Globalization comes under fire amid coronavirus "stress test"

“Do we want to still depend at the level of 90% or 95% on the supply chain of China for the automobile industry, for the drug industry, for the aeronautical industry, or do we draw the consequences of that situation to build new factories, new productions, and to be more independent and sovereign?” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire asked on Saturday. “That’s not protectionism, that’s just the necessity of being sovereign and independent from an industrial point of view.”

The disruption comes at a fraught time for economic policy makers, who are struggling to find new ways to boost growth when many of them are already operating with record-low interest rates, limiting their ability to provide stimulus through monetary policy. Attention is now is turning to fiscal policy, with more than half of the G-20 economies easing budgets to allow more spending.

The coronavirus outbreak “is a stress test for the world and China,” Douglas Flint, chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Riyadh. “We are going to see more fiscal stimulus.”