Good morning. Here’s to Fridays.
1. Is there another RBA leak that needs investigating? The RBA Board meets next Tuesday with its interest rates decision announced at 2.30pm, AEST, but the other thing everyone will be watching is any suspicious price action in the Aussie dollar leading up to the announcement. It’s happened recently, but ASIC investigated and gave it the all-clear. But last night, millions of dollars changed hands based on a story that gave the impression the writer had a rails run on the RBA’s views. Here’s what Greg McKenna thinks about all that.
2. And here the first result – the Aussie dollar was smashed more than a cent and a half from where it was trading before the release of the article to a low of 0.7864 last night.
3. The local market came under pressure again yesterday and has hit the bottom of this year’s trading range with the move in futures overnight. It is looking very wobbly and a break of 5,730 could open up another 300-point fall based on a pure technical appraisal. 6,000 proved too difficult to break topside and support at this level may prove solid. But risk seems to be rising.
4. Here’s a new mining-fuelled boom in Australia. As iron producers cut back operations or shut down entirely, they’re trying to offload giant equipment at cut-rate prices. A big Cat dump truck which may have sold for $1 million two years ago today might sell for $500,000. So here come the private equity firms, buying them all up, parking them for a year or two, and waiting for the industry to get back into full swing.
5. Power prices set to fall? That sounds too good to be true but the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) has the power to set prices along the eastern seaboard and yesterday told providers in NSW, the ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland to reduce their estimates on what they’ll be seeking in the next four years. That could be anywhere from a paltry $24 a year in Tassie to $313 a year in NSW.
6. Last year, Apple design god Jony Ive poached Aussie design guru Marc Newson to work at Cupertino. Newson clearly didn’t do it for the cash – he just sold a lounge chair in London for $4.68 million. That’s a world record price for a piece made by a living designer. Here it is, being sat on by Madonna.
7. The other big war anniversary. Last week, we commemorated 100 years of ANZACs with all the due ceremony. Later this year, it will be 70 years since WWII ended, and we should expect something a bit more special than the regular remembrances as well. Sandwiched in between them – right now, in fact – is the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, otherwise known as the end of the Vietnam War. Lest we forget, this was a 20-year losing battle – twice as long as the two World Wars combined, and our veterans are still walking among us, trying to run our families, businesses and their regular lives. Here’s a tragic collection of the most gripping and recognisable photos from the conflict proving that any war is indeed, hell.
8. Students should be able to use Google in their exams. That’s the controversial new proposal in the UK from its exam board chief Mark Dawe, who says Googling stuff during A-Level and GCSE exams isn’t that far removed from using calculators. (Which, when I were young, you couldn’t use either.)
9. Outgoing Telstra boss David Thodey drives a Toyota Corolla. He’s earned $27 million in cash and vested shares since took the job, but he still drives a Corolla. Find out why.
10. Our $50 million cricketers. India’s own Kerry Packer is billionaire Subhash Chandra and he wants to start a global Twenty20 league. Word is he’s started by targeting Australia’s Michael Clarke and David Warner with $50 million contracts. And the ICC is on “high alert” about the possibility of Chandra starting a new governing body to help make it happen – an idea world player’s union chief Tim May admitted he’d been sounded out on by several other organisations unhappy with the ICC.
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