Morning Report – Thursday 13 May
Five days after a cyber attack crippled the largest fuel pipeline in the US and sparked panic buying of petrol, Colonial Pipeline has confirmed that operations have resumed, though the company cautioned that it would take “several days for the product delivery supply chain to return to normal.” The US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, confirmed the resumption having spoken with the CEO of Colonial Pipeline. President Biden also eased rules on ships to ease the shortage prompted by the ransomware attack and tankers are transporting petrol to stations emptied following the high demand, and high prices, of the past week.
England’s Covid-19 infections have halved since March, according to Imperial College London’s REACT study, one of the largest of its kind with over 127,000 volunteers. The study shows infections have fallen with an average of only 1 in 1000 people infected and the findings were celebrated by Health Minister Matt Hancock as demonstrating “the impact our incredible vaccination rollout is having on COVID-19 infection rates across the country.” The news comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces demands from all sides, including Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, to accelerate inoculations in UK Covid-19 hotspots to tackle outbreaks of variants and compliment surge testing programmes.
Sterling is weaker against the euro and steady against the dollar in the early morning trade. The NHS vaccination programme has been expanded to millions more this morning as the coronavirus inoculation drive is opened to 38- and 39-year-olds. Elsewhere, former Prime Minister David Cameron will appear before the Treasury select committee to face questions over the collapse of Greensill Capital and his lobbying on their behalf.
The euro is stronger against other major currencies overnight. In Germany, the Green party has taken a small but consistent lead in the polls recently, which has prompted Merkel’s coalition to accelerate emissions cuts and set out fresh proposals to “defuse the climate crisis”, committing to reduce carbon emissions by 65% from 1990 levels by 2030. Elsewhere, despite being placed on the UK’s “green list”, Portugal could be forced to turn away British tourists as non-essential travel from non-EU states is still banned and, as holder of the EU presidency, reversing the ban could be problematic for Lisbon.
The dollar is weaker against the euro and largely unchanged against the pound this morning. Amid the fiercest hostilities in years, President Biden said yesterday that Israelis “had the right to defend themselves” against Hamas rocket attacks following a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but expressed hope that de-escalation comes quickly. Meanwhile, US House Republicans removed Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership post on Wednesday following her persistent criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Asian stocks weakened Thursday after a rise in U.S. inflation sent the S&P 500 tumbling and drove bond yields higher on concerns that price pressures could stifle the economic recovery. A regional equities gauge erased this year’s gain, with equities declining from Japan to Australia. U.S. futures fluctuated and European contracts fell. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 both shed more than 2% in a third-straight day of losses, with the energy sector among the only winners as commodity prices continued their advance. Treasury yields steadied from a climb in U.S. hours, which shrugged off strong demand at the auction of new 10-year notes. Asia investment-grade bonds dipped and Bitcoin slumped as much as 15% to trade briefly below $50,000.
Main Economic Data/Central Banks/Government (All Times GMT)
BOC Gov Macklem Speak 11:00
BOE Gov Bailey speaks 12:00
FOMC member Waller Speaks 13:00