Weekly Client Update – Friday, 26th February

In Jersey Thousands of Islanders aged 50 to 60 will be able to book their Covid-19 vaccinations over the coming days, the Government has confirmed. The Latest step in Jersey’s vaccination programme came as the Island reported no new known cases of the virus for 5 consecutive days.

Jersey’s move to the next tiers of its vaccination strategy indicates that it is likely that the Government will meet its target of offering a jab to all over 50’s as well as younger Islanders at risk, before March 29. This welcome news comes as other countries including the UK reported a dip in the number of vaccinations administered. A spokesperson for Jersey’s Government said there were no supply issues and the Island was receiving what was expected adding, the quantities change weekly both up and down but the programme has no concern about supply. According to the most recent Island consensus there are about 23,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64 in Jersey although a number of these have already been vaccinated as they have been classed as higher risk.

Vaccination programme lead Becky Sherrington said that once those aged between 50 and above had received their first vaccines, the team would move on to the mass roll out of second doses.

In Jersey the number of Covid cases has reduced to 25 with one person in hospital meanwhile in Guernsey the number of cases are 22 with 1 person in Hospital.

Also Jersey’s Superintendent Registrar today released figures showing that despite the Pandemic the number of deaths in Jersey fell by almost 10% from the previous year and was the lowest for 5 years. The report reveals that there were 718 deaths in 2020 which is 77 fewer than 2019.  Of the 57 Covid related deaths only one person died as a direct result of Covid.  56 out 57 had other health conditions and illness that had contributed to death. It was also reported yesterday that Jersey’s Nightingale wing is likely to remain in place for a further 3 months until more is known about the efficacy of Covid- 19 Vaccines.

Meanwhile Jersey needs to produce a roadmap for lifting Covid -19 restrictions and reopening its borders as soon as possible, as interest in visiting the Island is starting to surge, tourism leaders have said. On Monday UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the key dates on which England aimed to ease restrictions for gatherings and travel with Scotland following suit shortly afterwards. Following Mr Johnsons announcement Condor Ferries confirmed that it had seen a ‘surge of interest’ on its website with trips to the Channel Islands being of particular Interest. Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnum said that work was taking place to assess how to ‘mitigate’ the risks of travellers arriving from the uk and said that plans would be announced next week. He added that border controls would not be relaxed until Ministers were confident it was safe to do so.

Latest News

In the week that Boris Johnson lays out his Covid recovery road map business have a mixed reaction. IAG Group owner of British Airways announced losses of £6.5bn. However UK airlines got a boost this week with the government suggesting reopening travel markets from MId-May which prompted a flood of bookings. Some countries such as Greece announced that they are looking at how they can introduce vaccine passports to help get the tourism industry back on track. Despite the hefty losses, IAG has stuck to its plan to buy Spain’s Air Europa, announcing in January the price tag had halved to €500m.

Online booking platform Airbnb has said it is preparing for a “significant” travel rebound as the world emerges from coronavirus lockdowns. However the company said it was still “too early” to predict how the business would fare this year. The company’s revenue dropped 30% last year to $3.4bn (£2.4bn), as Covid-19 restrictions kept many from travelling.

That was better than many other travel companies, as people took to their cars for longer stays in private  homes.

In the world’s largest economy the US, economists are saying  that despite a poor 2020  it has set the USA up for a very strong rebound. For  2021, economists are forecasting that US GDP could grow by 6%. That would be the fastest annual GDP growth since the economy expanded 7.2% in 1984 when Ronald Reagan was president.

Facebook cuts deal with Australian Government: As a result of the agreement, Facebook will restore news content to its Australian users after previously blocking it.

The US inched closer to a third coronavirus vaccine as the FDA with documents being released  endorsing Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine. The vaccine is reportedly 86% effective against the virus. Another major vaccine developer, Moderna, will announce its earnings today as it is set to begin trials on a new Covid vaccine to combat the “South African” variant of the virus.

Stocks and markets

Boeing is in trouble again, United Airlines is temporarily removing 24 of its Boeing 777s from service after a 777 one suffered an engine failure on Saturday, prompting an emergency landing. Boeing recommended suspending operations on more than 120 similar planes fitted with Pratt and Whitney engines until an investigation is concluded. 

On Monday European markets  opened lower: The UK100 down 43 points, the GER30 dropped 39 points, and the FRA40 also 18 points idown.

On Tuesday the NASDAQ100 fell 2.6% while the SPX500 lost 0.8%, Tech giants Microsoft, Apple, and Intel held the index back, with all posting losses for the day around 3%. 

Although the UK100 closed flat monday, there was a similar divergence in performance to that seen in the US. At the bottom of the pile, online grocery delivery firm Ocado Group, tech-heavy investment trust Scottish Mortgage, and Just Eat Takeaway all suffered daily losses of between 4% and 6%. At the top, despite BA’s woes British Airways parent IAG and aerospace firm Rolls Royce added 7.5% and 6.9% respectively.

Tesla plunged 8.5%:earlier in the week. The recent losses are attributed to investors losing hope for a post-pandemic uptick, and Bitcoin’s recent decline.

Goodyear’s announcement that it will acquire competitor Cooper Tire had shares trading 21% higher this week. 

On Wednesday The DJ30 gained +1.4%  closing at a record level and resulting in US futures trading higher in overnight trading. Boeing led the index, adding 8.1% after reports that suggested recent mechanical problems on its planes were not its fault. Chevron and Goldman Sachs were the other biggest climbers, adding 3.7% and 3.6%. 

The SPX500 was up by more than 1% with Norwegian Cruise Line and United Airlines among the biggest winners, closing the day 9.3% and 8.6% higher respectively on the back of the news of an ease in lockdowns across the world. The NASDAQ100 also closed up 0.99%.

Asian markets up: At time of writing, the HKG50, China50, JPN225 were all seen higher.

Oil prices reached their highest since January 2020 this week. Lower oil production in the US, cuts by Saudi Arabia and an assurance from the US Federal Reserve that interest rates would remain low have contributed to the rise in price.

Normally rivals, Visa and Mastercard shares rose 3.45% and 4.82% respectively yesterday as both companies will be raising their swipe fees. 

Today European markets were in positive territory. The UK100 opened 25 points higher, the GER30 rose 78 points, and the FRA40 was up 28 points.

And finally The last straw

McDonald’s fans may remember when in 2018  they banned plastic straws from its restaurants as part of a green drive. Well now, those who still have the discontinued straws laying about are selling them on eBay for eye-watering sums of money. Currently, there are 29 listings on the buy-and-sell site for the “rare” McDonald’s merchandise with some asking for as much as £5,000. Unsurprisingly, there are no bids on this listing despite the seller’s free postage offer.

However, £4,500 appears to be a bargain to a few McDonald’s fans as one seller who priced their “brand-new, unused, unopened and undamaged” straw has supposedly sold three at that price – now that’s a hefty profit.