Paper: Monetary and Fiscal Policies In The Covid-19 Crisis. Will They Work?

Conclusion

The world is suffering a pandemic that led to an unprecedented economic stop in many countries, and uncertainty persists about when normality will be recovered. According to our estimates, the Eurozone is likely going to be the most affected region, and the reaction of some of its main partners can lead to stagflation and even the risk of a banking crisis. The United States will also be hit, but due to its flexible economic structure we expect a faster recovery, with China and the main Asian economies recovering strongly.

The measures taken by governments and central banks are also unprecedented. As such, we warn about the high risks of placing the entire burden of the crisis and the recovery on an already challenged banking sector through large loan programs to troubled businesses that may lead to significant solvency and liquidity challenges in the mid-term as non-performing loans will likely rise. We would also like to warn about large spending and stimulus packaged in a prolonged and forced shutdown of the economy that may have long-lasting ramifications. Incentivizing demand through fiscal and monetary policies might create a double challenge: Function as a subsidy to sectors that already had overcapacity and sustainability issues while not reaching the small businesses that have no access to credit and collapse with no sales and job losses.

We believe that unprecedented challenges merit unprecedented measures, but also think that there may be a risk of implementing large stimuli too early, Government stimulus programs may be targeting the wrong parts of the economy, and a selective and carefully analyzed combination of policies throughout a longer period of time may work more effectively.

In this scenario, it is important to consider that large fiscal and monetary stimuli have proven to be less effective than expected in the past during a growth period, and that the world faces an unprecedented supply shock added to a forced shutdown of the economy where incentivizing demand is unlikely to reduce the output contraction and very unlikely to be followed by supply. We must alert of the risk of some of these policies creating more stagnation risk and deflationary pressures.

We believe that combining government plans with supply measures and especially reallocation of spending added to tax exemptions and deferrals can help significantly in this crisis.

References and further reading:

Allen, DWE. Berg, C., Davidson, S. Lane, A.  and Potts. J. . he problem of ‘freezing’ an economy in a pandemic. Draft excerpt from Cryoeconomics: How to Unfreeze an Economy. Version 10TH April 2020.

 Retrieved from https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3572365

Frakel, J. Over-optimism in forecasts by official budget agencies and its implications. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 27, No. 4, The Economic Borders Of The State (Winter 2011), pp. 536-562. Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/papers/w17239

Berger, D.W., Herkenhoff, K.F., Mongey, S. “An SEIR infectious disease model with testing and conditional quarantine”. Nber Working paper series. March, 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.nber.org/papers/w26901.pdf

Fang, H., Wang, L., Yang, Y. “Human mobility restrictions and the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-NCOV) in China. Nber Working Paper Series. 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.nber.org/papers/w26906.pdf

Briscese, G., Lacetera, N., Tacis, M., Tonin, M., “Compliance with Covid-19 social-distancing measures in Italy: the role of expectations and duration”. Nber Working paper series. Working Paper 26916. Retrieved From

https://www.nber.org/papers/w26916.pdf

Martin, F.M., Economic Realities and Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis. Retrieved from

https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/economic-synopses/2020/03/30/economic-realities-and-consequences-of-the-covid-19-pandemicpart-i-financial-markets-and-monetary-policy

Leduc, S., Liu, Z., “The Uncertainty Channel of the Coronavirus”, Research from Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/el2020-07.pdf

Ravikumar, B., Vandenbroucke, G., “COVID-19 and the Importance of Testing”, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2020/march/covid-19-importance-testing

Faria e Castro, M., “Fiscal Policy and COVID-19: Insights from a Quantitative Model” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. 2020. Retrieved from

https://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/economic-synopses/2020/03/27/fiscal-policy-and-covid-19-insights-from-a-quantitative-model

Allen-Reynolds, J., “Euro-zone fiscal policy less effective than it once was”. Capital Economics. February 2020. Retrieved from

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Scott, A., Miles, D., “Will inflation make a comeback after the crisis ends?” VOX EU CEPR Policy Portal, 2020, Retrieved From

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Dell’Ariccia, G., Mauro, P., Spilimbergo, A., Zettelmeyer, J., “Economic Policies for the COVID-19 War”. IMF. April 2020. Retrieved From

Lyu, Y., Nie, J., “Coronavirus Dampens China’s First-Quarter GDP”, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. April 2020. Retrieved From

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Loayza, N.M., and Pennings, S., “Macroeconomic Policy in the Time of COVID-19: A Primer for Developing Countries”, World Bank Group. Retrieved From

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Gourinchas, P., Hsieh, C., “The COVID-19 Default Time Bomb”. Project Syndicate. April, 2020. Retrieved from

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[2] Max Roser, Hannah Ritchie and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-daily-covid-deaths-per-million

[3] Bank of America fund managers’ poll of growth estimates in February 2020 as reported by Bloomberg. Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-18/growth-outlook-slashed-on-virus-woes-in-bofa-fund-manager-poll

[4] International Monetry Fund. World Economic Outlook, Tentative Stabilization, Sluggish Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2020/01/20/weo-update-january2020

[5] J.P. Morgan growth estimates retrieved from CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/09/jpmorgan-now-sees-economy-contracting-by-40percent-and-unemployment-reaching-20percent.html

[6] IMF. World Economic Outlook, April 2020: Chapter 1, April 2020

[7] Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-has-cost-global-stock-markets-16-trillion-in-less-than-a-month-2020-03-12/

[8] Retrieved from https://ihsmarkit.com/research-analysis/caixin-china-manufacturing-pmi-falls-to-survey-low-on-coronavirus-countermeasures.html

[9] Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/0bb37c2e-3755-11ea-a6d3-9a26f8c3cba4

[10] Retrieved from https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3018991/chinas-total-debt-rises-over-300-cent-gdp-beijing-loosens

[11] Retrieved from https://www.yicaiglobal.com/news/china-social-financing-jumped-14-to-usd37-trillion-in-2019

[12] Darcy W. E. Allen, Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson, Aaron M. Lane and Jason Potts. The problem of ‘freezing’ an economy in a pandemic. Draft excerpt from Cryoeconomics: How to Unfreeze an Economy. Version 10TH April 2020

[13] Jeffrey Frakel. Over-optimism in forecasts by official budget agencies and its implications. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 27, No. 4, THE ECONOMIC BORDERS OF THE STATE (WINTER 2011), pp. 536-562

About Daniel Lacalle

Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Author of bestsellers "Life In The Financial Markets" and "The Energy World Is Flat" as well as "Escape From the Central Bank Trap". Daniel Lacalle (Madrid, 1967). PhD Economist and Fund Manager. Frequent collaborator with CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, Hedgeye, Epoch Times, Mises Institute, BBN Times, Wall Street Journal, El Español, A3 Media and 13TV. Holds the CIIA (Certified International Investment Analyst) and masters in Economic Investigation and IESE.

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