Last week, I met with a close friend of mine for coffee. He was saying about a possible second-wave of attack inflicting more severe destruction than the first, causing a major stock crash. However, I do not entirely agree, and I explained to him why, which he also acknowledged and accepted peacefully.
Europe is enjoying their summer holiday now. Many are already driving out of country for their summer break around Europe. Covid-19 is a forgotten truth. Previous hotspots like France and Italy are favorite summer hang out countries.
I was also told in Europe that there is a big rumour spreading among younger generation, who felt that the Coronavirus is a hoax or a scheme by the government, with the aim to inject vaccines that contains a “mirco-chip” into human bodies, so that the government can control the people. The younger generation is confused, but one thing certain for them is that there is no fear for Covid-19, even if there is a second-wave of infections.
The US will not be hit by the second wave, because the first wave never really stopped. Death toll is more than 150,000 with more than 5 million infected and more than 2 million active cases. The virus is still spreading, but many Americans are already letting their guard down, as quite a number of them feel that “having a life” is more important than life itself.
On the contrary, China is not missing out any single steps to make sure the virus-spread is fully under control. While talking to many of my China friends, they claimed that China is now the one of the safest countries as far as covid is concerned. Last month, there is a sudden outbreak at Beijing Xinfadi wholesale market, but the Chinese government reacted quickly and the possible second-wave outbreak soon abated. It is evident that the citizens hold high level of satisfaction and trust to their government. And this will definitely make tackling the second-wave (if there is) much easier, because mutual trust enhances citizen-government co-operation.
Then there are developing countries with big populations such as Brazil, India and Indonesia all struggling to contain the first wave of the virus due to lack of resources, and the reality of shutting down borders and implementing social distancing is simply not economically feasible.
HUMAN NATURE OF ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY
Despite the global economies still suffering and the comparatively more nonchalant attitude of the west, I have doubts that a second-wave there, will cause a major crash to the global stock markets, like what happened in March and April period.
Human minds work in a way, that we will always learn from, or remember a crisis. Of course, there will always be exception, but in general, most people learn from mistakes. This is also an important factor, why I think a second-wave will not be as destructive.
The last spike is merely few months ago. We cannot say that world has not been warned about the crisis. No matter how unprepared the public health of each country, or how incapable the government is, in dealing with the pandemic, if the same crisis is to take place the second time within a short period of time, the world population will inevitably be better prepared.
This is the general human nature, of once bitten, twice shy.
THE SAME TYPE OF CRISES RARELY TAKE PLACE TWICE IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME
If we look at all the previous major global economic crises, the same kind crisis rarely take place twice within a short period of time.
In the last 20 years or so, we witnessed crises such as Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98, Dot.com Crisis in 2000-2001, September 11 attack in 2002, SARs in 2003, Global Financial Crisis in 2008-09, Oil Crisis in 2014-15.
All the crises mentioned are different in nature.
It shows that human nature are more prone to surprise attacks from a new type of crisis rather than a recurring one.
Hence, in my opinion, even if there is a near term crisis that cause a major sharp stock crash, it must be a crisis that a big population of the world is totally unaware of today!
THE ECONOMY AND THE STOCK MARKET ARE DISCONNECTED
To a large extent, the stock market is no longer directly proportional to the economy.
Despite the ailing economic situation globally caused by the pandemic with the US having double digit unemployment percentage, the major stock indices continue to rise in US, with NASDAQ at all-time high, S&P at five year high and Dow Jones a mere few percent lower than its all-time high seen in February.
Read: Wall Street Vs Main Street – The Unstoppable US Large Cap Stocks Supported by Fed’s Dovish Promise
Most countries are still trying to contain the first wave of Covid-19 attacks. The most likely of the second wave of Covid-19 attack is likely to bud from Europe. While the people there continue to be oblivious, the European governments are in general better prepared than the first wave of attack.
If there is a second-wave of attack causing a revived lockdown in countries, the economy will undoubtedly be crippled further. More smaller companies will collapse, and the poor and the underprivileged will suffer further. On the contrary, the rich who controlled the majority of the stock markets will be left pretty much unscathed. Governments and monetary authorities will also do their utmost to pump extra liquidity into the financial system to give buoy to the stock markets.
Therefore, due to the disconnect between the economy and the stock market, the impact will not be as severe as the first. Even if there is a stock market crash, it will be a sell-out led by major institution to manipulate the public to sell, so that the institution can buy back later at a cheaper price.
Last but not least, I really hope that there will not be a second-wave of attack, and that a vaccine can be developed in the earliest possible time. More importantly, I also hope that the world learn lessons from this pandemic to realise that work and travel is not always the most important. Our loved ones are!