The impact of the coronavirus on the US economy still isn’t fully known yet, as the situation continues to evolve. However, Franklin Equity Group’s Grant Bowers sees at least three reasons to be optimistic about the long-term recovery.
Concerns related to the potential economic impact from COVID-19 pandemic continue to weigh on financial markets; we’ve seen significant downward volatility as market participants attempt to assess its implications. While the situation is fluid and will surely and swiftly detract from global economic growth and consumer spending patterns over the next few quarters, we believe that ultimately the impact will be severe but short-lived. We believe an eventual recovery in growth in the US economy is inevitable, as our view of long-term fundamentals remains intact.
Assessing the duration and extent of the impact on the US economy is challenging at this time, but despite the uncertainty, we see several areas that could provide support in the coming weeks and months.
Our biggest concern, is how the COVID-19 disruptions will impact US consumer behaviour. Presently, containment measures (e.g., store and factory closures, travel restrictions and quarantines) are in effect to slow the spread of the virus. These measures are likely temporary in nature (months not years), though the duration of these measures is an important question.
The US consumer has been the driving force behind the economic expansion of the last decade, benefiting from low inflation, strong employment and rising wages. While we don’t see any long-term fundamental reason for a change to that backdrop, near-term data on consumer confidence and employment are expected to weaken significantly. Once these disruptions moderate, we will be actively evaluating the pace at which the return to normal daily life resumes.
Given the market environment, it is important to reiterate that corrections have been a routine occurrence throughout financial market history. These periods of market volatility and economic uncertainty are challenging to navigate as investors, but frequently have presented excellent investment opportunities for active managers with a careful eye toward risk management.
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