10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Dead means nothing in Game of Thrones. Picture: HBO

1. RBA governor Glenn Stevens doesn’t have high hopes for Australia’s economy. At least, not in the next two years. While traders and economists will dissect the RBA Minutes tomorrow looking for signs of any rate movements to come, Stevens has already said it will be “quite some time” before rates will rise. Good news for heavily indebted Aussies, but Greg McKenna reckons this is virtually Stevens admitting that, for the foreseeable future, monetary policy has lost traction in the economy.

2. On the local stock market today, futures are only down a little. But the lead from the US and the technical rejection of the markets attempt to break higher last week will weigh on trade. That 5545/75 zone remains key resistance in the medium term.

3. It’s a huge week in data. There’s two speeches by senior RBA officials between now and tomorrow’s 11.30am RBA Minutes release which will be pored over for more signs of easing. ECB president Mario Draghi will speak tonight, amidst all the turmoil over Greece and rising EU bond rates. But the big event this week is the FOMC meeting and accompanying statement, with any hints that the Fed is about to tighten rates keeping the US dollar strong. Get in. Here’s Westpac’s excellent calendar of all the key events and data.

4. Investigations into the books of the failed stockbroker BBY have found a $10 million shortfall in client funds. Administrators KPMG say the group may have been insolvent since June last year and BBY’s lender may have been being given misleading information to keep it handing over cash. All 170 staff have been made redundant, all are creditors and KPMG says those creditors who are unsecured will receive “between zero and 24 cents in the dollar”.

5. Philae phoned home. In November, after several billion dollars and 10 years driving through space, we saw the first time a robotic lander had touched down on a comet. Then it bounced under a ledge away from energy-giving sunlight, and everything went dark. Now, seven months later, this:


6. Warren Buffett once said that if stuck on a desert island island and only allowed one number to know how the economy is doing, he would pick rail car traffic. It’s not perfect, but this look at changes in quartery GDP in the US by Bank of America shows that actually, it’s a lot more accurate than electricity output, steel output, lumber, chain store sales, and initial jobless claims.

7. Somewhere in Australia today, it’s performance review time. For humans, they’re ghastly, seem to reward shameless self-promotors and ambiguous to the point of meaningless. For managers, they’re a tick-the-box exercise because really, handing out low scores and harsh realities is for schoolteachers and diving judges. And finally, psychologists are setting up to tell us how pointless all that pain they’ve dumped on workplaces the past decade or two has been.

8. But if you do have a difficult employee who just happens to be your best performer, here’s an excellent six-point process to on how to deal with them and decide whether they’re worth keeping.

9. Mayweather vs Pacquiao has nothing on this. Game of Thrones is heating up once again, and theories about where things are headed are always popular. The current talk is all about the jailing of Cersei Lannister and how typically, in GoT, the Lannisters get out of jail via trial by combat. So who’s going to fight off? In one corner, the internet says, is… The Mountain! (But wait, he was left for dead!) And in the other, we give you… The Hound! (Again, left for dead!) This is so crazy it could be true, and they calling it CLEGANEBOWL.

10. Code. Bloomberg Businessweek devoted an entire issue to a single article on it – a 38,000 word epic by Paul Ford titled “What is Code?” If you’re not up to speed, this is what you’ve been waiting for. It’s easy to read and will change everyone you know – or don’t know – about how the world’s working right now. Here’s a summary of the important points if you need to be convinced first.

BONUS ITEM: How ridiculous.

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