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MARKET UPDATE – 16 AUGUST 2021

Stock markets enjoyed a positive week. In the absence of much notable economic news, most market indices ground higher.

  • US: Infrastructure spending package agreed

US. stocks ended the week higher. The United States Senate passed a roughly 1 trillion-dollar infrastructure spending package. The package aims to rebuild crumbling parts of the American transportation infrastructure network and has been a key component of President Biden’s economic agenda. Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index, increased by 0.5% in July, down from the 0.9% increase registered in June, and proved to be the smallest month over month increase since March of this year.

  • Japan: Covid cases on the rise

Japan’s stock markets also closed the week in positive territory. This was despite the number of new coronavirus cases in the country topping a daily record. Tokyo, the nation’s capital, has been particularly badly hit. The worsening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan comes at a sensitive time politically, with a general election set to be held within the next three months.

  • China: Increased State regulation in focus

Chinese stocks recorded a positive week. The large-cap CSI 300 Index rose 0.5%. China released a five-year blueprint calling for increased regulation affecting key parts of the economy. Online finance, artificial intelligence and big data were areas of particular focus within the document. The country continued its ‘zero tolerance’ policy of mass testing and localised lockdowns due to concerns over the spread of the delta coronavirus strain. The partial closure of one of China’s biggest cargo ports due to coronavirus has raised fresh concerns over the impact on global trade.

  • Europe: EU’s vaccination campaign gathers pace

Shares in Europe rose in the week in which it was reported that the EU’s vaccination campaign overtook that of the United States in terms of administering first and second doses.

  • UK: Second quarter economic growth rebounds

The FTSE 100 rose 1.7%. The UK economy expanded by 4.8% in the second quarter of this year, driven largely by a rise in household consumption as lockdown rules were lifted. The growth rate was in line with market expectations, although a little slower than the Bank of England’s forecast of a 5% expansion.