Pandemic Trade, Unemployment Claims, Fed Stimulus

Hospitals, adult care facilities, essential workers, and the public at large (especially individuals with comorbidities) are in dire need of face masks. I interviewed a college friend who lives in Nanjing and is now on the other side of the curve. He does import/export and leveraged his shipping connections to source face masks for friends and hospitals. I decided to do a bulk order and was overwhelmed by requests in a few hours from the neighborhood community and FB. I went from ordering 500 to 4,000 in an evening. The trade war with China leading up to the pandemic made sourcing PPE and other medical equipment (up to CT scanners) a challenge as China produces a lot of the world’s medical equipment. Fortunately they are ramping up production and encouraging exports now. Also the US has relaxed trade restrictions with China for medical equipment. Ultimately diversification in production and supply is the lesson.

 I do think that what this experience will have taught us is companies and governments probably need to build in some redundancies to their supply chain – right? – to actually be able to source from more places than originally, not be as lean, keep more in stock, maybe have multiple suppliers in different countries of the same product.

Trade Economist Chad Brown

Rates – improves slightly this week. While the 10 Year US Treasury note increased slightly Mortgage Backed Securities also moved up.

Jobless claims soar 6.6 million in early April as coronavirus ...

Jobs – last week there were 6.6 M new unemployment claims bringing the total up to 17 M. This equates to roughly 5% of our population or 7% of our workforce. That also means the federal government is paying out roughly $10.2 B per week in unemployment insurance.

FED – the central bank continues to scale its economic stimulus. They announced an additional $2.3T in programs to help businesses with fewer than 10,000 employees. This comes in the form of 4 year loans where the interest is differed for the first year. If you already received the PPP loan you can still qualify for this program.

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