Cutting through the noise – In the news

With so much misinformation out there, we have decided to do our best to share with you some of the better articles and data we have digested recently. Our goal is to help you ‘cut through the noise’ and provide snippets of the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

We constantly read, review and analyse articles, information and data relating to the economy, government policy, financial and property markets. Our aim is to  educate and empower you, our clients and readers, to make great property, mortgage and money decisions.

We will endeavor to increase the frequency of our updates, which is also supported by our weekly Property Planner, Buyer and Professor Podcast Covid-19 specials. We trust this helps to keep you well informed, whilst also saving you time deciding where to get information from.

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Australia may have passed infection peak 

The rate of increase in new Australian infections is slower than most of our peers. Even more importantly, the rate at which new infection numbers are decelerating (or at which our curve is flattening) is especially impressive and seems to be broadly tracking South Korean’s containment path, which is arguably the best in the world for any nation that has suffered a substantial outbreak. Perhaps most interestingly, the pace at which Australian deaths have increased is also outperforming almost all other countries save Japan. 

There are a range of explanations for these results. Our geographic isolation, dispersion and relatively low urban densities obviously help, as does our modest median age of 38 years. Australia also has low cigarette consumption per capita, which is valuable in this context given the virus’s impact on our lungs. And finally, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state premiers have been assertive and pro-active in seeking to cauterise the threat. 

Europe races to start mass testing, ramp up medical production 

European countries are looking to ramp up mass testing and the production of medical equipment, even as they send increasingly hopeful messages about their progress with the Continental pandemic. 

Britain and Belgium are among the countries calling out a potential tapering in the COVID-19 epidemic’s intensity, and Denmark said its lockdown might ease after Easter. In Germany there are media reports suggesting the country is already planning for what a partial return to normality might look like. 

Lives will be saved if data about COVID-19 virus is published 

NSW’s Customer Service Minister, Victor Dominello, has called on all governments to publish their detailed COVID-19 data to save more lives, as federal health authorities continue to resist releasing modelling and data. 

Mr Dominello has led the NSW government’s aggressive digitalisation and data program. He made his call after NSW became the first Australian government to publish postcode-level data in a format that enables full analysis and allows for developing applications and maps. 

Peak Virus: Forecasting the Peak in COVID-19 Infections in the US and Australia 

As we move through “peak virus”, our team has spent time reflecting on significant trigger points that might precipitate fundamental changes in future market sentiment. 

In this note, we publish preliminary internal forecasts for the distribution of COVID-19 infections in the US and Australia focusing on the time intervals during which we are likely to observe a demonstrable reduction in infection rates after the application of more expansive testing and containment policies. We offer a range of scenarios, conditioning off the reaction functions in a number of different countries, including Italy, South Korea and China, with various discounts to proxy for inefficient or impaired containment in the US and Australia. 

Don’t push too hard, too fast, PM warns on restrictions 

Scott Morrison has warned against pushing people too hard or too fast with restrictions and has acknowledged that it is too early to identify the triggers to lift the limits that are sapping life from the economy. 

Girding the population to bunker down for at least six months, Mr Morrison told those advocating a rapid shutdown of society that if people were pushed too much, they might “walk away” and deliberately disobey, making the health and economic crises much worse. 

Free child care during the coronavirus is a dream come true. But what will it cost our educators? 

The Prime Minister stating on national TV that early education and care is important for children and working families! Educators’ and teachers’ jobs saved! 

It’s amazing what a pandemic can do, isn’t it? 

What were once pipe dreams of advocates for young children’s education and care, and the people who provide it, is now reality. 

Bad news for Airbnb could be blessed relief for renters 

It seems oddly appropriate, if not ironic, that a business that effectively grew virally on the internet should have suffered more than most because of COVID-19. 

Those who watched with dismay while short-term holiday lets moved into apartment blocks where they weren’t welcome or, in some cases, legally permitted, may have witnessed the current collapse of the holiday-letting industry with a certain grim satisfaction. 

Genetic Signatures up 12pc on COVID-19 test approval 

Chris Abbott-backed medical testing company Genetic Signatures is doing its bit to meet exploding worldwide demand for coronavirus tests and has just received European regulatory approval for a new COVID-19 test that’s already in use in Australia. 

The kits leverage the company’s patented 3base technology, which shortens genetic codes from four letters to three, reducing the genetic complexity of infection detection in molecular testing. “Our tests are immune to a lot of the genetic mutations we see in the virus around the world”. 

Virus strategy must change to protect the 90pc 

While Australia has outperformed most of its global peers in terms of the growth rate of new infections and fatalities, the national virus containment strategy needs to adapt fast. 

What we do not need is a national lockdown for six months or any suggestions of such. Many businesses are confused by the current narrative, which implies that they need to go into hibernation for half a year. 

On the information available to us, that is totally wrong. 

Young Rich Lister pivots to virus-detecting airport check-in 

After a frenetic six weeks of development, Elenium last fortnight applied for patents on a contactless machine that measures vital signs to determine if a would-be traveler is showing symptoms of COVID-19. Existing customer Etihad Airways will trial it this month. “We’re hoping that automated health screening will encourage people to return to travel sooner.” 

How Australia’s bond market crisis was averted 

With governments pumping billions of dollars worth of stimulus in to ward off a COVID-19 induced death to the economy, the federal government’s debt manager Rob Nicholl has the task of making sure government funding doesn’t run out like the supply of ventilators could in an intensive care ward. 

Mutli-billion-dollar hedge funds led a rapid-fire liquidation of Australian bonds as the sudden market shock of the coronavirus crisis blew up their carefully calibrated but highly complex trades. On March 16, hours after the US Federal Reserve announced a dramatic interest rate cut, the Reserve Bank announced it would intervene as a buyer to fix the bond market, while planning a policy meeting on Thursday. 

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