Feb 28, 2020 - Economy

Coronavirus fallout could be worse than the financial crisis

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with Benjamin Franklin wearing a face mask

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Guggenheim Partners global CIO Scott Minerd tells Axios the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak could be "worse than the financial crisis."

Why it matters: Minerd called out the "cognitive dissonance" in markets as stock prices hit new all-time highs in mid-February, saying in an open letter that he had never "seen anything as crazy as what’s going on right now."

The intrigue: As a member of the New York Fed's investor advisory committee, Minerd says he's been contacted by officials and is expecting a statement regarding "some sort of monetary coordination." This likely means the world's central banks are planning to provide interest rate cuts or additional stimulus.

  • Fed governor Kevin Warsh recently advocated for the policy, in a WSJ editorial.
  • Central banks already have more than $20 trillion worth of holdings on their balance sheets.

Unfortunately, Minerd is concerned that the market's demand for action from central banks is misplaced and little ammunition is available to fight the problem.

  • "In 2008 we were dealing with a financial market shock," he told me last night after our appearance on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."
  • "You can cut rates and that helps alleviate some of the problem. But with a shock like this, monetary policy is pretty impotent. Cutting rates 100 basis points isn't going to do anything."

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