.5 billion in June, up from a revised surplus of $9.3 billion in May.
The previous record was $9.9 billion in January. Exports rose four per cent in June to $43.3 billion, compared with imports which rose one per cent to $32.8 billion.
Meanwhile, the ABS said payroll jobs fell by a further 2.4 per cent in the fortnight to July 17, following a 0.2 per cent decline in the previous two weeks.
In 2020-21, retail trade rose by 6.1 per cent in real (inflation-adjusted) terms and rose by 9.1 per cent in nominal terms – the latter being the fastest growth in 31 years.
We assess some of the extraordinary trends over the past year. Fastest spending growth: Over 2020/21, spending on recreational goods exploded by 23.9 per cent with spending on furniture up 21.7 per cent.
Banks have frozen repayments on 14,500 home loans as a result of the latest round of lockdowns, highlighting the growing financial toll being inflicted by restrictions in NSW especially.
The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that national payroll jobs fell by 2.4 per cent over the fortnight to July 17 but were up 3.3 per cent a year ago.
NSW payroll jobs fell 4.4 per cent with positions held by females (-5.1 per cent) and 15-19-year-olds (-10.7 per cent) falling by the most.
Payroll jobs in the NSW accommodation and food services and arts and recreation services industries dropped 18-19 per cent.
COVID-19 lockdowns across multiple capital cities have increased economists’ scrutiny of high-frequency weekly payroll jobs data.
Already indicators of labour demand, such as the ANZ measure of job advertisements have weakened, but the NSW JobSaver program and COVID-19 disaster payments may limit the damage to the labour market.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits declined further, while layoffs dropped to their lowest level in just over 21 years in July as companies held on to workers amid a labour shortage.
President Joe Biden took a step toward his goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions with an executive order aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 electric, a move made with backing from the biggest U.S. automakers.
Amazon has pushed back its return-to-office date for tech and corporate workers until January as COVID-19 cases surge nationally due to the more contagious delta variant.
Unlike its Seattle-area rival Microsoft and other tech giants, Amazon will not mandate employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine before they return to the office. Instead, the company says that unvaccinated employees will be required to wear masks in the office.
China’s liquor and e-cigarette companies have emerged as the latest market casualty in Beijing’s crackdown on “vice industries” after reports from state media that suggest they could be the next targets for stricter regulation.
Shares in e-cigarette and liquor makers slumped after reports in the Chinese media of adolescent e-cigarette use and links between alcohol and cancer spooked investors.
The investors fear that the state may be planning to broaden its crackdown on digital gaming and technology companies.
In July, battery electric vehicle registrations again overtook diesel cars, but registrations of petrol vehicles far outstripped both.
In July there was “bumper growth” in the sale of plug-in cars, the SMMT said, with battery electric vehicles taking 9% of sales.
Plug-in hybrids reached 8% of sales, and hybrid electric vehicles were at almost 12%.