Typically, on Valentine’s Day you might surprise your sweetheart with some flowers, chocolates, a nice meal or similar.

But anyone in the US looking to buy fancy ladies underwear might have to think twice, because it turns out the average US tariff rate on women’s underwear is 15.5% compared to just 11.5% for blokes.

The Progressive Policy Institute director for trade and global markets Ed Gresser says the tariff for women’s underwear is almost three times that for steel.

“In 2021, automakers, building contractors, and other metal buyers ferried 28 million tons of steel in from abroad for $44 billion, and paid the Customs Service $2.5 billion in tariffs,” he said. 

“Thus the ‘average’ tariff on steel came to about 5%. 

“Underwear makes up about a tenth of clothing imports — 519,000 tons or 3.4 billion articles, at $10.1 billion last year — and brought in $1.54 billion in tariff revenue. 

“The average underwear tariff, therefore, was 14.7% or about three times the rate on steel.”

Luckily in Australia, we have a flat rate of 5% across all underwear, so you can buy the fancy silky stuff to your heart’s content.



The ASX 200 is trading up 0.35% at lunch today, with nine out of 11 sectors in the green.

Health Care was leading the winners, up 1.31%. Communication and IT were next up, at +1.12% and +1.10% respectively.

Leading the laggards was Industrials, down 0.28%.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute consumer sentiment index was released, and is down 6.9% to 78.5 in February with hopes of a break from cost-of-living pressures and rate hikes dashed.

“The consumer sentiment survey continues to give a very clear warning that the pressures bearing down on the consumer are becoming intense,” Westpac senior economist, executive director Matthew Hassan said. 

“While spending has held up relatively well to date, we expect an abrupt slowdown to show through in coming months. 

“Alongside evidence of some cooling in inflation – both here and abroad – and an easing in labour market pressures, that should set the scene for the RBA to end its policy tightening cycle around mid-year.” 

The NAB business survey for January was also released today, and conditions have picked back up in January at +18 index points after three months of softening in late 2022.

“There were strong increases in conditions for ‘upstream’ sectors such as wholesale, construction and manufacturing, and importantly, conditions in the more consumer-facing industries remained very strong,” NAB chief economist Alan Oster said.


European stocks rose yesterday as investors remained upbeat ahead of potentially significant inflation data later in the week.

“While the world keeps a nervous eye on the game of tit-for-tat balloon shootdowns between the US and China, stocks have moved higher, but all the moves today feel like a placeholder ahead of tomorrow’s CPI figures,” IG analyst Chris Beauchamp wrote. 

“These have the potential to shift the narrative dramatically.”

US stocks leaped Monday, and investors are waiting on January’s consumer-price index reading later today, a closely watched measure of what consumers pay for goods and services. 

Stocks have gained this year, with the S&P 500 up 6.5% as of Friday. Investors broadly expect inflation to continue moderating, though some are wary that inflation could settle above the Federal Reserve’s target.

“The key thing here is at what level will inflation begin to stabilise,” Saxo Bank head of equity strategy Peter Garnry said. 

“If these inflationary factors are persistent, then the Fed will be in a position where they have to do more or keep rates up longer than the market is pricing.”



Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for February 14 [intraday]:

Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

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Falcon Metals (ASX:FAL) has reported multiple high grade gold hits at Ironbark East, part of the flagship Pyramid Hill project in Victoria.

Highlights include 12m @ 6.18g/t gold from 74m, including 1m @ 52.9g/t from 77m – the highest-grade gold intercept to date at Pyramid Hill.

“Intersecting high-grade mineralisation at Ironbark East over a 400m strike length is a great result and provides us with encouragement ahead of the commencement of our diamond drilling program later this month,” MD Tim Markwell said.

Aircore drilling remains ongoing, with two rigs active at Ironbark East testing the strike extent of the mineralised trend before they move to the Wandoo Prospect. 

Sportshero’s (ASX:SHO) Aim Assist Analysis (AAA) esports betting guide app has been approved and is now available for download at both Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Play Store at an initial subscription cost of A$19.99 per month.

The daily betting recommendations provided by AAA will target three of the largest esports titles globally and will include League of Legends (LoL), Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) and Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO). 

The company says the algorithm is currently performing at above 80% prediction accuracy and since the start of the 2023 year has delivered an 82.4% prediction accuracy.

Sky Metals (ASX:SKY) has identified additional Rare Earth Element (REE) targets at its Doradilla project in NSW, and plans to drill test the targets in the near-term.

Notably, previous work at Doradilla focussed on exploring for tin, and “areas not prospective for tin but very prospective for REE have not been drill tested or extensively explored at all,” CEO Oliver Davies said.



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