1. It’s going to be a slow start to the week for Aussie dollar traders. Most of the big market moving events, including from Australia, are later in the week, and today the US is celebrating President’s Day holiday, meaning most US markets will be closed. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was trading at 0.7136 having posted gains on Friday night.
2. In news that will be reverberating through the nation’s political circles today, it appears Bill Shorten’s decision to back the medevac bill allowing asylum seekers to come to Australia on the assessment of doctors has been given short shrift by voters. A new Ipsos poll shows a big tightening in the polls to have Labor ahead 51-49, from 54-46 previously. Scott Morrison leads Shorten 48 to 38 as preferred PM. The Coalition will need to see this replicated in a number of polls to gain any real optimism, but for now it looks like border protection being in the news has potentially re-energised their vote. Full details at the AFR.
3. Not so fast. Australia has poured cold water on proposals from the UK to swiftly join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade agreement post-Brexit. According to trade minister Simon Birmingham, the fact the UK isn’t in the Pacific creates some obvious logistical difficulties.
4. Meanwhile, Theresa May’s government is using “blanket secrecy” to hide its no-deal Brexit plans.
5. The slowing global growth outlook – partly driven by US-China trade tensions but also the growing uncertainty around the picture in Europe – is one of the reasons behind the change in the interest rates picture for the RBA. On this week’s podcast, we’re joined by Westpac head of global markets strategy Robert Rennie, who has his own custom model for global trade flows. He shares what it’s showing and how the tightening in global financial conditions is affecting trade finance. Search “Devils and Details” wherever you get your podcasts (including Spotify) or tune in below.
6. For the first time ever, Facebook has acknowledged concerns about users’ “well-being” could hurt its business. In the company’s latest quarterly report, there’s a telling change that shows how worried the company is about what it’s doing to people. It’s a striking change from the company’s altruistic boasts of the past.
7. Relatives of China’s oppressed Muslim minority are now getting blocked online by their own family members, who are terrified to even tell them how bad their lives are. It comes after reports that 17 Australians were detained as part of China’s crackdown on Uighur Muslims.
8. “Reversible decisions”. Sometimes in business, big companies have a tendency to think all big decisions were irreversible. But as Jeff Bezos points out in a 1997 letter to shareholders, and has shown in his Amazon HQ2 U-turn, most decisions can be undone. Read how Bezos breaks his decisions into Type 1 and Type 2, and how most are the latter — “they are changeable, reversible — they’re two-way doors“.
9. A 48-year-old Australian CEO set out to run 100 marathons in 100 days. Mina Guli, the CEO of Thirst, a non-profit initiative that encourages young people to use water more sustainably, set out on the campaign in the hope it would raise awareness about the global water crisis. By the end of her 62nd marathon her body gave out. See her inspiration story here, along with photos of her heart-wrenching journey around the world.
10. Does your budget give you the same sense of deprivation as your diet? There’s a reason for that. According to Grant Sabatier, who was a self-made millionaire by the age of 30, the more guilt you feel, the less you stick with it because it becomes a point of anxiety and stress. Read his advice for building a better wealth strategy here.
BONUS ITEM: And you thought teeth cavities were bad. There’s a cavity almost the size of the City of Sydney under the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica, and its discovery is changing the way scientists think about the speed of melting glaciers.
This glacier is responsible for 4% of annual global sea-level rise and it would raise sea levels by more than half a metre if it melted fully — something that may happen much faster than previously thought.
Have a great day.
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