The COVID-19 pandemic and widespread lockdowns curtailing social and economic activity have led to a depression-magnitude slowdown. Equity markets plummeted and then rallied; volatility remains heightened. Interest rates reached historic lows. The speed and scale of the first-quarter dislocation across asset classes was unprecedented. This is a perfect storm for defined benefit (DB) pension plans.
Better than expected housing data in the US. Lower energy prices push Canada into deflation. Manufacturing and service activity contracts at a slower rate in the UK and the eurozone. Japan’s nascent consumer demand recovery is nipped in the bud. The RBA expands collateral for repo to include investment grade corporate bonds.
Industrial production and retail sales plunge in the US. Stockpiling essentials can’t prevent big drop in Canadian manufacturing sales. UK, eurozone and German economies contract. Japan’s leading index in March presents a “worsening” scenario. Australia’s unemployment rate not reflective of true underlying conditions.