COVID – 19 “infects” Global Markets (Part 2)
Coronavirus is fast spreading across the world with the rate of spread getting faster outside of China, where the virus first broke out. The virus is a global public health emergency, according to the World Health Organization and there are concerns it could soon turn out into a global pandemic.
With Ghana being an import driven economy, limited international commerce due to the virus can have a profound impact. This limitation has the propensity to cause some amount of shortages thus driving the prices of some goods upwards. A sustained period of high prices of goods and services leads to an inflationary effect. Prolonged periods of inflation may compel households to re-allocate resources by saving less or cutting down on expenses.
The economic reaction to higher inflation may eventually result in increased interest rates. Aside higher interest rates, prolonged inflation results in higher unemployment, higher utilities, currency depreciation, demand decline, tax revenue decline, and less real economic output; negatively affecting the overall economy. Limited economic growth will certainly have a ripple effect on the already struggling Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), whose Composite Index (GSE-CI) is currently returning an abysmal year-to-date (YTD) of -3.06 as at 5th March 2020.
With frantic effects being made by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) among other research institutes, all hope is not lost as a cure is certainly in the offing.
Key lessons learnt here include the need to be as economically self-reliant as possible. Drawing additional lessons from the Ebola outbreak a few years back, there is the need for authorities in the health sector to be on constant high alert. Systems and procedures should always be in place for ready deployment to take care of any such outbreaks as and when they occur as against the usual fire-fighting approach we adopt in everything we do as a nation.