Australia Briefing: Newcrest bid hopes revived

China lambasted the Aukus pact, saying it will undercut global efforts to control weapons-grade fuel by encouraging other nations to follow suit. Meanwhile, Samoa cautioned its Pacific counterparts against inviting foreign troops into their countries, as such moves could open a window to influence.

In more M&A news, the owner of Australia’s second-busiest toll road has started the sale of a majority stake in what could be one of the country’s biggest deals this year. Horizon Roads is offering as much as 55.45% of ConnectEast Group, which holds a concession to operate Melbourne’s EastLink until 2043, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

Riding out the bank angst. After the takeover of Credit Suisse and the collapse of three US banks, retail investors in Asia and Australia are feeling uneasy. We spoke to personal finance experts about how to manage your money — and your stress levels — during these volatile times. Meanwhile, regulators say they’re closely monitoring super funds’ reporting of unlisted assets after the recent market upheaval.

What happened overnight

The Fed hiked by 25 bps and signaled it's not done despite the banking turmoil. Jerome Powell admitted the FOMC had considered pausing and warned that recent developments could create tighter credit conditions, but added “if we need to raise rates higher, we will.” 

Australian shares are set to follow US peers lower as comments from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rattled bank stocks and Powell dashed hopes the Fed would cut rates this year. Yellen’s testimony to lawmakers that the government is not considering providing “blanket” deposit insurance to stabilize the banking system sent financials into a tailspin that weighed on broader indexes.

More on the banking fallout. US regional lender PacWest secured $1.4 billion in a financing facility from Apollo-owned Atlas SP Partners, shoring up liquidity after customers pulled 20% of deposits since year-end. The bank abandoned a separate push to raise capital.

What to watch

• Judo Bank Australia PMIs, due 9am Friday Sydney time

One more thing...

Don't stop the music. TikTok lost customers for three weeks in a row after it limited music selection in Australia. It has been testing how much users care about songs on the app, as record labels push for a cut of revenue. The results suggest the change likely had an impact.