29 April 2020

1) The ‘consumer confidence index’ dropped in April by the largest amount on record. The index dropped from 118.8 in March to 86.9, while the ‘present conditions index’ plunged from 166.7 to 76.4, its 90 point drop the largest on record. The ‘expectations index’, which is based on the future outlook, improved slightly from 86.8 to 93.8. The sharp drops are a result of the sudden massive unemployment from the shelter in place orders met to contain the coronavirus. But business is stirring with retailers starting to open up again. Simon Property Group, which is the largest mall owner in the U.S., is opening 49 of its malls and outlet centers in May across the country.

2) Another housing economic crisis could be building for the near future. The mortgage market has been disrupted with millions of borrowers having to postpone payments because of the pandemic and shelter in place, a result of massive layoffs. While some mortgage companies are allowing deferment of payments during the business shutdown, there’s the rising question of how to make up those payments after returning to work. Experts expect a repeat of the 2008 fiscal crisis with mortgages, because borrowers are already stretched thin financially, now having extra debt, but not the resources to service it. There could be another wave of foreclosures coming.

3) As nations scramble to get cash for economic stimulus efforts, they are selling off bonds at a frantic rate, much of it being bought by central banks. This is particularly true for the Asian bond market, with many experts saying this hasn’t come too soon, despite the long term risks. This frenzy in government selling bonds has cause a ‘whip-saw’ reaction in yield rates. Many central banks could be in big trouble if stimulus spending fails to avoid economic recovery, or worst yet an economic collapse.

4) Stock market closings for – 28 APR 20:

Dow 24,101.55 down 32.23
Nasdaq 8,607.73 down 122.43
S&P 500 2,863.39 down 15.09

10 Year Yield: down at 0.61%

Oil: up at $13.27

24 March 2020

1) The International Monetary Fund stated the global recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-9. However, the world economic output should recover in 2021 because of the extraordinary fiscal actions already being taken by many countries and their central banks. But for a 2021 recovery, countries need to prioritize containment and strengthen health systems.

2) The U.S. is entering a recession, but the ultimate fear is a protracted malaise akin to a depression. Some prominent economy watchers are drawing comparisons to the Great Depression, although falling short of forecasting another one, based on the fact that the world has not seen a synchronized interruption in economic output in decades as was seen with the Great Depression. The U.S. will suffer a huge economic contraction as businesses close and Americans stay home, with some estimates that the economy will have the worst quarter since 1947.

3) Most U.S. small businesses have only days to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis. Only about half of the 30 million small businesses in America have a 15 day cash reserve needed to survive. The shelter in place orders have cut business revenues to near zero almost over night. Particularly hard hit is the service industries such as restaurants, landscaping, personal services and salons. These small businesses employ about 60 million people, or half of American’s work force. Many of the businesses were already operating on razor thin margins before the virus crisis. With so little cash reserves, they are forced to immediately reduce hours or layoff employees to survive.

4) Stock market closings for – 23 MAR 20:

Dow 18,591.93 down 582.05
Nasdaq 6,860.67 down 18.84
S&P 500 2,237.40 down 67.52

10 Year Yield: down at 0.76%

Oil: up at $24.24