10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

10 things you need to know this morning in Australia

Good morning all, and happy Friday.

The NSW government is determined to avoid imposing localised lockdowns before Christmas despite record numbers of coronavirus cases, the Nine papers report. Hospital admissions will remain the key metric. The state reported 215 coronavirus patients in hospital today, up from 192 yesterday — which is a fraction of the peak of 1,266 in September.

Victoria recorded 1,510 new cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths. There are currently 386 Victorians in hospital due to COVID-19. Peter Dutton is doing the news rounds this morning trying to reassure people about the high numbers across NSW and Victoria, and insisting that premiers not lock down in response. “It is confronting because they are big numbers. But this is what we have been preparing for… If we go into lockdown, we might as well be in lockdown for the next couple of years because we just won’t deal with it.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia could dispense with its $4 billion a week bond-buying spree as soon as February next year, as the bank considers three different approaches to its quantitative easing program. Speaking at a CPA Australia conference in Wagga Wagga on Thursday, RBA governor Philip Lowe said the bank will consider the future of its bond-buying week at its next meeting in February. He also also ruled out lifting the cash rate before 2023, even as the market starts to price it in sooner.

Qantas yesterday revealed a $1.1 billion loss for the December half, as CEO Alan Joyce insists the pandemic has reached its “nadir”. “Our total group capacity levels in the first half were only at 18 per cent of pre-COVID. We think by April, Jetstar will be back to 120 per cent of pre-COVID levels, Qantas will be at around 150 per cent,” he said. Joyce went on to say the focus for 2022 would be on “cash flow positive flying”.

Australia’s most expensive housing market gained almost 60% in only 12 months in 2021, according to a new CoreLogic report. Sydney has nine of the top 10 suburbs with the highest median house price nationwide. Sales volumes across the country soared to the highest level in almost 18 years.

The telco regulator fined Telstra $2.5 million for mishandling the private information of close to 50,000 customers. An investigation revealed that the details of a further 65,000 Belong customers were mishandled as well. ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said it’s the largest fine the regulator has ever issued.

Sydney instant commerce platform Voly has pocketed $18 million in seed funding from a raise led by Sequoia’s Indian arm. The company is poised to use the cash to rapidly expand across Australia, while the space remains uncrowded. Voly co-founders and CEOs said they’re putting profitability on ice until at least 2023, and focusing on growth.

E-commerce marketing technology company Rokt, led by former Jetstar boss Bruce Buchanan, raised $458 million at a $2.75 billion valuation. This gives Rokt the third-highest valuation for a private tech company in Australia. US investment management giant Tiger Global led the raise

New data from a lab study could help explain why Omicron is spreading so quickly. It replicated 70 times faster than Delta in the bronchus, tubes between the windpipe and lungs. It spread 10 times slower in lung samples, which may hint at lower severity.

Reddit has confidentially filed to go public. The filing comes as US IPOs touched record highs in 2021, fueled by ample liquidity. Reddit saw huge growth as retail investors flocked to its message boards for tips on meme stocks. Its advertising revenue jumped almost threefold on-year in the second quarter.

BONUS ITEM

Former First Lady Melania Trump is selling a non-fungible token (NFT) of her “cobalt blue eyes,” her office announced on Thursday.