10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Peter Lik takes big photos. Buys big homes in Hawaii. Picture: Peter Lik

1. Recession is coming to Australia, and there’s nothing we can do about it. OK, so normally you’d take a bit of trash talk on Oz from a Pom named Crispin with a grain of salt, but his hedge fund is worth a cool $11.7 bill. Crispin Odey says we’re vulnerable Down Under because of two things we can’t control that are already happening – a slowing Chinese economy and lack of global aggregate demand. We’re being dragged into “a very old-fashioned recession which is spreading across the world,” he says, while positioning his fund for the inevitable correction.

2. To the markets, where in Asia, the Nikkei bounced strongly on Friday because the yen is again weakening against the US dollar. That could lift the recovering Japanese economy to the next level and definitely makes Japanese exporters more competitive. So the high at 121.29 will excite the stock market bulls. Liquidity pressure and the growth downgrade still seems to be worrying traders in Shanghai, which ended the week down 2.09%. Data over the weekend showed that China’s trade surplus rose from US$60.03bn to $60.6bn in February. “Exports were up 48.3% on the year; Imports fell by 20.5%,” Commsec’s Craig James reports.

3. The Aussie dollar has dipped below support at 0.7733 and is now less than a cent above the January low. The euro is sitting at 1.0833, sterling is at 1.5041, USDJPY is at 120.85, the Loonie’s at 1.2620 and the Kiwi’s worth 0.7362.

4. Australian employment, the NAB survey, consumer sentiment and fear. That’s the line-up this week in data as everyone starts to gets nervous about how soon the US Fed will start tightening another huge increase in the non-farms payroll print. Here’s Westpac’s excellent summary of all the key data and events for the week.

5. You can lower rates and slow a housing boom. The RBA seems a bit hamstrung in its efforts to boost the economy by dropping rates, as all it’s achieving is giving the Boomers more incentive to borrow even more cash and shore up their investment portfolio with property. But the banking boffins in Basel have a suggestion – don’t let them count “rental income” as “stable income” when applying for investment loan. Here’s how that works.

6. Thor is on Twitter.

7. And NSW Labor is on Facebook. They have been for some time, but it’s only in the past week or two, in the lead-up to the state election, that they’ve resorted to selling their message with cats. Like this:

Picture: NSW Labor/Facebook

8. If you think the Queen is irrelevant, you need to read this extraordinary post about what will happen when Her Maj dies. For starters, there’ll be no BBC comedies shown until after her funeral – it’s that big.

9. The rise and rise of Aldi. The budget German chain with all the weird brands has been chipping away at Metcash’s IGA but now is positioning itself as a major competitor to the Big Two – Woolies and Coles. It’s gone from launch in 2001 to 360 stores and a $5bn turnover in 2014, and is expected to grow a futher 5-6% a year for the next five years – double what Woolies and Coles could expect. Low prices are great, but it also helps that Aldi’s winning some big show awards for its own cheese and wine brands.

10. Aussie snapper Peter Lik can’t stop making money. Last year, his photo of a mist wraith “Phantom” shot in an Arizona canyon fetched a world record $US6.5 million last year. (Well, his publicity team said it did.) Now, due to travel commitments, he’s put his 2.6ha Hawaiian estate up for sale and looks like making a motza. He bought it in 2013 for $US9.7 million, spent $US3 million updating it and just listed it with Sotheby’s International for $US19.8 million.

BONUS VIDEO: Sydney comedy trio SketchShe seems to have hit on a winning formula with their YouTube channel. Can you pick what it is?

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