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Daily Market Update

Latest Economic & Market Update 19th November 2020

Good afternoon, it is November 19th 2020 and here is your economic and market update from BlackBee. 

Today’s focus:

  • Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) call on government to allow hotel dining and remove national travel restrictions
  • Rapid Covid-19 antigen testing receives EU recommendation

Hoteliers are calling on the Government to allow people to travel outside their county and to permit indoor dining in hotels, including for non-residents, as part of its reduced restrictions for reopening society safely this December. Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, President of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) says these measures will ensure hotels can reopen in a safe and sustainable manner while helping to provide safe, controlled environments for people during the festive season this year. Taoiseach Micheál Martin revealed yesterday that a lockdown exit decision will be made next week. The challenge facing the government is a balancing act between public health and the economy. Yesterday Ireland passed the 2,000 Covid-19 related death mark. The 15-74 year old Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate for October was 20.2%, almost three times the original unemployment rate measure of 6.9%. While Ireland’s GDP is estimated by the European Commission to only retreat 2.3% this year, it is significantly supported by pharmaceutical and technology sectors. Domestic demand this year is forecast to drop by 22%. The government’s lockdown exit decision will be decided by taking into consideration recommendations from business groups including IBEC (Irish Business and Employers Confederation), Irish Hotels Federation and NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team). (Sources: IHF, Irish Times, CSO, European Commission)

The European Commission yesterday adopted a recommendation on the use of rapid antigen for Covid-19 testing. The antigen test is described by the Commission as a new generation of faster and cheaper tests that have become increasingly available on the European market. Member states can avail of €100 million support package should they decide to implement the testing procedure and Ireland MEP Billy Kelleher has called on the Irish government to adopt the recommendation. “Obviously, the RT-PCR testing should be used where possible. However, due to the time taken to get a result using PCR testing, there may be benefit in looking for a testing system that delivers quicker results especially in emergency or in point-of-care scenarios. There are clearly many scenarios where a rapid, antigen test could be used”, Mr. Kelleher said. Using the rapid antigen method, Slovakia tested 3.6 million people (two-thirds of the population) between October 31st and November 1st. A further two million people, some for the second time, were tested over the following weekend. The Times reported that Infection rates in the areas covered by the pilot scheme had dropped by 55% in the second weekend – suggesting that obliging those who tested positive to isolate for ten days worked. The argument against the rapid testing method is that it can produce false negatives, mistakenly clearing people who actually have the virus. Following yesterday’s European Commission recommendation and the Slovakian case to be studied, European governments may be provided with an alternative to national lockdowns. (Sources: European Commission, Irish Times, FT, The Times)

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(as at close of markets 18/11/2020)