Confident and wrong

Delivered on By Justin Pyvis

Good morning! In a speech to the Australian Industry Group yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said:

“Unlike some other countries, we are seeing a ‘great reshuffle’ rather than a ‘great resignation’… A stronger and more dynamic jobs market leads to increased productivity and wages. Switching jobs allows workers to move up the job ladder for better pay… It also leads to better job matching, moving higher skilled workers into higher skilled jobs.”

True enough, provided the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) hasn’t provided a bit too much monetary juice, turning the foundations on which those jobs are built into sand. Time will tell on that one.

But while we’re talking jobs, reshuffles and people moving into higher skilled positions, did you know that the Prime Ministership pays around 40% more than Frydenberg’s Treasurer gig and 50% more than regular portfolios, such as Peter Dutton’s Department of Defence?

Power and money, two pretty powerful incentives for the anonymous leaker of the disparaging ScoMo text messages! πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈ


Reading the tea leaves

Daily % change

AUD/USD

71.3

-0.3%

AUD/CNY

4.53

-0.2%

AU Bond

2.01

+0.1%

US Bond

1.92

-0.7%

ASX200

7,111

-0.1%

S&P500

4,507

+0.1%

Brent (bbl)

92.7

-0.6%

Gold (oz)

1,822

+0.8%

Iron ore (t)

148.2

+2.2%

Bitcoin

44,207

+4.2%

Ethereum

3,175

+3.9%

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.

At the time of writing theΒ US S&P500Β was up 0.10%, with 10 of the 11 major sector indexes in the black led by energy (+2.0%). Holding the index back was Facebook owner Meta, which continued to get hammered (down -4.3%) after its earnings report last week showed virtually no growth across its suite of products. The social media company’s prospects now hinge on the so-called ‘metaverse’, or metacurse as we prefer to call it.

Locally, theΒ ASX200 shed -0.13% with only energy (+1.6%), materials (+0.8%) and tech (+0.6%) finishing in the black. Notable movers were travel stocks such as Flight Centre (+8.3%) and Qantas (+5.0%) after ScoMo announced Australia’s international borders would finally reopen to all vaccinated travellers from 21 February.


Food for thought

The QLD government released data in late January showing much better than expected Omicron outcomes.
The QLD government released data in late January showing much better than expected Omicron outcomes. Source

Last week we published our first Unwrapped for the year, titled Confident and wrong, which we sent to all of our Insiders (people with 3+ referrals – get sharing!).

Now that a week has passed we’re making it available to everyone. You can download it in PDF format by clicking here.

If you’re too busy to read the whole thing, here’s a quick summary:

  • The Omicron variant’s dominance and its much milder health impact means we’re one step closer to ending the pandemic (see chart above).
  • The biggest gaffe of the year (to date) came courtesy of Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan, who misinterpreted the findings of a preprint paper to cancel his pledge to reopen the state.
  • Recent UK data show that even moderate restrictions are crippling businesses as government support dries up. Rising inflation will only heap more pressure on them.
  • Putting the stimulus breaks on without causing a hard landing is going to require a delicate balancing act that authorities may not be capable of executing.

Enjoy!


Bits and bytes

πŸ‘·β€β™€οΈ A survey of job advertisements by ANZ showed a small 0.3% decline in January, although surging retail sales led the bank to expect that “an unemployment rate with a 3-handle, and much lower underemployment, will come a lot sooner… [and] is one reason we now expect the RBA to start lifting the cash rate in September”.

πŸ¦… Klaas Knot, the Dutch Central Bank President, became the first member of the European Central Bank (ECB) governing council to claim publicly that the ECB should raise interest rates this year.

⛓️ WA’s government reduced the quarantine period for close contacts and vaccinated international and interstate travellers to 7 days (from 14), and doubled its weekly international arrival quota to 530 people.

πŸ‘΄ The Australian government will deploy 1,700 Australian Defence Force personnel to the aged care sector to “help stabilise outbreaks and support staff shortages”.

πŸ›‚ Queensland’s government scrapped the use of its check-in app for most venues in the state “because the trend of hospitalisations and fresh cases was going down”.

πŸ›°οΈ New satellite images show the extend of the Russian military build-up in Belarus, a distance of less than two hours from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

πŸ•š Too busy texting? At the 2019 election the Morrison government said it would establish an Integrity Commission. Three years later and it now says it doesn’t have time before the next election.

🦍 Shaquille O’Neal – who stands 2.1 metres tall and weighs nearly 150kg – said whenever he goes to the gorilla section in a zoo “They try to break out the damn thing and try to fight me.”

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» An American hacker known as P4x claims to have taken out the entire North Korean internet for two weeks during January using a distributed denial-of-service attack (basically a lot of computers relentlessly pinging their servers, overwhelming them).

πŸ›’ According to the latest Caixin services PMI, activity slipped to a 5-month low of 51.4 in January, indicating a slight expansion (the 50 mark separates growth/contraction). The slowdown was due to “fresh curbs imposed to contain Covid-19 flare-ups in parts of the country”.

🎾 Sounds legit: After disappearing for four months, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai gave a “carefully-managed interview” at the Beijing Winter Olympics, saying her claim that a senior Chinese official sexually assaulted her was an “enormous misunderstanding”.

🍁 The City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing “Freedom Convoy 2022”, which started as a protest against a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the border with the US.

🀒 The quarantine hotel food for Beijing Olympic athletes is… anything but appetising.

πŸ‘©β€βš–οΈ Australia’s Federal Court dismissed Meta’s “appellate claim that it neither conducts business nor collects personal information in Australia”, describing Meta’s defence as “divorced from reality”.

πŸ’ The Canadian Olympic women’s ice hockey team eventually defeated the Russian team 6-1 despite a delay after the Russians couldn’t produce negative COVID-19 tests, delaying the start and forcing both sides to play in face masks.