D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 15th to 21st February 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of last week, headlines were mostly economic or Coronavirus related:
• Figures out on Monday, showed that Japan’s economy expanded more than expected in the fourth quarter, extending the recovery from its worst post-war recession thanks to a rebound in overseas demand, that boosted exports and capital spending. With two straight quarters of solid growth, Japan’s economy likely recouped 90% of pandemic-induced losses, analysts say.
• Oil prices jumped to a 13-month high on Tuesday, as a deep freeze from a severe snow storm in the United States not only boosted power demand, but also threatened oil production in Texas.
Australia’s medical regulator granted provisional approval for AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, bolstering a national inoculation programme it plans to begin rolling out in the next week. The vaccine boost came as Australia’s second-most populous state neared the likely end of a five-day snap lockdown, sparked by a fresh cluster of cases. The federal government says it has ordered enough of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will mostly be manufactured in Australia, to cover the country’s population of 25 million people
• Britain on Wednesday, became the first country in the world to allow volunteers to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus to advance medical research into the pandemic. The trial, which will begin within a month, will see up to 90 healthy volunteers aged 18-30 exposed to COVID-19 in a safe and controlled environment to increase understanding of how the virus affects people, the government said. The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said the study would help to find the best and most effective vaccines for use over the longer term, and could eventually further the rapid development of vaccines.
• England’s third national COVID-19 lockdown is helping to reduce infections, a study found on Thursday. The study, known as REACT-1 and led by researchers at Imperial College London, found that national prevalence was two thirds lower between 4th and 13th February than it had been in the previous survey that covered 6th to 13th January. “It’s really encouraging news. We do think that lockdown is having an effect. We’ve seen this quite rapid decline now between January and this month,” Paul Elliott, director of the programme at Imperial, told reporters. “But... the actual prevalence is still very high. We’re only back where we were in September 2020.”
• Britain’s economy has stabilised after the new COVID-19 lockdown last month and business and consumers are hopeful the country’s vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday. The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions. A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.
• Over the week, all the main Global Stockmarkets were mostly down after taking the Pound’s strength into account, apart from the FTSE 100, unusually. Markets were jittery after Stockmarkets had rallied to new highs. The investment D-PIMS Portfolios were inevitably down, especially the higher risk Portfolios, after two consecutive weeks of rises. They were helped by their UK exposure.
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The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.