Written by Norman Isaac Mwambazi

European stock markets rise as UK issues revised travel guidance

When COVID-19 became a pandemic, countries closed their borders and airports in an effort to make sure they don’t import …

When COVID-19 became a pandemic, countries closed their borders and airports in an effort to make sure they don’t import infections from other countries. Countries with high infections and those with new variants were placed on the “Red List” where travellers from such countries were not allowed to enter the locked down countries. It is an understandable move because countries have to do whatever they can to keep their people safe.

Now that the coronavirus vaccine has been rolled out to most countries around the world and countries that put in much effort into vaccinating their population look to be controlling the pandemic by significantly reducing infections and deaths are being taken off the red lists and their travellers from such countries are being allowed to roam the world, without necessarily having to quarantine first.

However, the reverse is true for those countries that are experiencing a surge in their COVID-19 infections and deaths.

Yesterday, the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps issued a revised list of countries on the green, amber, and red travel lists and this has had a positive effect on stocks especially in Europe. Europe stocks opened the Friday trading session higher than they closed on Thursday.

In London, the FTSE 100 rose 0.2% after opening on Friday morning, and the CAC in France followed the same trend, rising 0.1%. It was only the DAX in Germany that was flat after opening on Friday morning.

Some of the countries that were put on the revised UK travel green list include people entering the UK from Spain’s Balearic Islands, Madeira, Malta, and Barbados. Travellers from these countries will not have to quarantine after entering the UK from June 30, 2021.

Shapps also revealed that the government is looking at dropping mandatory quarantine for fully vaccinated people returning from countries on the amber list later in the summer and this will be done in phases starting with UK residents.

“We’re moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we’re now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully-vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries – showing a real sign of progress,” Shapps said.

He added, “It is right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable.”

Some of the countries on the amber list include Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Benin, China, Cuba, and Canada among others.

A number of destinations, however, were also to the red travel list, and some of these include Uganda, Mongolia, Eritrea, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Tunisia.

Yesterday, Thursday, June 25, 2021, the UK reported more than 16,700 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths within 28 days.

The UK currency, the Pound Sterling was steady against the US dollar after dropping slightly when the Bank of England warned of a spike in inflation.

Other global stocks..

In the US, by the time the European markets opened, the S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were trading flat, Dow futures (YM=F) rose 0.3%, and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were flat. Yesterday Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq had a better day in the market as they rose from their post Fed losses last week and early this week to close at new record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Russell 2000 Index are yet to hit the highs.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK attributed the recent gains to the bipartisan agreement of a $579 billion infrastructure bill even though it is less than what the Democrats wanted. Hewson believes it is still a fairly decent sum of money that will be added to the previous three stimulus packages that have been passed since the pandemic.

“The new spending would include money for roads, bridges, rail and public transit, all areas that have been sorely neglected over the years. While the agreement is welcome it still faces a high bar in passing into law given the Democrats narrow majorities on Capitol Hill,” Hewson said as quoted by Yahoo Finance.

Asian stocks

Just like everywhere else, Asian stocks were not left behind by the activity that was happening everywhere else. On Friday opening, Asian shares rose, and it is reported that they were boosted by the rally on Wall Street that came after Biden’s deal on infrastructure spending.

In Japan, Nikkei rose 0.6%, in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng climbed 1.4% and in China, the Shanghai Composite rose 1.1%.