Going full bottle – panic buying pushes up nation’s booze bill by 86%

Australia’s panic buying of groceries has peaked and it appears alcohol hoarding may be under way.

Mar 31, 2020, updated Mar 31, 2020
Empty beer kegs wait for collection outside of a pub in Sydney. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING

Empty beer kegs wait for collection outside of a pub in Sydney. (AAP Image/Paul Miller) NO ARCHIVING

ANZ Bank called the peak in the surge in grocery shopping  in the week to March 20 when the year on year growth was at 80 per cent.

The week later it had slowed to 45 per cent and ANZ said the surge outweighed the reduced spend on other items.

But CommSec said Commonwealth Bank credit card data showed spending on alcohol surged again last week, jumping 86 per cent at bottle shops, while pubs and clubs have been closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The other big lift was in household equipment & furnishings as Aussies stay in & get work done around the home,” CommSec said.

News Corp Australia papers also reported that some bottleshops had restricted the amount of alcohol any one person could buy to prevent hoarding.

But renewed confidence has come back to investment. The sharemarket has overwhelmingly endorsed the Federal Government’s wage subsidy plans with a continued run in positive territory.

The ASX 200 was up as high as 160 points this morning which means it is 25 per cent up from its lows and heading back towards a bull market. The market fell as low as 4546 and is now trading at 5341.

Oil remains at an 18-year low below $US20 a barrel and Bloomberg reported this morning that it was as low as $US10 in some American trading.

Star Entertainment Group, which owns the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney casinos, surged 14 per cent on news that it had deferred its dividend and revoked its policy of paying out 70 per cent of its profit.

Wesfarmers also ratified the sale of a 5 per cent stake in Coles for $1 billion.

The sale was at $15.39 a share with settlement expected on Thursday. Wesfarmers expects to recognise a pre-tax profit on sale of $130million and will retain a 4.9 per cent interest in Coles. It has agreed to retain its remaining shares in Coles for 60 days from completion of the sale.

LiveHire announced it had won a Queensland Government contract to redeploy staff into critical areas of need in the wake of Covid-19•LiveHire will serve the 48 Queensland government agencies by profiling staff and identifying those qualified to move into critical roles.

Virgin shares remained on a pause while it prepares to make a statement on an expected Government bailout of the company.





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