Market Update – March 2021

Highlights:

  • Economic data confirms a sufficiently V-shaped recovery, but growth has not been even across regions and downside risks remain.

  • The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is set to move through congress and includes a third stimulus payment of $1,400 and extended unemployment insurance.

  • Vaccine rollouts have been plagued by supply shortages in Europe, but sentiment indicators are improving as markets see a path back to normality.

  • China has set a relatively modest GDP growth target of over 6.0% for 2021, after being the only major economy to achieve a positive growth rate through 2020.

  • The RBA left the cash rate on hold at 0.1% at its March meeting and reiterated its commitment to the 3-year bond yield target.

Global economies

Covid-19 cases continue to build globally, with around 114 million reported cases at the start of March, but the vaccine narrative is propelling the economic recovery forward, even as some regions face logistical headwinds. Fiscal and monetary policy remain extremely accommodative and are helping households and businesses through the final stages.

US

President Biden marked the distribution of 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses since taking office, reaching the halfway mark of the administration’s goal of 100 million inoculations within the first 100 days.

Europe

Following strong growth in the third quarter, Europe's economy contracted 0.4% in the December quarter as the pandemic tightened its grip on the continent.

China

After managing economic growth of only 2.3% in 2020, its weakest in decades, the Chinese government is aiming for a significant rebound in 2021.

Asia Region

Japan’s vaccine campaign has stalled due to shortages, with only limited doses of the Pfizer vaccine available until increased supplies can reach Japan from Europe, which is expected to be around May.

Australia

The rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine is set to begin in March as the first 300,000 doses landed in Sydney, with 1.2 million more doses due shortly from Europe before Australian partner, CSL, begins production of 50 million doses.

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The information in this Market Update is current as at 10/03/2021 and is prepared by Lonsec Research Pty Ltd ABN 11 151 658 561 AFSL 421445 on behalf of National Australia Bank and its subsidiaries. Any advice in this Market Update has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any decisions based on the content of this document, the reader must consider whether it is personally appropriate in light of his or her financial circumstances or should seek independent financial advice on its appropriateness. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Before acquiring a financial product, you should obtain and read the corresponding Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and consider the contents of the PDS before making a decision about whether to acquire the product.