10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

1. Phillip Hughes is gone. A sporting nation is mourning the loss of a talent who burned brightly after Hughes, 25, died yesterday afternoon. His national career has been described many times as a rollercoaster, but that inability to cement a spot took a far back seat to the way he played the game. Hughes was one of those all-too-rare batsmen who did it their way – daring. As a result, when word went out that Phil Hughes was digging in, so did tens of thousands of Australians, into their comfiest chair, and put their afternoon appointments on hold. Our coverage today is led by Simon Thomsen with this piece about why Hughes’ death is such a heartfelt national tragedy.

2. There’s some amazing tributes going on over at Twitter for Hughes. The best is the goosebump-raising #putoutyourbats movement, which is seeing some of the rarest willow turn up on doorsteps across the world. Here’s a pictorial journey through his life. Or if you prefer just to remember the man in action, here’s some of his finest cricketing moments.

Now, to the markets:

3. In Asia yesterday, Shanghai ripped higher as the PBoC’s lack of repo operations, where they withdraw funds from the system, was seen as another move to ease monetary conditions. Some people reckon Shanghai has or is topping but our Greg McKenna thinks Shanghai 3000 looks a really good chance as each new high begets more buying. And he’s never wrong.

4. Locally, after doing nothing yesterday on the physical market, futures traders on the ASX took the Dec 2014 SPI200 contract down 17 points to 5,396. The Nikkei was down 0.77% to 17,249, with yen strength weighing on sentiment. The Hang Seng was down 0.45% to 24,004, and the Shanghai Composite Index up 0.99% to 2,630 – another huge surge into the close.

5. On the data front, Japanese CPI will be huge today and private sector credit in Australia will be closely watched as well. The Aussie dollar is back at 0.8547 having found the air too thin above 86 cents overnight.

6. How important China is to Australia. Here’s a stunning chart that shows why Treasury has to manage its economic transition away from a dependence on mining very, very carefully:

Four of the five largest economies in the world will be in our region (we won’t be one of them, in case you didn’t guess) and the middle class of those countries will grow from the 500 million from five years ago to a staggering 3.2 billion in 2030.

7. Brisbane copped another battering. This time it was “palm-sized” hailstones, 140km winds and flash-flooding. The pics are straight out of the Apocalypse:

And they keep coming in as the massive cleanup begins this morning. Frightening stuff, and no doubt a frightening cleanup bill to boot.

8. Apple gear is cheap in Australia. Relatively speaking, we don’t have a right to whinge – like we always do – when tech giants release their new products and we realise we’re getting slugged a couple of hundred dollars more here. According to the latest iPad index by CommSec, Australia is the 8th cheapest place to buy an iPad Air 2, down from April 2014 when we were 13th. It’s all about exchange rates, which we tend to ignore, and taxes, which when added to an iPad in California, actually make it more expensive than in Australia.

9. Aussies do Christmas better. Canberra barrister David Richards lost his Guinness World Record for the largest ever LED light display a couple of years ago. He won it back last year and determined to never lose it again, bulked up for 2014. News.com.au reports that “If laid out, his lights would stretch over 120kms — enough to run from Canberra to Cooma, or almost Batemans Bay.” More than 200,000 people are expected to drop a gold coin in the box to see his lights, money which will go charity SIDS and Kids ACT. Merry Christmas.

10. How seriously do you sleep? Tom Cruise has a purpose-built “Snoratorium” to drown out his snuffles in consideration of his family. Leonardo da Vinci took 20 minutes every four hours. Maria Carey needs 15 hours – and 20 humidifiers around her bed. But they all have one thing in common – they’re successful, so maybe it’s not all so silly. There’s 10 more weird sleep habits of successful people here where those came from.

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