Displaying items by tag: recession
Goldman Sachs, who has been a leader in putting out new research n the economic effects of the current lockdown, has issued new guidance on this week’s pending jobless claims. The bank thinks jobless claims will increase to a whopping 6m this week. If that happens, it would mean this week’s figure would exceed the record that stood until last week by a whopping 9x. The coming release will cover the week from March 22-28th. “Jobless claims will be the timeliest hard data point for assessing the depth of the recession and catching the start of the recovery”, says Goldman.
FINSUM: The period the release covers is not even likely to be the worst. There is probably still a few weeks before the full scale of the layoffs becomes apparent and the numbers peak.
Citibank is pitching a convincing and optimistic view of the economy, and it is a refreshing take in an otherwise bleak landscape. The bank says the big influx of tests that will become available may allow the economy to open much sooner than planned. Their argument is that the growth in tests will allow 60% of working-age US individuals to be tested by the end of April, and 95% by the end of May. As workers are tested, they can head back to work, quickly re-opening the economy. Accordingly, by the end of this month 90 million Americans may be back at work. “While potential therapeutic strategies for COVID-19 seize headlines, we believe diagnostics rather than therapeutics are far better positioned to materially change the economic and even medical outlook for the current COVID-19 pandemic”, says Citi.
FINSUM: Honestly, this sounds like more of a plan than a forecast, but it is a very good one, and does lend some useful optimism.
Goldman Sachs issued a bleak revision of its earlier estimate for the looming second quarter recession. When the pandemic first struck, Goldman called for a 9% decline. It then proceeded to increase that forecast to 20% as the lockdowns began. Now it has reissued guidance, calling for a 34% decline in GDP and a rise in the unemployment rate to 15%.
FINSUM: This is a profound forecast and speaks to the scale of the pending downturn. The good thing, though, is that Goldman thinks there will be a 19% recovery in Q3.
In what comes as a very important announcement right now, Goldman Sachs argues that the stock market has not bottomed, and that it will take three things happening for the nadir to arrive. In order for markets to reach a bottom and start to sustainably rise, Goldman says case numbers must start to fall, there must be evidence that Fed and Congressional efforts are sufficient to support the economy, and investor sentiment and market positioning must bottom out (which has not even close to happened yet, according to GS). Goldman expects the S&P 500 to finish the year at 3,000.
FINSUM: We agree with the first two points (about case numbers and stimulus), but the third argument about positioning seems circular to us, as it relies on the markets getting worse before getting better.
All the predictions in the market are about how steep the recession in Q2 will be (we think people should also be considering the Q1 numbers!), but a new paper has been published looking back at the economic effects of the 1918 pandemic. The surprising finding is that strong shutdowns did not actually hurt the economy as much as thought. In fact, the areas that undertook the strongest and swiftest shutdowns, had the weakest drops in output and the quickest recoveries. The average US location suffered an 18% downturn from the pandemic. However, the researchers (two from the Fed, one from MIT) summed up their findings this way, saying “Cities that implemented more rapid and forceful non-pharmaceutical health interventions do not experience worse downturns … In contrast, evidence on manufacturing activity and bank assets suggests that the economy performed better in areas with more aggressive NPIs after the pandemic”.
FINSUM: While this is not the most compelling evidence (given it is 100 years old), it is encouraging to consider that those taking swift action might not see the worst consequences.