“All Eyes on Asia”: The Geopolitical State of Affairs in Northeast Asia Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
Last month on April 10th, the Korea Society and the Japan Society hosted a virtual talk titled “Geopolitics of Coronavirus: Japan and Korea,” moderated by Dr. Joshua Walker from the Japan Society. The two main speakers, Dr. Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; and Dr. Stephen Noerper, Senior Director at The Korea Society, outlined how these two democratic nations in Northeast Asia have tackled the coronavirus pandemic to date, and the regional implications it may pose in the foreseeable future.
I had planned to be in Washington last week at the IMF/World Bank meetings, a chance to hear the latest policy debates and catch up with old friends. Not this spring; the meetings were entirely virtual and didn't offer much clarity beyond a dismal forecast for 2020. I have however indulged in a cornucopia of online offerings, some of which I have included below.
We have another week of data on the US commercial banks’ assets and liabilities. Deposits rose by 2.6% in the week to 25th March, after a (revised) increase of 2.2% in the previous week. The increase in the fortnight to 25th March may have been the highest ever in such a short period of time. The implied annualised rate of increase was not much less than 250%.
The microscopic pathogen that is threatening global health and wreaking havoc from Singapore to Seoul, Tokyo to New York and Berlin to Milan is clearly reshaping the 2020 global outlook. But it should not derail the current momentum driving sustainability investing and corporate governance.
The future shape of the economic crisis driven by the federal government’s inadequate response to the coronavirus pandemic are coming into focus. The widespread social isolation that has sent both the demand for and production of goods and services into a free-fall reflects our spotty knowledge about the contagiousness and lethality of the virus. At the same time, we don’t know where hospital admissions will spike next. These new facts of life point to two potential economic scenarios, based on aspects of the virus that are beyond our control.
Click https://www.patreon.com/posts/35097366 to listen to this podcast.
The federal government has approved two “phases” of fiscal relief for the current COVID-19 crisis, an $8B bill supporting medical work and expanding testing for the virus signed on March 6, and a $100B expansion of sick and family medical leave that President Trump is signing today. The vastly larger Phase 3 package will likely come up for a vote within the next several days. Collectively, this fiscal stimulus will cost more than a trillion dollars, putting it on par with the combined Obama and Bush administrations’ responses to the Great Recession.