Good morning, and welcome to September. Here’s what’s happening…
1. It’s a big week in Australia. The RBA meets tomorrow, and on Wednesday we get the Q2 GDP data, with economists expecting 3% growth annualised. But we also get some important leading indicators for how things are shaping up in the continuing economic transition, with the AiG PMI out this morning at 9.30am AEST, as well as TD inflation today. Tomorrow there’s the trade balance and housing approvals, and on Thursday we get July retail sales, with the market expecting growth of 0.4%. More details on the Australian week ahead here.
2. Globally, it’s huge too. On Thursday the ECB meets with markets seeking clarity on how it will act on the Eurozone’s deteriorating economy. On Friday night, there’s also the US jobs report. With PMIs out around the world today, China’s number is the one to watch after some scratchy data last month. Markets are expecting a print of 51.1 for the August official PMI.
3. The challenge Europe can’t ignore. This chart of price growth in key countries shows how dangerously close Europe is getting to a point of zero inflation. Crossing that point spurs a potentially spiralling disaster. Deutsche Bank economist Torsten Slok believes this means the ECB must now act with further stimulus, probably with some form of asset buying similar to the US QE program.
4. An Australian has been appointed to a senior ISIS position, according to a report on an Iraqi website. He goes by the name Abu Yahya ash Shami and reportedly has been appointed the commander in the northern Iraq town of Jalula. Australia confirmed yesterday it would be helping to arm Kurdish fighters in the north of the country. Elsewhere, there are are reports that ISIS is adapting quickly to the rising military threats against it, including abandoning its military vehicles and blending in more carefully with the locals to avoid being targeted in airstrikes.
5. The SydStart finals are tomorrow, with 10 impressive startups pitching for the SydStart trophy at the Hilton in Sydney amid a multi-stream conference with a great speaker lineup, including Freelancer.com’s Matt Barrie and Niki Scevak of Blackbird Ventures. Tickets are here. Some of the finalists include Rbutr, which allows people to tag pages on the internet with detailed queries on the content – allowing editing by proxy of other people’s websites – and Stockspot, an online financial portfolio management platform developed by former UBS stock picker Chris Brycki.
6. On the margins of the SydStart conference, there may be some interesting developments for tech entrepreneurs and investors to watch. There’s been some tension in the sector over how tech-led startups present themselves as an interest group – there’s a confusing array of agencies, including StartupAus and Startup Australia, which are two different things. With some of the key players in the sector in town this week, there’s sure to be some discussions about it.
7. Lessons from the StartupBus. Business Insider’s Alex Heber has been on the 72-hour hackathon which takes place on a bus travelling from Sydney to Melbourne and back ahead of SydStart. The participants were aiming to start a range of companies over the course of the trip. One of the teams had a time-sapping oversight: they had a copyright problem with their name and had to rebrand mid-trip. The moral of the tale: know your competitive environment.
8. The countdown is on to the iPhone launch. It’s September 9th in the US, so we’ll be waking up to it next Wednesday. Now sure, there’s always a big build-up to Apple events and blanket coverage of it afterwards but this time (really!) is different. With Android continuously making ground as the world’s dominant mobile platform and iPad sales growth collapsing, Apple needs to knock it out of the park and get people excited about its core product again. Two new bits of information: Apple has partnered with American Express, Visa, and Mastercard for its payment platform, and the launch will not only unveil the iPhone 6 but also the iWatch, according to the now-feverish rumour mill. Nine days of hype still to go.
9. How to spot a ripe avocado. Life is too short to waste on bad avocadoes. Especially in the expensive season, which seems longer every year. Here’s the sure fire way to spot a brown one, in the supermarket, without doing any squishing.
10. The pointy end of the US Open. Centre court darling Maria Sharapova tumbled out this morning, beaten in three sets by Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 2-6 6-2 on a hot afternoon at Flushing Meadows. Yesterday was a mixed bag for the Aussies, with young gun Nick Kyrgios making a stunning start against Tommy Robredo before going down 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-3. But Casey Dellacqua is through to a fourth round match against Italian Flavia Pennetta tomorrow morning, and on the verge of cracking the womens’ world top 25.
Remember, it’s footy finals season in Australia, so there’ll be some excited sports fans on company floors in the coming weeks. The highlight of the weekend was Richmond beating Sydney by three points, in a match for the ages, to make it into the AFL finals, capping a remarkable late surge for the Tigers this season.
Have a cracking day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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