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January market update – hopes of a pick-up in economic activity linked to the vaccine rollout

Head of Multi-asset Funds Ben Seager-Scott and Senior Research Analyst Louie French give their commentary on what happened in the markets over the month of January 2021
Published on 16 February 2021

After a strong end to 2020, global markets started 2021 slightly weaker, reflecting more volatile market conditions in the US and a weaker month for bonds in January. The news flow was awash with the storming of the Capitol Building, the completion of the ‘blue wave’ as Democrats took control of the Senate and a bit of unusual trading from the Reddit/WallStreetBets story as well as Covid-19 developments.

In this edition

  • Against this backdrop, global equity market returns were marginally negative over the month, with Asian and Emerging Market equities outperforming developed market equities.
  • Within fixed income markets, government bonds were weaker, reflecting higher yields and expectations of further stimulus in the short term.
  • January was a positive month for commodities, particularly oil prices, which rose to pre-pandemic levels on reduced market supply and hopes of a pick-up in economic activity linked to the vaccine rollout.

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