The world’s richest nations poured unprecedented
aid into the global economy on Thursday, 20 Mar, as coronavirus cases ballooned
in the new epicentre Europe, with the number of deaths in Italy outstripping
those in mainland China, where the virus originated.
With over 242,000 infections and nearly 10,000 deaths, the epidemic has
stunned the world and drawn comparisons with painful periods such as World War
Two, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu.
Global recession of record dimensions a near certainty
says UN Chief
U.N. chief Antonio Guterres warned that a global recession, “perhaps of
record dimensions”, was a near certainty.
“This is a moment that demands coordinated, decisive, and innovative
policy action from the world’s leading economies,” Guterres told reporters via
a video conference. “We are in an unprecedented situation and the normal rules
no longer apply.”
Tourism and airlines have been particularly battered, as the world’s
citizens hunker down to minimize contact and curb the spread of the highly
contagious COVID-19 respiratory illness. But few sectors have been spared by a
crisis threatening a lengthy global recession
US urge Americans not to travel abroad at all
The United States is urging Americans not to travel abroad at all and
could announce restrictions at the U.S.-Mexican border on Friday. They would be
similar to the closure of the U.S.-Canada border to non-essential traffic.
Markets suffered routs unseen since the 2008 financial
Markets have suffered routs unseen since the 2008 financial debacle,
with investors rushing to the U.S. dollar as a safe haven. Wall Street tried to
bounce back on Thursday. The benchmark S&P 500 closed up 0.5%, still around
30% off highs reached last month. U.S. oil prices posted their largest one-day
gain ever, rising 25%.
Policymakers opened liquidity taps to try to stabilise
economies hit by quarantined consumers
Policymakers in the United States, Europe and Asia have slashed interest
rates and opened liquidity taps to try to stabilise economies hit by
quarantined consumers, broken supply chains, disrupted transport and paralysed
Supermarkets in many countries were besieged with shoppers stocking up
on food staples and hygiene products. Some rationed sales and fixed special
hours for the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable to severe illness.
Some economists fearing prolonged pain akin to the
1930s Great Depression
With some economists fearing prolonged pain akin to the 1930s Great
Depression and others anticipating a bounceback, gloomy data and forecasts