1) China cuts benchmark lending rate for the first time since pandemic
The People’s Bank of China on Monday announced a cut of its benchmark lending rate for the first time since the surge of Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020. The one-year loan prime rate was cut from 3.85% to 3.8%, while the five-year loan prime rate was maintained at 4.65%.
Despite being the first country to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, China has been struggling with low consumer spending, Beijing’s zero-tolerance policy and tighter regulations, especially on the real estate sector.
2) Pfizer executives expected Covid-19 to become endemic in early 2024
Pfizer’s president expected the coronavirus to become an endemic, more like seasonal flu, as early as 2024 as people are building immunity from vaccines or from prior infections, which will help prevent hospitalizations and deaths from the virus.
“We believe Covid will transition to an endemic state, potentially by 2024,” Nanette Cocero, global president of Pfizer Vaccines, said during an investor call Friday.
3) BOJ signalled for steady policy rates
Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda on Monday said in parliament that it is too early to consider normalizing monetary policy while adding that it is important for the government to ensure market confidence in Japan’s public finances in both medium and long term.
4) U.S. to release 18 million barrels of oil to cool down fuel prices
The U.S. Department of Energy said that it will sell 18 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is a part of its previous announcement to release its reserve to cool fuel prices.