Wed, 01 Apr 2020

Millions of job losses coming says Moody's

ANI
24 Mar 2020, 22:55 GMT+10

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - COVID-19 has created a worldwide economic tsunami and the global economy is engulfed in a serious downturn, according to Moody's Analytics.

The virus has caused significant parts of the Asian and now European and US economies to all but shut down.

"More financial pain is quickly coming as layoffs mount, businesses curtail investment and retirement nest eggs evaporate," said Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics.

"Millions of job losses are likely in coming weeks, particularly for households that live paycheck to paycheck," he wrote in an analysis.

In January, prior to the virus, Moody's expected global real GDP growth of 2.6 per cent in 2020. With the virus now shutting down travel, trade and many businesses, the global economy is expected to suffer from real GDP falling by 0.4 per cent.

Zandi said the Chinese GDP is on track to decline by 27 per cent at an annualised rate in the first quarter.

US businesses have immediately laid-off workers. Initial claims for unemployment insurance spiked last week (the week of March 8) to over 280,000 from about 210,000 the week before. US claims of over 240,000 per week are consistent with no job growth.

A survey conducted by the Federal Reserve last year found that almost half of Americans effectively live paycheck to paycheck.

"A massive and mounting monetary and fiscal policy response will limit the economic damage in the United States compared with much of the rest of the world, we expect lawmakers to ultimately provide 1.65 trillion dollars in discretionary fiscal stimulus," Zandi added.

Zandi said COVID-19 is an unprecedented global pandemic and economic shock. Economies around the globe are shutting down, and the sudden halt to business is resulting in serious economic and financial damage.

It is not difficult to construct very dark scenarios -- each darker than the last. The recession that now engulfs the world ultimately should not be as severe as the financial crisis nor, certainly, as terrible as the 1930s' Great Depression.

However, the scenario that comes to pass will depend critically on how effective global policymakers are in containing the virus and responding to the economic fallout.

Central banks have responded aggressively but are running out of room to manoeuvre as interest rates hit the zero lower bound.

"The onus is now on governments to quickly provide substantial financial support to hard-pressed households and businesses," wrote Zandi. (ANI)

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