Stock markets across Europe witnessed one of the sharpest declines in recent months over reports of new lockdowns and measures that are planned to be implemented to curb the resurgence of infection cases. The sectors that were already impacted by the previous lockdown measures suffered most of the damage indicating at a slowdown in global economic recovery over the next few months. Macroeconomic influencers share their views on the Covid -19 impact.

John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft, an economist, shared an article on how stock markets across the world slumped after reports of additional lockdowns emerged. The UK’s index of leading shares, for example, had its sharpest decline since June of 3.4% or 202.76 points.

Further, the UK-focused FTSE 250 declined by 4% or 698.90 points to 16,870.78, which is its worst decline since mid-April. The pan-continental Stoxx 600 index also closed down by 3.2%, which is the biggest decline since June.

Oil prices also witnessed the sharpest decline in two weeks after fears that new lockdowns will impact the demand for fuel. Prices of Brent crude declined by 4% or $1.70 to $41.44 a barrel.

Prof. Steve Hanke

Prof. Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on an open letter signed by doctors and health professionals in Belgium to Belgian authorities and media. These professionals recommend that the lockdown measures be lifted and normalcy restored.

The open letter mentions that the infection rate in countries that have implemented lockdowns and those that did not was similar. The lockdown measures implemented had no relation to the rate of infection as it has not led to a lower mortality rate.

The coronavirus infection should be treated as any other flu virus and people should be allowed to develop immunity, while people with weak immunity should be protected the letter added. The letter further noted that the impact of social distancing and lockdowns is detrimental on the physical and mental well being of people.

Ian Bremmer

Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, shared an article on the rising tensions between the US and China. The US has adopted a range of sanctions, bans and restrictions on China including a travel warning to Hong Kong following the enforcement of a national security law in the city.

The US also banned the import of certain goods including computer parts, clothing and cotton after reports emerged that they were made by slave labour. Another action implemented by the country includes the sanctions imposed on Union Development Group, a Chinese company, for demolition of land in Cambodia, where the Belt and Road Initiative is being undertaken. China’s TikTok and WeChat have also been banned in the US.

The article notes that the rising tensions will depend on who the next President of the US will be. If President Donald Trump is re-elected, the tensions may escalate, the article added.

Jonathan Portes

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, shared an article on how restricting visa availability for immigrants is a wrong move. The article notes that immigrants do not take away jobs but rather create them and also boost the economy.

The visa restriction policies in the UK are based on the assumption that those born in the UK are likely to fill in the jobs that were held by immigrants. The article notes that this assumption is a myth and such policies will create a hostile environment for immigrants.

The article adds that immigrants have an economic value, which should not be ignored. The restrictive visa policies will only increase the skill shortages in the future.

Prem Sikka

Prem Sikka, Emeritus Professor of Accounting, shared an article on the number of deaths in the US reaching 200,000 within nine months of the start of the pandemic. The US now has the highest number of deaths, most of which comprise of people of colour and immigrants.

The article also highlighted the surge in infection rate in the UK, France, and Spain. Israel became the first country in the world to implement a second lockdown although protests erupted accusing the government of mishandling the pandemic.