The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic poses unprecedented health, economic, and financial stability challenges
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, the prices of risk assets collapsed and market volatility spiked, while expectations of widespread defaults led to a surge in borrowing costs. Several factors amplified asset price moves: previously overstretched asset valuations, pressures to unwind leveraged trades, dealers’ balance-sheet constraints, and a deterioration in market liquidity. Emerging market economies experienced the sharpest reversal of portfolio flows on record. As a result, financial conditions tightened at an unprecedented speed. Decisive monetary, financial, and fiscal policy actions—aimed at containing the fallout from the pandemic—managed to stabilize investor sentiment in late March–early April, with markets paring back some of their losses.
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