Corona Virus Review and Preview
The number of new infections is increasing with high speed throughout the world. Asian countries seem to be more experienced in handling such crises for different reasons. China could keep the number of new infections at approximately 82'000 while South Korea could keep it around 8'000 to 9'000. In both countries the daily growth rates are kept at 1% or below. Singapore und Japan could not containt the number of infections yet, but at least they both can keep the daily growth rates at levels of 10% or below. That was it with the positive news.
Europe shows a completely different picture. The situation there is worrying. In the beginning of the pandemic the governments hesitated to contain full regions like it was done in China, now they have to contain all the country and to push the "pause"-button. The global progression, which Asia was able to avoid, accelerated dramatically once the virus reached Europe. The scope of the human tragedy is brought on stage for everyone in Northern Italy. I do not get tired to emphasize, that the only difference of Italy to other European and American countries is only the fact, that it is ahead of us for some days. The shortage of ventilators will also lead physicians in this country to make life-or-death decisions and to leave people untreated to their fate. The worst is still ahead of us. The unevitable drama comes closer oppressively and wille hopefully pass its sad peak. I wish everyone to come out of this tragedy healthy. Many won't survive. Also depressing is the thought, that his wave might only be the first one of more to come as it was the case with the Spanish Flu almost 100 years before.
A glimmer of hope might be, that most politicians throughout the world are aware of the scope of this tragedy now. An even stronger focus on the development of vaccinations and therapies, additional production of ventilators of social responsible companies like General Motors and Tesla give me hope, that the number of deaths could be kept lower thanks to common efforts.
This period will make history as a human tragedy, which reached its avoidable extent because of the ignorance, missing farsightedness and mislead interests of many politicians in charge. I hope, that future generation will learn from this crisis and that next time there will be people in charge who act more bravely and efficiently than today. The next virus might be even more dangerous than the corona virus.
After heavy losses in the last weeks, the latest week showed a bit less panic. Neverthelss most market throught Europe and Asia lost between -3% and -10% week-on-week. Noteworthy are the higher losses of smaller and midsized companies compared to the large corporations. In UK, the FTSE 250 of midsized companies lost -14% compared to 5% of his big brother FTSE 100. This shows, that in the months to come especially smaller companies are threatened in their existence rather than the big ones.
In US the picture is a bit different. After US was hit fully by the corona virus pandemic last week, the markets sold off dramtaically. The S&P 500 lost -14%, the Dow Jones Industrial -17%. New York decreed 100% Home Office for it citizens. California, New York, Illinois und Connecticut told its citizens to stay home.
The next weeks could calm the markets a bit, after the scope of the crises became more conscious to its participants. No one knows though, how bad it will get. A sudden discovery of an effective therapy or a vaccine could turn the markets upwards as quickly as they came down, but this scenario is not very likely in the days and weeks to come. How much damage will the economy take during the period of lockdown, that is the decisive question.
Based on my own historical analysis, market corrections of -25% to -30% are likely to lead to more such losses if a recession is on its way. The upcoming recessions seems unevitable. Therefore, further losses should be expected. After the panic of the last weeks, the losses ahead can be less volatile and less severe in terms of pace and intensity. The increasing number of new infections, based on its exponential growth, might fire up the panic in short term.
Risk Model Crash Protection
The Crash Protection risk model shows a confirmed red status for all regions and almost countries. Actually cash is king, keep your wealth some and protect your capital. A return to a green status requires a strong recovery of the equity markets which does not look very likely at this moment.
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Bertan Gueler, CFA