10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

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Good morning.

1. US stocks were hit hard in Monday trade after Wall Street wiped out its 2018 gains last week. The Nasdaq Composite eliminated earlier gains and fell 1.63%, with Netflix (-5%) and Amazon (-6.3%) among the biggest losers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also turned negative, closing down 1%, or more than 600 points from session highs. The S&P 500 was 0.66% lower. After a series of sharp sell-offs in recent weeks, the US indices are on track for their worst month since the financial crisis. More here.

2. US President Donald Trump is preparing to place tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if proposed talks with Beijing next month fail. The tariffs would apply to roughly $US257 billion worth of Chinese goods and likely increase prices for US businesses and consumers.

3. The Australian dollar remains the whipping boy of currency markets, at least among the majors. It fell heavily again on Monday, undermined by a combination of renewed weakness in the Chinese yuan, heightened geopolitical concerns and a steep and late drop in US stocks. At 8am AEDT, the Aussie was down 0.54% to 0.7056.

Investing.comAUD/USD Hourly Chart

Australian building approvals and consumer confidence data will be released today. As David Scutt writes, whether they’ll be able to break the spell the Chinese yuan has over the Aussie dollar is debatable.

4. More house price falls in Australia look likely unless regulators intervene. That’s according to UBS, which is becoming “more bearish” on the outlook for Australian property prices. It says prices nationally may now fall further than 10% without policy support from the RBA or APRA. “The risk is rising, not falling, of a negative wealth effect potentially leading to a credit crunch scenario,” it says.

5. One of Australia’s top spies said the electricity grid, water supplies and other critical infrastructure could not have been adequately protected if China’s Huawei or ZTE were allowed to build the country’s new 5G mobile networks. It follows an executive decision in August to ban Huawei from participating in the 5G rollout, a call made by now Prime Minister Scott Morrison in his temporary capacity as Home Affairs minister.

6. Angela Merkel is standing down as leader of her party after a devastating string of defeats — but will stay on as Germany’s chancellor through her term, which expires in 2021. She will not run for reelection after that.

7. The Lion Air Flight 610 crash is the worst airliner accident of 2018. It is also the first fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max aircraft. The plane crashed into the Java Sea shortly after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia, on Monday morning. All 189 passengers and crew members are feared dead. Here’s what we know about the victims, so far.

8. Australia is the latest country whose banks are planning to abandon London as Brexit looms. The CBA is planning to base 50 staff in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. Others including Macquarie, Westpac, and ANZ Bank are making plans on the continent. It comes as many foreign financial institutions are frustrated by the lack of any real clarity over what sort of Brexit the UK will actually achieve when the Article 50 period runs out in March next year.

9. Apple’s big iPad event is tomorrow. Most analysts and observers expect this event to focus on high-end iPad Pro models, faster MacBooks and Mac desktops, and potentially even a surprise. Here’s everything we’re expecting to see.

10. Fleet, an Australian space startup, will have its first satellites in orbit within weeks after teaming up with Kiwi venture Rocket Labs. Peter Farquhar has all the details.

Have a great day.

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