© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Aboriginal groups’ members take part in a protest against what they say is a lack of detail and consultation on new heritage protection laws, after the Rio Tinto mining group destroyed ancient rock shelters for an iron ore mine last year, in P
MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Western Australian legislation aimed at better protecting Aboriginal heritage appears to fall short of international expectations, several investor groups said on Thursday, after the proposed changes came under fire from Indigenous groups.
Indigenous heritage protection has become a hot button issue globally since miner Rio Tinto (NYSE:) legally destroyed culturally significant rock shelters for an iron ore mine 18 months ago, sparking public outrage.
Resource-rich Western Australia unveiled its long-awaited revamp of heritage protection laws on Wednesday, but kept the final say over development decisions with a government minister, drawing criticism from Aboriginal groups.
Australian pension fund HESTA, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI), Regnan, the advisor to fund manager Pendal, and UK-based investment company abrdn pointed to opposition to the bill by traditional owners.
“There is emerging consensus among representatives of First Nations peoples and the Responsible Investment industry that this version of the Western Australia bill sets the bar below international standards,” said Mary Delahunty, Head of Impact at HESTA.
Rock shelters that Rio destroyed at Juukan Gorge showed evidence of human habitation stretching back 46,000 years into the last Ice Age.
“Since Juukan Gorge drew their attention, global investors who are increasingly sensitive to such issues will be looking for whether Western Australia’s response properly prioritises human rights in cultural heritage,” Regnan head of advisory Susheela Peres da Cosa said in a statement.
“This bill is unlikely to meet their expectations.”
The state premier’s department said on Wednesday it will focus on reaching agreement with Aboriginal groups and on obtaining full, prior and informed consent for development.
An Australian inquiry into the Juukan Gorge destruction recommended a new national legal framework and for Aboriginal people to be the top decision makers on heritage issues.
Danielle Welsh-Rose, an ESG director at abrdn, said she was concerned the bill “may not meet the standard for genuine free, prior and informed consent.”
Western Australia produces more than half of the world’s traded iron ore, a key steel-making ingredient and Australia’s most lucrative export.
($1 = 1.3753 Australian dollars)
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U.S. stock market indices are down 1-2%
U.S. stock market indices declined yesterday on growing fears of a recession in the U.S. economy, with the S&P 500 index falling for the fourth consecutive time.
U.S. stock indices list – what’s happening right now?
Inflation will drain Americans’ financial reserves and could lead to a recession sometime in the middle of next year, according to the head of JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM). Jamie Dimon. His Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS) colleague David Solomon also expects a recession in the coming months, and he believes markets are in for a turbulent period. The situation also affected T-Bond Futures.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said Tuesday that the country’s trade deficit widened 5.5 percent to $78.2 billion in October, the highest in four months but below analysts’ expectations of $80 billion.
Previously published positive data on business activity in the service sector and the number of new jobs in the U.S. economy have led investors to doubt that the Federal Reserve is willing to slow the pace of key interest rate increases, writes Trading Economics.
“The market got off to a nervous start this week as strong U.S. statistics hit investors’ hopes that the Fed would soften its stance in the coming months,” wrote SPI Asset Management managing partner Stephen Innes. “Ultimately, it’s more important exactly where the Fed stops, not how quickly they get to it. A stronger-than-expected labor market and positive business sentiment make it more likely that the rate will exceed 5%,” he added.
Market participants also watched for corporate news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 350.76 points (1.03%) to 33596.34.
Earlier, we reported that European stock indicators on December 7 showed a contradictory mood.
Current European stock market shows a contradictory mood
European stock indexes today do not show unified dynamics during trades. Composite index of the largest companies in the region, Stoxx Europe 600, decreased by 0.29% to 437.66 points.
Current European stock market – current situation
Germany’s DAX stock index was down 0.25%. France’s CAC 40 was down 0.09% and Spain’s IBEX 35 was down 0.06%. The British FTSE 100 rose 0.16%, the Italian FTSE MIB – 0.13%.
Investors are increasingly concerned about the negative impact of tightening financial conditions on economic growth in the region and the profits of companies, writes Trading Economics. The situation was also reflected in the Euro Fx Futures.
Market participants are waiting for meetings of several major central banks next week and are assessing statements by representatives of the European Central Bank (ECB).
Inflation in the eurozone is close to a peak, ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane said the day before.
“It is too early to conclude that inflation has peaked, but I can say with confidence that we are close to peaking,” Lane told Italian newspaper Milano Finanza.
The ECB raised all three key interest rates by 75 bps in October. The benchmark interest rate on loans was raised to 2%; the rate on deposits – to 1.5%; the rate on margin loans – to 2.25%. Since July this year, the ECB has raised key rates by 200 bp.
Experts expect the lending rate to rise to at least 2% from 1.5% in December.
Meanwhile, data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) released Wednesday showed that industrial production in Germany fell by 0.1% in October compared to the previous month. Analysts polled by Trading Economics had on average expected a larger decline of 0.6%.
Earlier we reported that data on a decline in Chinese exports dropped Asia’s stock market.
Asian stock market news: Data on decline in Chinese exports caused Asia’s stock market to plummet
Asian stock market news: Asian stock indices fell in today’s trading after data showed a decline in Chinese exports.
China’s exports fell 8.7 percent year on year in November to $296.1 billion, official data showed. The index fell for the second month in a row (in October it dropped by 0.3%), and the rate of its decline was the highest since February 2020. Experts attribute this reduction mainly to a drop in demand in the world amid a slowdown in the global economy. Even EURODOLLAR futures were affected by the situation.
Asian stock market today – what’s happening right now?
Imports fell 10.6% year-on-year last month to $226.2 billion, after declining by 0.7% a month earlier. China’s foreign trade surplus narrowed to its lowest since April, $69.84 billion in November, down from $85.15 billion a month earlier and $71.7 billion a year earlier.
Meanwhile, investors welcomed the news of further easing of coronavirus restrictions in China. Now, entire neighborhoods and blocks will not be closed for lockdowns, as they used to be, but only residential floors and buildings. Also, people who test positive for COVID-19 will be able to self-isolate at home rather than in overcrowded hospitals. Also, schools that have not had outbreaks will have to return to the face-to-face format.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index was down 0.7%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index was down 0.9%. Australia’s GDP rose 0.6% in Q3 from the previous quarter, according to the country’s Bureau of Statistics. Analysts on average had expected the Australian economy to grow by 0.7% in July-September, Trading Economics wrote.
The country’s GDP grew by 0.9% in the 2nd quarter. Thus, the Australian economy has shown an upturn for the fourth consecutive quarter. but the rate of increase was the weakest in that period amid weak growth in consumer spending due to high inflation and higher interest rates. On an annualized basis, GDP rose 5.9% in Q3 after climbing 3.4% in Q2 and compared to the 6.2% expected by analysts.
Earlier, we reported that European stock markets mostly closed lower on December 5.
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