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Why ASX travel share prices are slipping today

asx share price falling represented by graph of paper plane trending down
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The Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) and Webjet Limited (ASX: WEB) share prices are sinking today after Deloitte Access Economics’ quarterly business outlook predicted full overseas travel would not return until 2024.

At the time of writing, Qantas is down 2.48% at $5.32, and Webjet is down 1.48%, also trading at $5.32.

In an AAP report, Deloitte economist Chris Richardson’s predicted that incoming travellers from at least some parts of the world would face incoming quarantine restrictions for years to come.

“That keeps international travel – both inbound and outbound – pretty weak in 2022, and it may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024,” he said.

How have ASX travel shares fared?

The Qantas share price has been increasing substantially recently, up 12% in 2021 and 53% over the past 12 months. Despite the lack of airline travel, it’s also beating the industrials sector by 37% and the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) by 23%.

The Webjet share price has also posted substantial gains, although has been a little more volatile of late. Despite losing 11% so far this month, its up 83% over the past 12 months and has risen by 6% in 2021 so far.

Shares in both companies are now trading higher than $5, a $2-$3 rise above their respective share prices 12 months ago near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Australia.

A slow broader economic recovery expected

Deloitte’s report was published before the Australian government changed its stance on the AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN) COVID-19 vaccine after it was found to cause blood clots in receivers. The government now only recommends it for people over 50-years-old.

Australia has ordered an additional 20 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, but they’re not expected to arrive until later this year at the earlier.

Richardson praised the “pedal to the metal” approach of Australia’s central banks in lowering interest rates, also saying that the economy’s “fundamentals are moving pretty fast off the back of that”.

Deloitte also doesn’t expect interest rates to reach the Reserve Bank’s 2-3% target range until 2023/24.

“A sustained lift in inflation requires a conga line of things to happen,” Richardson told AAP. “This is going to be a slow-moving train, not a fast one.”

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Motley Fool contributor Lucas Radbourne-Pugh has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Webjet Ltd. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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Lucas Radbourne