European Markets Rise as EU Countries Loosen Covid Restrictions

04 May 2021 · 3rd Party Analysis

European Markets Rise as EU Countries Loosen Covid Restrictions


In Summary

  • European equities start the month on a positive note
  • Countries across Europe set to gradually ease restrictions

The European markets rose on Monday as the first trading day of May brought increased optimism that the pandemic isolation across the old continent could be coming to an end. In hopes of expected lifting of restrictions and businesses coming back to life, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.58%. The German DAX climbed 0.66%, or 100.56 points, to 15,236.47. The French CAC40 climbed 0.61%, or 38.42 points, to finish at 6,307.90. The UK’s FTSE100 advanced modestly, rising by 0.12%, or 8.33 points, to end the session at 6,969.81.

A number of European countries are set to cautiously ease coronavirus restrictions this month, even though infections in some countries remain high and the threat from the new variants sweeping across India has not yet abated.

France lifted its domestic travel ban yesterday as part of the first stage of a four-tiered plan to lift all coronavirus restrictions by the summer. A night-time curfew remained in place and restaurants, cafes and bars will not be allowed to open until May 19. French President Emmanuel Macron said he expects the country to completely reopen by June 30. France is currently reporting about 20,000 new confirmed cases a day on a seven-day average, down from a seven-day average of 35,000 a day in the previous month.

Germany announced Monday it is planning to lift restrictions on people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. The move is expected to take place as soon as this week and it will allow inoculated people to participate in social gatherings. They will also not be subject to curfews or other pandemic restrictions.

Easing of Restrictions Across European Area

The decision by the German government was met with disagreement by younger people who say they are discriminated against as they are still months away from their vaccination. On that note, the people who still have not received a jab have been growing impatient due to the slow pace of the vaccination and the fact that Germany is now entering its sixth month of tough restrictions and coronavirus controls. So far, nearly 24 million have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Germany, while 6.6 million are fully vaccinated, or 8% of the population. The rate remains low compared with Israel’s 55.8%, UK’s 23%, and 32% in the US.

In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday the coronavirus restrictions could be removed by June 21 due to a largely successful vaccination rollout campaign. The statement by Mr. Johnson comes ahead of key elections planned on May 6.

Italy already began to gradually reopen its economy and to allow social activities last week. Students have returned to school, and museums and cinemas have reopened their doors. The Netherlands lifted the nationwide curfew that sparked riots across the country in January. Bars and cafes can now welcome visitors only in their gardens or terraces for the first time in six months, under the condition that there are no more than two people per table unless they are from the same household.

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