Please find the latest edition of Weekly Digest attached.
The seven-day average number of new cases across the globe continues to decline, but at a lower rate than last week. The seven-day average number of new cases is at 356,000 per day, the lowest reading since 17 October last year and down 8% week on week. On the vaccine front, reports from Israel indicate that the Pfizer vaccine is 89% effective against transmission and 99% effective against death. 2.6% of the global population has now received at least one Covid vaccine jab, up from 2.2% last week. This increase in the global vaccinated population is the smallest even-day gain since 30 January. Part of the global slowdown is attributable to a slowdown in the rollout in the US which seems to be weather related and hopefully will quickly pass.
While the global rollout may have slowed, there is good news on the horizon. Guidance from several vaccine manufactures suggest that there should be enough vaccines produced to vaccinate the full US population by mid-July. Currently the US government is supplied with 10-15 million doses per week but a Bloomberg analysis of recent statements by vaccine producers suggests this should rise to 20 million doses per week in March, 25 million doses per week in April and 30 million doses per week by June.
In the UK, Boris Johnson has today announced his ‘roadmap’ out of the current lockdowns. In the first phase of the reopening on 8th March, schools will reopen and people will be permitted to socialise with one other person outside.
The Week Ahead
In terms of data released this week, we have US consumer confidence data on Tuesday as well as European inflation data for January. The main focus will be US Q4 GDP data released on Thursday and personal income data on Friday. On the central bank calendar, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, is due to give his semi-annual congressional testimony on Tuesday and Wednesday. This week also sees earnings reports from HSBC, Palo Alto Networks, Reckitt Benckiser, Lloyds Bank, Standard Chartered and Anheuser-Busch InBev.