Weekly news summary for March 12 to 18

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Friday, March 12, 2021: Biden Signs $1.9T Stimulus Package into Law

US President Joe Biden has signed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law a day earlier than planned and signaled an acceleration in the country’s vaccination program, expecting the situation to return normal in time for Jul. 4 holiday.

Biden requested states in a televised address to allow all US adults to receive vaccine shots by May 1, a target that supported previous statements about wanting all adults vaccinated by the end of that month.

Monday, March 15, 2021: China’s Latest Data Presents Strong Growth

China’s latest data showed strong improvements in industrial output, fixed asset investment, and retail sales in the first two months of 2021, underscoring the rebound of the world’s second-largest economy from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the country’s industrial output rose 35.1% year-on-year to its biggest increase in decades from January to February, while fixed-asset investment climbed 35.0% to $695 billion and retail sales surged 33.8% in the same period.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021: Third Wave of COVID-19 Infections Grows in Europe

A third wave of COVID-19 is growing in Europe, with rising infections reported by Germany, France, Italy, and the Benelux countries.

Robert Koch Institute stated that new cases are increasing rapidly in Germany, while the country’s, France’s, and Italy’s decision to suspend AstraZeneca vaccine’s distribution due to possible serious side effects are not helping the situation.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021: BCB Raises Rates for the First Time Since 2015

The Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) lifted its benchmark interest rate and signaled another potential hike against a backdrop of worries over increasing prices in the country’s economy, which had been affected by the new wave of COVID-19 infections.

The BCB raised its key interest rate for the first time since July 2015 to 2.75% from an all-time low of 2% and was higher than the 2.50% expected by many economists.

Thursday, March 18, 2021: Oil Prices Fall after US Stockpiles Rise

Oil prices fell for the fifth straight day on Thursday after government data showed US crude supplies were up for four consecutive weeks, while the coronavirus pandemic has dimmed demand outlook.

Brent crude oil futures were down 1.06% to $67.28 per barrel, having dropped 0.6% on Wednesday, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 0.99% to $63.96 per barrel after losing 0.3% in the previous session.

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