European markets whiten as French elections approach; Calculation of natural disaster insurance in Australia

Meanwhile, the corporate watchdog has gone after “finfluencers” on social media, with tough new penalties for dispensing unregistered financial advice.

All US markets fell overnight, with the Nasdaq leading the charge at -2.2% and the ASX expected to plunge at its open today.

Wobbly European markets await the outcome of Sunday’s French election, with polls indicating the country is set to sack a known quantity, centrist incumbent Emmanuel Macron, or hand over the reins to nationalist Marine Le Pen.

Needless to say, stability and predictability are badly needed in Europe right now.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index slid 1.5%, Germany’s Dax index lost 1.9% and Britain’s FTSE index fell 0.3% as new Russian sanctions began to bite.

Meanwhile, economists are now confident that there will be an interest rate hike in June. Slow Australian wage growth has likely held the RBA’s hand for a few months, unlike in the US, where the Fed is now warning of a 50 basis point hike if inflation continues to rise.

The insurance industry relies on catastrophe

After several years of supposedly unique natural disasters in a millennium, including bushfires that wiped out thousands of hectares of forest on the country’s east coast and the recent devastating floods in New South Wales and Queensland, the insurance industry is in a bit of a jeopardy. of an upheaval.

In a new report, KPMG warns of a coming “market failure” as larger parts of the country become uninsurable and major insurers lose customers as premiums rise.

The industry caved in after the 2019-20 bushfires but rebounded the following year. This year appears to be another shock to the industry, with reconstruction expected to top $3 billion.

The KPMG report predicted greater underinsurance in the future and argued that mitigation and prevention should be the goals of funding, rather than recovery after the fact.

Fortescue follows Big Australian into the green

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has raised $2 billion in a green funding offering, more than half of which will be invested in green projects. These are expected to include a 150 MW solar generation component of the Pilbara Energy Connect project, according to a statement.

The remainder of the amount raised will be used for general corporate purposes.

“Fortescue’s Sustainable Finance Framework recognizes the global growth of sustainability and green sources of capital,” said Elizabeth Gaines, Chief Executive Officer of Fortescue.

“The success of Fortescue’s inaugural green finance offering demonstrates the company’s passion and commitment to embedding sustainability into all aspects of our business as we take a global leadership position in the transition to green. ‘green energy.

ASIC targets finfluencers

ASIC has cracked down on financial advice given on social media by unlicensed people known as “finfluencers”.

Millennials and Gen Z social media users are sensitive to statements from these popular content creators on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, but the regulator has now decided to impose a fine of $1 million or a five-year prison sentence for those who provide unregistered financial advice. .

The decision by the company’s watchdog does not cover cryptocurrency advice, which is also rampant on social media, and there are concerns that influencers may simply switch to crypto, still the Wild West of financial services.