- The JIC Portfolio was up 3.8 per cent in April, just short of the 4.3 per cent for the FTSE All-Share
- No changes have been made to the portfolio for the first time in 112 months
- The long-term outlook for copper demand is enticing
It has been a good month for financial markets with increasing optimism about the strength of the economic recovery. The success of vaccines in reducing the number and severity of new cases in the UK meant that investors could realistically look to the end of restrictions on movement and socialising. Massive government and central bank monetary and fiscal interventions have ensured recovery will be swift. Government debt is at its highest since World War II. Sadly, much of the wartime spending ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic and Germany's fields. This time it has ended up in peoples' bank accounts. The Bank of England has increased its forecast for economic growth in 2021, and other economists are falling over themselves to do likewise. Goldman Sachs currently heads the list, forecasting 7.8 per cent growth this year.
Commodities is leading the way, with coffee up 14.5 per cent this month, copper 11.8 per cent, nickel 9.3 per cent, rhodium 7.0 per cent, and Brent crude 5.5 per cent to just short of $70 per barrel. Equities performed well with those markets further ahead in the vaccination rollout, perhaps doing better. Optimism about a rebound in UK consumer spending helped the FTSE AIM All-Share and the FTSE Small Cap index gain 7.3 per cent and 5.1 per cent, respectively. The FTSE All-Share was up 4.3 per cent and, in the US, the S&P 500 rose 5.2 per cent and the NASDAQ Composite 5.5 per cent. In Continental Europe the CAC 40 was up 3.3 per cent, the Dax +0.8 per cent and MIB +0.1 per cent. Japan, battling a resurgence in COVID cases, saw the Nikkei down 1.3 per cent.