Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.7% to 7,148.00
  • Dow Average up 0.8% to 33,180.14
  • Aussie up 0.5% to 0.7232 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield fell 6.0bps to 2.9791%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield rose 15bps to 3.13%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield rose 7bps to 3.56%
  • Gold spot up 0.6% to $1,852.42
  • Brent futures up 1.1% to $120.79/bbl

Economic Events

  • 11am: (AU) Australia to Sell A$800 Million 0.5% 2026 Bonds

Stocks in Asia look set to open higher Wednesday after gains in US equities and as a pullback in bond yields provided some respite for investors fretting that higher rates will slow down growth.

Futures rose in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. The S&P 500 wiped out last week’s losses with back-to-back gains. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 advanced with megacaps Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. offsetting declines in ecommerce giant Inc.

The long end of the Treasury curve led a rally, pushing 10-year yields below the 3% level and flattening the curve. Shorter-dated maturities lagged, weighed by weak demand at an auction. A dollar gauge dipped.

Chinese shares traded in the US climbed for a second day on increased speculation that a year-long government crackdown on the technology industry is easing.

Other News

A controversy is roiling the fast-food industry in Australia and prompting consumer complaints. It has to do with climate change, supply chain shortages and inflation — but mostly, with cabbage.

The controversy began when the Australian branch of the fast-food chain KFC notified consumers in some parts of the country that their burgers could taste a little different for a while as some KFC restaurants swapped out the traditional lettuce leaf for “a lettuce and cabbage blend” after deadly floods in eastern Australia earlier this year disrupted agricultural supply chains.

“We’re currently experiencing a lettuce shortage. So, we’re using a lettuce and cabbage blend on all products containing lettuce until further notice,” KFC said, according to Agence-France Presse.

KFC Australia did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request from The Washington Post for comment.

A cached version of the company’s statement dated May 27 blamed the floods in the states of Queensland and New South Wales for the change, and said KFC restaurants in five states, including NSW and Victoria, would be affected. It said the company hoped to “get things back to normal ASAP.”

The news prompted outrage on social media, where many fans of the fast-food chain criticized the choice of cabbage to replace lettuce in KFC burgers.

“Feels like a sign of the apocalypse,” one Twitter user wrote last Tuesday, sharing a photo of a KFC sign giving customers a “heads up” about the cabbage-lettuce blend and informing them they could “remove it” from their order “if that’s not your bag.”

The news also prompted some cabbage fans to come out of the woodwork to defend the leafy green.

“As a cabbage stan I’m not mad about this,” wrote Cameron Gooley, a reporter who covers Indigenous affairs at the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I like cabbage in burgers. It’s more substantial and gives more bite,” answered Amy Remeikis, a political reporter for the Guardian Australia.

Australia’s eastern coast was hit by severe floods this year that killed at least 22 people, according to the Brisbane Times, and disrupted agricultural crops. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the country is experiencing more heavy rainfall events over time that can be made more intense by a warming climate.

Experts say the disruptions, coupled with higher gas prices caused by the war in Ukraine and challenges related to overseas shipping, also caused the price of lettuce to spike in Australia. Social media users in the country have shared photos of the price of a head of iceberg lettuce at their local supermarkets, which can run as high as $12 Australian (about $8.60 in U.S. currency). Prices of other products also have climbed amid a global surge in inflation.

It’s not the first time that shortages have affected the menu offerings of KFC Australia. Earlier this year, the company said it had to drop some items from its menu amid disruptions in its supply of chicken — a distressing development for a brand whose reputation is built on fried poultry.

(Washington Post)