Weekly Digest - INVESTEC
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Last week, the news backdrop was a combination of acceptable company results, broadly unchanged coronavirus news, dire economic data, but broadly consistent with the consensus, steady policy communications and rising geopolitical tensions.
The Week Ahead
Tensions between the US and China are at the forefront this week, after Peter Navarro made comments over the weekend suggesting Beijing sent airline passengers to spread the COVID infection worldwide. At the same time, the administration banned users of US technology from supplying Huawei without permission and Mike Pompeo again warned China against interfering with journalists in Hong Kong. In other weekend news, the Bank of England’s Chief Economist Andrew Haldane hinted that the central bank is examining possible unconventional monetary policy measures in the wake of the virus.
This week is much quieter in terms of corporate earnings, with updates from Experian, Compass Group, Aviva, Palo Alto Networks and SSE of particular interest to us. Manufacturing and services data releases later in the week will provide an initial indication of how various countries’ economies have fared going into May. The Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, will be speaking before the Senate tomorrow, and the central bank’s latest meeting minutes are to be released on Wednesday. Employment data for the UK and US will be released on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, and Friday sees the opening of the National People’s Congress in China.
- A UK government spokesman indicated that if the tests of a vaccine, currently underway in humans in Oxford, is successful, AstraZeneca will have 30m doses available by September
- The US continues to have the largest number of new infections at 25k/day. Russia has stabilized at 10k/day and Brazil has just grown to over 14k/day. A relatively small outbreak (six new cases) in Wuhan has seen the government there plan to test all 11m citizens over the next two weeks
- While there are a number of European countries that have seen rapid declines in number of new infections over the past few weeks, the virus is now more widespread across the globe. At this point there are 58 countries and regions with more than one hundred infections per day