2020 has been a year of historic economic upheaval. Shocks in the market have impacted trade, inflation, employment, national budgets—sparking an unprecedented global recession to which even stable economies are not immune.
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global markets, depreciation has slowed in many locations and some currencies are beginning to recover lost value. Let’s take a look at some notable currency movements of the past month.
June 1 marked a day of changing times in Venezuela. The price of gasoline in the country has been among the lowest in the world for decades, and in recent years, currency depreciation has made the resource practically free.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc in global markets. In addition to the economic impacts of national lockdowns, travel restrictions, rampant unemployment, slack demand for consumer goods and sharply reduced business activity, the volatility of the oil market has reached crisis levels. While OPEC members agreed to cut production in May and June by 23% earlier this month, oil futures have continued to fall and darken outlooks for the global market this month. Crude oil prices went negative for the first time in history this month due to deficient demand for oil and looming lack of global storage capacity.
AIRINC has been providing weekly updates to spot rates of major currencies on our COVID-19 landing page. The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts landed a major blow to the global economy last month, made worse in light of volatility in oil markets sparked by controversy within OPEC+. The result has been historic depreciation in even traditionally stable currencies and unprecedented uncertainty. The last week of March saw unprecedented depreciation. While year-to-date depreciation of many currencies remains high, several major currencies saw an appreciation bump last week between April 6-13.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented, and its impact to world markets has been reflected in foreign exchange. The impact of COVID-19 touches every part of the economy, and can largely be divided into three categories:
The outbreak of COVID-19 began to impact Hong Kong in late January, following the initial spread of the virus in mainland China. In the first weeks of the outbreak, supply of hygiene related goods, like masks and hand sanitizer, was unable to meet the sharp increase in demand.
Japanese consumption tax is an indirect tax on goods and services, similar to value-added or sales taxes. Tax increases in Japan are notoriously unpopular and changes to the consumption tax have faced long delays and political battles. On October 1, the general consumption tax rate in Japan was raised from 8% to 10%, with a secondary tax tier of 8% for food products meant to be consumed at home. This increase had been delayed multiple times since its initial implementation date in 2015. The last consumption tax increase, from 5% to 8% in 2014, had been the first in 17 years.
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has continued to spread over the past week and the World Health Organization named the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on Thursday, January 30. As of Friday morning in China, there were 9,776 confirmed cases and 213 deaths. The WHO stressed in their Thursday press briefing that 99% of cases are in Mainland China. 60% of cases and 96% of deaths are in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak where Wuhan is located. Isolated cases are still emerging internationally, with confirmed cases in Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Macau, South Korea, United States, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.
On December 31, 2019, health authorities in China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a unique strain of viral pneumonia-like illness emerging in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. Many of the infected first identified were vendors or visitors at a wet market that sold fish and wild animal meat, which was subsequently closed on January 1, 2020.