Economic Outlook

The Road to Canada’s COVID-19 Border Failure

When the COVID-19 crises first hit in late January, Ottawa MPs of all political stripes weren’t satisfied with the federal government’s assurances that Canada had the problem under control.

For the next two months — until major changes were made at last to our border policy in late March — the Liberal, Bloc, NDP and Conservative MPs dug into that border policy, asking numerous probing questions, examining the motives and reasons behind the initial and unyielding federal response in those two months.

Here is a detailed timeline of the questions those MPs asked and the answers they got in the House of Commons and at Parliamentary health committee meetings.

Also included in the timeline — as a contrast to the approach taken by the Canadian federal government — are the actions taken by the government in Taiwan (compiled byDr. Jason Wang et al), a nation that has so far successfully slowed the spread of the virus, despite close travel and economic ties to China, and despite being expected to have the second biggest outbreak of the virus… CLICK for the complete article

What Should You Do?

As the Central Banks step up with hundreds of billions of dollars to keep interest rates down and the credit markets functioning – what should you do.

On Monday we reported how thousands of young Americans laughed off warnings to self-isolate and partied on Florida beaches anyway for spring break – with several now testing positive for COVID-19.

The poster child for these selfish ‘covidiots’ – who will statistically survive coronavirus – was a spring breaker from Ohio, Bradley Sluder – told CBS News: “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying,” adding “We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.” CLICK for complete article

The Oil Price War Won’t Dethrone The Dollar

With the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia showing no signs of relenting, some analysts are now warning that the standoff could extend much longer.  Saudi policy now appears to revolve around inflicting pain on both OPEC and non-OPEC producers over the short term, with a long-term view to returning to its former role as the swing producer and price setter.

With the Arab nation recently claiming that it’s ‘very comfortable’ with $30 oil, it might make good on its threat to maintain a 12 million bpd output clip for a whole year with minimal increase in spending by drawing upon its considerable reserves.

Given this backdrop, some pundits are now beginning to seriously consider the specter of a collapse by the decades-old petrodollar system. With Saudi Arabia–a key U.S. ally upon which the petrodollar was founded–having thrown the gauntlet on the U.S., a collapse by the petrodollar system could mean mass devaluations across major oil-producing regions.

But what are the odds that this could become a reality any time soon? CLICK for complete article

New US Jobless Claims Hit Record 3.28M As Coronavirus Strikes Economy

Initial jobless claims in the week ending March 20 reached 3.283 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday. The number is more than triple the estimate of 1 million new claims.

The prior week’s figure was 281,000. The number reported Thursday far exceeds the prior initial jobless claims record of 695,000 in 1982, Bloomberg reported.

U.S. continuing claims for March 13 were at 1.803 million. The prior reading was revised from an initial 1.701 million to 1.702 million.

Benzinga is covering every angle of how the coronavirus affects the financial world. For daily updates, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.

The spread of the coronavirus means more than 1 million Americans are forecast to have filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to The Wall Street Journal…CLICK for complete article

Does Gold Still Have Some Room To Run?

In the 1960s, French politician Valéry d’Estaing complained that the United States enjoyed an “exorbitant privilege” due to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. He had a point.

Because the dollar is the world’s currency, the US can borrow cheaper than it could otherwise (lower interest rates), US banks and companies can conveniently do cross-border business using their own currency, and when there is geopolitical tension, central banks and investors buy US Treasuries, keeping the dollar high and the United States insulated from the conflict. A government that borrows in a foreign currency can go bankrupt; not so when it borrows from abroad in its own currency ie. through foreign purchases of US Treasury bills….CLICK for complete article