Good morning, and welcome to Friday! Here’s what you need to know:
- The Australian market is heading for a flat lead-in the weekend after the week’s momentum in the US was killed off by some weak jobs and service sector data overnight. Eurozone rates were left on hold as expected, and ECB president Mario Draghi told the monthly press conference that the US Fed’s QE program was discussed by the board, “not neglected”, he said, in the course of a “very rich and ample discussion”.
- It’s non-farm payrolls day! What is arguably the most important economic data point in the world is out tonight at 11.30pm AEDT. The market is expecting an increase of around 200,000 but the number has the capacity to surprise either side. There’s a full guide to this month’s report here and you can join in with your guesses for the number with the hashtag #NFPGuesses. Don’t forget to ping BI executive editor Joe Weisenthal (@TheStalwart) with your guess.
- In Asia yesterday the news of the Chinese mini-stimulus – they’re making some moves to increase infrastructure activity – left traders in Shanghai cold. The exchange dropped 0.73% to 2,044. The Nikkei on the other hand took succour from news of the government action but it’s more about the Yen’s weakness (USDJPY rally) and while it closed at 15,072 it has slipped around 30 points in overnight trade. Like the Australian market Asia will be waiting on non-farms tonight.
- Opposition leader Bill Shorten has been canvassing some major reforms to the Australian Labor Party with colleagues, most significantly dropping the requirement that members and candidates be union members, according to The Australian. He plans to announce the reforms on Monday. He gets support from the NSW Labor secretary Jamie Clements, who writes in the paper today that the membership restrictions “have had their day.
- It may have been a relatively flat week on the markets as we head towards the US jobs report but on economic policy in Australia, everything has changed. The week started with Treasurer Joe Hockey warning about the need for tough decisions in the year ahead, then on Wendesday Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson put reform of the GST on the table. This was followed yesterday by RBA Governor Glenn Stevens, who pointed to the need for individual policy decisions necessary to secure future growth and living standards. The boundaries of the economic policy debate are now significantly wider than they were five days ago and this is not unhelpful for Hockey as he prepares to deliver his first Budget next month.
- Stevens also warned yesterday that people investing in the hot housing markets of Melbourne and Sydney need to remember that property isn’t a “sure bet”.)
- It may be closing its manufacturing operations in Australia but Holden still has ambitions for the local market: it wants to be the number one car brand in the country by 2020. They’ll need to start making radically different cars; their sales in Australia have been killed by dying consumer demand for sedans. Australians want either small city runabouts or larger SUVs these days and Holden does neither well.
- Hundreds of dolphins are being killed by trawling fishing practices off Australia’s northwest coast. Dolphin bycatch is a well-known global problem but the scale of the problem in our region has been quantified in a new study.
- Scientists have done some research on why we think shopping makes us happy: it turns out we have a hard time placing an economic value on life experiences that we keep as memories.
- Israel Folau is out of the Waratahs squad for the weekend’s Super Rugby fixture against the Stormers. The loss of the Tahs’ star player is a huge blow to the team’s as-yet-winless tour of South Africa. Kurtley Beale, who has been having a great season so far in the centres, moves to full-back.
Bonus item: Just your regular dance interval at an Irish wedding. (It’ll blow you away.)
Have a great weekend. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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