It is hard to imagine that we are now three quarters of the way through 2020. In one breath, it feels like just yesterday that society and the global economy were being forced into lockdown. At the same time, it seems as though a decade’s worth of developments have come to pass this year.
The first half of 2020 has been a rollercoaster on several fronts. At the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 virus was widely viewed as a minor medical and sociological threat. However, on March 11th it was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization which led to a halting of the global economy, outside of essential services.
Over the last year and half, there has been a great deal of debate surrounding the current economic expansion and whether it can sustain itself for a longer period. What is unanimous is that recent global developments represent a material threat to the economy going forward.
The year that was 2019, from a global capital markets perspective, could be characterized as one dominated by geo-political headlines. The U.S.-China trade war, Brexit uncertainty, the Canadian Federal Election and active central banks are among the list of major events that carried us through the calendar year.
In past years, investors often enjoyed a relatively quiet summer with less frequent economic and political headlines. Those times appear to be a thing of the past, as the laundry list of developments continues to grow as we progress through 2019.
The first half of 2019 has been positive from a capital markets perspective, especially when considering the broader political and economic context. The global economy continues to grapple with several geo-political and trade related challenges, while the U.S. economy progresses closer to the end of a secular expansionary cycle.
The transition from calendar 2018 to 2019, from a capital markets perspective, has been an eventful one. The theme of heightened market volatility experienced over the last eighteen months remained prevalent as the baton was passed from one year to the next.