Good morning. Here’s what you need to know so far.
1. Clive Palmer walked out again. His chat with Emma Alberici on ABC’s Lateline last night started out well with Palmer saying he believed Jacqui Lambie was a PUP team player, wobbled a bit when he later called her Jenny Lambie, then fell right off the rails when the focus shifted to that pesky $12 million journos insist on asking him about. Palmer’s been accused of using the investment money to bankroll his election campaign and as he did before in a TV interview, the PUP leader up and left Alberici interviewing a blank screen.
2. BHP is okay with the price of iron ore. CEO Andrew Mackenzie yesterday said $70 a tonne was no surprise to them and that “our company has been very clear that the time for massive expansions of iron ore are over”. In another signal to traders that BHP thinks prices are about right now, Mackenzie said the company has been “fairly clear that prices at about these levels were what we were expecting for the longer term”.
3. The falling iron ore price, combined with slower growth in wages, may trigger a $10 billion budget deficit blowout. Citigroup has predicted a budget deficit of $40 billion for the 2014-15 financial year, after the Abbott Government’s miscalculated May budget forecasts of an “easing” iron ore price over the next few years. HSBC’s chief economist Paul Bloxham warned this year’s budget deficit may even exceed the 2013-14 $48.5 billion recorded deficit. “Combined with slower growth in wages, the fall in iron ore prices could mean that the budget deficit is larger in 2014-15 than it was last financial year,” Bloxham said.
4. All up, it was a poor day yesterday locally, with massive volume in Fortescue and an acceleration to the downside as the market closed. But overnight strength in the US and a slight recovery in the iron ore price has seen traders in the SPI 200 December futures contract push prices up 12 points to 5,329. This indicates a better day ahead – maybe.
5. In Asia yesterday, the weakness in the Chinese flash PMI saw weakness in Shanghai early but the market recovered to finish just in the black at 2,453 up 2 points. The Hang Seng was off mildly, losing 0.1% to 23,350. Chances of a bigger stimulus would be very high if not for the fact that the current regime has a clear policy and mandate to target areas of the economy for reform. In Tokyo, the market was a bit nonplussed, with the Nikkei up just 0.07% but the results of the JMMA were encouraging for manufacturers. Unfortunately they highlighted that the weaker yen is the only trick that Abe has in his quiver at the moment.
6. The USDJPY is back at 118.03 off a high of 118.96 and where the yen goes, so goes the Aussie dollar at the moment. It has had a solid rally to be back at 0.8631 this morning.
7. If you use a webcam to watch your baby or keep an eye on your home while at work, and you didn’t change the password from the default when you got it, then whatever you’re currently seeing might also be on a Russian website that’s hacked thousands of webcams around the world and is now streaming them. 300 cameras from Australia, including a baby in Brisbane, are on the site. There’s another local angle – the site’s domain is registered in the Australian territory, Cocos Islands. Authorities are freaking out and trying to get it shut down, but in the meantime you’d better change your password quickly.
8. Yes, Malaysia Airlines has had a tough year. And they’ve made some little mistakes along the way too, but now they pushing hard to make amends, and recently enlisted Masterchef runner up Poh to help. And they’re serving her grandma’s nyonya chicken curry on flights. Business Insider continues to be a fan of the airline and when we recently flew business class to Kuala Lumpur with them, we were impressed. Here’s our review of the trip.
9. Tony Abbott’s climate change stance under fire. You know you’re in a unique place when British Conservatives call you eccentric, but that’s exactly what our PM’s facing after a bunch of the Brit MPs banded together in a series of interviews for The Age. They labelled Abbott’s skeptical position on climate change as “eccentric”, “baffling” and “flat Earther”. Here’s former chairman of the British Conservative Party, Lord Deben, on how Abbott’s “betrayed” the Conservative movement:
I have no doubt that people like David Cameron will be saying to Tony Abbott ‘look conservatives are supposed to conserve, they are supposed to hand on to the next generation something better than they received themselves’.
10. The most interesting man in US college football is a former AFL player. Scott Harding notched up 50 games fior the Brisbane Lions and Port Adelaide, but has spent the past four years trying to break into the NFL. He’s finally getting some attention playing college football in Hawaii, where he recently scored this headline:
The writer calls Harding a “fascinating laboratory experiment”. His coach in Colorado calls him a “Swiss army knife” due to his versatility in playing as a slot receiver, punt returner and punter. It bodes well for next years’ NFL Draft.
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