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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Bailout package nears (realty deep freeze)

Nuclear bomb stimulus

More positive vibes in financial markets overnight following the Fed's nuclear bomb stimulus package.

There could be a rotation back into stocks from fixed interest, though that might be more easily executed in theory than in practice in the present environment. 

Meanwhile the US government's US$2.5 trillion stimulus plan appears to be inching closer to a deal. 

The sheer scale of these figures suggests that Australia will need to do much more in a third round of stimulus measures to build a bridge to the other side of the coronavirus recession for small businesses and households.

Cases in Spain and the US continue to grow exponentially.

On the other hand, there's been gathering evidence that lockdowns work, as both Italy and Germany appear to be flattening their respective curves, while Wuhan in China is now back in business.

Australia shutdown

Australia's shutdown has now been extended to shopping centres and most other small outlets, including nail bars, beauty salons, and the like.

Food markets and food courts may still offer takeaway food, and for some reason barbers may still cut hair for 30 minutes per customer.

But essentially the government advice has ramped up to suggest strongly that people should now stay at home until further notice. 

Exercising with family and visits to the supermarket are still allowed, but public gatherings are no longer acceptable. 

To date there are more cases in New South Wales and Victoria than elsewhere, and Victoria looks set to tighten up further with Stage 3 measures later today. 

Realty deep freeze

In the property space, open homes are no longer deemed to be essential services, and must now be cancelled.

Public auctions are also banned until further notice.

It is still possible to list homes online to make property sales or to find tenants, but inspections will be by private appointment only, making the drawn-out process too much hassle for many vendors. 

Effectively the market will be in 'deep freeze' over the coming weeks.

Landlords without tenants may opt to take a payment holiday if required.

Short and sharp

Markets have adopted a hopeful stance today that the inevitable recession will be short and sharp, and that life can get back to normal quickly.

Virgin stood down 8,000 or 80 per cent of its staff today and the queues at Centrelink around Sydney continue to grow, which is probably more akin to the reality of what we'll be facing over the remainder of 2020.