One of the ghastlier aspects of the pandemic has been the public’s adoption of state-sanctioned newspeak. We’ve followed the rule of six, while staying alert and eating-out-to-help-out, but we should have smelled a rat when it became obvious that the initial 15-day target to flatten the curve had clearly been made in hope rather than expectation.
Ministers have been trying to balance the clinical imperative for lockdown with the widespread economic damage that would ensue due to widespread business curtailment. Indeed, it is probably still too early to determine the efficacy of government policy as the crisis unfolded, particularly regarding the economy.
Thankfully, financial markets tend not to equivocate on such matters. So, after a sharp initial sell-off, exacerbated by stop-loss orders and a 20 per cent rise in margin calls, we were treated to the shortest bear market in history as investors flooded back into risk assets. Admittedly, there are reduced options for investors with bond yields in negative territory when adjusted for inflation.