Vertical drinking
By Justin Pyvis – Delivered on 28 Sep 2021

Good morning! The government of New South Wales announced further details and dates for its reopening plan, opting for three "stages" in-line with vaccination rates of 70, 80 and 90 per cent.

We have all the details in the Feature below 👇 and yes, it even includes "vertical drinking", which according to Premier Gladys Berejiklian "is something we know as we head into spring and summer it is something that the public would like to see".

Not wanting to be left out, the ACT government also released its own reopening plan, called the "pathway forward". Under the plan the ACT will exit lockdown on 15 October, which is when it expects to reach an 80% fully vaccinated rate for everyone aged over 12. Yes, the ACT is smashing it in terms of vaccinations (it includes 12-15 year-olds, unlike NSW) – pure coincidence that vaccine supply is allocated by bureaucrats and politicians in... the ACT? 🤔

Moving north, the NT's Chief Minister Michael Gunner said low vaccination rates in remote communities "won't stop the territory's progress" towards easing restrictions, as they "cannot wait forever". Instead of delaying reopening, the NT government will likely restrict movement in communities with low rates of vaccination.

Finally, ScoMo hit the airwaves from the United States to lament the fact that some states may remain closed for Christmas, saying "It's important that we move forward. We can't stay in second gear. We've got to get to top gear in living with the virus. My message is more to Australians that what I'd like them to have for Christmas is their lives back."

When asked about her opinion on ScoMo's comments, QLD Premier replied only with "We've got national cabinet happening this Friday, I'm really looking forward to that." 💥

Fully vaccinated population (aged over 16)

ACT
NSW
TAS
NT
SA
VIC
QLD
WA
Markets

Daily % change

AUD/USD

72.9

+0.1%

10Y Bond

1.45

+2.1%

ASX200

7,384

+0.1%

Brent (bbl)

79.4

+0.8%

Gold (oz)

1,750

-0.2%

Iron ore (t)

119.3

+7.4%

Bitcoin

42,910

-0.6%

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

The US S&P500 fell 0.28% overnight as tech stocks came off the boil following a rise in the US 10-year Treasury yield to a three-month high of 1.5% (tech companies are all about growth, with future earnings discounted against lending rates).

Locally, the ASX200 finished up 0.57% led by energy stocks (+1.81%) as oil prices reached fresh multi-year highs. Strong gains in iron ore futures price during the day helped the likes of Fortescue and Mineral Resources (both +2.67%) but the real stand-outs were travel stocks (e.g. Flight Centre +7.48%), which surged on the optimistic NSW reopening plan.

Economy

Elusive inflation: Consumer goods prices in Japan stopped declining for the first time since July 2020, coming in unchanged in August. However, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda claims there actually is inflation – you just have to exclude "special factors", such as mobile phone fees. Ah to be a central banker, just exclude anything that doesn't fit the narrative and declare mission accomplished. 😎

End of an era: The centre-left Social Democrats narrowly won Germany's federal election with 25.7% of the vote, bouncing departing Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative coalition for the first time since 2005.

Evergrande easing: The People's Bank of China injected a net 460 billion yuan of short-term cash into the banking system last week, driving the borrowing cost down to 1.68% from 2.28% the week before.

Competition crackdown: China's government banned all cryptocurrency transactions and Chinese residents are forbidden from using foreign exchanges. The government is rolling out its own digital currency to better track its people's spending, so it's removing the competition to give its citizens no choice but to use the only one available.

Supply chain pressures: US durable goods orders for August increased 1.8% to a new record in August, although it was all about transportation equipment (+5.5% from the prior month), without which orders would have climbed just 0.2%. Cost pressures continue to put pressure on producers, who are confronting "parts and labour shortages as well as higher material costs".

Feature
Vertical drinking

The government of New South Wales now has a three-stage "roadmap to recovery", providing "a clear path to follow out of the pandemic and lockdowns".

Breaking it down: It's all about the 80% mark for the fully vaccinated, which the government expects to hit "the third or fourth week of October". At that point certain restrictions will be abolished – including "the requirement to be seated while drinking indoors", also known as "vertical drinking" – although the all-too familiar density limits and mask wearing requirements will remain in place.

Curiously, while NSW deputy premier John Barilaro warned that if you are unvaccinated "you will not achieve any further freedom until you get vaccinated", the roadmap actually removes restrictions for "all NSW citizens, regardless of their vaccination status", as soon as a 90% fully vaccinated rate is reached (expected on 1 December).

There was also some exciting news for those looking forward to travel again, with the reveal that "once we hit that 80% double dose we will automatically restate the caps we had previously to Delta, about 3,500 Australians coming home every week... If fully vaccinated Aussies are coming home there is no reason why we need to have a cap after a particular number".

The best laid plans: A reopening roadmap is great but it will only be followed provided hospitalisations and the health care system remain in check. Note also that NSW is only measuring the fully vaccinated aged over 16, despite 12-15 year-olds now eligible for a jab, so it'll be interesting to see how the updated Doherty Institute modelling – to be released at national cabinet on Friday – affects anything.

The other states and territories will be watching NSW closely. Remember that it was only a month ago that Singapore reopened – a country where around 80% of the total population is vaccinated – only to tighten restrictions last weekend.

The Wrap Up
🛂Victoria's government confirmed that vaccine passport trials will begin in 20 regional LGAs from 11 October.
✈️Qantas cancelled its Perth-London flight until at least April 2022, replacing it with a direct service from Darwin. Flights from WA to NSW/VIC were also delayed to 1 Feb 2022.
👩‍🔬Health Minister Greg Hunt said "mRNA vaccine production in Australia is our goal... we will be in a position to say more in the coming months".
🤳The Taliban warned its fighters to stop taking selfies and posting on social media while enjoying tourist attractions, as it "damages our status".
🏭The energy crisis 2.0: An "environmentally beneficial and vertically integrated Bitcoin miner" purchased an entire power plant in Pennsylvania.
🎓A New York University professor warned that the gender gap at universities (60% female) will lead to a "mating crisis", causing an "existential threat to society".
🗡️"Discussions over kidnapping or killing [Wikileaks founder Julian] Assange occurred 'at the highest levels' of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official."
💉The University of Melbourne made COVID-19 vaccination a compulsory requirement for attending any of its campuses.
Elon Musk and his partner of three years, Claire "Grimes" Boucher, have "semi-separated".
🕊️After 561 days of COVID-19 restrictions, Norway – where 66% of the total population are fully vaccinated – removed them all and re-opened its borders, quarantine-free, to several countries.
🙉ScoMo said it has been close to two years since China's President Xi Jinping answered his phone calls.
📰A new study found that the COVID-19 pandemic "caused the biggest decrease in life expectancy in western Europe since the second world war".
🤝China, Canada and the United States came to an agreement that saw Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou released along with two Canadians who had been detained in China.
🏉Manly's Tom Trbojevic won his maiden NRL Dally M Medal with the second-highest vote tally of all time.
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