Estonia is better prepared for a possible global economic crisis now than it was in 2008, but the current behavior of global stock markets is nonetheless cause for concern, SEB private banking strategist Peeter Koppel said.
"I'm willing to argue that the structure of the Estonian economy is stronger today," Koppel said on an appearance on ETV morning program "Terevisioon" on Tuesday. "One significant factor is certainly the fact that while the 2008 crisis was entered into with [people] only having loans and practically no savings, households now have savings too. We are that much stronger. We are simply more mature and more developed, and in this context, that is a positive thing."
The broader global economic situation nonetheless isn't very encouraging, he continued.
"Regarding how stock markets and the economy are tied to one another, stock markets are a bit like a canary in a coal mine," the strategist explained. "Stock markets are a forward-looking indicator of how the global market could do in the near future. Yes, stock markets often overreact, but current indicators aren't very encouraging at all, and precisely in terms of the global economy."
It all depends on how coronavirus-related headlines develop, he continued.
"One approach here is reasonable, and the other a little more cynical," Koppel said. "According to the first, the situation will improve once it becomes more clear what headlines will be like in connection with the virus. More cynical is if the virus has already gotten out of control, then it needs to be regarded as the new normal, and we need to start considering what these companies are worth in this situation, if the coronavirus becomes our daily reality. Of course, I seriously hope that this doesn't happen."
The possible crisis may see companies partially moving production out of China, he noted.
"If some companies discover that they are very dependent on China in their supply chains, they may now reconsider this and establish backup options," Koppel said. "This may indeed mean that some kind of production is knowingly relocated out of China, and this production elsewhere may mean slight increases in price."
Editor: Aili Vahtla