Summary The race that stops Australasia is on today: the Melbourne Cup is on at 5pm. The Waikato is in its last day (for now) of shuttered shops and moves to step two of level three at midnight tonight.

Giddy up Incentivise goes into today’s Melbourne Cup the shortest-priced favourite to win since Phar Lap. The gelding has won nine straight races since May, including the Caulfield Cup. Only 11 horses have ever won both in the same year. Irish horse Twilight Payment is another favourite, tipped to win again this year after winning last year. NZ mare Verry Elleegant is the most likely to win of the Kiwi trio, with Explosive Jack and The Chosen One rated as more likely to trail.

Retail rush Shops reopen in time for the Christmas rush and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed as the Waikato moves to step two of level three tonight. Auckland has to wait another week. A number of retailers in Auckland have vowed to reopen on December 1 even if levels have not stepped down, following the lead of colourful mayoral hopeful Leo Molloy who owns Viaduct grill bar Headquarters.

Employment decision The Employment Relations Authority has not reinstated the employment of a veteran Auckland International Airport engineer who was sacked after declining the covid-19 vaccination. The former employee, who could not be named, was dismissed on Sept 30 when the government’s vaccination order for airport workers came into effect. He had been working at the airport for 15 years. The airport considered the employee to be subject to the vaccination order because part of his role required him to work in places accessible by international passengers. 

Covid tech Some of Auckland’s science and technology companies are taking the fight to covid-19. Orbis Diagnostics has produced a finger-prick blood test for covid immunity that it says its test can measure a person’s level of immunity to covid-19 in 15 minutes. A short drive from Orbis’ headquarters on Queen Street is Parnell’s Pictor, a biotech company whose covid-19 antibody blood test can tell if someone is vaccinated or if they previously have had covid.  Auckland tech startup Rfider builds software used to track items through global supply chains, an increasing requirement for industry thanks to the pandemic.

Five times ROI As Expo 2020 in Dubai moves through its second month, NZ expects a return of $313 million on its $60 million investment. "Expos are the Olympics of industry, the Olympics of trade but they're more than that," Geoffrey Miller, an international analyst with the Democracy Project hosted by Victoria University, told RNZ. "They're a national showcase essentially, each country comes along and they host all kinds of events as part of these expos."

Golden thank you The educational software startup Kami has given its staff $10,000 each to thank them for their work during lockdowns and to celebrate being named the fastest-growing company in NZ in the Deloitte Fast 50. The Auckland-based company aimed at streamlining note taking was started by three Auckland university students. It is now used in more than 180 countries by more than 30 million students and teachers. 

Europe expansion A NZ tech company that helps accountants, law firms and real estate companies avoid fraud and money laundering has raised $30 million in a funding round led by Australian-based Blackbird Ventures and international investor Headline. Existing investors Bedrock Capital, Icehouse Ventures and Pushpay founder Eliot Crowther have also renewed commitments to First AML, which now aims to take its product to Europe. “Fraud and money laundering, already a critical challenge to all digital transactions, have been on the rise due to the global instability brought on by the covid-19 pandemic. Investigations such as the Pandora Papers have also reignited concerns on anti money laundering compliance and the transparency of international financial transactions. Emerging legislation and regulation is also requiring a greater number of businesses and financial intermediaries to perform customer due diligence and AML checks throughout the lifetime of all their customer relationships,” said First AML co-founder and chief executive Milan Cooper.

Disneyland lockdown Shanghai Disneyland locked down 34,000 visitors on site and tested all of them after a positive covid case was detected. China is the last country to still pursue elimination of the virus, and its efforts are causing massive supply chain delays as ports and factories open and close. The Disneyland staff and workers were sent home on special buses about midnight to isolate for two days.

High salaries Experienced Bitcoin financial workers can command salaries up to $500,000 including bonuses, as Bitcoin breaks all records. There are many cons for banks considering moving into Bitcoin advice or transactions, including volatility, pollution and the currency’s use in making illegal payments. But as the coin’s value in the past week soared past previous records to hit nearly $67,000, traditional finance operations are looking for ways to get in.

Healthcare suspension More than 4,000 health workers who failed to get vaccinated were suspended in Queensland yesterday. Queensland’s health minister expects the remaining workforce will be able to cope, saying the government had planned for this eventuality. Queensland’s law means all health workers had to be vaccinated by the end of October.

Australia inflation growth The RBA is expected to upgrade its inflation predictions for Australia today. Westpac chief economist Bill Evans expects the RBA’s inflation outlook to grow from 1.75% for next year to 2.5%, and from 1.75% the following year to 2.75%. Borrowers there are rushing to lock in low interest rates as speculation grows that the RBA will raise interest rates sooner than its previously signalled 2024 rate rise.

Oil records A reprieve for soaring oil prices could be on the cards as China releases diesel and petrol reserves ahead of major crude producers on Thursday that may increase supply. NZ fuel prices have been rising closer towards records set in 2014. Brent crude still rose 1.1% to US$84.63 a barrel overnight. 

Markets update Equities markets were up ahead of central bank meetings in Australia (today) the US (tomorrow) and the UK (Thursday), with the pan-European Stoxx 600 closing up 0.7% at a new record high. The FTSE also closed up 0.7% on the back of a weak pound. In early afternoon trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 0.3% to new record high territory, the Dow Jones edged 0.2% higher after briefly earlier reaching a record high, and the S&P 500 remained flat.