Canada's 'economy won't go back to normal' until we have a vaccine for COVID-19: Rosenberg
Outspoken economist David Rosenberg said the global economy will not return to “normal” until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found, while a recovery should be slower than what people may hope for.
“My sense is that things are going to bottom out in the second quarter. A lot of what I call economic detonation is not permanent,” Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research and Associates told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday. “I think the Fed, and I would even say the Bank of Canada, has put a floor under how bad this gets beyond the second quarter.”
“But I think that the recovery is going to be very slow, and things will not generate significant, sustained momentum until we put this pandemic behind us and people’s fears about going out and engaging with each other again resorts back to what it might have looked like previous to the mid-part of February.”
Rosenberg spoke to BNN Bloomberg just two hours after Statistics Canada released its March jobs report that detailed a historic 1.01 million job losses over February’s report.
However, Rosenberg said that the headline number does not take into account the underlying plunge in hours worked, which collapsed 15 per cent from February’s totals. When factoring in those totals, he argued, the total job losses for the month checks in at closer to 3 million, producing a roughly 17-per-cent unemployment rate in the country.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has acted swiftly to prevent after-shocks in the American economy, Rosenberg said.
“The Fed came in and said: ‘We’re going to buy everything in sight,’” Rosenberg said. “They’re not buying gold yet, and they’re not buying equities, but equities may well be next.”
“Basically the cavalry is riding in to ensure that we’re not going to get a second-round pernicious impact on the economy, through debt-defaults and insolvencies and downgrades.”
However, even swift action from central banks may not be enough to produce the best-case-scenario V-shaped recovery more bullish investors have been predicting since the virus shut down many parts of the North American and global economies, Rosenberg said.
“I don’t think anyone is really talking about a V-shaped recovery any more. I think even the bulls have basically given up on that thought process,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that we’re going to be going back to anything remotely looking like a ‘normal economy’ until we get a vaccine,” he added. “We get a vaccine, you’ll get the V-shaped recovery.”