10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

This guy. Picture: Getty Images

Good morning. Sorry we’re late.

1. Iron ore is breaking records. Not in price, obviously – that’s still a disaster, at least for the smaller players. But tonnages are through the roof as Aussie exporters try to make up the shortfall in price by shipping more and more iron ore. Yesterday, BHP Billiton loaded 263,989 tonnes of it onto one vessel, the Abigail N. That’s about a $16.75 million payload, which last year would have been worth $31.7 million.

2. To the markets, where locally, it is hard to deny the influence of the strength in global stock markets, even though many believe the ASX is getting “fully priced”. Last night, SPI traders just got on with it and bought the March contract 27 points higher to 5,911. Moves on data might come today on the wage price index and construction work done in Australia at 11.30am. China is back and the HSBC “flash” PMI is out.

3. In Asia yesterday, Tokyo set another new 15-year high, up 0.74% to 18,603. Hong Kong was down 0.35% to 24,750. Shanghai is back today and the overall positive tone that has gripped stock markets across the globe while the Chinese New year celebrations have been under way are likely to drive the market higher.

4. The Aussie is up a cent, thanks to the Canadian dollar rally, to 0.7833 from 0.7736 overnight. Euro is at 1.1340 from a 1.1287 low overnight. GBP is looking solid at 1.5461, USDJPY is at 118.88 from a 119.83 high overnight.

5. Westpac’s golden RBA emergency fund. There’s a plan developed by Westpac’s Treasury team to help it weather housing downturns and stress events. APRA and the RBA have now rolled it out more widely, allowing banks, building societies and credit unions emergency access to liquidity from the Reserve Bank. It sounds solid, but the scale of money that the majors and the rest of the banking sector may need to access from the Reserve Bank is staggering. How’s $66 billion – for Westpac alone?

6. That’ll do, Xero. The NZ cloud accounting company just raised $US 110.8 million ($141.6 million) in a round led by Accel Partners and Matrix Capital. It’s also made two big hires, recruiting former Dell exec Russ Fujioka as US president and ex-Salesforce CFO Graham Smith to the board. The investment leaves Xero with a cash-filled war chest of about $NZ285 million and it plans to use cash from the issue of the shares to fuel innovation and growth globally, specifically in the US and UK.

7. And the winner is… not Michael Keaton! If you thought John Travolta’s creepy sleaze was the Oscars at its most awkward, here’s Birdman star Michael Keaton’s reaction after Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor award.



Everyone’s saying that’s Keaton’s acceptance speech he’s tucking back away there, which if it is, is a little heartbreaking. You’re still awesome, Mike.

8. Our kids need to code. Maybe your local primary school is really run by a latte-sipping P&C group which changed the second language to Mongolian because their precious one couldn’t wrap her head around the endless derivative suffixes of Finnish in Kindy. But if sense eventually prevails, the second language in Australian high schools will one day be code. Australian mobile app development company Appster is trying to make it happen, partnering up with a Tasmanian high school to teach the programming language to kids and show them how to build apps, which we’re told are kind of a big deal these days.

9. Do you love cats, smoke pot, are left-handed and tall? Yes? Then you’re halfway towards being smarter than everyone else. Science says so – here’s all the other indicators.

10. They could not get him out. Zimbabwe were celebrating early after scuttling West Indies opener Dwayne Smith on the second ball of their ICC World Cup match last night. With one ball remaining, they were staring at a total of 1-372, but snagged Chris Gayle on the final delivery. Sadly for Zimbabwe, Gayle had scored 215 – the highest individual innings in a World Cup match, the third highest in any one-day international, and a large chunk of a 372-run partnership with Marlon Samuels (133 not out), also a one-day record. Zimbabwe lost.

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