10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The Queen has a new poker face.

Good morning. It’s rates day.

1. It may not be today but some time soon, the RBA will cut rates to 1.5% and unemployment will rise to 7.5%. That’s according to Paul Dales, Capital Economics’ chief Australia and New Zealand economist, whose forecasts show that Australian growth will slow to 1.8%, dragging underlying inflation through the bottom of the RBA’s 2-3% range. Dales says the RBA “won’t have any choice but to react aggressively by cutting rates to 1.5%”.

2. Which will be a disaster, says our own Greg McKenna. Home owners might think prices going through the roof is just fantastic, but it isn’t, actually. It just means Australians borrow more to buy a home, spend less elsewhere as they try to pay it off and lock the following generations out of the market, widening the rich-poor divide. Also, Greg’s post had four charts in it, which is never a bad thing.

3. At least our kids will be able to buy a pie at the footy. In an unprecedented move, prices will fall on eight staples at the MCG such as Four ‘N’ Twenty meat pies, hot chips and hot dogs, as well as sushi and salads. Look:

4. To the markets, where stocks remain bullish in the US and Europe and increasingly, as we saw again yesterday on the ASX, in Australia. Europe dipped a little last night but the Chinese rate cut and some slightly weaker than expected data in the US has the bulls firmly in control. In overnight ASX futures trade, the SPI 200 June contract was up 10 points and looking like it is going to have a great day.

5. In Asia yesterday, the PBOC’s weekend rate cut and the positive HSBC manufacturing PMI combined to drive Shanghai shares higher. The index closed up another 26 points to 3,336. Still short of the recent high of 3,402 but edging closer. In Tokyo, the early strong rally faded with the Nikkei finishing up just 0.15% at 18,827. Stocks in Hong Kong rose 0.26% at 24,887. Futures indications are universally positive for Asian stocks today.

6. The Aussie hasn’t done much and sits at 0.7767. Datawise, we’ll see building permits this morning before the RBA’s rates call after lunch.

7. Our uncertain future. Despite the fact it’s been nearly 20 years since the last recession and negative GDP prints can be counted on one hand in the same period, there are four challenges facing Australian businesses. A new book by AT Kearney consultants Nigel Andrade and Peter Munro, Australia 2034 – Luckier By Design. They’ve even given a label to the four megatrends, calling them the “The Double-Edged Sword of Destiny”. Here’s what that actually means.

8. The Queen has a new portrait. She’s been head of the Commonwealth so long, Queen Elizabeth’s into her fifth update for the back of the realm’s coins. The new portrayal is the first since 1998 and shows her with extra wrinkles and wearing the royal coronation diamond diadem crown. That “JC” in the bottom left stands for the coin’s designer, 33-year-old Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark.

9. How boring is this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona? This boring:

All those people nodding off were nodding off during Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote speech last night. It’s indicative of a fairly dull version of what was once one of the most anticipated tech events of the year. Maybe we’ve reached peak mobile, and there’s not a whole lot more else makers can do these days. Except if you’re Samsung, which made its Galaxy range prettier, but took away the stuff that made it different/better than the iPhone, such as replaceable battery and expandable memory.

10. Michael Jordan is a billionaire. The greatest basketballer that ever lived earned a staggering $90m from Nike endorsements in 201310 years after he retired from the game. That’s nearly $20m more than LeBron James made from earnings and endorsements last year. And here’s how he spends all that moolah.

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