Saturday, February 29, 2020

A Lehman Crisis of a different sort

Remember the Lehman Crisis? The failure of Lehman Brothers marked the start of the Great Financial Crisis that destabilized and almost brought down the global financial system.

What we are seeing is a Lehman Crisis of a different sort. The Lehman Crisis of 2008 was characterized by financial institutions unwilling to lend to each other and banking system liquidity seized up.

Today’s version of the Lehman Crisis is characterized by countries and regions in lockdowns, and the propensity of individuals or groups to increase their social distance, either owing to quarantine, or by fear. This is leading to both supply and demand shocks. It is a supply shock because production and transportation are seizing up, which is leading to a collapse in global trade. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, global trade had been weak. It is about to become even weaker.

It is also a demand shock because when social distance rises, it leads to a collapse in the demand for goods and services. As an example, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told CNBC at the G-20 meeting that tourism had fallen 30-40%.

The full post can be found here.

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