The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments on Monday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.
AIRLINES: The founder and top shareholder of European carrier easyJet says the company has enough money only to get through August at best and wants to cancel a 4.5 billion-pound ($5.5 billion) contract with planemaker Airbus for what he calls 107 "useless aircraft."
In a long statement to the media, Stelios Haji-Ioannou says that terminating the contract is the only way for shareholders to retain any value in their holdings in the company. EasyJet, which flies predominantly in Europe, has grounded all 344 planes and like other airlines is struggling mightily with the global lockdowns on business and travel.
European companies are expected to get financial support from the government, though unlike the U.S. there has not been a coordinated regional plan to bail out airlines or planemakers.
In the U.S., Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue have said they applied Friday for their share of $25 billion in federal grants designed to cover airline payrolls for the next six months. None disclosed the amount they are seeking. The grant money was part of $2 trillion relief bill approved last week. Delta's CEO says his airline is burning more than $60 million cash per day, and United's president puts it at $100 million a day.
Singapore, meanwhile, said it will suspend its Changi Airport Terminal 2 for 18 months from May 1. The airlines in Terminal 2 will be reallocated across the remaining terminals.
Its Terminal 4 operations have also been scaled down considerably, and Changi Airport may consider suspending operations temporarily if the remaining airlines choose to suspend or adjust their flight schedules.
STIMULUS: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to announce a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) economic package to help the country weather the coronavirus crisis. Abe said Monday he plans to disclose details of the package as early as Tuesday.
Japan, the world's third-biggest economy, was already in a contraction late last year before the virus outbreak walloped business and travel. The government has been slow to roll out containment measures, on a piecemeal basis, and only recently announced it would postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by one year. But a surge in infections has prompted Abe and other leaders to discuss more stringent methods to contain the pandemic. Abe is expected to announce a state of emergency on Tuesday, at least for the hardest-hit big cities, such as Tokyo.
Japan's package amounts to about one-fifth of its economy and includes 6 trillion yen in ($55 billion) in cash benefits, loans to help protect jobs and extensions of deadlines for for taxes and social benefit payments.
Smartphone company Vivo has extended warranty of its smartphones until May 31, amid the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak.
The warranties of smartphones were scheduled to expire on March 25.
Vivo will provide hotline service from 9am to 6pm while its service centers will remain closed, said a press release.
Hotline numbers are- 01318563993 and 01318563995.
Customers will be also able to contact Vivo by its facebook page, website and email.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has said they continue recommending closure of all factories as the general holiday has been extended until April 14.
"We continue recommending closure for factories," BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said in a message on Sunday night.
She said they are urging all BGMEA members to pay the March salaries for the workers as soon as possible. "For their assistance, we’ve also opened a cell at the BGMEA," she said.
Earlier on Saturday, BGMEA urged all owners to keep their factories closed until April 11 considering the overall situation.
Meanwhile, some 1108 factories reported 947.88 million pieces worth $3.02 billion export cancelled or held up affecting 2.19 million workers as of 6pm on Sunday, according to BGMEA.
PRAN-RFL Group, one of the business conglomerates of Bangladesh, has stood beside the helpless and poor people who were affected by the lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak. The group is providing food items to the poor people in many parts of the country including the capital.
The food items include rice, pulses, salt, biscuit and noodles. The items were distributed among several thousand families on Thursday and Saturday in various parts of Dhaka city and Gazipur, Narsingdi, Habiganj, Rajshahi, Natore, Dinajpur and Rangpur.
Local MP and administration helped in distributing the products, said a press release.
Kamruzzaman Kamal, Marketing Director at PRAN-RFL Group, said “As a business conglomerate, we are working in many ways in this transition period of the country as part of our corporate social responsibility. At this moment, many especially poor people are in distress as they are workless. We are distributing food stuff among them in various parts of the country.”
“The group is also providing different products to various social organisations to distribute those among helpless people. We hope the country will overcome from the crisis with the effort of all,” he added
Saudi Arabia sharply criticized Russia on Saturday over what it described as Moscow blaming the kingdom for the collapse in global energy prices, showing the tensions ahead of an emergency meeting of OPEC and other oil producers.
Oil prices sharply fell after the so-called OPEC+ group of countries including Russia failed to agree to production cuts in early March. A price war began soon after, with Saudi Arabia threatening to pump at a record-breaking pace to seize back market share even as the coronavirus pandemic saw demand sharply drop as airlines worldwide halted flights.
International benchmark Brent crude fell to around $24 a barrel, compared to prices of over $70 a year ago. Prices slightly have rebounded with President Donald Trump tweeting and talking about the need for a production cut, but rancor between Saudi Arabia and Russia could imperil a deal emerging from a planned teleconference Monday.
That anger could be seen early Saturday in two critical statements released by the kingdom's state-run Saudi Press Agency. The first came from Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan under the headline: " Statements Attributed to One of Russian President's Media Are Completely Devoid of Truth."
"Russia was the one that refused the agreement, while the kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement," the prince said.
He also said an alleged Russian contention that "the kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers" was false as well. U.S. shale producers have made America one of the world's top producers, but they've been hurt badly by the price collapse. Trump has met with concerned producers about that.
Prince Faisal did not identify the story, nor the outlet he was critiquing.
A second statement came from Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, one of King Salman's sons. The prince criticized Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak by name for suggesting Saudi Arabia wanted to cut out shale producers.
The prince "expressed his surprise at the attempts to bring Saudi Arabia into hostilities against the shale oil industry, which is completely false as our Russian friends recognize well," the statement said.
Saudi Arabia's statements likely seek to defuse any possible confrontation between the kingdom and Trump, who tweeted Thursday that Moscow and Riyadh "will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels" without elaborating. Trump's tweets and public comments have affected oil prices in the past.