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Business news and updates: The case of the mysterious $8.19 charge

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 18: 

Consumer inflation expectations hit 26-month high

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating rose by 2.5 per cent – the most in 18 weeks – to 101.1. Sentiment is now back above the neutral level of 100. But consumer inflation expectations over the next two years hit a 26-month high of 4.5 per cent last week.

Reserve Bank remains confident despite Delta

The minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Board meeting on August 3 were released. The Board reaffirmed its decision to reduce bond purchases, saying that fiscal policy, rather than monetary policy, was more suited for providing temporary short-term support to the economy.

The case of the mysterious $8.19 charge

The Commonwealth Bank has issued a warning to its thousands of customers to watch out for a rogue outgoing payment of just over $8.

On social media, Commonwealth customers have reported strange transactions of $8.00, $8.13, $8.17, $8.18 and $8.19 going towards US streaming site Shudder, despite never having heard of the website.

“We encourage any customer that noticed unusual activity on their account to contact us immediately,” a bank spokesman said.

European carbon border tax is an ultimatum to Australia to clean up or pay

According to the Australian Industry Group, an EU carbon border tax will present both opportunities and threats. The first domino to fall will be the EU carbon border tax. 

According to analysts, polluters will pay elsewhere, while Australia will lose revenue. 

According to a new Ai Group analysis of the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), Australian exporters will pay the price for carbon-intensive production.

ACCC warns about gas supply shortfall for east coast

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning about a potential gas supply shortage for the east coast market in 2022. 

According to the consumer watchdog, the entire east coast gas market may suffer a two-petajoule (PJ) supply shortfall. 

While decreasing gas costs are normally welcomed by commercial and industrial gas consumers, many are having difficulty obtaining supply offers beyond 2022. 

According to ACCC Chair Rod Sims, the situation highlights the necessity of a Heads of Agreement reached this year between the government and gas companies. 

Before exporting gas, gas exporters must supply uncontracted gas to the local market on internationally competitive terms, according to the agreement.

U.S. July factory production highest in 4 months

U.S. factory production in July posted the strongest gain in 4 months, reflecting a surge in production at auto plants that are still wrestling with major supply chain problems.

Manufacturing output increased 1.4% last month following a decline of 0.3% in June, the Federal Reserve. It was the best showing since a 3.4% gain in March.

Overall, industrial production — which includes manufacturing, utilities and mining — posted a 0.9% increase, the best performance since a 2.8% surge in March.

Companies are hoarding cash as the Delta variant spreads

Apple, Google, and other multinational corporations are continuing to increase their vast cash hoards, indicating that corporations are growing increasingly concerned about how the extremely contagious Delta version of Covid-19 could harm the global economy. 

According to S&P Global Ratings data, the world’s top nonfinancial corporations had a record $6.85 trillion in cash on their balance sheets at the end of the second quarter.

Ackman claims SPAC does not need to be registered, pushes back on lawsuit

In response to a complaint alleging that his Pershing Square Tontine Holdings inappropriately invested in securities, billionaire hedge fund manager William Ackman said his blank-check acquisition company is not an investing firm that needs to register with US regulators.

Google, Facebook bypass China with undersea cable

Google and Facebook unveiled plans for a new undersea internet cable connecting Singapore, Japan, Guam, the Philippines, Taiwan and Indonesia.

Google and Facebook earlier this year had halted efforts on a planned undersea cable that would have connected California and Hong Kong, due to tensions between the United States and China.

The newly announced cable project dubbed Apricot would be some 12,000 kilometres (nearly 7,500 miles) long and be operational in 2024 subject to regulatory approvals, the companies said in separate statements.

China tech stocks tanks after regulators unveil new antitrust rules

China’s biggest tech companies lost more than $50 billion in market value after the government proposes sweeping new rules to further curb anti-competitive behaviour among big internet firms. 

The latest effort to clamp down on the sector comes from the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), which has spearheaded the government’s antitrust campaign against Big Tech. 

The rules announced would forbid business operators from faking statistics or information about their product orders, sales and user reviews to mislead customers. They would also be banned from fabricating consumer views to hurt the reputations of their rivals.

I-T raids at India corporate office of Chinese telecom vendor ZTE over tax evasion, other illegalities 

The Income Tax department raided the offices of Chinese government-controlled telecom vendor ZTE in India and is questioning the company’s CEO, as well as other top functionaries, after discovering a number of violations, including massive tax evasion, bogus expenses worth hundreds of crores, illegal share purchases, and currency exchange and accounting discrepancies. 

The company’s new CEO, Li Jian Jun, is also being questioned, and the company’s and key officials’ computers and other electronic equipment have been confiscated, according to sources.

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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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