• Senator Biden is projected to win the US presidency, while President Trump’s chances hinge on successful legal challenges in multiple battleground states.
• Markets were buoyed in November by the successful trial of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, which is expected to be approved by the FDA later in the month.
• Rising COVID-19 cases in Europe have forced countries to return to lockdown conditions, including the closure of non-essential businesses.
• After bouncing back from the pandemic, China revealed its new five-year plan, which continues China’s focus on emerging technology and innovation.
• Australia’s combined fiscal and monetary response, along with the easing of restrictions across the country, are expected to boost the recovery in the final quarter of 2020.
With a string of zero daily cases, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced an easing of restrictions, including the removal of the 25km ‘ring of steel’ around Melbourne and a further relaxing of rules around social gatherings and businesses.
Data from the World Health Organisation showed confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide were above 45 million at the end of October and global deaths were 1.2 million. According to the IMF, the global growth rate is forecast to be a significantly negative figure of -4.4% for 2020, bouncing back to 5.2% in 2021, although recovery is expected to be “uneven and uncertain”.
The economic data point to ongoing strength in the US recovery but record daily cases of COVID-19 are dragging on sentiment. After a tense presidential election race, Senator Biden is the projected winner, while President Trump’s dwindling chances hinge on legal challenges in Pennsylvania and other battleground states.
New coronavirus cases continued to rise across Europe, prompting countries to implement new restrictions. The UK broadened the number of cities under the highest tier restrictions, while Germany and France announced heightened restrictions to prevent an uncontrolled outbreak.
China unveiled its 14th five-year plan, outlining its economic and social priorities for 2021-25. The plan is centred around maintaining economic growth, with technology and innovation again a key focus, especially strategic emerging sectors like biotechnology, semiconductors and new energy vehicles.
India became the second country to pass 8 million COVID-19 cases in October, fast approaching the US, which ticked over 9 million at the start of November. Concerns continue to mount as India approaches its major Hindu festival season, which is likely to increase the speed of the spread of the virus.