Tracing the virus hit.

The Coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) continues to spread, but at a decreasing speed (see first chart). The jump in the official number of cases on Feb. 13 was due to a more comprehensive definition of infections.

Highlights:

  • The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is set to weigh markedly on global Q1 growth, owing to a sharp slowdown in China and supply chain disruptions. Just today, Apple has warned over its IPhone sales due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  • Indications are mounting, though, that a pandemic can be avoided, with the official number of new infections falling for almost two weeks. If the virus is indeed contained, most of the global economic damage – though not all – may be recovered over subsequent quarters. Our 2020 global growth forecast now stands at 2.8%, 0.2pp lower than before the epidemics.
  • As we anticipated in our Focal Point on Jan. 30, global markets are taking note. Equities in the advanced world have fully recovered their January losses, but we remain guardedly constructive on this asset class.
  • After the sharp fall, core bond yields are unlikely rebound quickly amid more dovish central bank expectations and subdued inflation.
  • IG Credit is likely to stay resilient, while USD strength may extend somewhat further until global data confirm a more robust recovery.

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TRACING THE VIRUS HIT

RELATED INSIGHTS

COVID-19 FACTS & FIGURES
US President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal. Following the recent increase in cases, China has imposed new restrictions and lockdowns in the Hebei province. Canada has implemented new restrictions and a provincewide curfew in Quebec that will last until February 8. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the recent rise in Covid-19 cases could force the country to prolong the nationwide lockdown until April.
EQUITIES: STAY POSITIVE WITH A VALUE-CYCLICAL TILT
Following a monster rally in stocks last autumn, multiples are well above historical averages, but equity investors can count on lingering low yields, tighter credit spreads and increasing central banks’ balance sheets which in turn maintain low the cost of equity and the discount rate of future cash flows.
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