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Weekly news summary for February 26 to March 4

Friday, Feb. 26, 2021: Risk Assets’ Global Rally Eases Off

The strong rally in risk assets worldwide eased off on Friday, with emerging market currencies, commodities, and stocks all following the US down in different levels after US bond yields rose on Thursday.

The 10-year Treasury note made a weak rebound, having climbed as high as 1.60% on a poor Treasury bond auction in the previous day, where the ratio of bids to bonds on sale reached a record low, while the five-year yield has advanced 22 basis points in the week.

Monday, March 1, 2021: Japan, Europe PMIs Improve, China Recovery Weakens

Economic recovery causing the bond market sell-off seemed mostly intact in the new round of business surveys worldwide, with Japan’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reaching its highest since 2019, while South Korea’s exports and imports made another strong performance.

Final February PMIs for the Eurozone and the UK have been revised up as well, with the Eurozone posting its highest in about three years at 57.9 and the UK at 55.1, while China’s Caixin PMI dropped to a nine-month low, although readings were inaccurate due to the Lunar New Year’s timing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021: COVID-19 Cases Up for the First Time in 7 Weeks

The end of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have been delayed a little more after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the number of reported cases worldwide climbed for the first time in seven weeks last week.

COVID-19 infections were up in four of the WHO’s six regions, including the US, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the eastern Mediterranean, as public health measures eased, new variants spread, and, according to the head of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, people drop their guard.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021: US Economy to Recover Faster after J&J-Merck Deal

The US economy appeared set to recover quicker than initially expected, as Johnson & Johnson partner with Merck & Co. Inc. to significantly increase production capacity for J&J’s recently approved, single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

US President Joe Biden stated that the J&J-Merck deal should guarantee all American adults will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of May, supporting the possibility of an earlier and fuller resumption of operations in the tourism and hospitality industries.

Thursday, March 4, 2021: Oil Up on Possibility of OPEC+ Keeping Output Cuts

Oil prices were up the second straight session on Thursday, driven by expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies may choose not to go with an output increase during the meeting later in the day, and a decline in US fuel supplies.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures gained 1.1% to $64.81 per barrel, having risen over 2% in the previous day, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added 1% to $61.93 a barrel.

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