Good morning. Let’s get the painful part out of the way first.
1. Congratulations, Queensland. Your ancient knees saw you stagger over the line, unconvincingly. Here’s all you need to know about last night’s State of Origin opener.
2. Here’s an iron ore forecast which is terrible for Joe Hockey, but great for home owners. A Chinese stimulus-induced rebound has pushed iron ore back above $60, but Citibank’s analysts aren’t convinced and have downgraded prices for the decade ahead. Yeesh:
That means Australia’s income will be lower, but the flipside is the RBA is more likely to consider more rate cuts – if there are any rates left to cut.
3. To the markets, where yesterday saw falls on the ASX 200, with the banks and the miners under pressure. That left the index down 0.8% after a 48 point loss. With the lead from the US it should be a better day, but the futures performance overnight suggests that this 5745/70 resistance zone is still being eyed by local traders.
4. In Asia yesterday, Shanghai was higher again on the back of infrastructure spending. The Nikkei rose marginally as yen weakness persisted and the rest of the region was mostly down. But Wall Street’s China bulls are worried. HSBC chief economist for Greater China, Qu Hongbin, yesterday wrote, “we now forecast a softer rebound in Q2 2015, with a year-on-year growth slipping below policy maker’s comfort level during the quarter, prompting more aggressive easing.” That could lift growth, but there’s a real risk of diminishing returns growing.
5. In data, we get the Private New Capital Expenditure report for Q1. The headline number is actually less relevant than the projections for the next financial year and David Scutt has a great preview on what you need to know about this morning’s release.
6. Nine officials and five execs are facing charges after the US Department of Justice had enough and stepped in to try and sort FIFA out. The bribery and corruption charges involve more than $US150 million over 21 years, but are almost exclusively confined to competitions and World Cup qualifiers in North and South America. FIFA president Sepp Blatter was not arrested, but he’s not been cleared of wrongdoing yet, either. And there’s also now a strong case for a re-vote on the heavily criticised World Cup 2022, given a decent chunk of those who voted for Qatar are now either arrested or have been expelled in disgrace.
7. The new Pebble Time is out. One of the most successful Kickstarter projects of all time is the only true competitor to the Apple Watch right now. This latest version has a colour screen, huge battery life and works with both Android and iOS phones – but is that enough? Here’s what Steve Kovach thinks.
8. The World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be announced on Monday and three Australian restaurants – Sydney’s Quay and Sepia, and regional Victoria’s Brae – won’t be among them. That’s because they’ve just been announced in the 51-100 list. For Brae in particular, that’s a stunning achievement – Dan Hunter only opened up in Birregurra in December 2013. Expect Melbourne’s Attica to be our only flag-bearer in the top 50 come Monday.
9. To bad robots. Should we build weapons that can decide which humans live or die? Of course not, sillies. Except, we are – they’re called LAWS (lethal autonomous weapons systems) and have been described as the “third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms”. Armed quadcopters and mini-tanks with the ability to decide who to kill are just a few years away now, and AI expert Stuart Russell is calling on scientists to take a stand against them.
10. Why BBY failed. All 170 staff at the failed stockbroker were made redundant and administrators, Stephen Vaughan and Ian Hall of KPMG, held a closed-door meeting yesterday to tell them why and what happens next. And they gave Chris Pash the key slides, which you can see here.
BONUS ITEM: For about 1000 plates of Hunter’s food, you could buy this robot chef which can cook anything. Moley Robotics reckon it will be ready for your kitchen in 2017.
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