Markets Overview

  • ASX SPI 200 futures up 0.7% to 7,748.00
  • Dow Average up 0.9% to 39,482.28
  • Aussie up 0.8% to 0.6586 per US$
  • US 10-year yield fell 2.0bps to 4.2728%
  • Australia 3-year bond yield fell 1.7 bps to 3.66%
  • Australia 10-year bond yield fell 3 bps to 4.05%
  • Gold spot up 1.1% to $2,182.29
  • Brent futures down 1.4% to $86.15/bbl

Economic Events

  • 09:00: (AU) March Judo Bank Australia PMI Mfg, prior 47.8
  • 09:00: (AU) March Judo Bank Australia PMI Compos, prior 52.1
  • 09:00: (AU) March Judo Bank Australia PMI Servic, prior 53.1
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 126-Day Bills
  • 10:30: (AU) Australia to Sell A$1 Billion 63-Day Bills
  • 11:10: (AU) RBA COO Woods-Panel Participation
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Part Time Employment Change, prior -10,600
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Full Time Employment Change, prior 11,100
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Participation Rate, est. 66.8%, prior 66.8%
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Employment Change, est. 40,000, prior 500
  • 11:30: (AU) Feb. Unemployment Rate, est. 4.0%, prior 4.1%

Wall Street traders sent stocks to fresh all-time highs as the Federal Reserve signaled it’s on track to cut interest rates for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

In a historic move, the S&P 500 topped 5,200 on speculation that the end of the most-aggressive Fed hiking cycle in a generation will keep fueling Corporate America’s profits. Gains in equities were almost broad-based, with areas that have been lagging this year — like small caps — rallying. Short-term Treasuries outperformed, with traders now seeing higher odds of a first rate-cut in June.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 rose 1.2%. Two-year yields declined seven basis points to 4.6%. The dollar retreated.

Other News

Rio Tinto’s pledge to disclose its plans to help its iron ore customers cut greenhouse gas emissions is a first that will put pressure on other companies to follow, advisers say.

Rio announced on Tuesday it will provide shareholders with detailed plans on its investments in cutting emissions produced by its products, known as scope 3 emissions, starting in 2025 ahead of the company’s annual general meetings in Australia and the UK, the company said in a statement.

The company’s actual expenditure and forward capital expenditure on steel decarbonization projects across three years ahead would be detailed, along with milestones and timelines for decarbonization projects and partnerships, and information about other potential abatement opportunities, it said.

The level of detail Rio had committed to disclosing was “a first,” said Fiona Hancock, EY Australia climate change and sustainability partner.

“We’ve seen a lot of pressure to be disclosing the numbers for the actual emissions themselves and to be setting targets. But a lot of those transition plans have lacked the detail of how they’re going to get there and what they’re actually doing,” she said.

The company’s announcement comes as the Australian government moves to introduce new climate change financial reporting law that would mandate that companies report their scope 3 emissions starting July 1.

Rio said it worked with the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Danish pension fund PFA on the group’s shareholder proposal to disclose more about how it would actually implement its climate change targets.

“This is a significant announcement from Rio, one that sets a new standard for iron ore producers globally and will be widely welcomed by investors,” said Naomi Hogan, company strategy lead at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility.

Rio said its iron ore processing customers were projected to reach net zero emissions by 2060, 10 years after the globally agreed goal of 2050. The company was committed to helping them get to net zero a decade earlier, it said.

The Business Council of Australia and Australian Industry Group have urged the government to delay its planned start date for climate change financial reporting until July 2025.

Many smaller Australian companies were worried about the government’s plan, Hancock said. “It’s one of the most common things we’re getting asked about,” she said.

Accounting for scope 3 emissions was “challenging” because it required working with customers and suppliers, as Rio has done, Hancock said. “Without doing that, there is no decarbonization. The action just doesn’t happen,” she said.

Steel production was one of the world’s most carbon-intensive industries, contributing about 11% of global emissions because it relied heavily on metallurgical coal to fire blast furnaces used to smelt iron ore, according to ACCR.

Regulatory requirements on how companies report scope 3 emissions would allow companies to “start with quite low order methods and then build the accuracy over time,” Hancock said. Companies were “scared just because they haven’t gone into it and they don’t know where to start,” she said.

Consultations on the draft climate financial reporting bill have closed and submissions would be published this month, the Treasury Department said.