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News Recap: PM Johnson outlined that there is no need to delay the reopening of the UK.

Asian markets traded mixed though only partially benefitted from last Friday’s rebound on Wall Street where the major indices gained as weaker than expected US industrial production and Retail Sales data supported the narrative for further Fed accommodation and support.

UK Focus

In the UK, PM Johnson outlined that there is no need to delay the reopening and announced the acceleration of second doses to over 50s which will be eight weeks after the first dose. The Prime Minister also noted that they have seen more clusters of the Indian variant and noted that though the variant appears to be more transmissible there is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines are less effective. Health Minister Hancock mentioned that the government will decide on the 14th of June as to whether the final lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions will go ahead as scheduled on June 21st. This comes as the number of those fully vaccinated crossed 20mln.

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News Recap: Markets in Asia traded positively

Markets in Asia traded positively as the region picked up on last week’s late surge stateside although bullish momentum was somewhat capped with participants cautious heading into the month and quarter end as well as Friday’s NFP jobs data and impending Easter holiday closures.

The Euro continued to edge lower last week on a firmer US dollar. The single currency continues to disappoint with growing concerns of a third wave circling the bloc. German Chancellor Merkel threatened the use of Federal law to toughen pandemic restrictions given that she is not convinced that the current measures will slow down the rise in cases. EUR/GBP slumped to new yearly lows after giving up support around 0.8550.

On the other hand, Sterling has led the charge as market participants look towards the quarter end. With stage 2 of the nation’s easing methods being implemented and a strong vaccine rollout, the currency continues to edge higher against safe haven assets. GBP/JPY has reclaimed the 151.00 handle after initially slumping below 149.00 last week.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptoassets started the week with gains as Visa announced that they will permit payment settlements using cryptocurrency. At the time of writing Bitcoin is up over 3.5% after reclaiming the $57,000 handle.

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News Recap: Market participants will be eyeing Fed Chair Powell as he is set to speak at least three times along with a number of FOMC members

Markets in Asia began the week mixed as the region continued to trade indecisively following on from last Friday’s sour US-China talks. The ASX 200 was down 0.7% whilst the Nikkei 225 closed lower by 2.1% after suffering losses following on from the BoJ policy tweaks as well as the announcement that foreign spectators will be banned from attending the Olympics in Tokyo.

Last week saw the FOMC maintain the FED rate as expected whilst maintaining the QE at $120bln per month. The median dot plot projection is still set to forecast no rate hikes through to the end of 2023 despite four officials now projecting a hike in 2022. Fed Chair Powell continued to remain dovish and outlined that complacency is not an option despite avoiding the worst possible economic outcomes. Going into the week ahead, market participants will be eyeing Fed Chair Powell once again as he is set to speak at least three times along with a number of FOMC members.

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