23 to 29 March: A decade-long economic cycle comes to an abrupt end

It is no doubt that the global economy is going through a period of recession, due to the coronavirus’ overwhelming impact. In the US, Markit composite PMI declined to 40.5, whilst the University of Michigan consumer confidence index significantly decreased in March. Meanwhile, initial jobless claims spiked to 3.3mn until the 21st March – indicating that the era of a tight and hot American jobs market has abruptly ended. Meanwhile, the Chinese statistics office reported just two weeks ago that industrial production, retail sales and fixed asset investments sharply contracted in January and February.

Looking ahead there are plenty of datapoints in the economic diary for this week, which will shed further light on the extent of the initial damage the coronavirus outbreak has wrought on the global economy. NFP payroll and the official unemployment rate data in the US will reflect on the state of the labour market, whilst the ISM manufacturing index in the US and manufacturing PMIs across China, India, the ASEAN region, Latin America and Africa will provide partial insights how businesses perceive economic developments on the ground. In our opinion, since visibility remains foggy and limited, investors need to find comfort in the fact that many governments and central banks have been taking unprecedented measures to minimise the virus’ negative impact on the economy.

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