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March 25. The backlog of vaccinations in the EU was estimated at 123 billion euros

Economists believe that the lag of the EU countries from the approved vaccination calendar against coronavirus could cost the European economy about 123 billion euros. The EU is currently seven weeks behind schedule.

It is noted that by the end of summer, the EU countries should vaccinate 70% of the population. And in order to achieve this, vaccination must be significantly accelerated. However, problems with the supply of vaccines from AstraZeneca and the refusal of residents of many European countries to vaccinate with this particular drug call into question the success of this campaign.

According to experts, France is also seven weeks behind the vaccination schedule, and each week of lag could cost the country's economy 3 billion euros.

The current difficulties with vaccination will be discussed at the summit on Thursday by the heads of state and government of the EU countries. It is assumed that politicians will discuss measures to increase vaccine production and accelerate vaccination of the population.

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March 26. Experts believe that cars will rise in price because of the Suez Canal blocking

Experts believe that blocking the movement of ships through the Suez Canal will inevitably lead to higher prices for cars.

It is noted that the incident involving the container ship Evergreen mainly affected the European Union. For three days, a queue of more than 200 ships gathered near the blocked canal. Another part of the tankers headed by a roundabout route around Africa – and this will move the delivery dates by 15 days.

Analysts also note that the situation in the Suez Canal may affect the cost of some industrial goods from Europe, including automotive products. The fact is that the increase in costs due to the additional time spent in chartering ships is approximately $8,000 for each container from China. Although this is a small amount, the main problem is timing.

Currently, the European markets are already experiencing assembly problems due to the lack of chips. And 15 days of delay can lead to an increase in the cost of cars by 1-2%.

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March 30. Consumer Confidence in the US in March rose to its highest in a year

According to the analyst firm Conference Board, the consumer confidence index in the US in March rose to 109.7 points from the revised February index of 90.4 points. Analysts had forecast growth in the indicator to only 96.9 points from the initial February value of 91.3 points. In addition, the index has reached its highest value in a year.

The index of economic expectations in March jumped to 109.6 points from the revised February index of 90.9 points. The index of economic conditions in March also rose to 110 points from the revised value of 89.6 points in February (originally the indicator was 92 points).

The US dollar reacted to such statistics with even greater growth. For example, the exchange rate of the main currency pair EUR/USD is 1.1700, which is the lowest value since November last year.

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March 31. ECB sees opportunity to launch digital euro by 2025

The head of the European Central Bank (ECB) Christine Lagarde said that the regulator could launch the digital euro around the middle of this decade, in 2025.

In her interview, Lagarde noted that the main task of the ECB is to ensure the correct approach to the process of creating a digital European currency, which can take several years. «This is a technical project and also a fundamental change. We have to make sure we don't break the system, but we will improve it», Lagarde said.

The ECB intends to publish an analysis of the 8,000 responses received in a public consultation on a potential digital currency launch. Further, the analysis will be sent to the European Parliament, and then – to the ECB Governing Council, which by the middle of this year will decide whether to continue this experimental work. The final decision on whether to introduce digital currency at all will be made six months or a year after that.

The European Central Bank has said it is considering issuing a digital euro to prepare for the digital age. The European Commission, in turn, noted that the digital euro can support the digitalization of the entire EU economy, which is one of the most important elements of the EU's development.

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April 1. Owners of container ship Ever Given will pay about a billion dollars in fines

The manager of the Suez Canal, Osama Rabia, said that the financial losses from the blocking of the trade route, which arose due to the fault of the container ship Ever Given, would amount to about a billion dollars. This amount will be collected from the owner of the vessel. According to Rabia, the money will go to offset the cost of re-floating the vessel, as well as to cover financial losses caused by the congestion in the waterway. Suez Canal navigation resumed on Tuesday 30 March.

Osama Rabia also said that all ships affected by the forced delay will be given a discount of up to 15% for passage. The discount will vary from 5% to 15%, depending on the period of time for which each vessel was forced to stand idle.

After the incident, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the purchase of the most modern and large dredgers and tugs for his needs. Their cost is estimated at $500 million. The very same vessel Ever Given will remain at a stop in the lakes until the investigation is over, the perpetrators of the incident are identified, and compensation and fines are not paid.

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April 2. Non-farm Payrolls report significantly exceeded expectations

Today, the US Department of Labor released a report Non-farm Payrolls, according to which, the number of jobs outside of agriculture in March rose by 916 thousand, and the unemployment rate fell to 6%. The current increase significantly exceeded analysts' forecasts (647 thousand) and became the fastest since August 2020.

Stronger US economic growth and strong vaccination efforts fueled the job growth. Analysts note that the country's economy is recovering, restrictions are lifted, and those who have lost their jobs are returning to jobs. The only concern is the potential likelihood of another wave of Covid, which could lead to another round of closings.

In April last year, against the backdrop of the pandemic, unemployment in the United States was at the level of 14.7%, in May – 13.3%, in June – 11.1%, in July – 10.2%, in August – 8.4%. and in September – 7.9%. The actual figure of 6% clearly speaks of a significant recovery in the American labor market. In mid-March, the Fed improved its forecast for US unemployment in 2021 to 4.5% from 5%. In 2022, the indicator will be at the level of 3.9% against the previously expected 4.2%, in 2023 – at the level of 3.5% against 3.7%.

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April 7. Coronavirus and Emerging Markets

The coronavirus pandemic is having a strong negative impact on emerging markets.

India yesterday confirmed over 115,000 new cases of Covid-19, a record high in history. If the current trend continues, it means that the peak of the epidemic in India has not yet been reached. The country, which is the world's largest vaccine producer, has suspended exports to other countries in order to vaccinate its citizens.

Turkey is also seeing a rapid increase in the daily rate of Covid-19 infection. Almost 50,000 new infections were confirmed in the country yesterday, also a record high.

The economies of India and Turkey have experienced high inflation rates even before the surge in infections, so the pandemic could further exacerbate their internal economic problems.

At today's meeting, the Reserve Bank of India kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low of 4%.

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April 8. US stock markets continued their upward rally

Reports on initial and ongoing jobless claims in the US were released today, which turned out to be worse than analysts' forecasts. Moreover, today traders will follow the speech of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the IMF, although they do not expect important news from this speech.

More information has emerged about the tax changes planned by President Joe Biden's administration. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has previously excited the markets with statements of a minimum international tax - an idea that the EU also supports. It turned out that the 15% tax that it offers will apply only to companies with annual revenues of at least $ 2 billion, which means it will have less impact on the market than previously thought.

Tax plan adjustments are beneficial for the stock markets. Today, American stock indices continued to renew their all-time highs, despite disappointing data on unemployment in the country.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's share price is rising, despite the company's continuing troubles. The European Medicines Agency and the UK Medicines and Health Agency have determined that AstraZeneca vaccine, in rare cases, can contribute to a possible death from blood clotting.

Due to the rarity of this problem (20 out of 20 million vaccinations in the UK) and the severity of Covid-19, both agencies still recommend the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This optimism is most likely the driving force behind the rise in the pharmaceutical company's stock.

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April 12. The first blockchain operator was founded in Russia

The Moscow Exchange and members of the FinTech Association (AFT), which includes large Russian credit institutions, founded the first blockchain operator in Russia. In addition to the Moscow Exchange, VTB, PSB and the National Payment Card System (NSPK) and AFT took part in the project. Each co-founder owns 1/6 of the share in the company.

The creators of the operator are confident that it will allow the development of innovative products and services, as well as reduce costs for all market participants.

AFT will transfer the rights to the only Russian certified blockchain platform «Masterchain» to the operator. With the help of this platform, services and products are created using Russian cryptography standards.

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Oil market. April 15, 2021 | Brent remains in the area of monthly highs

On Thursday, oil prices continued to be in the area of monthly highs, thanks to improved forecasts for global fuel demand. The current Brent quotation is $66.30 per barrel.

Prices were supported by a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), according to which oil demand is expected to grow by 5.7 million barrels per day in 2021 compared to 2020. And this is 230 thousand barrels per day more than previously predicted. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has also improved its forecast for global oil demand for the current year and is now expecting an increase of 5.95 million barrels per day.

Additional support for quotations of «black gold» was provided by yesterday's data on crude oil reserves in the United States. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that oil reserves last week fell by 5.89 million barrels, while analysts had expected a half-cut, by 2.89 million barrels. In the current environment, oil prices will continue to trade above $66.00 per barrel.

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April 16. Why is the oil market growing?

The oil market continues to grow on Friday. Brent quotes reached $67.37 per barrel, WTI – $63,87. Experts note that the general fundamental background continues to support prices.

In particular, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy on Wednesday announced a decrease in commercial crude oil reserves in the week of April 3-9 by 5.9 million barrels. In addition, projected gasoline demand rose to an almost 8-month high of 8.9 million barrels per day, down 5% from the same period in 2019.

Another factor supporting the «black gold» was the increase in the forecast of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on demand for crude oil in 2021 by 230 thousand barrels per day. Now the agency believes that this year the demand for oil will be 5.7 million barrels per day higher than in 2020, and will amount to 96.7 million barrels per day.

OPEC also raised its forecast for oil demand this year by 100 thousand barrels per day. The organization expects that global oil demand in 2021 will grow by about 6 million barrels to 96.5 million barrels per day. OPEC also raised its forecast for global economic growth – to 5.4% from 5.1%.

The weakening of the dollar continues to contribute to the rise in prices, which remains under pressure against the background of the decrease in the yield of Treasury bonds below the level of 1.60%.

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April 19. Wall Street declines, consolidating after record peaks

On Monday, the US stock market opened lower, consolidating in the absence of important economic news. Earlier last week, Wall Street hit another record high.

In particular, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 114 points to 34.066 points, the S&P 500 fell 0.2% to 4.158 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.1% to 13.873 points.

The main reason for the decline in the market, analysts called the sharp sell-off of cryptocurrencies over the weekend, which reminded investors how hectic the atmosphere was in the financial market during the pandemic.

Tesla shares plunged 4% after another Tesla self-driving car crash resulting in two fatalities, once again calling into question the capabilities of the Full Self-Driving software. Peloton shares lost more than 7% after a public dispute with US regulators over the safety of its Tread +. Coinbase Global shares fell 0.9% after the cryptocurrency sharp correction seems to have exhausted itself. Growth leaders included Harley-Davidson, Manchester United Football Club and GameStop.

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April 21. What to expect from the Bank of Canada meeting today?

Today the Bank of Canada has to make a decision on monetary policy, and it will not be easy. On the one hand, the latest macro statistics for the country were very strong: the economy is actively creating jobs, consumer spending is growing, production activity is accelerating, and the housing market is showing buyers willingness to pay even more than sellers are asking for.

Given these factors, the Central Bank of Canada should be confident and willing to wind down its bond buyback program. However, it is not all so simple.

The fact is that the number of Covid cases in the country is growing steadily, and many parts of Canada are re-imposing restrictions, which will be extended until the end of May. The new restrictions will slow economic recovery and prevent the Bank of Canada from winding down stimulus. Accordingly, the contradiction between strong macro statistics and strict quarantine is one of the reasons why it will not be easy for the Bank of Canada to make a decision on the rate.

The current quote for the USD/CAD pair is 1.2600. The US dollar rose sharply yesterday from 1.2470 to 1.2625. If the Bank of Canada maintains its positive outlook and underscores the outlook for economic recovery, the pair could respond with a decline to 1.25. But if the regulator focuses on risks, and the tone of the statement is cautious, the pair may break through the 1.27 level on the wave of short coverage.

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April 26. The meeting of all OPEC + ministers will take place on April 28

On April 28, a meeting of all OPEC + ministers and a meeting of the Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) will take place. On the eve of these events, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said that the organization sees positive signals in the development of the world economy and in the prospects for the oil industry. At the same time, many factors remain that require constant monitoring and maintaining vigilance.

Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak noted that the main task at the OPEC + meeting will be to analyze the situation on the oil market. Novak regards the current situation as «balanced».

Recall that due to the drop in oil demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic, OPEC + has reduced its production by 9.7 million barrels per day since May 2020. As demand recovered, the restrictions were adjusted, and for the current April they amount to 6.9 million barrels per day.

Since May, OPEC + has agreed on a further reduction in the volume of reduced production – to 6.55 million barrels per day, from June – to 6.2 million, from July – to 5.76 million.

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April 27. US economic indicators exceed forecasts

According to the research organization Conference Board, the index of consumer confidence in the United States in April rose to 121.7 points compared with the revised index of 109 points in March. Earlier, the indicator value for March was estimated at 90.7 points. Analysts had expected the index to reach 113 points.

Successful vaccination of the population, as well as a visible improvement in economic performance, has a positive effect on American sentiment. The indicator of the attitude of American consumers to the current financial situation in April soared to 139.6 points from 110.1 points in the previous month.

Experts point out that consumer confidence has skyrocketed over the past two months and is now at its highest level since February 2020.

In addition, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the 20 largest US cities jumped 11.9% year-on-year in February, the fastest growth since March 2014. In monthly comparison, the indicator increased by 1.2%.

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April 28. Ethereum updated the maximum on news about the launch of digital bonds

Ethereum, the world's second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, reached a new peak on Wednesday amid news that the European Investment Bank (EIB) is launching digital bond sales on the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, Ethereum hit an all-time high of $2,725, up 5.5%.

Yesterday it was revealed that the EIB plans to issue a two-year digital bond worth €100 million, with Goldman Sachs, Banco Santander and Societe Generale leading the sale.

Experts note that the news of the EIB's digital bond issue prompted institutional investors to buy the token. They also noted a decrease in the supply of Ethereum in the market, which led to an increase in its price.

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April 29. US GDP in the first quarter grew by 6.4%

According to a press release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the US Department of Commerce, the country's GDP in the first quarter of the year, according to the first estimate, grew by 6.4% on an annualized basis (if GDP grew at the same rate for four quarters in a row). Analysts predicted that the economy would expand by 6.1%.

At the same time, according to the first estimate in annual terms (that is, in relation to the same period of the previous year), the US economy in the first quarter grew by 0.4%.

According to the results of the whole last year, the US economy declined by 3.5%. Experts note that such a decline in the largest economy in the world was the strongest since 1946, when the indicator fell by 11.6%. In addition, this was the first decline in US GDP in a year since 2009 – then the indicator dropped by 2.5%.

US GDP in the IV quarter of 2020 grew by 4.3% on an annualized basis and decreased by 2.4% compared to the same period of the previous year.

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May 03. German GDP fell 1.7%

According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, the country's GDP contracted in the first quarter by 1.7% in quarterly terms and by 3% in annual terms. At the same time, Germany's GDP in the third quarter of last year grew by 8.7%, and in the fourth quarter –  by 0.5%.

The weakening of the largest economy in Europe pulled down the entire economy of the eurozone countries: according to preliminary data, the total GDP of the eurozone countries fell by 0.6% in the first quarter.

Experts note that the new restrictions introduced in Germany during the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic have negatively affected the country's economy. First of all, consumer demand has been hit hard by the restrictions. Moreover, the head of the Dusseldorf Chamber of Commerce (CCI) Gregor Berghausen noted that the German economy loses more than 5 billion euros a year due to sanctions against Russia.

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May 4. Oil prices returned to two-month highs

On Tuesday, oil prices started to rise steadily, climbing to $69 a barrel, the high of early March.

Market participants are trying not to get hung up on the worsening epidemiological situation in India, but prefer to focus on the prospects for a recovery in global economic activity as quarantine restrictions are lifted.

Brent is also supported by the position of the OPEC + alliance, whose members continue to gradually increase the volume of oil production. The Iraqi oil minister said yesterday that the organization will try to keep oil prices within normal averages and not worry about falling prices.

Also, the focus of market participants remains the negotiations between the United States and Iran on a nuclear deal. If sanctions against Iran are lifted, it will allow Iranian manufacturers to return to the world market.