Macroeconomic & Geopolitical

Oil Jumps, Jobs Slump, More Fiscal Help Coming

April 2020 – 3 min read
President Trump expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut oil production and prices surged ~25% on the news. Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits skyrocketed, doubling the previous week’s record and there is more talk of future fiscal packages.


Arrows indicate consensus forecast compared to the previous period. Local dates of release.


  • Continuing claims are likely to spike amid record filings and as individuals receive unemployment insurance. States continue working through a backlog of initial claims and volumes remain high as the CARES Act expanded those who qualify for unemployment insurance.
  • Job openings will likely understate the pause in hiring across the U.S., as the data is for February. Openings are likely to drop off in March in the midst of what resembles a nation-wide hiring freeze, outside of grocery stores and food and consumer product delivery positions.


  • Italy announced it is working on a second fiscal package, expected to be larger than the first fiscal stimulus bill worth €25 billion (with €340 billion of loans and guarantees, for a total of 20% GDP). It is expected to prolong measures of the first bill by six months, extend wage support to less-protected workers, and launch a public infrastructure plan focused on areas such as health care and digitalization.
  • Real-time consumer spending indicators, such as high street foot traffic and restaurant bookings, are set to show continued weakness in consumer-facing sectors.

Asia Pacific

  • Japan is set to announce a record-breaking fiscal stimulus bill. As the number for COVID-19 cases rises in Japan, more social distancing measures or lockdowns may be announced, which would significantly hurt the economy.

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Christopher Smart, PhD, CFA

Chief Global Strategist & Head of the Barings Investment Institute

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