Heading towards a 'Covid-free' normal Update 17-12-2020

Covid stirs again

A number of effective vaccines have already been approved and more are in the pipeline. The first round of vaccinations has started in some countries. There would appear to be sufficient productive capacity to inoculate a large percentage of the world's population during 2021.

The virus is still present, especially in Europe where strict measures are being implemented to contain a new (last?) wave of infections.

The experience gained during the previous lockdowns means that the economy can be kept running to the maximum possible extent. However, sectors dependent on mobility remain under considerable pressure.

Pause in economic recovery

The new measures are leaving their mark on the economy. Business confidence in the service sectors is declining again.

However, the rapid recovery in the third quarter suggests that the economy will bounce back when mobility restrictions are eased again. Ambitious public investment plans in the EU and highly accommodative monetary policy will continue to support the recovery in 2021.

The rapid and complete recovery of the Chinese economy provides hope.

Investment strategy preparing for 'Back to normal'

The mood on the stock market has continued to be very upbeat in recent weeks. The US elections are behind us, corporate results are better than forecast and news on the vaccine front is boosting confidence. As long as the virus is rampant and measures are needed to control it, fluctuations are likely to remain the order of the day.

Nevertheless, we are gradually preparing our portfolio for a return to 'normal' after the rollout of the vaccines in 2021. Shareholdings are being increased slightly. Growth sectors, such as technology, still spearhead the allocation, but we are gradually shifting towards sectors that will benefit from the economic recovery.

In the bond component, we have gone for a combination of higher-yielding bonds issued by companies and southern euro-area countries, and safer long-term bonds issued by the US government.

Besides this long-term vision, protection and trends on the financial markets are important aspects too. Your personal investment, which you can see in KBC Mobile and Touch, may have a different composition that takes account of your comfort zone.

Dirk Thiels, Senior Investment Strategist KBC Asset Management
The stock market is looking forward to returning to normal in 2021. The rapid roll-out of effective vaccines justifies this optimism, but the way back will probably be a bumpy one. We are using this situation to step up holdings of shares and to bet more on companies that are able to benefit directly from a recovering economy.

Editing ended on 17th December 2020. This document is a publication of KBC Asset Management NV (KBC AM). The information in it can be changed without notice and offers no guarantee for the future. Nothing in this document may be reproduced without the prior, express, written consent of KBC AM. This information is governed by the laws of Belgium and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of its courts.