The global economic recovery is continuing at a fast pace!
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones healthy and looking forward to the spring and summer weather. Tax season is now behind us, and the garden centres are opening, and there are good reasons to be optimistic about the coming months.
The global economic recovery is continuing at a fast pace. At a press conference on April 21, 2021, the Bank of Canada indicated that it expects global GDP to grow by about 6% in 2021 and 4% in 2022, although the pace of growth will vary from country to country. At the end of the month, the MSCI World Index, which reflects returns for developed equity markets around the globe, was up more than 9% on the year.
The Eurozone, however, fell back into recession during the first quarter of 2021. The 19 economies that make up the zone, saw their GDP shrink by 0.6%. On April 29, the European Union announced the plans for the largest stimulus package ever introduced in Europe. NextGenerationEU, is designed to help rebuild Europe, post COVID-19, into a greener, more digital and more resilient continent.
In the U.S., the economy has bounced back to within 1% of its peak, reached in late 2019, prior to the pandemic. Household spending contributed to an economic surge in the first quarter, as Americans shopped for big-ticket items. The surge is expected to continue as more Americans are vaccinated and lockdowns are eased. The S&P 500 Index, a broad representation of the U.S. equity markets, ended the month up approximately 5%, after reaching a record high the day before.
The Canadian economy also continued to surprise as the preliminary numbers for March, released in April, indicated economic growth of 0.9%, a gain for the 11th consecutive month. Although the economy has shown resilience, the country is in the midst of the third wave of the pandemic and recovery has been uneven with some sectors experiencing prolonged difficulties. Economic recovery remains tied to the evolution of the pandemic and the rollout of vaccines. On a positive note, the S&P TSX ended the month higher than where it started.
As we move into May, and begin looking forward to the summer months, practices that support wellness, such as eating well, exercising, having fun, and connecting with others, are just as important as ever. There is plenty of scientific evidence that suggests spending time outdoors can have beneficial effects on physical and mental health. Being out in nature can actually make us happier, healthier and more creative. I hope you are able to get outside in the coming weeks.
If you have any questions regarding your portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact my office. We are here to help you and we welcome your questions. It is important to stay focused on your long-term goals and stay invested during uncertain times. My team and I are focused on helping you reach your goals.