The AUDGBP exchange rate was higher by almost 0.50% on Wednesday despite a decision by Western Australia to close its border to the Northern Territory. State Premier Mark McGowan confirmed the news over the surge in Omicron cases and urged residents to return. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson admitted to attending a garden party that could cost the UK leader his future.
The AUD v GBP is now trading at 0.5320 and is seeking a bottom at that price level.
Western Australia goes into hermit mode once again
The state of Western Australia has moved to shut out visitors from the Northern Territory over the surging rate of Omicron variant cases.
The Northern Territory was moved to “extreme risk” under the latest strict border measures, that have seen the states arguing with the Federal government, and each other.
The state’s Premier Mark McGowan urged WA residents in the territory to come back immediately or be locked out.
“We know the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly around much of the country and unfortunately the Northern Territory is now too seeing an accelerating caseload in the community,” McGowan said.
“We have moved swiftly on Northern Territory to reduce the risk of more Omicron cases in self-quarantine,” he added. “
The Aussie dollar has been supported by stronger-than-expected retail sales figures this week, which blew past expectations of 3.9% to register 7.3% growth. That made up for a dip in the trade balance to A$10.8bn.
UK could be the first to exit the pandemic, scientist says
Britain could be the first country to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a leading scientist.
Professor David Heymann, who helped to beat a 1970s Ebola outbreak in Africa, said the UK has been coping with the virus since last summer.
“The UK is the closest to any country in being out of the pandemic if it isn’t already out of the pandemic and having the disease as endemic,” he said.
His claim will boost British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but he may not be around to reap the benefits as his job remains on the line over the garden party scandal. Johnson admitted to a packed Commons that did attend the “bring your own booze” party at the height of the UK’s first lockdown.
Opposition ministers have called for Johnson to step down, and the Scottish leader of Johnson’s own party also called for his resignation, saying that his position was “not tenable”.
The Prime Minister’s future will now rest on a separate inquiry and the pound has suffered with the political uncertainty.
The pound sterling versus the Australian dollar will now await Friday’s reading of three-month GDP for the UK, with the market expecting a 0.8% reading for the quarter. The UK has seen the economy slow down with the Plan B restrictions, but Boris Johnson and his ministers kept it afloat by refusing to add further restrictions for the “mild” Omicron variant.
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