Hey gang. Friday's here.
1. Yesterday brought news the ASX had rocketed past 7,000 points for the first time, on the back of the US-China trade deal. Now some investors are a unsettled. Some leading investors believe the boost, supported by record low interest rates, isn't supported by earnings in an economy growing below-trend.
2. There's trouble afoot in Australia's business lobby. According to a report in the SMH this morning, the chief executive of mining giant Rio Tinto, Jean-Sebastien Jacques, has pressured the Business Council of Australia to update its climate change policies. Rio Tinto has positioned itself as pro-climate action in recent years, divesting from coal and providing 'green' aluminium product. The BCA, on the other hand, remains pretty steadfast in dodging significant climate action wherever possible – and it has faced heat from major members including Telstra for that stance.
3. Deep in its skunkworks, the RBA has been working on a digital version of the Australian dollar. In its submission to a Senate commission, the RBA said its innovation lab is working on a digital currency denominated in dollars. It isn't a cryptocurrency (it's not based on the blockchain) and the RBA says its unlikely it will ever be released to the public. Instead, it could be used to facilitate transactions between banks and businesses.
4. We all saw the unsettling images of tennis players at the Australian Open struggling to breathe through the bushfire smoke. We spoke to organisers about what they plan to do if these conditions persist. “While the conditions we are currently facing are unusual and problematic, we are confident we will again deliver a world-class Australian Open," they said.
5. Wildly popular short-form video platform TikTok is hiring up in Australia. The company, owned by Chinese outfit ByteDance, has posted a number of job ads for roles in Sydney including head of content and operations, head of communications, and legal counsel. TikTok had a great year in 2019 – amid some controversy – and it seems they're trying to build a content and ad operation down under.
6. Local Mexican fast food chain Guzman y Gomez has opened its first store in the United States, in a suburb of Chicago. You may wonder why America, home of Tex-Mex cuisine, needs an Australian outlet to come in and shake things up, but there you go. “We both grew up in New York and it’s always been our dream to bring the brand back to the U.S. We have looked at sites all over the U.S. for a number of years, and we were really particular about it because we knew our first restaurant in the U.S. had to be special,” founder Steven Marks said. Seeing a Guzman location in the snow is a truly jarring experience.
7. You may have noted the US and China signed an interim trade deal with China this week. You could slog through all 94 pages, or you could read this easy summary of what's in there – and what isn't.
8. Also in the world of DEALS: EU's trade chief Phil Hogan says it's "just not possible" for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree a Brexit trade deal by the end of 2020. This contrasts with what Johnson claims. The prime minister has promised that it is “epically likely” the UK will secure a full, comprehensive trade agreement in the next 11 months. “Prime Minister Johnson has decided that he wants to have everything concluded by the end of the year," trade chief Phil Hogan said. "It’s just not possible."
9. One of the most anticipated entertainment releases of 2020, video game "Cyberpunk 2077", was just delayed significantly. Originally slated for release in April, it has been pushed back to September. The developer says it requires more time to "finish playtesting, fixing and polishing." The game was originally announced all the way back in 2012.
10. Controversy continues to swirl around an extremely powerful shoe. No, really. The man and woman who hold the marathon world records both compete in Nike Vaporfly shoes, and the organisation which oversees international running events is considering whether to ban them. World Athletics’ current rules say running shoes can’t confer any “unfair assistance or advantage” and have to be “reasonably available” to everyone. But the organisation doesn’t define those standards more specifically. The secret to the Vaporflys is its sole technology helps runners lose less energy per step.
Behold: A Tesla activating 'Sentry Mode' on two blokes who were kicking its charging port. Amusing.