Coronavirus has infected the Australian economy, and when you add in the crippling costs of recent summer bushfires, the nation’s economic outlook appears, well, hardly rosy. But will the pandemic trigger a full blown recession?
Last week saw the ASX plummet, wiping off around $203.8 billion in its worst week since the Global Financial Crisis. Shares plunged on Thursday, following Donald Trump’s imposed travel ban on Europe, with the index falling 7.36% and the Australian dollar sinking to a seven year low. Falls on the stock exchange have continued early this week.
Economists have signalled a slowdown in consumer and service sectors, with the travel industry being hit the hardest, indicating that it may be hard to avoid a steep downturn.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week released a federal stimulus package, but warned that the economic impact of the double whammy of bushfires and Coronavirus will be substantial.
“Covid-19 is a global health crisis with serious economic impacts greater than the GFC, especially for Australia,” Morrison said.
Businesses are being encouraged to continue to operate as per usual where possible, while implementing new workflows that allow employees to work from remotely or from home. However, significant challenges remain for shift workers and casual employees who are not entitled to paid sick leave.