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Jobs if you want them

Good morning! New Zealand has a quarantine hotel problem, with a third (unvaccinated) worker at the Grand Millennium hotel testing positive for COVID-19. On the bright side, they had been self-isolating and New Zealand's Ministry of Health reckons there's "very little additional risk to the community".

Hopefully they get it under control in time for the travel bubble's commencement in less than a week. 🤞

Market Wrap

There are jobs if you want them

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Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract.

Markets were flat in the US, with the S&P500 inching down (-0.02%) from its record high. March quarter corporate earnings season has just started so things might spice up a bit from here.

Job vacancies surge: Australian job advertisements increased by 19.1% in March, the 11th consecutive month-on-month increase and the highest number of vacancies since October 2008. Note that JobKeeper finished at the end of March, so we might see this slow down now that the free money has stopped flowing and there's actually an incentive to look for a job.

Inflation watch: This trend won't be a problem until it very quickly becomes a big problem. World food prices rose for a 10th consecutive month in March, hitting their highest level since June 2014. In the 12 months to March, food prices in Brazil increased 18.5%. Also in March, Japanese wholesale prices marked their first annual increase in more than a year. Finally, China's producer prices climbed in March by the most since July 2018.

Travel Wrap

International travel to be hobbled until 2024

This is likely in our future.
This is likely in our future. Canberra Times

Deloitte Access Economics' latest quarterly business outlook predicts international travel won't fully return until 2024.

Uneven recovery: The first thing to take into account is that this is a forecast, i.e. a mug's game. The next is the word "fully", i.e. globally, pre-COVID: international travel will return on a country-by-country basis. Places that are heavily vaccinated and/or have had large rates of prior infections, such as the United States, may well be completely open to international travel in months, not years.

The laggards: On the other side of the world you have places such as Australia and New Zealand – ranked 82 and 96, respectively, in terms of doses administered per 100 people – where due to a lack of infections and vaccinations, international travel will take far longer to return (outside of bubbles).

With that in mind, Deloitte could well be correct. But we suspect international travel will be back sooner – there's a lot of pent up demand and major vaccine producers will soon become large exporters, allowing the rest of the world to join the party.

Gaming Wrap

A blast from the past

Old on the left, new on the right.
Old on the left, new on the right. Archyde

Activision Blizzard's Diablo 2: Resurrected limited alpha ran over the weekend to mostly rave reviews. 😈

Stepping back: D2: Resurrected is a complete remaster of an old (circa 2000-01) but still popular action role playing classic. It's essentially the same game with updated graphics and a few minor quality of life changes, and will be available on all major consoles as well as PC before the end of 2021.

Another win for Blizzard: Along with the pandemic forcing people to stay home, the announcement of D2: Resurrected helped to flesh out Activision's release schedule amid intense competition from the likes of Fortnite. The company's share price has more than doubled since the start of 2019, with a number of potential hits due to be released after Resurrected, including a mobile Diablo game (Immortal), Overwatch 2, Diablo 4 and possibly even a new Call of Duty title.

The Wrap Up

  • Australia won't be getting the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, because it's "an adenovirus vaccine, the same type of vaccine as the AstraZeneca vaccine".
  • Vehicle sales in China recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first three months of 2021. Electric vehicles were particularly in-demand, accounting for 8% of all sales.
  • Elon Musk's satellite broadband offering, Starlink, is now available in Australia (parts of central Victoria and southern New South Wales).
  • Thailand is considering making it easier for expats and long-term tourists to live and work in the country. The framework will include corporate income-tax cuts, relaxed property-holding rules and incentives for retirees and startup companies.
  • Median CEO pay at public US companies reached $US13.7 million last year, up from $US12.8 million a year earlier and is on track for a record high. Much of a CEO's compensation comes in the form of equity, so rising share prices generally equates to higher CEO pay.