5 Things you need to know before the market opens in Australia and around the globe.

Did you know Monday mornings can be a wonderful thing if you had a great weekend. Conversely, a lousy weekend can blow out to a dreaded Monday morning. Don’t forget that you use the weekend to relax and unwind. Without your usual daily distractions, you can do your best thinking too.

Good morning and happy Monday. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. Oil dropped per barrel to its lowest price since November, but the commodity is on the rise again. OPEC can ill afford to let the price of oil plummet like it did a few years ago. Oil is a bit like gold. You have to look at it over the long term. There are so many different events and political activities that can affect the price. Over production, underproduction, sanctions, such as those on Venezuela, a country that produces 2% of the world’s output, trade policies and OPEC strategies. If oil stockpiles fall and OPEC also decides to cut production, there’s going to be a price rise due to undersupply.

2. During the week, Australia received the budget handed down by Treasurer, Scott Morrison. It came with the usual prediction that if we stick to the proposals, the country will be in surplus by 2020 – 2021. If that’s the case, we will be years ahead of almost every other country on the planet. It’s a worthwhile target.

The opposition did what it was supposed to do – oppose it.
Let’s look at the budget in a quick overview:

Infrastructure
$75 billion allocated over next 10 years.
Buy the Snowy Hydro Scheme
Rail to Tullamarine and the Melbourne to Brisbane inland line
Sydney Airport
Jobs
Higher levies on foreign workers with collections going back into the Skilling Australians Fund worth $1.2 billion.
Medicare
A 4-year freeze on the Medicare Benefits Schedule index.
A new fund for pharmaceuticals
$115 million for mental health issues
We will pay more for Medicare via the Levy and it will raise $8.2 billion over the next 4 years
Education
$18.6 billion extra funding over next 10 years
Increased funding for individual students
Higher University fees and faster payback of HECS
Banking
A levy on the liabilities of the banks worth $6.3 billion over 4 years

The budget obviously covers a lot of areas in addition to what is listed here. A couple of interesting ones are the cutting of our foreign aid budget by $303 million, most of which will be spent on National Security, and our Defence Budget to grow to 2% by 2021.

3. Dr Who and his Tardis made for great television for decades. Why? Well, humans love the concept of travelling through time and perhaps fixing things that happened to them on a personal level, or changing world events with a subtle action. Then there’s the trip forward in time to get those Lotto numbers.

Unfortunately, time travels in just one direction – forward. James Gleick, author of has taken a new view on our fascination with this phenomenon. Time is NOT the 4th dimension. Check out the explanation by James in this podcast.

4. The world’s largest aircraft, the Airlander 10, made by Hybrid Air Vehicles, is back in the air carrying out some test flights after it sort of crashed, but didn’t, last year. It was a heavy landing and to counteract that happening again, the Airlander now has an Auxiliary Landing System (ALS) attached to the underside of the aircraft on either side of the flight deck. Best described as airbags which the pilot can deploy to protect the cabin.

The future of this type of aircraft can be best described as ‘buoyant’ as it is a big bag of air (helium, actually) being pushed along by four turbocharged diesel engines. Plans are to use the Airlander to carry freight in the first instance and to be followed by carrying passengers.

5. It’s not ‘fake’ news that President Trump has sacked the head of the FBI, James Comey, because Trump said so himself. “I was going to fire Comey. My decision. I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” Mr Trump said. The reasons for the sacking may never be known unless somebody can make a secret deal with the Russians to hack the conversations between Comey and Trump leading up to the dismissal. (Perhaps Hillary Clinton?)

The whole thing has turned into a bit of circus, albeit Comey has, so far, declined to comment.

Here’s a quote that may resonate with you:

“If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’”
― Dave Barry

This wholly depends on whether you are the organising the meeting or an invitee – right?

Andrew Mortimer
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