10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Huw Fairclough/Getty ImagesConditions ease across Sydney after damaging storms caused havoc yesterday.

Good morning.

1. US Fed chair Jerome Powell says US interest rates were “just below” levels that would be neutral for the economy. His comments were made in a speech on Tuesday at The Economic Club of New York. He also said there is “a great deal to like” about the US economy, adding that the outlook remains solid. That saw US stocks post their biggest daily gain in six months, while US bond yields edged lower, and the US dollar fell across the board.

2. The Australian dollar surged on Wednesday, logging strong gains against most major currencies. Cautious remarks from Fed Chair Jerome Powell created fresh doubt about the pace of rate hikes from the US Federal Reserve next year, seeing US bond yields slide and leaving the US dollar sharply lower. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was up 1.19% to 0.7309.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

3. The economic calendar is stacked today with first-tier releases. In Australia, the focus will be the release of Q3 private capital expenditure figures at 11.30am AEDT, proving the latest input that will flow into Australia’s Q3 GDP report next week. After some disappointing readings on retail and construction spending for the quarter, economists expect the news to be a lot better in terms of business investment. This 10-second guide has more on what to expect.

4. The UK economy could slump 8% into the worst recession since WWII after a no-deal Brexit. That warning comes from the Bank of England, which added that the pound could also fall 25% to the lowest level against the dollar in history. More on the bank’s apocalyptic no-deal Brexit scenario here.

5. Bitcoin had a big night, posting its biggest daily gain since April as prices soared back over $US4,000. But it’s still down by around 40% since the Bitcoin Cash hard fork on November 14. More from markets here.

6. Tensions are rising across the board. US Navy warships just rocked the Taiwan Strait in a power play ahead of Trump’s meeting with the Chinese President. Tensions between Washington and Beijing have been running high these past few months as a number of key issues go unresolved. Meanwhile, Russia is moving advanced missiles into Crimea as Ukraine warns it’s under threat of a “full-scale war”. It comes after a Russian weapon blew a window-sized hole in a Ukrainian artillery boat’s pilothouse, where crew members steer the boat. Here’s a look:

Ukrainian Defence MinistryA damaged section of the Ukrainian Berdyansk artillery boat, which was seized by the Russian military on November 25, 2018.

7. Two people died in the storms which caused havoc in NSW yesterday. One was an SES volunteer who collapsing while on duty in Wollongong, the two others died in separate car accidents in Sydney. One of them was a 14-year-old boy. Weather forecasters said it was the wettest November day since 1984 hit the east coast. More here.

8. Magnus Carlsen has won his fourth straight World Chess Championship, defeating Fabiano Caruana in London. After an unprecedented 12 draws in longer time controls, the classic chess matches gave way to rapid tiebreaks in which Carlsen crushed Caruana 3-0.

9. Your summer entertainment is sorted. Every year, JPMorgan polls its more than 200,000 employees for the next big trends in movies, books, music, theatre, and more. Here’s this year’s list.

10. Missed our live podcast event? We’ve got your back. Here are 25 of the best quotes from the Devils & Details live event this week. They come from some of Australia’s most forthright and insightful commentators and analysts, discussing investment, property, and the outlook for 2019. Enjoy!

BONUS ITEM: An off-duty US Border Patrol agent accidentally started a 19,020-hectare bushfire by shooting a box of explosives as part of gender-reveal party. Clearly, it went horribly wrong:

Have a great day.

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