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D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 23rd to 29th August 2021

Today’s Monday Update:

Over the course of the last week, headlines were mostly Coronavirus and economy related:

• On Monday, there were reports from Israel that a third dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has significantly improved protection from infection and serious illness among people aged 60 and older in Israel compared with those who received two shots, findings published by their Health Ministry showed. The protection against infection provided from 10 days after a third dose was four times higher than after two doses and offered five to six times greater protection with regard to serious illness and hospitalisation.

Australia must start to learn to live with COVID-19 when higher vaccination targets are reached, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, despite concerns in some states about the impact of a surge in cases in Sydney "(Lockdowns) cannot go on forever. Over half of all Australians stuck in weeks-long lockdowns to curb the highly infectious Delta strain. This is not a sustainable way to live in this country," he said during a televised media conference in Canberra. "This groundhog day has to end, and it will end when we start getting to 70% and 80% (vaccination rates)."

• Industry data revealed on Tuesday, that British retailers reported the biggest surge in spending in almost seven years this month and orders hit a new high, but stocks fell to the lowest levels on record, putting pressure on prices. The Confederation of British Industry's measure of the volume of sales compared with a year earlier soared to +60, the highest since December 2014, from +23 in July. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a fall to +20.

• Information out on Wednesday, showed Protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fade within six months, underscoring the need for booster shots, according to researchers in Britain. After five to six months, the effectiveness of the Pfizer jab at preventing COVID-19 infection in the month after the second dose fell from 88% to 74%, an analysis of data collected in Britain's ZOE COVID study showed. For the AstraZeneca vaccine, effectiveness fell from 77% to 67% after four to five months.

• Australia's new daily cases of COVID-19 topped 1,000 on Thursday for the first time since the global pandemic began, as two major hospitals in Sydney set up emergency outdoor tents to help deal with a rise in patients. Sydney, the country's largest city and the epicentre of the current outbreak, is struggling to stamp out a surge in the fast-spreading Delta variant, with daily infections hitting record levels even after two months under lockdown.

• Banks will start rolling out the new 100 pound spending limit for contactless payments from 15th October, Britain's banking industry body UK Finance said on Friday. Contactless payments surged during the pandemic, with some shops refusing to take cash to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England was around 1 in 70 people in the last week, Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday, compared with the previous week's estimate of 1 in 80.

Tens of thousands of revellers will descend on late summer music festivals across Britain this weekend, armed with a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination in an effort to curb rising infections. Reading and Leeds, twin events that are a rite of passage for post-exam teenagers, will be two of the biggest since the government removed restrictions in July following the rapid vaccine rollout. Reading had a capacity of 105,000, when last held in 2019. Scientists believe the trigger points for spreading the virus are public transport and shared cars to get to events, as outdoor gatherings themselves, even with large numbers, can be relatively risk free.

• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets were mostly up, especially in the Far East. All the D-PIMS Portfolios were up especially, the higher risk Portfolios which saw strong gains. They were helped by their Technology and US Smaller Company exposures.

The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount you invested.

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.