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May 1, 2020
Just as the impact of COVID-19 has varied by country, so too will the recovery. All eyes are currently on China and South Korea (among the first hit and the first to reopen) to see if they experience a recurrence and if consumers open their wallets. Early indications are that while production is increasing, consumers appear reticent, and export markets are still largely locked down.
The reopening of the U.S. and Europe will be gradual. Here in the U.S., the process will occur on a state-by-state basis at the discretion of the various governors. The decision to reopen is highly dependent on a consistent decline in infection and hospitalization rates. Greater testing and tracing capacity are essential for easing concerns about the return to everyday life. Across the ocean, hard-hit Italy and Spain are proceeding more slowly than northern European countries like Germany. Lack of a truly coordinated fiscal policy response may mute and perhaps delay the recovery in the continental economy, which was near recession before COVID-19.
Globally, fiscal policy initiatives will play a critical role in providing immediate relief to the newly unemployed and for keeping businesses solvent as the economy reopens. Monetary policy by itself isn’t enough.
The easing of mobility restrictions is a positive sign that perhaps the worst is behind us. As the road to full economic recovery will likely include some setbacks, investors should expect continued volatility in the financial markets. The level of future economic growth will depend on whether COVID-19 has caused any lasting damage to consumption and production.
Please read important disclosures here.
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