The world has seen various pandemics throughout the years. However, this particular one, Corona Virus 2020, comes at a time of high levels of international travel and trade. Globalization has brought people closer and also made financial markets more interdependent. These two factors have contributed in making the Corona Virus 2020 the latest detonator of the current financial market crisis.
The Corona Virus 2020 was first detected in China, in the Hubei province in December 2019. It quickly spread to a number of other countries taking the local epidemic to a global pandemic.While the Chinese government acted relatively quickly, locking-down the population of Hubei province, western governments were more reluctant in doing so.
The hesitation was probably due to the consequences of a partial or total shut-down on economic activity. Mediatic pressure in many cases is what forced various governments into taking tough action to fight the spread of Corona virus 2020. Of course, the consequences are in the making. Economic activity has been reduced in all the countries where the local government took unprecedented action in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. The restriction governments have enacted have led to a large reduction of economic activity and consequentially to a financial market crisis.
Political leaders are trying to balance the need to protect lives and the need to protect economic activity. People cannot live well without jobs, yet there would be many deaths if action is not taken to prevent the spread of the virus. Some countries declared a state of emergency even with just a few deaths, such as Portugal or Taiwan, whilst others such as Sweden have decided to stay open and allow economic activity to continue. The USA is somewhere in between, while some areas like New York or California are on lock-down other parts of the country are still going about their daily business.
Where were before coronavirus caused the financial markets crisis?
The economic situation before the current financial market crisis was that of a global expansion. Some countries were racing ahead, for example the USA, other countries although not at such a fast rate were still enjoying the benefits of economic expansion. The USA was expanding at a growth rate for GDP of 2.3%, with unemployment at decades lows of 3.5%. Clearly the economy was beginning to heat up and analysts were reading the Fed as hinting that there may be the need of increasing interest rates soon, so as to smother an inflation spike before it happens.
In the UK also, economic activity was doing fairly well, before the onset of the financial market crisis, despite the Brexit uncertainties. GDP for the last quarter was increasing by 1.3% and unemployment was at 3.8% Both figures contributing to the FTSE 100 performance at the beginning of the year. The index was close to 7700 for the first 3 weeks of January, a level close to previous all-time highs of May 2018 above 7800. The pound had experienced a rally towards the end of 2019 where it reached a high of 1.3065 towards the end of December.That was after it had touched a recent low of 1.2025 against the US dollar in August 2019. It then, managed to stay above 1.2900 for the start of 2020 as news of the Corona Virus 2020 was still fairly muted.
The Euro area was also experiencing an increase in economic activity. The last GDP data, before the Corona Virus 2020, was an expansion of 1.3% in economic activity. Unemployment had continued to fall, with the unemployment rate going from 7.7% in May 2019 to 7.4% in December 2019. The Euro currency with concerns of the effect of Brexit on the union showed no signs of a well-defined direction. The Euro against the US dollar had been in a side trend during the last 3 months of 2019, with most price action between 1.0980 and 1.1180.
The Japanese economy, after having seen negative GDP growth for the second half of 2018, had begun to show signs of expansion before any news of the Corona Virus 2020. The annualized GDP growth for December 2019 rose to 1.7%. However, the Japanese economy seemed to be stuttering with the central bank still holding interest rates in negative territory. With the asset purchasing program still running, the yen continued in a stable bear trend against the dollar. The USDJPY continued to rise throughout the second half of 2019. The pair went from a low of 104.44 in August 2019 to a recent high of 112.23 in February 2020.
The financial market crisis in 2020 deciphered - Will this lead to a global recession?
The USA has started to feel the effects of the financial market crisis which has come about in recent months due to the global spread of the Corona Virus 2020. Whether your opinion is that the government has been too relaxed in taking action, or you think the priority is keeping the economy running. The fact is the Corona Virus 2020 is taking its toll on.......
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