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D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 22nd to 28th November 2021

Over the course of the last week, headlines were mostly economic, political and Covid-19 related:

• On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping told leaders of the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a summit, that Beijing would not "bully" its smaller regional neighbours, amid rising tension over the South China Sea. Beijing's territorial claims over the sea clash with those of several Southeast Asian nations and have raised alarm from Washington to Tokyo. But Xi said China would never seek hegemony, nor take advantage of its size to coerce smaller countries, and would work with ASEAN to eliminate "interference". "China was, is, and will always be a good neighbour, good friend, and good partner of ASEAN," Chinese state media quoted Xi as saying.

Charging points for electric vehicles will be required to be installed in new buildings in Britain from next year under new legislation to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his office said in a statement. It said the regulations would lead to up to 145,000 extra charge points being installed in England each year in the run-up to 2030, when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will end in Britain. The requirement will apply to new homes and to non-residential buildings such as offices and supermarkets.

• On Tuesday, the US President Biden’s administration invited Taiwan to its "Summit for Democracy" next month, a move likely to infuriate China, which views the democratically governed island as its territory. The first-of-its-kind, the gathering is a test of President Joe Biden's assertion, announced in his first foreign policy address in office in February, that he would return the United States to global leadership to face down authoritarian forces led by China and Russia.

The number of homes sold in the United Kingdom fell by more than half last month after the expiry of a tax break which sought to encourage home purchases during the coronavirus crisis, official data showed on Tuesday. Britain's tax office reported 76,930 residential property transactions in October, 52% lower than in September and 28.2% lower than October 2020.

• The British arm of German discount supermarket chain Lidl on Wednesday set a new target to have 1,100 stores by the end of 2025, creating up to 4,000 new jobs in the process. It currently trades from about 880 stores, having opened 55 in 2020-21, with 26,000 employees. Separately, fellow German-owned discount supermarket group Aldi announced, it will invest £1.3 billion in Britain over the next two years, opening a new store every week to try to accelerate its rapid growth in market share. It will create more than 2,000 new British jobs next year.

British industrial orders surged this month with a growth measure hitting its highest since at least 1977, and price expectations among manufacturers also climbed to a 44-year high, according to a survey published on Wednesday. The Confederation of British Industry's monthly manufacturers' order book balance leapt to +26 in November from +9 in October, well above the average forecast of +13 in a Reuters poll of economists.

The head of the European Union's public health agency Andrea Ammon said on Wednesday that COVID-19 vaccine boosters should be considered for all adults, with priority for those above 40 years, in a major change to the agency's guidance.

• Figures out on Thursday, showed British retailers reported the strongest pre-Christmas demand since 2015 this month but also the biggest price rises since 1990, as fears of shortages led shoppers to buy gifts early, figures from the Confederation of British Industry showed. The CBI said its monthly retail sales balance - which looks at whether retailers think annual sales growth is rising or falling - rose to a three-month high of +39 in November from +30 in October. A separate measure of sales for the time of year leapt to +35 from -1, its highest since September 2015.

• Friday saw Asian and European countries rush to tighten restrictions, after a new and possibly vaccine-resistant Coronavirus variant was detected in South Africa. The variant has a spike protein that is dramatically different to the one in the original Coronavirus that COVID-19 vaccines are based on, the UK Health Security Agency said. Scientists are still learning about the variant, first identified at the start of this week, but the news hit financial markets, with stocks in Asia suffering their sharpest drop in three months. Oil prices fell heavily after strong recent rises. Britain temporarily banned flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Eswatini and asked returning British travellers from those destinations to quarantine. Singapore swiftly joined Britain, with the health ministry saying it would restrict arrivals from South Africa and countries nearby as a precaution.

• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were down, spooked by the emergence of a new Covid ‘variant of concern’. Inevitably, all the D-PIMS Portfolios were down, although less than markets. They were helped by their diverse allocations.

 


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Past Performance is no guarantee of, or guide to future returns.


The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.

 

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