Double Dip Recession Imminent As Covid-19 Induced Economic Lockdowns Reintroduced

October 26th, 2020 Comments off

With Europe and North America experiencing a virulent second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns of the economy are being reintroduced by sovereigns on  an increasingly stringent basis. As an example, many regions in Spain are imposing enforced curfews.

The first wave of economic shutdowns  sparked the worst economic contraction in many developed countries since the Great Depression of the 1930s, greatly surpassing the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2009 in severity. A return to at least semi-normal economic activity facilitated a sharp statistical bump in economic growth. Now, another major contraction looms on the horizon.

Depending on the duration of the current wave of Covid-19 induced shutdowns, a double dip recession  looks increasingly likely for many economies, both advanced and developing. A double-dip recession also raises the possibility that a global economic depression, already a strong possibility, becomes a virtual certainty.

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19 ) Second Wave Inflicts Further Destruction on the Global Economy

October 5th, 2020 Comments off

A resurgence, in effect the predicted second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, is in full motion, striking at both advanced economies as well as large developed economies, such as India and Brazil. The confirmed worldwide death toll has now passed one million, a number both large and yet most probably a severe undercount of the actual number of fatalities generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The toll in human misery is staggering. More than 35 million persons have been infected with Covid-19. It spares no one; the commoner and the elite are all at risk, as the recent news of President Trump contracting coronavirus  indicates. However, the damage inflicted on the world’s economy  is as severe as that incurred on public health.

The enforced lockdowns imposed by sovereigns as the only currently available means of halting the spread of coronavirus resulted in unprecedented demand destruction in Q2 of 2020. Optimists predicted a V-shaped recovery as a quick end to lockdowns would lead to a rapid “snap-back” in economic demand. That, and unprecedented deficit spending by governments and money-printing by central banks, temporarily reversed the massive fall in equity prices  and induced unwarranted optimism. Now that governments are again imposing draconian lockdowns throughout the world, the evidence mounts that the severe recession created by the pandemic will eventually morph into a full-blown economic depression.

Even once buoyant economists are grasping at straws, praying that quick development and production of an effective vaccine will save the global economy as well as preserve lives. However, even in a best case scenario, a safe and effective vaccine is unlikely to be widely available until the latter half of 2021. The likelihood is that the world will experience, along with the public health consequences, another 6-months of demand destruction and self-imposed economic suicide. Yet, governments, politicians and economists have yet to grasp the full measure of the Global Economic Crisis that is now upon us.

Election 2020 Fallout: Political Disarray in United States Threatens Global Economy

September 21st, 2020 Comments off

A global economy already  in fragile condition  due to  the contraction in  GDP and exploding sovereign debt levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is now in  danger of being further weakened by political strife in the United States. With about six-weeks to go before the 2020 presidential election, there are already numerous indicators of looming political and social chaos looming in the USA.

Even before the death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there were already claims by both the Democratic and Republican parties that their opponent was out to undermine presidential voting. The incumbent, President Donald Trump and his supporters allege that mail-in ballots, favored by Democratic-run states, will unleash massive voter fraud. Trump’s challenger, former vice-president Joe Biden, and his Democratic supporters, have allegations of their own; Russia is supposedly working in tandem with Trump to undermine the true results of the pending election. Either way, both sides have set up voting day, November 3, as not decision-day, but rather the beginning of a bitter fight by armies of lawyers for who will be the legitimate winner of the upcoming presidential election.

Added to the above, there is a ferocious fight looming over the prerogative of the current president to select a replacement for the now-vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The fact that Trump has the constitutional legality to do this is irrelevant; this all about massively polarizing fault lines within the American body politic, adding to severe social tension and propensity for violence linked to the upcoming election.

All the above factors, occurring in what is still the world’s largest economy (though China is on the verge of overtaking that position) are destabilizing; not only politically but perhaps even more in terms of the global economy. In the post-coronavirus world we all now inhabit, the political storm brewing in the U.S. may be the final element that brings about a total economic depression, thus ensuring that the Global Economic Crisis is deeper and of longer duration than the pundits and analysts are currently predicting.

Fragile Recovery From Coronavirus Induced Economic Crisis As Warning Signs Grow

September 5th, 2020 Comments off

 

Government leaders and financial pundits  continue to trumpet the myth of the V-shaped economic recovery, a leading factor in the ability of Wall Street and other exchanges to recoup virtually all their catastrophic losses inflicted in the early stages of theCovid-19 pandemic. Yet, despite the happy talk, the anemic recovery occurring in many economies during Q3  is already in danger of being premature. Growing headwinds  lie ahead  for the global economy.

The temporary alleviation of the worst affects of the economic lockdowns that occurred throughout the second quarter of the year were purchased with a  staggering and unprecedented level of sovereign debt. To give only one example, Canada is projecting a government deficit for 2020 of $343 billion (Canadian), in USD equaling to about $260 billion USD. In the United Sates, the 2020 fiscal deficit incurred by the federal government t (excluding state, county and local government expenditures) is projected currently at  3.3 trillion dollars; more than 15% of America’s GDP.

Never before in human history have sovereigns incurred such massive debt levels within a very short time interval. This rampant borrowing has not been unleashed to fund major infrastructure projects and other activity aimed at stimulating economic growth. In fact, this massive borrowing binge has been utilized by policymakers  for two purposes: providing a financial lifeline to the vast numbers of newly unemployed, and pump up the equity markets that were on the verge of implosion.

For the short-term, stock prices may have recovered and large numbers of unemployed workers have been rescued from instant insolvency. However, with new pockets of Covid-19 emerging and leading to renewed economic lockdowns, and the threat of a second-wave of the coronavirus looming, economic disaster stands right before us. The possibility of an effective vaccine is the remaining hope  for much of the world to escape a Great Depression of the 21st century. How realistic such a therapeutic creation is for the salvation of the global economy remains to be seen.

UK Economy in Freefall Collapse Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

August 12th, 2020 Comments off

Official data just released reveals that the United Kingdom has experienced its worst recession since quarterly economic output reports were first tabulated in1955. In Q2 of 2020 the UK’s GDP contracted by negative 20.4%. This rate of economic contraction was driven by enforced lockdowns of much of the British economy in the wake of Covid-19, which has stricken the nation  more than other European economies.

The calamitous Q2 economic data means that the UK is experiencing the worst degree of economic  collapse of any major developed economy. As bad as the economic news is, there is reason to believe it will get worse. Even the UK government admits that unemployment, already at record levels, will significantly increase in the months ahead. The government has warned of hundreds of thousands of additional jobs that will cease to exists as the coronavirus pandemic continues to paralyze the economy, leading to an unprecedented level of demand destruction.

The dire economic news from  the UK is reflective of what is transpiring throughout the world. Despite continued talk by many pundits and government officials in leading economies about the likely V-shaped recovery  of economic growth, based on  optimistic forecasts of early vaccine development and improved Covid-19 therapeutics, the hard data offers  increasing evidence of a Global Economic Crisis, in effect the Great Depression of the 21st century.

TIME Magazine Columnist Predicts Global Economic Depression

August 6th, 2020 Comments off

Ian Bremmer, the highly regarded political scientist, has predicted a global depression in his most recent column in TIME. “The Next Global Depression  Is Coming and Optimism Won’t Slow It Down,” read the morbidly-stated headline of his column. He bases his forecast on the global nature of the evolving economic crisis, and the severe impact of Covid-19 on economies that far surpasses what occurred during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09.

The column by Bremmer follows last week’s release of Q2 economic data in the United States, which revealed that quarterly GDP had contracted by a staggering 33%. Unemployment rates in not only the U.S. but in all major economies are at double digit rates, as Coronavirus induced lockdowns continue to destroy consumer and industrial demand.

Meanwhile, stock markets worldwide are soaring, including the Dow Jones, as delusional investors continue to believe in the phantom of a V-shaped recovery. However, a spike in Covid-19 infection rates following a temporary receding after the initial lockdowns, reveals that such optimistic thinking is totally illusory. The likelihood of a second wave of infection in the Fall, coinciding with a likely divisive presidential election in the United States, makes Ian Bremmer’s dire economic forecast  the most likely future trajectory for the global economy.

German Economy Suffers Worst Quarterly Contraction On Record

July 30th, 2020 Comments off

Official statistics just released indicated a worse than expected decline in Germany’s GDP. The Q2 of negative 10.1 % follows a less sharp contraction in Q1. This is the most severe quarterly decline in economic activity in Germany since then end of the Second World War and the establishment of the Federal Republic. Germany is Europe’s largest and most successful economy, and the decline reflects the widespread economic damage being inflicted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Optimists will point to a likely strong rebound in Q3, as economic activity picks up with a reduction in Covid-19 lockdown measures. Such a rebound is likely to be temporary. The renewal of Covid-19 outbreaks in various hotspots throughout Europe, and forecasts of a second pandemic wave this Fall, are predictive of future bad economic news. In addition, the export-dependent German economy will likely be buffeted by Coronavirus infection rate  increases in many of its major export markets, in particular the United States.

The latest German economic data reinforces the growing consensus that the pandemic-driven global recession, already the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, will likely evolve into a full-blown economic depression lasting many years.

 

 

COVID-19 SECOND WAVE ACCELERATING GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS

July 13th, 2020 Comments off

 

Coronavirus has already unleashed a severe worldwide recession that is far worse than the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. In the words of economist Nouriel Roubini, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic resembled an asteroid striking the global economy.

The response of governments was inconsistent, but basically followed the following pattern; shut down much of the economy, accumulate unprecedented levels of debt to subsidize investors, businesses and laid-off employees, while hoping for the miracle of a quickly-developed vaccine. Amid the sea of debt-induced liquidity, pundits and policymakers boasted of a quick V-shaped recovery.’

 

Now we are witnessing in many countries a second-wave of the pandemic, in many cases only weeks after government officials boasted that coronavirus had been contained and that the economy could begin reopening. This, despite warnings from those more knowledgeable about the dynamics of a great pandemic that premature reopening of economic activity would greatly worsen the impact of a second wave of Covid-19, leading to repeated false openings followed by swift shutdowns of normal economic activity. These false starts and rapid lockdowns will actually worsen the negative impacts of coronavirus on the overall economy.

Now we are witnessing evidence that the pandemics is close to being out-of-control and spreading like wildfire in a growing number of countries, while sovereign debt , only months into the pandemic, is already at unprecedented levels. These factors further exacerbate the Global Economic Crisis now underway in tandem with the health crisis,  with talk of a V-shaped recovery proving to be illusory, while a severe economic depression  on the scale of the 1930s looks increasingly likely.

Asia Economy Contracting for the First Time According to IMF

July 2nd, 2020 Comments off

For the first time in “living memory,” Asia’s economy overall will shrink by at least  1.6% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The last projection from the IMF  had a forecast of flat growth. The update shows that the IMF sees worsening data impacting all of Asia in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IMF concedes that no region, including Asia, will be immune from the ruinous impact of the Coronavirus on the global economy.  Yet, though the IMF is predicting a global economic contraction of almost five percent in 2020, it is still forecasting  a V-shape recovery in 2021 in excess of positive five percent.

With Covid-19 running an unpredictable course, with signs of a second-wave already present, it is being excessively optimistic to hope for a speedy economic recovery. In fact, even the IMF states it will take years for the economies of Asia and other regions to fully  recover, in spite of rosy forecasts for 2021.

Leading Economist Warns That Riots In U.S. A Sign Of Unsustainable Economic Alienation

June 24th, 2020 Comments off

In an article  in  Project Syndicate, economist Nouriel Roubini analyzes the outbreak of mass riots  in  the United States, triggered by the police killing of George Floyd.  Roubini argues that the rioting stems from a reaction to police brutality and racism, but have grown to encompass masses of young workers of all races alienated by a failing economic model

Paraphrasing Marx, Roubini makes the case that that the old proletariat has been replaced by a new class-the Precariat- made up of of gig and contract workers, economically exploited and deprived of stable and sustainable wages and benefits. The precarious state of this new proletariat, combined with rising wealth inequality in the U.S., has made mass rioting inevtiable, states Roubini. In effect, his point is that masses of largely young people in America have reached the breaking point of despair, leading to what is emerging as a summer of urban explosions.

I recommend reading Roubini’s article in  full; the link is  https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/main-street-manifesto-for-covid19-crisis-by-nouriel-roubini-2020-06?