The dollar edged lower against its rivals on Wednesday as investors weighed hopes for a swift economic recovery against fears about a resurgence in the pandemic, particularly in the United States. Noting the absence of major economic indicators during the session to set a trend, Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss, argued the dollar "is generally at the mercy of risk sentiment -- which seems to be taking a turn for the worse". The dollar is typically seen as a safe haven for investors to park their cash each time a resurgence of the pandemic seems to threaten a global economic recovery.
(Bloomberg) -- France’s new prime minister said he would back targeted restrictions to preserve the economy if the country is hit by a second wave of virus infections. Violence flared in Serbia, with Belgrade facing lockdown at the weekend.U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a plan to fund jobs for young people and cut a property tax to stimulate the virus-hit economy.The U.S. gave the United Nations one-year notice that it plans to exit the World Health Organization, and President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in retaliation for China’s handling of the coronavirus.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases top 11.8 million; deaths exceed 544,000U.S. plans a testing surge as latest virus data hints at shiftNew York City’s rental market is being pushed to breaking point.Cruise ships risk rusting away while sitting idleThese mistakes pushed an Australian city back into lockdownWhy ‘silent spreaders’ make the virus hard to beatSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.Merkel Calls for EU Solidarity to Tackle Virus Risks (7:32 a.m. NY)German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union needs to pull together to face the historic challenges stemming from the coronavirus crisis and changes threatening the bloc’s economic standing.“We stand before an unknown situation of economic collapse, the worry over jobs, and for this we need the right answer,” she said on Wednesday before a scheduled address to the European Parliament. “The money we want for reconstruction won’t just be invested just to get where we were but to take a step in the future.”Al Gore: Pandemic Can Spur Environmental Change (6:11 a.m. NY)The global pandemic may be what’s required to address the environmental crisis once and for all, says former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.Gore, chairman of $19.8 billion asset manager Generation Investment Management, said that the coronavirus is unlike anything before — a once-in-a generation opportunity to rethink, reset and redesign the global economy. “The data confirms the pandemic has triggered fundamental changes in consumer and social behavior, that’s matched by an acceleration in innovation by governments and businesses,” he said.Iran Death Toll Passes 12,000 (6:05 a.m. NY)Iran’s death toll from Covid-19 surpassed 12,000 as the country recorded 153 more deaths over the last 24 hours, down from a record high of 200 fatalities the day before. The number of infections rose by 2,691 to 248,379, with over 3,300 patients in intensive care units.Authorities made wearing face masks mandatory on public transit from last week as banks and government offices were instructed to refuse service to visitors without face coverings.U.K. Drops Tax Liability For Covid-19 Testing (5:41 p.m. HK)Third-party Covid-19 tests by employers will no longer be treated as a taxable benefit in kind, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said.The announcement came as Sunak prepared to unveil a 2 billion-pound ($2.5 billion) program to pay the wages of more than 200,000 young workers as he tries to pull the U.K. economy out of the deepest slump in centuries.Read More: Britain’s Economic Jedi Who Could Be Prime MinisterStimulus Deal Unlikely at EU Summit, Orban Says (5:23 p.m. HK)European Union leaders will probably fail to agree at a summit next week on a massive spending plan aimed at reviving their economies, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.Negotiations will be “very tough” and will likely need to continue throughout the summer, Orban said on Wednesday in an online panel discussion with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.Hong Kong Infections Fuel Resurgence Fears (5:20 p.m. HK)Hong Kong reported a second day of rising local infections, disrupting a long virus-free stretch that had allowed life in the Asian financial hub to largely return to normal.There were 19 new local coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, Department of Health official Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a briefing.“We are worried that there may be a major community outbreak because of so many unknown sources coming up, with new cases with unidentified source,” Chuang said.EU Needs Mandatory Virus Tracking App, Slovenia Says (4:52 p.m. HK)The European Union needs to make a virus-tracking digital application mandatory for citizens of the bloc as long as there’s no vaccine to treat the coronavirus, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said.An app is the only way to relax travel rules to help a devastated tourism industry while taking steps to prevent and prepare for a second wave of infection, Jansa said.Israel Defense Minister Gantz Enters Quarantine (4:34 p.m. HK)Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz has entered quarantine as a precautionary measure after coming into contact with a suspected coronavirus patient. Israel is in the midst of a renewed surge in virus cases after officials eased a lockdown.French PM Pledges to Protect Economy (3:37 p.m. HK)France’s new government would seek to preserve the economy should a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic force it to bring back lockdown measures, Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.“We won’t survive, economically and socially, an absolute and generalized lockdown,” Castex told BFM TV and RMC radio, adding that he advocated more targeted restrictions. Separately, France’s economy is expected to contract about 9% this year, statistics institute Insee said in a report.Earlier, director general for health Jerome Salomon said France must prepare for a second wave, urging people to wear masks and respect safe distances. Limiting travel could be one way to deal with a resurgence, Salomon said.Violence in Serbia Over Lockdown Plans (2:41 p.m. HK)Thousands of protesters clashed with police in Serbia’s capital of Belgrade late on Tuesday after President Aleksandar Vucic said the city will go into lockdown this weekend. The Balkan country of 7 million lifted one of Europe’s strictest lockdown regimes in May but a spike in new cases has filled hospitals to capacity.The situation in Belgrade is “alarming,” Vucic said. “Hospitals are literally packed.”Japan Bankruptcies Soar (2:31 p.m. HK)A growing number of Japanese businesses are failing amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some 780 Japanese firms filed for bankruptcy in June, 148% more than the prior month and the most this year, according to Tokyo Shoko Research Ltd.There were 94 pandemic-driven cases last month, bringing the total to 240 in the first half of the year, with sectors such as hotels and restaurants badly hit. Growing distress among businesses is in line with the record jump in bank loans and deposits in June, as companies continued to tap emergency credit facilities and hoard cash.Norway’s Economy Grows (2:25 p.m. HK)Norway’s economy expanded 2.4% in May from the previous month, the first increase since February, amid signs the government’s rapid response to containing the coronavirus pandemic is paying off. Though less than the 4.3% economists surveyed by Bloomberg had predicted, the data show Norway is coming back to life, after GDP shrank 4.7% in April and 6.9% in March.Norway was one of the first countries in Europe to impose a strict lockdown, and its decision to ramp up testing early helped bring the virus under control quickly.Tokyo New Cases Slow (2:22 p.m. HK)Tokyo confirmed 75 cases of coronavirus Wednesday, broadcaster TBS reported, the first time in a week cases were below 100.While fresh infections have prompted stricter measures in some places -- Melbourne has been locked down for the second time in four months, and Beijing recently confined whole neighborhoods to their homes -- Tokyo is taking a more muted approach, arguing that this time is different. A look at the data goes some way to back that up.Google, Amazon Funnel Millions to Virus Conspiracy Sites: Study (1:49 p.m. HK)Digital advertising platforms run by Google, Amazon.com Inc. and other tech companies will funnel at least $25 million to websites spreading misinformation about Covid-19 this year, according to a study released Wednesday.Google’s platforms will provide $19 million, or $3 out of every $4 that the misinformation sites get in ad revenue. OpenX, a smaller digital ad distributor, handles about 10% of the money, while Amazon’s technology delivers roughly $1.7 million, or 7%, of the digital marketing spending these sites will receive, according to a research group called the Global Disinformation Index.Germany’s Infection Rate Falls Further Below Key Threshold (1:24 p.m. HK)Germany’s coronavirus infection rate remained below the key threshold of 1.0, dropping to 0.81 on Tuesday from 0.97 the previous day.The country reported 279 new cases - and 10 fatalities - in the 24 hours through Wednesday morning, bringing the total caseload to 198,343, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That compares with an average of 432 in the last seven days and is significantly below the almost 7,000 recorded at the peak of the pandemic in late March.Mumbai Eases Rules on Testing (1:12 p.m. HK)Mumbai will no longer require a doctor’s prescription from people seeking a test for coronavirus, as India’s largest city and the epicenter of its outbreak has been criticized for only managing about 4,000 tests per day.India this week became the third-worst affected country in the world with 719,665 cases, with Mumbai seeing 86,509 infections. Municipal officials have said the relaxed guidelines aim to increase use of private labs that offer testing for a fee. Free testing at government facilities will still be limited to admitted patients.Virus May Deal Lasting Blow to U.S. Consumer Spending (12:50 p.m. HK)American consumers may not be prepared to return to pre-pandemic spending levels. More than 40% of people who spent money on movies, event tickets or at bars before the pandemic now plan to spend less on those activities, according to a new survey for CreditCards.com.Meanwhile, more than 60% of small businesses say they need spending to return to normal by the end of the year to stay open, according to American Express data.Victoria Outbreak Spreads to Australian Capital Territory (12:36 p.m. HK)The outbreak in Victoria state has spread to the Australian Capital Territory, which reported its first new cases of the virus in a month Wednesday.Two of the three people who tested positive arrived in the ACT from a Melbourne hotspot July 2, while the third is a household contact. They visited a shopping center and markets before being tested, and authorities are urging people who also visited those places to monitor themselves for symptoms.Apple will temporarily close all five of its stores in Victoria as stringent restrictions come into effect, Nine News Melbourne reports, citing an Apple spokesperson.Virus on the Retreat in Spain (12:33 p.m. HK)While Spain’s recent regional outbreaks — particularly in Catalonia — are worrying, the number of cases is going down in most of the country, Fernando Simon, the chief epidemiologist leading the government’s battle against Covid-19, told the Financial Times in an interview.Trump May Ban TikTok (12:06 p.m. HK)President Donald Trump said his administration is considering banning TikTok in the U.S. to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Trump’s comments on Tuesday came one day after Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said officials were looking at barring the app, whose parent company is China’s ByteDance Ltd.“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said when asked in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren about Pompeo’s remarks. “Look, what happened with China with this virus, what they’ve done to this country and to the entire world is disgraceful.”Trump said banning TikTok is “one of many” ways he is looking to hit back at the Beijing government over the virus.New Zealand Reviews Security After Quarantine Breach (11:36 a.m. HK)New Zealand officials are reviewing security at mandatory quarantine hotels after a man who tested positive for Covid-19 escaped and spent an hour wandering city streets.The man, who was under compulsory hotel quarantine, left the hotel’s outside smoking area when a fence was being replaced, visiting a grocery store before returning to the hotel, Health Minister Chris Hipkins told reporters. On Wednesday it was reported that the man had tested positive for the virus.New Zealand citizens who return from abroad face a mandatory 14-day quarantine period in isolation hotels. The man’s escape comes after a woman at another Auckland hotel climbed two fences last week before being apprehended.AirAsia’s Future in Doubt, Ernst & Young Warns (10:55 a.m. HK)AirAsia Group Bhd.’s ability to continue as a going concern may be in “significant doubt” because of the impact of coronavirus, auditor Ernst & Young said.The airline’s current liabilities already exceeded its current assets by 1.84 billion ringgit ($430 million) at the end of 2019, a year when it posted a 283 million ringgit net loss, Ernst & Young said in a statement to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange Wednesday. The financial performance and cash flow have now been further hit by virus-related travel restrictions.Japan to Skip Primary Surplus Target in Basic Policy: Jiji (10:52 a.m. HK)The Japanese government, which is compiling a policy document on economic and fiscal management, won’t directly refer to its target of achieving a primary surplus in fiscal 2025 as measures against coronavirus have increased the deficit, Jiji reports.NHK reports the government will seek to diversify supply chains of products whose parts are all produced in a single country, and will promote remote work to reduce the concentration of workplaces in the Tokyo area. The government hopes to gain cabinet approval of the policy next week.Aussie Banks Extend Loan Holiday as 800,000 Defer Payment (10:03 a.m. HK)Some of Australia’s biggest banks will extend loan-repayment deferrals for as long as four months.Customers will be contacted as they approach the end of the six-month deferral period, and those with reduced incomes and ongoing financial difficulty can be given extensions, the Australian Banking Association said in an emailed statement. Options will include extending the length of the loan and converting to interest-only payments.Australia Plans More Income Support (8:54 a.m. HK)Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the government will announce a “new phase” of income support for people affected by the coronavirus crisis when it hands down its economic and fiscal update later this month. Economists have warned of a looming fiscal cliff at the end of September, when the government’s flagship wage subsidy program known as Jobkeeper is due to expire.Beijing Records No New Cases for Second Day (8:42 a.m. HK)The capital city also reported zero new suspected or asymptomatic cases Tuesday, the Beijing Municipal Health Commission said in a statement.Duterte Cautious on Reopening (8:40 a.m. HK)Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will “have to be very circumspect in reopening the economy” given the recent spike in coronavirus cases.The firebrand leader said he can’t emulate the “devil-may-care attitude” of U.S. President Donald Trump or Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro because the Philippines is poor. “We cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium,” he said in an address aired Wednesday.His comments came after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and central bank Governor Benjamin Diokno both backed further easing of virus curbs to reignite an economy facing its deepest contraction in three decades.U.S. Plans Testing Surge in Three States (8:34 a.m. HK)The federal government is ramping up coronavirus testing in Louisiana, Texas and Florida as health officials attempt to get a firm grasp on how the fast-moving pandemic is evolving. Eight temporary testing sites will each perform as many as 5,000 free tests a day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said.Tokyo District Eyes Aid for Bars (8:13 a.m. HK)Tokyo’s Toshima ward, whose nightlife district has seen a spike in coronavirus infections, will provide financial aid to establishments that shut if clusters are discovered there, public broadcaster NHK reported.The ward is urging about 100 workers at 8 bars to take PCR tests to prevent further spread of the virus. The metropolitan government is considering providing the financial aid.Ann Taylor Owner Ascena Prepares Bankruptcy to Cut Debt (7:32 a.m. HK)Ascena Retail Group Inc., the owner of mall brands that occupy almost 3,000 stores in the U.S., is preparing to file for bankruptcy and shutter at least 1,200 of those locations, according to people with knowledge of the plan. The company, which owns brands such as Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, could enter Chapter 11 as soon as this week with a creditor agreement in place that eliminates around $700 million of its $1.1 billion debt load.More U.S. Baseball Teams Suspend Workouts (7:26 a.m. HK)The San Francisco Giants have suspended workouts due to delayed Covid-19 testing results, becoming the latest team to raise doubts about Major League Baseball’s reopening efforts.On Monday, the Washington Nationals, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals suspended their workouts, while the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks had to reschedule planned practices.New York City to Reopen Childcare Centers July 13 (7:20 a.m. HK)New York City will reopen 3,000 childcare centers as of July 13 after a vote by the Board of Health, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.Meanwhile, New York’s Long Island has been cleared to enter the fourth stage of reopening starting Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. The move applies to higher education, “low risk” arts and entertainment activities, media production and professional sports with no fans.Trump ‘Flexible’ on Convention Plans (6:45 a.m. HK)Trump signaled that he would be “flexible” about holding the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, if coronavirus cases continue to rise across the state, according to an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
China's Clover Biopharmaceuticals Inc has received $66 million in investment from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI) to bolster the testing of a potential COVID-19 vaccine, the global epidemic response group said on Wednesday. Last month, Clover became the sixth Chinese developer of a potential COVID-19 vaccine to move into human trials by launching a study in Australia to test its vaccine with boosters. The foundation said the funding aims to help produce hundreds of millions of doses of the potential vaccine per year and if the early stage trials are successful, it expects to provide "significant" additional support.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S.-China rivalry is shifting into new and unpredictable areas, engulfing everything from a popular video app to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub.The latest tensions are overshadowing a trade agreement in January that was meant to draw a line under the trade war and be a boon for business. Instead, differences between both powers are deepening right at a time when the world economy is facing its worst crisis since the Great Depression.This week alone, President Donald Trump said he is considering banning ByteDance Ltd.’s short video app TikTok as retaliation against China over its handling of the coronavirus. Some of his top advisers want the U.S. to undermine the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the greenback to punish China for recent moves to chip away at the former British colony’s political freedoms. There are even concerns over the visa status of hundreds of thousands of Chinese students who enroll at U.S. colleges and universities each year.China in turn has promised its own response, warning the U.S. and others to stop interfering in Hong Kong and other issues.“The Ice Age in relations is here to stay,” said Pauline Loong, managing director at research company Asia Analytica in Hong Kong and a veteran China watcher. “It will get much colder before there will be any thaw.”The economic backdrop could hardly be more stark, with the IMF estimating that by the end of this year 170 countries -- almost 90% of the world -- will have lower per capita income. That’s a reversal from January, when it predicted 160 countries would end the year with bigger economies and positive per capita income growth.The deepening divisions are forcing difficult decisions for global business. Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are at risk of the same fate in Hong Kong.Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government. It’s not yet clear how the authorities will respond to that lack of compliance with local rules.ByteDance’s TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the territory’s mobile stores altogether in the coming days. HSBC Holdings Plc, which draws more than two-thirds of its pretax income from Hong Kong, slumped in Hong Kong trading on Wednesday on fears it would lose out if the Trump administration moves ahead with any plan to punish banks in the city and destabilize the currency peg to the dollar.The expectations are that threats and counter threats will only ratchet up further ahead of the U.S presidential election in November, with little prospect of a near-term reset.“I don’t see any immediate circuit breaker,” said Fraser Howie, author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.” “Certainly not in the sense that there is a reset where everyone says ‘weren’t we all being foolish, let’s get back to being friends.’ I don’t see that coming any time soon.”And it’s not just the world’s two biggest economies being affected.India said it will ban 59 of China’s largest apps after a deadly Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops that killed 20 Indian soldiers. China warned the U.K. it will face “consequences” if it chooses to be a “hostile partner” after it emerged the government is preparing to begin phasing out the use of Huawei Technologies Co. equipment in the U.K.’s 5G telecommunications networks as soon as this year.Since April, China has imposed crippling tariffs on Australia’s barley industry, halted beef imports from four meat plants and urged its tourists and students to avoid going to the nation due to the risk of attacks from racists. The government in Canberra had earlier called for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus.While economists said it’s unlikely that the U.S. would follow through on its threat against the Hong Kong dollar, given the risk of damage to U.S. banks and companies, even the discussion of such a move is unnerving for confidence.“It is a nuclear option, which could result in a financial crisis for Hong Kong, as well as considerable collateral damage for U.S. banks and investors,” said Kevin Lai, chief economist for Asia excluding Japan at Daiwa Capital Markets. “It is not impossible, but we think it is unlikely to happen.”What Bloomberg’s Economists SayThe Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the U.S. currency, in our view, looks as solid as ever. Increasing tensions between China and the U.S. -- most recently fueled by a national security law imposed on the city by China last week -- have fueled speculation that the peg’s days could be numbered. We doubt it. The reasons are straight forward: Hong Kong appears to have the will -- and it certainly has the means -- to keep the peg. Any move by the U.S. to try to force a decoupling strikes us as extremely unlikely, given the prohibitively heavy costs. --David Qu, economistClick here to read the full reportThe idea of striking against the Hong Kong dollar peg -- perhaps by limiting the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy U.S. dollars -- has been raised as part of broader discussions among advisers to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and hasn’t been elevated to the senior levels of the White House, Bloomberg News reported.“There is a fast evolving realignment of forces happening,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia Pacific economist with Natixis SA. “The spiraling threat will remain with us at least until the U.S. election and, very likely, also afterwards. It is just a new paradigm.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Sterling was steady at $1.2545 and at 89.96 pence against the euro on Wednesday, a day after hitting three-week highs against both currencies, ahead of expected British moves to prevent a full-blown unemployment crisis. In his new budget speech, due at 1130 GMT, British finance minister Rishi Sunak is expected to include a 2 billion-pound fund to create six-month work placement jobs for unemployed 16-24 year-olds. Sunak is also expected to cut property purchase taxes which could jump-start the housing market and to allocate 3 billion pounds to improve the energy efficiency of homes which would support more than 100,000 jobs.
Thailand expects to delay plans for so-called travel bubbles given a resurgence in coronavirus infections in countries that had managed to contain the initial outbreak, a senior official told Reuters on Wednesday. Thailand partially lifted a three-month ban on foreign visitors this month and had been planning to further boost tourism, a key contributor to its economy, by creating travel bubbles later in the year with countries like Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong that had managed to contain the virus. "The travel bubble that was going to begin in the fourth quarter could be delayed," he added.
> Business Insider has partnered with CQU to help further your career. »There are upsides to revisiting uni when you're further along in life.For one, you'll likely have a clearer direction than you did fresh out of high school, and people who continue their studies after being in the workforce tend to have an actual goal in mind.The ultimate challenge, at least in the past, was how to successfully balance full-time study with a full-time career. Do you put your entire life on hold, potentially sacrificing your career trajectory, to go back and study? Can you afford to study again, with MBAs costing an average of $58,000 in 2020? Should you risk your current wage to progress further?These are all valid questions that universities have made steps to address and solve, with CQUniversity Australia leading the charge. 1\. Fewer overheads can mean affordable pricingGenerally, online courses can cost the same as their on-campus counterparts, however, with CQUniversity's online MBA (Leadership), they've circumnavigated many of the overheads associated with traditional course delivery, reducing the administration and course costs that come with timetabling of lecturers, rooms and equipment, making the entire process far more affordable.Depending on the type of MBA you are considering, you could be looking at other Australian MBA’s ranging in cost from $37,000 through to $100,000, so the price tag of $17,000 for a quality MBA is much more affordable and won’t break the bank. Plus, there are options to pay upfront, as-you-go, or access the FEE-HELP loan scheme if eligible. 2\. More flexibility than a standard courseRemoving the need to commute to and from uni is a massive advantage for people who need to keep their schedule flexible, and, since working from home has proven to be more successful than initially predicted, there's no reason to suggest that the success rate can't be translated to studying from home, too.CQUni’s MBA (Leadership) takes online learning a step further, providing all course content (including readings) from a single mobile-friendly platform, in sessions designed to take 30-40 minutes. 3\. The day of the deadline can cease to existOne of the most enticing aspects, though, is that CQUni's online MBA (Leadership) course has removed assessment deadlines, allowing you to complete the course in as little as 12-18 months or up to five years – and for the naturally tardy, that's music to their ears.Granted, deadlines can be a great motivation for completing work that'd otherwise slip by the wayside, but as long as you create a study schedule that works for you with self-set deadlines, there's no reason that you'd become more complacent than if you were doing a course that would punish you for late submissions. 4\. It decreases the risk of burnoutAt the crux of it, online studying allows for the unpredictable nature of life and you won’t be penalised for taking your time, which is much more reflective of reality than your standard uni semester.The flexibility of the course allows you to move at your own pace and maintain your current full-time position without risking very real burnout – additionally, you can also pause or fast-track your workload to study around social and family commitments or if you're required to log some last-minute overtime.“The student is in the driver’s seat. I decided when I wanted to study, what I wanted to study and best of all when I wanted to submit my assessments. There are no semesters, so once I completed a subject, I could move straight onto the next which worked great for my lifestyle,” said MBA (Leadership) graduate Susan Morey. 5\. The benefits can be immediateThere are numerous MBA options to choose from which align to different student goals. Some students have their sights set on world domination, while others complete an MBA with a comparatively modest desire to further progress in their current role or obtain new skills that will give them leverage when applying for more senior positions. The MBA (Leadership) focusses on the key elements of leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students the know-how to lead a business into growth, and the course units can be completed in any order allowing students to immediately benefit from implementing what they have learned into everyday work life. 6\. Networking opportunities can ariseReturning to uni alongside like-minded students can open numerous doors as, when it comes down to it, life after the age of 21 is 90% networking. You could connect with people who work in an industry or for a company that you've always fancied, and just like that you've found your next career venture.“Although the course is completely online, I was able to connect with other students to meet people from completely different fields and backgrounds. In the 21st century, networking is no longer confined to a classroom – group forums and social networks are just as accessible wherever you are. I am still involved in a group chat where we have lively discussions," Morey explains.If you are looking to accelerate your career as a successful, transformational leader you can read up on the MBA (Leadership) here.
> Business Insider has partnered with the Glen Grant to rally behind artists. »Despite the gradual ease of lockdown restrictions across Australia, with cafes and pubs reopening under strict new guidelines, the creative industries are still, for the most part, closed until further notice.Cinemas, theatres, museums and galleries haven't been in operation since March 22, further straining the financial situation of thousands of creative industry workers who have yet to receive government assistance.Although cinemas will be able to open in some states as early as June 8, with a slower reopening slated for museums, theatres and galleries, much of the damage has already been done.In these uncertain times, creatives have managed to see the silver lining in their current predicament, with photographers Rhys Tattersall and Jona Grey using their waining work schedules to upskill or focus on other creative endeavours.As a photographer who predominantly works for the travel industry, Grey was almost immediately relegated to contract work from a full-time position, while Tattersall's workload came to a screeching halt following the lockdowns.Their current situation is hardly sustainable long-term, and, seeing as arts has been hit the hardest by COVID-19, with a mere 47% of the industry still in partial operation, there are things that we as consumers of art can do to help get Australia's cultural hub get back on its feet (without necessarily having to provide monetary assistance)."The best thing anyone can do is obviously to support local, to which I’m probably repeating what has been said by so many other people," Tattersall explains. "Most of the time someone might feel pressured to buy something to support local or support your mate, - it doesn’t have to be the case though."A simple share or link to your friends' art or website goes a long way. While buying something is one way to support artists, it’s not always realistic," he suggests."Sometimes a simple share or recommendation by word of mouth means just as much to me. I’d say this is relevant both during and post-pandemic - it’s a good way to continue to support creatives if you’re not in a position to purchase their work."It's true that most other industries are not exactly thriving through the pandemic, so urging those who may also be struggling financially to open their wallets would be incredibly short-sighted.Grey echoes Tattersall's sentiment around word of mouth being the superior alternative: "This goes for a lot of industries but word of mouth is such an underrated tool. An easy way to support photographers (and creatives in general) is by sharing their work and recommending them - my biggest clients have come through recommendation."It's a two-way street in many ways, as businesses will also be feeling the financial pressure and will likely be looking to cut down on advertising to help ride this pandemic out. So, Grey recommends working together - artists and brands - to come to an agreement that will financially benefit both parties involved."Businesses in need of marketing collateral (especially during and post-covid) can reach out to local photographers, designers and videographers," Grey explains."Brands can state their budget, however modest, and the creative should be able to let them know what they can offer. Some deals can even be made via an exchange of goods."Of course, if you do have the means, there are purchases you can make - such as online courses - that will help you upskill while also sending some coin the artists' way in the process."Consumers can support their favourite creators by buy purchasing prints, digital products like presets and online courses," Grey offers.If you want to read up on how photographers like Jona Grey and Rhys Tattersall are fairing during the pandemic (or if you just want to see their work), you can head here.
* Australians have taken out more than $1 billion a day since the second round of super withdrawals kicked off on July 1. * Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Wednesday that $7.1 billion had been withdrawn so far. * It would bring the scheme total to around $27 billion, with three months left to run. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *Treating the start of a new financial year like a starter's gun, Australians are rushing to get hold of another chunk of retirement savings.The passing of July 1 means Australians are able to withdraw another $10,000 from their super funds, with no shortage of applications flooding in.Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed on Wednesday that $7.1 billion has been withdrawn in the very first week of the new financial year, amounting to a little over $1 billion every single day."Up to $10,000 last financial year, up to $10,000 this financial year. [It's] tax-free and it’s the people’s money and this money should be put to good use," he told 2GB this morning."We have some ABS payroll data that shows over 55% of the spending from that $10,000 that has been early accessed, has gone towards discretionary items that the people need, including paying their rent, and over 30% has gone to paying loans," he said. "Obviously that puts people in a better financial position overall as well."The latest update brings the total withdrawn under the scheme to around $27 billion, or just $2 billion shy of government forecasts.It comes despite the economy being in markedly better shape than thought at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, and with temporary workers excluded from the second round. With three months yet to run, and with most of last financial year's 2.36 million approved applicants now able to make a second withdrawal, it's expected the actual figures will blow past those estimates.It's no wonder. As Business Insider Australia reported, hundreds of thousands of Australians may have accessed their super despite being ineligible, and would hardly have figured in the government's calculations.Some have defended themselves doing so by enacting the very phrase by which the Treasurer used to describe the scheme: "It's the people's money".For more than half a million people, it is in fact all the retirement money they have.Whatever their intent, the figures from the last financial year show that nearly one in five Australian workers took all their money given the chance to do so.Granted another opportunity, many will again.
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc., Google and Twitter Inc. -- all of which are blocked in the mainland -- are now headed toward a showdown with China that could end up making Hong Kong feel more like Beijing.Hours after Hong Kong announced sweeping new powers to police the internet on Monday night, those companies plus the likes of Microsoft Corp. and Zoom Video Communications Inc. all suspended requests for data from the Hong Kong government. ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok, which has Chinese owners, announced it would pull its viral video app from the territory’s mobile stores in the coming days even as President Donald Trump threatened to ban it in the U.S.Their dilemma is stark: Bend to the law and infuriate Western nations increasingly at odds with China over political freedoms, or simply refuse and depart like Google did in China a decade ago over some of the very same issues. Much like that seismic event shook the mainland in 2010, Big Tech’s reaction now could have a much wider impact on Hong Kong’s future as a financial hub -- potentially sparking an exodus of professionals and businesses.“Google is pretty important to people here, and if that’s cut off then it’s really extremely serious,” said Richard Harris, a former director at Citi Private Bank who now runs Port Shelter Investment Management in Hong Kong. “In Hong Kong we don’t know where the boundaries are, and that’s threatening to a lot of business people.”Over the past week, Hong Kong authorities have begun explaining how they’ll enforce a law that officials in Beijing called a “sword of Damocles” hanging over China’s most strident critics. The legislation, which sparked the threat of sanctions from the Trump administration and outrage elsewhere, has had a chilling effect on pro-democracy protesters who demonstrated for months last year while also raising fresh questions for businesses.On Monday night, the Hong Kong government announced sweeping new police powers, including warrant-less searches, property seizures and online surveillance. If a publisher fails to immediately comply with a request to remove content deemed in breach of the law, police can seek a warrant to “take any action” to remove it while also demanding “the identification record or decryption assistance.”“We are absolutely headed for a showdown, and there are no indications that the Hong Kong government is particularly prepared if Facebook or another company refuses a removal request,” said James Griffiths, a journalist and author of “The Great Firewall: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet.” “These companies appear to have realized that there is no compromise they could make that would truly satisfy Beijing or make them seem trustworthy. This could make them more willing to stand up against Chinese censorship in Hong Kong.”American internet giants have made overtures toward Beijing in recent years as the market exploded, but few have so far actually acceded to China’s censorship framework.Of the rare examples, Microsoft’s LinkedIn censors content to allow it to operate a Chinese version, while Apple Inc. complies with local regulations in policing its app store and other services. Reports that Google entertained the notion of returning -- via potentially a censored version of search called Project Dragonfly -- enraged lawmakers and its own employees torpedoed the idea.Worldwide CensorshipTwitter and Facebook have never been consistently available in China, but Mark Zuckerberg also flirted with Beijing before abandoning the notion as regulatory scrutiny and a user backlash grew at home. In both instances, external factors helped scupper the feasibility of operating in the world’s No. 2 economy.“I worked hard to make this happen. But we could never come to agreement on what it would take for us to operate there, and they never let us in,” he said last year in a speech at Georgetown University. “And now we have more freedom to speak out and stand up for the values we believe in and fight for free expression around the world.”Still, the internet heavyweights are already censoring content across the world for both authoritarian regimes and western democracies, according to Ben Bland, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia. After a mass shooting last March in Christchurch, New Zealand, top social media companies joined with more than 40 countries in a concerted call to end the spread of extremist messaging online.Germany has banned online Nazi and right-wing extremist content, and most countries have blocks in place against online pornography and criminal activity. In Thailand, strict lese majeste laws lead to censorship of content deemed offensive to the royal family, while Communist-run Vietnam expunges anything deemed “anti-state.”Reputational DamageBig tech companies must gauge the importance of the markets in China and Hong Kong with possible reputational damage in other places they operate, according to Stuart Hargreaves, a law professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong who researches surveillance and privacy issues.“I do not expect to see the Great Firewall extended from mainland China to Hong Kong, at least in the medium term,” he said. “It is not necessary for Beijing’s goal of tamping down certain sentiments and would be the obvious end of Hong Kong as a global city and its particular role as an Asian finance hub.”The exit of TikTok, the viral video app that has insisted it operates independently of Beijing, could actually benefit the Communist Party by removing a forum pro-democracy protesters have used to post videos calling for an independent Hong Kong. Last year, demonstrators used the Reddit-like forum LIHKG as well as Telegram to organize leaderless protests.TikTok on Tuesday played up its U.S. ties while pushing back against comments by U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who said the government is considering a ban of the short video app. Trump later said the move may be one possible way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus.“We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked,” a TikTok spokesperson said, adding that it’s led by an American CEO.Platforms like Telegram that provide end-to-end encryption could become increasingly popular, said Joyce Nip, senior lecturer in Chinese Media Studies at the University of Sydney. Telegram said it has never shared data with Hong Kong authorities, adding that it doesn’t have servers in the territory and doesn’t store data there. Signal has become the most-downloaded messaging app in the city, topping the communications category in Apple’s and Google’s mobile app stores.‘Knife Edge’Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, didn’t answer a question Tuesday on her response to tech companies that stopped processing data requests from her government. Still, she played down any long-term impact on the city’s position as a financial hub around the same time that Pompeo released a statement blasting the Communist Party’s “Orwellian censorship” in Hong Kong.There “has been an increasing appreciation of the positive effect of this national security legislation, particularly in restoring stability in Hong Kong as reflected by some of the market sentiments in recent days,” Lam said a day after local stocks entered a bull market. “Surely this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong.”The regulations stemmed from a new national security committee created by the law that includes Lam and Luo Huining, Beijing’s top official in the city. While China’s leaders know Hong Kong needs a free flow of information to function as a world-class financial center, “much seems to rest in the hands of the few newly empowered bureaucrats who will police the new laws,” according to Steve Vickers, chief executive officer of Steve Vickers and Associates, a political and corporate risk consultancy.“Foreign firms are on something of a knife edge here, caught between their natural affinity with freedom of information and their commercial desire to operate in the huge Chinese market,” said Vickers, a former head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Criminal Intelligence Bureau. “It is now more a matter of what is actually done, as opposed to what is being said -- by either China or the foreign IT companies -- that will be the key.”(Updates with Signal’s rise in the 19th paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Asian stocks dithered on Wednesday as an increase in coronavirus cases in some parts of the world undermined prospects for a quick economic recovery while oil prices eased on oversupply fears. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up but was still lower than a 4-1/2-month high reached just on Tuesday. Australian shares ended 1.5% lower on renewed fears about the coronavirus pandemic after a rise in cases in the country's second biggest city.
The dollar held onto gains on Wednesday as a resurgence of the coronavirus in the United States and the return of lockdowns in some countries boosted safe-haven demand for the U.S. currency. Risk sentiment was also undermined after Federal Reserve officials expressed concern that rising coronavirus cases could harm economic growth just as stimulus measures start to expire. Other Asian currencies straddled narrow ranges as a resurgence of coronavirus cases threatened a return of lockdown restrictions, leaving investors fretting about the mounting economic costs of the pandemic.
(Bloomberg) -- A six-week lockdown across metropolitan Melbourne is likely to affect sales and profits for some of Australia’s biggest firms as the nation battles a growing coronavirus outbreak in Victoria state, according to analysts.Victoria’s government said from midnight Wednesday people in the nation’s second-most populous city must stay home except for work, essential services, medical treatment or school -- returning to curbs that were lifted weeks ago across the country. The re-imposed shutdown could cost the economy A$1 billion ($695 million) a week, Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday.“Since March, the majority of Victorians will have spent more time in lockdown than not when restrictions next ease in August,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote. “The consumer response will be important to watch.”The Mistakes That Pushed an Australian City Back Into LockdownSydney Airport and Transurban Group are among the stocks most affected, according to RBC Capital Markets. Along with the closure of the shared border between New South Wales and Victoria, the curbs will delay a revival of domestic travel for the airport, the analysts wrote. For toll operator Transurban, the stay-at-home measures could result in a 25-30% decline in Melbourne traffic during this half of the year from the same period in 2019.Victoria’s daily coronavirus infection count reached a new state record of 191 on Tuesday, taking the national tally to 8,755 cases with 106 deaths, the latter putting it on par with Maine, one of the least-affected U.S. states.The lockdown could also hamper an earnings recovery for private hospital operator Ramsay Health Care Ltd., J.P. Morgan analysts said. The rise in virus cases has already prompted Melburnians to cancel surgeries, making it unclear whether the company’s Victoria operations could rebound this quarter. The state government is also likely to announce limits for elective surgeries in the coming days, the analysts added.Elsewhere in the health sector, pathology providers such as Healius Ltd. could see fewer patients as people put off medical appointments, according to Jefferies Financial Group Inc. About a quarter of the company’s revenue is estimated to come from Victoria, the analysts said.Credit Suisse Group AG downgraded Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. to neutral amid uncertainty around operating performance. The broker said the short-term impact of the Victoria lockdown was “concerning” given that half of the company’s sales come from shops that aren’t grocery stores, and the state represents about a fifth of national beverage consumption.(Updates with Jefferies analysis in penultimate paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- This season, like almost 90% of Australian rice growers, Rob Massina decided to skip planting the grain on his land near the tiny town of Jerilderie, about four hours north of Melbourne.For the president of the Australian Ricegrowers’ Association, low water allocations and years of severe drought meant conditions were too dry to sow the crop on his property at the southern end of the Murray-Darling Basin.“A lot of the towns in this part of the world have been built on rice,” said Massina. “It’s a way of life for the southern Riverina and it’s currently got its challenges,” he said, referring to the name of the local region.Australian rice planting and output have slumped more than 90% since the 2017-18 season. Its national 2019-20 crop is expected to be 57,000 tons, the second-smallest output on record and the lowest since the 2007-08, according to a June report from government forecaster Abares.Though Australia has always been reliant on imports for certain varieties that can’t be grown locally, like Basmati, its supermarkets may be entirely without local supplies by the end of 2020, according to Rob Gordon, chief executive of SunRice, which buys about 98% of domestic output and supplies local and export markets. The company has a global appetite for about 1.4 million tons a year, meaning Australian production is meeting only a sliver of that demand.“We’re already supplementing from Thailand and Cambodia,” Gordon said, for fragrant and long grain rice. “As we start running out of domestic supply of our other varieties, we’ll start opening up supply chains from elsewhere around the world. We’re bringing in rice from Uruguay at the moment,” he said by phone.Rice represents only a tiny fragment of Australia’s agriculture industry, and the country is a small player in global trade. However, shrinking supplies of locally grown rice were thrown into focus earlier this year when Covid-19 panic buying saw shoppers strip grocery shelves of everything from rice to flour and pasta.The government has reassured residents that their food supply is secure -- the country of 25 million produces enough food for 75 million and imports only 11% of food and drink by value -- but rice remains a gap in domestic production.That could create issues amid global food protectionism as governments start trimming exports in order to shore up domestic supply, Gordon said.“I believe strongly in international trade but of course during Covid, we saw in April the Vietnamese borders closed to rice exports and they are about the third-largest exporter of rice in the world. We saw India not shut its borders, but with a lockdown of its population they were unable to export large volumes of rice, and they are the biggest exporter. And we saw Cambodia and Myanmar follow Vietnam’s lead,” Gordon said. “It just puts more risk there.”Water PoliciesGordon and Massina cite government water allocation policies in the Murray-Darling Basin as a key issue for the future security of production, with rice often less profitable than other crops and therefore less likely to be planted.When water does become available, the first priority on his mixed-enterprise farm has to be the livestock, said Massina. For other producers, almonds and other horticultural products have taken priority over rice. “What the water-policy setting seems to be doing is favoring water going to only the very highest return, which is almonds at the moment,” said Gordon.Government forecaster Abares said in June water allocations vary from year to year based on seasonal conditions and farmers can choose how to use them.In May, Abares described Australian rice production as “highly variable and opportunistic,” based on agricultural prices and water availability, and said international trade is a good way to meet consumer preferences. Current low production is not a cause for food security concern, as the world has ample supplies and any protectionism is likely to be short-lived, it added.“Introducing domestic market interventions and failing to support open trade would disadvantage consumers, and could prejudice Australia’s market access negotiations for other agricultural products,” Abares said.With early rainfall, prospects are better for the next growing season. Massina will later this year look at water availability and decide whether to plant a rice crop. Overall, he said the future of the Australian rice industry will depend “on whether Australian consumers want Australian rice on supermarket shelves.”“We’re getting down to the bottom of the cupboard in terms of Australian rice supplies,” he said.(Updates to add quote in 12th paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Shares in Malaysia's AirAsia Group Bhd <AIRA.KL> tumbled more than 17% on Wednesday in their biggest daily fall after the auditor cast doubt on the budget carrier's ability to continue as a going concern due to the coronavirus travel slump. Auditors EY issued an audit opinion stating the airline's 2019 earnings were prepared on a going concern basis, which is dependent upon a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the success of fundraising efforts. AirAsia said in response that Malaysia's stock exchange had granted it 12 months relief from being classified as a financially distressed firm, a classification that would require it to submit a business improvement plan.
(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson warned Germany’s Angela Merkel that the U.K. is ready to do without a trade deal if the European Union wasn’t prepared to compromise.The prime minister spoke to the chancellor Tuesday, as Brexit negotiators held informal talks over a private dinner. Negotiations are stuck over questions including fishing rights, the future influence of EU courts in U.K. laws, and how far Britain will be able to loosen its rules and still enjoy access to the single market.“The prime minister underlined the U.K.’s commitment to working hard to find an early agreement out of the intensified talks process,” Johnson’s office said in a statement later. “He also noted that the U.K. equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if an agreement could not in the end be reached.”“Australia terms” is how the U.K. government refers to not having a trade deal. Johnson promised voters at last year’s election that he had an “oven-ready” Brexit deal. The transition period during which trade continues as though the U.K. was still an EU member runs out at the end of 2020. If agreement can’t be reached, both sides face a further economic shock on top of the damage already done by coronavirus.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Japan's Nikkei share average edged lower on Wednesday, tracking Wall Street's overnight losses, as investors monitored a rise in new virus cases across the world that could derail a nascent economic recovery. New coronavirus cases continue to climb globally, with California reporting a record rise for a single day and Australia's second-biggest city Melbourne re-imposing lockdown measures on Tuesday. On the domestic front, capital Tokyo has been registering fresh cases exceeding 100, but Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Wednesday a new state of emergency for the coronavirus is not needed.
* The Australian National University is conducting an Australian first trial to see whether fleets of electrical vehicles can be used as a backup for failures on a power grid. * The trial will include 50 ACT government Nissan LEAF EVs, allowing their batteries to power the grid. * Research lead Dr Bjorn Sturmberg said in a statement, "If all of Australia's 19 million vehicles were electric, they would store more energy than five Snowy 2.0s." * Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.* * *The Australian National University (ANU) is working on an Australian first trial to determine whether batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) can be used as back-up power for the electricity grid.The trial comes as part of the Realising Electric Vehicles-to-grid Services (REVS) project, which aims to check how feasible vehicle-to-grid (V2G services) are. The two-year project received $2.4 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)'s Advanced Renewables Program. And it involves a group of organisations across the transport and electricity supply chain including Nissan, ActewAGL, Evoenergy, Sgfleet, JET Charge, the ACT Government and of course, ANU.ANU's team is researching the technical, social and economic aspects of V2G services. Their study will involve 50 ACT government Nissan Leaf EVs and one ActewAGL Nissan Leaf EV, allowing their batteries to give power into the grid to prevent blackouts almost instantly.Research lead Dr Bjorn Sturmberg, from the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at ANU, said in a statement the ultra-fast reactions of EV batteries make them very good at balancing the grid."One EV battery typically contains as much energy as an average household uses over two-to-four days and can react to events in a tenth of a second," he said. "If all of Australia's 19 million vehicles were electric, they would store more energy than five Snowy 2.0s, or over 10,000 Tesla Big Batteries."Tesla first built its battery in South Australia back in 2017. While it initially had the capacity to store 100 megawatts, that figure was since increased to 150 megawatts under an expansion plan announced in 2019.Sturmberg added that the ANU project has the potential to create a more resilient energy system."We know V2G works in the lab but we need to demonstrate the reliability and viability of V2G services in the real world at scale," he said. "We need to prove the control, coordination, and cybersecurity of the technology systems, as well as the crucial business and regulatory models to make V2G attractive to all stakeholders."But before field testing, the team is using the grid simulation facility at ANU.According to the Electric Vehicle Council 6,718 EVs were sold in Australia during 2019, a major increase from 2,216 in 2018.
* The Morrison government is considering new economic support as it looks to cut the $70 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy program. * On Wednesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg revealed that the fast-tracking of personal tax cuts is on the table. * Frydenberg also said a new income support program was on its way and would be announced during his budget update to be handed down on July 23. * Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.* * *As the pandemic winds on, the Morrison government is looking to a new set of policies to see Australia through its first recession in nearly thirty years.On Wednesday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave the first indication of what the next generation of coronavirus relief might look like, as the Coalition tries to ween workers off the $70 billion JobKeeper program.Personal tax cuts could be the first carrot on offer, with Frydenberg indicating Treasury will consider fast-tracking the stage two cuts originally scheduled for July 1, 2022. "We are looking at that issue and the timing of those tax cuts because we do want to boost aggregate demand, boost consumption, put more money in people's pockets, and that's one way to do it," he told ABC Breakfast, noting the Victorian lockdowns could cost the economy $1 billion a week.The second stage of cuts, legislated well before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, could be hauled forward to this financial year.Under the current arrangements, income up to $41,000 is taxed at 19.5%, with income up to $90,000 taxed at 32.5%. These thresholds would be lifted to $45,000 and $120,000 respectively under stage two of the cuts.Under the third stage of cuts, currently slated for 2024, all income between $41,000 and $200,000 will be taxed at a flat rate of 32.5%.The second policy broached by the Treasurer on Wednesday looks to be more significant, but also less clear at this stage.The Treasurer indicated "another phase of income support" was to be announced as part of the budget update which will be be handed down on July 23."It will be targeted, it will be temporary and will be designed to get help to people who need it most," he said in a separate interview with ABC Radio. It comes on the same day the country's banks made a renewed commitment they would continue to freeze repayments on mortgage and business loans until January for those customers who need it.With both the $70 billion JobKeeper program and boosted JobSeeker payment scheduled to end in September, the government has to this point done little to allay concerns the country is headed for a "fiscal cliff" when they wind up.Frydenberg's 23 July budget update will be the first formal overview of where Australia's economy is at in months, after the May Budget was scrapped due to the substantial uncertainty created by the coronavirus.The breadcrumb trail the Treasurer laid out on Wednesday marks the first real suggestion that further economic help is on its way.Where that trail leads exactly is yet to be determined.