Crazier than the dot-com era

Delivered on By Justin Pyvis

Good morning! The pandemic news over the weekend was all about borders (for a change πŸ™„) after SA’s government considered closing up shop just two weeks after reopening. It eventually decided to stand firm, electing instead to use “speed bumps” such as additional testing of arrivals to delay Omicron’s arrival.

As we’ve come to expect the WA government had no such qualms, re-erecting its hard border with SA for the first time since August, banning everyone except for a small group of travellers including military, government officials and those with police exemptions.

Explaining the move, Premier McGowan said “I just don’t want us to get COVID cases before such time as we have high levels of vaccination over 90% and that’s why our approach is so cautious.”

QLD also tightened its border, requiring all arrivals from SA to undertake “14 days mandatory home or hotel quarantine”.

Elsewhere:

  • Ahead of a planned reopening on 15 December, Tasmania’s government removed all restrictions on “stand-up drinking” (we preferred NSW’s “vertical drinking”!) but – and it’s a big BUT – it will also ‘lock out’ the unvaccinated from “any venue where alcohol is served”.
  • It seems Victoria’s controversial vaccine mandates could be scrapped “as early as January”, because the “high rate of vaccinations, the passing of the pandemic Bill which sidelines the chief health officer, and the high-profile incidents of violence have led to a change in thinking”.

More than 90% of Victorians are already double vaxxed (aged 12+) and Premier Andrews said the mandates were “based on health advice”, so we wonder what number he – or rather, his secretive “health advice” – has in mind for their abolition.


Fully vaccinated (aged 16+)

ACT
NSW
VIC
TAS
SA
NT
QLD
WA

Markets

Daily % change

AUD/USD

70.9

-0.3%

AUD/CNY

4.51

+0.2%

AU Bond

1.55

-7.6%

US Bond

1.34

-7.3%

ASX200

7,241

+0.2%

S&P500

4,538

-0.9%

Brent (bbl)

69.9

+0.3%

Gold (oz)

1,782

+1.2%

Iron ore (t)

101.9

+2.7%

Bitcoin

48,860

-0.7%

Ethereum

4,135

+0.4%

Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract. Bond yields are 10-year Treasuries. The S&P500 is a snapshot 30 minutes before close.

TheΒ US S&P500Β closed Friday down 0.84% following a disappointing nonfarm payrolls report that showed growth of 210,000 in November, less than half the figure expected by analysts.

Despite the poor result the US unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% even with a rise in the participation rate, which is now at its highest level since March 2000 (i.e. pre-pandemic).

Could the great resignation be losing steam?

Locally, theΒ ASX200 finished up 0.22% as the energy sector (+1.60%), banks (+0.97%) and materials (+0.45%) more than offset some heavy losses elsewhere, such as TPG (-8.61%) which was heavily sold off after its founder and chairman David Teoh revealed he had entered an agreement to flog 53 million shares (~3%).


Food for thought

Anyone who bought crypto recently had a wild ride over the weekend.
Anyone who bought crypto recently had a wild ride over the weekend. Source

If you bought crypto on Friday and hoped to have a nice relaxing weekend you would have been sorely disappointed, after a wild ride that saw the value of Bitcoin (and most others) plummet almost 15% in under an hour on Saturday, before stabilising down around 5%.

The plunge was supposedly due to worries about heightened regulatory uncertainty (a bunch of execs are testifying before the US House Financial Services Committee on 8 Dec), but with crypto who really knows these days. πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ

As always with frontier tech, buyer beware!

Speaking of warnings: 97-year-old investment legend Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway fame said cryptos were “crazier than the dot-com era”, and he is “never going to buy a cryptocurrency. I wish they’d never been invented”.

The Great White North is hot: Canada’s economy added 153,700 jobs last month, quadruple the figure expected by economists as the unemployment rate shed a full 0.7 percentage points to reach 6%, which is close to the pre-pandemic level.

Soaring property prices, full employment and rapid inflation – not long now before the Bank of Canada will be forced into raising rates.

About a week and a half: That’s how long Moderna’s co-founder Robert Langer thinks it will take just over a week for his company to work out how effective its vaccine is against Omicron. If it’s no good, Moderna can churn out a new version “very, very quickly… I see no reason why that can’t be done over and over again”.

Draining the coffers: Turkey’s central bank sold around $US200 million of its US dollar reserves on Friday in an attempt to prop up its currency, the lira, after data consumer price inflation “accelerated to over 21% in November, reaching the fastest pace in three years [and] more than four times the official target”.

The 1970s begs to differ: The President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, said “I see an inflation profile that looks like a hump. And a hump eventually declines.”

Correct, IF the central bank properly calibrates demand to match supply, a task at which it has clearly been failing over the past several months. Will 2022 really be any different?


Still hungry?

🦾 Really? A man in northern Italy “brought a silicone arm to his COVID-19 vaccination in an attempt to obtain a green pass without actually getting the vaccine”.

🧴 REALLY? A man in Norfolk, England was jailed for 12 weeks after he “put superglue on the lock of a Covid-19 vaccination centre, preventing 504 people from getting jabs”.

🏭 Federal Labor pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 if it wins the next election, no doubt “scientifically” selected based on its proximity precisely between the 35% target adopted by the Liberals and 50%.

πŸŒ‹ Mount Semeru on Indonesia’s Java island erupted over the weekend, killing at least one person and injuring dozens more and spawning an ash cloud rising up to 15,000m.

πŸ¦— New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel took all 10 wickets in an innings against India (the third bowler to do so, ever), which the batters followed up by posting their lowest total since 2013.

🦘 75-cap Wallaby Quade Cooper was invited to become an Australian citizen following changes to the eligibility rules announced earlier this year.

❌ Mining giant BHP had its Mt Arthur coal mine vaccine mandate thrown out by Fair Work because it didn’t consult workers “in a reasonable way”.

πŸ›‚ South Korea’s government tightened coronavirus restrictions “after the country’s number of daily new cases doubled in the past month”, implementing vaccine passports for restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, museums and movie theatres.

🏑 Google scrapped its global return to office plans due to “the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the new travel restrictions”.

⚱️ Australia confirmed its team for the first Ashes test at the Gabba, with Travis Head winning the battle for the vacant #5 spot.

πŸ“Ί CNN fired anchor Chris Cuomo, brother of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (currently embroiled in sexual harassment charges), for violations of journalistic norms.

πŸ’‰ Australia’s drug regulator, the TGA, approved the Pfizer vaccine for use in children aged 5-11, with the Australian government to “start rolling out” the jab to the cohort from 10 January.

🍻 According to a global drug survey, Australia is “the drunkest country on the planet, with Australians getting s**tfaced almost twice as frequently as the global average”.

πŸ‘Š Right… One day after adopting a “historical resolution” that sets President Xi Jinping up to rule China for life, the Director of the CCP’s Central Committee said “The electoral democracy of Western countries are actually democracy ruled by the capital, and they are a game of the rich, not real democracy.”