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Published on: Thursday, April 20, 2017

  • It’s confirmed: e-commerce giant Amazon will be rolling out its retail offering in Australia over the next few years. It is looking for distribution and fulfilment centres in Australia (AFR). Amazon has called on local retailers to sign up and sell their products on the company’s Australian website. “We are excited to bring the Amazon Marketplace to Australia next … Become a seller on the Amazon Australia Marketplace and put Amazon’s e-commerce expertise to work for your business,” said a statement on Amazon.com.au. Amazon’s local website already sells Kindle e-reader devices and content. 
  • The Turnbull Government has revealed more stringent tests for new Australian citizen applicants. “Australian citizenship should be honoured, cherished. It is a privilege” he told reporters in Canberra (AAP). The changes mean that to become citizens, applicants will have to commit to embracing Australian values, pass a higher-standard English test, and will need to be a permanent resident for four years instead of 12 months. New citizenship test questions are also under discussion, including questions on child marriage, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation. A two-year denial will also be imposed on those who fail the citizenship test more than three times, as oppose to the current system which allows unlimited attempts. 
  • The Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator (BSI) rose 0.6% in trend terms in March after averaging 0.2% over the previous five months. That’s the strongest growth in 15 months. The BSI is a measure of economy-wide spending. CommSec says the annual trend growth in sales rose from 2.5% in February to 3.1% in March. CommBank tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions through their merchant facilities to obtain the BSI figure. The BSI includes broad spending such as spending on automobiles and airlines. CommSec says increased spending ahead of Easter could have contributed to the result. 
  • Global oil prices fell on Wednesday on the back of US inventory data which showed a smaller-than-expected drop in crude stockpiles. It was expected that US crude oil inventories would fall by 1.5 million barrels - compared to the actual decline of 1 million barrels last week. Brent crude fell by US$1.96 or 3.6% to US$52.93 a barrel, while US Nymex fell by US$1.97 or 3.8% to US$50.44 a barrel (CommSec).
  • At 0700 AEST on Thursday, the share price futures index was down 13 points, or 0.22 per cent, at 5,784.

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