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Today's Topics

3 charts today exploring:

  • Some global perspective on COVID-19.
  • Another big winner of lockdown – video game streaming.
  • Global GDP forecasts for the next 2 years, just how bad can they be?
Some of the countries that were initially most impacted by coronavirus have begun more significant easings of lockdown – and discourse has naturally turned to how to avoid the dreaded 'second wave'. But, if you zoom out and look at the global picture, one thing becomes very apparent – we aren't even close to beating this 'first wave'.

The 7-day average of new daily cases has recently passed 150,000 for the first time globally. Countries with enormous populations such as Brazil, Mexico and India are all in the middle of their battle with the virus. India in particular is worrisome, with some of its 1.3 billion people living in some of the most densely populated cities in the world.

Europe is something of a bright spot globally. France, Germany, Spain, Italy and even the UK are all still trending downwards on cases and deaths – although the UK might be undone by just a bit of sunshine after the scenes on one of its popular beaches this week.

If however you live in the US - as most of you do reading this newsletter - we don't have much good news for you. Just as many states were opening up, cases have begun to spike. In fact, US daily cases are now pretty much back to the peak seen in April. Some of that is down to more testing – which the US has ramped up to roughly half a million per day – but some of it is certainly not.
Back in March we profiled Twitch, the live streaming platform for gamers. At the time we explored how it had grown from 200 million hours watched a month in 2014, to almost 1000 by the beginning of 2020. Well, since then, Twitch has grown by a similar amount – but this time achieving that same amount of growth in 3 months, instead of 6 years.

It's going to be interesting to see if Twitch holds these numbers once the world gets back to "normal" – whatever normal means. But even if teens and young adults do have less time on their hands, one big boost for Twitch is the closure of Mixer a few days ago, which was a rival streaming platform, run by Microsoft.

All I do is win, win, win

Guess who owns Twitch? That's right, it's your regular old mate Jeff Bezos, who is just like you except he's worth $165bn according to Bloomberg. Amazon bought Twitch back in 2014 for $970m, which in hindsight looks like a great acquisition.

With Amazon's share price up 50% year-to-date, you could say Jeff didn't exactly need a win. If he keeps winning at this rate there is a very real, and gross, chance that Jeff Bezos will become a trillionaire in the next 20 years. Let's hope he hits his Bill Gates stage of being a billionaire soon, focusing a bit more on healthcare and philanthropy. Even if you do it just for selfish popularity reasons we wouldn't mind Jeff, honest.
This week the International Monetary Fund published its latest version of its World Economic Outlook. The IMF reckons real GDP, or economic output, is going to fall about 5% this year. We dug out the data for the last 30 years for some context – and yep you guessed it – it's bad.

The tiny red blip for 2009 is the global economic contraction seen after the GFC. So 2020 looks like it will be a lot worse. In fairness the global recession of '09 is a bit of a misnomer. For lots of the faster growing economies such as China, their economies barely blinked through the entire crisis. This time they probably won't be so lucky.

The good news is that the -4.9% for 2020 forecast by the IMF is also predicted to be followed by a +5.4%, which pretty much gets the world back to where we were at the end of 2019 in terms of real economic output. Of course, this is economics, so nobody agrees. Some aren't so sure that the recovery will be V-shaped at all.

Data Snacks


1) Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu opened on Monday, but not to thousands of theatre-goers. Instead the venue was packed with 2,292 houseplants which were treated to a performance by a string quartet.

2) Nike reported that its sales were down 38% in its most recent quarter – despite digital sales jumping 75%

3) Tesla scored the worst out of 32 major automakers in the widely-followed J.D. Power survey.

4) The launch of premium email service "Hey" has created a lot of buzz, and some controversy, in the tech community. A 2 letter email address such as "ab@hey.com" will cost you almost a grand... a year.

5) LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter have raised $100m to build a new media company.

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