The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has changed the outlook for everyone and stymied the world economy. We know it’s a worrying time for everyone who is looking to safeguard their livelihoods and financial futures.
After the stresses of 2019, we all hoped a new year would bring calmer waters. Trade tensions between the US and China had begun to thaw and Brexit was formalised. But we are now in uncharted waters with the unprecedented spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Chancellor has already announced two rounds of measures to support the UK economy in addition to the Budget. Together they dwarf the £12 billion expenditure promised in the Budget. The running figure (as at 20 March) now totals over £60 billion, with a further £330 billion of loan guarantees for businesses, large and small. Mr Sunak’s actions include:
Market volatility has rocked many formerly solid sectors and the epidemic has had wide-ranging effects on all parts of the economy, from air travel to pubs to car manufacturing. This is not a repeat of 2008: for a start, regulators and governments have made sure that the banks are in a much stronger financial position than they were at that time. What COVID-19 represents is a left-field shock to the entire global economy that looks certain to lead to a recession. If there is a lesson to learn from 2008, it is that markets can overreact and, although it seems impossible at the time, economies do recover. For now, the focus is on people, their lives and livelihoods.
The value of your investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested.
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Investing in shares should be regarded as a long-term investment and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.