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Business news and updates: Daily roundup (July 23, 2021)

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 July 23:

South Australia to offer cash to people who lose work while isolating

Residents of South Australia who are required to quarantine after being tested for COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other economic support can now receive a $300 reimbursement from the state government.  

Following the continuation of SA’s lockdown, the state government renewed its one-time Covid-19 cluster isolation payments. 

A person must have visited one of the exposure sites during the hours listed since July 17, taken a Covid-19 test, and been required to self-isolate pending the test result in order to be eligible. 

They must also be an Australian citizen or permanent resident, over the age of 17, and have been scheduled to work throughout the period of self-isolation, without paid leave or other economic assistance.

Bank survey shows Australians more stressed, big spending plans curbed

According to recent research, consumer stress has increased in every Australian state and territory, with big purchasing expectations for the next 12 months trimmed after the gap between low and high incomes continues to grow.  

Growing anxiety about government policies, people’s ability to fund retirement, and the cost of living drove the “stress index” in a National Australia Bank consumer sentiment poll to 57.8 points in the June 2021 quarter, up from 56.6 in the March 2021 quarter.   

Consumers earning less than $35,000 per year had their income gap grow 2.4 points to 63.1, while those earning more than $100,000 per year saw their income gap narrow 0.9 points to 53.6.

Construction industry warns of business shutdowns and job losses if Sydney COVID-19 lockdown is extended

The construction industry has warned of negative consequences if the current two-week shutdown of building sites in NSW is extended.

Australian Constructors Association CEO Jon Davies said it’s likely that “quite a high number of companies would fold”.

With around 200,000 people employed in construction in Greater Sydney, the industry has suggested the introduction of daily COVID-19 rapid antigen tests on building sites as a way of getting people back to work.

Aussie winemakers have found a backdoor into China’s ‘grey market’

Hong Kong has emerged as a key player in Australia’s trade war with China, with the port city acting as a black market for Australian wine.   

As part of an ongoing trade dispute, China imposed punishing tariffs of up to 212 percent on Australian wine exports in November 2020.   

Experts believe Chinese purchasers have found a way around this by using Hong Kong as a backdoor into the mainland for illegal wine imports.   

According to Australia’s annual Wine Export Monitor, sales in Hong Kong have increased dramatically, while China’s purchases of exports have decreased.  

In the 2020-21 fiscal year, Hong Kongers spent $186 million on Australian wine, an increase of 111% year on year.

US jobless claims rise to 419,000 from a pandemic low

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose last week from the lowest point of the pandemic, even as the job market appears to be rebounding on the strength of a reopened economy.

The Labor Department said that jobless claims increased last week to 419,000, the most in two months, from 368,000 the previous week. 

The number of first-time applications, which generally tracks layoffs, has fallen steadily since topping 900,000 in early January.

Musk says Tesla will “most likely” resume accepting bitcoin as payment

Tesla chief Elon Musk said the electric car maker will likely resume accepting bitcoin as payment after it completes due diligence on the amount of renewable energy used to mine the digital asset.

His remarks at the B Word conference came after Tesla said in May that it would stop accepting bitcoin for car purchases over climate concerns.

Domino’s posts upbeat results as new menu items boost sales

Domino’s Pizza surpassed quarterly revenue and profit expectations, thanks to new menu options such as cheeseburger and chicken taco pizzas, which sparked demand among Americans ordering food from the comfort of their own homes.

In the U.S., Domino’s reported positive same-store sales growth. On a two-year basis, U.S. same-store sales rose 19.6% in the quarter. 

Bitcoin rises 10% as Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Cathie Wood gather to discuss the volatile cryptocurrency

Bitcoin rises 10% as Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and Cathie Wood gather to discuss the volatile cryptocurrency.

Musk, Wood, and Dorsey all advocated for the cryptocurrency and talked about its future potential.

TikTok, Biden administration agree to drop litigation over Trump-era app store ban

TikTok and the US government agreed to drop a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s attempt to ban the short-form video app from US app stores. 

In a filing in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the two sides said they had mutually agreed the suit should be dismissed.

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine works very well against the Delta variant – but only after 2 doses

A UK study of 19,000 people suggests Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccines work well at preventing COVID-19 infections with Delta, but only if you get both doses.

When patients were fully vaccinated, with two shots both given at least two weeks to take effect, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine became about 88% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 with Delta, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 67% effective against it.

With only one shot on board, Pfizer’s vaccine was just 36% effective against symptomatic Delta cases, while AstraZeneca’s vaccine was 30% effective, the researchers found.

Twitter tests Reddit-style upvote and downvote buttons

Twitter announced that it would begin what it’s calling a “small research experiment” that will add upvote and downvote buttons to replies, or even replace the “Like” button entirely.

In some cases, the upvote and downvote buttons may be up arrows and down arrows, while in other cases they may be thumbs up and thumbs down buttons.

Indian IT firms want staff back in their offices

As India’s daily Covid-19 cases remain subdued, the software majors are working on plans to allow some of their employees to return to work in their offices on a regular basis.

Infosys has issued a memo to its employees saying its offices are now open and they could resume work from offices as the country’s pandemic situation seems to be improving with growing vaccination coverage.

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