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Macroeconomic picture - May 2020

 

 

SUMMARY

Developed Countries

Emerging Countries

Macro and Market forecasts

Disclaimer to our forecasts

 

Flag-UK

May 2020

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Mai 2020

 

                            

 

 

 

 

  • United States: Heading towards a sharp contraction in H1; the H2 recovery is being shaped by the duration of the crisis and the effectiveness of the unprecedented policy response, once the post-containment normalization phase starts. Since the start of April, both hard and soft data have begun to show the impact on the economy. In one month, the crisis has erased almost the number of jobs added since the GFC, and unemployment moved up sharply to 4.4% from 3.5% one month earlier. Sentiment plunged across business lines, especially in service and consumer sectors. Retail sales fell the most since 1992. Inflation moderated in March.
  • Eurozone: The Eurozone economy is entering a recession, as almost all European countries have implemented increasingly strict Covid-19 containment measures, with a significant impact on growth. As hard data releases lag behind, soft data provide an up-to-date indication of a sharp downturn, with manufacturing PMIs remaining in contraction territory and service PMI falling sharply. Preliminary data on March retail sales, in particular car sales, are appalling (car sales declined 56.4% on a monthly basis). Economic data releases over the next few weeks will provide a preliminary assessment of the impact of confinement measures.
  • Japan: The Japanese economy is expected to sink into a deep recession, as most economies go through a double shock of collapses in both internal and external demand. The soft lockdown imposed by the government in April will weigh further on domestic consumption, after the March contraction likely exceeded the one that came after the 2011 earthquake. Proposed cash handouts will help, but are only expected to be approved by lawmakers in late May or June. As much of the global economy remains under lockdown, we continue to expect a soft trade and business investment outlook.
  • United Kingdom: The UK economy is set to face a recession expected to significantly drag down H1 economic growth. The shock will play out via domestic and external demand. We forecast a significant contraction in household consumption, in particular in discretionary spending and investments. Business surveys are moving deeper into contraction territory both in manufacturing and services, and the construction industry is also showing significant weakness.

Nota Bene: The uncertainty around our macroeconomic forecasts is very high, and it triggers frequent reassessments any time fresh high frequency data are available. Our forecasts at this point include a higher qualitative component, reducing the statistical accuracy and increasing the uncertainty through wider ranges around them.

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  • Fed: In order to stabilize financial conditions, the Fed moved rapidly into action, making full use of its conventional and unconventional tools:
    1) cutting rates by a cumulative 150bp and moving to ZIRP
    2) introducing supporting facilities for the CP market and primary dealers’ liquidity
    4) providing liquidity to the system through massive repos, and acting on banks reservesrequirements and capital buffers
    5) moving to open QE and to support corporates and ABS through dedicated facilities
    6) providing foreign central banks with both dollar swap lines and repos, and
    7) extending its support to fallen angels and municipalities
    Liquidity and coverage of extraordinary fiscal financing needs on the fiscal side are the Fed’s main objectives.
  • ECB: The ECB acted in several steps and finally delivered a strong package
    - An overall amount of QE of EUR 1,050tn to be spent just over the next nine months (a triple-digit average monthly path).
    - Lifting of issuer and maturity limits on the public sector QE, increasing flexibility and QE firepower to better cover extra fiscal spending
  • BoJ: The BoJ joined other central banks in easing, by expanding asset purchase amounts significantly, in order to alleviate financial stress. The BoJ can now purchase JGBs without limit. It also raised purchase constraint for corporate bonds and commercial papers from JPY 1tn to JPY 7.5tn each with a relaxation of the single-issuer share limits. Following this decisive move, we expect the central bank to remain on hold for a while and to refrain from policy rate cuts. A rate cut is seen running counter to the government’s epidemic control efforts.
  • BoE: Like the Federal Reserve, the BoE decided to first deliver an emergency, intra-meeting 50bp rate cut, within a synchronized global easier policy scenario: the rate cut was combined with a later announcement of easier fiscal policy. Following the first decisions, the BoE also announced some days later the launch of a new GBP200bn QE targeting treasury bonds, and cut rates by further 15bp, therefore moving to ZIRP, too.
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EMERGING CONTRIES

 

  • China: The March data reports show that economic activity rebounded from the widespread suspension in February, with manufacturing production recovering at a faster pace than the services sector. We expect the economy to grow 2.3%-3.3% in 2020, as the policy stance has turned more accommodative. Credit growth is expected to firm up along with public spending, with a focus on boosting infrastructure builds. There is more room for monetary policy easing, although a deposit rate cut must wait until the CPI eases back more. The slump in global demand remains the major downside risk.
  • India: The recovery in economic performance in Jan/Feb has been wiped out by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. In March, economic data deteriorated sharply across the sectors(electricity generation, vehicle sales, freight traffic and exports). Thanks to substantial moderation in food prices, headline inflation finally dropped back below the target’s upper band (5.9% yoy vs. 6.0%) and is expected to fall further. The policy mix is still driven by the RBI, which recently introduced new liquidity measures. The fiscal strategy is not clear yet, though is very likely that the fiscal targets will be missed due to the ongoing recession.
  • South Africa: The SARB cut rates by 100bp to 4.25% at a surprise committee meeting. This is the third drop since the start of the year, totalling 225bp. The SARB justified this decision with new forecasts of sharply deteriorated growth (6% recession in 2020) and lower inflation (3.6% in 2020) due to the pandemic. South Africa, which has also been under lockdown measures for a few weeks, is now facing a substantial domestic demand shock. Given that its room for manoeuvre is extremely limited on the fiscal level, the only tool to support activity remains monetary policy.
  • Argentina: The government finally disclosed its debt restructuring proposal, but the offer has not been accepted by the bondholders. The old debt is to be replaced by new amortising bonds of five different maturities ranging between 2030 and 2047, with a grace period of three years and with significantly lower coupons. This implies an average haircut of 60-70% on coupons and 5% on the principal. Depending on the exit yield used and the bond, the offer translates into recovery values of 25-50% of principal. If a compromise is not reached with the bondholders in the next few weeks, Argentina could default on its debt at the end May following the 30-day grace period on NY law coupon payments due on 22 April.

Nota Bene: The uncertainty around our macroeconomic forecasts is very high, and it triggers frequent reassessments any time fresh high frequency data are available. Our forecasts at this point include a higher qualitative component, reducing the statistical accuracy and increasing the uncertainty through wider ranges around them.

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  • PBoC (China): In light of the challenging global demand outlook and the risks of a second outbreak, the latest Politburo meeting on 17 April explicitly spelled out that RRR and interest rates should be cut further. We expect the PBoC to “catch down” with interbank market rates in the coming months, cutting OMO and 1-year LPR by a similar amount, although the pace will be controlled and measured. A benchmark deposit rate cut is still on the table, but has to wait until headline inflation eases more as policymakers link it to social welfare issues.
  • RBI (India): On 17 April, on the back of the economic assessment, the RBI announced a series of extraordinary measures aiming at improving liquidity management (TLTRO2, refinancing facilities and a further reduction of the Fixed Rate Reverse Repo Rate by 25bps to 3.75%). Regulatory measures have also been introduced to reclassify non-performing assets, to extend the resolution timeline, to stop bank dividend payouts until further notice, and to temporary reduce the liquidity coverage ratio.
  • BCB (Brazil): The latest Focus Survey published by the BCB (on 17 April) is reporting a faster deterioration in the growth outlook and lower headline inflation. According to the same survey, the SELIC rate target by the end of the year is now 25bps lower than the previous one at 3.0% (currently at 3.75%). On 15 April, the Senate approved a constitutional amendment that, among other things, allows the BCB to buy and sell public and private securities on the secondary markets (QE).
  • CBR (Russia): On 24 April, the Central Bank of Russia cut its policy rate by 50bps to 5.5% and announced that it had switched to an accommodative monetary policy. It remains open to further rate cuts. The disinflationary pressures from weak demand outweigh temporary pro-inflationary factors such as the weakening rouble. Annual inflation is expected to reach 3.8-4.8% by year-end, and then fall to 4%, which is the target of the CBR. The CBR also revised its macro forecasts for 2020-21. Given the expected deceleration in economic activity, we expect the CBR to cut rates by 100bps by year-end.
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Table-1

 

 

Disclaimer-to-our-forecasts-Header

 

The uncertainty around the macro forecasts is very high, and it triggers frequent reassessments any time fresh high frequency data are available. Our macroeconomic forecasts at this point include a higher qualitative component, reducing the statistical accuracy and increasing the uncertainty through wider ranges around them.

A global recession is our base case today

1. How deep?
—The deepness depends on the virus longevity in the countries affected and the consequent gradual to complete lockdown in most of them. Downturn is evident in domestic demand (across its components at different degree) and in trade dynamics. We assume the largest downturn in the lockdown quarter and a milder downturn to follow. We monitor outbreak developments and lockdown/resumption of the economic activity.

2. How long?
—The timeline depends on the deepness of the economic disruption together with the credit conditions and the rise of corporate default, magnifying the financial markets turbulence and therefore the impact on the economy.
—The timeline of the shock has extended, and overall a peak is expected by May to June 2020. The global economy was showing signs of growth stabilization during the 4Q2020.
—The timeline is also a function of the specific developments of the outbreak together with pre-existent fragilities.

3. The fiscal impact
—The impacts of micro and macro fiscal measures are not included in our forecasts but it’s fair to assume a normalization in the financial and liquidity conditions driven by Monetary Policy authorities

Financial targets
—Financial targets are reviewed on the same line and include policy actions implemented on a daily basis.

 

Amundi Research
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Macroeconomic picture - May 2020
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