U.S. Equity Markets fell on COVID-19 Delta variant fears, led by the Dow which ended yesterday’s session with a loss of 2.09%, leading to a VIX which rose over 22%. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that many cities are likely to reimpose mask mandates, as daily COVID-19 cases hit the highest level since May. White House officials expressed concern about the slowing rate of coronavirus vaccinations, fuelling investors’ worries about a diminished growth outlook. This drove yesterday’s sell-off. In terms of economic data, the NAHB Housing Market Index fell and missed estimates, but remained near all-time highs. This showed that homebuilders remain optimistic about the housing market. Aside from COVID-19 developments, the big catalyst this week will be more corporate earnings, with reports from Big Tech companies. European Markets closed lower. Again, the main story here was the Delta variant. In other headlines, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde will introduce a new monetary policy framework at this week’s meeting, in order to provide continued support for the regional economy. Germany’s Bundesbank said it expects economic output to reach pre-COVID-19 levels in the third quarter, as supply bottlenecks improve and the services sector recovers. OPEC and its allies resolved an oil output dispute, agreeing to increase supply beginning in August. In Asia, China’s economic planner said the government in Beijing will continue to sell more of its commodity stockpiles in an attempt to ease prices. Japanese auto and electronics makers came under pressure as recent yen strength and slowing global growth concerns weighed on the demand outlook. South Korea reported more than 1,200 new coronavirus infections on Monday, the 13th straight day above 1,000, stoking speculation the government will broaden social-distancing restrictions. Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre told airlines it plans to strengthen coronavirus quarantine and testing measures for flight crews, in an attempt to limit potential infections. Elsewhere, Oil fell 7.35% as OPEC agreed to raise production by 400,000 barrels per day every month until September 2022, while Bitcoin fell 4% on little news.
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