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The US sends American companies based in Hong Kong a stern warning

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The US sends a stern warning to American companies based in Hong Kong, as China establishes its dominance in the financial sector

US authorities are sending a warning to American companies in Hong Kong amid growing concerns over China’s reach. The US has raised concerns about China’s ability to gain access critical American company data.

This comes as the most recent indication of Biden’s growing fears about Hong Kong’s independence. These concerns have continued growing since Beijing launched a crackdown on local pro-democracy demonstrations in 2019.

The US also appears to be concerned about the new regulations allowing Beijing to intercept anyone who it believes isn’t complying with anti-China sanctions.

The warning follows Trump’s decision last year to decrease trade privileges in Hong Kong. The US previously awarded these privileges in recognition of the territory’s independence from Beijing.

China crackdown intensifies

However, American companies in Hong Kong aren’t the only ones suffering as of recent times. This comes after Wechat and Alipay removed Didi’s main app.

Wechat and Alipay which have over 1 billion users. Wechat and Alipay are ‘super-apps’, meaning users can open and use other apps without leaving. Didi shares have dipped 20 percent since the removal.

While Didi’s half-billion existing users will still be able to order rides, for now, China’s cybersecurity crackdown adds to the uncertainty surrounding all the nation’s internet companies. 

Chinese regulators asked Didi as early as three months ago to delay its landmark U.S. IPO because of national security concerns involving its huge trove of data.

William is an Executive News Producer at TICKER NEWS, responsible for the production and direction of news bulletins. William is also the presenter of the hourly Weather + Climate segment. With qualifications in Journalism and Law (LLB), William previously worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) before moving to TICKER NEWS. He was also an intern at the Seven Network's 'Sunrise'. A creative-minded individual, William has a passion for broadcast journalism and reporting on global politics and international affairs.

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Money

Taylor Swift’s concert deals spark international trade dispute

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Pop superstar Taylor Swift has found herself at the center of an international trade dispute following exclusive concert arrangements in Singapore.

The controversy has ignited discussions among politicians and trade experts, raising concerns about anti-competitive practices and the economic impact of Swift’s tour.

The dispute stems from negotiations between Swift’s team and Singaporean authorities, resulting in an agreement for the singer to perform exclusively in Singapore, bypassing other Southeast Asian countries.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin alleged that Swift received substantial sums, nearly $US3 million per show, for these exclusive performances, leading to criticism from neighboring nations.

Critics argue that Swift’s exclusive deal with Singapore could be perceived as anti-competitive, potentially violating World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Filipino politicians have condemned the arrangement as a “hurtful betrayal” and have called for diplomatic protests against Singapore.

Defending the deal

Despite the controversy, Singaporean officials, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, defended the deal, highlighting the economic benefits of hosting Swift’s concerts.

Estimates suggest that Swift’s tour has generated significant revenue, with the economic impact in Australia could reach up to $1 billion.

Prime Minister Lee says the decision to host Swift exclusively in Singapore was made through negotiations and did not involve coercive measures.

He asserted that it was ultimately Swift’s prerogative to determine her tour destinations.

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Bitcoin surges closer to all-time high

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Bitcoin surged to new heights on Monday, inching ever closer to its all-time high as the cryptocurrency market continued its bullish momentum following a weekend pause.

The flagship cryptocurrency recorded a remarkable 7.65% increase, reaching a price of $67,608.30, according to data from Coin Metrics.

Earlier in the day, it peaked at $67,977.77, marking its highest level since November 2021 when it achieved its previous all-time high. Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency, also experienced gains, rising by 3.41% and trading near January 2022 highs at $3,588.83.

Both bitcoin and ether are riding the wave of their best week in almost a year, with bitcoin witnessing a 21% surge and ether climbing by 16%.

However, the weekend saw a temporary halt in their ascent as the market absorbed two days of significant outflows from the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), which were offset by inflows into other newly launched bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Market dynamics

Antoni Trenchev, co-founder of crypto exchange Nexo, noted the influence of these new ETFs on market dynamics, suggesting that major movements are now occurring during regular trading days rather than weekends. He emphasized the potential for explosive price action amidst strong demand from these new spot ETFs.

Although bitcoin currently stands around 3% below its intraday record of $68,982.20, it continues to uplift other crypto tokens, particularly meme coins like Dogecoin and Shiba Inu coin, which surged by 14% and 45% respectively.

Analysts interpret this as a sign of renewed interest from retail investors in the crypto market, as meme tokens’ weekly trade volume recently reached its highest level since late 2021.

Meanwhile, the rally in crypto equities varied, with Coinbase and Microstrategy experiencing gains of 11% and 24% respectively, while miners witnessed a downturn.

Companies such as CleanSpark, Cipher Mining, Iris Energy, Marathon Digital, and Riot Platforms faced declines ranging from 5% to 7% as concerns over the upcoming halving event in April weighed on investor sentiment.

Although some analysts foresee potential short-term corrections due to extreme profit margins, long-term investors remain optimistic.

They anticipate sustained upward momentum driven by increasing demand through new U.S. ETFs and tightening supply post-April halving.

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Money

Taxing times: 64% of Aussies think they pay too much tax

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As the cost of living continues to rise, a staggering 64% of Australians are voicing their concern over the amount of tax they pay annually, according to recent research conducted by Finder, Australia’s leading comparison site.

The survey, which polled 1,004 respondents, found that nearly two-thirds of Australians, equating to approximately 13 million individuals, feel burdened by the tax they contribute each financial year.

Of particular note is the sentiment among millennials, with a striking 80% expressing dissatisfaction with their tax contributions. Following closely behind are Gen Xers, with 72% sharing similar sentiments. Comparatively, Gen Z (63%) and baby boomers (39%) exhibit less discontent with their tax obligations.

Sarah Megginson, a personal finance expert at Finder, highlighted the strain that the cost of living imposes on individuals’ financial situations.

“Budgets are stretched thin, with many struggling to make ends meet,” she noted. “While inflation is trending downwards, the financial burden remains heavy for a significant portion of Australians.”

Tax hope

However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

The Australian government has announced plans to implement tax cuts commencing July 1, aimed at providing relief to taxpayers grappling with the escalating cost of living.

According to Finder’s analysis, Australians earning between $45,000 and $135,000 annually stand to benefit from a further tax cut of $804, in addition to previously announced reductions.

This translates to a substantial increase in disposable income, potentially alleviating financial strain for many households.

For instance, an individual earning the median Australian income of $83,200 could expect a tax cut of $1,759 over 12 months, nearly double the previous $955 reduction.

Meanwhile, those earning over $200,000 annually will receive approximately $4,529 under the new stage 3 tax cuts, compared to $9,075 under the previous scheme.

Money back

Megginson emphasized the significance of this financial injection in easing the burden of everyday expenses.

“Those struggling with everyday costs will see more money back in their pocket to help battle expenses,” she remarked.

“If your budget allows, stashing some of this extra cash is a wise move. Every bit helps build a buffer for those unexpected rainy days.”

Megginson advised individuals to explore avenues for potential savings, such as switching service providers to reduce expenses. For those unable to save, she recommended allocating the extra funds towards paying down debt and bills to alleviate financial pressure.

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