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D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 25th April to 1st May 2022

Today’s weekly update:

Over the course of last week, market moving headlines were mostly related to the invasion of Ukraine and economic matters:

• Final results of the French election, showed on Monday that President Emmanuel Macron beat far-right challenger Marine Le Pen with a solid margin, but he showed no triumphalism as he acknowledged widespread discontent and all eyes turned to the June parliamentary ballot. Macron won with 58.54% of the votes, well below his 66.1% victory against Le Pen in their first duel in 2017.

Making the first official U.S. visit to Ukraine since Russia invaded two months ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy and other top officials in Kyiv. They pledged additional military aid, including advanced weapons, and a return of U.S. envoys to Kyiv. U.S. officials said the cabinet secretaries pledged new assistance worth $713 million for Zelenskiy's government and other countries in the region that are fearful of further Russian aggression. The meeting between the U.S. delegation and Ukraine's leaders ran for three hours, more than double the allotted time, a U.S. official said.

Russia told the United States to stop sending more arms to Ukraine, warning that large Western deliveries of weapons were inflaming the conflict and would lead to more losses, Moscow's ambassador to Washington said.

• A report out on Tuesday, published by the City of London Corporation, showed that London attracted more foreign investment in finance firms than any other city last year, underlining the Square Mile’s attraction to investors even after the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. The U.K. capital attracted £600 million of investment into 114 financial and professional services projects in 2021. That puts it ahead of the likes of Dubai, Singapore, New York and Paris.

Ukraine accused Moscow on Tuesday of trying to drag Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniestria into its war on Kyiv after authorities in the Moscow-backed region said they had been targeted by a series of attacks. Authorities in Transdniestria, an unrecognised sliver of land bordering southwestern Ukraine, said that explosions had damaged two radio masts that broadcast in Russian and that one of its military units had been attacked. The Kremlin, which has troops and peacekeepers in the region, said it was seriously concerned.

• On Wednesday, Russian energy giant Gazprom said it had halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay for gas in roubles, the Kremlin's toughest response yet to sanctions imposed by the West over the conflict in Ukraine. It was the first time Russia has cut off gas to European customers since Moscow launched its invasion on 24th February.

• On Thursday, US President Joe Biden asked Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine - a dramatic escalation of U.S. funding for the war against Russia - as well as new legal tools to siphon assets from Russian oligarchs. The vast funding request includes over $20 billion for weapons, ammunition and other military assistance, as well as $8.5 billion in direct economic assistance to the government and $3 billion in humanitarian and food security aid.

• On Friday, A cargo carrying over 71,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn finished loading in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanta, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24th February, the manager of port operator Comvex said. With Ukraine's sea ports blocked since the war started more than two months ago, the world's fourth-largest grain exporter has been forced to send shipments by train via its western border, or through its small Danube river ports into Romania.

China signalled an easing of its crackdown on the once-freewheeling tech sector on Friday, as President Xi Jinping seeks to bolster the economy in the face of growth-sapping COVID-19 lockdowns, sending shares in online heavyweights surging. China's powerful Politburo, in a meeting chaired by Xi, said it will step up policy support for the world's second-largest economy, including its so-called "platform economy", fuelling investor hopes that the worst may be over for an unprecedented, multi-pronged crackdown that began in late 2020.

• Over the week, the main global stock markets were mainly down, but with China/Hong Kong well up. Further rises in inflation and yields on Government Bonds, plus developments in the invasion of Ukraine, added to tensions. Over the week, the D-PIMS portfolios were very slightly down. They were helped by their China and Japan allocations.

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.