Background Briefing: March 9, 2020
Today’s Market Free Fall, the Worst in History
We begin on this day that saw the most devastating collapse of the financial markets since 2008 with the Dow’s one-day loss of more than 2,000 points, the worst in history, and a drop of over 7.8% of a market that President Trump has been touting and taking credit for which only more than two weeks ago was posting record gains. Dennis Kelleher, the President and CEO of Better Markets, a nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the U.S. and global financial markets, joins us to discuss what can be done to stop the market freefall as investors react to the impact of the growing coronavirus pandemic on consumer spending and supply chains. With the oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia tanking the commodity markets which are already taking a beating because of reduced demand for oil in China and elsewhere due to the coronavirus, we will assess when and if investors will be able to quantify the scope and seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak made worse by the mixed signals, incompetence and serial lying coming from the White House. With the exception of Clorox, the maker of sterilizing cleaners and disinfectants whose shares are up 15% this year, across the board corporations from banks to smart-phone manufacturers are taking a hit as investors seek a safe haven in the bond market and treasuries but with the yield close to zero now, there is not much room for the Fed to intervene further.
An Expert on Respiratory Viruses and How They Spread
Then we speak with Seema Lakdawala, a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Lakdawala Lab which studies the epidemiological success of influenza viruses to better predict and prepare for future pandemics. She joins us to discuss how respiratory viruses like coronavirus are spread with human-to-human contact within the one meter personal space health authorities recommend and what methods of sterilization are effective and what virus-rich surfaces are best disinfected or avoided along with doorknobs and elevator buttons.
Who Will Be First to Blink in the Saudi-Russia Oil War?
Then finally we examine the falling oil markets which are taking a one-two punch from the coronavirus outbreak reducing demand and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia as the Saudis retaliate against Russia for breaking the OPEC+ agreement by pumping more oil to drive the price down to punish U.S. shale oil producers. Amy Myers Jaffe, Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations joins us to discuss whether the Saudis or the Russians will be the first to blink as they drain their currency reserves to make up for their loss of oil revenues.