Big super warns of cash-in risk

Original article by Joanna Mather, Tony Boyd, Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 3-Apr-20

Treasury has forecast that about $27bn in total will be withdrawn from superannuation funds after the federal government relaxed the rules governing early access for people who have been impacted by the pandemic. AustralianSuper CEO Ian Silk notes that industry estimates suggest that withdrawals could top $50bn. He adds that some super funds may struggle to cope with a big increase in withdrawals, but stresses that it will not be an issue for AustralianSuper. Silk also warns that a surge in withdrawals will affect the super industry’s capacity to invest in and recapitalise businesses when the crisis abates.


Free childcare in $3bn family relief package

Original article by Geoff Chambers, Rosie Lewis
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 3-Apr-20

Nearly one million families will be eligible to receive free childcare under a coronavirus package announced by the federal government. The package is expected to cost over $3 billion and run for six months, with children of essential workers, vulnerable children and parents with existing childcare placements to be given priority under the scheme. Liz Christie, the director of a Goodstart long daycare centre in Brisbane’s CBD, says the government’s announcement is a huge relief. She says the centre’s numbers have fallen from more than 200 to around 60, and that many of the parents are essential workers.


Property sales collapse, price falls ahead: UBS

Original article by Mackenzie Scott
The Australian – Page: 16 : 3-Apr-20

Economists generally expect Australia’s residential property prices to decline by 5-20 per cent due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. UBS analysts have declined to forecast the likely effect of the health crisis on house prices, although they have warned that governments may need to step in with measures such as stamp duty cuts if the housing market falls too far. The investment bank adds that the ban on auctions and open houses is likely to prompt a sharp decline in sales volumes in the near-term.


Coal exports rise as foreign rivals hit pause

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 3-Apr-20

Port Waratah Coal Services has advised that export volumes at its coal terminals rose slightly in the March quarter, compared with the same period in 2019. CEO Hennie du Plooy notes that coal demand and production remained strong during the period, despite the coronavirus pandemic. However, he notes that the virus lockdown has placed a number of constraints on the company, including the need to ensure that contact between employees is minimised during shift changeovers.


Westpac chief Peter King eyes fast restart

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 20 : 3-Apr-20

Westpac has appointed Peter King as CEO for the next two years. King, who has been acting CEO since September, says 22,000 of Westpac’s 33,000 employees are now working from home in response to the coronavirus; typically it is around 1,000. Westpac has had 100,000 requests for assistance from customers and 26,000 requests for help from small businesses since the banking sector launched its response to the virus. King says Westpac will looking at businesses that can recover quickly once the worst of COVID-19 is over in terms of the ones it decides to assist.


Self-isolation measures lead to plunge in movement of people in Melbourne and at places of interest

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 3-Apr-20

Roy Morgan has partnered with leading technological innovator UberMedia to aggregate data from tens of thousands of mobile devices to assess the impact of new Government regulations on social distancing designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus throughout Australia. The aggregate data compiled allows governments and health agencies to assess what types of Australians are still visiting Australia’s cities and places of interest via integration of the movement data with the in-depth psychographic profiling capabilities of Roy Morgan Helix Personas. The first Australian death from COVID-19 coronavirus was reported on March 1 and from that point the trend for movement data in the Melbourne CBD has changed and rapidly declined since mid-March. In Melbourne we have noticed sharp drop-offs in movement data for several key locations including the Airport, Arts Centre, Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, Museum and Exhibition Buildings, Southern Cross Station, Williamstown Beach Station and the Zoo. There have also been rapid declines in movement data in the last week of March for several key shopping destinations including Chadstone, Highpoint, Southland, The Glen, Werribee Shopping Centre and Costco Docklands.


Self-isolation measures lead to plunge in movement of people in Sydney and at places of interest

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 3-Apr-20

Roy Morgan and UberMedia aren’t just measuring movement data in Sydney’s central business district but also in key places of interest around the city and surrounds. The utility of the data allows precise targeting of locations throughout Australia to assess how movement data is changing as Australia’s are required to self-isolate to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. In Sydney we have noticed sharp drop-offs in movement data for several key locations including the Airport, Central and Redfern Stations, Sydney’s Taronga Zoo and shopping centres including Chatswood, Marketplace Leichhardt, Stockland Balgowlah, Westfield Bondi and Warringah. The drop off in movement has not been as significant at particular locations including stores stocking essential goods such as Coles Broadway, Woolworths Erskineville and Costco Lidcombe.


Reserve Bank could lend money to super funds to help cover coronavirus withdrawals

Original article by Ben Butler
The Guardian – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

The federal government has predicted that as much as $27 billion could be withdrawn from super funds under rules allowing people who lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19 to withdraw up to $20,000, but some funds suggest that it could be as much as $60 billion. The Reserve Bank is understood to be working out how it might set up a government-backed facility to assist funds to pay withdrawals, although Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has thus far rejected the idea. The government’s decision to introduce a wage subsidy to keep people in work could mean the level of withdrawals may not be as great as previously forecast.


Packaged beer the new normal for big brewers

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: 17 : 31-Mar-20

Australian brewers have responded to the coronavirus-induced closure of the nation’s pubs by shifting their focus to producing beer in cans and bottles rather than kegs. Coopers Brewery’s MD Tim Cooper says kegs usually account for about 15 per cent of the family-owned firm’s volumes, but it is currently not producing any keg beer. He adds that Coopers’ sales in March have been 30 per cent higher than expected as consumers flock to liquor stores. Carlton & United Breweries and Lion are also focusing on the packaged beer market.


Nearly nine-in-ten Australians (85%) think the worst is yet to come over the next month in regards to COVID-19

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 31-Mar-20

Nearly nine-in-ten Australians (85%) say the ‘Worst is yet to come’ over the next month in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic; however only 43% of Australians agree that the Australian Government is handling the Coronavirus well, according to a special Roy Morgan web survey of an Australia-wide cross-section of 988 Australians aged 18+ conducted over the weekend of March 28-29. Australians are more pessimistic than their counterparts in the UK, with 82% of Britons answering that the ‘Worst is yet to come’ over the next month. While only 43% of Australians agree that the Australian Government is handling the Coronavirus well, the result in the UK is slightly higher at 49%. Interviewing in the UK was conducted on the prior weekend of March 18-20, with a UK-wide cross-section of 2,094 respondents aged 18+ by the London-based ORB International, which is the UK Member of the Gallup International Association and affiliated with Roy Morgan. It is important to compare the Australian and United Kingdom results, as both countries are facing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic which poses a threat to livelihoods. Australia and the UK share a similar culture so these questions will be repeated in both Australia and the UK over the coming weeks.