European Markets Rise Despite an Uptick in Covid-19 Cases
29 Mar 2021 · 3rd Party Analysis
- European stocks post gains on Monday amid a spike in cases
- EU leaders remain divided over vaccine distribution
European equities kicked off the session with early gains across the board as investors seem optimistic about a brighter economic outlook in the eurozone. Even though a significant amount of EU member states are under some form of a lockdown and coronavirus cases have registered another spike, major indexes are flashing in the green.
UK’s FTSE100 pointed higher by about 0.20% on Monday during the early hours but later turned negative by about 0.40%, while the German DAX and the French CAC40 are positive by around 0.10% each. Prior to the opening, futures were trading fairly muted. The rise in the equity market comes amid a fifth straight week of increasing global Covid-19 cases, while the death rate continues to climb.
The soaring infection rate across Europe is putting a strain on the healthcare system even after Germany, France, Italy have reintroduced harsh restrictions. European governments continue to struggle with their response to the worsening situation in hospitals, which are at the risk of being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients. German authorities announced last week that the third wave of the coronavirus could lead to an unprecedented pressure over intensive care units. German health minister Jens Spahn said that hospitals are under severe stress. “If this continues unabated, we run the risk of our healthcare system reaching its breaking point during the month of April,” Mr Spahn said.
France and Germany continue to receive backlash from the nation. Their leaders, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have been criticized for ill-conceived lockdown measures and a slow and uneven vaccine rollout.
Massive Vaccination Push in the US Yet to Slow Virus Spread
Overseas, US Covid-19 cases tick upwards across many states. Despite a successful vaccine program that has now administered over 140 million doses, the nation is going through a climb of new infections. The new rise could be a result of easing the measures in hopes of an economic reopening as many states rolled back mandatory masks and social restrictions. With about 15% of the US population vaccinated, some states have completely lifted the measures and have allowed residents to gather in restaurants, bars and social events.
The US recently surpassed 30 million confirmed cases with deaths around 550,000. President Biden vowed to administer at least 200 million doses in his first 100 days in office. The goal was doubled from his initial one that aimed at 100 million jabs, which was achieved by his 58th day. To do that, he brought together Johnson & Johnson and Merck that aim to produce at least 130 million vaccines in the second quarter. Moderna and Pfizer are expected to provide a total of over 100 million vaccines, also in the second quarter.
Globally, the largest vaccination campaign on record remains largely uneven as countries struggle to secure enough doses for their nations, while vaccine makers are ramping up efforts to produce as much as possible in order to meet the overwhelming demand. So far, 535 million doses have been administered in 141 countries with a rate of 14.5 million doses per day. More than 127 million cases have been diagnosed around the world with deaths at 2.8 million.