Texas A&M Experts: State Will Bounce Back From COVID-19

While the pandemic and oil glut create a double dose of devastation, three Texas A&M scholars tell Chancellor John Sharp that they see new economic opportunities rising from the rubble.
By Texas A&M University System Staff April 30, 2020

Oil prices will rebound before the year’s end. The doors of bars and restaurants will host reopening celebrations. Long-lasting changes will spring forth in industry, education and consumer behavior.

These are some of the predictions made by three leading economic scholars from Texas A&M University during an interview with John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System.

“We’ve been hit with what I call a ‘double whammy tsunami’ because we have the oil prices crashing plus the coronavirus pandemic,” said Venky Shankar, research director of the Center for Retailing Studies at the Mays Business School. “But this creates the conditions for us to move in new directions, expand our economy and lead other states.”

“It’s a time of tremendous experimentation,” said Raymond Robertson, director of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. “We are going to learn so much about what works and what doesn’t.”

Detlef Hallermann, director of the Reliant Energy Trade Center at the Mays Business School, said the key to quick recovery will be small businesses reopening in May or June.

If that can happen, the recession will be short-lived and oil prices will climb to about $40 a barrel by the end of 2020, Hallermann said.

He stood by his prediction even though prices for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude oil, plummeted below zero last week.

“Life is very similar one year from now to where we were three months ago,” Hallermann told the chancellor.

The discussion is part of a series of television shows called “COVID-19: The Texas A&M System Responds.” Chancellor Sharp is interviewing leading experts to help Texans understand the pandemic and all of its implications.

The show will air 7 p.m. Thursday on KAMU-TV in College Station and on other Texas public television affiliates. (Check local listings in Dallas, Austin, and Amarillo.) It also will be available on the System’s YouTube channel.

Media contact: Laylan Copelin, Vice Chancellor of Marketing and Communications, 512-289-2782,

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