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Australian watchdog investigating shipping cost price-hike

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Australia’s consumer watchdog has opened up an investigation into the dramatic rise in global shipping and container costs following the pandemic

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission confirmed it has opened the inquiry, particularly focusing on the sharp rise on the price and movement of shipping containers.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims says he is aware of what is going on within the shipping industry and “is investigating it.”

“There is a limited amount I can say on it, but we are looking at the freight system – particularly the role that containers play, I can certainly say that, and that is certainly on the list of investigations”

The costs of shipping containers have risen more than 300 per cent in the last year, with steeper prices crunching retailer profit margins.

Shipping containers costs have risen more than 300 per cent in the last year, with steeper prices crunching retailer profit margins.

The shortage of containers

The insufficient supply of container ships has been blamed on supply chain disruptions caused by COVID and recent virus outbreaks at key ports in China.

But many Australian business executives say that they believe the container shortage is “partially artificial” and that the industry is just playing on the excuse as a reason to squeeze higher prices.

The massive steel containers piled onto ships are vital for the international movement of goods.

The skyrocketing cost of shipping containers that bring everything from sneakers and sofas to washing machines to Australia has ratcheted up costs for importers – especially the retail sector, which has shaved its profit margins.

RBA responds to shipping crisis

Reserve Bank of Australia responds

The economic impact has also reached the attention of the Reserve Bank.

In its May statement on monetary policy, the RBA reported on a five-fold increase in shipping container prices since 2019.

The RBA stated that the lack of shipping containers had resulted in sharp increases in global shipping prices and also contributed delivery delays.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Money

AI pushes the Nasdaq to a record-breaking close

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The Nasdaq achieved a record-breaking close, surpassing its previous record high of 16,057.44, which was established on November 21, 2021.

Artificial assistance

Artificial intelligence-related technology stocks, such as Nvidia (NVDA.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O), have greatly boosted the index.

The Nasdaq Composite has increased by almost 7.2% this year.

The tech-focused index surged 43% in 2023, and as chipmakers gained traction and confidence increased that the Fed might achieve a soft landing—that is, curb inflation without inciting a recession—stocks surged strongly by year-end.

In contrast, Nvidia increased by 1.9% on Thursday, bringing its total gain from a year ago to around 250%.

Market boom

Every S&P 500 subs sector saw a gain at the end of the month.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank report that the index has now increased for 16 of the past 18 weeks, matching the record most winning weeks last attained in 1971.

Bitcoin also moved closer to its all-time high.

The price of the virtual currency momentarily surpassed $64,000 as spot bitcoin ETFs helped drive it to heights last seen in 2021.

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Money

Disney sign off on mega merger with India’s largest conglomerate

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India’s top conglomerate Reliance Industries and Walt Disney announced the merger of their India TV and streaming media assets, forming an $8.5 billion entertainment juggernaut.

Disney, Reliance sign non-binding agreement for India’s largest media conglomerate

Reliance, led by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, will inject $1.4 billion in the merged entity, with the company and its affiliates holding a more than 63% stake, with Disney owning the rest, the companies said in a joint statement.

Mukesh Ambani, Reliance’s multimillionaire CEO

Media rivals

With two streaming platforms and 120 TV channels, the combined company will be a formidable opponent for competitors like Netflix and Sony of Japan in the $28 billion media and entertainment market, which is expected to grow to $100 billion by the end of the decade.

Disney’s lengthy battle to stop users from leaving its collapsing Indian streaming service and the financial burden resulting from billion-dollar payments for Indian cricket rights before the deal, providing yet another illustration of how difficult it can be for Western companies to expand in India.

Ultimate alliance

“The combined entity will create a sports behemoth in India,” stated Jinesh Joshi, an analyst at Prabhudas Lilladher in India.

“This merger will give Reliance great bargaining power when it comes to negotiating advertisement contracts … For Disney, coming together with a bigger player, in terms of (financial) pockets, will give it a cash cushion,” he continued.

According to the corporations, the combined company will serve the approximately 750 million viewers in India as well as the Indian diaspora worldwide.

According to Disney CEO Bog Iger’s statement, “Reliance has a deep understanding of the Indian market and consumer,” and the acquisition will enable “us to better serve consumers with a broad portfolio of digital services, entertainment, and sports.”

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Money

Warner Bros Discovery plans to shutdown popular NZ news network

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One of New Zealand’s two free-to-air television networks claimed it will be shutting down all newsroom operations, television news broadcasts and website from June 30, with the loss of up to 200 media jobs.

The once-thriving network, which had been a staple in the New Zealand entertainment industry, is now facing financial turmoil, sending shockwaves through the media landscape.

Warner Bros Discovery, who own the NZ news network, stated the decision comes following further attempts to reduce costs and that meant major changes including the planned shut down of the newsroom.

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