There are multiple sustainable elements to Biden’s plan: it includes for example provisions to help retrain and employ fossil fuel workers and funding for a Civilian Climate Corps aimed at specific climate-related goals—both to cut CO₂ emissions and to fortify U.S. infrastructure to make it more resilient to climate changes. The hope is that this extensive spending can mitigate the economic scarring caused by Coronavirus, and boost US growth over the medium-term as well as help to tackle climate change.
Over the course of March, economic data continued to be upbeat with US GDP Growth surpassing expectations, increasing 4.3% compared to Q4. UK unemployment rate continued to fall, from 5.2% to 5%, as economies continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equity markets saw positive returns over the month, with US markets leading the way, boosted by a resurgent Dollar. Within the portfolio, the holding in the iShares MSCI USA SRI ETF outperformed the broader index. Emerging market equities were broadly flat over the month as the strengthening dollar acted as a headwind. Over the month, within the portfolio we purchased a holding in a Global Gender Diversity ETF. Gender Diversity is an important social issue, and this ETF uses a scoring mechanism across 19 metrics to invest equally in 150 of global companies that exhibit high levels of gender equality. These companies exhibit higher quality and lower valuations when compared with the broader market, so we believe they are well positioned to perform well, as well as having strong sustainable characteristics.
US treasuries continued to fall over the month on the back of a continued re-rating of growth forecasts in the US, capping the weakest quarter since 1980.