10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

That’s the spirit. Picture: Getty Images

1. Grexit is on? A Greek exit from the euro looks increasingly like a real possibility after talks with Eurozone finance ministers broke up with no agreement this morning. A Greek official said the euro group had attempted to repeat the existing bailout programme, which was an unacceptable and “absurd” offer to the debt-stricken country. That means Greece has just about three weeks of cash left. Tax revenues have plunged and the country’s bailout officially terminates at the end of February. The failure to reach a deal could mean crises for both Greece’s public finances and its already shattered banking system. And a banking collapse could lead to an exit from the euro without European assistance.

2. Locally, ASX futures were up 11 points overnight to 5,830. Today’s trade has so many countercurrents it is difficult to know whether this is going to be a good lead for a positive day or just overnight noise. Iron ore on the Dalian exchange has been rallying strongly and thermal coal is up sharply in the past month. But weakness offshore might weigh. The Aussie has done okay and is at 0.7773 this morning.

3. In Asia yesterday, the Japanese GDP printed 0.6% for the preliminary estimate of Q4. That was weaker than the 0.9% the market expected but still a reasonable result for the year of 2.2%. Hand-wringing in the punditry was rife but USDJPY at 118.41 tells you forex traders weren’t disappointed. Indeed, the Nikkei was up 0.51% to 18,005. Stocks in Hong Kong rose 0.18% to 24,727 while in Shanghai, the surge in Chinese FDI helped push stocks to 3,222 up 0.57%.

4. On the data front today, we get the minutes of the RBA’s recent board meeting at 11.30am with the ANZ weekly consumer confidence at 9.30am. House prices in China are out today and then tonight, UK CPI is super important in helping understand the path of BoE interest rates.

5. Coal! It’s been trending down for a very depressing four years, but the big news today is, that at $70.40 a tonne, Newcastle thermal coal has now broken its fall.

Newcastle Coal March contract – barchart.com

So now the question is – short squeeze or sustainable rally?

6. The final solution. Indonesia has confirmed convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be moved to Nusakembangan island prison this week to await their execution. They’ll soon be part of what looms as a record year for executions in Indonesia, but Simon Thomsen asks the question – does the punishment fit the crime when Indonesia’s system lets key convicted terrorists keep their lives after taking those of hundreds?

7. There’s a chance Apple “design guru” Jony Ive, designed this:

Mind your fingers, Kylo. Picture: Disney.

It’s the new lightsaber that Kylo Ren looks in danger of cutting his fingers off with, and it’s caused a lot of mirth on the interwebs since the Star Wars VII trailer was released back in December. Ive doesn’t confirm he designed it, but admits he “had a conversation” with Star Wars director J.J. Abrams:

It was just a conversation … I thought it would be interesting if it were less precise, and just a little bit more spitty … [a lightsaber should be] more analogue and more primitive, and I think, in that way, somehow more ominous.

8. Wealthy Australians shouldn’t be concerned about news in the AFR this morning that the Government is looking to include family homes in the pension asset test. The Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison ruled it out categorically on Fran Kelly’s breakfast show on RN this morning. But sorry, Gen-Everyone else – it looks like it will only apply to that most financially protected of species, Baby Boomers. There’s no intergenerational equity in an upcoming intergenerational report that says:

All parties, the government included, agree that Baby Boomers, whether already retired or approaching retirement, would be exempt from any change that would have to be transitional so those affected would have ample time to prepare.

9. Oh, Barry. A year ago, former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell resigned after failing to declare his receipt of a $3000 bottle of 1959 Grange Hermitage wine, blaming the failure on a “massive memory fail”. Now construction company Thiess has released an internal review of gifts and among them is a sweet $1195 Mont Blanc pen to O’Farrell. Who is once again tripping down the “cannot recall” path…

10. What’s it like to be the leader of the free world? That’s Barack Obama, in case you were wondering, and here’s what a day in his life looks like.

BONUS ITEM: Jon Oliver loves Australian laws. Last year, he highlighted our gun legislation. This week, he has a look at plain packaging and the fight Big Tobacco put up to stop it:

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.