The Week Ahead: Europe’s Coronavirus As Market Awaits Fed Release

The Week Ahead: Europe’s Coronavirus As Market Awaits Fed Release

EU countries are facing a growing number of new cases, as well as new or expanded locks and restrictions. The variants that are spreading faster seem to outpace vaccine introduction. Northern France and Paris are closed for a month. Italy has imposed a curfew at night. Each region is assigned a color zone: red, orange, and white, depending on the level of infection. All regions except 1 are in the red or orange zone. In Germany, the restrictions are expected to expire on March 22. However, on Monday, Merkel is meeting with the head of state to determine if the lockdown should be extended.

Hopes that the restrictions will be lifted are disappointing, according to the German health minister. Vaccines have recently been stopped in most European countries because the AstraZeneca vaccine was thought to cause blood clots. However, on Thursday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the vaccine was “safe and effective,” and many countries have begun distributing it again.

Most of the new cases are now fast spreading variants such as B.1.1.7 (UK variant). It is now a “variant versus vaccine” race to fight the pandemic. (Note: New variants are emerging in other regions of the world, including the US. Only time will tell if other regions can vaccinate faster than variants transform.) European “3rd Wave” will be the topic of this week.
Market Awaits Fed Release
US Fed Chairman Powell, among other Fed members, is set to speak on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week. However, the first 2 discussions with BIS are about innovation in the digital age. The testimony is worth seeing on Wednesday. Powell will address the US Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

While he is unlikely to change his mindset, Senators may need to clarify some of his recent comments on interest rates and inflation. Even after the FOMC meeting on Wednesday, bond markets seemed to be calling Powell’s bluff. However, he pointed out that the Fed requires actual data, not just forecasts before they begin to decline.

The economic data calendar this week is also bright, as the data for the end of the month and the beginning of April are released next week. However, besides Powell and the auctions, there is plenty of UK data this week.

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Author : Azeez Mustapha

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Azeez Mustapha is an experienced author, trader, markets analyst, signals strategist, and funds-manager.