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China, privacy advocate

Good morning! Greater Sydney's lockdown restrictions tightened again on Friday with Premier Gladys Berejiklian warning "that things are going to get worse before they get better", with 77 new cases declared on Sunday.

There was also another meeting of the national cabinet, where South Australia's 14-day home quarantine pilot was green-lit and all states and territories – except Victoria 🤷‍♂️ – agreed to introduce public health orders to force aged care workers to get vaccinated.

Finally, a new military-inspired 'arm yourself' national vaccination campaign (💤) launched over the weekend to coincide with an expected rise in Pfizer doses to about one million a week from 19 July.

Markets

Weekly % change

AUD/USD

74.3

-0.5%

10Y Bond

1.38

-4.2%

ASX200

7,252

-0.8%

Brent (bbl)

75.6

-0.8%

Gold (oz)

1,809

+1.5%

Iron ore (t)

205.0

+0.7%

Bitcoin

33,916

+0.1%

Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract.

All three major US indices notched fresh record highs on Friday, with the S&P500 (+1.13%) marking its sixth week of gains in the past seven. Local markets were far less sanguine, with a tightening of Sydney's lockdown and the possibility it will be extended again condemning the ASX200 (-0.93%) to its worst session in nearly three weeks.

China's gradual taper: Total social financing (TSF) – essentially the amount of credit flowing to the Chinese economy – was 15.3% lower in the year to June compared to this stage in 2020, as authorities continue to ease off the stimulus pedal. We say ease because year-to-date TSF in June was still 20.9% higher than at that point in 2019, so there's still plenty of juice flowing.

Canada reopening: The Canadian economy added 263,900 part-time positions in June – effectively back to pre-pandemic levels – with the jobs concentrated among young people in the retail and food services sectors.

Aussie wage pressures: Accounting firm Xero said "Sectors such as arts, retail and hospitality, which were really impacted the most by the lockdowns, are starting to see an uptick in jobs and salaries", and that having to increase wages to attract staff is "very much a hot topic for them [businesses] at the moment".

Over Musk: Elon Musk tweeted that Bitcoin and Ethereum's "base layer transaction rate is slow & transaction cost is high", claiming there "is merit" to meme-coin Doge as an alternative, especially after the next update. This time, markets didn't buy it – prices for all three remained flat.


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Feature

China, privacy advocate

China doesn't want companies invading people's privacy – that's the government's department.
China doesn't want companies invading people's privacy – that's the government's department. The Daily Swig

Two words you never expect to hear together in a positive connotation are "China" and "Privacy". But here we are, with China launching "a three-month campaign to crack down on the underground market for spy cameras and hidden-camera videos".

Stepping back: China's regulators have been vocal about targetting Big Tech's supposed privacy violations in the country ever since abruptly cancelling Ant Financial's (Alipay) record-setting IPO last year. Billionaire icon Jack Ma was subsequently 'disappeared', and a swath of high-profile apps were accused of collecting personal information that weren't relevant to their services. More recently, authorities accused ride-share giant Didi of mishandling sensitive data about its users, ordering Chinese users to uninstall the app.

China's government is no friend of privacy – quite the opposite. But it's a useful veil under which it can target companies that are either not sharing everything with the government or have been getting too cosy with the US: it's no coincidence that the push against Didi happened immediately after it went public in the US. Similar actions were taken against two truck-hailing apps that went public in New York last month.

What's next: China will pass a new Data Security Law on 1 September. On Saturday, it issued new draft rules including that Chinese companies with more than 1 million users must apply for Beijing's cybersecurity reviews if they want to pursue IPOs abroad. Doing business in China was always fraught with the risk of an overarching government, and now that government is strengthening its grip on Chinese companies listed abroad.


The Wrap Up

  • 🤿 Dubai is now home to the world's deepest pool (60 metres), equipped with an underwater city where divers can explore "abandoned" sunken city apartments and play underwater pool in the arcade.
  • 🤔 US President Joe Biden signed an executive order aiming to "bring fair competition back to this economy", by targetting "abusive actions by monopolies". Sounds good, except it gets a lot of facts wrong.
  • Did you know: Just 4% of US industries are "highly concentrated", and between 2002 to 2017 prices rose less in those industries than they did in the overall economy.
  • 🐱‍💻 China's central bank warned that stablecoins "pose serious risks to global financial systems", because they "have become speculative tools that threaten financial security and social stability". China looks set to launch its own stablecoin in 2022.
  • 🍁 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said foreign tourists who are not vaccinated will not be allowed into the country "for quite a while".
  • 🏅 At least 10,000 of the original 80,000 Tokyo Olympics volunteers have dropped out due to health concerns and some are selling their uniforms for as much as 10,000 yen (A$120).
  • 🎾 Australia's Ash Barty claimed her maiden Wimbledon ladies' singles title and is now a two-time grand slam singles champion. In the men's, Novak Djokovic secured a record-equalling 20th grand slam title.

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