Active investment commentary & analysis

COVID-19 spreads around the globe

Markets fell heavily during the month as the COVID-19 virus spread around the globe.

As 2020 dawned, we felt that the outlook for the UK economy was brighter than consensus forecasts. December’s decisive general election outcome led us to believe that we would be entering a period of lower political uncertainty and increased business and consumer confidence. With the US entering a Presidential election year, we also expected a reduction in trade tensions as President Trump sought to have the economy running ‘hot’ to maximise his chances of re-election.

COVID-19 has left this thesis in tatters. It represents a challenge to both the markets and society unlike anything we have ever faced in our lifetime. While government efforts in many Asian states appear to have stemmed the virus’ spread, it remains uncertain whether the virus will remerge when restrictions on the populace are lifted. The citizenry of both Europe and US are likely to see changes to their daily life on a scale only previously seen during wartime.