10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning.

1. Up and away. All three major US indices rose overnight, with tech stocks lifting the Nasdaq Composite index to a record high as markets shook off an escalating trade war and eyed earnings season. That bodes well for the local market, with ASX futures pointing higher to end the week.

2. The AUD is back above US74 cents this morning, rebounding strongly on Thursday after recovering much of the ground lost a session earlier. Gyrations in the Chinese yuan remain a major influence over movements in the AUD/USD. At the margin, the Aussie was also supported by a slightly softer-than-expected headline US CPI increase in June, lifting 0.1% compared to forecasts for a larger gain of 0.2%.

3. NATO leaders entered a special emergency session on Thursday after Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol by calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel “Angela” and demanding her and other NATO leaders up their defence spending immediately. It wasn’t the president’s only faux pas there, he also turned up late and skipped two meetings with world leaders. Despite that, before leaving, he reaffirmed his support for the international alliance at a news conference, saying there was “a great, very collegial spirit in that room. Very unified, very strong, no problem.”

4. He then flew to England for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May. The visit is part of a three-nation trip that will end with a closely-watched meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While Trump stayed at Winfield House, the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London, he’s mostly avoiding the city and protests there, including plans approved by London mayor Sadiq Khan to fly a huge balloon depicting the president as a baby wearing a nappy. He’ll also meet the Queen but many fear he’ll slip up on the myriad of protocols that surround meeting Her Majesty.

5. Brexit. His visit comes amid political chaos in the UK with May announcing her plan to keep the UK wedded to European Union rules after Brexit. The British government released its highly-anticipated white paper on its desired post-Brexit relationship with the EU on Thursday, confirming May’s policy of effectively staying in the single market for goods, meaning the UK would continue to follow EU rules and standards for the trade of goods after it has left the bloc. Meanwhile, Trump says her Brexit plan will “kill” a US-UK trade deal.

6. Australian housing markets tipped to outperform over the next 12 months include suburbs in regional areas and more affordable capital cities, according to industry experts. Here are the suburbs property experts believe will enjoy above average price growth over the next 12 months.

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7. The ATO is coming after those who fudge their returns. It turns out Australians are fudging their tax returns to the tune of $8.7 billion a year. This is bigger than large corporates who are underpaying by an estimated $2.5 billion. Common mistakes include claiming deductions where there is no connection to income or saying a private expenses is work-related. Here’s how it is identifying and catching dodgers.

8. A bitcoin billionaire is quietly building the world’s first decentralised bank in Malta. The project is backed by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, which was founded by the bitcoin billionaire Changpeng Zhao. The bank, called Founders Bank, will be unique in that it won’t belong to a single corporation, person, or entity. Instead, it will be owned in part by anyone who purchases a portion of its token-based equity. More here.

9. Fortnite Season 5 is finally here, and it’s a doozy. In Fortnite, the changing of seasons brings a new theme to the game’s Battle Pass, and often many cosmetic changes to the map. This time around, a one-time in-game event – involving a rocket launch and rifts in the space-time continuum – was a signal to players that this new Season would include massive changes to the island, and that transition to Season 5 would be the biggest one yet. Here’s what’s new.

10. Roger Federer’s master plan for 2018 backfired spectacularly. Having skipped the clay season so he could be fit for the Wimbledon Championships, Federer was knocked out of the competition on Wednesday. His absence paves the way for arch rival, Rafael Nadal, to win a third Wimbledon title, which would narrow the Grand Slam gap between the sport’s best players. Nadal has a far superior head-to-head record than Federer, and if he ends up winning more majors then it would be game, set, and match when it comes to the GOAT status.

Have a great day.

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