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This is a race

Good morning! Australia's state governments all agreed to the Doherty Institute's targets at Friday's national cabinet meeting, paving the way for an end to the nation's rolling lockdowns possibly as soon as November.

We also had some good news from Queensland yesterday as the 11 local government areas that had been locked down for a week were released from stay at home orders, although some restrictions will remain for at least the next two weeks. Unfortunately Cairns was locked down for 3 days after a taxi driver tested positive and had spent 10 days in the community, with his infection source still unknown...

Markets

Weekly % change

 

AUD/USD

74.0

0.0%

 

 

10Y Bond

1.22

+2.5%

 

 

ASX200

7,538

+2.0%

 

 

Brent (bbl)

70.3

-7.9%

 

 

Gold (oz)

1,758

-3.0%

 

 

Iron ore (t)

167.8

-5.1%

 

 

Bitcoin

43,968

+4.1%

 

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

The US S&P500 climbed 0.17% on Friday to a fresh record following a positive jobs report with non-farm payroll employment rising by 943,000 in July, which was better than the 865,000 expected. The US unemployment rate also fell to 5.4% against an expected 5.7%. Locally, the ASX200 (+0.36%) closed at its third consecutive record high, with the big banks and Afterpay offsetting weakness in the materials sector following Thursday's big iron ore price decline.

Crypto pushback: The Biden administration's $US1 trillion infrastructure bill will face a Senate vote to close down debate in the next few hours, having been held up over a provision to require increased tax compliance for cryptocurrency brokers. The provision was so broad that many crypto traders, miners and developers would have suddenly been defined as a 'broker', burdening them with costly – and in some cases, impossible to meet – compliance requirements. Why cryptocurrency regulation was hidden in an infrastructure bill in the first place... welcome to Washington.

Lockdowns take effect: The RBA released its latest economic outlook on Friday, downgrading its growth forecast for calendar 2021 from 4.75% to 4% due to "the recent outbreaks of the Delta variant and accompanying lockdowns". The outlook for inflation was revised up to 2.5% from 1.75%, with the central bank blaming it on "pressures related to rapid economic reopening, bottlenecks in supply chains and other pandemic-related factors".

More power, please: Addressing concerns about non-banks such as Afterpay holding customer funds, RBA governor Philip Lowe on Friday said "The payments systems regulation act needs a review. We need better arrangements for regulating 'stored value'. There is a need to update the legislation, including perhaps... a special licensing regime for payment providers."


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Feature

This is a race

Cartoon showing the events from last week in Australia.
Australia at its best and worst. John Shakespeare/SMH

So said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday morning:

"I am keen to get to 6 million jabs by the end of August, because that will provide us opportunities to consider what life looks like in September. We are really keen, to really sprint. This is a race. We are keen to spend to get those vaccination rates up."

Stepping back: The federal government – members of the same political party as Berejiklian – spent the better part of 12 months insisting that vaccination was not a race; that Australia was "in no hurry" and people could simply wait for the vaccine of their choice to become available to them. Some recent historical revisionism aside, the statement by Berejiklian represents a firm shift from that stance, with the NSW government even considering vouchers to accelerate the process.

By the numbers: The 6 million doses cited by Berejiklian "is roughly half the [NSW adult] population with at least one or two doses". At that point, "Lockdown, plus some level of easing of restrictions, is possible once we get to 50% or 60% rates of vaccination."

Why this matters: It's looking unlikely that Greater Sydney will be able to eradicate the current Delta outbreak anytime soon. Certainly not by the end of August, which is when the current lockdown is scheduled to finish. That means it's very much in a race – a race to get enough people vaccinated to minimise the economic and human damage before a permanent transition to living with the virus.


Tokyo 2020 🗼

That's a wrap, folks! The Olympics concluded last night with Australia finishing in sixth with 17 gold, 7 silver and 22 bronze medals, equalling the country's all-time best gold medal haul from Athens 2004 but falling just short on a total medal basis. 👏

No gold medals were added over the weekend although silvers were picked up in the women's beach volleyball and high jump, with bronze medals in the men's basketball, lightweight boxing and women's javelin throw.

Video showing French marathon runner knocking over water bottles.
A real class act. Ben St Lawrence/Twitter

We leave you with this video of French marathon runner Morhad Amdouni knocking over every single water bottle to screw the people behind him in a race where 31 of the 105 starters failed to finish due to the heat and humidity.

Medal tally

🥇

🥈

🥉

1 🇺🇸 United States

39

41

33

2 🇨🇳 China

38

32

18

3 🇯🇵 Japan

27

14

17

 

 

 

6 🇦🇺 Australia

17

7

22


The Wrap Up

  • 🚗 Victoria launched Australia's first drive-through vaccination clinic at a former Bunnings site at Melton.
  • 💉 From today, the Victorian government will allow those aged 18 to 39 to get the AstraZeneca vaccine at 9 of its 50 state-run clinics, avoiding the need to book in with a GP.
  • ⛔ The Australian federal government will not mandate a 'no jab, no job' policy, leaving it up to individual companies and the courts to determine.
  • 👨‍🏭 Amazon pushed back its 'return to office' date by 4 months, telling its corporate staff to continue working from home until at least 3 January 2022.
  • 🏡 The Australian Banking Association reported that since 8 July, 14,500 households have deferred their mortgage repayments, with more than two thirds of them in NSW.
  • 🎬 The creators of South Park signed a $US900 million deal that will see them through to season 30 in 2027. Fourteen original films based on the show will also be created.
  • 🍎 Apple is building a backdoor into its data storage and messaging system, which while well intentioned (child abuse) will weaken the iPhone's defences against hackers and governments.
  • ✈️ United Airlines will soon require its 67,000 US-based employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • 🛂 Italy's government on Friday rolled out a "green pass", with anyone attending over 12 venues such as gyms and restaurants required to carry it as proof of vaccination.
  • 🔥 The fire burning in Northern California for the past ~24 days is now the largest single wildfire in recorded state history.
  • 🐱‍💻 The federal government's privacy-nightmare COVIDSafe app hasn't helped track down a single contact in the current NSW outbreak.
  • 🦗 Australia is tied up at 2-2 against Bangladesh in their 5-match T20 series, with Nathan Ellis bagging a hat-trick on debut in Friday's loss.

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