COVID-19 Dampening Spring Spirit
With Europe and America moving through Spring and many countries seeing an agreeable spike in temperature, this is usually a bright and optimistic time of year. However, given the current situation, the war, weather and blue skies are just a picture in a window frame for many as the global lock-downs announced in response to the COVID-19 crisis roll on.
In the US, the New York lock-down has been extended until April 29th. Spain has extended its nationwide lock-down to April 25th, while France and Italy have extended their lock-downs to at least the 15th and 13th of April, respectively.
In the UK, the nationwide lock-down is due to be reviewed early next week. The lock-down was initially schedule to be three-weeks in duration, pending review. However, as the number of new infections and the number of those dying from the virus continues to increase, it is looking highly likely that the UK lock-down will be extended also. Globally, deaths are nearing the 80,000 mark with the number of infections now well above the 1 million mark.
UK PM In Intensive Care
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has become the most high-profile case. The PM was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening and has now been moved into intensive care. With the PM battling persistent symptoms, the UK Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has been asked to deputise for the PM.
There are some encouraging signs that the lock-downs are working, however. In Spain, the death toll has fallen for five consecutive days now. In Italy, the lowest daily death toll in two weeks was recorded this week.
US Death Toll Spiking
However, many other countries are still approaching the peak of the virus. France recorded its largest daily death toll this week with 833 people dying. In the US, health authorities warn that this will be the peak-weak for the virus with the death toll having now broken above the 10,000 mark. The virus is projected to peak there around Easter day which will see top daily fatalities around the 2,500 mark.
Economic Concerns Still In Focus
As the virus continues to warrant lock-downs around the globe. There is a grave concern that many countries will fall into recession. Due to pent up demand as a result of the disruption, the expectations of a recovery in activity are optimistic. However, it is unclear yet when the current lock-downs will end and what shape the recovery will take. With many health authorities warning of a second rise in the virus if social distancing measures are abandoned too early, there is a very real chance that the current dates mentioned could still be pushed back.
The main focus for markets now will be on the incoming data over this month. Despite the huge wave of easing announced by central banks over March. Many signalled that there is room for further easing if necessary and the length and impact of these lock-downs will be closely monitored by central banks and markets alike.
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