‘Freedom Day’ in the United Kingdom as coronavirus restrictions end

July 19, 2021

In our weekly Market Monday insights, Prosperity Investment Management examines the latest developments across the globe's biggest financial markets - providing you with all the latest information you need to know.

In the United Kingdom, England has removed most of its remaining coronavirus restrictions on the economy and daily life with nearly all rules - including capacity limits and social distancing - scrapped.

Alongside removing restrictions, the UK government has allowed the economy to reopen fully with all sectors, including nightlife, operating at full capacity with little-to-no social distancing measures for the first time since March 2020. Citing its vaccination programme as a huge success, it’s one of a small number of countries worldwide to lift all restrictions. It’s in stark comparison to some European nations such as France and the Netherlands, who have reintroduced strict measures to control a surge in coronavirus cases.

In the United States, retail sales defied expectations to record a 0.6% rise in June after an initial projection of a 0.4% contraction. It comes despite a backdrop of diminishing consumer confidence, the lowest since February. Attributed mostly to the rise in inflation, consumer complaints about rising prices for homes, vehicles and household durables reached an all-time high according to a study by the University of Michigan.

Finally in China, increased regulatory scrutiny of US-listed Chinese internet companies like ride-hailer Didi Chuxing is continuing to concern foreign investors. Commercial law firms in Hong Kong said that Beijing's stricter cybersecurity and anti-monopoly regulations could accelerate the trend for Chinese companies to list in Hong Kong. While the valuations of China's leading internet companies could suffer in the short term, analysts said a more transparent legal and regulatory regime could benefit the sector in the long term.

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