In this week’s recap, US, European and worldwide overall stocks plummeted, amid investor fears over a new highly mutated variant of Covid-19 found in South Africa shaking up trader sentiment. The investor “fear index” surges by +40%, the most in 10 months.
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel proposed new measures to tackle a 4th wave of the coronavirus pandemic, with a massive number of new Covid cases on Thursday, (up from 66,884 Wednesday). The death toll has now reached over 100K, with Merkel proposing a new 2-week lockdown, to begin on Thursday, which would have seen shops, bars & restaurants close. However, the idea was rejected by the incoming gov’t, who said it will be interpreted by the public, as a bad political trick by the old & new gov’t.
The Bank of Korea raised its interest policy rate by 25 basis points to 1%, in a move that was largely expected by analysts. It was the country’s 1st rate hike in almost 3 years & put it at the forefront of a global movement to withdraw, the huge amounts of stimulus put in place to help soften the impact of Covid-19. Korean policymakers are trying to balance the post-pandemic recovery with rising inflation. The bank also raised its inflation outlook to 2.3% for this year & 2% for 2022, suggesting further interest rate hikes are coming.
El Salvador presented the first Bitcoin City; Australia is sending peacekeeping troops to the Solomon Islands, as riots rocked the capital city of Honiara for the 2nd day; China’s capital city this week approved its 1st autonomous taxis for commercial use; the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities held a ceremony for the reopening of the ancient Avenue of Sphinxes; battery-powered trains may become economical as soon as 2023; Sweden’s 1st ever female prime minister has resigned just hours after she was appointed; conservative candidate Kast has a good chance of winning the elections in Chile; Biden intends to run for reelection in 2024.