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With COVID-19 as the leading issue affecting the markets, we want to keep a close eye on consumer sentiment.

This time around we are focusing on the world’s largest economy. But the reasons for caring about consumers apply to pretty much most of the world now that the WHO has declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

The initial concern, which drove the first drop in global capital markets, was the potential impact on supply chains for businesses. The closure of production facilities in the world’s manufacturing area – China – meant that businesses might have increased difficulty in sourcing materials.

For retailers, it meant potentially running out of products. And, for manufacturers, it meant potential production stoppages. However, shortages did not materialize, and over the last couple of weeks, most major companies in the US and Europe have issued updates on their supplies and inventory.

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