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 25
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), there were just over 2.4 million actively trading enterprises as of June 30, up a record 3.8 per cent year on year (data goes back 18 years). Over the year, the number of small firms (1-4 employees) increased by 15.2 per cent.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says increased confidence and a further surprise decline in the unemployment rate are further indications that when virus lockdowns are lifted, there will be a strong economic recovery.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence index increased 0.5% in the previous week, aided in part by a surprising reduction in the unemployment rate to a 12-year low of 4.6%.
As millions of Australians remain under lockdown, disturbing data suggests that one-fifth of households have less than $1000 in cash reserves — a 6 per cent decline from before the outbreak, according to new research.
It also discovered that nearly a quarter of Australian households reported that if they lost their income, they would only be able to maintain their current lifestyle for one month, while 11 per cent would only be able to do so for two weeks – the equivalent of a brief Covid lockdown, according to the ME Bank report.
However, there was some good news in the form of a new record high for cash stashing, with 58% of families saving an average of $960 every month.
Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC, is taking Telstra, Optus and TPG to court, alleging they misled hundreds of thousands of consumers over NBN speeds. If it succeeds, the companies could each be forced to pay millions of dollars in fines.
Despite the $60 billion investment in NBN Co, Australia lags far behind the world’s best in broadband speeds, ranking at number 53 on the Speedtest Global Index.
Investment scams reported to Scamwatch have cost Australians more than $70 million in the first half of 2021 alone. The figure now exceeds the full-year total for 2020, and losses for this year are forecast to reach $140 million.
According to the data, there has been a 53.4% increase in complaints, from 3104 in the first half of 2020 to 4763 thus far in 2021. The surge in crypto-based frauds is particularly worrying for regulators at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
PayPal, the financial technology company, will soon allow its UK users to purchase and trade cryptocurrencies using its app or website. The global payments provider made the announcement, noting that consumers will be able to buy, hold, and trade Bitcoin beginning this week.
Customers in the United Kingdom will also be able to use their PayPal accounts to trade three other forms of cryptos, including Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. PayPal’s new offering does not charge UK users to hold any of the four cryptocurrencies.
South Korea is set to ban Google and Apple from mandating software developers to use their payment systems, thereby prohibiting them from earning commissions on in-app purchases, the first major economy to impose such restrictions on the tech companies.