Mar. 6, 2020

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE

  • China’s Wuhan city had 126 new cases of CoVid-19 on March 5th while there were 0 cases in the rest of the province for the first time since the outbreak.
  • Medical professionals who have been treating CoVid-19 in Wuhan observed:
    • Median incubation period is 5-7 days, longest 14 days
    • Onset happens slowly starting with a mild fever with conditions deteriorating rapidly 10 days later
  • Global cases now exceed 101,000; recovered 56,107; deaths 3,461.
  • Central Banks globally have promised stability. Both the Federal Reserve and Bank of Canada cut interest rates by .50% this week to be ahead of the virus curve.
  • President Trump signed a $7.8 billion emergency spending bill to fight CoVid-19.
    • Vice-President Pence says any US citizen can be tested at a doctor’s order but there is currently a shortage of test kits
  • Norway quarantined 1,300 soldiers on a military base after 1 person tested positive for CoVid-19.
  • Vatican reported 1 confirmed case, the first in the walled city. Italy closed all schools, universities, gyms, swimming pools, and arenas until March 15, 2020.
  • NYC is urging self-isolation for visitors from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Japan.
  • Sweden is expanding wage support for businesses to protect their economy from the CoVid-19 fallout.
  • Microsoft and Amazon are asking all employees based in Seattle/Bellevue to work from home, if they can do so, until the end of March.

WILL COVID-19 DERAIL THE WORLD ECONOMY (Angus Watt’s summary of the report  from Stéfane Marion/Krishen Rangasamy, National Bank Financial Markets)

  • Click this link to access the condensed report from Stéfane Marion and Krishen Rangasamy.
  • China represents 19% of the global population and 15% of GDP. They consume 59% of global cement, 47% of aluminum, 47% of pork, 14% of oil and almost 40% of tourism.
  • 43% of revenues for S&P500 companies are from foreign sales.
  • Forecast summary:
    • World, US: global growth of around 2.7% in 2020, slowest since 2009
      • China’s growth slows to 5%
    • Canada: growth of 1.5% in 2020,
      • Expect fiscal stimulus
    • Interest Rates, currency: interest rates remain low for foreseeable future
      • WTI towards $40/barrel before rebounding to $55
      • Canadian dollar weakens to $0.73USD before returning to 0.7695USD

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

  • Increased pricing competition from natural gas, wind and solar have resulted in US coal use dropping 13% in 2019 (largest decline in 65 years) and set to fall as much in 2020.
  • Halifax started a pilot project in 2014 that installed a turbine in a single water pipe in a suburb, since then the 31kw turbine has been generating enough electricity annually to power 25 homes.
  • A record 35 solar projects were complete globally, on average producing 200 megawatts, each averaging 3,000 solar panels and each the size of 550 American football fields.
  • For the first time in history, Germany’s winter was too warm to produce ice wine.
  • Australian summers are now effectively twice as long as its winters.

TIDBITS

  • Canada added 30,000 new jobs in February; unemployment rate up 0.1% to 5.6%.
  • US added 273,000 new jobs in February; unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5%
  • Elon Musk told US Air Force pilots that the fighter jet era has passed and will be replaced by remote control drones.
  • Amazon leasing office in Vancouver, alongside Apple.