This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 03 April 2020

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Apr 04, 2020

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 03 April 2020

U.S - An Unprecedented Time

  • Data this week began to show just how large the coronavirus-related impact on the economy will be. Efforts to contain the virus are leading to millions of job losses and it’s likely only a matter of time before a majority of economic data reveal unprecedented declines.
  • Employers reported payrolls declined by 701 K workers in March. This decline comes before the worst of the coronavirus-related impacts on the once-strong labor market and only hints at what’s in store. Job losses will be in the millions in April.
  • President Trump tweeted favorable comments of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s relationship, but it’s unclear if coordinated production cuts will occur. Oil prices remain exceptionally low.

 

Global - Sentiment Indicators Still Point Down in Many Countries

  • This week, we received a bit more detail on the economic impact many international economies face following the outbreak of the coronavirus. Initial market sentiment indicators still pointed down in most countries with the Market manufacturing and services PMIs revised lower in the Euro zone and United Kingdom.
  • China’s PMIs returned to expansion in March, with the manufacturing PMI climbing 16.3 points. Meanwhile the non-manufacturing index also rose, and the index for small firms surged the most since 2017.



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The consumer has been a bright spot in the recovery so far, but with jobless benefits in flux and no clear path for the long-awaited stimulus bill, the support here could fade.

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The FOMC has made it clear that it needs to see inflation slowing on a sustained basis before pivoting from its current stance. The data seems to be going in multiple directions all at once.

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CPI increases continue to sizzle like this weekend’s temperature, putting consumers in a worse mood than Texas Rangers fans (with their 9.5 games back $500 million middle infield).

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An unexpected spike in jobless claims is a sign that cracks are forming in the labor market. Higher mortgage rates look to be hindering a housing market rebound.

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Increased vaccinations and an improving public health position led to an easing of restrictions and pickup in activity across the country in March.

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Mexico’s economy has slowed notably over the last year, with the economy contracting again in Q4, indicating a full-year contraction for 2019.

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The real estate sector has been significantly affected by rising interest rates, with total housing starts falling 8.1% in September. Peering ahead, the forward-looking Leading Economic Index points to a recession in the coming year.

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Existing home sales rose 2.4% to a 6.0-million unit annual pace. The surge in sales further depleted inventories and pushed prices sharply higher.

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In our recently released second report in this series of economic risks, we focused on the potential of demand-side factors to lead to significantly higher U.S. inflation in the next few years.

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