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ASX opens higher as investors brace for rollercoaster day

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The local market has opened in the green despite a tumultuous day yesterday in the wake of escalating business shutdowns.

The Australian share market has opened higher, jumping by more than 2 per cent in the opening 20 minutes of trade.

As of 10.20am AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX 500 was up 92 points or 2.04 per cent to 4638.7.

Despite the rise, the Aussie market is still trading at levels not seen since December 2012.

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The biggest winners in early trade were real estate companies, those in the financial sector and those in materials, such as mining.

The Aussie dollar is currently buying 58 US cents, marking a low not seen in at least a decade.

Meanwhile Australia's consumer watchdog the ACCC has relaxed competition rules between major supermarkets in a bid to counter panic-buying.

Under the temporary suspensions Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, IGA supplier Metcash and others would be given temporary permission to cooperate when liaising with manufacturers, suppliers, and transport and logistics providers to keep their shelves adequately stocked during the pandemic.

Competition law usually prohibits certain market conduct between supermarkets and the new agreement essentially provides temporary protection from prosecution and during this "unprecedented demand for groceries".

"This (agreement) is essentially due to unnecessary panic buying, and the logistics challenge this presents, rather than an underlying supply problem," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

As a safeguard, the interim ACCC rules do not allow supermarkets to agree on retail prices for products.

Panic buying has resulted in surging sales at supermarkets in recent weeks but many stores have faced periods without essential items - such as toilet paper and non-perishable foods - being available.

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Most outlets have imposed limits on the take home of certain products while others have created special trading hours for the elderly and vulnerable to counter grocery hoarding.

"We recognise and appreciate that individual supermarket chains have already taken a number of important steps to mitigate the many issues caused by panic buying," Mr Sims said.

"We believe allowing these businesses to work together to discuss further solutions is appropriate and necessary at this time."

Source: 9News

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