Good morning! Let’s start Tuesday.
1. The China-Australia free trade agreement signed yesterday sparked a flurry of business announcements yesterday afternoon, including the opening of a trading hub for renminbi in Sydney, which will facilitate cross-border movement of money. The FTA includes benefits for agriculture and the resources sector through the removal of tariffs, but Australian financial services companies will also be able to do more business with Chinese clients through the provision of advice and brokerage.
2. Japan’s horrible GDP print shocked the world yesterday, tipping Japan into a technical recession with a -1.6% outcome for the quarter against expectations of a slight rise. It now looks like a planned increase in the consumption tax will be deferred, and there may even be an election. The Nikkei fell almost 3% yesterday and Australian stocks were down almost 1%. But the sell-off didn’t wash into other markets through Monday, with the S&P 500 making another all-time high as the key US bourses finishing slightly in the green.
3. The Australian government is having a better month, with clear warmth between Xi Jinping and Tony Abbott during proceedings in Canberra yesterday. What won’t be helping, though, is the relentless fall in the iron ore price, which will continue to eat into the federal budget bottom line. It hit another five-year low overnight, with the continuing trend being a recognition of the slowing in the Chinese economy, and the supply volumes from the mining giants. Greg McKenna has more.
4. But the Medibank float might help. The insurer starts trading next week and demand has been through the roof. The official offer prices in the range of $1.55 to $2 but the shares have been trading on CFD markets at around $2.12. The federal government could make more than expected from the sale as a result.
5. Is Facebook coming after LinkedIn? On the face of it, “Facebook at Work”, a reportedly secret website Zuckerberg and co are working on, looks like it wants a piece of the business social network. According to an insider, it allows users to “chat with colleagues, connect with professional contacts and collaborate over documents”. Facebook last month reported its quarterly profit nearly doubled to $US802 million, but its stock flatlined after Zuckerberg announced it would be spending the cash on a 10-year plan to stay ahead of the game. For the record, LinkedIn is closing in on 350 million users; Facebook has roughly a billion more.
6. The future of airline commuting. France-based Airbus SAS has lodged a patent for a new type of passenger aircraft which looks more like something from a Star Wars set. For starters, passengers sit in a circle:
While that obviously means the plane itself will be shaped a bit like a UFO, it’s not just a gimmick. Airbus SAS, a manufacturing division of the Airbus Group, says the design gets around structural problems which come with building traditional cyclindrical aircraft for efficiently pressurised cabins.
7. English MP horror story. Investigative news site Exaro claims that a British Conservative MP killed a boy at a pedophile sex party – and the Metropolitan Police confirmed it is indeed investigating. It happened in the late 70s and early 80s, both politicians are still alive and the accusations get worse. A second Conservative MP, who was a cabinet minister, is alleged to have watched while a second boy was killed in front of him at a different party. And the gang running the parties allegedly killed a third child by running him down with a car, Exaro reports. Worse, more claims are coming in.
8. How to get fired at Google. Google is known for its ability to hire and keep top talent. It’s been revealed they monitor for what they call “knave density” – making sure they keep to a minimum the numbers of bad employees who will the good ones away. Knaves “lie, cheat, steal, and take credit for other people’s work”.
9. BlackBerry’s not interested in Kim Kardashian. The once mighty manufacturer needs all the help it can get and last month found a potentially huge ally in KK West, who told Re/code she buys BlackBerrys on eBay because they’re her favourite and she thinks they could “go extinct”. But BB CEO John Chen this week told the APEC CEO summit in Beijing that he “not interested in bringing celebrities on board”. He didn’t think it was a waste of money, just that he’d rather spend it on investing in next-gen technology and insists BlackBerry had “pulled back” from the consumer market.
10. Vale, owner of the world’s most expensive watch. The Henry Graves Supercomplication doesn’t just have the world’s most badass name for a watch, it actually is a badass watch. It fetched $24m at an auction in Switzerland last week, but now there’s talk of a “curse” attached to the timepiece because the guy who sold it – Sheik Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Thani – died, er, last week. And one other owner once died. So that’s rubbish, but the watch isn’t – it has 24 “complications”, or features, including a perpetual calendar, moon phases and indications for the time of sunrise and sunset. Not bad, considering it was built in 1925.
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