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D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 3rd to 9th January 2022

Today’s Monday Update:

Over the course of last week, market moving headlines were mostly Covid-19 related:

• Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, that new measures are not needed now in Britain to fight the Omicron variant "The way forward for the country as a whole is to continue with the path that we are on," he told broadcasters. "Of course we will keep all measures under review, but the mixture of things that we are doing at the moment is I think the right one." Johnson said pressure on hospitals would be "considerable" in the next couple of weeks, but Omicron was "plainly milder" than previous variants, and the country was in a stronger position than it was earlier in the pandemic.

China, Russia, Britain, the United States and France have agreed that a further spread of nuclear arms and a nuclear war should be avoided, according to a joint statement by the five nuclear powers published by the Kremlin on Monday. It said that the five countries - which are the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - consider it their primary responsibility to avoid war between the nuclear states and to reduce strategic risks, while aiming to work with all countries to create an atmosphere of security. "We affirm that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought," the English-language version of the statement read. "As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war."

• Britain's vaccine minister said on Tuesday, people being hospitalised with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom are broadly showing less severe symptoms than before, adding there was no need for further restrictions at this stage. While hospitalisations are rising, they have not tracked the trajectory of daily cases, possibly reflecting the impact of vaccines and booster shots, the likely lower severity of Omicron and the time lag in people going into hospital. "At the moment, if you look at the people who have been hospitalised, they are going in with less severe conditions than before," Minister for Vaccines and Public Health Maggie Throup told Sky News, adding that the "Plan B" Johnson brought in in December was working.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday said that England could withstand a surge in COVID-19 infections without shutting down the economy as Britain reported another record daily high in cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant. Johnson has resisted imposing stringent lockdown measures in England, betting that a vaccine booster drive and caution among the population would be enough to constrain the latest wave. The United Kingdom reported 218,724 new COVID cases on Tuesday, a new record for the number of cases reported on a single day - although a figure that also was skewed by reporting lags over the holidays.

• The UK Health Security Agency said on Wednesday, that people who test positive for COVID-19 on rapid lateral flow tests (LFD) will not need to confirm their results with a follow-up PCR test, if they are not showing symptoms. The move could reduce the burden on the testing system, and reduce confusion if the test results contradict each other. At current levels of prevalence, officials say a positive LFD result is likely to be accurate, even if a follow-up PCR were negative.

• Britain's Ministry of Defence on Friday said that it had begun the deployment of the military to support hospitals experiencing staff shortages and extreme pressures due to record COVID-19 cases in the country. The government said that 200 Armed Forces personnel had been made available to support the National Health Service (NHS) in London for the next three weeks.

• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets, were mixed with more down than up. Details from the Federal Reserve meetings upset Markets with raised fears over the path of inflation and interest rates. Over the week, all the D-PIMS Portfolios were down, especially the higher risk Portfolios. The UK equity allocation held up well, but these couldn’t outweigh vey poor sentiment in other areas.

 

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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.
 

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