Welcome to our May bulletin
Gardens have never seen so much attention… the list of household chores has never been so short… cars sit spotless and idle in driveways. Perhaps you’re turning on the morning TV with Joe Wicks (the nation’s newest fitness guru) or you’ve joined in the home baking craze? In these strange times, one thing many of us have found ourselves with is extra time on our hands!
As we escape the house for daily exercise, most people probably agree the skies are bluer, noise levels lower and wildlife more abundant. The social, health and economic impact of the Corona Virus are huge, yet it seems there are some parts of this new way of living that people enjoy. In the world of the “new normal” we are essentially ‘recalibrating’.
Bill Gates recently said that, when historians write a book on Corona Virus, what we have lived through thus far will only fill the first third… whilst the remainder will be the story of what happens next.
Whatever governments do when trying to ease us out of Lockdown, our natural aversion to exposing ourselves to disease will mean that airports, shopping centres and sport stadiums will remain largely empty; and the economy will remain depressed for some time to come.
Though the pandemic is slowing in developed nations it will sadly continue accelerating within developing nations. In these countries, where social distancing does not work as effectively, remote working is difficult and health care poorer… the consequences will be worse. The problems now being faced in many parts of India is just one example.
In rich and poor countries alike, people will only be safe once we have a solution for the virus, which means a vaccine. Though scientists involved in research and development of a vaccine have already made huge progress and pharmaceutical giants are geared-up to manufacture it, many experts believe it could still be well into 2021 before we will see a vaccine widely available.
What happens between now and then may well change our lives… forever.
It has been clear for some weeks now that there isn’t going to be a V-shaped economic recovery, as world leaders had originally hoped for.
Across Europe countries have begun easing restrictions. In Spain, some cafes and restaurants are reopening and in Belgium all shops are now allowed to open. In Switzerland and Norway all schools resume this week. However, this ‘progress’ has been tempered by news of a fresh outbreak of Covid-19 in South Korea; whilst Wuhan in China (source of the original outbreak) has reported its first new cases of infection, one month after the lockdown was lifted.
In the UK, any hopes of any significant easing of restrictions proved to be premature and the change in government messaging did little to address the key economic issue of how and when shuttered industries would be able to get back to work.
Last week was another positive week for US equities and the tech-focused NASDAQ is now positive for 2020. However, with no signs of when air travel is likely to resume, there are wider questions about whether a rebound in equities is actually sustainable.
Even though the peak of the epidemic may have passed in Western Europe, East Asia and North America, people are not going to begin getting back to anything like ‘normal’ until we finally beat the virus. We therefore expect there to be continued market uncertainty for the remainder of 2020.
We are always keen to hear your views. Please visit www.integrafinancial.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you think we should do anything differently.
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