Jan 10, 2020

Australian stock market hits record high despite deadly wildfires

Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Facing unprecedented wildfires that have claimed at least 27 lives, destroyed more than 2,000 homes, and scorched much of the country's southeast, Australia's stock market has somehow been one of the world's top performers, and touched a record high today.

By the numbers: The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rallied nearly 1% to close at 6929, surpassing the previous intraday record high.

  • The index has risen close to 3% this week and is up 3.7% year to date, trailing only Chile's IPSA index among major global stock markets, according to FactSet.
  • Of the 200 companies in the ASX index, 138 rose during the session, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

What happened: Despite the grim news on the ground, Australia had a strong retail sales report for November and also has benefited from easing tension in the Middle East and increased Chinese stimulus measures. (Australia is a major trading partner with China.)

Go deeper...Australia's deadly fires: What you need to know

Go deeper

Clouds from Australia's extreme fires can be seen from space

Photo: NASA

The sheer size and scale of the fires raging in Australia can perhaps best be seen from space.

The big picture: Australia's extreme fires have been made worse by climate change, which exacerbated the country's hot and dry conditions.

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020

Thousands protest for climate action in Australia as fires ravage continent

Participants hold placards as they take part in a demonstration demanding the government take immediate action against climate change in Sydney on Jan. 10. Photo: Mohammad Farooq/Getty Images

Thousands of protesters took to the streets across Australia on Friday, calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to resign for what they call inaction on climate change and an inadequate response to the bush fire crisis that has scorched the continent, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Morrison's stance on climate-related issues has come under scrutiny throughout the deadly wildfire season. In particular, his "reputation as a coal advocate has not helped as he has struggled to project empathy for victims of the fires," the Post writes.

Go deeperArrowJan 10, 2020

The Baltic Dry Index is sinking

Data: Baltic Exchange: Chart: Axios Visuals

The Baltic Dry Index, a bellwether of the maritime shipping industry, continues to sink and a main component has fallen below zero to a record low, the Wall Street Journal reported.

What's happening: The Baltic Exchange’s capesize index, a component of the Baltic Dry Index that tracks the world's largest dry-bulk carriers, dug deeper into negative territory Tuesday, after going negative on Friday for the first time.