10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Norman Kent / Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesIf you could be granted one wish, would it be sky diving?

Good morning!

1. The Aussie dollar weakened on Monday, tracking the movements seen in the offshore traded yuan. The AUD/USD fell to the lowest level since January 9 but recovered in late trade. With US markets shut for the Martin Luther King Holiday, trade was predictably slow with few noteworthy releases or headlines seen in the second half of the session. David Scutt has more.

2. So close, yet so far. British Prime Minister Theresa May has set out her alternative Brexit plan to the House of Commons, after her original deal with the EU was rejected by a record-breaking House of Commons majority last week. The key issue this week has been demand from MPs for concessions on the Northern Ireland backstop, which is designed to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if talks fail before the end of the Brexit transition period. Brexit’s “hard deadline” is March 29.

3. Decision paralysis is gripping Australia’s top end of town, as they watch global trade wars unfold around them. None of Australian company leaders surveyed in the PricewaterhouseCoopers annual CEO survey said they were making any adjustments to their supply chain strategies, even though 61% said they were “concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the impact of trade wars on their organisation’s growth. Paul Colgan has more here.

4. What a difference a year can make. Australian home prices have now been falling for more than 12 months, creating renewed concern about negative spillover effects into other parts of the economy. In particular, fears over a spending slowdown from households are growing, seeing financial markets and an increasing number of economists speculate over potential RBA rate cuts. David Scutt has rounded up all the critical data you need to watch as Australia’s housing downturn unfolds here.

5. Are markets keeping you up at night? Adam Smith, COO of OFX, a leading international money exchange provider, says if you’re worried, you’re not alone — global markets are hitting us like never before. Read more here about how a Sydney startup has a solution for anyone getting smashed by currency fluctuations.

6. Australian police busted a $1 million dollar syndicate that had been selling stolen baby formula on the black market. Five people have been arrested in connection with the syndicate following a year-long investigation.

7. Serena Williams has wiped out the No.1 seeded Simona Halep to make it to the Australian Open quarter finals — not before a somewhat awkward start to the match.

8. There’s a plethora of career advice on the internet, so we pulled together the five key lessons that nine successful global executives all agreed with. It’s about perseverance and evolution — but if all of the above fails, just do what this 23-year-old from London did — knock on the door of a BlackRock fund manager’s home in London’s wealthiest neighbourhood and ask for career advice.

9. “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” is the latest Netflix hit. And no, it’s not that people just “didn’t remember” the party. Fyre Festival was the almighty con-job of a party that left thousands of people out of pocket — including a local caterer on the island of Bahamas. Maryann Rolle had to use $US50,000 of her life savings to pay staff, after event organisers didn’t pay for her services. People have now raised more than $US129,000 on a GoFundMe page to pay her back.

10. Yeah, a bonus is nice, but what if instead someone granted you a wish? The CEO of a Boston marketing agency did just that in lieu of Christmas bonuses. In the past two years, Robert Glazer has sent an employee to visit her grandmother in Greece, paid for employees to take skydiving and guitar lessons, and hired a private investigator for an employee trying to find her long-lost brother. Glazer said the gesture feels more meaningful than a cash bonus, and before you ask, no you can’t wish for more wishes.

BONUS ITEM: We may have had a few different Prime Minister’s over the last five years, but the one thing we can rely on every year — the Australia Day lamb ad. This year’s is a cracker:


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