Greece, where’s that? Financial markets around the world turned all blase overnight, ignored Greece’s woes, and went back to making money, sending share prices higher in Asia, Europe and the US — all except the one that really matters for us in Australia, China. But first the Greece update: Sunday’s vote is still on, eurozone finance ministers fell about laughing after Greek PM Alexis Tsipras offered to accept the last deal from the eurozone with some small changes. Eurozone finance ministers said absolutely not. The European Central bank kept the 89 billion euro lifeline alive for Greek banks (in other words, the ECB hasn’t yet decided if Greece is in default and the banks insolvent, an accounting decision of heroic belief). But in China, markets fell sharply in late trading yesterday to all but wipe out the previous day’s big gains (which were inspired by official moves to boost market support). The Shanghai Composite Index lost 5.2% after trading largely flat earlier in the day, while the smaller Shenzhen market lost 4.8%, after being up 2.4% earlier. The ChiNext board fell 3.5% after earlier gains of as much as 5.2%. It’s not the damage China’s tanking markets might cause to ours and others in Asia — foreign investment in Chinese markets have been growing, but it’s small compared to the multitrillion-dollar value of the markets. The real threat is the damage big losses could do to Chinese demand and financial stability in coming months.  — Glenn Dyer 

At last, someone moves on airlines. Well, well, at least one competition regulator has the you-know-whats to take on the increasingly arrogant airlines as they luxuriate in the big profit boost lower oil prices have delivered them on a plate (and not passed on to customers). The US Justice Department confirmed overnight that it was investigating some US airlines for potentially colluding on expansion plans to keep airfares higher than they should be. American Airlines Group Inc, United Continental Holdings Inc and Southwest Airlines Co confirmed to US media they are part of the probe and say they are co-operating. US consumer groups have been complaining lately that air fares are higher than they should be given the fall in oil and jet fuel prices over the past year. Airline profits have soared as a result — it’s a situation not unknown here, especially with Qantas arrogantly refusing to drop fuel price surcharges imposed in oil prices were much higher. No wonder Qantas was the best performed company in the ASX 200 in the June 30 financial year, with a price rise of 150%. — Glenn Dyer

Just shuffling the assets, ma’am, Yep, nothing to see here is one way of looking at the $8.8 billion bid by a Canadian asset shuffler (aka infrastructure investor) called Brookfield for Australian port and rail operator Asciano. The size of the possible offer got the local business media slathering yesterday and this morning — especially after Japan Post paid $6.5 billion earlier this year for Asciano’s old parent, Toll Holdings. But both are nothing but asset shuffles for the respective buyers. They bring nothing to the table. The Toll buy by Japan Post was a better rationalise than the Asciano move — Japan Post is listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Japan’s biggest privatisation and needs an Asian growth story to sell investors — which Toll brings. For Brookfield Asciano is just another purchase. Asciano’s outlook isn’t good — its port businesses are under pressure from growing competition (including from the former managers of its Patricks business, now running the most aggressive newcomer, Qube). — Glenn Dyer

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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