10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Beer wars. As Australian as Australian prime ministers used to be. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning.

1. Markets were off to a quiet start as the US took a day off for Martin Luther King Day. But the euro kept climbing and is now at a three-year high after a higher than expected trade surplus number came in. The Aussie is still threatening the US80c mark as the greenback falls to its lowest level since January 2015. And it was a good night for metals. Except iron ore.

2. And the British pound briefly climbed above $US1.38 to hit a fresh post-Brexit vote high. That could be in part due to talk of a soft Brexit deal which would essentially retain all the UK’s current ties to the EU. Apparently, Boris Johnson fears a soft Brexit. But then again, here are all the signs Boris Johnson wants Britain to stay inside the common market, including that time just over a year ago when he said: “I would vote to stay in the single market.”

3. One of the iconic voices of the 90s has died. Rest easy, Dolores O’Riordan:

The lead singer of The Cranberries died in London where she was recording new material, at the age of 46. The cause of death has so far only been described as “unexplained” and “sudden”.

4. Property prices are down, commodities are up. Bonds and the US dollar are being squeezed and no one knows what will happen to rates. But help has arrived, if you want to make sense of it all. Here is JPMorgan’s complete guide to everything going on in Australian and global markets. And when we say “complete”, we mean “77 glorious slides”.

5. It is incredible that no one was killed here:

That’s a balcony at the Jakarta Stock Exchange. It collapsed during the midday break yesterday, and at least 72 people were taken to hospital as a result. Also remarkable, non-deaths aside, is the fact trading was open again after the midday break. “A hundred per cent of bourse members are connected and safe. Bourse system is not affected,” said exchange chief Tito Sulistio.

6. Beer wars! It’s been a while since we had a good one, but right now, you can get a pint of frosty at The Vic Hotel for $3.50. That’s a full 50 cents a pint cheaper than the competition up the road at the Village Bar. When the Vic posted its big move on Facebook, the people came. And drank around 60 kegs of Rogers and Swan Draught within three days.

7. File under “things we’re all probably better off not knowing”:


The worker who pressed it “feels terrible” but has been reassigned. But it looks like the dev and IT peeps who came up with the stupid system got away with it. Again.

8. Australian fund manager Michael Glennon is bored of bitcoin and has joined the “cryptocurrencies are useless” camp. “Go and put your money into a real business that makes money,” he says. And as bitcoin-bashing grows as a global sport in finance pages around the world, here in Australia, as of yesterday, anyone can throw up to $10,000 in to crowdfund a “digital bank” that is “not a bank yet but is working with regulators to become one”. In fact, investors lobbed $500,000 at Xinja in less than 24 hours. Before we celebrate that bold new strategy of investing in real businesses, here are 10 startups which burned through $2.1 billion. And that’s just in 2017. Can I get anyone a Juicero?

9. The world’s oldest insurance market has a very modern problem – kids keep climbing Lloyd’s for the YouTubes. The 330-year old business is seeking an injunction to ban people from climbing the building. All credit for the online fame should go to the building’s architect, Richard Rogers, who put all the water pipes, lift shafts and staircases on the outside to maximise interior space.

10. Venus Williams didn’t make it past Day One of the Australian Open. And Sam Stosur, obviously. But Nick Kyrgios had no knee trouble while dispatching Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-1 6-2 6-4. Kyrgios did, however, have trouble with the bizarre line of questioning at the press conference after about his “friendship” with controversial American footballer Colin Kaepernick. “I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to that dude in my life,” Kyrgios said.

BONUS ITEM: There is no more exciting time than that one where a dog came into the school yard. But a wallaby on the Sydney Harbour Bridge comes close:

Have a great day.

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