Milton Ezrati, senior economic and marketing strategist with Lord Abbet, has been getting interesting inquiries from investors and financial professionals as of late. They’ve been asking him what to make of the avian flu scare.
While he doesn’t dismiss the possibility of a pandemic coming to the U.S. and crushing equity markets, Ezrati is concerned that the scare may be inflated. “There are reasons for precaution, but I think the government telling us to hide tuna fish under the bed is a little extreme,” he says. “Couldn’t we just keep it in the cabinets?”
Joking aside, in a recent report, Ezrati wrote that some of the forecasted fatality numbers linked to a possible outbreak are hard to ignore.
“When the medical people–such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization (WHO)–get going, they can generate some pretty scary figures,” Ezrati wrote. “Official speculation by the federal government talks of the possibility of nine million Americans getting sick, resulting in some 180,000 dead…Estimates of worldwide deaths range up to 180 million…The biggest number in this seeming mortality projection competition appeared in ABC’s Frontline television show, which broadcast the possibility of 1 billion dead worldwide.”
Ezrati spoke to Staff Editor Ryan G. Murphy in late March.
What’s the general feeling about avian flu in the financial world right now?