Weekly Client Update – Friday, 26th March

The Island can capitalise on ‘pent-up demand’ from Britons likely to be unable to go on overseas holidays, key figures in the islands tourism have said, with some claiming that this summer could ‘get Jersey back on the map.’ As part of the common Travel Area that comprises the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, Jersey would not be subject to proposed Covid-19 travel restrictions and therefore could welcome British visitors during May & June, and industry figures hope that UK holidaymakers will view Jersey as an attractive and safe destination during the rest of the summer.

Chief Minister John Le Fondre said that Jersey would have extensive measures in place to ensure Islanders and visitors would remain protected once border restrictions were eased on 26 April.

Robert Mackenzie, managing director of CI Travel Group, said that vaccination passports were a key factor in giving potential visitors the certainty they needed. The Traffic light system (set to be reintroduced from 26 April) isn’t enough as regions can quickly change and no one is going to book a holiday knowing there’s a possibility they may not be able to take it because of having to isolate, he said. A vaccination Passport is the only way people can be certain they can travel and hopes it will be ready by 26 April.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined legislation, which could be in place until early July, encompassing fines of £5,000 for anyone leaving England to travel abroad. The Proposals are due to be debated by MP’s next week, while the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to clarify their own conditions for travel.

In a Covid roundup Jersey has 4 cases with 1 in hospital but has reported no new cases for over a week. Guernsey has just one case who remains in hospital, meanwhile the Isle of Man has 646 cases with 21 in hospital and 3 in intensive care.

Jersey’s vaccination programme continues at pace with over 50,000 islanders now having received their first vaccination. Becky Sherrington, programme lead, said that rumours of Jersey suffering from a shortage of supply were unfounded and they remained on track to complete the second jabs to over 50’s before they start to administer first jabs to the 18 to 49 category.

Latest news

UK householders have reportedly saved a total of £192bn in the past year – and research shows that they intend to splash out around a quarter of this as soon as lockdown ends giving the economy a much needed boost but applying inflationary pressure at the same time.

Uber’s 70,000 UK drivers were guaranteed minimum wage this week plus Holiday pay and pensions. This followed  the ride-hailing app’s defeat in a Supreme Court case last month. Uber drivers are now classed as workers as opposed to independent contractors.

A sign that the dark tunnel of Covid lockdown may be coming to an end, as this week P&O announced  plans to restart domestic cruises around the British Isles this summer. The cruises will only be open to passengers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid. P&O’s fleets have been laying empty moored off England’s South coast  for more than a year and although they will not be able to stop at all ports owing to Covid restrictions they will still be able to offer passengers onboard dining and entertainment.

UK inflation fell unexpectedly this quarter from 0.7% in January to 0.4% in February. This is far below economists’ expectations for an increase to 0.8%, yet they still expect an inflation figure much closer to the government’s target of 2% to arrive by May. With the numbers fluctuating to this degree, bond investors will need to prepare for another rise before things get better.

Brexit continues to disrupt the UK, as the government recently reported British exports to the EU fell steeply in January to a record 40.7%, while exports to the rest of the world increased slightly.

This week saw much controversy across Europe concerning vaccine supply, with threats by the EU to limit supply to the UK from manufacturers based in Europe. This comes as it was revealed just how far ahead that the UK’s vaccination roll out is compared with that of the EU block.

Stocks and Markets

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK composite PMI. figures a couple days ago confirmed that economic activity in March rose at its fastest rate in seven months. The index – which rose from 49.6 to 56.6, with anything above 50.0 signalling growth – is way above the 51.1 forecast. The UK Services PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) is based on data collected from companies in the transport and communication sector, financial intermediation, business services, personal services, computing and IT and hotels and restaurants.

UK stocks finished below the waterline on Thursday, as investors eyed the EU vaccine summit, amid ongoing concerns about a third wave of Covid-19. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.57% at 6,674.83, and the FTSE 250 was 0.58% weaker at 21,277.84.

Sterling was in the green, meanwhile, last rising 0.37% on the dollar to $1.3736, and strengthening 0.71% against the euro to trade at €1.1668.

UK stocks were set to gain at the open today following losses in the previous session, as investors digest the latest UK retail sales data. The FTSE 100 was called to open 40 points higher at time of writing at 6,714. Data released earlier by the Office for National Statistics showed retail sales rose 2.1% on the month in February, in line with consensus expectations. On the year, sales were down 3.7% versus expectations for a 3.5% decline.

Yesterday saw stocks rising again for the first time in three days, with the three major indexes shaking off earlier declines to push into positive territory. The Dow gained nearly 200 points, or 0.6%, after dropping by as many as 350 points earlier in the session. The Nasdaq was higher after falling 2% on Wednesday amid another day of selling of technology shares. The oil price lost some of its recent gains after spiking another 5% on Wednesday, this was despite a massive container blocking passage in the Suez Canal weighing on oil supplies.

 And finally, Chimps go bananas for Zoom calls at Czech zoos

Chimpanzees at two zoos in the Czech Republic are keeping in touch by joining online video calls every day.

It’s to help keep the animals interacting with others after the zoos closed in December due to coronavirus restrictions. The chimpanzees at Safari Park Dvur Kralove and at a zoo in Brno, which are 150km apart, can now watch each other on giant screens. The sound is off but the primates seem to be enjoying the video calls, which started last week.

At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove. “It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV’. When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event.”

The chimpanzees have even taken on other human behaviours such as grabbing snacks like nuts to eat while watching the screens. Does this sound familiar for all of you still working from home that’s why these guys are our closest DNA match in the animal kingdom.