India's central bank on Friday cut its key interest rate by a sizable 75 basis points to 4.4% from 5.15% to ease financing troubles caused by the coronavirus outbreak and help revive the economy.
That's the lowest benchmark rate the Reserve Bank of India has charged on lending to commercial banks, its so-called "repo rate," since March 2010.
The announcement by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das came a day after India's finance ministry announced a 1.7 trillion ($22 billion) economic stimulus package. The package included delivering grains and lentil rations for three months to 800 million people, some 60% of the world's second-most populous country.
The RBI held a monetary policy committee meeting nearly a week early to cope with the disruptions to the economy due to a three-week lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
The RBI will also allow banks a 3-month moratorium on payments of installments on loans.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on Wednesday thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for announcing stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore for the export-oriented industry to overcome the impact of coronavirus.
"Thank you Prime Minister for your endless empathy for our workers and industry," said BGMEA President Rubana Huq in a message.
She said they spent sleepless nights worrying about the fate of the workers.
"Infinite gratitude to you (PM) for having given us this support at a critical time when orders stand cancelled and we face uncertainty," Huq said.
She also thanked the Prime Minister for paying attention to their request for a lifeline at the most challenging time ever in the history of RMG. "Thank you for listening. Thank you for helping out all including the needy and the most under privileged."
This money will be used for providing the salaries and wages of workers and employees only.
Some 936 factories reported 800.18 million pieces worth $2.58 billion export order cancellations or held up affecting 1.92 million workers, BGMEA said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh is the second largest exporter of readymade goods after China and the country earns the majority of its foreign currencies from this sector.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus since it was first reported in China has dealt an unprecedented shock to the global economy. Here's a look at developments Tuesday as central banks, businesses and workers attempt to navigate a global outbreak that has brought economic activity to a standstill.
The latest developments in global financial markets can found here.
GLOBAL ECONOMY: G7 officials plan to coordinate weekly on the implementation of various support efforts and they vow they are ready to take further action.
They pledged Tuesday to do "whatever is necessary" to restore economic growth and protect jobs and the financial system in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven major industrial countries — the United States, Japan, Germany France, Britain, Italy and Canada — said that they were committed to delivering government support to help their countries rapidly from the widespread shutdowns that have occurred.
The G7 noted support from the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks and said the global financial system was in better shape to withstand shocks now than it was during the 2008 financial crisis because of the banking reforms.
WAR CHEST: With the duration of the global outbreak unknown, the largest corporations in the world are cancelling dividends, slashing costs, some through job cuts, and withdrawing financial outlooks.
Chevron slashed its 2020 capital spending plan by 20% Tuesday, or about $4 billion. Chevron Corp. said Tuesday that it's goal is to lower run-rate operating costs by more than $1 billion by the end of the year.
General Motors withdrew its financial guidance for this year. The Detroit automaker is drawing $16 billion from credit lines as it tries to weather closed factories and falling global auto sales. The company says the money will add to its cash position of between $15 billion and $16 billion expected at the end of March.
Intel suspended its stock repurchase plan to conserve cash. The chipmaker said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it "has kept its factories operational while safeguarding the health and safety of employees and continues to have a strong balance sheet."
REPURPOSING: Ford has partnered with 3M and GE Healthcare to create more medical equipment and supplies for health care workers, first responders and patients fighting coronavirus.
Ford is working with 3M to make powered air-purifying respirators. It is teaming with GE Healthcare to expand production of a simplified version of GE Healthcare's existing ventilator design to support patients with respiratory failure or difficulty breathing.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Executive Chairman Bill Ford likened the effort to the World War II Arsenal of Democracy when the company shifted a factory to build thousands of bombers. His company has drawn credit lines to prepare for a downturn, but still is dedicating resources to fight the virus although it might not generate any revenue, he said
"Frankly we haven't spent any time talking about that because the country needs us," he said. "It's the right thing to do. We'll sort all that out later as we go through this."
Ford will also assemble more than 100,000 plastic face shields per week at one of its manufacturing sites and will also use its in-house 3D printing capability to make components for use in personal protective equipment.
The company already is producing masks and will test them at Detroit-area hospitals. It may build the simplified ventilators at a Ford factory but nothing is solid yet.
The companies also said they didn't have a time frame for when the ventilators might be produced. Ford also is looking at repurposing vehicle parts for use in respirators for health care workers and first responders such as the small fans used to cool seats in the F-150 pickup truck.
NIKE ONLINE: Nike's online sales jumped in China during the coronavirus outbreak there, helping the company offset a plunge in revenue from thousands of shuttered stores in that country.
Nike CEO John Donahoe said the company moved swiftly to leverage its digital platforms in China after it closed more than 5,000 stores there, most of which have since reopened. Digital sales in China jumped 30% in the third quarter ending Feb. 29, even as overall sales in the country fell 4%.
Donahoe said the company will follow a similar playbook as the pandemic spreads to other regions. He said Chinese customers flocked to Nike's training apps during the country's lockdown.
Nike's stores in the U.S. and Western Europe have been closed since March 16. The company said it will re-open them on a location-by-location basis, depending on developments.
Donahoe said the company is seeing sales bounce back briskly in China, where the outbreak has eased and most Nike stores have reopened. Donahoe said Nike expects a similar comeback in countries where stores are now shuttered. Even so, the Beaverton, Oregon-based company did not post guidance for the 4th quarter, citing too much uncertainty surrounding the length of the crisis and its overall economic impact.
FACEBOOK FALLOUT: Facebook said its advertising business will take a hit from the global coronavirus-related shutdowns even though usage of its services is soaring while people are stuck at home, isolated from friends and family.
The social media giant said Tuesday that it's seeing increased traffic on its messaging services, which include WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram's messaging service. The company says it's also seeing more people using Facebook's primary feed, as well as the stories feature that lets people post disappearing photos and videos.
But the company says it doesn't make money from many of the services where it's seeing increased use. There are no ads on WhatsApp, for instance and they are limited on Messenger.
DARK SKIES: The outbreak and global recession will do more financial damage to airlines than previously estimated, according to an industry trade group.
The International Air Transport Association said Tuesday that it now estimates that passenger revenue worldwide could fall as much as $252 billion, or 44%, compared with last year. Less than three weeks ago, the group estimated the virus could reduce airline revenue by up to $113 billion compared with 2019, before a new round of travel restrictions that have stopped most international air travel.
And Canada's second biggest airline said almost half its employees are leaving amid the pandemic. WestJet said 6,900 employees are leaving the company with 90% exiting voluntarily.
FACTORY SHUTDOWNS: Ford indefinitely suspended planned re-openings of its North American factories, even as the Trump administration pushes for a broad normalization of business activity.
Last week Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, under pressure from the United Auto Workers union, agreed to stop production until the end of March due to the threat of the coronavirus. That, Ford said Tuesday, is no longer the plan. The automaker is assessing options and working with U.S. and Canadian union leaders. A message was left seeking comment from Fiat Chrysler. GM has closed its factories in North America and elsewhere to deal with the virus.
FLAMING OUT: The delay of the Olympics until 2021 could have major financial consequences for NBCUniversal. NBC paid $4.48 billion for the four Games between 2014 and 2020 and has sold $1.25 billion in ads against the Tokyo Olympics.
NBC's parent company Comcast said earlier this month that it has language in its contracts and insurance that help protect it financially for the money poured into its coverage of the Olympics. But it will miss out on ad-driven profits, which were $250 million for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
It will also miss the on a chance to promote its upcoming streaming service, Peacock, which it had tied to the Summer Games. NComcast said in a regulatory filing that the coronavirus and the measures taken to stop the virus from spreading are affecting its businesses in several ways, including theme park closures, movie premiere delays, canceled sports and the shutdown of TV and film production. The company said that the virus could have a "material adverse impact" on its financial results.
TO YOUR HEALTH: The spread of the coronavirus has changed life as the world knew it, and that includes how we imbibe.
Money once spent on booze in pubs, restaurants and bars, is going to six-packs or cases of wine and beer consumed at home, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday by Constellation Brands.
Cities from San Francisco to New York have shut down the places where people gathered, at best allowing pick-up or delivery. Orders for alcohol meant to be consumed outside of bars or restaurants spiked by 30% over the past four weeks at Constellation Brands, the maker of, among other things, Corona beer. Constellation, which also makes Funky Buddha beer,and wines like Clos du Bois, as well Casa Noble Tequila, and High West Whiskey, is shifting operations to accommodate home drinking.
ROOMS AVAILABLE: Hotel and home-sharing companies are offering free or discounted rooms to medical workers around the world.
Budget brand Oyo Hotels said doctors, nurses and other medical personnel can stay at any of its 300 U.S. properties for free if they show identification. Oyo, which is based in India, will cover the cost of their stays.
France's AccorHotels has offered up to 2,000 beds to the French government to house the homeless. AccorHotels is also offering free stays for medical workers. In Manchester, England, two hotels owned by former soccer stars have closed to the public but are offering 176 free beds for medical workers.
Home-sharing company Airbnb said Tuesday that hosts in France with whole homes or apartments will start hosting medical workers for free; Airbnb will pay a $53 cleaning fee for every doctor, nurse or social worker who books. Airbnb said 1,500 hosts had offered homes within hours of the announcement. Airbnb made a similar offer in Italy last week, where 2,500 homes have been offered. In some cases, hotels are also being used as medical facilities.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that Baltimore's convention center and adjacent Hilton hotel will be set up to take patients if hospitals run out of beds.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has urged the government to bring together its global allies and partners in a coordinated endeavour in a bid to protect the people and economy from the adverse impact of coronavirus.
The DCCI, in a media statement, said it also feels the government may approach emergency financing facilities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank as an alternative financing stream against low internal revenue trend.
Alongside, the chamber body on Tuesday said, the government may negotiate with international development partners seeking interest waiver of the debt payment for next one year.
The coronavirus outbreak has profound impact on global economy and human lives worldwide.
This outbreak has already triggered the fear of global recession affecting industrial production, global supply chain, aviation & hospitability industry, retail business, demand for products and services and jobs.
Meanwhile, UNCTAD estimated global growth would slow down maximum 1.5 percent in 2020 and ILO warned about 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to outbreak.
ADB predicted earlier that Bangladesh economy may contract by 1.1 of GDP with 894,930 job loss. Bangladesh has already experienced a disruption in the supply chain of RMG industry, leather and pharmaceutical industry, SME, tourism and aviation.
The geo-economic meltdown also affected the major export destinations of Bangladesh like European Union (EU), the USA, the UK and Canada, said the DCCI.
To tackle the outbreak, many EU countries and other parts of the world have enforced lockdown which results in shutdown of high-street retail businesses and trade network to the large extent, it said.
In the wake of this, DCCI said export of Bangladesh to these destinations have fallen.
This downward trend of cross-border trade is set to undermine both the local and export oriented industries of Bangladesh, it said.
Of the export basket of Bangladesh, large export sector RMG alone is going to incur US$2 billion export loss and pharmaceutical, leather and agro processing and other sectors may incur substantial amount of loss, according to DCCI.
Amidst this looming situation, private sector-the lifeline to the economy- needs to be supported for the economic interest of Bangladesh, it said.
In line with this, to keep economic effects minimum, DCCI put forwards some economic recovery-friendly recommendations in terms of policy measures and reforms.
It urged Bangladesh Bank to create an Emergency Fund with 1 percent interest using foreign exchange reserve to support the financially stressed businesses for paying salary of their workforce.
In addition, Bangladesh Bank can waive bank interest of affected export-oriented manufacturing sectors for the next one year, the chamber body said.
Alongside, DCCI said, other promising export sectors can be brought under the scope of EDF scheme. Bangladesh bank can also consider extension of repayment period for worst affected businesses.
For the liquidity in banking sector, Bangladesh Bank may relax the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) threshold for next year, it suggested.
The DCCI said it also feels as a fiscal burden reduction move of the private sector, the government may waive all forms of AT and VAT for both import and local stages, including food and essentials items, health, hygiene instruments, medical kits and export-oriented manufacturing industry, for the next one year which will help businesses to turn-around to the some extent.
It said National Board of Revenue (NBR) may consider individual and corporate tax concession to support the victims.
The DCCI hailed all decisions of the government for the economy in the given time so far.
"However, DCCI affirms and supports any future measure of the government to control the spread the ripple effects of coronavirus on the economy," the media statement reads.
The DCCI said consideration of their recommendations will enable private and public sector to underpin local economic growth and overcome the global crisis.
Shares opened sharply higher in Asia on Wednesday after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to its best day since 1933 with Congress and the White House nearing a deal on injecting nearly $2 trillion of aid into an economy ravaged by the coronavirus.
Japan's Nikkei 225 index jumped 5.3%, while Hong Kong added 3% and Sydney climbed 3.6%. Markets across Asia were all up more than 2%.
The Dow burst 11.4% higher, while the more closely followed S&P 500 index leaped 9.4% as a wave of buying around the world interrupted what has been a brutal month of nearly nonstop selling. Investors released some frustration that had pent up over days of watching the U.S. Senate stalemate over the crucial rescue package.
Despite the gains, investors were far from saying markets have hit bottom. Rallies nearly as big as this have punctuated the last few weeks, and none lasted more than a day. Economists and investors alike are still expecting to see some dire economic numbers in the days and weeks ahead.
"Today was a good day, but we would not necessarily see this as turnaround time," said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Both Democrats and Republicans said Tuesday they're close to agreeing on a massive economic rescue package, which will include payments to U.S. households and aid for small businesses and the travel industry, among other things. A vote in the Senate could come later Tuesday or Wednesday.
Investors were imploring Congress to act, particularly as the Federal Reserve has done nearly all it can to sustain markets, including its latest round of extraordinary aid launched Monday.
"It's sort of like, keep the patient alive in the emergency room so you can provide some treatment options," said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management.
The Dow rose 2,112.98 points, its biggest point gain in history, to 20,704.91. The S&P 500, which is much more important to most 401(k) accounts, rose 209.93, or 9.4%, to 2,447.33 for its third-biggest percentage gain since World War II. The Nasdaq composite jumped 557.18 points, or 8.1%, to 7,417.86.
In Asia early Wednesday, Tokyo's Nikkei was at 19,053.40, while the Hang Seng rose to 23,374.57. South Korea's Kospi gained 4.2% to 1,678.13 and the S&P/ASX 200 picked up 3.6% to 4,906.10. Taiwan's benchmark jumped 4.4%.
U.S. crude oil gained 88 cents to $24.89 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international pricing standard, added 91 cents to $30.65 per barrel.
In currency trading, the U.S. dollar was at 110.90 Japanese yen, down from 111.22 yen late Tuesday. The euro rose to $1.0803 from $1.0790.
Earlier share rebounds have evaporated. Since stocks began selling off on Feb. 20, the S&P 500 has had six days where it's risen, and all but one of them were big gains of more than 4%. Afterward, stocks fell an average of 5% the next day.
"One of the things to be careful about is thinking this will be the panacea or that this fiscal response will be sufficient," said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
Ultimately, investors say they need to see the number of new infections peak before markets can find a floor. The increasing spread is forcing companies to park airplanes, shut hotels and close restaurants to dine-in customers.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday during a Fox News virtual town hall that he hopes to "open up " the economy by Easter. Analysts said the pronouncement wasn't a contributor to the day's huge rally, which was mostly due to the stimulus hopes.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. Those with mild illness recover in about two weeks. Severe illness including pneumonia can occur, especially in the elderly and people with existing health problems. Recovery could take six weeks in such cases.
Economists are topping each other's dire forecasts for how much the economy will shrink this spring due to the closures of businesses, and a growing number say a recession seems inevitable.
Some of the market's areas hardest hit by the closures, though, led the way higher Tuesday as expectations rose for incoming aid from the U.S. government.
Norwegian Cruise Lines, MGM Resorts and American Airlines Group were all up at least 33%. Energy companies and banks were also strong, though all remain well below where they were a month ago.
Governments and central banks in other countries around the world are unveiling unprecedented levels of support for their economies in an attempt to limit the scale of the upcoming virus-related slump. Germany, a bastion of budgetary discipline, also approved a big fiscal boost.
The gains came even as the first reports arrived showing how badly the outbreak is hitting the global economy. In the United States, a preliminary reading on business activity in March showed the steepest contraction on record, going back to 2009. Reports were also gloomy for Europe.
"Everyone was prepared for a set of shockers, and that is precisely what we got, but they are not a surprise," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG. "It is at times like this that the market's propensity to look forward is demonstrated most effectively."
More gloomy data is nearly assuredly on the way. On Thursday, economists expect a report to show the number of Americans applying for jobless claims easily set a record last week. Some say the number could be way beyond 1 million, amid a wave of layoffs, topping the prior record of 695,000 set in 1982.
Helping to lift sentiment in markets was news from China that it is preparing to lift the lockdown in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, and from Italy reporting a reduction in the number of new cases and coronavirus-related deaths.
"It's still early days, of course — perhaps investors can start to envisage life beyond the coronavirus," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA Europe. "That could make stocks look a little more attractive, although anyone jumping back in now will need to have nerves of steel."
Despite Tuesday's big gains, it's no time to get complacent, said Wells Fargo's Taback.
"We would caution that the danger is not all behind us at this point," he said. "We still have not seen numbers that give us an indication of just how bad things are."