Christmas is coming and many countries are torn between giving citizens a respite from stringent restrictions and tightening those restrictions with coronavirus cases soaring.
Recent days saw the toughest tier of restrictions imposed on much of England, Germany going into full lockdown and South Korea facing its worst outbreak since the pandemic started.
Germany and the UK will relax rules slightly so families can celebrate. JPMorgan predicts the impact of UK easing on infections, hospitalizations and deaths could be huge, making a January national lockdown more likely.
Yet nothing seems to stymie the year-end Santa rally with world stocks, oil prices and bitcoin in a festive mood, feasting on U.S. stimulus bets and COVID-19 vaccines hopes. Signs that the New Year will bring new lockdowns could serve as a cruel reminder that the global economy will be dealing with virus aftershocks well into 2021.
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