- U.S. stock markets opened at new all-time highs and advanced strongly for a while on news from Pfizer that initial trials have shown their coronavirus vaccine to be effective for 90% of people. This raises the prospect that an effective vaccine could become ready even by the start of 2021. However, markets sold off strongly to close down after these initial gains as euphoria wore off and focus returned to the prospect of a small U.S. stimulus package, the strong surge in new coronavirus cases in the U.S. and Europe, and the ongoing legal challenge to provisional ballot counts by President Trump.
- President Trump is continuing his legal challenge to provisional ballot counts in several swing states, alleging that a large number of votes have been illegally admitted. Courts will begin to hear the cases this week and there will be mandatory recounts in Georgia and Wisconsin, and possibly in some other states. There are still tens of thousands of votes in these key states which have not been counted, most notably in Arizona and Nevada. Final results have not been certified from any states, and the winner of the electoral college is not ratified until 14 December.
- The Forex and commodity markets also saw volatile price movement yesterday, with precious metals (especially gold) taking a dramatic hit. However, riskier assets are now recovering, while safe havens are mostly selling off. It is clear that the U.S. dollar is the weakest currency, while the Australian dollar and British pound remain notably strong.
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- The GBP/USD currency pair hit a new 2-month high yesterday, and seems to have a good chance to move higher still today.
- Last Friday saw 623,365 confirmed new coronavirus cases diagnosed worldwide – a record high.
- Coronavirus daily global death tolls are rising sharply, with deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean continuing to fall, while the U.S.A. accounts for about 18% of the global total, and Europe 37%.
- The European Union is now seeing more new coronavirus cases and deaths than any other area, about double that of the U.S., with a short-term average of over 200,000 new cases daily. The death rate there is exceeding that in the U.S.A by 150% with approximately 2,500 deaths per day compared to about 1,000 in the U.S. Deaths are also continuing to rise strongly in the U.K.
- Total confirmed new coronavirus cases stand at over 50.9 million with an average case fatality rate of 2.48%.
- India has more than 8.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, more than any other nation except the U.S.A. which has just confirmed more than 10 million cases.
- The rate of new coronavirus infections appears to now be increasing most quickly in Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey, U.S.A., Ukraine, the U.K., and Uruguay.
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