Global Head, Citi Private Bank
Our website no longer supports your current web browser version, which means you are no longer able to access this website. Please update your browser to continue.
Despite all of our current restrictions, there are still wonderful opportunities to feed the soul.
Across much of the world, a holiday weekend is beginning. For those of you who are celebrating, let me take this opportunity to wish you a Happy Easter or Chag Pesach Sameach.
In normal times, we would be eagerly looking forward to a well-deserved break from everyday life. On this particular weekend, however, it is everyday life that we find ourselves craving. The unprecedented disruption of the last few weeks has been enormously testing. COVID-19 has rapidly gone from being an alarming news story to something deeply personal for everyone. Almost all of us have a loved one, friend or colleague directly affected by the virus. Our sympathies and good wishes remain with them – and with the incredible professionals who are caring for them – through this weekend and beyond.
It is clear that our collective struggle against the invisible enemy of COVID-19 has far to go. Around 100,000 people worldwide have now lost their lives. The US – now the global pandemic’s epicenter – saw its deadliest day so far this week. At the same time, though, we should recognize that there are glimmers of hope. Social distancing and other restrictions are starting to yield positive results. Rather than being overwhelmed, healthcare systems are coping. Numerous countries in Europe and Asia have seen a decline in the growth of new infections. US authorities have said that the beginnings of a turnaround could be near. Of course, we cannot afford to be complacent. We must see this through to a successful conclusion.
While medically effective, social distancing measures continue to have serious side effects. In just three weeks, we may already have seen as many job losses in the US and Europe as there were during the entire financial crisis period of 2007-09. The uncertainty and hardship of this unemployment compound the fear caused by the virus. Our thoughts are also therefore with those whose work or business is disrupted at this time. David Bailin and Steven Wieting consider when and how the global economy might begin to recover in their recent note Pandemic Investing 101: Actionable Insights after a Historic First Quarter. They note that the recent growth path of China’s economy may be cause for tentative optimism in the wider world. The city of Wuhan has now seen various travel restrictions relaxed and many businesses reopened. Governments elsewhere are considering how a carefully phased return to work might occur.
Over this holiday weekend, it is inevitable that we will have some thoughts of what we might have been doing but for COVID-19: the journeys, the gatherings, and the performances. Despite all of today’s restrictions, though, there are still wonderful opportunities to feed the soul. Suzanne Gyorgy, our Global Head of Art Advisory & Finance, has been exploring how the art industry is recreating various flagship events in digital format. Many galleries and museums are offering virtual viewings and tours, giving more people than ever before the opportunity to appreciate their artistic treasures.
In the same spirit, Citi is proudly partnering with the world-class Philharmonia Orchestra to bring you a selection of musical interludes. This week’s inaugural episode comes from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. I do hope you can take a few minutes to appreciate this inspiring performance. Both music and art have immense power to bring people together across borders – even when we find ourselves temporarily isolated from one another.
I wish you and your families some much-needed repose this weekend, as well as good health and spirits.
We remain very grateful for your trust and confidence in the Private Bank amid these challenging times.