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    22 May 2020
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    Across time and countries, financial crises and, more broadly, recessions and recoveries, have had much in common. Recessions predominantly impact the demand side whereas the influence on the supply side is more limited. This time is different. The pandemic-induced recession will have a longer lasting influence on the allocation of household expenditures, if not on the level of spending.  More than a normal recession, it will also have major repercussions on the supply side, through changes in global value chains, working from home or the disruption of the economics of businesses which are confronted with a forced capacity reduction on social distancing grounds.
    Economic activity contracted sharply in February, the first month of the lockdown, before rebounding very gradually in March and April. The recovery is bound to be very slow after this brutal first-quarter shock [...]
    18 May 2020
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    Fed Chair Powell’s comment about what would happen in case of a prolonged recession has weighed heavily on equity markets. Historically, recessions are accompanied by major equity market drawdowns. The year-to-date decline is more limited, which stands in stark contrast with the plunge of activity. Massive monetary and fiscal policy support  has led to a reassessment of the distribution of risks, which goes a long way in explaining the rebound of equity markets. The focus is now shifting to the outlook for corporate earnings, hence the importance of the debate on the shape of the recovery.
    In the USA, as elsewhere, the paralysis of activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the production of statistics, which have become harder to interpret. The rebound in hourly wages in April indicated by the “pulse” is a false signal and should be treated with caution: it can be explained by the collapse in hours worked, against which wages always show a certain inertia. Not only is the information gathered from companies incomplete, but there may well have been a lag between the shutdown of businesses and the stopping of wages [...]
    07 May 2020
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    Following the judgment of the German Constitutional Court on 5 May, the ECB Governing Council needs to demonstrate that the monetary policy objectives of its PSPP are not disproportionate to the economic and fiscal policy effects resulting from the programme. In most cases, monetary, economic and fiscal policies are mutually reinforcing. When assessing whether monetary policy is appropriate, one should take into account the stance of economic and fiscal policy. The necessity to have adequate transmission to all jurisdictions as well as the likelihood and extent of tail risks due to insufficient policy action also play a role in the assessment.
    The Spanish data has sharply deteriorated – well below their historical averages – since the beginning of the lockdown in March. The trend in exports and industrial output remains positive on the graphic below but the latest figures are only for February. They will also plunge in March/April [...]    
    30 April 2020
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    Major central banks have stepped up their efforts to attenuate the economic impact of the pandemic, raising the question whether there is a limit to balance sheet expansion. An asset purchase program (QE) can continue for a long time, given the possibility to broaden the investable universe. Quite likely, asset price distortions and concern about the riskiness of the central bank balance sheet will act as the true constraint. For this reason, a central bank could decide to finance the budget deficit directly, considering that this should have a bigger growth impact for a given expansion of the balance sheet. The real challenge under such a strategy is to keep inflation under control once the output gap is closing.   
    Lending momentum in the euro zone recovered strongly in March 2020, with an increase of 1.6% from a 0.4% fall in February. Against a background of negative GDP growth in the first quarter (-3.3% Q/Q-4 from +1.0% Q/Q-4 the fourth quarter of 2019), conditions in March were severely affected by the lockdown measures introduced by national governments over the month [...]
    24 April 2020
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    Clear progress has been made at the European Council meeting this week. The proposals of the recent Eurogroup meeting on the creation of three safety nets have been endorsed. There is agreement to work on a recovery fund intended for the most affected sectors and geographical areas in Europe. Its financing would be linked with the multiannual financial framework. Importantly, Chancellor Merkel has declared that, in the spirit of solidarity, one should be prepared to temporarily pay a higher contribution to the European budget.
    Our Pulse for Turkey shows good resilience of the economy until February/March. So far, the government has not imposed a generalized lockdown therefore the supply shock is less severe than for other European economies. Besides, the Central Bank has lowered its policy rate by 200 basis points since mid-March and one third of the support program announced by the government (2.3% of GDP) has been already spent at mid-March. We expect recession to be limited to -2% for 2020 as a whole.
    17 April 2020
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    The Covid-19 pandemic shows that the supply side warrants greater attention when conducting macroeconomic analyses. Very long global value chains may be optimal from a cost and price perspective, but operationally may be very complex and, in particular, fragile. A more resilient supply side comes with a cost, both at the micro and macro level. Solving this trade-off in a market economy is difficult, which, to some degree, leaves a role for public policy.
    The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a jump in most of our uncertainty indicators. The media coverage based indicator is now at a record high. After stabilising at a high level, uncertainty of German companies has increased further whereas it has seen a big jump for US businesses. The behaviour of geopolitical risk is an exception...
    10 April 2020
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    The Eurogroup has reached an agreement on bringing EUR 500 bn -4.2% of eurozone GDP- of additional firepower to attenuate the immediate economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Three tools will be used: the SURE programme to temporarily support national safety nets, the EIB guaranteeing lending to companies -in particular SMEs- and a Pandemic Crisis Support via the ESM. The work on the creation of a Recovery Fund to boost European investments will continue. The difficult part will be to agree on its funding.
    Americans and the US economy, like many other countries, will pay a heavy price for the Covid-19 pandemic. Although the virus seemed to be slowing for a moment, it was spreading rapidly again as we went to press, with more than 30,000 new cases reported daily. The economy is beginning to show signs of slumping...
    03 April 2020
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    In March, the employment component of the purchasing managers indices for the eurozone declined, whereas in the US, initial jobless claims skyrocketed. Companies need flexibility to manage their cost base but households suffering from an unemployment-related income loss would act as a headwind to the recovery. In the US, the Federal government will top up unemployment benefits, which vary from state to state. In Europe, short-time work schemes allow employers to adapt their workforce without having recourse to costly lay-offs.
    Looking at the economic data for the euro area that has emerged recently, the conclusion is clear: we are seeing an unprecedented economic contraction in the service sector. The average eurozone service sector PMI plummeted in Q1 2020, well below its long-term average...
    27 March 2020
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    The measures to stop the spreading of the pandemic have a profound impact on the economy which increasingly shows up in the economic data.Record declines in business sentiment illustrate the necessity of the forceful policy measures which have already been taken.The lifting of the lockdowns will, mechanistically, trigger a rebound in activity but additional stimulus will probably be needed to maintain the momentum.
    Judging by the indicators on our radar screen, the picture for the French economy is deteriorating, albeit, it should be remembered, from a relatively strong position...
    20 March 2020
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    Recent activity and demand data for China show the huge impact of the coronavirus epidemic. German business expectations have seen an unprecedented monthly drop in March . The drop in the price of oil acts as an additional drag on growth and a source of increased credit risk. The strengthening of the dollar is a source of concern for issuers with foreign currency debt in dollar. Despite swift action of the major central banks and the announcement of increasingly important fiscal policy support in various countries, equity markets have barely reacted: lack of visibility dominates.
    In the latest months, economic activity was virtually stagnant. As can be seen in the chart, the export-oriented manufacturing sector was operating well below potential, whereas activity in the more on the domestic market oriented sectors such as construction and services remained buoyant. The outbreak of the Covid19 in Germany has changed the picture completely...
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