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Thursday, October 22, 2020
"Policy settings aimed at reducing emissions should recognise that continuing to use gas infrastructure is the lowest-cost option to reach net-zero emissions from the energy sector by 2050." Loading Hydrogen, which burns cleanly and emits only water, is touted as a growth industry in the energy sector, both for its potential application as an alternative fuel for industrial processes that require high heat, and for its ability to soak up and store energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar. Technology to create hydrogen out of renewable energy (green hydrogen) and from natural gas when emissions are captured in the conversion process (blue hydrogen) are being increasingly funded by governments around the world amid efforts to meet their carbon reduction goals. Hydrogen is also being embraced by oil and gas producers as a possible lifeline through which they can diversify. Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor this week named "clean hydrogen", low-emissions steel and aluminium production and carbon capture and storage (CCS) as the government's primary energy technology priorities, alongside energy storage and soil carbon sequestration. However, the heavy focus on the ongoing role of gas has fuelled concerns from environmentalists and some business leaders who
If a company's reputation is not enough of a carrot to ensure best (or lawful) practice, penalties are the hard-stick answer. But how does AUSTRAC's latest fine compare to others? 1. Commonwealth Bank CBA was fined $700 million in 2018 by AUSTRAC for breaching anti-money laundering laws 53,506 times after its uncapped cash-deposit machines allowed drugs and arms dealers to clean their cash. The board must have been rethinking the choice to call those machines "intelligent deposit ATMs". But it pales into insignificance when compared to Westpac's 23 million breaches of the same Act. 2. Volkswagen The German carmaker best known for its Golfs was fined $125 million by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for misleading consumers about its diesel emissions. 3. NAB The Federal Court imposed a $57.7 million penalty this year on NAB after it admitted to misleading, false and deceptive conduct for charging $117 million worth of fees to superannuation fund members for services that were never provided. 4. Tabcorp Again stung by AUSTRAC, the betting giant coughed up $45 million for breaking anti-money laundering laws after failing to alert regulators to reports of suspicious customers on 108 occasions over more than
The economy is levelling off at about 80 per cent of activity before the pandemic and won't get back to normal until a vaccine is in place, said Jason Pride, chief investment officer of private wealth at Glenmede in Philadelphia. "We're at that phase where it's harder to get that next bit of the recovery, that next bit of the reopening in place," Pride said. "We're still doing it, but the progress is way slower than it was in the first three months of the reopening." Investors are struggling to understand where to invest with mega-cap tech stocks overvalued, but the deep-value stocks represent maturing industries, such as energy and brick-an- mortar banks, he said. The Russell 1000 Growth index was down 2 per cent, compared to a 1.3 per cent decline in the Russell 1000 Value index. "We’re spending more of our time in that sweet spot in the middle to get away from the extremes of growth," Pride said. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that the central bank was not planning any "major" changes to its Main Street Lending Program, while saying that both the Fed and Congress need to "stay with
Daniel Foggo, chief executive of Plenti, said there was a tender process and accused competitors of spreading misinformation in the market. Loading "We understand we were in a competitive process," he said on Wednesday. "We absolutely weren’t the only party that presented to them. However, we put our best foot forward, offered real value to both the customer and the government and we believe we won that contract on our own merits," he said. "The answer is there’s nothing to see here." The four-months long audit was carried out by independent consulting firm RSM Australia and probed the company's relationship with the CEFC while looking for evidence of improper treatment. Minister Taylor's office has received the report but is yet to release its findings publicly. Mr Foggo said he was contacted by the RSM auditors but could not remember the nature of the investigation or any of the questions asked. "I can’t recall, it was a long time ago," he said. "From our conversation with them, I think we were confident there’s nothing to see here. We won the program in South Australia on the basis of our credentials. "I think it’s really a question for the
The corporate-software giant has a few things going for it. But it faces stiff competition LARRY WHO? A few weeks ago asking a young tech worker in Silicon Valley about Larry Ellison, co-founder, former boss and now chief technology officer of Oracle, may have elicited blank stares. More surprising, given that his company is still the world’s second-largest software-maker, a follow-up question may have been: “Remind me what Oracle sells?” Being treated like a has-been must have irked the 76-year-old Mr Ellison. In Oracle’s heyday 20 years ago he was Silicon Valley’s best-known rogue billionaire—yesteryear’s Elon Musk. “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison”, one of the many books written about the firm and its colourful founder, was subtitled “God Doesn’t Think He Is Larry Ellison”. Now he and his firm are back in the headlines, thanks to something that, in software terms, is about as far from Oracle’s bread and butter of corporate databases as jelly beans are from white toast. Its deal to team up with TikTok has made its brand recognisable even to teenagers—the Chinese-owned video-sharing platform’s main clientele. Whether the notoriety
"The market is looking for some stability. Once again investors and traders are going to look to names that had gotten unduly beaten up," said Kenny Polcari, chief market strategist at SlateStone Wealth. Seven of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes closed higher, led by information technology and consumer discretionary. Loading US stocks on Monday extended a three-week losing streak as fears of a new round of lockdowns in Europe and the stalemate in Congress over the size and shape of another coronavirus-response bill dented hopes of a swift economic recovery. "We have some fears about a number of different things that hurt the near-term growth outlook," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group in Minneapolis, who also cited the Federal Reserve's cautious economic outlook. "These are short-term fears that will go away because I think there's quite a bit of undertow to the upside," he said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday reported 6,825,697 new coronavirus cases and said that the number of deaths had risen by 438 to 199,462. The benchmark S&P 500 on Monday closed almost 9 per cent below the record high hit September 2, putting
From all reports, the extra $550 has been well used. The Herald reported last week about the transformative effect for single parents who previously struggled to put fresh food on the table and sometimes took risks out of desperation such as shoplifting or remaining with abusive partners. The website 550 Reasons to Smile shares heartwarming stories about single parents who have finally been able to afford dental work or birthday presents for their child. I've crunched the numbers to try to see what the reduction from $550 to $250 will mean for families. Loading For single parents who were on the full pension of $790 a fortnight before the pandemic, most will still be better off than pre-COVID-19. That's because to receive the full pension, employment income is capped at $192.60 a fortnight plus $24.60 for each additional child. You would need three children in order to earn $250 a fortnight and keep the full pension. But for single parents who combined a part-time job with a part pension before the pandemic and then lost work because of COVID-19, this could be the moment that plunges them into serious hardship. The reason is, as Jenny Davidson from the Council
Ravi Sharma, banking and payments lead analyst at analytics firm GlobalData, says e-commerce has been on a growth curve over the past few years but COVID-19 has accelerated the trend. "Social distancing, self-isolation and closure of brick-and-motor stores due to lockdown have led to higher preference for [online channels] for making purchases during the pandemic," Sharma says. Professor Steve Worthington, from Swinburne University's Business School, says the fears of handling cash, temporary bank branches closures (some of which may become permanent after the pandemic has passed), and the prevalence of fewer ATMs are contributing to less use of cash. Still, Reserve Bank of Australia figures show that while there was a big drop in the use of cash in the initial stages of the pandemic, its use has snapped back as coronavirus restrictions began to ease. There were 45 million cash withdrawals worth $10.6 billion from Australian ATMs in December 2019. That fell to just 22 million, worth $6.5 billion by April; by July, they were back up to 35 million, worth $9.9 billion. Loading Cash is likely to have been stockpiled during the pandemic, though hoarding pre-dates COVID-19. There has been much speculation about the reasons
Digital transformation made easy The company’s head of operations, Chuthan Kanagasundaram says it was necessary to give customers a mobile-friendly option to recharge their phone plan without needing to venture outside of their homes. Determined to make it as easy as possible, Lebara Mobile set out to add new digital payment options that were seamless on mobile. This included adding PayPal both as a payment option and also as the platform managing all payments within the app. This change in payment platform led to an improved online payment experience for Lebara’s customers. “We wanted to simplify the recharge journey to a few clicks and make it easy for customers to pay on the go without the need to visit physical retail stores to recharge. We were also looking for a payment platform that worked well on mobile devices,” he says. “Now, customers can click on a payment button, set up a payment type and enable a ‘remember my payment’ function to make the process easier each time. The tech upgrade has made the recharge journey possible with just a few clicks,” Mr Kanagasundaram explains. “Our customers like the fact that there are no lock-in contracts and they have complete freedom
The wild ride that is Kodak’s stock market performance appears far from over. The company’s stock shot up by 65 percent on Tuesday after news broke that New York-based hedge fund D.E. Shaw had built up a 5.2 percent stake in the moribund camera technology firm. Word of D.E. Shaw’s stake, disclosed in a regulatory filing, sent Kodak’s stock as high as $9.87 in early trading before pulling back. By mid-afternoon, the stock was hovering around $7.75, an almost 30 percent gain on the day. Kodak saw its shares soar more than 1,700 percent at the end of July on news that it had been approved for a $765 million loan from the Trump administration to begin producing pharmaceuticals. The loan, provided as part of an initiative to reduce US reliance on foreign drug manufacturers, sent Kodak’s stock from just over $2 to almost $60 a share on July 29th. But the stock pulled back amid questions over whether the company jumped the gun on announcing the deal, potentially giving insiders an edge on profiting from the stock’s surprise boom. Kodak’s deal with the government is now on hold amid an SEC investigation, and the company’s stock closed at just under $6 on Monday after falling off steadily for weeks. Tuesday’s movement has some Wall Street insiders speculating that D.E. Shaw, a $50 billion fund that pioneered the kind of quantitative trading that uses data like trade flows to make profits, might be experimenting with what Wall Street is calling “The Robinhood Rally.” “If D.E. Shaw is taking a passive stake in Kodak now, it’s because they want Robinhood traders to know they’re taking a passive stake in Kodak,” said one hedge fund manager, referring to the popular free trading app for millennials. “This is pretty funny, and it seems to have worked.” The hedge fund didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Furthering that speculation is the amount of Kodak stock that D.E. Shaw bought. The 13G form is only required when an entity takes a stake of 5 percent in a public company but does not plan to take an active role in that company. “Taking a 5.2 percent stake in Kodak is really useful if you want to be forced to publicly disclose that you did so,” said one fund manager. “This would be almost the minimum amount of stock you would buy to alert the day traders and make them think they learned it on their own.” A major theme of Wall Street’s summer has been the rising power of Regular Joe retail traders buying cheap stocks on no-fee trading apps like Robinhood, creating unanticipated market movements as larger firms execute those trades and then buy into the action.
Amazon said it plans to house more than 2,000 employees at Manhattan’s historic Lord & Taylor building under a nationwide expansion of its corporate offices. The Seattle-based e-tailing giant said Tuesday it will hire the workers to fill the landmark tower on Fifth Avenue over the next few years as it grows its Big Apple “tech hub” — a plan that looks like a bold bet on offices, even as the pandemic forces most of its employees to work from home. Still, Amazon said it won’t start moving into the new 630,000-square-foot Midtown office until 2023. The new staffers will join Amazon’s 800 other corporate and tech workers in New York City in supporting its advertising, devices, music, video-streaming, fashion and other businesses. The e-commerce colossus is also expanding its corporate offices in Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Phoenix and San Diego with plans to add about 1,500 jobs across those cities, according to a press release. “As we expand our tech hubs and continue to invest in communities across the country, we’re excited to be creating new jobs and investing in New York with a new office in Manhattan that will allow us to accommodate the organic growth of our business teams in the city,” Ardine Williams, Amazon’s vice president of workforce development, said in a statement. Amazon planned to bring thousands of staffers to the 11-story building at 424 Fifth Ave. when it acquired it for about $1.1 billion, The Post reported in March. WeWork had sought to turn the longtime home of bankrupt retailer Lord & Taylor’s flagship store into its own corporate headquarters, but scrapped the plans amid a slew of scandals that derailed its public offering. Amazon and other tech giants have let employees work from home amid lockdowns aimed at controlling the coronavirus pandemic, which has also driven a surge in demand for online shopping that’s led Amazon’s profits to explode. The company has said employees can work remotely until Jan. 8, but Williams told the Wall Street Journal most of its staffers will eventually return to work in person. Amazon did not answer The Post’s emailed questions about what will happen after January. Amazon unveiled its latest New York expansion about a year and a half after abandoning plans for a sprawling Queens campus that would have created 25,000 jobs in exchange for about $3 billion in tax breaks and grants. The company walked away after local officials and activists criticized the incentive package.
The group's insurance profit was down by 39.5 per cent to $741 million, impacted by higher reinsurance costs and greater claims payouts after the summer bushfires and hail storms across NSW, Victoria and Canberra. IAG reported it paid $904 million in natural perils claims, exceeding its revised guidance of $850 million and original allowance of $641 million, and chief executive Peter Harmer called for greater action on climate change, saying there was no doubt severe weather was negatively impacting the business. Loading "The high level of natural peril activity over the year underscores the importance of climate action, and the mitigation of its effects, to help make our communities safer, and we continue to advocate for businesses, government and communities to work together on this important issue," Mr Harmer said. The insurer's sliding profits were made worse by a "relatively severe hit" to investment income as a result of volatile market conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, compounded by the historically low interest rate environment. The sale of IAG's Indian business for $326 million meant it was able to claw back some profits but these gains were largely set back by a higher than expected customer remediation