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Looking Back at 2020: Economy Trending Up at the Start of the Year


This year about to end, 2020, will be a year that young and old will always remember. Does it compare to any other year we’ve ever seen? Arlan Suderman joined HAT for a look back at the year, particularly from a data standpoint, the way the Chief Commodities Economist for StoneX looks at most things.

There were certainly ups and downs this year, but in January the economy was in outstanding shape.

“We started the year on a strong growth trajectory,” he said. “The economy was growing very strong after having a series of tax cuts and deregulation, and that is fortunate for what we were about to go into. We didn’t know what we were about to enter. About mid-December of 2019, my Chinese employee started talking to me about an unknown virus that was starting to make itself known in central China and we started talking about it and keeping track of it. In January it started making the news headlines here in the United States. That would be the coronavirus and that would be the cause of Covid19.”

January 15th, 2020 is when the virus really hit U.S. news reports and that was the same day of the signing of the Phase I trade deal with China. It marked an important breakthrough in a trade war with China.

“While the economy had been going strong, agriculture had been suffering because of this trade war, so we finally got a trade deal to hopefully end that trade war,” Suderman said. “We were feeling like not only would that help agriculture, but it would help all of the economy grow to the next level. And then Covid hit. The nation started to slow down in February, shot down in March, total lockdown in April, and then it was a rapid recovery and then kind of a rebound of coronavirus in July. We’ve had a bigger rebound in numbers as we got into the last quarter of the year.”

This was a perfect year to highlight how supply and demand work and how so many sectors of our economy are tied together. In part two of this review tomorrow, Suderman explains those dynamics, and how trends look at year’s end.