10 Things You Need To Know This Morning In Australia

Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday! Here’s what you need to know.

1. ISM data disaster. In an extraordinary sequence of events, the Institute for Supply Management was forced to correct the data for its May manufacturing report, an important economic data point in the US, twice overnight. Initially it was 53.2 – below expectations – and the markets sold off a bit. Then ISM’s Brad Holcomb told Bloomberg the number should be 56.0 not 53.2 – which would be a big beat on the 55.4 expected. Guess what? Wrong again! Almost three hours after the initial release, ISM corrected their data one more time, bringing the final reading to 55.4. Here’s a chart showing how it played out:

2. Markets are flat. In the end, the US markets finished the day flat with the Dow up 26 points to 16,743.6 (+0.1%), the S&P up just a point and the Nasdaq down 0.1%. The Nikkei had a huge day yesterday, up more than 2% for the session, amid signs the Chinese economy is stabilising. The ASX staged a late rally yesterday and futures are pointing to a slight rise on the open.

3. The global data week. Today in the region we get China’s non-manufacturing PMI and the HSBC manufacturing PMI for May – both important numbers. With Germany being the critical part of the continental European economy, there was some concern at data showing deflation in some regions overnight. Tonight we get Eurozone CPI, with the inflation outlook a critical backdrop to the ECB’s rates announcement tomorrow night.

4. Retail sales today. Everyone’s looking to the Australian consumer at the moment for an indication on whether the collapse in consumer confidence that started in mid-April – around budget leaks – might have turned into something more than just a feeling or a mood. Today we get retail sales data for April, which takes in the Easter period but also wouldn’t have accounted for the budget leaks, the most austere of which started in the middle of the month. Still, it’s going to be fascinating. A Bloomberg survey of economists last week found a median expectation of a 0.3% rise. So that’s the number to look for at 11.30am AEST.

5. Here comes the RBA. The board of the Reserve Bank of Australia meets this morning and will announce its monthly cash rate decision at 2.30pm AEST. There’s no change expected to the current 2.5%, but the market will, as usual, be looking carefully for any changes in the statement for signs on the RBA’s view of the state of the economy – especially any commentary on the impact of the federal budget – and the value of the dollar.

6. Swiftkey for your iPhone. Finally, Apple is allowing integration of third-party keyboards into its iOS system for mobile devices. The swiping functions on the apps, like Swiftkey and Swype, save you masses of keystrokes and it also predicts what you’re going to type next. It’s the coolest thing on Android phones (I have it on my GS4 and love it) and an important move in what could be a defining year of product releases for Apple.

7. Origin equity raising. The big mover in the Australian market yesterday was Karoon Gas, whose shares rose more than 40% after it announced the sale of Browse basin permits to Origin Energy for around $800 million. Origin announced it would be engaging in a $20 million equity raising, with a $1 billion rights issue. The investment banks will be lining up.

8. Outsourcing everything. An Australian startup founder used Freelancer.com to outsource the production of his Neknomination video – an internet challenge in which people need to down a beer on camera – to two guys in Mexico. Sure, it had amusing results, but it’s also a great example of how all sorts of tasks are being outsourced on digital platforms.

9. Incredible China. 30 million people in China live in caves, and the Datang District, known as “sock city”, makes 8 billion pairs of socks a year. These and 28 more mind-blowing facts about what will soon be the world’s largest economy are here. (See also, item 10 below.)

10. Chinese guys built this Batmobile. And not just any Batmobile, Christian Bale’s Tumbler – for about $11,000. Bat fan Li Weilei is a 26-year-old prop maker who enlisted four of his mates and a heap of scrap metal to make the Tumbler. Sadly, it’s a replica. Happily, it’s generating up to $11,000 a month as local business owners line up to rent it for $1600 a day.

Bonus item: Someone put a GoPro in a running dishwasher. Go on, I dare you not to look:

Have a great day. I’m on Twitter: @colgo

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