Vaccines continue to be administered and supply will likely open up, even more, starting in April. Consumers have been dreaming of a return to normal and we appear to be at the cusp. The result of vaccination could be an explosion of pent-up demand for hardest-hit industries and a much better second half than people expect. Still, strong demand is putting pressure on supply chains and creating inflationary pressures. Given that stimulus is dependent on a K-shaped recovery, normalization could bring its own economic disruptions.
Succinct Summary: Consumer spending remains strong and Black Friday was successful. A third wave of COVID has made the near term outlook worse, but the medium to long term looks much brighter thanks to vaccines. Tech spending continues to outpace overall GDP growth and probably will continue to surge after the pandemic is over. The driver of spending has moved from devices towards data infrastructure and management.
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A Personal Note: A lot has happened in the last two weeks we have been away. We start on a very positive note—warm congratulations to my co-author Scott Krisiloff and his wife on the birth of their beautiful twins this past week. On a different note, the challenge of racism has come to the forefront of global news. This week, we have a special section on quotes on the reactions from corporate management teams on the issued of racism. The bottom line is that we have a problem that needs fixing. I have also written a personal article about my experience of racism in Scandinavia. – Erick Mokaya
Succinct Summary: There are some glimmers of hope across such industries like airlines, travel and retail as demand picks up from the April lows. We are, however, being cautioned about being too excited and urged to be cautious. All in all, there is significant pent-up demand.