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CommBank memo reveals grim November lockdown prediction

The exterior of a Commonwealth Bank branch. A sign in Sydney warning residents to avoid non-essential travel and people waiting in line wearing masks.
CBA said a September end to lockdowns is "very optimistic" (Source: Getty)

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA.AX) believes lockdowns will continue until mid-November, despite NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian’s aim to ease restrictions from September.

Commenting on the Reserve Bank’s Statement on Monetary Policy (SOMP), CBA senior economist Kristina Cliffton said the bank believes the lockdowns will be longer than hoped.

“At present, over half of the population is subject to a lockdown. It has been our working assumption that the Greater Sydney lockdown won’t ease until mid November when a large proportion of the population is vaccinated,” Clifton said.

The comment comes after the RBA revealed it was working on the assumption lockdowns will ease mid-September, in line with what Berejiklian has been aiming for.

“The RBA presented a very optimistic set of forecasts in the SOMP and stuck with their decision to taper bond purchases from September 2021 in the August meeting,” Clifton said.

“The RBA’s base case forecasts rely on the assumption that the current Sydney lockdown is over by the end of September 2021...These assumptions look more and more optimistic as time goes on.”

Delta sweeps the nation

The prediction comes as NSW's COVID-19 crisis shows no signs of slowing after reporting 452 new local cases today, and another death.

Additionally, Berejiklian told reporters the state needed to "brace ourselves" for the cases to go even higher.

"We envisage that case numbers in the next two or three weeks will bounce around and are likely to rise substantially," she said.

In Victoria, authorities are concerned by the large number of children that have tested positive, while 10 of the 24 new cases were infectious in the community.

Canberra's coronavirus outbreak has also grown, now hitting 45 active cases after the nation's capital recorded another 17 infections overnight.

And, parts of the Northern Territory entered a snap 72-hour lockdown after a US traveller infected with COVID-19 spent four days in the community.

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