Good morning, folks.
Australia will not join a US-led pledge to cut global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030. President Joe Biden launched the initiative at the COP26 climate conference overnight, with 90 nations signing on. In a significant move, Brazil, the world’s largest methane emitter, joined the pact. Methane is something of an ‘easy win’ for emissions reduction policies, as it lingers in the atmosphere for a shorter time than other greenhouse gases. But Australia will chart its own path, with Energy Minister Angus Taylor telling reporters the government is chasing economy-wide emissions reductions instead.
The Reserve Bank of Australia left the cash rate at just 0.10 per cent, again. But it will dispense with its April 2024 government bond yield target of 0.10 per cent. “The decision to discontinue the yield target reflects the improvement in the economy and the earlier-than-expected progress towards the inflation target,” RBA governor Philip Lowe said Tuesday. Given this optimism, some economists believe the cash rate will rise earlier than the RBA had first forecast; notably, Lowe’s latest statement did away with references to lifting the rate no earlier than 2024, instead saying the conditions for a rate hike will “likely to take some time” to arrive.
Need some evidence of that economic rebound? Commonwealth Bank has you sorted. Credit and debit card data spending across Australia was 20 per cent higher last week than in the corresponding week of pre-pandemic 2019, the bank says. That correlates with eased lockdown restrictions in Victoria and across the border in New South Wales. Spending in Victoria is expected to tick upwards in next week’s report, thanks to the reopening of retailers across the state.
Job ads have also hit two-year highs, Seek data shows. The job platform says it recorded a 10.2 per cent month-on-month increase in jobs posted in October. The findings correlate with retail, tourism, and hospitality venues flinging their doors open for the first time in months, and the surge of white-collar workforces returning to the office.
Further stimulus could be found on the dancefloor. New South Wales nightclubs will throw their doors open from November 8, under an accelerated plan announced by Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday. Previously, nightlife venues were set to reopen from December 1. Also announced: an unlimited number of guests permitted at home, no rules for outdoor gatherings of less than 1,000 people, and the reopening of indoor swimming pools.
As some entertainment businesses celebrate, Australia’s live music industry is still pushing for further support. An insurance scheme for festivals and major tours is required given lingering uncertainty about cancellations and border closures, said Frontier Touring chief operating officer Dion Brant. International artists are unlikely to make the trek unless such schemes are in place, he added.
Commonwealth Bank may soon offer access to cryptocurrencies through its banking app, the Australian Financial Review reports. The plan will reportedly allow users to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin through the app itself, though the bank is yet to make an official statement on the move. If it goes ahead, Commonwealth Bank will become Australia’s first traditional bank to let users dabble in crypto alongside regular, boring fiat currency.
Facebook is binning its controversial facial recognition system. In a press release, the company now known as Meta said it will delete more than a billion people’s “individual facial recognition templates” over the coming weeks. As a result, Facebook will no longer automatically recognise faces in photos posted to the platform. The company cited “growing concerns” around “complex social issues,” amid heightened scrutiny of the company and its all-encompassing reach.
The global shipping crisis has given Maersk its most profitable quarter in 117 years. Soaring container prices, buoyed by port delays and extraordinary shipping rates, saw the logistics giant record $8 billion in operating profits through the third quarter. The company sees no immediate end to those bottlenecks, meaning the fourth quarter could be just as profitable.
As Maersk rides high on the ocean, some nations risk falling beneath it. Speaking at the COP26 conference, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley said a global temperature increase of 2 degrees Celcius would be a “death sentence” for many island nations across the world. She urged major nations to commit to significant emissions reductions, while providing support to small island nations. “We do not want that dreaded death sentence, and we have come here today to say, ‘Try harder,’” she said.
It will be interesting to see if Commonwealth Bank adopts other up-and-coming cryptos, like Squid Game, into its new app portfo-