10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

IMDbScarlett Johansson in The Avengers

Good morning.

1. The US Federal Reserve held its key interest rate unchanged overnight but importantly said it would be “patient” about future rate hikes, emphasising it would carefully assess the state of the economy before making such a move.

2. US President Donald Trump’s trade talks with China on Wednesday could decide the fate of the trade war and the US economy’s future. The two sides face a March 1 deadline to find an agreement that would put a permanent pause on the escalation of a trade war that has seen tariffs slapped on $US360 billion worth of goods sent between the two nations.

3. A “watershed moment”. The boom times for Australian businesses came to a shuddering halt late last year. Business conditions plunged to the lowest level in over four years with the deterioration broad in nature. Westpac Bank says the decline could prove to be a “watershed moment”, pointing to a “significant slowing in the economy”. David Scutt has more.

4. UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday won a majority for renegotiating her Brexit deal and defeated several attempts by MPs to take control of the Brexit process – it is for the first time possible to see a route through this mess. Here’s how things could play out.

5. The Australian dollar is flying, rising to a two-month high against the greenback on Wednesday. A slightly hotter-than-expected Australian Q4 CPI reading, soaring iron ore and crude oil prices and dovish commentary from the US Federal Reserve were the catalysts behind the 1%-plus surge seen. At t 8.25am, the Aussie was up 1.40% to 0.7253.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

6. Melbourne has been named the happiest city in the world, much to the envy of Sydneysiders. According to a survey from Time Out and Tapestry Research, which asked 15,000 people in 32 cities worldwide about food, drink, culture, dating, community, travel, and more, Melbourne’s beaches, emphasis on art, and diverse culture work together to give everyone something to enjoy.

7. Chaos has erupted inside Facebook as employees find themselves unable to open the company’s apps on their iPhones. The company reportedly blocked the apps in response to reports that Facebook’s misused Apple’s enterprise-app program, meant for internal use in a company, to run a research app that gathered data on people’s phone activity in exchange for payment. More here.

8. “Airings.” A Twitter user cleverly turned their AirPods into earrings so they’d never lose them. Ingenious.

9. Say goodbye to burpees. Scarlett Johansson’s personal trainers say the exercise is a waste of time — here’s what you should be doing instead.

10. Getting into the property market in Australia is difficult, but we may just have some advice that could help. These five American millennials became homeowners in their 20s. By adhering to a budget, using an assistance program, living rent-free with their parents, or opting for down payments below the standard 20%, they were able to save enough to buy their first home. More on their tips here.

BONUS ITEM: China’s new “carrier killer” video is a treasure trove of military intel that should worry the US Navy.

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