Risk sentiment continues to improve as the new presidential administration pushes a $1.9 trillion stimulus.
- Brian Deese, Director of President Biden’s National Economic Council, told Senate leaders that “we can’t wait” for a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package, demanding it be passed with urgency to prevent the US economy slipping into a recession.
- Global stocks are quietly bullish, although many indices are slightly off last week’s all-time highs, especially in the US. Futures in the technology NASDAQ 100 Index are printing a new all-time high in off-hours trading.
- In the Forex market, the Australian dollar and the British pound are the strongest currencies. The U.S. dollar is clearly the weakest major currency, again falling in line with its long-term trend.
- The United Nations has reported that for the first time ever, China has surpassed the US as the largest recipient of foreign direct investment.
- Concerns over new coronavirus mutations are mounting, 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. Several countries are discussing new lockdowns or similar restrictions. Israel is completely closing its border for at least a week as it fears the spread of new mutations may undermine the progress of its vaccination campaign.
- Global coronavirus deaths have increased dramatically since early October to reach a level more than twice as high the peak last April.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases worldwide stand at over 99.7 million with an average case fatality rate of 2.14%.
- 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 28% of its entire population (including almost 80% of the over-60s) and a second dose to 12%. The U.A.E. ranks second, having now given 25 vaccines per 100 of its population. For most of the world, a vaccine remains distant: only 9 countries have vaccinated more than 3% of their population so far. Progress remains slow in the hard-hit European Union.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Albania, Andorra, Barbados, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Moldova, Monaco, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Senegal, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, the U.A.E., and Uruguay.