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With 50,000 new cases reported daily – twice as many as at the beginning of June – and the number of hospitalisations on the rise, the Covid-19 pandemic is in the midst of an alarming resurgence in the United States. Granted the number of cases increases with the increase in testing, but this alone is not a sufficient explanation. The government’s response to the crisis is also to blame. In the European Union, where lockdown restrictions and business closures were implemented earlier and more systematically than in the United States, the situation seems to be better under control. Estimates of economic losses must be approached cautiously. The economy is rebounding on both sides of the Atlantic after reporting historically big contractions of about 10% in the second quarter. The business climate is also improving. But then what? Like the epidemic curves, growth trajectories could diverge and become more difficult to extrapolate.

THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK IS WEAKENING FURTHER Published on 1 Jul 2020 by Hélène DROUOT
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Mexican real GDP fell by 19.9% year- on- year in April. At the same time, industrial production plunged by 30% (the manufacturing component fell by more than 35%). In addition to the domestic impact of lockdown measures, economic activity has been hit  by the fall in the oil price, disruption in supply chains, and the sharp decline in external demand (especially from the US) affecting both the export and tourism sectors. The Central Bank has lowered its policy rate (by 225 basis points since January, to 5%) and announced several series of measures aimed at  supporting the economy, but this will not be sufficient to cushion the shock. Indeed, the government, preferring to stick to its fiscal austerity policy, has not announced a major fiscal plan to support the economy. All in all, we expect real GDP to decline by more than 10% in 2020.

Unlike other emerging countries, the ability of the Mexican economy to rebound appears limited. Growth forecasts for 2021 (less than 3.5%) and beyond are held back by the same factors that hampered recent economic performance before the crisis. The deterioration in the business climate, linked to the mixed messages sent by the government, will notably continue to weigh on investment.

GRANTING OF GOVERNMENT-BACKED LOANS IS WINDING DOWN Published on 24 Jun 2020 by Céline CHOULET
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In response to the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, in April the US Congress set up the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a small business lending programme guaranteed by the Federal government with an overall budget of nearly USD 650 billion.

Under certain conditions, the loans can be converted into subsidies within the limit of payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities paid during the 24 weeks after the loan was granted. The loans will be partially or completely forgiven on condition that employment and wages are maintained by the end of the year. At 22 June, 4.6 million SME had borrowed more than USD 515 billion under the programme, virtually all of which was borrowed as early as mid-May.

Although drawing on confirmed credit lines stimulated the growth of bank loans through mid-April, since then the PPP programme has helped offset the contraction in commercial and industrial loans as well as consumer loans outstanding.

On the Same Theme

US banks: leverage ratios under pressure 6/30/2020
The exceptional measures taken by the US authorities to bolster the liquidity of companies and markets in response to the Covid-19 crisis have resulted in a significant expansion of bank balance sheets. Since the financial crisis of 2007-2008, regulators have tightened balance sheet constraints significantly. Fearing that leverage requirements could damage banks’ ability to finance the economy and support the smooth functioning of financial markets, these have temporarily been relaxed. However, the Federal Reserve is unlikely to undergo a slimming regime that will scale back bank balance sheets for a number of years (and almost certainly not before the end of the period of relaxation of requirements). As a result, we cannot rule out the possibility that the leverage ratio constraint will return as quickly as it was removed.
Granting of government-backed loans is winding down 6/24/2020
In response to the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, in April the US Congress set up the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a small business lending programme guaranteed by the Federal government with an overall budget of nearly USD 650 billion. Under certain conditions, the loans can be converted into subsidies within the limit of payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent and utilities paid during the 24 weeks after the loan was granted. The loans will be partially or completely forgiven on condition that employment and wages are maintained by the end of the year. At 22 June, 4.6 million SME had borrowed more than USD 515 billion under the programme, virtually all of which was borrowed as early as mid-May. Although drawing on confirmed credit lines stimulated the growth of bank loans through mid-April, since then the PPP programme has helped offset the contraction in commercial and industrial loans as well as consumer loans outstanding.
Widespread decline 6/12/2020
There were no exceptions. As expected, the US economic barometer, which covers all or part of the data available through May 2020, is signalling the worst recession to have hit the United States since 1946 ...
The COVID-19 pandemic and the US equity market 5/18/2020
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.
Accelerated fall 5/18/2020
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 [...]
The Fed: the global lender of last resort 4/30/2020
Pressure on dollar liquidity created an urgent need for action from the US Federal Reserve (the Fed). Assuming its role as the global lender of last resort - the consequence of its position as the issuer of the international trade and reserve currency - the Fed reactivated the permanent or temporary swap agreements that it established with 14 other central banks in 2008. In order to extend the reach of its dollar supply, the Fed has also created a repo facility for the central banks of countries that do not have dollar swap agreements. The high fees charged, however, will limit take-up, depriving the markets of what could be a significant calming influence.
The first effects of monetary policy measures on bank balance sheets 4/22/2020
The measures taken by the US Federal Reserve (Fed) since 15 March have already had a major impact on the balance sheets of commercial banks resident in the United States*. Their reserves held at the Central Bank have considerably increased following their role as intermediaries for the Fed’s securities purchases, emergency loans and liquidity swaps. As in 2008-2014, the Fed’s quantitative easing policy has also created a disconnect between growth in loans and growth in deposits on banks’ balance sheets. Since most of the Fed’s securities purchases have been from non-bank agents, customer deposits have grown more quickly than loans. Finally, as in 2008, a large proportion of dollar liquidity lent by the Fed to foreign central banks, then distributed to non-resident banks, has eventually been re-lent to resident banks, as shown by the increase in their net debts to affiliated entities located abroad (parent companies, subsidiaries or branches). * US banks and the US subsidiaries and branches of foreign banks.  
Signs of slumping 4/10/2020
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...
State of emergency 4/8/2020
The American people and the US economy will no longer be spared the coronavirus pandemic, no more than any other country. Arriving belatedly on US soil and long belittled by President Trump, the virus is now spreading rampantly, to the point that WHO is now preparing to declare the United States the pandemic’s new epicentre. With its federal structure, the US has taken a scattered approach, leaving each state to decide whether or not to introduce lockdown measures. Although the White House has closed the country’s borders (to the European Union and Canada, among others), it was reluctant to restrict domestic movements of goods and people. Foreseeing recession, the markets have plunged and the central bank has launched a veritable monetary “Marshall Plan”.
The liquidity positions of major US banks have not improved 3/11/2020
In the end, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) did not wait for the next corporation tax payment deadline in April before intervening in the money market. In an attempt to stave off the risk of pressures on the market as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it increased the scale of its repo transactions on Monday 9 March. At the end of last week, demand for cash from primary dealers far outstripped what the Fed was offering. Although the Fed has injected nearly USD 480 billion in additional central bank money since mid-September, the liquidity position (immediately available cash) at major US banks has not improved. On the one hand, bank reserves with the Fed have increased by only USD 280 billion, due to the growth in the Treasury’s general account. On the other hand, the major banks have absorbed a large part of the collateral issued, either through outright purchases or indirectly through the forced retention of securities by their primary dealers.  

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