10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Homework is so 2014. Photo Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to your week.

1. Domestically the market is likely to trade at the whim of the US this week with little by way of material domestic news. Having said that though, the Minutes to the RBA’s last board meeting will be interesting as traders and pundits try to read the tea leaves for indications of the path of interest rates in the next few months relative to market pricing, which is looking for a couple of cuts.

2. China used more cement in the last three years than the US used in the entire 20th century. And making cement creates a lot of greenhouse gases. China also creates about 60% of the world’s iron waste, but the CSIRO has found a way to turn slag into cement and reduce the greenhouse gas the process emits. Beijing MCC Equipment Research & Design Corporation Ltd is now on-board and plans to scale-up and demonstrate the technology at industrial scale before commercialising it in China and potentially worldwide.

3. In data this week, all eyes will be on Fed chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday, when markets could get their first hint of a US rate hike. It’s all about banks elsewhere as well, with RBA minutes, Mario Draghi speaking, a BoJ Monetary Policy Statement and press conference, and minutes from the BoE. Here’s Westpac’s excellent diary of all the key events for the week.

4. Western Australia is continually bleating about how unfair it is that its tax bill supports the rest of Australia. One of its biggest employers, Rio Tinto, released a report yesterday outlining its tax bill and it did indeeed show it paid 9% of Australia’s $38.7 billion in company taxes for 2012. But when it comes to Royalty payments, WA gets to keep 32.6% and when you’re talking about Rio Tinto, that’s a hefty $1.689 billion in the state’s coffers to play with.

5. Here’s the latest horror story from Sydney’s real estate market:

The Gladesville four-bedder on 714m2 had a hefty enough reserve of $1.75 million. It sold to a developer for $2.85 million as 300 people watched on in disbelief.

6. There is no evidence that homework lifts academic performance, NSW education officials say. So Cambridge Park Public School in Sydney has written to parents saying “the school recognises that parents are best placed to make decisions about whether or not their children have the capacity or time to complete homework”. It’s one of a growing number of primary schools allowing children to be excused from homework if they have a note from their parents.

7. There’s already some winners from the Aussie dollar’s fall. RBA research says that if the 10% fall in the Aussie becomes permanent, as seems the case at the moment, it will add around 1% to GDP after two years. Alex Joiner, Bank of America Merril Lynch economist, says there’s losers as well, but highlights that Service exports are on the rise, up 9% in volume terms since late 2012, and accelerating. Tourism and education sectors should do well, too.

8. Vanuatu is facing a major humanitarian crisis after it was smashed by cyclone Pam on the weekend. Up to 90% of housing in the capital Port Vila has been lost as average wind speeds of 270km/h, gusting up to 340km/h, struck the city. “This is likely to be one of the worst disasters ever seen in the Pacific,” Oxfam’s Port Vila director, Colin Collet van Rooyen, said. “Entire communities have been blown away.” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop committed $5 million in initial funding and more assistance is likely to be needed.

9. The F1 non-show rolled into Melbourne yesterday and finished with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton 34 seconds ahead of the field, his teammate Nico Rosberg in second place, 11 other drivers somewhere else and spectators wishing the footy season would hurry up and start. There was some entertainment to be had in the presser though, with Rosberg saying he hopes the team doesn’t continue to win so easily because he “thinks about the show”. “You really hope so, seriously?” Vettel replied. “A suggestion, if you don’t mind, is your garage becomes public for Malaysia and everyone can have a look.” S-lap.

10. The NRL is on the brink of forgiving yet another PR disaster, with appeals committee chairman Ian Callinan QC finding that the Sharks failed to observe due process before dismissing Todd Carney for posting pics of himself “bubbling”. That, for non-NRL fans, is urinating in your own mouth. Anyway, apparently it’s not an issue anymore, and Manly’s already putting its hand up for Carney as a replacement for Dale Cherry-Evans.

BONUS ITEM: Ever wondered what it’s like to jump off the world’s tallest building?

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