Analysts said that the economic impact of Omicron is expected to be small
Economists generally predict that even if the latest version of the virus casts a shadow over the economic outlook with uncertainty, the world economy can still withstand any new wave of coronavirus infections caused by Omicron variants with relative ease.
One of the core reasons for their relatively optimistic preliminary assessment is that with the launch of the vaccine program, the economy’s ability to adapt to past Covid-19 restrictions has continued to increase.
Economists said that, therefore, any new wave of viruses is unlikely to curb inflation, although this will cause central bank officials to doubt whether it is wise to tighten monetary policy as soon as possible.
Among the many analysts who posted notes and forecasts on Monday morning–whether from investment banks or consulting firms–emphasized the Omicron variant’s ability to evade existing vaccines, cause serious diseases, and spread faster than the Delta variant. Uncertainty.
But at the same time, few people think it is necessary to cancel their current economic forecasts.
Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, said that travel and tourism may be hit hard in some places, but this usually only accounts for a small part of overall economic activity. He added that variants of Omicron are “unlikely to change the broader economic narrative at this stage.”
Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said: “Wave after wave has reduced economic losses.” He pointed out the contrast between the first and second wave of Covid-19 in Europe: although the first wave is in 2020 The second quarter reduced economic activity in the Eurozone by 15%, but the general adaptation to coexistence with the virus resulted in only a 0.7% decline in the second wave of more serious GDP in early 2021.
In addition, even if the Omicron variant is more resistant to current vaccines, the prevailing view is that vaccination will help reduce the economic impact.
Daniele Antonucci, chief economist of Quintet Private Bank, said: “Developed countries can now rely on high vaccination rates to improve their ability to develop and produce vaccines, and show that they can adjust their work patterns fairly flexibly and adapt more generally.”
Most economists believe that any slowdown in economic activity is also unlikely to contain the recent surge in inflation, especially in terms of commodities whose demand exceeds the global supply that has been torn apart by the interruption.
Capital Macros chief economist Neil Schilling said: “The surge in virus-related commodity spending or port closures will exacerbate existing supply tensions and increase upward pressure on commodity inflation.”
“I don’t know [the Omicron variant] Deflation,” said Jordan Rochester, a foreign exchange strategist at Nomura in London.
Despite acknowledging the huge uncertainty, Goldman Sachs economists have proposed four possible scenarios for the upcoming Omicron wave, one of which is a false alarm, and the new variant is not more contagious than Delta.
The main downside scenario shows that the virus will only cause a small blow to the economy in 2022, because the impact of each subsequent blockade in the past has been weak. These restrictions will significantly reduce global growth in the first quarter until a new vaccine is available and a strong recovery is brought.
Daan Struyven, senior global economist at Goldman Sachs, said that for the full year, the global economic growth rate will drop from 4.6% in 2022 to 4.2%. However, as the recovery gains a foothold again, growth in 2023 will increase accordingly.
In the most severe adverse situation, the severity of the disease and the immunity to hospitalization are much worse than the Delta variant. However, Struyven added that there is also a positive situation, that is, the severity of the infection is low, and the global economy may “normalize”.
This uncertainty may encourage central banks, especially the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, to either slow down the pace of US asset purchases or postpone rate hikes in the UK before deciding whether to tighten monetary policy.
In a report on Friday, Citi’s European economists wrote that the new uncertainty will be a “major alarm” for central banks and that “the road to recovery may not be as simple as originally thought.”