UK stock markets are likely to open on a positive footing on Tuesday, 23 February, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined the exit roadmap that is likely to be followed by easing the restrictions across various parts of England. With the ongoing vaccination programme, the National Health Service has vaccinated more than 17.5 million people across multiple jurisdictions in the United Kingdom.
The Public Health England (PHE) has realised that a single jab of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine has been able to reduce the rate of hospital admissions and fatal cases by at least 75 per cent, while a “good level of protection” has been suggested in connection to the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccina, as per the available data.
The Prime Minister has announced to start the immunisation process for all the individuals falling in priority groups 5 to 9 with a target to inoculate every adult by the end of July.
Investors eye reopening
Investors’ focus has been perpetually aligned to the upcoming developments and potential gains that can be recognised once the businesses are allowed to operate in their complete capacity. With the sharp eye on Budget 2021, fund allocations by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak can be crucial for the financial markets.
Last night, the Dow Industrials managed to finish in positive territory, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped nearly 2.50 per cent, led by a sell-off in heavyweight technology stocks. The FTSE 100 settled at 6,612.24, down 0.18 per cent, whereas the broader FTSE 250 lost 0.26 per cent at the close.
GBP nears 1.41
Meanwhile, the Great Britain pound (GBP) has registered a fresh multi-year high of 1.4087 against the United States dollar (USD), nearing the mark of 1.41. At around 0748 GMT, the GBP vs USD pair was trading at 1.4085, up 0.17 per cent from the previous close of 1.4061 at the interbank foreign exchange market. In the intraday session so far, the currency pair has oscillated between a high and low of 1.4087 and 1.4059, respectively.
A brief of PM’s exit roadmap
- According to the persisting rate of virus spread, the lockdown restrictions are likely to be lifted in all the areas at the same time as the level of infection remains largely similar across different authorities in England.
- The government has announced to provide free Covid testing kits for workplaces until the end of June, ensuring a thorough check on the individuals as people return to their respective offices upon the removal of restrictions.
- All the small enterprises, families and self-employed individuals are directed to collect the free testing kits from local testing sites.
- The government is expected to come up with an updated plan that can strategies the response of healthcare administration to the local outbreaks.
- Lifting lockdown will certainly lead to more infections, relatively higher hospital admissions and subsequent fatalities, the PM had said quoting the model released by SAGE. Businesses have a reason to cheer as the government is likely to moderate the relaxations following which the enterprises have to curb their respective operations.
- In a multi-step process of easing the restrictions, the government is aiming to resume a bunch of activities starting with outdoor sports, organised set-ups designed to accommodate people in a formal manner.
- This will be followed by international travel that has been a key for many enterprises including aviation, tourism, retail, and hospitality.
- Social gatherings and recreational outings, including the nightclubs, large events, theatricals, cinemas, play area for children, hotels, hostels, concert halls, and B&Bs will be reopened with certain modalities; however, there will be a rigorous check on the capacity and number of people accumulating at such venues.
- The next step will pave the way for reopening the indoor settings, including the nail salons, hairdressers, gyms, holiday-lets, pubs and restaurants.