Weekly Client Update – Friday 24th September

Here is the latest news and updates from local and international events, market trends and analysis from our senior management team.

Local update

This week the Island’s booster programme was launched as the Vaccination Centre opened its doors for Islanders aged 80 years and over and all health and social care workers.  

Booster doses also started for care home residents in the Island’s residential and care homes.

Appointments for 12 to 15 year olds and booster appointments for Islanders aged 70 years and over will begin on Monday 27 September at the Vaccination Centre in Fort Regent.

Key statistics as at Sunday 19 September were 47% of Islanders aged 16 and 17 have received one dose, 85% of Islanders aged 18 years and over have received two doses, 68% of Islanders aged 18-29 years old have received one dose, 76,998 first doses administered and 73,893 second doses have been administered to date.

A Facebook Live ‘Ask the Experts’ event about this year’s winter vaccination programme, which includes Covid booster vaccinations and flu vaccinations, will take place on Tuesday 28 September on the Government of Jersey’s Facebook page. The Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat; Head of the Vaccination Programme, Becky Sherrington; and Vaccination Programme Operations Lead, Ross Barnes, will be directly answering questions submitted by Islanders during the live stream.

Head of the Vaccination Programme, Becky Sherrington, said: “I am pleased that the uptake from young Islanders continues to grow and that we will be opening for 12 to 15 year olds from Monday. I would like to reassure parents and young Islanders that the Vaccination Centre is a child-friendly environment and our medical staff will be able to answer any questions – big or small, and create a comfortable environment for vaccination. We are also going to be sending out letters to parents over the next couple of days to ensure parents and carers are informed about vaccination for their young person”.

Earlier in the week an update on the booster programme was given by the Chief Minister deputy John Le Fondre when he said: “Thanks to your efforts, we are now in Stage 7 of our Reconnection Roadmap with very limited restrictions placed on island life and with the return of a large degree of normality. We have been able to host the first large events in more than a year, including the Jersey International Air Display and last weekend’s Electric Park and Super League Triathlon events”. 

This has been made possible due to our excellent vaccination programme, as we have said before, vaccination has changed our COVID management strategy. 

If you are over 50 and double vaccinated, you are 25 times less likely to be hospitalised than an unvaccinated person over 50. This has brought us a long way to achieving our goal of protecting the most vulnerable in our community.

Chief Minister deputy John Le Fondre added, “this does not mean the future is without risk – far from it – but it does mean that instead of applying the law to close businesses and restrict freedoms, our current approach emphasises helping people make the right risk-based choices for them. 

We fully expect the rates of COVID to fluctuate over the coming months with cases rising and falling perhaps several times as we progress through Autumn and into Winter. If for any reason, you’ve not yet had your first dose, there is still time. Walk-in appointments are available at Fort Regent and vaccination remains the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, your friends, family and those around you, from this disease.

As of today there are 235 cases of Covid with 3 islanders in hospital.

In other news, the proposed new hospital will now be much smaller than originally planned with amendments being released in the hope that the reduced plans will encourage islanders to support the new proposals. Also life in the fast lane is going to get considerably slower as plans were passed to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on almost 60 island roads despite objections by the public.

On a personal note, my wife Els and I, will be joining a group of around 40 local cyclists to attempt to cycle from Lyon to Marseille in support of the Macmillan Jersey Cancer Charity. 

Advisa Wealth successfully raised over £21.000 at a corporate golf day in July, in support of the charity and my task is to complete the challenge which includes the infamous ‘Mont Ventoux’ mountain (24 kilometres climb) that has been a major feature of the ‘Tour de France’ cycle event since 1951.

It will be a daunting challenge for the team of local fundraisers, but what was that well known saying? ‘Upwards & Onwards’!!

Mixed Markets

The FTSE is swimming back up to the flat line, making it one of the best performing markets in Europe this morning. The FTSE 250 is continuing to decline though, now down 183 points or 0.8% to just under 23,500.

European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.06%, while the CAC 40 is leading the FTSE 100 lower. They are down 0.43% and 0.07% respectively.

Wall Street continues to rebound. The Dow Jones closed up 1.5%, or 507 points, while the S&P 500 rose 1.2% yesterday. The Nasdaq Composite finished 1% higher. It was the best day since July for the Dow and S&P. The Nasdaq notched its best performance since August.

Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Shanghai Composite gained 1.14%, while the Nikkei 225 led the Hang Seng lower. They fell 2.07% and 0.27% respectively.

Inflation and wholesale gas rates still peaking

 The Bank of England has intensified its forecast for inflation again, admitting that the economy is not growing at the pace it had expected it to.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be taking any action in an attempt to help cool the increased costs. The monetary policy committee has kept rates on hold and has maintained the BoE’s £895bn bond-buying support for the post-COVID economic recovery.

They are expecting growth during this current third quarter to be 1% less than estimated last month. Extra costs due to a shortage of workers, global supply chain delays, increased energy prices and a record rise in wholesale gas costs are all major contributing factors.

The sudden rise in wholesale gas costs comes at the same time that government Covid aid will have been withdrawn – specifically furlough cash and the Universal Credit uplift.

Although the Bank sees this as ‘temporary’, the monetary policy committee has warned last month that a “modest tightening” of policy may be required, to assist in cooling prices as it predicted the consumer prices index (CPI) measure of inflation hitting a 10-year high of 4%.

Inflation is currently at 3.2% following the largest leap on record. In Jersey, the current rate of inflation is 3.5%, with a further update due in October.

The government is needing to prepare for the worst-case scenario of gas costs continuing to remain so high, in order to protect consumers. So far, two suppliers, namely Bulb and Ovo, have taken measures to discourage new customers from joining.

Shortage of drivers not leading to shortage of fuel

Despite BP shutting down some of its petrol stations due to challenges with supply, the government has urged motorists to continue buying fuel as per usual and not to panic-buy.

This also comes after a false claim by the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, that Boris Johnson had requested an “emergency” deal to ease shortages of an unspecified food product, amid concerns about further disruption to supermarket supplies.

The UK government regards the claim as untrue, while the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, has vowed to solve the nationwide shortage of truck drivers to avoid any shortages of products.

Tesco for example, reported only 2 of the 500 petrol stations it operates were currently affected, explaining that the impact was minimal and that supply of fuel would not be a problem.

100% rise in heating bills for care homes

Owners of care homes have warned that many might have to close this winter due to a crippling 100 per cent rise in their heating bills. On average, a care home with 50 residents spends around £50,000 per year on gas and electricity bills.

There are serious concerns that care operators, who are not protected by the price cap, could end up paying double that amount they are used to.

Yesterday, Kwasi Kwarteng denied being complacent over 18-month-old warnings about risks to the UK’s energy supply after 1.5million people were left without a provider.