on February 02, 2021
Risk appetite increases in markets sending stocks higher.
- Stock markets rose strongly yesterday, boosted by progress on negotiations on a stimulus package between President Biden and Republican Senators.
- After last week’s seemingly Reddit-driven GameStop (GME:NYSE) short squeeze, the retail crowd turned its attention to silver, which briefly made an 8-year high above $30 per ounce yesterday before falling back strongly.
- In the Forex market, the Asian session has seen the U.S. dollar strengthen, looking notably firm against the Japanese yen.
- U.S. ISM PMI manufacturing data came in lower than expected, at 58.7 instead of 60.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Rate Statement is causing the Australian dollar to fall as the bank added a second round of bond purchases to its asset purchase program.
- Today will see a release of employment data in New Zealand.
- 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 103.9 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 34% of its entire population (including more than 81% of the over-60s) and a second dose to 20%. The U.A.E. ranks second, having now given 35 vaccines per 100 of its population. For most of the world, a vaccine remains distant: only 7 countries have vaccinated more than 5% 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, Kuwait, Latvia, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Mongolia, Portugal, Senegal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.A.E.