Pandemic will ‘fundamentally’ alter global economy: BlackRock CEO

Head of world’s biggest asset management firm says outbreak has ‘sparked a re-evaluation’ of economic assumptions.

Larry Fink, BlackRock CEO [Bloomberg]
'People worldwide are fundamentally rethinking the way we work, shop, travel and gather. When we exit this crisis, the world will be different,' BlackRock CEO Larry Fink says in letter to shareholders [File: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg]

BlackRock Inc. Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink predicted the economy will eventually recover from the coronavirus outbreak, though he said the crisis will reshape investor psychology, business practices and consumer habits.

The pandemic that swept through nations across the globe this year is causing people to re-evaluate “just-in-time” supply chains and dependence on air travel, Fink wrote in his annual letter to shareholders dated Sunday.

“In my 44 years in finance, I have never experienced anything like this,” Fink wrote, adding that “as dramatic as this has been, I do believe that the economy will recover steadily, in part because this situation lacks some of the obstacles to recovery of a typical financial crisis.”

The spreading coronavirus has infected more than 780,000 people and prompted cities across the world to lock down, threatening deep recessions that will push households and companies to the brink. Deaths now top 37,000.

Fink and New York-based BlackRock are already playing a role responding to the economic pain. The world’s largest asset manager is overseeing three separate debt-buying programs on behalf of the Federal Reserve. President Donald Trump also consulted on coronavirus-related aid for companies with Fink and other top Wall Street executives.

Influenced by the 2008 global financial crisis, central banks are moving quickly to address credit market troubles and governments are being aggressive with fiscal stimulus, Fink added.

“That is not to say the world is without risk, nor to suggest that the market has reached its bottom,” he wrote. “It is impossible to know.”

Source: Bloomberg