10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

The Walking Dead

Good morning.

1. Heating up. After a quiet fortnight of key data in Australia, it’s a much busier schedule to finish the month, with the all-important Q3 inflation data headlining the week on Wednesday. Sam Jacobs has more details on the huge week ahead for markets here.

2. The Australian dollar fell to its weakest level since February 2016 on Friday before ripping higher into the close. Its performance mirrored movements in the Chinese yuan after it fell to its weakest level in over a decade against the US dollar. The performance of the yuan will likely dictate broader movements in currency markets on Monday. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was up 0.03% to 0.7096.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

3. Australia’s federal budget position is rapidly improving. The budget back in May forecast an underlying cash deficit of $19.5 billion. Official data last week showed that stands at just $10.5 billion. Some caution is needed with the figures but the improvement looks sustained and gives politicians some room for new spending plans ahead of the election next year. Paul Colgan has more.

4. Twelve per cent of all companies globally are now “zombie firms,” according to the Bank for International Settlements, meaning that their profits are lower than the interest payments on their debts, and they are more than a decade old. In the early 1990s, the zombie rate was just 2%. Here’s what’s keeping them afloat and why it’s a risk to global financial stability.

5. Elon Musk criticised federal regulators on Twitter and said the $20 million fine he paid over his “funding secured” tweet was “worth it”. He also said the US Justice Department’s investigation into whether he and Tesla misled investors about production of its Model 3 vehicle is “total bs.” It comes despite an agreement with Tesla to set guidelines for his use of Twitter.

6. Eleven are dead after a gunman opened fire in a synagogue in the US on Saturday morning. Authorities have identified the suspect as 46-year-old Robert Bowers. Here’s what we know about the victims of the attack, so far.

7. The Fat Cat Funds Report for 2018 is out. It’s Stockspot’s annual analysis of the best and worst performing superannuation funds in Australia. This year, the report gave the gold Fat Cat award to ANZ/OnePath as the worst performer, while Unisuper topped the Fit Cat Awards lists as the best. See how the others ranked here.

8. Humans are about to touch the deepest corners of the ocean for the first time — an endeavour as dangerous as landing on the moon. A submarine mission called “Five Deeps” is going to explore the bottom of each of the world’s oceans, and first up is the depths of the Atlantic in December. Read more here.

9. Harry and Meghan arrived in New Zealand yesterday, the final leg of their 16-day tour. The couple were welcomed at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, with traditional haka performances and a 21-gun salute. The Duke and Duchess also met with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, before attending a reception hosted by the Governor-General celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.

10. Daniel Ricciardo is all out of luck. The Australian racing champ has clocked up a heartbreaking eighth DNF of season at the Mexican Grand Prix 2018 — his fourth retirement in his last six races – incidentally the six races since he announced his departure from Red Bull. Ricciardo, who qualified in pole position, looked like he might score a podium finish until reliability issues kicked in again and smoke starting coming from the back of the car. Despite the disappointing result for the Aussie, his reaction to getting his third career pole was pretty hilarious:

BONUS ITEM: You can make Alexa whisper to you on your Amazon Echo — and it’s just as creepy as you’d expect.

Have a great day.

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