Happy Friday. Let’s get it started.
1. The Swiss National Bank bailed on linking the Swiss franc to the euro overnight. Chaos ensued. Richard Franulovich, Westpac’s currency strategist in New York, said that “EUR/CHF collapsed from just above 1.20 to a low around 0.80, though there will of course be some doubts about the veracity of these rates”. But the real risk is what the move will do to risk appetites, which is anyone’s guess. Historically, as our own Greg McKenna points out, it never turns out well.
“This kind of volatility freaks most traders out. The Swiss National Bank might just have undermined the fabric of markets and traders.”
Swiss watchmakers are uncustomarily furious, so you know it’s bad.
2. Locally, it was a bit of a ragged night’s trade with a range on the March SPI 200 futures of 5,231-5,305 but the market has settled down just 8 points at 5,271. Yesterday saw the Aussie market down with heavy pressure on the miners and the banks. Let’s see how things go this morning, especially since iron blipped up a smidge overnight.
3. In Asia yesterday, Shanghai ripped 3.52% higher to 3,336 as the disappointment in the official financing data was eclipsed by the big uptick in shadow lending which, according to Bloomberg, rose the most since records have been compiled. The Hang Seng was up 0.99% and the Nikkei benefited from the weaker yen, rising 1.86% to 17,109. It might be a bad day for the Nikkei, with USDJPY at 116.33 and at risk of breaking wide open.
4. The Aussie has had a bit of a wild ride trading through a 0.8130-0.8295 range over the past 24 hours. It’s still up solidly on the day with a rise of almost 1% to 0.8223.
5. The biggest Australia Day ever. The Australia Day Council of NSW wants to lead the country into the most packed day of Aussie-ness the nation has seen since it bicentennial year. Along with the usual crowded beaches, Holdens with Aussie flags hanging from their windows, bogans wearing flag capes and a couple of million lambs sizzling on hot plates, there will be… Anja Nissen. Thew council hopes every Aussie will stand shoulder to shoulder and join her in the loudest rendition of Advance Australia Fair ever. That sounds a bit God Bless America to us, so our advice is to balance it out by following it up by belting out our new national anthem, ‘Straya’.
6. Stay classy, Queensland. There’s a club in Brisbane that now requires men to measure up if they want to get in. The 7th claims it has created a “world first” in asking that men must first prove they are “exceeding 7 inches” and agree to “embrace the values”. Values? Yep, members (there’s 12 already) must be “chockers full” of honour, integrity, loyalty and respect. Women get off a bit lighter, gaining entry purely on the basis that they have one, large thing on their minds. Note to Brisbane: “World-first” doesn’t always mean “genius”.
7. Aussies love a good online sale. Especially at (or, more to the point, after) Christmas when inboxes are filled with Boxing Day offers which are all sold out before you can even click on them. Online payments company eWay released its holiday spending data which shows Australians spent an estimated $2.95 billion over the past two months. That’s up more than 20% compared to the previous year. Predictions for the general retail sector for the period were between 3% and 4%.
8. Speaking of Aussies and good sales, Newcastle entrepreneur Mat Carpenter hit upon a winning formula with ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com. Send him $10 and he’ll send an envelope of glitter to anyone you want to “piss off”. But despite his original tweet amassing just 12 retweets, the service got huge media coverage (mainly because it’s awesome). And within a day, Carpenter was claiming he was sick of the attention, ready to sell the site, and had a bunch of incredible statistics handy for potential investors.
ShipYourEnemiesGlitter with 1m visits, 270k social shares, $xx,xxx in sales, tonnes of people wanting to order. 24 hours old. For sale.
— Mathew Carpenter (@matcarpenter) January 14, 2015
But SMH reporter Scott Parker smelt a rat, called Carpenter, and got nothing in reply to prove the “phenomenon”.
9. The shocking truth about moving to London. Aussies do it all the time, mostly to get away from all the Poms moving here, and find it pretty straightforward. Pubs? Check. Vegemite? Check. But if you’re from the US, aka Business Insider’s Pamela Engel, a shift for work has some unique challenges. Such as LIMP BACON, the burgers aren’t tasty and they don’t pour liquid butter over the popcorn in cinemas. You get the gist – it’s a great post and there’s a heap more strangeness here.
10. Somebody just build this jetpack, please. Kiwi Glen Martin has been touting his jetpack as the future of commuting for more than 30 years. The latest iteration can fly 800 feet high at speeds of up to 74km/h for around 30 minutes. That’s good enough for Hong Kong investment fund KuangChi Science, which just tipped up to $50 million into Martin’s hat over the next 2½ years. First sales are targeted for third quarter 2016, with the retail price estimated to be around $US200,000. If you want to get in, the IPO is open until February 13.
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