on February 01, 2021
Limited risk appetite returns to markets sending stocks higher.
- Stock markets have been recovering since this week’s open. The Hang Seng Index is up by 2.31% and the Nikkei 225 is up by 1.55% in Asian trading.
- After last week’s seemingly Reddit-driven GameStop (GME:NYSE) short squeeze, the retail crowd has turned its attention to silver, which has risen by 7% already today to trade at a new 5-month high price. It will be more challenging to manipulate a commodity than a failing stock.
- In the Forex market, risky currencies look relatively strong, especially the Australian dollar and British pound. Precious metals also looks strong. The euro and the U.S. dollar look relatively weak.
- President Biden will be meeting key Republican Senators later in an attempt to find a compromise on his proposed stimulus plan.
- There will be releases of U.S. ISM PMI Manufacturing data and the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Rate Statement later today.
- Concerns over new coronavirus mutations remain strong, as several more variants seem to have developed which are more infectious and perhaps lethal too, and it is not known whether some of them may have resistance to the first generation of vaccines which are currently being rolled out. There is particular concern over the South African variant, although Moderna announced last week that its vaccine should be effective against it. These fears are triggering a move towards further travel and quarantine restrictions in several nations.
- Global coronavirus deaths have increased dramatically since early October to reach a level 108% higher than the peak last April.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 103.5 million with an average case fatality rate of 2.16%.
- The fastest progression in terms of immunizing a population against the coronavirus has been in Israel, which has already administered a first shot of the Pfizer vaccine to 33% of its entire population (including more than 80% of the over-60s) and a second dose to 19%. The Seychelles ranks second, having now given 32 vaccines per 100 of its population. For most of the world, a vaccine remains distant: only 19 countries have vaccinated more than 3% of their population so far. Progress remains slow in the hard-hit European Union.
- Last week saw daily coronavirus deaths hit a new global peak, but total new cases are again slightly down from the preceding week.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Albania, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Senegal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.A.E.