Going hungry
By Justin Pyvis – Delivered on 08 Nov 2021

Good morning! Western Australia's long-awaited reopening plan was finally released on Friday, confirming suspicions that it would take the most conservative approach in the country. According to the plan:

At an 80% fully vaccinated rate (people aged 12+), Premier McGowan will pick a fixed reopening date in-line with when he expects to hit 90%.
Once that date is reached, international and interstate travel will reopen from all jurisdictions for fully vaccinated people that also return a negative test.
The unvaccinated will be allowed to travel into WA but will have to "complete 14 days quarantine in a designated facility".
Certain restrictions will return, such as "face masks for some high risk indoor settings", e.g. public transport.
Proof of vaccination will be a requirement for all events with >1,000 people.
Some regions with low vaccination rates may be "locked out" from the rest of the state, such as remote Aboriginal communities.

Phew. You can read the full plan by clicking the WA vaccination bubble below but needless to say, WA – holder of the title of Australia's lowest rate of vaccination (although the NT will likely claim that soon) – will remain closed off from the parts of the country that have COVID-19 for the remainder of 2021.

Moving on, the lockdown in Katherine (NT) was changed to a 'lockout', as currently exists in Darwin, meaning only the unvaccinated are prohibited from leaving their homes without one of five reasons deemed essential. Both lockouts are due to end at midnight tonight after the original source of infection was traced to a woman who "lied on her entry form, failing to reveal she had been in Melbourne".

Finally, there was a slight easing of Tasmania's 15 December reopening plan, with travellers from 'low risk' areas no longer required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before arriving.

Fully vaccinated population (aged 12+)

ACT
NSW
VIC
TAS
SA
QLD
NT
WA
Markets

Daily % change

AUD/USD

74.1

+0.1%

AU Yield (%)

1.74

-1.0%

US Yield (%)

1.45

-4.7%

ASX200

7,457

+0.4%

S&P500

4,698

+0.4%

Brent (bbl)

82.4

+2.0%

Gold (oz)

1,820

+1.5%

Iron ore (t)

91.7

-2.1%

Bitcoin

62,336

+1.5%

Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract. Bond yields are 10-year Treasuries.

The US S&P500 set another record high to end the week, rising 0.37% after October's non-farm payrolls report came in stronger than expected (see below). A notable mover on the Nasdaq was Peolton, the exercise equipment and media company which dropped 35.3% after slashing its full-year outlook and implementing a hiring freeze as demand for its stay-at-home exercise gear plummeted.

Locally, the ASX200 finished Friday's session up 0.39% with every sector gaining except for energy (-0.63%) and tech (-1.64%), the latter of which was affected by Afterpay's 5.53% fall owing to a poor third quarter performance by new owner Square.

Another notable mover was News Corp, which jumped 6.94% after it revealed better than expected profit last quarter thanks to solid growth in its subscription services (e.g. Foxtel, Kayo Sports and Binge).

Economy

More stimulus: Japan's government will give families 100,000 yen (~$A1,200) in cash handouts per child regardless of household income at a cost of roughly 2 trillion yen.

Higher prices, lower output: Industrial production in Europe's manufacturing powerhouse, Germany, fell 1.1% in September and is now 9.5% below pre-pandemic level (February 2020). The story was similar in France, where output fell 1.3% and remains 5.2% below its pre-pandemic level.

Infrastructure bill: US President Joe Biden's $US1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed the House on Friday after 13 Republicans crossed the floor.

Close to full employment: The US unemployment rate fell to 4.6% as nonfarm payrolls rose more than expected in October (+531,000 vs +450,000 forecast). Wages increased 4.9% from the year before, making "transitory" inflation claims even harder to justify.

No relief: Oil prices look set to remain elevated after the world's oil cartel, OPEC and its allies (together OPEC+), refused to change its plans to raise oil output by 400,000 barrels per day from December, despite pleas from the White House to release extra supply.

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Feature
Going hungry

The United Nations released its latest Food Price Index for October, revealing that nominal food prices around the world are at their highest level since July 2011. In real terms, global food prices in 2021 are now the most expensive since 1975 (see chart above).

Why this matters: Rising global food prices are leading to several countries "facing growing levels of acute food insecurity, reversing years of development gains". Other than the obvious health issues caused by reduced calorie intake and compromised nutrition, high food prices in low- and middle-income countries increases the risk of geopolitical disturbances such as social unrest and conflict.

Looking forward: According to the Institute for Security Studies, "the situation today is eerily similar to that preceding the 2007/8 global unrest". As with the financial crisis in the same years, the problems were never adequately dealt with as "relief was prioritised over reform".

The post-pandemic world is very much at risk of a similar crisis recurring all over again, only this time with heightened levels of public debt and supply chains that continue to be overwhelmed by the combination of COVID-19 restrictions and demand stimulus in relatively wealthy countries.

The Wrap Up
    🤭Whoops. Queensland's government mistakenly shared a picture of a beach in NSW to promote a Gold Coast tourism campaign.
    💊Clinical trials showed that Pfizer's experimental COVID-19 treatment pill, Paxlovid, cut the risk of hospitalisation or death by 89% in vulnerable adults.
    🦗The Ashes are on! England's players arrived in Queensland on Saturday, where they will spend a fortnight in quarantine at a Gold Coast resort.
    💸Elon Musk asked his twitter followers whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla shares (>$US20 billion), because "the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock". He promised to "abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes".
    🚂Someone's done the dodgy. "Sydney's inner-west light rail service will be decommissioned for up to 18 months... [due to] cracks being found in all 12 vehicles during routine maintenance checks last month".
    🗳️Portugal will go to an election more than two years ahead of schedule after its minority government had its big-spending 2022 budget proposal rejected by parliament.
    🦈A 57-year-old man was attacked by "a tiger shark and a great white shark" while swimming off Port Beach in Fremantle. Authorities still searching for any remains, so far finding only his swimming goggles.
    🦗Australia defeated the West Indies by 8 wickets (with 22 balls remaining), meaning they will move into the semi-finals against Pakistan.
    💉A US federal appeals court temporarily halted the Biden administration's vaccine mandate. At least 27 states have filed lawsuits challenging the rule, which is due to take force on 4 January.
    🚽Astronauts travelling back from the International Space Station on a SpaceX capsule will have to use diapers as the toilet is broken.
    👊Thousands of people took to the street yet again in Melbourne over the weekend, chanting "kill the bill" in protest of the state's forthcoming Pandemic Management Bill 2021.
    🤐Whoops. Speaking at the COP26, ScoMo said there needed to be "global momentum to tackle China", before correcting himself to say he meant "climate change".
    🏉The Wallabies' 5-match winning streak was ended by Scotland, who triumphed in "a dramatic and controversial 15-13 win".
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