US home sales decline in February, Amazon to arrive in Australia

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Amazon Go
The sign for the Amazon Go brick-and-mortar grocery store without lines or checkout counters, is pictured in Seattle Washington, U.S. December 5, 2016. Reuters/Jason Redmond

Home sales in the US slowed down 3.7 percent in February, a pullback from January sales, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Despite the decline, sales remained well above their level at the same month last year while US banks secure their lead over Europe in terms of revenue in 2016. Meanwhile, in other parts of the world, Amazon is reportedly launching in Australia.


The ABC reports that the company has hired over a hundred people in Sydney for various jobs, including logistics, IT and security. The game changer for the country could be a service called Amazon Prime, in which around 60 million US customers pay an annual fee for free and fast delivery. Another service that it provides is called Amazon Now, in which products are being delivered in less than an hour.


Coalition, an industry analytics firm, declares JP Morgan as the number one in the global investment banking league in 2016. The bank’s revenues, which are generated from trading, mergers, acquisitions and other investment banking activities, rose 11 percent to US$25.2 billion ($AU32.8 billion) last year from US$22.7 billion ($AU29.6 billion) in 2015. Citi Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley also made it to the top banks by revenue.


Changes to business taxes in Canada’s 2017 federal budget have been announced. It reportedly removes the Work-in-Progress provision for professional accountants, dentists, lawyers, medical doctors, veterinarians and chiropractors.


Britain’s businesses plan to boost investment this year, as spirits pick up following months of intense caution after the Brexit vote. Bank of England research shows that development spending, research, investment in renewable energy and spending on robots are all set to surge.


China's Sinopec buys first major refinery in the region from Chevron for almost US$1 billion (AU$1.31 billion) for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp's (CVX.N) South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana, Reuters reports. In a statement, Chevron Global Energy Inc said Sinopec's bid was chosen after it offered better terms and conditions.


In Asia-Pacific, Thailand ranks fourth in terms of local options in chartered private jets for the ultra-rich according to a Hong Kong-based chartering firm. Currently, there are 18 executive jets available locally in the country. The firm, based on its study, said China, Hong Kong and South Korea offer the fewest number of chartered jets per billionaire in Asia.

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