1. The trouble with 2010 Grange. Australia’s leading wine writer, James Halliday, says the vintage is “destined to join a pantheon of the greatest Granges” and “worth every dollar” of its $785 price tag. Our own Simon Thomsen got to try it and wasn’t surprised at all to find it delicious… until he went back for a second glass. That came from a different bottle and it was unsettlingly different from the first glass. There’s more here on why all Granges aren’t the same – even those from the same vintage. Our advice to to buy it by the dozen.
2. In Asia yesterday, the Chinese new loans data looked solid, printing 857 billion yuan against expectations of just 730 billion. But it was nonetheless a down day for the region, with the Shanghai exchange off 0.74% to 2,356, the Hang Seng off 1.03% and the Nikkei, which hates USDJPY at 106 and change, falling 2.23%. Currencies consolidated the lows of this week, with USDJPY making a low overnight of 105.49 but it is back above 106 now. Likewise, euro fell to 1.2704 but is back at 1.2814 and the Aussie dollar tested 0.8684 but has recovered solidly to 0.8764 this morning. GBP is at 1.6059. On the data front, there is little to rival price action itself as the key driver into the week’s close. Housing start data in the US will be important tonight and the Chinese MNI sentiment indicator today is a big one for Asia.
3. China’s banks are waiting for the fall. Its banking system has piled up the most bad loans it’s had since the financial crisis, and the banks themselves are preparing for the moment those debts collapse. Especially in corporate and property sectors, things are looking dire. Leverage is up to levels not seen since 2006, and short- and long-term lending just keeps climbing. The Bank of China has been the first to blink – it just sold $US6.5 billion to offshore investors in an effort to create a capital cushion.
4. The ACCC goes after Coles again. The competition watchdog alleges that Coles had something called “perfect profit days” when it would demand additional payments from suppliers to fill revenue gaps and ensure the profit Coles wanted to make on those goods was achieved. It says it has internal company emails that show Coles pursued payments for “waste” on goods after it had accepted them, and “markdowns” it had imposed which were outside the control of suppliers. Coles denies the ACCC’s claims.
5. The even newer iPads. iPad launches don’t quite generate the same buzz as iPhone launches, but there’s a couple of small updates which make the new versions worth a look. The iPad Air 2 is thinner and more powerful than its predecessors, with a better camera. Tim Cook promises it can deliver “console-level” graphics for games. And both new models have Touch ID and will support Apple Pay, which top investor Marc Endreessen says has everyone freaking out over its cleverness.
6. Today in Ebola news. “Clipboard Guy” became a social media sensation, after he was photographed aiding 29-year-old Ebola patient Amber Vinson onto a plane while not wearing a hazmat suit. Apparently, someone has to take the risk to ensure everyone else is protected, so he’s a bit of a hero. But CNN’s Sanjay Gupta shows why even wearing a hazmat suit is not guarantee against the virus, by using chocolate sauce instead of actual Ebola. And here’s the definitive explanation of why it’s so, well, viral.
7. Our most trusted celebs. Repucom, a sports marketing research company, has created the only international index for celebrity evaluation to find out how Australian celebrities rate in terms of awareness, appeal, influence, trust and other attributes. From a pool of 300 Aussie celebs, Repucom asked an online consumer panel of 500 people aged 16 to 69 years to choose their favourites. Here they are, and how they rate out of a score of 100.
8. A comet is just going to scrape by Mars. Comet Siding Spring will come within 140,000km of the Red Planet on Sunday, and it’s got astrnomers the world over very excited. Not because it’s a near-miss, but because it’s a leftover from the Oort Cloud, which means it’s made up from the stuff that formed out solar system 4.6 billion years ago. OK, so there’s also the chance it might nick one of the several Mars orbiters as well…
9. This week’s most controversial Kickstarter project. Age your scotch by three years in 24 hours? It sounds too good to be true, especially when it also means you’ll get a much less intense hangover after drinking the result. But a few whiskey enthusiasts are sure that they’ve invented an oak stick which, when dunked in your J&B overnight, allows the whiskey to filter in and out of the wood while removing toxins, adding flavour, and colouring. One expert says it just makes your scotch taste like wood, but surely it’s worth a shot?
10. Happy Boss Day. The US celebrates this every October 16, but it barely raises a whimper in Australia. It is, however, a great excuse to hit Dilbert creator Scott Adams up for permission to run his favourite strips about the Pointy-Haired Boss. He gave BI US these 10 gems, including this:
Have a great weekend.
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