Saturday 11 July 2020, 12:55 AM
V shaped recovery for global markets delusional: Nouriel Roubini
By | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/27/2020 11:48:58 AM
V shaped recovery for global markets delusional: Nouriel Roubini

New York: Painting a grim picture for global stock markets already reeling from the twin onslaughts of economic sluggishness and the coronavirus, American economist Nouriel Roubini said the prospect of a 'V shaped recovery, where all of the virus-hit is absorbed within the first quarter, is a "delusional" idea and investors are better off with cash and bonds rather than plunging into equity.

"People, when they talk about V shaped, they don't know what they're talking about," Roubini said during a television interview on Wednesday. Roubini is the Professor of Economics at New York University's Stern School of Business and was Senior Economist for International Affairs in the White House's Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration.

"If I was an investor, better safe rather than sorry. The paper markets are up 1 per cent today means nothing. This is a time to be defensive and go for cash and bonds rather than equity," he said. According to Roubini's estimates, the Chinese economy is going to contract this quarter at the rate of 2 per cent, "within the quarter".

Roubini said that even with the "heroic assumption" that Chinese growth for the rest of the year from the second quarter on is 8 per cent, which is well above 6 per cent before the crisis, then some simple math leads us to a 4 per cent China growth number and "not 5.5" as current estimates suggest.

"Suppose however that from the second quarter, the V shape implies they go back to the previous growth of 6 per cent not 8, then Chinese growth this year will be 2.5 per cent... and then they have the global spillover and a pandemic," he said.

According to Roubini, the upside of any fiscal stimulus will be countered by "delay politics". He shrugged off the viability of monetary stimulus as "peanuts"."This is a negative supply shock which reduces growth, increases cost and inflation. Monetary policy can affect demand shocks and its impact on negative supply shocks will be on income - positive as soon as you know the Fed is going to act but it's going to fizzle out over time," Roubini said.

Comparing the coronavirus outbreak with earlier shocks like SARS, Roubini says this time it was different because of the sheer scale. As of date, more than 80,000 cases have been reported from at least 39 countries. With Brazil confirming the arrival of Latin America's first case, the virus that broke out in China has a grip on every continent but Antarctica.

"It is killing globally, it's going to be more than Q1 to find the solution. During SARS, China was 4 per cent of global GDP. Today it is 20 per cent. At that time, they were maybe 20 per cent of global growth, right now they are two-thirds of global growth and global supply chains," is how Roubini explained China's centrality to his calculations.

Writing in Project Syndicate last week, Roubini has sounded the alarm on "potentially seismic white swans" in 2020 which "could trigger severe economic, financial, political, and geopolitical disturbances unlike anything since the 2008 crisis".


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