Namibia Logistics Association

2020/10 Coronavirus and the World Economy

Coronavirus and the World Economy

The coronavirus has arrived in the most remote place of the World and 213 countries and territories are affected. Namibia has now 16 cases and South Africa 12 074. China reported no new deaths for a second week. Namibia emerged with stage 2 out of the lockdown on 5 May as expected. The latest cases and deaths are the following:

Table 1: Coronavirus cases – 27 January – 14 May

Region/CountryCases27 JanCases27 FebCases26 MarCases30 AprCases7 MayCases14 May
China4 58178 49981 28582 86282 88582 929
Europe556246 3271 219 2781 299 5461 392 455
Africa  1 00536 70347 26770 558
North America 7489 4781 116 1691 326 6791 502 626
Rest of the World2 49553 322766 5721 066 5741 381 555
Total4 58182 183471 4173 221 5843 822 9514 430 123


From the middle of March the epicentre of the coronavirus has shifted from China to Europe and then to the US. Currently 33.9% of all reported cases are in North America and 52% of the total deaths are reported in Europe.  The US reported 1 430 348 cases and 85 197 deaths. Only 1.6% of the reported cases and 0.8% of the deaths are on the African continent; however one should keep in mind that testing is not done as expected. 

Table 2: Coronavirus deaths – 27 January – 14 May

Region/CountryDeaths27 JanDeaths27 FebDeaths26 MarDeaths30 AprDeaths/7 May Deaths/14 May
China1062 7473 2874 6334 6334 633
Europe1414 143131 603143 127154 344
Africa  281 5571 9972 484
North America[1] 1 33464 66579 03990 499
Rest of the World432 50325 80536 28846 220
Total1062 80421 295228 263265 084298 180


[1] North America is Canada and the US

If the current trend continues the total number of deaths will be around 328 000 in a weeks’ time. The USA, UK, Spain, Italy, France and Belgium have today 71.2% of the number of deaths reported in the whole World. 

Africa was out of limelight in the beginning and Egypt reported the first cases. Slowly the coronavirus pandemic is reaching the African continent and all countries reported 70 558  cases and 2 484 deaths. There are only 15 229 cases reported in the SADC region and 319 deaths.

Table 3: Coronavirus cases and deaths in the SADC region – 2 Apr – 14 May 2020

SADC countryCases2 AprCases30 AprCases7 MayCases14 MayDeaths2 AprDeaths30 AprDeaths7 MayDeaths14 May
South Africa1 3535 3507 80812 0745103153219
DRC1094917971 1699303550
Total1 7917 20010 08815 22923173230319


Graph one below illustrate that the peak has been reached and we are in a declining trend for 7 weeks already. 

Graph 1: Weekly change of the World’s coronavirus cases and deaths

The graph above depicts the weekly change since beginning of February 2020 in the whole World of reported cases and deaths. There is light at the end of the tunnel and since 2 April a seven week decline in the growth of cases and deaths occurred.

Graph 2: COVID 19 cases and deaths in Africa and the rest of the world

Source: Compiled from Worldometers data

From the data which is available one can see that a third wave is not on the way as the WHO predicted four weeks ago. 

The World economy will move into a severe recession as the MSCI World Index (below) is signalling. The MSCI World Index consists of the stock exchange performance of 28 countries. 

Graph 3: MSCI World Index

   Source: MSCI Index

The MSCI index was at 2401 on 22 February 2020 and closed on Wednesday at 1998, a fall of 16.9%. The latest forecast by the UN predicts a decline of -3.2% in the World economy and the latest forecast by Oxford economics is a predicted -4.8% contraction for 2020. World stock markets are getting nervous again as the latest economic data indicates that the world is sliding into a deeper recession.

A good indicator for the world economy is the Baltic Dry Index, which measures the cost of shipping goods around the world. The Baltic Dry Index dropped from a peak of 2 505 on 4 September 2019 to a low of 406 on 13 February 2020. The index improved towards the end of March but dropped again to a low level of 398, indicating that the Chinese economy is struggling due to a low in export orders. All indications are that the world economy will get worse and it is clear now that the economic costs of the pandemic outweigh the health costs. 

Table 4: Selected international commodity prices

Winners for Namibia  
Energy: Brent oil8.05%-58.31%

 Source: Trading economics. 14 May 2020 

The commodity prices relevant to Namibia reached a turning point four weeks ago and with the weakening exchange rate one can probably see an increase in exports from May onwards.

The N$ is currently trading 18.5 to the US Dollar and 19.98 to the Euro. 

Compiled by: Rainer Ritter           

14 May 2020