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Published on: Thursday, January 11, 2018

  • Authorities in US say that more than 100 homes have been destroyed by flash flooding and mudslides in the Southern Californian community of Montecito. At least 15 people have died and 300 others are still trapped after homes became swallowed in mud and debris and roads were cut off. Two dozen people are still missing and more than 160 have so far been taken to hospital. Major wildfires in the area destroyed hundreds of acres of vegetation last month that would normally be able to soak up the floodwater, following heavy rain.
  • China has lodged a formal diplomatic protest after Malcolm Turnbull’s International Development Minister, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, accused it of lending funds to Pacific nations on unfavourable terms and constructing “useless buildings” and “roads to nowhere.” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang responded by saying Senator Fierravanti-Wells’ comments were “full of ignorance and prejudice” and she should “engage in self-reflection”. China has sent at least $2.3billion in aid to South Pacific nations between 2006 to 2016.
  • Australia’s banking regulator APRA has finalised its rules governing the data that banks must hand over on their residential mortgage-lending operations. The rules will require lenders to hand over more data about the levels on borrowers’ debt-to-income ratios, increases in debt limits and loans to unincorporated private businesses.
  • Markets in the US and Europe were spooked after a Bloomberg report suggested China may slow down or stop buying US government bonds. The report quoted anonymous sources reportedly close to the matter as saying the market for US bonds in becoming less attractive relative to other assets. They also cited trade tensions with the US as a reason to slow Treasury purchases.
  • Overnight, the US market retreated from its recent record highs. The Dow Jones index, dropped 0.1% to 25,369, the S&P 500 also fell 0.1% to 2,748, and the Nasdaq fell 0.1% to 7,154. In Europe, the FTSE rose 0.2% to 7,749, the German DAX was down 0.8% at 13,281.

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