Chilled end to bumper November

It’s been a pretty chilled start to the week, with a little more profit-taking kicking in as we bring an end to a bumper November.

More vaccine news from Moderna, as they applied for emergency regulatory approval in the US and Europe. That could see the vaccine distributed before the end of the year and provide a massive boost to the economic recovery next year as we all emerge from our houses following a year-long hibernation. There was no impact on the markets from the announcement though, with it coming weeks after their incredibly positive results.

What a month it’s been. The US election lived up to the hype, with Trump storming to an early lead – as many warned would happen – before Biden made a late postal surge to take the key swing states and reverse Trump’s election lead from 2016. It really was a game of two halves, with Trump taking it to extra time through legal challenges and recounts. While challenges continue, the transition is underway which is providing some certainty for markets.

While markets responded surprisingly well to the election, perhaps comforted by the prospect of a Republican Senate and trust in the US institutions to prevent any prolonged uncertainty, it was the vaccine news that took it to another gear. And while we may have seen some profit-taking, equity markets have held onto those gains very well. Cause for optimism going into year-end.

Despite it being an action-packed November, there’s still so much to come before the end of December so there’ll be no coasting into the new year. This week it’s OPEC+, next week ECB, Fed the week after. All the while, the UK and EU are desperately trying to avoid a no-deal Brexit in a little over four weeks and the US presidential transition is underway. The vaccine news has been great but it was one of many market risks in the coming weeks.

On top of that, while lockdowns and other restrictions appear to be working in reversing the trajectory of Covid cases and fatalities, the final weeks of the year carry massive risks of a second peak in quick succession, given how families inevitably gather around Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Restrictions well into the first quarter look highly likely.

The Chinese PMIs earlier in the day failed to give the broader market much of a lift. The recovery in the world’s second-largest economy has been extremely impressive but it’s been long priced in and, what’s more, it’s not having a majorly positive impact on other nations, particularly those that are still battling Covid-19 so it’s very much just a domestic success story.

Brexit talks are continuing and we are starting to hear more and more from those involved in the discussions, which suggests we’re still seeing a lack of progress on the really contentious points. While my belief in a deal being reached is still in-tact, time is fast running out and you have to wonder how long it can go on before we see a wobble in the markets.

Sterling is remarkably steady under the circumstances. Just over a month until the end of the transition and a deal is yet to be reached. Either the markets have become far more comfortable with the prospect of no-deal or the downside risk is huge in the unthinkable event that both sides walk away from the negotiating table so late in the day.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

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Former Craig

Former Craig

Former Senior Market Analyst, UK & EMEA at OANDA
Based in London, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a market analyst. With many years of experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while producing macroeconomic commentary. His views have been published in the Financial Times, Reuters, The Telegraph and the International Business Times, and he also appears as a regular guest commentator on the BBC, Bloomberg TV, FOX Business and SKY News. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and is recognised as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.