Displaying items by tag: recession
Stock across the developed world went into freefall today as news spread of the explosion of the coronavirus in Europe and the subsequent quarantine that has been put in place in Northern Italy. Additionally, US data shows business activity contracted for the first time in four years in February. The S&P 500 and Dow are both down about 3.4% at the time of writing.
FINSUM: The virus is now no longer contained to China, with Italy sporting 150 cases and three deaths. Chip companies, travel and tech are getting hit the hardest.
In many ways the coronavirus just became real for stock markets. Up to this point, fears about how the virus might impact the economy and stocks seemed esoteric and intangible. Then this happened: Apple warned that it would miss its quarterly revenue target because of coronavirus. It is having trouble producing phones because of unstaffed Chinese factories. Accordingly, the company announced “iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide”.
FINSUM: This is when the rubber meets the road and it becomes much easier to see how this virus could cause a global recession. The engine of the world (China) is sputtering.
There have been many stories about how coronavirus could hurt the economy. We have covered the extent to which fears of the virus have hurt various sectors as well as general Chinese factory production. Today we have some concrete stats on how the virus is hurting trade. So far, there have been about 350,000 less shipping containers leaving China than there would have been without the virus. Dockworkers at major ports are sitting idle as nothing arrives. Fears of job losses are mounting because workers have nothing to do. The 350,000 figure includes China to Americas shipments as well as China to Europe shipments.
FINSUM: That is a phenomenal amount of production if you think about it, and that is only a portion of the export market. We think there is a good chance of a Chinese recession that may trickle into the global economy.
There is a lot of focus right now on how great an impact coronavirus will have on the stock market, both locally and abroad. So far it has impacted stocks on certain days, with the effect immediately disappearing soon after. The reality is, however, that coronavirus’ impact may be uneven, with some sectors getting hit badly and others being fine, even as benchmark indexes might seem largely unhurt. We have already written about how luxury retail is hurting because of a lack of Chinese tourists, but now it is looking like commodities might be deeply wounded across the board. China is a huge driver of commodity markets as its demand fuels the market. And with the economy so shut down, commodity demand is going to drop off a cliff.
FINSUM: What is most worrying is that commodity prices don’t seem to reflect this at all, which means they are at risk of plummeting.
It is often hard to get a handle on how the Chinese economy is doing. The country’s government controls information very tightly, which makes the whole nation a black box. However, with coronavirus fears in full flourish there is some additional insight available, and it is worrying. Factories across the country have been shut as part of an effort to contain the disease, and even tech workers are working remotely. All over the country, from Beijing to Shanghai, to industrial provinces, workers are not reporting to factories (following government advice to stay home). Even today, as some parts of the country were supposed to return to work, many are not.
FINSUM: The Chinese economy seems to have completely stopped. It is hard to imagine there will not be a significant recession this quarter in China, which could reverberate all over the world.