10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Good morning.

1. The ECB will end its $3 trillion stimulus program by December. The program known as quantitative easing was undertaken following the eurozone debt crisis. It also announced that interest rates will remain unchanged. The euro slid on the announcement, falling close to 1% from its daily high.

2. The Australian dollar is getting slammed, falling heavily against all major currencies except the euro on Thursday. A sharp plunge in the euro, along with soft economic data from Australia and China, were the main catalysts behind the Aussie’s fall. At 7am AEST, the AUD/USD was down 1.31% to 0.7477.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

3. European Union countries are reportedly coordinating retaliatory tariffs against the US. EU countries unanimously back a proposal to hit Washington with $3.3 billion worth of taxes on US goods, sources told Reuters. That’s after US President Donald Trump last month imposed steel and aluminum taxes on the US’s closest allies.

4. Russia has played Saudi Arabia in the first game of the World Cup. The opening ceremony had it all — an opera singer, a middle finger, and Putin’s speech. But it was this handshake between Putin and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia after the first goal of the competition that had Twitter talking. Warning – if you don’t want to know the score, don’t click that link. Meanwhile, UBS ran 10,000 simulations of the World Cup — and one team is head and shoulders above the rest. Find out which team it is here.

5. It looks like North Korea is coming through with a “major” denuclearisation step for Trump after a South Korean newspaper reported Thursday that North Korea will destroy a large-scale facility in Tongchang-ri, in North Pyongan Province, that was used to test engines for the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile.

6. Auction clearance rates in Australian fell to fresh five-year lows last week after less than 60% of properties cleared in Sydney and Melbourne. Prices in these two cities have been falling for several months now. Many forecasters expect the downturn will continue for quite some time yet.

7. DiDi Chuxing is launching in Melbourne on June 25. The $US50 billion Chinese ride-sharing giant has been running a beta service around Geelong over the last month and says driver recruiting for Melbourne began earlier this month. With 550 million users worldwide, it could be the service to finally challenge Uber.

8. Deplorable coin. Yesterday it was the first blockchain religion, now Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is getting into cryptocurrency and has talked about creating “deplorable coin”. We’ll leave it at that.

9. An Italian politician who spent 27 years in total anonymity to hide from the mafia has revealed her face for the first time. Piera Aiello ran for office anonymously earlier this year and won more than 51% of the vote in Marsala, Sicily, as a candidate for the Five Star Movement. Before revealing her identity she was known as “the faceless candidate”. Read her incredible story here.

10. Meghan Markle had her first joint engagement with the queen on Thursday. The two could be seen laughing and chatting together. Markle, who is still learning the royal ropes, experienced a brief awkward moment where Markle seemed to be unsure of the proper car protocol, and had to ask the queen for her preference. It’s a sweet exchange.

BONUS ITEM: Now for something you can’t un-see. Sorry, not sorry.

Have a great day.

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