Global Matters Weekly – 8 March 2021

Percy’s not a pig

by Alex Harvey, CFA

A little over a fortnight ago history was repeated when NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) successfully landed a rover on the Martian surface. After a near seven-month journey across 300 million miles of space, at a gentle cruising speed of nearly 25,000mph, the rover touched down on 18th February. Perseverance – or Percy for short – was lowered on to the surface by a sky crane, like its cousin Curiosity in 2012, in a feat of incredible human engineering. Of the now five successful JPL rover landings (yes, five!), this was the most accurate ever and was enabled through the experience gleaned over previous rover missions. [If you want to see the landing in real time from the onboard cameras see the link in the footnote1 . It is remarkable to watch and with probably better resolution than my phone].

Market Snapshot

  • Global equities ended the week relatively flat, returning +0.1%.
  • The US Senate has passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion Coronavirus stimulus package.
  • Brent crude rose by +4.9% to $69.4 a barrel.
  • Gold fell -1.9% to $1700.6 per ounce.