The story snowballed after first being reported in a Reddit post on March 15. It has since been shared countless times in Telegram and other social media.
User ‘nottodaymonk’ posted that his friend had just “got off a Goldman Sachs Investee call where 1500 of their investee companies dialed in”. He listed several “takeaways” from the call, the most significant of which was a prediction of “global health and economic collapse” in 6 to 8 weeks.
That’s not quite right says Goldman Sachs
Patrick Scanlan, vice president of corporate communications at Goldman Sachs, sent the following statement to Cointelegraph, distancing themselves from the reported comments:
“The comments being circulated on social media platforms attributing statistics on COVID-19 to Goldman Sachs were prepared by an unidentified author, were not authorized, and contain erroneous information and attribution. On March 12, the firm’s chief economist and chief medical officer held a call for clients, during which they conveyed information on the economic and market impact of COVID-19. During the call, various statistics on the pandemic were cited and attributed to legitimate sources including governments and were not necessarily presented as a Goldman Sachs view. The market and economic views presented on the call were consistent with current published research views.”
Goldman Sachs did not explicitly deny the veracity of nottodaymonk’s claims, however it queried some of the statistics presented. The company stressed that “the market and economic views” expressed during the call were consistent with its public reports.
Goldman Sachs’ public views on the economic impact of coronavirus
An official Goldman Sachs report from March 15, “US Daily: Downgrading Our US GDP Forecasts” predits “real GDP growth of 0% in Q1 (from +0.7%), -5% in Q2 n (from 0%), +3% in Q3 (from +1%), and +4% in Q4 (from +2¼%)”.
Source: Goldman Sach Economic Research
On an annual basis, Goldman Sachs downgraded its 2020 GDP forecast to 0.4% from 1.2%. For reference, in 2019 the U.S. economy expanded 2.3%.
While the references to a ‘beer virus’ (Corona) make it clear the notes are not verbatim, it is certainly possible that the numbers reported by nottodaymonk were discussed in the call — and a recent report from London’s Imperial College also contains some morbid forecasts that make Goldman’s report pale in comparison.