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Spillover of COVID-19: Impact on the Global Economy

Ozili, Peterson and Arun, Thankom (2020): Spillover of COVID-19: Impact on the Global Economy.

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Abstract

How did a health crisis translate to an economic crisis? Why did the spread of the coronavirus bring the global economy to its knees? The answer lies in two methods by which coronavirus stifled economic activities. First, the spread of the virus encouraged social distancing which led to the shutdown of financial markets, corporate offices, businesses and events. Second, the exponential rate at which the virus was spreading, and the heightened uncertainty about how bad the situation could get, led to flight to safety in consumption and investment among consumers, investors and international trade partners. We focus on the period from the start of 2020 through March when the coronavirus began spreading into other countries and markets. We draw on real-world observations in assessing the restrictive measures, monetary policy measures, fiscal policy measures and the public health measures that were adopted during the period. We empirically examine the impact of social distancing policies on economic activities and stock market indices. The findings reveal that the increasing number of lockdown days, monetary policy decisions and international travel restrictions severely affected the level of economic activities and the closing, opening, lowest and highest stock price of major stock market indices. In contrast, the imposed restriction on internal movement and higher fiscal policy spending had a positive impact on the level of economic activities, although the increasing number of confirmed coronavirus cases did not have a significant effect on the level of economic activities.

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