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Cancellation Risk – the risk that if you decide to cancel the investment after assets have been purchased you could lose some of your money if the market(s) or asset(s) to which your contract is linked have fallen since the purchase date.

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Meteor Insights

2020 – The Last Stretch

We’ve made it to the final quarter of 2020. Just three more months and this year will finally be behind us

We’ve made it to the final quarter of 2020. Just three more months and this year will finally be behind us. For many of us, it will be hard to imagine living through a stranger time. Lifestyles, careers, routines – all turned upside down. The world has had to do a lot of adapting and yet, we’ve already started banding around the phrase “new normal”.

But what exactly is the new normal? Will we ever go back to anything resembling pre-2020? Is it even worth trying?

Well, we’ve previously covered the winners and losers in another post. From an economics perspective, it’s clear that for every story of financial woe, there are others of unprecedented success. Lockdowns for example, have forced people to utilise services they may have barely even considered before. Industries such as home shopping, video streaming and those associated with remote working have grown as a result. In the UK, this could provide the incentive needed to improve the nation’s communications infrastructure whilst upskilling the workforce, increasing overall economic potential. For passive US investors, this consumer behaviour has resulted in positive returns due to a tech-heavy equity market. The S&P 500 notched a new high in September and as of October, is up more than 7% year to date.

The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine brighter for industries that have suffered too. The restart in activity has been strong in developed markets with the public welcoming the reopening of some hospitality services. Any risk of renewed restrictions is also likely to be moderated too with governments supportive of maintaining momentum in economic activity. The goal of a working vaccine in 2021 also gives hope for the removal of social distancing measures sooner rather than later. KPMG economists expect growth to pick up 8.4% in 2021 if a vaccine is approved in January, with the economy reaching pre-COVID levels by the start of 2023.

Some might, therefore, find reasons to be relatively bullish in the long run. However, much of this is predicated on being able to tackle the numerous hurdles that lie ahead. Despite progress being made, the quest for a vaccine is still littered with challenges. Only yesterday, Johnson & Johnson had to pause vaccine trials over a patient’s “unexplained illness”.

Also, economically speaking, businesses and consumers in developed nations have become reliant on government stimulus. For example, without the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and VAT relief, can we expect hospitality consumption to be maintained if disposable incomes fall?

We would also be remiss if we forgot about Brexit, the US election and ongoing Washington-Beijing tensions. All of which have the potential to dent the recovery.

So, as the 2020 chapter comes to a close, encouraging signals are emerging. The road is hazardous though, and for now, it might be prudent to stay socially distanced from being too optimistic.

Posted: 14 October 2020
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