Dubai: Even as global stock markets rallied for a few days last week on new liquidity measures from governments, analysts said they expect “a few more shocks” to lie ahead due to the coronavirus.
In the US, the Senate approved a $2 trillion (Dh7.34 trilion) emergency package that includes relief measures for citizens, corporations, and small business, while the UK also announced billions of pounds in support for workers and businesses.
The news led to a surge in stocks, but analysts pointed out that the figures for cases of coronavirus are still getting higher every day.
“Various support measures from governments and central banks around the world...are helping to alleviate investor concerns, but they don’t change the fact that we still don’t know how ugly the situation is going to get or how bad and long the economy will suffer,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda Europe.
He said the economic toll of the virus outbreak is already starting to register, after the US recorded a spike in jobless claims to 3.28 million.
“Investors may have given it a free pass, still buoyed by the prospect of multi-trillion-dollar stimulus packages, but will that last? I’m not convinced.”
His comments come as the death toll from the coronavirus shoots past 30,000, and as the US and Europe report spikes in the number of infected cases.
Han Tan, a market analyst at FXTM, said the gains in international stocks over much of the past week “do not truly reflect market confidence that the coronavirus outbreak has peaked and that the economic turmoil is over.”
“It remains doubtful whether the recent surge in global equities can be sustained,” he said. “This rebound in stock markets may eventually prove to be a false dawn, one fueled by volatility rather than fundamentals, and we feel this warrants caution and vigilance on the part of investors.”
In the UAE, where 468 cases of COVID-19 have so far been reported, the main indices both rose on Sunday. The Abu Dhabi index gained 2.87 per cent, as Dubai’s index rose by 1.28 per cent.
This was despite warnings from ratings agencies that banks in the country are expected to face pressure on their profitability and loan quality. S&P Global Ratings, for one, said on Saturday that it sees a negative rather than a stable economic outlook. It revised its outlook for First Abu Dhabi Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreq Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and National Bank of Fujairah to negative from stable.
“Going forward, for the regional markets, the trading activity will be largely attributed to movement in oil prices and ability of governments to contain the spread of the virus,” said a note from Allied Investment Partners.
It pointed, however, that stimulus packages are likely to support local equity markets and calm investor anxiety.
So far this year, Dubai’s main index has lost over 34 per cent, while Abu Dhabi’s is down about 25 per cent year-to-date.