Monday morning briefing: The greenback backs down

It is finally here! The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada last week. Governments are working diligently to distribute the vaccine and ensure the most vulnerable get it first. A return to normal, both in life and in business, seems like it might now be in sight.

Economic challenges may persist well into 2021, as many countries continue to grapple with a high number of cases, and the distribution of the vaccine may take some time. Still, expectations are growing that there may be a full economic recovery next year. As the year 2020 comes to a close, it is important to acknowledge all of the front-line heroes – nurses, doctors, grocery store clerks, among others – who gave everything of themselves to take care of us. We thank you all!

Economic/industry news

Canada’s inflation rate was 1.0% in November: Inflation accelerates in Canada to fastest since pandemic hit

The Fed holds its federal funds rate steady: Fed holds rates near zero but expects economy to improve in 2021

U.S. retail sales fall in November: U.S. retail sales decline further as COVID, lack of additional fiscal stimulus weigh

Canadian retail sales rise in October: Retail sales rise 0.4% to $54.6 billion in October

The Canadian economy may fully recover in 2021: Economy set to recover slowly in 2021

Some possible trends for 2021: What can possibly go wrong? Trends for 2021

The outlook for global credit in 2021: Outlook 2021: Global credit

Reasons for hope

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford find success in COVID-19 vaccine trials: ‘Watershed moment’: First COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Canada, kicking off massive campaign

FDA to approve Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine: U.S. FDA plans to quickly approve Moderna coronavirus vaccine after panel endorsement

Stepping up to help restaurant workers: Guy Fieri praised after raising over $21.5M for restaurant workers

Adapting your business

The importance of human capital: Five lessons from the pandemic light a path forward to the future of work

18 ways to think about money: What does money mean to your client?

How fintech can help advisors: Top 3 practice management challenges

Chart of the week: The Greenback backs down

The U.S. dollar fell to its lowest level since early 2018 versus a number of other major currencies last week, according to the U.S. Dollar Index (DXY Index). The decline came as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board holding its policy rate steady, along with the U.S. government working toward a new stimulus package. Since its 2020 high on March 20, the U.S. dollar has dropped 12%.

Going forward, these same factors could challenge the greenback. Could the U.S. dollar experience more downward pressure in 2021? Let us know what you think. Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Hedge funds posted a strong performance in November: Hedge funds up 5.54 per cent in November, says Backstop BarclayHedge

The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund reached US$1 trillion in assets: Vanguard makes history with the first US$1 trillion equity fund

Warehouse space attracting top PE firms: Why Blackstone and other private equity giants are gobbling up warehouses

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board joins the Network for Greening the Financial System: Federal Reserve becomes last major central bank to join climate group

News and notes (Canada)

CI launches Bitcoin fund: Canada’s CI Financial completes US$72M IPO of Bitcoin fund

Borrowell to purchase Refresh Financial: Borrowell to acquire Refresh Financial to help more Canadians gain access to affordable credit

COVID-19 has pushed interest in ESG higher: Pandemic accelerates ESG, investment and tech trends

Cash is king in TFSA accounts: Cash is Canadians’ primary TFSA investment: BMO survey

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