Summary: Auckland reopens after over three months in lockdown, but it may not be enough to save many cafes, bars and restaurants because of the 100 person limits at the ‘red’. Rhythm and Vines was postponed. Global stocks bounced overnight as news omicron had arrived in the United States faded from investors concerns, for now.

Ready, set...red Auckland reopens today in the ‘red’ traffic light setting for covid restrictions after 107 days of lockdown, which hospitality operators said would bankrupt most if it remains for any extended time. Last-minute tech problems meant the Ministry of Health granted 70,000 exemptions late yesterday for those vaccinated people unable to get their vaccine certificates for today. 

Pause pressed Meanwhile, Rhythm and Vines postponed its three-day Gisborne music festival overnight from just before New Year until next Easter.

Dip buying galore Investors jumped in overnight to buy European and US stocks that were hit by a late slump yesterday linked to the discovery of omicron on US soil. US stocks were up around 1.5% at 7.30 am NZ time, while the US 10 year Treasury yield was flat at 1.44%. The NZ dollar was solid just above its 2021 lows of 68 USc.

Not enough relief Oil prices rose around 0.5% to US$69/barrel overnight after Opec+ confirmed it would increase output by around 400,000 barrels a day in January, which disappointed some hoping for a bigger production rise, as called for by China and the United States. 

‘Don’t go out’ Germany announced overnight it would bar unvaccinated citizens from restaurants, cinemas, leisure facilities and many shops from February. (BBC)

Sabre rattling US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned Russia overnight of “serious consequences” if Russia sent troops massed on the border into Ukraine. In response, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the planned reinstallation of US medium range missiles in central Europe had brought back “the nightmare scenario of a military confrontation.” (BBC)

Fresh on BusinessDesk this morning

Paul McBeth interviews Winton Land principal Chris Meehan about Winton’s big plans for up to $400m of capital it will raise in its ASX and NZX float on Dec 17.

Helen King reports on the rapid rise of ‘Black Friday’ into the biggest sale day of the year in NZ.

Michael Andrew details the law society’s concern covid legislation was so unsound it risked undermining public trust in the success of the law itself.

Paul McBeth takes a closer look at the referral by environment minister David Parker last week of Queenstown’s Flint’s Park, Ladies Mile – Te Pūtahi residential development to the Environmental Protection Authority for the fast-track consenting process.

Oliver Lewis reports Christchurch’s rebuild agency Ōtākaro has finally reached a new deal to buy Miles Group’s central city land, which is currently used for Toyota and VW car showrooms. It will be turned into a ‘greenway’ for walkers and cyclists.

ICYMI yesterday

Christopher Luxon appointed Simon Bridges as his finance and infrastructure spokesman and dropped National’s previous adoption of a ‘split’ role between ’Treasury’ and ‘Finance’ (BusinessDesk)

Kiwi Property agreed to sell land on its Sylvia Park site to Ikea for its first store in NZ (BusinessDesk)

Latest NZX data (market currently closed)

Wed, 19 Jan 2022 04:59 pm
S&P/NZX 50 INDEX
12,612.31
-202.15 (-1.58%)
$ VALUE TRADED
88,765,638.30
VOLUME TRADED
21,296,976.00
GAINERS
25
DECLINERS
125
TOP GAINERS (valued at above 10c)
Greenfern Industries Ltd $0.015 7.32 %
ikeGPS Group $0.030 3.80 %
Burger Fuel Group $0.010 2.94 %
Metro Performance Glass $0.010 2.82 %
NZ Windfarms $0.005 2.27 %
TOP DECLINERS (valued at above 10c)
Rakon $-0.170 -8.59 %
Scott Technology $-0.180 -5.23 %
Wellington Drive Technologies $-0.010 -5.00 %
Geo $-0.008 -4.76 %
NZX $-0.060 -3.30 %