How Has News of the Pfizer Vaccine Affected GCC Markets?

Published November 12th, 2020 - 03:00 GMT
How Has News of the Pfizer Vaccine Affected GCC Markets?
As soon as Pfizer and BioNTech announced last Monday that their vaccine trials are making progress with a 90% success rate, stock markets soared everywhere, as did crude oil indexes. (Shutterstock: Ascannio)

Interrupting mounting fears over the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak that has already started around the world, the announcement of a 90% successful vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has positively impacted markets in the MENA region and elsewhere.

Unlike the economic meltdown that affected global markets last Spring as countries imposed nation-wide lockdowns and urged residents to stay at home hoping for quick control of the viral outbreak, news of a successful vaccine in the final stages of development has refreshed hopes of an end to the economic recession that has been amongst 2020's most defining events.

As soon as Pfizer and BioNTech announced last Monday that their vaccine trials are making progress with a 90% success rate and that more than 1.3 billion doses will be produced during 2021, stock markets soared everywhere, as did crude oil indexes.

This sweeping positive effect which also coincided with news of a new president-elect in the US have boosted investments and boosted shares of several sectors, particularly ones that have been hit the hardest over the last several months, such as airline operators, property developers, and entertainment services such as movie theaters and cruise ships' organizers.

Similarly, oil prices surged by more than 8% in light of the vaccine news, as Benchmark Brent oil hit $45 a barrel, a two-month high. Meanwhile, Saudi's TASI index climbed by more than 2%, driven by both the vaccine news and the oil spike.

Saudi, being the largest producer of oil in the region has enjoyed the biggest effect, which has been supported by the latest OPEC+ agreement of cutting production by 7.7 million barrels a day, driving oil prices even higher.

In the UAE, stocks of companies that have been patiently waiting for lockdowns to be lifted have seen the biggest gains, such as Air Arabia, DXB Entertainments, Abu Dhabi National Hotels, and many others.

While it still unclear when the vaccine will be available for mass distribution, its news continue to spark hope across the globe of a possible return to at least a semi-normal life in the coming months, reviving travel activity and boosting the appetite for business plans and generous investments both in the GCC and around the world.

Do you think the world will be fully back to normal soon? How long will it take for the global and regional economies to recover? 


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