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Snapshot Insight 2021

Updated: May 17, 2021

The most obvious statement regarding 2020 is that it was challenging in the way a World War is challenging. Nobody is unaffected. Covid 19 brought with it unprecedented changes. Because the world is so much more globalized, and has been rapidly changing in the last few decades, there is little value in comparing the pandemic with the economic impacts of past events. The 1918 Spanish Flu could be a precedent but, given that the world was also dealing with the economic fall out of World War One, and that the global economy was less interconnected and significantly less complex, makes this comparison questionable.

As the year played out, it became clear that the economic toll predicted at the beginning of the virus was off by a serious margin. Bill Gates, in what has turned into a prescient insight predicted in a 2015 TED talk that the next "thing" that kills 10 million people would be a highly infectious respiratory system virus. His assessment of the economic impacts of such a virus was three trillion dollars. Global GDP in 2020 shrank by 6.9 percentage points. Which is approximately 9.94 trillion dollars.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, with the international rollout of multiple vaccines that provide immunity to the Covid 19 virus. The challenge now is the mass production and distribution of these vaccines around the world. Since the rollout of the first (Pfizer) vaccine began in early December 2020, 104 million doses of that and other effective vaccines have been administered with a current rate of 4.57 million doses per day.

The latest models predict that by the Northern Hemisphere's autumn, life in the US will be back to something similar to life before the pandemic. Governments have tried to fill the gap created by the cliff-like drop in consumer demand created by the pandemic by providing unprecedented stimulus spending.

In the Onyx boardroom the majority view is that this extraordinary time will be followed by another. A bounce-back Roaring 20’s for those businesses that have been sufficiently agile, capitalised or lucky, looms. We intend to be ready.

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