Coronavirus and financial markets… will we get out of this?

The Valencian financier hopes that the pandemic will be controlled between April and May, with a gradual normalization in the summer months.

The coronavirus crisis and the containment measures applied are having a significant impact on the world economy. The confinement and the ‘slow’ economic activity result in a demand shock that impacts all sectors.

The markets in general, and the Ibex 35 index in particular, register drops close to 30% in 2020. Stock markets often anticipate and overreact to events. As a result, we must pay special attention to the virus containment data and possible advances in health: diagnostic equipment, effective medicines as well as the development of a vaccine.

We have faced one of the fastest stock market crashes in history and given the current volatility of the markets we believe that the time to enter with purchases will be when the signs are given effective control of the virus.

The coronavirus spreads extremely easily. In 80% of cases they are mild or moderate infections and can be cured at home; In 14% of cases, you have to go to the hospital since the infection is severe and in 6% they are serious cases that end up in the ICU.

Serious incidents by country:

Its economic impact

Despite the uncertainty and the difficulty in knowing the exact effect of the pandemic on the economy, we think that we are already in a recession since the national GDP will fall by -9.7% in the first semester of 2020; this will be followed by a sharp rebound during the second half as output normalizes. For the year as a whole, GDP will contract by 4%. However, we must be aware that this is a one-off crisis limited in time; we are confident that we will have the first signs of recovery in the second part of this year, which will be followed by a pronounced growth in 2021 (+3%) and culminating in a full recovery in the first half of 2022.

The impact on employment will be large as 1.7 million people will lose their jobs in Spain, placing the unemployment rate at 22%. We expect the results of the Companies to deteriorate by -25% in 2020. There are already many companies that have canceled their dividends, their share repurchase plans, as well as their investment plans. ‘Cash is the King, because you have to save the cash in anticipation of liquidity needs in the coming months. We must clearly differentiate temporary losses, a direct consequence of the pandemic, from permanent losses. Nor are all sectors affected equally. Among the most affected are the tourism, hotel, catering, airlines, etc.; that can give the summer season for lost in large part.

Some less penalized sectors are agriculture, the pharmaceutical sector, technology… After the collapse the recovery will come but obviously not at the same speed as the fall. In any case to see the controlled situation in Europe there are still months. Tomorrow, Thursday, we will be able to begin to test the economic damage suffered by Spain with real figures, since the employment data for the month of March are published. At the moment, the CEOE surveys show a forecast of a 50% drop in sales.

Fiscal and monetary measures

Central banks and governments have reacted quickly with the largest battery of stimuli ever proposed, facilitating access to credit and flooding the market with liquidity. In Spain, several measures have been adopted, such as:

  • The ICO will grant guarantees of up to 100,000 million euros to facilitate the granting of loans to companies and the self-employed.
  • The procedure for Temporary Employment Regulation Files (ERTE) has been simplified.
  • Exemption in the payment of social contributions for workers subject to ERTE.

For its part, the ECB has approved the PEPP (Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program)