As the news cycle slows, with the election in the past alongside initial vaccine hype fading away, it is essential to realize that not only is the Coronavirus continuing to ravage the economy, it continues to ravage the families and lives of many around the world.
Many have turned the Coronavirus into a statistical exercise, looking into the future when we eventually look past the Coronavirus. However, it is currently a present problem, with present consequences. Keep this in the back of your head when you trade and invest. Here is your week ahead.
Like many countries in Europe, Germany is experiencing a spike in cases larger than the first wave. They recently recorded 23,000 new cases yesterday. This has directly affected service sector activity, with HIS Markit's flash services PMI's fell to 46.2 from 49.5 in the previous month. Remember, a print below 50 entails a contraction in manufacturing. Analysts forecast Germany to post its deepest recession since World War Two.
In terms of the most frustrated, I am at a country in terms of their Coronavirus response; I am most frustrated in the UK. They had the resources to implement a robust early Coronavirus response. However, Bureaucracy and trying to balance economic damage and human life has placed the UK on its knees. At its peak, the UK recorded over 34,000 daily Coronavirus cases.
After placing a lockdown on citizens, Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to end the lockdown on 2nd December. However, daily Coronavirus cases still rack up, around 20,000 per day. For reference, New Zealand and Australia lifted restrictions once there were consistently zero community Coronavirus cases. However, the second lockdown could not push the UK's PMI's further down, printing 45.8 with an analyst consensus for 42.5. However, a third wave will push this figure further down.
While the Coronavirus stops many businesses from operating, one sector that was affected less was freight. However, with Australia heightening tensions with China, their largest trading partner, their Trade Balance may see a drop in the next print. Canberra's Officials stated that reports on Chinese authorities telling Chinese buyers to stop purchases of Coal, copper, wine barley, sugar, lobster, and timber as "deeply troubling.
"On the other side of the bond, Beijing has accused Australia of "anti-China hysteria," about Australia prompting an investigation into the origins of the Coronavirus vaccine in China. The previous trade balance was 5.63 Billion.
Japan is one of the only countries that are experiencing the third wave. Each consecutive wave has been larger than the previous in Japan. The method they have adopted, called the "Japan Model," has effectively curbed the spread of the virus in the country.
However, as the third wave is currently in full swing, experts state that the strategy is approaching its limits. Kuroda predicts that "the economy is likely to hit bottom around April-June and is expected to continue improving as a trend" and that it "will help price growth turn positive and gradually accelerate toward [their] 2% inflation target." He further stated that if they hit their 2% target, an "exit from [their] massive stimulus program will come into sight." However, he believes it's currently premature to do so at this stage.
Having beaten the Coronavirus, New Zealand is well on its way to its recovery. With the RBNZ removing LVR's and lowering interest rates earlier this year to cushion the economic effects of the Coronavirus, they have placed it back, quoting "financial stability". Interest rates continue to be at record lows, allowing investors and first home buyers to attain record-low mortgage rates. This has pushed the average house price of over a million dollars in Auckland for the first time.
House prices have been a heated topic with politicians and citizens of New Zealand, with buyers struggling to get into the market and owners going all to increase their assets. However, the RBNZ refuses to implement policy to house prices, stating that "that is not their mandate", and that their mandate is employment and inflation. Orr's speech this week ahead may further see him cement RBNZ's stance on house prices.
The United States recorded 198,585 new cases of the Coronavirus on the 20th November, just shy of the somber record of 200,000. With the country recording an annualized rate of 33.1% during the third quarter showing the effects of government stimulus and quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, many analysts predict a slowdown in the couple of quarters to come. Aneta Markowska, Chief Financial Economist at Jefferies, wrote in a report to clients on Thursday that "The outlook for Q4 is very shaky in our view" and that "The economy has already lost a lot of momentum over the summer."
Not as a busy week ahead compared to previous weeks. However, news on a Coronavirus vaccine should be watched out for, as it could trigger a risk-on / risk-off event in all assets across the markets. Stay safe, trade safe.
Trump skipped the G20's "Pandemic Prepardness" event to play Golf on that beautiful, cloudy day.
30.3 Million – The number of jobless claims made in the United States since the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic. It’s an astounding number, primarily when charted on a graph that shows weekly jobless reports since 1967.
The question arises – is the jarring rise in filings for unemployment consistent around the world?
United States’ jobless claims represent 18.41% of their labour force. This is on the back a total of 1.03 million confirmed Coronavirus cases or just under 33% of the confirmed cases in the world.
Relative to other countries, the US has had a muted and weak reaction towards the Coronavirus. Cases continue to pick up, with New York being the epicenter of the pandemic. The rhetoric out the Whitehouse has been of optimism for the future, as their deaths top 60,000. Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, touted the administration’s response to the Coronavirus as a “great success story.”
The Senate approved an unprecedented $2 Trillion Stimulus package, giving Americans and additional $1,200 to assist households as lockdowns continue.
Germany’s jobless, “Kurzarbeit” (short-time work subsidy) claims currently represent only 1.08% of their labour force. However, Hubertus Heil, the country’s labor minister, stated that there would be “many more” workers taking from the Kurzarbeit wage subsidies. Over 1.4m people received the funds during the peak of the global financial crisis of 2009.
Germany’s response to the Coronavirus has been strong. The extensive testing capacity of over 900,000 a week for a population of 83 million, strong leadership, and a robust public healthcare system all combine to a marvelous attempt in combatting the virus. Out of the 162k infected with the Coronavirus, around 6,500 have died, giving a fatality rate of just under 4%. This is in comparison with the United States fatality rate of 5.8%.
The Germany Government approved an $810B Stimulus package primarily to help all businesses maintain liquidity and keep employment throughout Germany. Alongside the short time work subsidy, Germany’s attempt to bolster the strength of business contrasts with the United States’ method of directly giving cash infusions to households.
The United Kingdom’s universal credit claims represent a 2.08% of the labour force. The scheme helps individuals are low on income or out of work.
The UK has been hit with criticism with their reaction to the Coronavirus, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson stating that he “shook hands with everybody” at a hospital including coronavirus patients. This was three weeks before he caught the Coronavirus. This casual attitude has skeptics wondering whether the government was doing enough to combat the virus and whether it is too little, too late with over 26.7k deaths representing a 15.8% mortality rate, the highest in the world.
The UK Government approved a $424b Stimulus package to help with household mortgages, airlines, retailers, and the hospitality industry.
Canada’s jobless claims reached 2.13 million, or 11% of their labour force.
Canada has shut down borders to who is not a citizen, a permanent resident, or a US citizen; however, the country is not in lockdown. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, urged citizens to impose self-quarantine. This is on the back of 3,180 deaths, or just under a 6% fatality rate. As Canadian territories slowly loosen restrictions, it will be seen whether their relatively flexible reaction towards the Coronavirus will balance economic recovery and the safety of the population.
The government has pledged over $1.1T in support of Coronavirus related costs, half of which represents support to municipal governments for small businesses and households.
Officially, the number of unemployed citizens only represents 6.2% of the labour force (the labour force includes 290m migrant workers). However, an estimation by Liu Chenjie, chief economist at Upright Asset, stated that including migrant workers, the Coronavirus might have pushed 205 million workers into “frictional unemployment,” or 24.45% of the labour force.
Being ground zero for the Coronavirus, China implemented the first and strictest lockdown in Wuhan. With a population of 11 million, residents of Wuhan were the first to experience the suspension of public transport and roads, with stores that sell food and medicine remaining open. Fifty-nine days after the initial lockdown, Chinese authorities slowly lifted the lockdown but urged citizens to practice self-isolation when need be. China’s official numbers stand at 84,373 confirmed cases, with 4,643 deaths, representing a fatality rate of 5.5%.
There has been plenty of criticism regarding China’s response to the Coronavirus. From not allowing foreign scientists access in the country and access to essential data, the silencing, and death of Dr. Li Wenliang, the doctor who first spoke out about the Coronavirus to the world alongside skepticism with their official coronavirus figures. But as the first country to be hit with the effects of the Coronavirus, they are also the first country to emerge from the height of it. Krish Sankar, a Senior Research Analyst at Cowen, states that Apple’s supply chains in China are 90% operational, giving a sense of movement and productivity in the country.
China’s central bank, the Peoples Bank of China, has injected over $220B into the money markets to support liquidity and lending. However, the Chinese government has not issued any direct fiscal stimulus, unlike their western counterparts over concerns of inflation and increasing an already all-time high budget deficit.
It will be a while till we get a solid look at the toll the Coronavirus has had on the world. However, reliable data on the economic and societal damage of the Coronavirus may come to light in the next couple of months, possibly giving us a better prediction of how the world will move forward with regards to this devastating pandemic. With nations slowly creeping out of lockdown with cautious optimism, we may soon experience a seismic shift in how we go on with our daily lives. However, as the past has told us, we will emerge out of this crisis victorious.
Anish Lal, an Senior Analyst at Blackbull markets gives a technical overview on the historic SP500 gains closing a tumultuous month on the back of the US's historical unemployment claims number. Watch the video here: