Coronavirus Week in Review: Top 10 Things That Happened

Mish

The stock market had the most wild ride in history. The week culminated with a declaration of emergency by Trump.

Week in Review 10 Key Points

  1. The WHO finally declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. It was obvious to anyone with a bit of common sense weeks ago.
  2. The NBA and NFL both suspended the season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.
  3. 39 states in the US have declared states of emergency. There are numerous school closures and business disruptions.
  4. Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night and delivered a terrible performance in trying to reassure the nation. In his speech, Trump suspended travel from the EU, more specifically the passport free Schengen Area.
  5. Stocks crashed over 9% on Thursday. A bear market officially started.
  6. 75% of companies note supply chain disruptions as coronavirus cases growing outside of China at an exponential rate.
  7. On Friday Trump declared a National Emergency. In contrast to Wednesday, he gave an excellent speech accompanied by US business leaders and the market rose over 9%.
  8. The bond market was in a state of stress all week. There are major liquidations in bond funds and the bid-ask spreads in the 30-year bond are the biggest on record. Even Friday stock market rally did not calm the bond market.
  9. Gold, normally a safe haven, followed the bond market. Higher treasury yields are generally seen as bad for gold.
  10. Bitcoin crashed 50% in a 24 hour period on March 12-13 and recovered a bit of those losses.

1: Officially a Pandemic

The World Health Organization says the Coronavirus, COVID-19 Is Now Officially A Pandemic.

The COVID-19 viral disease that has swept into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people is now officially a pandemic, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday.

"This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva.

Also note that Trump Classifies Coronavirus Info.

That was not a smart move. It creates frears of "What is Trump hiding?"

2: NBA and NHL Suspend Seasons

On March 11, I noted NBA Suspends All Games, Sports Jackass of the Year Awarded

I gave the "Sports Jackass of the Year" award" to Utah Jazz superstar Rudy Gobert who mocks the coronavirus by touching every microphone, recorder and reporter in the media room two days ago. The next day he tested positive for the virus and the NBA suspended the season. The NHL suspended the season the following day.

3: 39 States in the US Have Declared States of Emergency

Washington, California, Maryland, Kentucky, Utah, New York, Florida, Oregon, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Virginia, Delaware, Montana, Nevada, Arkansas, Kansas, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Idaho, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, New Mexico, Texas.

School closures and other disruptions are far too numerous to mention.

Note that New York will Establish a “Containment Area” Using the National Guard.​

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Case map courtesy of the New York Times.

Please play that video.

It highlights extreme incompetence at the CDC, the US Center for Disease Control.

The most amazing thing about the video is that is it by a Fox News journalist and Fox rarely criticizes anything associated with Trump.

I believe but cannot prove, Trump wanted the US to have its own tests with a "Made in USA" label.

If it was not his call, Trump would be blaming, firing, or belittling the person responsible.

Regardless, the CDC is his responsibility.

4: Trump Addressed the Nation Wednesday Night

I commented A Clearly Rattled Trump Bans All Travel From EU Starting Friday

President Trump was clearly rattled and nervous as he addressed the nation tonight regarding the coronavirus.

Trump banned all travel from Europe, except the UK, starting travel. This seems to apply to shipments of goods as well. "Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing,” said Trump.

he WSJ commented "The president suggested the restrictions would apply to goods shipped into the U.S. from Europe."

Trump misspoke. The White House issued a correction.

Fortunately, Trade with Europe is not blocked.

5: Stocks Crashed Over 9% on Thursday

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That is one of the the most wild weeks in history.

It's likely a recession has started. If not it soon will.

6: Massive Supply Chain Disruptions

In a special report the ISM reported 75% of Companies Suffer From Coronavirus Supply Chain Disruptions

Nearly 75 percent of companies report supply chain disruptions in some capacity due to coronavirus-related transportation restrictions, and more than 80 percent believe that their organization will experience some impact because of COVID-19 disruptions. Of those, one in six (16%) companies report adjusting revenue targets downward an average of 5.6 percent due to the coronavirus.

The story the data tells is that companies are faced with a lengthy recovery to normal operations in the wake of the virus outbreak,” said Thomas W. Derry, Chief Executive Officer of ISM. “For a majority of U.S. businesses, lead times have doubled, and that shortage is compounded by the shortage of air and ocean freight options to move product to the United States -- even if they can get orders filled.”

7: Trump Declares a National Emergency on Friday

Real Clear Politics reports President Declares National Coronavirus Emergency, Press Conference With Healthcare CEOs

In contrast to the Wednesday night fiasco, Trump delivered a very good performance on Friday. The stock market rebounded over 9% erasing the losses on Thursday.​

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Look at that map closely.

Those proclaiming this is no worse than the flu do not understand exponential math.

Italy went from 30 cases to 21,000 cases in little over a week.

On February 26, in a White House Briefing, Trump foolishly discussed the then 15 total cases in the US.

"When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done," said Trump.

I was certain the moment Trump made that comment that it was an enormous mistake.

15 cases is now 2,499 in just 17 days.

15-30-60-120-240-480-960-1,920-3,840-7,680-15,360-30,720-61,440-122,880-245,760-491,520-983,040 ... etc.

That is the path we are on. In 17 days, the number of US cases has doubled over 7 times.

The number of cases are now doubling every 2-3 days. If the same rate continues, then in another week or two we are going to be looking at 50,000 to 75,000 cases. If it continues at that rate for several weeks we are now looking at millions of cases.

Yes, most of these are mild cases. But 10-20% or them won't be. In Italy, they have run out of beds and supplies.

Doctors are making choices based on age and other factors who to treat or not. The serious cases not treated are likely future deaths.

Those downplaying these risks are fools.

Yet, I expect a lot of "I told you so" comments from the fools.

Why?

Because the measures we are now taking: cancelling sports events, schools, big gatherings, etc., and a ramp up in test availability (finally!), will likely short circuit that exponential progression.

That is my optimistic comment for the day.

Here's another: I believe Trump finally sees how serious this is.

8: Bond Market Stress

The bond market was in a state of stress the entire week.

Given that a deflationary crash is underway with the Fed about to slash rates to zero, the yield on the long bond ought to be dropping. Instead, yields on the 30-year and 10-year treasuries soared.

I commented Bond Market Dislocation: What the Hell is Going On?

Lacy Hunt at Hoisington Investments, one of the largest bond firms in the world, said it was redemptions: "Pension plans, nonprofit corporations, leveraged hedge funds and others are selling what they have a profit on, not what they need to," said Lacy in a phone conversation.

Bid-ask spreads on treasuries were at the widest level in history.

Not even Friday's rally helped so perhaps there are still additional factors.

Hoping to quiet things down, the Fed announced on Thursday it would Inject $1.5 Trillion in Liquidity.

The market responded with a short pop then continued to decline for the rest of the day, closing down about 10%.

9: Gold Sells Off

Gold is normally a safe haven in times of liquidity stress. However, higher treasury yields are generally seen as bad for gold, and gold sold off with the long end of the yield curve.

This could be a continuation of taking profits where they are to be found, but if pension plans are selling gold and treasuries for more stocks I think they will soon regret that move.

10: Bitcoin Plunges 50% in 24 Hours

In a stunning one day wipeout Bitcoin fell about 50%. I commented Bitcoin Finally Finds Support at the $4,000 Level: What's Next?

National Lockdown in Spain

The New York Times reports Spain Imposes Nationwide Lockdown to Fight Coronavirus

Faced with rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Spain, the country’s government on Saturday ordered all citizens to stay in their homes other than to buy food, go to work or seek health care, or to assist the elderly and others in need.

The government also ordered all schools, restaurants and bars to close, extending measures that various regional authorities, including in Madrid and in Catalonia, had taken on Friday.

That is what China did to stop the spread. Italy did as well, but too late. And now Spain joined the party.

Don't say it will never happen here: New York established a “Containment Area” Using the National Guard.​

Trump bragged about shutting down air traffic from China but he was way too late on Europe and other places.

Nonetheless, it was better late than never.

Reflection on Stock Market Prices

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Recession Started

Yesterday I asked, How Much Recession Warning Did You Expect?

I believe a recession has started, if not it will start in April.

There are too many disruptions in airlines, sports, schools, cancelled vacations, and supply chain details that make a recession inevitable.

The stock market gyrations alone will disrupt spending plans on big ticket items like cars.

The market rebounded on Friday, as expected from such deeply oversold levels. But earnings estimates are crashing and the stock market is still nowhere close to being reasonably priced.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (61)
No. 1-17
njbr
njbr

Mr. Sunshine says..After this passes a lot of capital tied up with the death demographic will be freed up and passed on, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will have a longer prognosis, there will be a lot of real estate on sale for lower prices, stocks will be cheap, and toilet paper will no longer excite.

But all that is months away.

Zardoz
Zardoz

I mean, how bad ARE things when a declaration of national emergency triggers a 10% stock market rally? The bar has been lowered well below ground level.

mkestrel
mkestrel

The Friday bounce will be short lived.

tokidoki
tokidoki

I am sure more amazing rides will come in the coming weeks and months. We'll all be nostalgic for those rides you can find at Disneyland.

I am totally not worried about Gold. The Fed will eventually print money to bail out every single monkey in the market. Foreign banks are hurting for dollars to fund their trade finance, while regular people plainly just need money. Bacon will be 50 bucks a slice though.

TumblingDice
TumblingDice

Going by Mish's technical definition of cash on the sidelines in that every stock trade has cash being transferred from one party to another. The Fed injection of $1.5 trillion into economy would be a lot of additional cash on sidelines (and also inflationary [but the Fed won't tell you that]).

Any thoughts?

Stuki
Stuki

Since we are so far behind on testing, basing anything on reported infection numbers in the US, barely differs from pure guesswork.

One ominous signal from Asia, where fear of contagion has now largely shifted from internal outbreaks to people arriving from abroad, is that positive-test arrivals, are increasingly likely from the US..... It's Europeans AND Americans who are carrying the virus now. Leading some countries to close their borders to arrivals from the US as well, along with Europe.

In another somewhat concerning development, European countries are supposedly very busy cutting deals for equipment, medications and supplies with China. Both via EU organs, and via separate channels. Nobody wants to be caught short!

While, in contrast, the US administration is busy trash talking the only guys who have some capacity for delivering necessary supplies in quantity... By the time Trumpo coughs hard enough to wake up from his slumber, even the considerable quantity of supplies China is able to make available, may well already be spoken for many times over. And that is assuming Xi and Co. are even willing to make their best effort to aid the US, instead playing silly propaganda politics. So the US may well be left to fight it's own battle, rather than getting as much support from the outside as it otherwise could.

I agree it does finally look like Trump is getting the urgency of this now. It ow seems as if it is the bicker-parties in congress trying to piggyback their own nonsense onto emergency decisions, who are slowing things down.

In general, I do think Trump has the right temperament for a true emergency, if he comes around to internalizing we are in one. (As in, he's more likely to dissolve congress and push the "button" if needed, than more "reasonable" people would be. For better or worse..)

And America does have some serious resources to bring to bear: It's spread out, big box country. Less concentrated space to infect people in, making social distancing easier. The "free overnight delivery" infrastructure, as well as the online storefronts utilizing it, is more developed than anywhere, again enabling distancing. And the military has logistics for maintaining supply lines, and "big operation" experience potentially useful for fogging entire cities continously for years if need be, enforcing quarantines, keeping populations calm and supplied enough not to turn desperate etc.

There is also still, in absolute terms, a fairly diversified industrial base here. And plenty of production of raw materials, from food to petroleum to minerals etc.. So if all of it really has to be repurposed to simply fighting a virus in a world where all borders are closed, the resulting US effort could still be pretty effective.
And that is on top of what is still likely the well developed cutting edge medical and pharma industry anywhere.

bradw2k
bradw2k

My optimistic thought: Wouldn't it be nice if US deaths from COVID-19 were more than offset by a drop in deaths from motor vehicle accidents and from regular flu, as people stay home.

But yeah, businesses that can't make full payroll due to a lack of business won't -- and people with reduced income won't spend. "The consumer" is going to be toast for a while. ... Bailouts should help though. Oh wait, that's only for rich investors. My bad.

The school system here announced spring break is starting a week early. But where in the US could the situation possibly be IMPROVED in two weeks? Washington state went from 1 death to 37 in two weeks ... coming to a city near you.

Greggg
Greggg

Never fear, the Fed and the gubberment is here to save the day:
War on Communism... (they were the communists)
War on Hunger (they caused the hunger)
War on Drugs (they supplied the drugs)
War on Cancer (they created the cancer)
War on Cash (they can't steal cash)
War on Terror (they funded and directed the terror)

a War on the Virus (they are the virus)

AshH
AshH

Is it possible that the big rise in stock prices in the last hour of trading the past 3 weeks has been short covering? Maybe people don't want to be short over the weekends?

John212
John212

Never let a crisis go to waste it seems

Details continue to emerge of Israel’s plans to use anti-terrorism tracking technology to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.

Cyber tech monitoring would be deployed to locate people who have been in contact with those carrying the virus, subject to cabinet approval, Netanyahu told a news conference in Jerusalem.

“We will very soon begin using technology ... digital means that we have been using in order to fight terrorism,” Netanyahu said.

Greggg
Greggg

Delta Airlines is now seeing more cancellations than bookings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3q1D4fWGiw0

wootendw
wootendw

"I believe Trump finally sees how serious this is."

Definitely. And he will defeat Biden in November. You can take it the bank - if it's open.

ajc1970
ajc1970

Mish have you had a chance to analyze the bill they're passing to "save us?"

Sounds like they're putting up to 24 paid sick days costs, retroactively, on employers, but only for companies of size 1-500 employees, not over 500 employees. Must re-hire (if company > 25 employees) after leave.

Are they trying to kill off all small businesses?

TH_Lima
TH_Lima

Those who sounded the alarm would be happy to be proved wrong-but I fear it is beyond easy containment (aka Korean-style, with high number of cases, but folks going about their business normally).

If US n Europe have the will, they could break this in 3 months, but it would be quite hard. And, if not, they would have a UK type situations (BJ is a moron, or takin get advice from one).

hudder
hudder

Perfect Stuki "dissolve Congress" , just like Hitler did in 1933 with spectacular results. I agree that Trump has the right temperament for that. You need to get an education to under stand what I'm saying.

jivefive99
jivefive99
  1. By luck I watched Tucker's segment on Friday. He may have been doing lots of blaming, but he didnt mention the word "Trump" once. 2) I seriously doubt the CDC held themselves back by themselves. Trump stopped them. CDC got burned in the 1980s when nobody cared 250,000 gayboys died. But rich grandmothers and virgins on worldwide $$$ cruises? Politicians and the connected? NOW the government is falling over themselves to rescue the "right" people.
TH_Lima
TH_Lima

Saw that. I think, if he had used a kitchen funnel and a jerrycan, it would hv been more accurate. Plus, perhaps, have Boris jiggle during the pour.


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