Effects of Covid-19 will be long-lasting: Fitch

By James Langton | October 2, 2020 | Last updated on October 2, 2020
2 min read
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Society will be feeling the effects of Covid-19 long after the virus ceases to dominate our daily lives, a survey of Fitch Ratings analysts finds.

In a new report, the rating agency said that an analyst survey concluded that some of the changes that have occurred in terms of how people work, their consumption habits and overall business activity “are likely to persist even after an effective medical solution is available.”

In particular, the survey indicated that analysts believe that “the shift to remote working, increased online consumption, reduced international travel and changing attitudes towards ESG risks are among the areas where the pandemic will permanently alter the behaviour of individuals and corporations.”

The global survey, which generated more than 1,000 responses, found that most analysts expect an effective medical solution to Covid-19 in 2021 or 2022.

But even after that, about 75% expect structural changes to working practices, and more than 70% anticipate the decentralization, or downsizing, of corporate offices in developed markets.

Around 66% also expect the pandemic to intensify concerns about global warming among companies, individuals and governments, the report noted.

“While some respondents felt that this would prompt sweeping changes in behaviour, 53% thought changes would happen gradually,” it said.

The survey also noted that only 27% anticipate a sustained decline in leisure spending (such as on restaurants and recreation) before an effective medical solution to Covid-19 is reached.

“This suggests that respondents think populations do not see the lack of a medical solution as a reason to persist with ‘lockdown lifestyles’, if this can be avoided,” the report said.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for Advisor.ca and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.