1. Treasurer Josh releases report card today
Today Treasurer Josh Frydenberg releases his own report card on how the economy and his Budget is doing — let’s hope it’s good news. Called the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (or MYEFO), the AFR says it will predict unemployment will fall to a low 4% and wages are tipped to rise 11% over the next four years. And the Budget’s bottom line is expected to justify a “one-off” $8 billion tax cut for low- and middle-income earners, which we should hear about in the March Budget before an expected May election.
2. NSW government pressures councils
The NSW government will force councils to speed up rezoning bids for developers who want to build apartments to increase the supply of housing. And you’d hope other state governments would follow suit because high home prices have come out of a too low supply of properties. Councils will be given maximum timeframes to assess planning proposals for new apartment blocks and residential precincts or risk forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees from developers.
3. Australia and US sign data-sharing security pact
Australia and the US signed an agreement on Wednesday that will let the nations’ law enforcement agencies share sensitive digital data for investigations, from stopping terrorist attacks to preventing child abuse, Bloomberg reports. “The United States and Australia have today entered into a landmark new law enforcement partnership to stamp out serious organized criminality, terrorism, child sexual abuse and other crime,” Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said at a signing ceremony in Washington alongside US Attorney General Merrick Garland.
4. Rate rise talk worries US markets
The spread of Omicron is worrying the stock market, with Wall Street down overnight but traders are also nervous about interest rates rising. The UK has the biggest COVID numbers since the pandemic and Germany has introduced a relief package to help boost the economy. Stock prices globally are falling because of Omicron, which has caused problems like the cancelation of Christmas parties and employees are again working from home, which will slow up the economic recovery. But also the US central bank over the next two days is considering raising interest rates which makes stock players very nervous.
5. ASX set for drop this morning
ASX futures down 5 points or 0.1% to 7208 near 7am AEDT, while the AUD is up 0.7% to 71.53 US cents. On Wall St: Dow +0.5% S&P 500 +0.4% Nasdaq +1.1%. In Europe: Stoxx 50 +0.4% FTSE -0.7% CAC +0.5% DAX +0.2%
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