The NTI newsroom are settling into our new home above a launderette in Tower Hamlets and apologise to our regular readers who have been subjected to dodgy news from other sources while we have been unpacking. The truth is, we couldn't find the keyboard and it was Billy's turn to use it this week.
We have an in-tray stacked with news items and those filed under 'V' are by far the most numerous. The world, which had been going crazy enough all year, has gone mad for Pfizer and its Covid-19 vaccination, causing a riot on the international stock markets. The FTSE finished at a five month high yesterday (Wednesday 11 November), up 85 points at 6,382 (a 7 per cent growth this week), the European markets have reported gains all week, keeping the Stoxx 600 index at an eight-month high, oil hit a two month high at $45 a barrel and Goldman Sachs analysts have predicted that stocks in London will continue to recover ground over and beyond 2021. Some companies who had moved from selling festival tickets into manufacturing face-masks have shifted quickly into the embroidering of baseball caps that say 'I've Had The Jab - Snog Me'. We are only a Chas and Dave song away from a street party down here in East London.
Haven't financial analysts been reading the World Health Organisation's website which has reported for weeks that Pfizer's vaccine was extremely promising, but by far not the most, as it needs to be kept in an environment of -70 degrees centigrade (the only really safe option for this is the 'Donald Trump Friend-Zone', which has been the coldest place on the planet in the last week, apart from the demonic jabberings of the ever-isolated Rudy Giuliani who is running around like a rabid racoon speaking in tongues). Apparently Astra Zeneca's vaccine can be lost in your glove compartment for three weeks having picked it up from Boots, and will still give you prolonged active life.
The fact is that 46 other Covid-19 vaccines have either entered or completed stage three human trials and are due to report their pre-regulation results in the next week to three weeks, and if the markets didn't see this coming we shouldn't let them loose on screens, five cups of Starbucks extra shots and our pensions.
Even Andrew Bailey is at it. He is quoted in today's FT as saying that the vaccine progress would reduce uncertainty in the BoE’s latest economic forecasts, although it did not change the central predictions. Well, no, Andrew ... because this is not the shock news ITV are saying it is. This is the latest outcome of a seven month intensive search for a vaccine, the continuing results of which have been published widely for those who want to step away from Instagram for a moment and use the Internet for what it was designed for. No, not porn, Garry from Eastbourne ... reliable, thoughtful, well-evidenced information.
Thank heavens for the dependable gloom of economists at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), who are predicting a double dip recession, with a little help from the fact that we are in lockdown in England this month and it may have an effect on our output. At about ten past four this afternoon they also predicted an early sunset, saying that, in all probability, we won't see the sun again until around 7:18 tomorrow morning. The ONS describe the current figures as “a loss of momentum since June”, output in the third quarter grew by 15.5 per cent. That followed a record 19.8 per cent fall in the second quarter, however, and a 2.5 per cent decline in the first.
Economists are now warning of another period of contraction in the final three months of the year, both in the UK and the Eurozone. Last week the Bank of England warned that UK GDP would shrink 2 per cent in the three months to December, leaving the economy 11 per cent smaller at the end of 2020 than it was at the end of 2019. there will also be a plague of loc ...
"What's that, you say? A vaccine? We hadn't heard of that. That changes everything. We now predict growth in the first quarter, the best spring on record and my sister getting pregnant after three years of failed IVF treatment."