Policy Action Kicks In As Bull Market Officially Ends
Presented by: Wong Shou Ning, Lyn Mak, Julian Ng
The UK has launched a stimulus plan. Do you think the ECB will be pressured to do the same?
I’m sure they will. I don’t think they have that much power into interest rate cutting area – the rates are already right around zero. What they’ll most likely do: buy more government bonds, ease up on the reserve ratio, loan incentives, etc.
Europe is in a pretty bad position partly because COVID really attacks older people more aggressively than younger people, and the demographic profile of Europe is pretty terrible. So the ECB has to do something to help the economy. What they’re trying to do is to make sure the consumers don’t totally close their wallets and the banks don’t totally close lending. They’re really trying to stimulate banks to keep money moving.
In China and South Korea, there are indications that the infections have peaked. Pres. Xi visited Wuhan. Is this the light at the end of the tunnel?
I think it’s a natural progression and it’s quite possible that things are dissipating in China and things are improving. We see road traffic congestion gradually building back. That’s good for everybody. 2/3 recovered. We’re getting there. There may still be quite a lot of bounce back in March. Hopefully, in Q2, we’re back to an almost normal level.
Japan’s economy seems to be bordering on the recession. Do you think even the Bank of Japan has assisted on the current downward cycle? Have they got any more policy options left?
Central banks can do for the ending bull market. The BOJ really has been focused since 2012 on Abenomics to try to raise the inflation rate to 2%. They never achieved that. But they have helped some other things to stimulate the economy.
Japan’s in a very tough place because it’s tied to the Northeast Asian supply chain and it has the same demographic problem that Europe has. They really need to start circulating money. They can use these tools on reserve rates and loans, but how much further can they push it?
The fall in crude prices has also negatively affected shale oil producers. What’s your near and long-term outlook for the industry?
Shale for the US is energy security. Americans are tired of the political issues that they face in the Middle East to secure their energy supply chain. The current administration help the shale producers to survive including backing up their loans, working with banks to extend the payback period, etc. Shale is seen as a national asset by the current administration as they work very hard to make sure that those companies continue to be competitive and have the resources.
Listen to this podcast on the bull market at BFM: The Business Station.