Global Economic Rebound Hampered by Virus Control

The likelihood of a coordinated global economic rebound from the pandemic has diminished.

Slow vaccination rollouts and a fresh wave of infections in some countries are to blame.

The main driver of an economic rebound in 2021 will be the ability to control the virus, according to the Brookings-FT tracking index.

“The world economy faces sharply divergent growth prospects across various regions, as coordinated global economic rebound prospects of a uniform swift snapback from a dismal 2020 have become clouded,” said Professor Eswar Prasad of the Brookings Institution.

He added that an economic rebound was dependent on countries getting their health and economic policies right.

The U.S. and China – the world’s two largest economies – are leading the global recovery.

U.S. growth is poised for a record year with output forecast to top pre-pandemic levels on the back of President Biden’s fiscal stimulus, which has put substantial financial firepower in the hands of many American households.

China’s economy has remained resilient with few outbreaks of coronavirus. And the government is turning its attention to longer-term ambitions to boost consumption and the services sector.

The Big News

FDA OKs Travel for the Vaccinated

The FDA said Friday that Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can travel “at low risk to themselves,” both within the United States and internationally. But they must continue to take precautions like wearing a mask in public to avoid possibly spreading the virus to others. The new recommendations are a change from previous advice. The FDA had urged Americans not to travel at all unless they absolutely must.

Fauci Says U.S. Does Not Need AstraZeneca Vaccine

Dr. Fauci says the U.S. may not need the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, even if it wins regulatory approval. The vaccine has been dogged by questions since late last year. These include its relationship to strokes. Fauci says the U.S. has enough contracts with other vaccine makers to vaccinate its entire population. And possibly enough for booster shots in the fall. 

J&J Takes Over Covid Vaccine Factory After Doses Spoiled

A reported 15 million doses of J&J’s vaccine were ruined last week after workers accidentally mixed ingredients for the shot and those for the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot. So now, the pharmaceutical plant that was producing ingredients for Covid-19 vaccines developed by both companies will exclusively supply J&J. It said it was “assuming full responsibility” at the plant owned by Emergent BioSolutions.

mRNA Vaccines 90% Effective

A new study from the CDC generated exciting results for Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech Under real-world conditions, mRNA vaccine effectiveness of full immunization (14 days after second dose) was 90% against SARS-CoV-2 infections. Vaccine effectiveness of partial immunization (14 days after first dose but before second dose) was 80%.

Moderna Will Increase Vaccine Output

The FDA gave Moderna clearance to speed up output of its Covid-19 vaccine by letting it fill a single vial with up to 15 doses. The FDA also authorized vaccinators to extract a maximum of 11 doses from the current vials, instead of the 10 previously permitted. The company says its vaccine can now be supplied in vials containing 11 or 15 doses. However, the FDA warned that without proper syringes and needles, it may not be possible to extract more than 13 doses from the 15-dose vials, and more than 10 doses from the current vials.

The Coronavirus Numbers

Over 106 million Americans have at least one vaccine dose. Roughly 60% of that has occurred in the past month. Here are the numbers from Monday at 8 a.m. from Johns Hopkins University:

  • 131,370,252 Infected Worldwide
  • 652,823,380 Vaccines Given Globally
  • 2,854,154 Deaths
  • 30,706,129 Infected in the U.S.
  • 165,053,746 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
  • 555,001 Deaths in the U.S.

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What’s Next

U.S. stocks are set to build on record highs. Investors like last week’s strong jobs data; a report released on Friday showed the U.S. economy added 916,000 jobs in March. That figure that exceeded economists’ expectations.

It is interesting to note that trading by retail investors has ebbed as popular stocks have stumbled a bit.

The 21-day moving average of U.S. retail trading flows has fallen almost 20% from a February peak to $1.2 billion a day, according to data from Vanda Research.

Perhaps the pullback in popular stocks such as Tesla has reminded investors that, contrary to the online mantra, stocks do not only go up.

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