Markets wrapped up their first full week of 2021, and after a sloppy stumble on Monday, the S&P 500 managed to recover and close up +1.2% for the week. Equities seem to be telling us to expect a pretty vigorous economic recovery in the coming months. Given the continued ramping-up of vaccinations, along with better seasonal weather, we can see the possibility of a sharp downturn in COVID-19 cases beginning in March.
The macro data suggests that cyclical strength is stronger than consensus expects. In fact, copper is up +27% since the start of 2020, and copper usually rises when economic growth is accelerating. This is a good sign that things could be picking up sharply very soon.
According to the CDC vaccination tracker, 330,054 more vaccinations were given today. This number is relatively low compared to the sharp surge in daily vaccines administered in the past few days. This is primarily because 10 states (AR, FL, IA, KY, MD, ME, NE, NY, VA and VT) did not update their stats on the CDC website. However, we do not believe these states suddenly stopped giving vaccines to their people. Instead, this is more likely a data issue, and tomorrow there should be a “catch-up” update for these states. Hence, we still expect the U.S. to reach 1 million vaccines administered per day this week.
Israel’s daily COVID-19 case development might be the chart most worthy of tracking in the world right now. We currently estimate about 23% of Israel’s population is already infected with COVID-19 (table below). As shown below, about 22% of Israel’s population has been vaccinated. Hence, in 4-5 weeks (if Israel maintains the current vaccination rate), Israel should be able to reach the 60% infection + vaccination threshold. 60% is widely viewed as the level required to achieve herd immunity. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination development in Israel is worth watching.If the daily new cases in Israel start to slow down dramatically, it could be a roadmap for the world to end this pandemic.