D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 8th to 14th February 2021
Today’s Monday Update:
Over the course of last week, headlines were mostly economic or Coronavirus related:
• China reported no new locally transmitted mainland COVID-19 cases for the first time in nearly two months, official data showed on Monday, adding to signs that it has managed to stamp out the latest wave of the disease.
Australia on Monday moved to reassure its citizens over the efficacy of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, after South Africa suspended use of the shot. Australia’s Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said the vaccine is effective in its primary objective.
“There is currently no evidence to indicate a reduction in the effectiveness of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines in preventing severe disease and death. That is the fundamental task, to protect the health,” Hunt told reporters in Canberra.
• On Tuesday, the head of a World Health Organization-led team probing the origins of COVID-19, said bats remain a likely source and that transmission of the virus via frozen food is a possibility that warrants further investigation, but he ruled out a lab leak.
Britain will require passengers arriving from countries where worrying coronavirus variants are spreading, to pay for 10 days of quarantine in hotels, while rule-breakers will face heavy fines or jail terms, under tighter restrictions. Health secretary Matt Hancock said people could be sent to prison and fined up to £10,000 if they break the rules, which come into force on 15th February
• On Wednesday, Israel’s swift vaccination rollout has made it the largest real-world study of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine. Results are trickling in, and they are promising. Older and at-risk groups, the first to be inoculated, are seeing a dramatic drop in illnesses.
Among the first fully-vaccinated group there was a 53% reduction in new cases, a 39% decline in hospitalisations and a 31% drop in severe illnesses from mid-January until 6th February, said Eran Segal, data scientist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.
• On Thursday, U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held their first telephone call as leaders, with Biden saying a free and open Indo-Pacific was a priority and Xi warning confrontation would be a ‘disaster’ for both nations. Biden also underscored his “fundamental concerns about Beijing’s coercive and unfair practices, its crackdown in Hong Kong, reported human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan”, the White House said in a statement.
• Figures out on Friday, showed that Britain’s economy suffered its biggest drop in output in more than 300 years in 2020, falling 9.9%. However, it avoided heading back towards recession at the end of the year and looks on course for a recovery in 2021. Official figures showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew 1.0% from October through December, the top of a range of economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll. This makes it likely that Britain will escape two straight quarters of contraction - the standard definition of recession - even though the economy is set to shrink in early 2021 due to the effects of a third COVID lockdown.
• Over the week, all the main Global Stockmarkets were mostly up. Markets were supported by hopes for the large stimulus package in the US and ongoing progress of Vaccination roll-outs in the UK and US. The investment D-PIMS Portfolios were well up for a second week, especially the higher risk Portfolios. They were helped by their diverse make-up.
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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.