Covid 19 and the global economic crisis that has evolved this year has created significant challenges for businesses and traders in every country. Additionally, millions of companies have had their sales, profits, payroll, and debt management affected severely.
Nationwide lockdowns, shortages of medical supplies and other important products, and interruptions in normal supply chain operations have many traders, both new and experienced, scrambling to adjust their trading strategies during the pandemic.
Making solid forecasts for opening positions, targeting which markets to focus on, and determining what news to believe and act on has all become extremely problematic during the crisis. Making matters worse is the threat of a “second wave” once many countries end their quarantines and try to return to normal.
Nobody wants to downplay the seriousness of the Covid 19 crises and the subsequent consequences. However, as traders we need to find a way to turn a bad situation into a profitable one in order to maintain our livelihoods and reach our financial goals. To that end, here are some strategies we have put together on ways to trade profitably by identifying which markets are being affected in regards to developments in the pandemic.
Filter Your News
News about the Coronavirus, Covid 19, and other related terms is not equal. We have all heard the term “fake news” enough in recent years to understand that not all information that we get is accurate. However, and more importantly, it is best to also understand that some news matters much more than others when it comes to trading during the pandemic.
While we might be interested locally in live advisories of the coronavirus in India, Russia, or whatever locale we live in, the stark reality is that markets don’t really care about most of these geos. The two most important areas to watch in regards to news are the United States and China with the EU, Japan, and South Korea a ways behind them.
Here are some sources that will definitely have an impact on markets when releasing information about the spread of the Covid 19 virus, mortality rates, concerns, and even optimism:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) — Despite the spectacular failures of this organization before and during the pandemic, when they make announcements, markets listen.
- The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S. — Also riddled with controversy with their response, but U.S. economic policy regarding the pandemic is directly tied to the numbers and info produced by this organization.
- Any OFFICIAL Chinese government announcement of negative virus news in the country. If the news is bad enough that the Chinese government will actually admit it, then it is worth noting. Don’t buy into Western media’s allegations about how many infected people there are in China. While it may be true, it doesn’t matter to markets.
- Official agreements announced by OPEC+ regarding limits on production amongst its members. More on this in the next section.
Pay Close Attention to Economic “Engines”
Economic “engines” form the support of general economic well-being. Experienced traders know this, which is why they monitor their Economic Calendars year round regardless of the Covid 19 issue. However, it is even more important to keep an eye on this small list of indicators to give you an edge in trading during the pandemic and as the world transitions back towards normality.
- Oil storage levels. Oil is the key ingredient in the world economy. Every week, the U.S. announces their current crude oil inventories. This is important news because the U.S. is the largest consumer of oil in the world and China is second. If inventories are increasing or staying the same, it means the U.S. industrial and consumer machine isn’t improving and that means less sales in EVERYTHING and not just oil.
- Chinese manufacturing data. If the U.S. is buying it, a large chunk of it is being made in China. China needs resources to produce, but won’t produce if the U.S. isn’t buying. It’s a symbiotic relationship but often one or the other increases first. It is very possible that China will restart its economic engine before the U.S.
- U.S. employment data. The single largest hit to the world economy is the lack of employment for millions of American consumers. When they buy less, the world makes less. In spite of the efforts by the U.S. government to assist, the fact is that Americans aren’t making as much money. When/if the employment numbers change, it will indicate opportunities to trade on that news.
The Big 3 - Markets That Indicate Overall Sentiment
This bit of information is nothing new to experienced investors, but should be mentioned once again for anyone evaluating how to operate in the current market situation and will hopefully be useful. Brent Oil, Gold, and the S&P 500 — These three assets give the most insight into what is happening globally in the markets and how the big players (financial houses, mega funds, etc.) have evaluated current conditions.
Brent oil — We already explained that oil is the fuel of commerce and economic activity. Brent oil is the most commonly traded grade of oil worldwide. There are others including West Texas Intermediate (U.S.) and Urals grade (Russia), but Brent has the most global influence on markets.
If the price of Brent is increasing, it means that global demand for oil is increasing and therefore, economic activity is increasing. This affects nearly every company’s sales and profits. If that sounds huge and powerful, it’s because it is. This is why wars in the Middle East are a big deal to everyone.
Gold — When economic catastrophe strikes and countries see hyper-inflation, or even worse, war. The major investment players in the world buy gold. The reason is that gold is seen as a store of value and rightly so. Throughout thousands of years and various economic systems and governmental experiments, it has held its value.
If the ultra-wealthy are buying gold and the price is increasing, then it isn’t a good sign for things to come in the markets. Take a look at the gold chart starting from October of 2019 until now and you’ll see what we’re talking about.
S&P 500 — This index of U.S. stocks provides us traders with a window to the overall health of the mightiest corporations in the world. If you’re interested in seeing how investors view the health of the world economy, take a look at the S&P.
Because of the wide range of industries and sectors represented in the S&P, traders can get a solid understanding of how things are going and make better informed trading decisions. If huge investors see something happen with Covid 19, they will react and those reactions will show up in the S&P 500.
Move Forward and Trade with Confidence
To profit in the current market climate, traders need to monitor breaking news from the sources listed above, keep an eye on the mentioned economic engines, and understand how the “big” money is playing because they will already know about the first two factors.
We are optimistic that the global economy will recover from the Covid 19 pandemic quickly, but we need to be prepared to profit off of any further declines. Thankfully, trading allows us to generate a good income regardless of the market situation if we are diligent and prepared.