Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures down 1.0% to 7,262.00
  • Dow Average down 1.8% to 32,841.75
  • Aussie down 2.2% to 0.6585 per US$
  • U.S. 10-year yield rose 2.0bps to 3.9794%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 14 bps to 3.37%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 8.1 bps to 3.68%
  • Gold spot down 1.8% to $1,813.55
  • Brent futures down 3.7% to $83.02/bbl

Economic Events

  • 08:55: (AU) RBA’s Lowe-Speech
  • 11:00: (AU) Australia to Sell A$500 Million 2.75% 2035 Bonds

Wall Street got a reality check as Jerome Powell’s hawkish rhetoric prompted a shift higher in Federal Reserve rate wagers, reviving recession fears and crushing the riskier corners of the market.

During a Senate testimony, the Fed’s boss signaled officials are ready to speed up the pace of tightening and take rates to higher levels should inflation keep running hot. Equities saw an abrupt slide, with the S&P 500 back below 4,000. The swap market showed a half-point hike in March as more likely than a quarter-point move, with the projected peak now hovering near 5.6% — a recalibration that was cited in a note from market veteran Peter Boockvar entitled “A time for Advil and a check on the fed funds futures.”

Another worrisome development was that the US 2-year yield exceeded the 10-year one by a full percentage point on Tuesday for the first time since 1981. Situations in which shorter-term rates are higher than those at the longer end are referred to as curve inversions — and are often seen as potential harbingers of a recession. The dollar climbed 1%, sinking commodity prices, with oil tumbling the most since early January.

Other News

A Czech company that produces more than 30 different inflatable military decoys, including tanks, armored vehicles, aircraft and howitzers, has seen sales soar over the past year.

The war in Ukraine has created a surge in demand for weapons — and, apparently, also for inflatable fake armaments that can be deployed as decoys.

A Czech company, Inflatech, is producing more than 30 different inflatable military decoys ranging from tanks and armored vehicles to aircraft and howitzers.

Inflatech, based in the northern town of Decin, currently produces up to 50 decoys a month. They are sold to a number of unspecified countries, and all such exports have to be approved by the government of the NATO member.

The company uses light materials, such as artificial silk, so the total weight of a fake tank is up to 100 kilograms. It takes four soldiers to operate a decoy, with 10 minutes being enough to unwrap and inflate a fake piece of military hardware. The decoys can contribute to victory by fooling enemy forces. The trick is to deceive cameras, thermo-cameras and radars to make them believe they have pinpointed a valuable target and use expensive missiles to destroy it.

The decoys that originally were developed for training purposes can cost up to $100,000 each.