D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 19th to 25th April 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of the last week, headlines were mostly economic or Coronavirus related, but the environment also featured:
• British digital bank Starling said on Monday, that Goldman Sachs had invested £50 million into it. The investment is an extension of Starling's oversubscribed £272 million funding round, valuing the bank in excess of £1.1 billion, Starling said in a statement. "Goldman Sachs will bring valuable insight as we continue with the expansion of lending in the UK, and anticipated M&A," Starling's founder and Chief Executive Anne Boden said.
• Official figures showed on Tuesday, that Britain's unemployment rate unexpectedly fell for a second month in a row to 4.9% in the December-to-February period, most of which the country spent under a tight COVID-19 lockdown. Economists polled by Reuters had largely forecast that the jobless rate - which has been held down by the government's huge jobs subsidies programme - would edge up to 5.1%.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, almost 15 years earlier than previously planned, in one of the most ambitious environmental targets set out by a developed nation. This commitment was made ahead of a U.S. climate summit, hosted by President Joe Biden and before Britain hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in November.
Britain on Tuesday, eased controls designed to prevent a backlog of trucks in southern England caused by new post-Brexit paperwork, saying vehicles taking goods to the European Union would no longer need a special permit to enter the port region. The government said the relaxation showed goods transport companies had adapted to the new requirements, and were arriving at the border fully prepared.
• The European Union needs to engage with China despite many differences, instead of opting for a more isolationist approach, Germany said on Wednesday. "In the EU, we have been describing China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival all at the same time," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said ahead of a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. "In all these three dimensions we need strong, sustainable communication channels with Beijing. De-coupling is the wrong way to go." Berlin's warning against de-coupling is in line with Beijing's long-held position against disengagement among nations, including with China, despite mutual differences.
• India marked a grim milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, reporting 314,835 new daily cases, the highest one-day tally anywhere in the world, as its second wave and similar surges elsewhere raised new fears about the ability of health services to cope. Hospitals across northern and western India, including the capital New Delhi, issued notices to say they had only a few hours of medical oxygen required to keep COVID-19 patients alive. More than two-thirds of hospitals had no vacant beds, according to the Delhi government's online data base and doctors advised patients to stay at home.
The Biden administration on Thursday, pledged to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% from 2005 levels by 2030, a new target it hopes will spur other big emitter countries to raise their ambition to combat climate change. The goal, unveiled at the start of a two-day climate summit hosted by Democratic President Joe Biden, comes as the United States seeks to reclaim global leadership in the fight against global warming after former President Donald Trump withdrew the country from international efforts to cut emissions.
Russia announced on Thursday it was ordering troops back to base from the area near the border with Ukraine, apparently calling an end to a build-up of tens of thousands of soldiers that had alarmed the West. The currencies of both Russia and Ukraine rose sharply after the announcement, signalling relief among investors just hours after Russia also ended war games in Crimea, the peninsula it occupied and annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
US President Joe Biden will roll out a plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, including the largest-ever increase in levies on investment gains, to fund about $1 trillion in childcare, universal pre-kindergarten education and paid leave for workers, sources familiar with the proposal said.
• Figures out on Friday, showed that British retail sales rocketed last month, as consumers prepared for a partial lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, according to official data. Sales volumes leapt by 5.4% in March from February, the Office for National Statistics said, with clothing stores benefiting especially. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a month-on-month increase of 1.5%. The ONS said the data reflected "the effect of the easing of coronavirus restrictions on consumer spending".
Sales volumes leapt by 5.4% in March from February, the Office for National Statistics said, with clothing stores benefiting especially. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a month-on-month increase of 1.5%. The ONS said the data reflected "the effect of the easing of coronavirus restrictions on consumer spending".
• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were mostly down, apart from China and the Far East. The investment D-PIMS Portfolios were slightly down, after two weeks of strong gains. They were helped by their diverse exposure and domestic China allocations.
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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.