Tag Archives: GLOBAL

Australia Considering New Covid-19 Quarantine Strategy: Inland Isolation | Instant News

SYDNEY – Australia relies on one of the world’s countries the most aggressive quarantine program to prevent the corona virus. Now, a leader wants to go a step further by accommodating returning travelers in Outback camps away from cities as the new Covid-19 variant threatens the country’s success.

The Queensland state premier wants to reuse the camps designed for resource workers as isolation centers in remote scrub where temperatures can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It follows an outbreak of the highly contagious coronavirus at a quarantine hotel in the state capital of Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city with a population of around 2.5 million people.

“I think with this new tension, we have to put all the options on the table and this is a sensible and rational option,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk, who was re-elected as Queensland’s prime minister in late October partly because of her center-left government. crackdown to tackle Covid-19.

The idea of ​​using remote camps illustrates how leaders in places that have contracted the virus are considering more extreme measures to protect people from a new variant of the corona virus, which emerged in Britain and South Africa and has since spread to more countries. Currently, travelers returning to Australia are housed in hotels, often close to city airports, for 14 days.

Queensland was running nearly four months with no cases of local transmission when cleaners at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane tested positive for the new British variant. More cases followed, and the 129 people in isolation were immediately transferred to another hotel and their quarantine was extended.


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Palladium eyes new records in 2021 and travel set to climb | Instant News

Palladium recorded a fifth straight year of gains in 2020 and the rally shows no signs of slowing down. Greater restrictions on air pollution and a likely resumption of travel following the passage of the coronavirus pandemic are expected to boost demand for the metal used in auto parts. Stricter issuance rules are expected to push palladium prices up, especially given new standards in China, the second-largest consumer of metal behind the United States, says Steven Dunn, head of exchange-traded funds at Aberdeen Standard Investments. To comply with these standards, all new cars in China must be fitted with “good quality catalytic converters,” which means around 30% more palladium per vehicle, he says. “As countries continue to tighten emissions standards, palladium should be a beneficiary.” “As countries continue to tighten emissions standards, palladium should be a beneficiary.” – Steven Dunn, Aberdeen Standard Investments Palladium is primarily used in the catalytic converters of gasoline vehicles, which transform the most harmful pollutants in car exhaust gases into more environmentally friendly compounds like carbon dioxide and water, Dunn said. Palladium prices therefore have a strong correlation with the auto industry, which is expected to rebound in 2021, he says. Car and Driver magazine estimated that new vehicle sales in the United States were down 14.9% to 15.5% to about 14.5 million in 2020, bringing sales to the lowest level since 2012. However , the automotive enthusiast publication noted that a sales recovery had started. in summer and continued until December, amid an increase in Covid-19 cases across the country. Palladium PAH21, -2.20% PA00, -2.20% prices ended 2020 with a gain of around 29%. It hit a record settlement of $ 2,711.70 an ounce on February 27, 2020, but suffered a 48% drop from that level to mark its lowest settlement of the year on March 18, at 1,419.80 $. On Wednesday, the metal stood at $ 2,448.10, less than 10% below the record. Palladium prices have been increasing aggressively for several years, supported by an “acute imbalance between supply and demand, alongside the tightening of automobile emission standards”, ahead of the pandemic’s effects on demand in 2020, says Chris Blasi, President and President of Neptune Global. He expects prices this year to trade between $ 2,250 and $ 3,000, which would be a new record, with prices likely averaging around $ 2,710. Biden’s incoming administration is expected to be “environmentally focused and join the Paris Climate Agreement,” he said. “Such a position should further increase the demand for essential elements to achieve pollution control goals.” At the same time, palladium supplies have been in deficit for a decade, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon, he says. Meanwhile, the global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine may impact palladium prices because “if more people start to resume a certain level of travel, the mode of transport most likely to be used will be the car. Says Ed Egilinsky, Managing Director and Head of Alternatives at Direxion. A “reopening of the global economy will be a key driver of this take shape and potentially lead to a significant spike in auto sales.” Other lockdowns or additional strains of the virus, on the other hand, could lead to supply constraints in the palladium market, he says. This could be the result of mining disruptions, but these constraints could also be offset by a decrease in automotive demand. Egilinsky says it’s possible to see palladium prices reach new highs in 2021, especially if there is a global recovery, a pickup in automotive demand, and more regulated global emission standards, but that ” may need to coincide with some level of supply disruption for this to happen. the story unfolds. “.

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The latest global lockdown is delaying a recovery in fuel demand | Instant News

LONDON (Reuters) – Severe mobility restrictions across Europe to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases are weighing on fuel sales, weakening prospects for a recovery in energy demand in the first half of 2021.

FILE PHOTO: A notice telling people to stay 2 meters apart is seen at a gas station, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Stone, UK, 28 April 2020. REUTERS / Carl Recine

Much of Europe is now under tight restrictions, the Oxford tightness index, which assesses indicators such as school and work closures, and travel bans.

In November, only four European countries have implemented a similar lockdown.

Britain imposed a new national lockdown on Monday which is expected to last until mid-February. The German government extended its tight lockdown to the end of January, and Italy extended to January 15 its already imposed ban on movement between 20 regions.

As a result, traffic in London, Rome and Berlin fell sharply in late December and early January, data provided to Reuters by location technology firm TomTom showed.

Strict restrictions on outreach and business continue in California, the most populous US state with about 40 million, and one of the world’s largest driving markets.

Statewide driving was 15% lower than the same period last year, Apple Mobility Trends showed, while public transport use fell by more than 60%.

Road traffic in San Francisco remained calm, TomTom data showed, and mobility in New York City fell sharply after showing some signs of recovery late last year.

This trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the coming weeks, said BCA Research, and the pandemic will remain a major challenge for fuel demand by the end of 2021, albeit at a lower rate than last spring.

A more aggressive lockdown is already weighing on fuel sales, with government data on Thursday showing average sales per fuel station in the UK were 21% lower than the previous week, a decline the report said was attributed to low sales around the Christmas period and COVID-related restrictions.

Goldman Sachs this week said the outlook for its updated 2021 first quarter market balance had weakened, due to the new lockdowns.

OPEC also said this week that the emergence of a new strain of the virus and restrictions on social activity put more downside risk to the oil market in the first half of 2021, forcing most members to keep production steady while Saudi Arabia offered large voluntary cuts.

“The Kingdom’s precautionary measures show us the desire to defend prices and support the oil market amid demand concerns due to extended mobility restrictions in Europe,” said UBS analysts, predicting a rebound in the market only in the second quarter of 2021 driven by vaccinations and increased travel.

China also imposed more restrictions near Beijing. Shijiazhuang, the capital of China’s Hebei province, has banned all residents from leaving the city as part of COVID-related restrictions, a city official said on Thursday.

The new restrictions brought traffic on Shijiazhuang to a halt, TomTom data showed.

However, demand remains strong in many countries, with Apple’s Mobility Trends showing driving in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India and Australia has surpassed pre-COVID levels.

The recovery has been particularly strong in the United Arab Emirates, Apple data show.

In Dubai, driving fell in March and April, but this week it is 300% above baseline, which can be attributed to a large number of tourists.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Edited by Steve Orlofsky and Alexander Smith


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The world food price index rose for seven consecutive months in Dec-FAO | Instant News

ROME (Reuters) – World food prices rose for the seventh straight month in December, with all major categories, except sugar, posting increases last month, the United Nations food agency said Thursday.

FILE PHOTOS: Wheat seen as the sun sets in a field of Solgonskoye agricultural company in the village of Solgon, Russia, on September 6, 2014 REUTERS / Ilya Naymushin

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which measures monthly change for a basket of cereals, vegetable oils, dairy products, meat and sugar, averaged 107.5 points last month versus 105.2 in November.

The previous November figure was given as 105.0.

For 2020 as a whole, the reference index averaged 97.9 points, the highest in three years and an increase of 3.1% from 2019. This figure is still down more than 25% from its historical peak in 2011.

Vegetable oil prices continued their recent strong gains, surging 4.7% month-on-month in December after surging more than 14.0% in November. Throughout 2020, the index rose 19.1% in 2019.

FAO said tight supplies in major palm oil producing countries had pushed up prices, while trade was also affected by a sharp increase in export duties in Indonesia. The price of soybean oil rose in part because of the prolonged strike in Argentina. [POI/]

The cereal price index posted a modest 1.1% increase in December from the previous month. For the whole of 2020 the index averaged 6.6% above 2019 levels.

Export prices for wheat, maize, sorghum and rice all rose in December, moving higher in part on concerns over growing conditions and crop prospects in North and South America and Russia, said the Rome-based FAO.

The dairy products index increased 3.2% for the month, however, over the whole of 2020, it decreased by about 1.0% on average from 2019.

In December, all components of the index rose due to strong global import demand triggered by concerns about the drier and warmer conditions of Oceania’s milk production and high internal demand in Western Europe.

The meat index rose 1.7% last month, while the full-year average was 4.5% below 2019. The FAO said poultry prices rebounded in December, partly due to the impact of the bird flu outbreak in Europe. However, pork prices fell slightly, hit by the cessation of German exports to Asian markets following the outbreak of African Swine Fever.

Against other index increases, the average sugar price fell 0.6% in December. For 2020 as a whole, the sub-index posted the highest gain of 1.1% at 2019 levels. The FAO said the relative firmness of the latest data reflects a surge in imports by China and an increase in demand for refined sugar from Indonesia. [SOF/L]

The FAO did not issue its most recent forecast for worldwide cereal crops in January. The next forecast is due in February.

Last month, the FAO revised its forecast for the 2020 cereal season for the third consecutive month, cutting it to 2.742 billion tonnes from 2.75 billion tonnes previously.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer


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COLUMN-Don’t hold your breath for raging global inflation: Mike Dolan | Instant News

(The author is editor-at-large for finance and markets at Reuters News. All views expressed here are his own)

LONDON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – It’s hard to play with the reflex trading around the world when consumer prices haven’t stopped falling.

This weekend the eurozone is set to post the longest shared period of major monthly deflation since the single currency was introduced – joining Japan and Switzerland in a pandemic-driven price reduction battle that will press the European Central Bank to its feet. basic monetary policy even as the market is betting on recovery.

If the consensus forecast proves to be correct, the eurozone deflation rate should have slowed slightly to 0.2% last month – even as aggregate prices remained negative for the fifth month in a row and matched a 5 month decline in 2009. Core inflation rates, excluding prices food and energy, is likely to stay in positive territory, although the expected 0.4% rate remains the lowest on record.

Japan and Switzerland have headline and core inflation rates that run even more negatively than the eurozone.

And the new year hardly bodes well for rising prices, with COVID-19 raging, even more severe economic lockdowns and a potentially vaccine-resistant variant emerging.

Oil prices have more than doubled the depth of the pandemic shock 9 months ago – even if crude remains down more than 20% this time last year. And the rebound in world food prices puts them about 3% above 12 months ago and near 6 year highs.

But it’s not the stuff of runaway inflation that has led us to invest in wheelbarrows to carry cash.

The ECB’s survey of professional forecasters in the last quarter of last year established a more than 70% probability that inflation will remain at or below the ECB’s near 2% target over the next 5 years – although it also considers only a 3% deflation chance. survived that timeline.

German 10-year inflation expectations, implied by inflation-protected government bonds – called breakevens – are less than 1%.

But many in financial markets remain convinced that rising global inflation will still be a legacy of this crisis – even if it is largely dependent on the United States for evidence and is the opposite of a very bearish view of the US dollar.

The break-even point of US 10-year inflation rose above 2% on Monday for the first time in two years as Fed money printing outpaced other central banks and the prospect of massive fiscal waste is revived by increasing chances Democrats can take over both houses of Congress after this round. the second Georgian Senate this week.


Asset manager giant BlackRock predicts the road ahead will see the central bank determined to limit nominal government lending rates as growth and inflation eventually recover. Real rates, or inflation-adjusted, will therefore sink even further and give riskier assets a bigger boost than during previous periods of inflation.

“Medium-term inflation risks look underappreciated,” he told clients.

Morgan Stanley global economist Chetan Ahya said the bank’s optimism about the rebound meant inflation would move significantly higher as well and he still believed the Fed would hit its 2% target by the end of the year and let it cross its limit through 2022.

Citi’s Ebrahim Rahbari is also confident that the market bias for reflections from the end of last year will persist despite regular concerns surrounding the virus and associated restrictions.

“We expect reflective cross-asset trading to continue working this year, as positions remain modest, while real rates remain low, money on the sidelines is sufficient and macro stimulus is strong,” he wrote.

For many, this “inflation fear” is simply a function of market position and hinges on the assumption the central bank will tolerate more inflation than in the past. But it still assumes it will reappear and remains wishful thinking.

The recent spike in everything from equities, breakevens, gold and even bitcoin has been the inevitable expansion of central bank money last year driving up long-dormant consumer prices. But it’s hard to see that happening while cash demand remains very high amid another wave of lockdown.

There is even little certainty that rising inflation will be sustainable without the unlikely of wage increases and major disruption to years of stable household inflation expectations.

However, the predominantly US-centered inflation outlook was offset by a very negative US dollar consensus.

As the deflationary years in Japan and Switzerland show, price deflation and currency appreciation tend to go hand in hand – as hoarding of money is driven by the prospect of increasing in real value over time.

Just how negative interest rates need to be offset is a policy conundrum – but perceived limits for negative interest rates due to banking stability concerns mean persistent deflation will only lift currencies such as the euro, yen and franc and potentially choke off the two largest economies. regions of the world.

Could US inflation be exported via a weaker dollar that lifted dollar-denominated global food and commodity prices? In the absence of higher wages, more expensive food and energy will only burden already-deprived households and burn again after this year’s shock.

Whatever the answer, the inflation fear requires a fair amount of confidence and is unlikely to emerge this year.

by Mike Dolan, Twitter: @reutersMikeD; editing by Barbara Lewis


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