10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Nepali rescue workers gather around the debris of an airplane that crashed near the international airport in Kathmandu on March 12, 2018. Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Good morning.

1. Iron ore is on its longest losing streak in years. According to Metal Bulletin, the spot price for benchmark 62% fines fell 0.2% to $69.93 a tonne, extending its losing streak to seven consecutive sessions, the equal-longest since September 2016. Strategists say pessimism over the outlook for Chinese steel demand is one factor undermining prices. Chinese futures finished mixed in overnight trade, providing few clues as to whether the losing streak will extend today.


2. Quiet before the storm. It was a quiet session with a lack of economic data and news flow ensuring modest moves ahead of the release of US consumer price inflation (CPI) for February on Tuesday, according to David de Garis, economist at the National Australia Bank. “It’s been a night of very contained markets with US Treasury yields trading within recent ranges, stocks mixed, and the USD losing a little more ground against most majors,” he said, adding that “most currencies have made up some ground on a soggy USD, though the NZD and the CAD have underperformed somewhat, the CAD seemingly held back by a pull-back in oil prices at the start of the week”.

3. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of being behind the attempted assassination of double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK on March 4. May said Russia either ordered the attack or “lost control” of somebody with access to the Russian-made nerve agent used. Meanwhile Russia’s foreign ministry dismissed May’s statement as a “fairy tale”.

4. Axed. Bill Shorten plans to kill tax breaks for shareholders, under a proposed crackdown by Labor that would reap an estimated $59 billion in revenue over the next decade. As part of that, the Opposition leader will announce today that cash refunds for excess dividend imputation credits will be abolished from July 1, 2019, if Labor wins the next federal election.

5. A plane has crashed in Nepal killing at least 38 people. The aircraft carrying 71 people from Bangladesh crash-landed and burst into flames near an airport in Kathmandu on Monday. A police official said an early death toll was at least 38; reports indicated there were survivors.

6. Bitcoin bulls aren’t out of the woods just yet, according to Goldman Sachs. Analysts have warned further selling is on the horizon and the February low of $US5,922 a coin is in jeopardy now that short-term support at $US9,210 is broken. As to how far bitcoin’s price can fall, the Goldman team warns to pay attention to the mid- to low-$US7,000 range, with the view that a breakdown of that level increases the likelihood of the February lows being taken out.

7. NBN is getting faster, finally. A new report shows congestion on the network, which results in slow connection speeds, has dropped from almost five hours to just 12 minutes. It also reveals the number of homes and business connected to the NBN has jumped by more than 1.5 million. The improvement follows aggressive discounts from the NBN Co to telecommunications companies, encouraging retailers to increase the provided bandwidth for each customer.

8. Khloe Kardashian threw an over-the-top baby shower over the weekend, sponsored by Amazon. The US retailing giant is dominating the online toys and baby product market. Now with Toys R Us declaring bankruptcy and considering closing all 800 of its US locations, Amazon has an even bigger opportunity to dominate the toys and baby products market. Here are some more photos from Kardashian’s Amazon-sponsored baby shower/ #ad.

Shares in Amazon closed this morning at a new record high just below $US1,600, and the company has added around $US300 billion in value over the last three months alone.

9. Move over Netflix. Disney is set to become the “world’s leading content company,” according to analysts. The company could spend $US30 billion annually on video-streaming content, far outspending Netflix, which plans to spend $US8 billion on content this year. Not to mention, Disney has the advantage of using its unparalleled customer engagement, as well as its theme parks and cruises, to draw an organic and global audience.

10. Cronulla Hawks, Seagulls or Sharks? The new ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie has failed to answer which is the mascot for the Southern Shire team during an interview with Phil Gould on Channel Nine’s 100% Footy. It was mean to be a light-hearted jab at Beattie’s predecessor John Grant who once confused his team names during a Kangaroos team announcement, naming Cronulla, the Hawks, and Manly, the Seagulls. But poor old Beattie was blank:

Have a great day.

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