Plumbing the depths

Yesterday The Office of Budget Responsibility in the UK tried to update its forecasts for the UK economy. They emerged at the pessimistic end of the current range of estimates but attracted news coverage because of who they are. They anticipate on the scenario they published a fall of 35% in the UK second-quarter GDP, … Continue reading “Plumbing the depths”

The importance of forecasting humility

It is natural to want to rush to judgement about the long-term changes the coronavirus pandemic will bring, whether in an attempt to get ahead of the game or simply impose some order amidst the chaos. But as understandable as that impulse is, it can also be dangerous, allowing highly speculative claims to circulate and … Continue reading “The importance of forecasting humility”

‘Lockdown for longer’ is a major market threat

Stock markets have staged a significant recovery from the Coronavirus slump, rallying sharply from lows hit in March. But gains of 10% or more are common in bear markets – and the crisis at many of the world’s businesses has only just begun. A wave of insolvencies will puncture the optimism, as companies with too … Continue reading “‘Lockdown for longer’ is a major market threat”

The moral hazard of crisis intervention

US markets closed up 12% in the shortened pre-Easter week as new coronavirus case growth fell globally and an undercurrent of monetary and fiscal support helped keep sentiment buoyant. Many global markets have now entered ‘bull market’ territory. Nonetheless, European markets remain 20-25% off their 01 January levels, so you’d be forgiven for not feeling … Continue reading “The moral hazard of crisis intervention”

Downturns this deep can take a long time to recover from, financially and mentally

Before last week’s rebound, US stocks had lost around 25% since mid-February, as measured by the S&P 500 Index. Like many of you reading this, my savings have taken a big hit. I set up a junior ISA for both of my children in February, and that money has also fallen by around a quarter. … Continue reading “Downturns this deep can take a long time to recover from, financially and mentally”

China standing out among emerging markets

Like those almost everywhere else, emerging markets (EMs) suffered a coronavirus shock in March. Having plunged by nearly a third in the early part of the month, however, EM share prices partly recovered towards the end. Promises of large-scale monetary and fiscal stimulus in the US arrested the declines, but EM stocks still had a … Continue reading “China standing out among emerging markets”

How long a shutdown can governments afford?

If a return to work is organised after the three-month stage, there will be some rebound, but economies will not spring back into full output immediately. The Central Banks have responded quickly and with great force to the crisis. Led by the Fed they have produced huge amounts of cash to keep markets afloat, rescuing … Continue reading “How long a shutdown can governments afford?”

US Senate reaches agreement to a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package

As expected, the US Senate reached agreement between the parties to a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package yesterday, which gave the markets a big boost. Democrats allowed substantial funds to be available for business through a $500bn fund for industries, cities and states, with a $367bn loan programme for small business. They also accepted the … Continue reading “US Senate reaches agreement to a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus package”

Coronavirus to spark “severe” global recession

The coronavirus is having a severe effect on global economic activity and amidst considerable uncertainty we have attempted to gauge the impact and updated our forecasts. We now expect to see the world economy contract this year by 3.1%, before rebounding by 7.2% in 2021. The forecast incorporates a severe recession in the first half … Continue reading “Coronavirus to spark “severe” global recession”

Covid-19: Three economic scenarios

Markets are governed by the duration and impact of the many measures being taken to limit and reduce the number of people contracting the COVID-19 virus. This was the week when the western advanced world changed dramatically, with the governments deciding to ban or advise against all events, tourism, entertainment and hospitality outside the home. … Continue reading “Covid-19: Three economic scenarios”

Panic-selling creates opportunities in Europe

The coronavirus situation is developing rapidly. Italy is in lockdown, confirmed cases are rising across the rest of Europe and the US, and there is a huge global effort to contain the virus. On Thursday last week, European shares suffered their biggest one-day plunge since 1987. Panic appears to have gripped markets. However, as with … Continue reading “Panic-selling creates opportunities in Europe”

Looking back at the markets through February

A selection of articles looking back through the markets last month. Global Market Review Investors take fright as coronavirus takes hold As the spread of coronavirus gathered pace across the world during February, investors became increasingly concerned that the economic impact could trigger a global recession.  “Central banks are coming under pressure to respond to … Continue reading “Looking back at the markets through February”

How should investors act in a crisis?

With markets reeling from the effects of coronavirus, Schroders’ Group CIO highlights what investors should focus on. Coronavirus is the latest threat to market harmony that once again poses a timeless question: how should investors act in a crisis? Whether you’re a fund manager, responsible for billions of pounds of other people’s money, or an … Continue reading “How should investors act in a crisis?”

International trade winds and stock markets

If the coronavirus situation escalates, world trade is in for a major supply shock that will damage company earnings and productivity. The outlook remains unclear. There were attacks on the international order of promoting free trade before the coronavirus hit. Many emerging countries refused to make rapid progress to lower tariffs and fewer barriers to … Continue reading “International trade winds and stock markets”

Coronavirus: assessing the risks

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that emerged in China’s Hubei province late last year has now spread to more than 50 countries. The outbreaks in Japan, Korea and Italy are particularly serious, but the number of cases is climbing rapidly elsewhere. Initially, the stock market’s reaction to the virus was muted. Most investors appeared to believe … Continue reading “Coronavirus: assessing the risks”