b'Canberra observed A$400/oz amounts to a total increase in the value of gold mined of about $1.1billion per quarter, distributed over all the Australian producers.This result would not have been achieved without a corresponding investment in gold exploration. Figure2 shows the quarterly investment in gold exploration for the last ten years, without any adjustments for inflation. There has been a steady increase over this period and for 2019 approximately 1 billion dollars was invested. This is approximately twice the investment made in 2014, and it definitely appears to be money well spent.Figure 2.Quarterly investment in gold exploration from 2010-2019. No adjustment has been made for the effects of inflation. Taken from data provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/8412.0Dec%202019?OpenDocument.COVID-19 pandemic creates havoc everywhereThe word unprecedented is often over- The market value of resource companiesthe price for West Texas Crude, adjusted used, but in the context of the effects ofin the ASXs top 150 fell from $330 billionto 2020 US dollars.COVID-19, it is almost an understatement.to $241 billion in less than a monthThe enforced isolation and travel This virus is affecting almost every human(FebruaryMarch 2020). You have to gorestrictions mean that many non-on planet Earth, particularly those livingback to the GFC in 2008 before anythingessential businesses are suffering. in the OECD countries. comparable took place. All overseas tourist activity such as In Australia COVID-19 has really affectedPetroleum stocks were particularlycruise ships and airlines, together with the stock market. It is making it difficult forhard hit with Woodside falling from $31sporting activities, gambling, concerts, companies to raise fresh money. Accordingbillion to $20 billion in one month andrestaurants and festivals are affected to The Guardian of 14 March 2020 twoSantos from $17 billion to $9.5 billion inand those who work in those industries bank-funding injections totalling at leastthe same period. Admittedly the Saudisare in trouble.$2.5bn were called off. And billions ofand the Russians were playing chickenThe Prime Minister announced a $17.6 dollars in other attempts to raise moneywith the oil price at the same time, butbillion economic package to try and have also been cancelled as investors closeessentially the global demand for liquidstave off a recession, but I am not sure their wallets after two wild weeks of tradingfuel just fell through the floor. Figure 1it is being spent as effectively as it erased more than a years worth of gains. shows the history over the last 10 years ofcould be.The $4.6 billion for a one-off $750 payment to recipients of Newstart, the disability support pension, carers allowance, youth allowance, veterans support payments, family tax benefits, the Commonwealth senior health cardholders and aged pensioners is a good move. Likewise, the $1.3 billion for a 50% wage subsidy for apprentices and trainees in businesses with less than 20 employees is welcome. The money invested will quickly flow back into the economy, and training skills should be a high priority.However, the $3.2 billion for accelerated depreciation deductions and the $6.7 billion for one-off payment to small and medium-sized businesses who employ Figure 1.Monthly price for West Texas crude/bl, adjusted to $US2020, see: https://www.indexmundi.com/ people and have a turnover of up to $50 commodities/?commodity=crude-oil-west-texas-intermediate&months=120¤cy=eur. million may not be very effective. I would 29 PREVIEW APRIL 2020'