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A World Economy in Strain

The shock in the global economy from the current COVID-19 pandemic is quickly escalating, threatening the pace of recovery, once this situation subsides. In its latest weekly report, Allied Shipbroking said that “as countries around the world struggle to take back control of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the global economy shuts down bit by bit, leaving only the mere essentials still in operation across some of the world’s biggest economies. Most stock markets have seen their steepest decline (comparable to the time frame) witnessed since world war II, while at this rate and trend it would take less than a month for us to mark similar accumulated losses to those summed up in 400 days during the financial crash of 2008. This has not been limited to just the stock markets, with almost all major commodities having seen a sharp decline, even safe haven ones such as gold.

Source: Allied

According to Allied’s George Lazaridis, Head of Research & Valuations, “all market models and predictions are thrown out the window while some of the biggest investment houses have already made a global recession their base case scenario and we are still in the midst of the “storm”. A contraction of about 1% in the world economy is now expected for this year, a decline which if materialized would be bigger than what was witnessed in 2009 during the financial crisis, while depending on how things transpire even this figure may prove to be a gross underestimate. Some industries are going to inevitably be hit worse than others (aviation, tourism etc.), while through this turmoil a large number of companies are likely to buckle and default under the strain”.

Source: Allied

He added that “this situation is surely not to last forever, yet it now looks more and more likely that a much more significant portion of the “lost” demand from the quarantine crisis period will remain lost and unlikely to be recuperated down the line. This pandemic is already taking both a considerable human and economic toll in a mere 12 weeks from its first reported case. Going beyond the mere restrictive measures taken on by governments which are struggling to contain the spread, business are likely to come face to face with a longer-term linger hit from the sharp drop in consumer confidence. Insecurity is now ruling the markets and as such more and more will seek to hold on to their cash so as to boost the best way they can their longer-term financial security”, Lazaridis said.

Allied’s analyst continued by noting that “we have seen numerous commitments and measures been taken up by governments and international institutions over the ast few weeks in an effort to contain the economic fallout from all of this, yet it now seems that all these measures may prove to be insufficient, while in cases such as the $2tn US stimulus deal have been temporarily been left “dead in the water”. With the number of cases and deaths still rising at an exponential rate (many countries are seeing a doubling of cases every 2 to 3 days), this crisis is still not seeing an end in close sight. The longer it lasts the bigger the scar left behind will be”.

Source: Allied

“Our outlook continues to “mutate” as time passes but for the time being we continue to expect an ever bigger upside jump in economic activity (the expectation still holds that the magnitude of the recovery is linked to that of the drop) once the crises period is over. This however is largely dependent on the duration of this crisis, as the longer it lasts the more dampening effect it will have on any possible economic recovery down the line. What’s more is that there is still fear of an “encore” event taking place in early Autumn, placing ever more weight on the need for an exit strategy from this crisis, whether that be a vaccine, improved treatment or better protection measures for people. For the time it seems that all we can do is try to weather it out the best way we can, with proper responsibility towards the health risks involved for us, our families and society as a whole, while always keeping fully in mind the seriousness of the situation at hand. We hope all our readers stay safe and healthy”, Lazaridis concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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