by Charles Cheng, CFA
The economic story of the first half of 2021 was one of recovery. With the proven effectiveness of vaccines and the opening up of daily life in many countries, the question was about how fast the bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic and whether that would lead to inflation and overheating. While vaccine adoption was slow in some parts of the world, it seemed that a substantial part of each population would eventually get vaccinated and that widespread sheltering at home was a thing of the past. With the new data coming out of Israel regarding the Delta variant of COVID-19, it appears that we may not be out of the woods yet.
2021 年上半年的經濟故事的主題是復甦。 隨著疫苗的有效性和許多國家日常生活的開放，大家都在關心經濟從新冠疫情中反彈的速度有多快，以及這是否會導致通貨膨脹和經濟過熱。 雖然世界某些地區的疫苗接種速度仍緩慢，但最終每個地區的絕大部份人口都將接種疫苗，而躲在家中避難的場景也將成為過去。 但隨著來自以色列的關於新冠Delta變體的新數據，我們似乎還沒有走出困境。
For the week ending Monday July 19th the MSCI World Index fell 3% while the yield on the 10 year US Treasury Note dropped 17 basis points. After rising over 50% since the start of the year, crude oil futures fell over 10% for the week due to demand fears as well as higher than expected inventories. In the US, new COVID infections rose by 70% for the week and hospitalizations by 36% due to a surge in the Delta variant of the disease. Delta appears to be about 225% more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19 according to the scientific advisory group from the UK. Furthermore, a study out of the Israel Ministry of Health shows that even the most effective vaccines have reduced efficacy in preventing infection with a protection rate of just 64% versus 90+% previously. While the rate of preventing hospitalizations for fully vaccinated persons is still over 90%, this still means that having significant numbers of vaccinations will likely not be enough to stop the spread of the pandemic.
在截至 7 月 19 日星期一的一週中，MSCI 世界指數下跌 3%，而 10 年期美國國債收益率下跌 17 個基點。 自年初以來上漲超過 50% 後，由於需求擔憂以及高於預期的庫存，本週原油期貨價下跌超過 10%。 在美國，由於Delta 變體病毒傳播的激增，本週新增感染人數超過70%，住院人數增加了36%。 根據英國科學諮詢小組的說法，Delta 的傳染性似乎比 COVID-19 的原始菌株高出約 225%。 此外，以色列衛生部的一項研究表明，即使是最有效的疫苗對於Delta的功效都有所減弱，保護率僅為 64%，而對於原始菌株的保護率超過90%。 儘管完全接種疫苗的人士的住院預防率仍超過 90%，但這仍然意味著大量接種疫苗可能也不足以防止變種病毒的蔓延。
What this means going forward is that the virus may spread quickly again, especially through places with lower rates of vaccination, which could cause national and local governments to re-implement restrictions on public activity. Even without government interventions, people may choose to decrease their public activity voluntarily if hospitalizations continue to rise. With so much money already been spent to counteract the decrease in economic activity brought about by the pandemic, one has to wonder if governments would be able to deal with a second downturn. At the very least, it could cause a reversal of a trend from the beginning of the year where traditional economic sectors like financials and home building were outperforming the technology sector.
這意味著未來病毒可能會再次迅速傳播，尤其是在疫苗接種率較低的地方，而這可能會導致國家和地方政府重新實施對公眾活動的限制。 即使沒有政府干預，如果住院人數繼續上升，人們也可能會選擇自願減少公眾活動。 由於各國政府已經花費了大量資金來應對疫情帶來的經濟活動量減少，人們不得不懷疑政府是否仍有能力應對第二次經濟衰退。 而最起碼，它可能會使年初以來表現優於科技類股的金融和房屋建築等傳統經濟類股的走勢反轉。
For now, it’s still too early to tell if there is going to be any change in the recovery. It’s possible that the fear of the new variant may spur a faster rate of vaccinations. Governments could continue to pass stimulus measures that would have otherwise ended. Major pharmaceutical companies are preparing booster shots in response to the lower effectiveness of their vaccines. And restrictions may be hard to introduce now with vaccinated persons at a much lower risk of any serious consequence from the disease. While the threat of a resurgence in COVID infections may change the relative fortunes of certain industry sectors, the risk of a reversal in the entire trend of the market is less likely. For most investors, there is little reason to deviate from their existing long term investment strategy.
目前，要判斷經濟復甦的進程是否會發生任何變化還為時過早。 對新型變種病毒的恐懼可能會刺激疫苗接種率。 而各國政府可以繼續原本會終止的經濟刺激措施。 大型製藥公司正在準備疫苗加強針劑的注射，以應對其疫苗對於新型變種病毒效力較低的情況。 現在由於接種，新冠病毒將導致任何嚴重後果的風險很低，所以政府想要再採取對於公眾活動的限制措施也比較困難。 儘管 COVID 感染捲土重來的威脅可能會改變某些行業的前景，但整個市場趨勢逆轉的風險較小。 對於大多數投資者來說，幾乎沒有理由使他們需要偏離他們現有的長期投資策略。
This article reflects the personal views of the author and not any firm’s and should not be viewed as an investment recommendation.