Monthly economic update with MLC, June 2020

Funds Management

by Clive Tompkins

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MLC Asset Management Senior Economist Bob Cunneen discusses the rise in global share market performance over June despite an increase in coronavirus infection rates.

Global share markets delivered a solid near 3 per cent gain in June. Now, this was led by a very robust performance by the Chinese share market, which was up about 8 per cent for the month. We also saw a very strong performance out of the German share market, the DAX, which was up nearly 6 per cent. And even Wall Street made a solid gain of nearly 2 per cent in June. Now, financial markets have taken the view that there are some hopeful signs for the global economy provided the virus is contained, and these hopeful signs are seen in a pickup in some of the business surveys, as well as the containment of the virus, in particular in China and Europe.

This has been a remarkable recovery in global share markets since the lows of March. So, if we looked at global share markets themselves over the June quarter, the past three months, they're up nearly 18 per cent. Now, global share markets have taken the view that, provided the virus is contained, given the extraordinary stimulus measures that we've had from central banks cutting interest rates, as well as purchasing assets and providing cash to financial institutions, this will help a global economic recovery, and with that, a recovery in corporate profits. However, we've seen some recent concerning signs that may delay the global economic recovery. In particular, we've seen an acceleration in virus infection cases in the United States, Brazil and India, and these are concerning signs. So, these potentially may slow the recovery story over coming months.

Australia's share market also delivered a very solid gain of +2.4 per cent for June. Now, this share market rally was led by the Information Technology sector, with a near 6 per cent gain on the back of the strong performance of technology stocks on Wall Street. We also saw a +5 per cent gain for consumer stocks, and this was driven by the very encouraging rebound in retail spending in Australia in May of nearly 17 per cent.

The Australian economy still looks like it's in a recession because what we're seeing in terms of the employment numbers is still very weak. We're seeing falling jobs, 800,000 decline in jobs over the period of April and May. And the unemployment rate has risen from 5.1 per cent to 7.1 per cent in May. However, we've also seen some encouraging signs in terms of business surveys, retail spending and consumer confidence. So, we saw the early signs of a recovery starting in the Australian economy in May and June. However, we've had a recent setback with the acceleration of cases in Melbourne. So, potentially we are in a situation with the lockdown in Melbourne that the recovery story for the Australian economy will be delayed.


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