Waiting for the Next Historic Number: Global Economy Week Ahead

As the true economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic becomes clear, economists seeing unprecedented data releases on an almost daily basis are gearing up for even worse to come.

In the U.S. and the rest of the world, reports showing historic spikes in joblessness and declines in activity have been accompanied with warnings that even more concerning data will follow once the full impact of the lockdown in much of the world becomes clear.

This week the focus will once again rest on the U.S. labor markets, and the weekly release of jobless claims data that has jumped by almost 10 million across the last two reports. The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are also both scheduled to release minutes which may include details of their thought process as they injected waves of emergency stimulus into the economy.

Here’s what happened last week and below is our wrap of what else is coming up in the world economy.






33,264 in U.S.Most new cases today

-26% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​138 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23


    Asia

    Central banks in Australia and South Korea meet, though after their emergency actions in mid March, it’ll be a quieter affair. On the data front, China consumer and factory prices for March will be scrutinized for any signs of how the coronavirus is impacting supply chains and demand.

    • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia

    Europe, Middle East and Africa

    After dismal PMIs last week, the Bank of France’s business sentiment index on Wednesday is predicted to fall to the lowest since the financial crisis. Meanwhile, industrial production numbers for Germany, France and Italy for February will provide pre-pandemic data and the U.K. is also due to release growth figures from February, which will give a sense of the strength of the economy going into the lockdown.

    The Swiss National Bank said last month it was stepping up currency interventions to stem the franc’s advance and data on Tuesday will provide insight into how much the it spent to keep that pledge.

    Israel’s central bank may cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.1% from 0.25% on Monday, its latest move to respond to the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic, after earlier committing to purchasing 50 billion shekels ($13.8 billion) of government bonds from the secondary market. Serbia and Poland also have rate decisions and Czech lawmakers are expected to approve a new law on the central bank, which will give it an option to start asset purchases.

    In South Africa, Wednesday’s data will probably show business confidence deteriorated in March, a picture that’s likely to get worse due to the nationwide lockdown in April. Car sales data from Russia on Monday will be one of the first indications of how hard consumers there have been hit by the virus fallout and the ruble’s crash.

    • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA

    U.S. and Canada

    Expect investors to focus Wednesday on the release by the Fed of meeting minutes -- which are expected to include details on their decisions to slash interest rates and support the economy. On Thursday, eyes will turn to the latest data on jobless claims, which have surged to record levels as the public health crisis intensified.

    Meanwhile, Canada’s jobs report on Thursday will will be the first data point on how deeply the pandemic has impacted the nation’s labor market.

    • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the U.S.

    Latin America

    Mexico has so far been Latin America’s odd man out compared to the spending packages other governments are rolling out against the coronavirus pandemic. Adamantly opposed to any response that adds to government debt, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Sunday is slated to release his plan to address the crisis. If Lopez Obrador keeps a lid on fiscal stimulus, data out Tuesday showing inflation well within the target range and slowing would give the central bank room for additional monetary stimulus.

    • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America

    — With assistance by Benjamin Harvey, Malcolm Scott, Peggy Collins, Michael Winfrey, Robert Jameson, and Theophilos Argitis

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    Coronavirus forces Delta Air Lines to burn $60M per day as flights are grounded

    Lawmakers pressure airlines to refund passengers for coronavirus cancellations

    Some lawmakers are pressuring airlines to issue cash refunds to customers who have canceled trips due to coronavirus. FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn with more.

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    Delta Air Lines is burning through cash and expects to post a massive shortfall in revenue in the second quarter after the coronavirus pandemic brought its business to a standstill, CEO Ed Bastian said in a letter to employees on Friday.

    Bastian said the airline is losing more than $60 million in cash every day and “we still haven’t seen the bottom.” Financial relief for U.S. airlines included in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package helped airlines avoid initial layoffs but aren’t a sufficient check against the industry’s bleak short-term outlook, he added.

    IN CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC, LOCKHEED MARTIN HIRES NEARLY 1,000 WORKERS

    “We appreciate the decisive action of our nation’s leaders to protect our people,” Bastian said in the letter. “But those funds are not nearly enough. We are expecting our revenue in the second quarter to be down 90 percent. Without the self-help actions we are taking to save costs and raise new financing, that money would be gone by June.”

    Delta shares sank nearly 7 percent in after-hours trading. The airline’s stock is down more than 60 percent so far this year.

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    Ticker Security Last Change Change %
    DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 22.48 -0.20 -0.88%

    In the letter, Bastian said the embattled carrier will operate a schedule at roughly 80 percent below expected capacity in April due to sweeping flight restrictions in the U.S. and abroad.

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    The stimulus package included $25 billion in funds to assist U.S. airlines with payment of employee salaries and benefits and $25 billion toward loans and additional tax relief measures. As a result, Delta employees won’t face pay cuts or furloughs before September 30.

    Bastian said more than 30,000 Delta employees had taken voluntary unpaid furloughs. Other employees are operating on reduced schedules, while top executives have taken pay cuts.

    “My deepest thanks goes to every single one of you,” Bastian said regarding the employees who took voluntary unpaid furloughs. "That is the most important action you can take to support our company. We continue to need more volunteers, and this week announced longer-term opportunities of leaves lasting six, nine and 12 months. Please consider whether a short- or long-term leave makes sense for you and your family at this time."

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    Stocks fight losses after dismal jobs report

    Investors must look for quality, strong stocks in bear market: Expert

    Haverford Trust Company co-CIO Henry Smith says pent-up consumer demand will drive recovery.

    U.S. equity markets tumbled Friday after a dismal March jobs report showing the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. economy harder than expected.

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    The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 203 points, or 0.95 percent, in morning trading as unemployment surged to a level near the worst of the Trump era. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.67 percent and 0.65 percent, respectively.

    Ticker Security Last Change Change %
    I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 21197.45 -215.99 -1.01%
    SP500 S&P 500 2521.75 -5.15 -0.20%
    I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7475.159195 -12.15 -0.16%

    The Labor Department said the U.S. economy lost 701,000 nonfarm jobs in the month as the unemployment rate climbed to 4.4 percent. Wall Street economists surveyed by Refinitiv were anticipating a loss of 100,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent.

    The U.S. economy had added 273,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent.

    Meanwhile, oil continued higher, with West Texas Intermediate crude up 12 percent near $28.25 per barrel, after reports indicated OPEC and its allies will hold a virtual meeting on Monday in an attempt to end the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

    Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Continental Resources were among the names in focus as oil executives were set to meet with President Trump on Friday.

    Ticker Security Last Change Change %
    XOM EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION 40.78 +0.39 +0.95%
    CVX CHEVRON CORP. 76.55 +0.43 +0.56%
    CLR CONTINENTAL RESOURCES 8.38 +0.04 +0.48%

    Elsewhere, Tesla shares surged after the electric-vehicle maker reported record first-quarter deliveries despite disruptions caused by the pandemic. The company delivered 88,400 vehicles in the quarter, up from about 63,000 a year earlier.

    Bed Bath & Beyond announced it was furloughing the majority of its workers until at least May 2.

    On the earnings front, amusement company Dave & Buster’s reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results, but suspended its dividend and share buyback program.

    Ticker Security Last Change Change %
    TSLA TESLA INC. 490.42 +35.95 +7.91%
    BBBY BED BATH & BEYOND INC. 3.62 +0.06 +1.69%
    PLAY DAVE & BUSTER’S ENTERTAINMENT INC 10.56 +0.51 +5.06%
    CHWY CHEWY INC. 34.11 -0.95 -2.71%

    Pet-food seller Chewy reported a smaller-than-anticipated loss and in-line revenue.

    U.S. Treasurys gained ground, pushing the yield on the 10-year note lower by 3.7 basis points to 0.59 percent.

    In Europe, markets were lower across the board, with Britain’s FTSE down 0.85 percent, France’s CAC lower by 1.2 percent and Germany’s DAX weaker by 0.2 percent.

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    Asian markets were mixed with Japan’s Nikkei edging up 0.01 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.6 percent and 0.19 percent, respectively.

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    Small businesses fear they won't survive the pandemic

    New York (CNN Business)In 2008, when the global economy was last in tatters, big banks were largely to blame. Their bad bets on subprime mortgages and other loans were what pushed the world into the Great Recession.

    Since then, banks have become much more financially responsible, thanks to a combination of more stringent rules and regulations and smarter business practices.
    As a result, financial firms may be the ones to help keep the economy afloat now that it’s tanking a dozen years later due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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      Loans to small businesses in particular will be key, and experts say banks will need to augment the efforts that Washington has already put into place through the Small Business Administration’s new Paycheck Protection Program.
      “Unlike 2008, banks are not part of the problem. And they will be a big part of the solution,” said Dan Genter, CEO of Genter Capital Management, an investment firm that owns shares of JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C) and Truist (TFC) — the new bank formed from the merger of BB&T and SunTrust.

      Banks need to act quickly to prop up small business

      “The SBA can’t handle all the loan volume that will be needed. The only way to meet the demand is for the banks to lend more,” Genter added.
      Several large banks have already started.
      (GS)Goldman Sach (GS)s unveiled a $300 million aid package Thursday, which includes $250 million in emergency loans for small businesses.
      Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat said in a CNBC interview Wednesday its small business bankers are fielding questions around the clock, including weekends, from merchant customers. And Citi is doing most of this digitally so small business owners need not leave their homes.
      “We don’t want to have people having to come out, so we’re making sure that we’ve got the digital interface set up so that people can apply online,” Corbat said. “We can turn this money and get it into small business hands as quickly as we can.
      One block in America. Six businesses on the brink of disaster
      CNN Business reached out to several other large banks to find out what they are doing to help.
      Truist told CNN Business that it has a $2 million commitment set aside to support small businesses affected by the pandemic.
      “For our small business clients, we’re here to help. We’re offering numerous relief options, including deferred loan payments and fee waivers to help support short-term operating capital needs, as well as a special loan program without bank fees or closing costs,” a Truist spokesman said.

      Flexibility is key for banks working with small businesses

      TD Bank (TD) said it is doing what it can for its small business customers, too. A spokeswoman said that it is offering refunds of monthly maintenance and overdraft fees, waiving several monthly service fees and providing “flexibility” on paying back existing loans due to any hardship as a result of the coronavirus.

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      It also plans to make Paycheck Protection Program loans as well.
      “TD Bank is committed to helping our business customers during this trying time,” the spokeswoman said, adding that it will “provide loans for businesses to cover payroll, employee benefits, mortgage interest, utilities, rent and interest on other debts.
      PNC (PNC) said that it is working with small business customers that are struggling and will offer some “the ability to postpone payments for a period of time” and “a range of modification options with no late fee.” It also plans to take part in the SBA’s PPP.
      A spokesman for US Bancorp (USB) said the company is reducing the rate on certain short-term small business loans by as much as 2%, waiving fees on businesses receiving digital payments via Zelle and cutting rates on lines of credit.
      “We recognize many small business owners have been hard hit by COVID-19,” the US Bancorp spokesman said.
      Small business owners like me need more than the government is giving us
      And a Wells Fargo (WFC) spokesman told CNN Business that “we are committed to supporting our small business customers in a variety of ways, including payment relief for up to 90 days, fee waivers, payment deferrals, increases to lines of credit…and other expanded assistance for deposits.”
      Wells Fargo will make loans through the SBA PPP as well.
      “Our customers are experiencing challenges during the COVID-19 crisis and we want to help during these unprecedented times,” the Wells Fargo spokesman said.

      More help is needed — now

      But some think banks and other financial firms must do even more to help keep small businesses afloat.
      “Financials can provide loans but they may need more to do than that. The situation is dire and severe,” said Guy Goldstein, CEO of Next Insurance, an online broker that caters to small businesses.
      Next Insurance did a survey of 1,000 small businesses two weeks ago and found that only 34% of them felt they were prepared for the current crisis while 41% have already begun to cut expenses.
      That’s one reason why Goldstein said his firm has cut monthly premiums for small business customers and is giving back some money to companies who already paid for annual coverage.

        “The impact from the coronavirus will have a lasting effect on the small business economy,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg in a report Thursday.
        “The small business labor situation has been altered. The severity and duration of the coronavirus outbreak and the mobility of regulations imposed will determine owners’ ability to remain operational,” he added.
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        Trump’s Saudi-Russia Oil Gambit Faces Resistance at Home

        President Donald Trump’s triumphant tweet that Saudi Arabia and Russia are open to substantial cuts to oil production may come with a big catch: the U.S. and other non-OPEC producers would have to join them.

        Saudi Arabia’s desire for the world to share the burden means Trump would have to unify a fractious and discordant group of U.S. companies and states that haven’t faced output restrictions in nearly half a century, including about 6,000 shale drillers.

        Trump is scheduled to speak with the leaders of the U.S. industry on Friday in what could be a contentious meeting. The American Petroleum Institute, which is dominated by larger producers, wants the government to stay out of the domestic market and focus on diplomatic efforts. Some independent producers in Texas are in favor of output curbs because, in part, they’re running out of storage. Others, such as Trump confidante Harold Hamm, want the U.S. to sanction the Saudis with anti-dumping tariffs.

        Oil soared as much as 35% after Trump’s comments, but pared gains after Saudi Arabia and Russia didn’t confirm they had agreed to the cuts. The Middle East kingdom called for an urgent meeting of the OPEC+ producer alliance to reach a “fair deal” that would restore balance in oil markets, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

        Ryan Sitton, the Texas oil regulator who first proposed the idea of America joining with the Saudis and Russians to reduce output, said it’s “short-sighted” to knock back the idea right off the bat. “Let’s have a conversation and figure out how we bring these different groups together,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. Sitton later tweeted that he had a “great conversation” with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on cutting 10 million barrels a day of global oil supply and was looking forward to speaking with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

        The prospect of capping U.S. production is a non-starter with many industry heavyweights, who blasted the proposal and are opposed to any broader effort. The API called pro-rationing an “anticompetitive” effort that would only harm U.S. consumers and American producers.

        Oil industry lobbyists are warning the administration that any domestic quota system or coordinated output decrease would send a signal to Saudi Arabia and Russia that they are winning the price war. The approach could hurt efficient, low-cost U.S. oil producers, they argue.

        Still, with oil trading near the lowest in two decades, unique times mean that usual rules may not apply.

        A U.S. production cut “would be difficult but it’s certainly not impossible in these exceptional circumstances,” said James Lucier, managing director of research firm Capital Alpha Partners LLC. “Given the fact that you have the major oil industry CEOs meeting at the White House tomorrow and other independent E&P companies visiting the White House over the weekend, something like this is definitely going to be on the table.”

        Technical and legal challenges would abound. Industry representatives have warned the White House that any curbs on field production could amount to trespass on the property rights of landowners, oil companies and royalty owners. While Texas and Oklahoma can install output limits — called pro-rationing — other states don’t have these powers. The federal government has strong influence over the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and parts of New Mexico, where it owns lots of land.

        Another option is to limit exports, which were banned for 40 years until 2015. Restricting those would likely be the most effective method of scaling back production, said Katie Bays, co-founder of Washington-based Sandhill Strategy LLC. That, coupled with letting producers use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as storage, “would functionally seem to work for the next few months to take oil off the water.”

        Although Congress lifted the oil export ban in December 2015, the president still has broad authority to reimpose limits. Under federal law, the president can declare a national emergency and impose export licensing requirements for up to a year, with the potential for additional extensions.

        For shale oil producers in Texas, the largest oil-producing state, output cuts are coming irrespective of geopolitical concerns. They’ve already slashed spending budgets, employees and rigs. There’s such an overflow of oil that storage capacity is filling up fast. That could lead to producers being forced to shut in wells.

        “The question is not will markets come into balance, the question is will it be done in a strategic and thoughtful way, or done in a reactive way once all the storage fills up,” Sitton said.

        Read more: Why a Texas Oil Regulator Could Play the Role of OPEC: QuickTake

        One of the biggest hurdles may be the reputational damage done to an industry that prides itself on individualism and hostility toward regulation. Many fossil fuel companies have for decades criticized renewable energy for benefiting from government handouts. And, as the financial crisis shows, once government extends a bailout, the public uproar is long-lasting.

        “Americans have no sympathy for ‘oil billionaires’ and most of the country benefits from low energy prices,” said Mickey Raney, chief executive officer of Impact Energy Partners LLC, a small oil and gas producer in Oklahoma. “Our industry chose to accept the influx of Wall Street money that funded incompetent teams to drill wells that would never pay out. The management teams made millions in high salaries, stock options and cash bonuses for leading their companies into bankruptcy.”

        “Properly managed companies must now find ways to survive in the mess created by ourselves, not by Saudi Arabia or Russia,” Raney said.

        — With assistance by Stephen Cunningham

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        'Hard days' ahead in coronavirus pandemic as Trump extends guidelines

        Dr. Mike: Coronavirus needs to be taken more seriously than ever before

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        WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump warned Americans to brace for a "hell of a bad two weeks" ahead as the White House projected there could be 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic even if current social distancing guidelines are maintained.

        Public health officials stressed Tuesday that the number could be less if people across the country bear down on keeping their distance from one another.

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        "We really believe we can do a lot better than that," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force. That would require all Americans to take seriously their role in preventing the spread of disease, she said.

        Added Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, "This is a number that we need to anticipate, but we don't necessarily have to accept it as being inevitable."

        Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

        Trump called it "a matter of life and death" for Americans to heed his administration's guidelines and predicted the country would soon see a "light at the end of the tunnel" in a pandemic that in the United States has infected about 190,000 people and killed about 4,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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        "I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead," Trump said. 
        "This is going to be one of the roughest two or three weeks we've ever had in our country," Trump added. "We're going to lose thousands of people."

        The jaw-dropping projections were laid out during a grim, two-hour White House briefing. Officials described a death toll that in a best-case scenario would likely be greater than the more than 53,000 American lives lost during World War I. And the model's high end neared the realm of possibility that Americans lost to the virus could approach the 291,000 Americans killed on the battlefield during World War II.

        Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

        "There's no magic bullet," Birx said. "There's no magic vaccine or therapy. It's just behaviors. Each of our behaviors, translating into something that changes the course of this viral pandemic."

        Fauci called the numbers "sobering" and urged Americans to "step on the accelerator" with their collective mitigation efforts.

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        "We are continuing to see things go up," Fauci said. "We cannot be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working and will work."

        Birx said pandemic forecasts initially predicted 1.5 million to 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. But that was a worst-case scenario, without efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus through social distancing. She added that states that have not yet seen a spike in cases as New York has could take action to flatten the curve of rising hospitalizations and deaths.

        It's not only social distancing that could make a difference but also the frantic efforts by hospitals around the country to prepare for an onslaught of seriously ill patients. The better prepared hospitals are, the greater the chances of lives being saved.

        There's also a wild card when it comes to treatment: whether the experimental drug combination Trump has touted — a medicine for malaria and an antibiotic — will actually make a difference. That combination is already being used on thousands of patients, and Fauci said he would want to see a rigorous test of its effectiveness.

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        Trump's comments came after he announced Sunday that he was extending to April 30 the social distancing guidelines that advise Americans to cease large gatherings, work from home, suspend onsite learning at schools and more in a nationwide effort to stem the spread of the virus.

        It was an abrupt reversal for the Republican president, who spent much of last week targeting April 12 as the day he wanted to see Americans "pack the pews" for Easter Sunday services.

        Trump called the data "very sobering," saying it was his understanding that 100,000 deaths was a minimum that would be difficult to avoid. He also sought to rewrite his past minimization of the outbreak, saying he rejected those who compared the new coronavirus to the flu when in fact he repeatedly did so publicly.

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        "This could be hell of a bad two weeks,'" Trump said. He added: "You know 100,000 is, according to modeling, a very low number. In fact, when I first saw the number … they said it was unlikely you'll be able to attain that. We have to see but I think we're doing better than that."

        New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Jo

        Trump played down concerns from New York's Andrew Cuomo and other governors that their states' hospitals don't have enough ventilators to treat an anticipated crush of patients. Trump said the federal government currently has a stockpile of 10,000 ventilators that it plans on distributing as needed.

        "Now, when the surge occurs, if it occurs fairly evenly, we'll be able to distribute them very quickly before they need them," Trump said. "But we want to have a reserve right now. It's like having oil reserves."

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        Birx said the experiences of Washington state and California give her hope that other states can keep the coronavirus under control through social distancing. That's because they moved quickly to contain the early clusters of coronavirus by closing schools, urging people to work from home, banning large gatherings and taking other measures now familiar to most Americans, she noted.
        "I am reassured by looking at the Seattle line," she added. "California and Washington state reacted very early to this." Many other states and local governments already have stiff controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

        Trump said he would also ask Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to allow the docking of two cruise ships with passengers who have had contact with patients suffering from COVID-19. Passengers are anxious to disembark once they reach Florida, but DeSantis said the state's health care resources are already stretched too thin to take on a ship's coronavirus caseload.

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        "They're dying on the ship," Trump said. "I'm going to do what's right, not only for us for but humanity."

        Trump also said he planned to curtail his travel for the month ahead and stay close to the White House to safeguard his health. The president hasn't held one of his signature big-stadium rallies since early March, and it's unlikely he'll be holding another one anytime soon.

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        "I think it's important that I remain healthy. I really do," Trump said. "So for the most part we're staying here."

        Trump spoke after another troubling day for the stock market, which has been in a free fall as the coronavirus ground the economy to a near-halt and left millions of people unemployed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points, or roughly 1.9%, to seal the worst first-quarter finish of its 135-year history.

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        Two Oil CEOs Back Plan to Cut Texas Output After Crude Crash

        Two of the biggest drillers in America’s largest oil-producing state have asked Texas regulators to consider a cut to crude output after a historic price crash.

        Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Parsley Energy Inc. asked the three-member Texas Railroad Commission on Monday to call an emergency virtual meeting no later than April 13 and issue an order setting the “reasonable market demand for oil from Texas” for May, according a five-page letter shared with Bloomberg News. Ryan Sitton, one of the commissioners, said earlier on Monday that the regulating body would discuss curbing oil output at its next meeting.

        “We need dramatic government action, because we know the operators cannot uniformly talk together,” Matt Gallagher, chief executive officer at Austin, Texas-based Parsley, said in an interview. The pair of shale explorers believe a 20% cut to the state’s production would be most helpful for the industry, Gallagher said. Pioneer is led by Scott Sheffield, whose son Bryan is Parsley’s chairman.

        The request comes less than a week after Sitton surprised the oil market with his own controversial call for state caps on oil output. His proposal for a 10% cut in production was blasted by the American Petroleum Institute, a major industry lobbying group, as a “shortsighted” and “anti-competitive” effort that will “harm U.S. consumers and American businesses.”

        The crude industry is facing a rare combination of plummeting demand and soaring supplies as Saudi Arabia and Russia battle for market share amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Oil futures have tumbled to the lowest in almost two decades amid the outbreak, which has pummeled the global economy.

        “Taking this action from a state level I think will help enable discussions at an international level from our federal government,” Gallagher said.

        Gallagher said he’s most concerned that if the U.S. energy industry drops to complete inactivity for a couple of months, it would hit the oilfield services industry so hard that companies could never recover. The U.S. has already lost its ability to ever produce 13 million barrels a day again, creating the risk that the country will become more reliant on imports, he said.

        “That ship has sailed,” he said. “If we don’t rebalance the market soon, in two years or so, we’re going to be importing 5 to 7 million barrels a day from foreign sources and be right back to where we started from a geopolitical standpoint.”

        Source: Read Full Article

        How we can all do our bit to help small businesses

        When we emerge, blinking into the sunlight after what may be months of self-isolation, we need to make sure there are still small businesses around.

        Small businesses across Australia are hurting right now, with the coronavirus pandemic hitting the smallest traders the hardest.

        Neighbourhood Books owner Leesa Lambert has closed her store but now offers home delivery by bike or van to the local area. Credit:Justin McManus

        Every day I speak to business owners who have had to make the heartbreaking decision to shut their doors, stand down staff and watch their own income dwindle to nothing.

        The government relief available is very limited and is not going to be enough for many businesses.

        Unless we want to go outside in a few months time and find all that remains are the big supermarkets and online delivery giants, we need to think about how we can support small businesses through Australia's shutdown.

        Many people have lost their jobs and businesses and are barely surviving, but for those of us who do have a job or income there are some things we can do to help small businesses while still isolating ourselves.

        We can do our essential shopping at a small business rather than a big supermarket. Independent fruit and vegetable stores, butchers and bakers are all still trading and are less crowded than supermarkets, so, potentially a safer place to shop.

        When shopping online we can look for small businesses. From books to clothes and even those essential jigsaw puzzles, small businesses have us covered.

        Instead of just searching for product names on Google, we can first try searching for the names of businesses in our local area when shopping online. Small businesses don’t have the same search optimisation as larger businesses and are therefore unlikely to come up in the first page of a general search.

        If local businesses don’t have an online store (a survey by Yellow last year found 28 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t even have a website), there’s always the option of giving them a call and putting in a phone order.

        If a small business website doesn’t look completely slick and professional, we need to be patient and try to bear in mind that they may have scrambled to get online.

        Social media can be a great way to discover small businesses to support and buy from.

        On Instagram @WeAreOpenNow is creating a movement supporting local businesses still open and doing takeaway or home delivery. The account spotlights restaurants and hospitality businesses and is creating a searchable directory online of local restaurants still open in your postcode.

        There’s also @savingplates which connects people with top-end restaurants now doing takeaway and delivery.

        Earlier this year, Turia Pitt and Grace McBride created @SpendWithThem on Instagram to support bushfire-affected small businesses. The account is continuing to support these rural towns, many of which are being hit by a second crisis in as many months but is also focusing on small businesses across Australia impacted by coronavirus.

        When ordering takeaway food, we can try ordering directly from restaurants and picking up or seeing if they offer delivery rather than just logging on to Uber Eats or Deliveroo.

        These restaurant platforms take a large commission, up to 30 per cent off restaurants, and ordering directly means much more of that badly needed cash goes directly to the restaurant or cafe.

        Buying a gift voucher for small businesses that we used to frequent, such as hairdressers, restaurants or beauticians, allows these businesses to maintain some cashflow through the shutdown.

        Similarly, continuing to pay for gym or fitness class memberships and using local fitness providers for any online classes is another way to try to help keep these businesses afloat.

        If money is tight, leaving an online review for small businesses can give them a boost during this trying time.

        We need to show small businesses we care about them and every little bit helps.

        Follow MySmallBusiness on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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        Sensex tanks over 1,100 points; Nifty slumps below 8,400

        The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said the world is in the face of a devastating impact due to the coronavirus pandemic and has clearly entered a recession.

        Equity benchmark Sensex plunged over 1,100 points in opening session on Monday tracking losses in global equities as unabated spike in COVID-19 cases across the world has hammered economic growth, sending the world into an economic recession.

        The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said the world is in the face of a devastating impact due to the coronavirus pandemic and has clearly entered a recession.

        After hitting a low of 28,708.83, the 30-share BSE barometer was trading 855.82 points or 2.87 % lower at 28,959.77.

        Similarly, the NSE Nifty fell 245.30 points, or 2.83 per cent, to 8,414.95.

        Bajaj Finance was the top laggard in the Sensex pack, tanking up to 8 per cent, followed by M&M, Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto, ONGC, HDFC Bank and Kotak Bank. On the other hand, TCS, Tech Mahindra, HUL, Axis Bank and ITC were the top gainers.

        In the previous session, the 30-share BSE barometer ended 131.18 points or 0.44 per cent lower at 29,815.59, while the broad-based Nifty closed 18.80 points, or 0.22 per cent, higher at 8,660.25.

        Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) turned net buyers in the capital market, as they purchased equity shares worth ₹ 355.78 crore on Friday, according to provisional exchange data.

        According to traders, investors across the globe are jittery over the rising number of COVID-19 cases and the economic fallout of the worldwide lockdowns.

        The IMF on Friday said it has reassessed the prospects for growth for 2020 and 2021.

        It is now clear that we have entered a recession as bad or worse than in 2009. We do project recovery in 2021,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva stated.

        Analysts said the stimulus package announced by the Indian government and RBI will have limited effect, until the actual impact of the contagion is known – both economically and with the number of infections.

        On the global front, bourses in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul were trading significantly lower.

        Meanwhile, the Indian rupee depreciated 28 paise to 75.18 against the US dollar in morning trade.

        Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, fell 4.44 % to $26.71 per barrel.

        The number of COVID-19 cases in India surged past 1,000 over the weekend, according to health ministry log.

        Deaths around the world linked to the pandemic crossed 30,000 over the weekend.

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        ‘Sitting on billions in cash’: Hostplus defends liquidity concerns

        The head of industry super fund Hostplus, which represents mostly hospitality workers, is confident the $54 billion fund does not have liquidity problems and could meet demand for the federal government’s emergency access to super scheme.

        Hostplus chief executive David Elia said the fund was "currently sitting on billions in cash and have billions more in liquidity if we are ever required to draw on".

        However, Hostplus' latest financial records released in September show the fund has about $530 million in cash, making up just over 1 per cent of the fund's total assets, raising concerns about its ability to satisfy demand for the government's scheme.

        People who have lost their job or 20 per cent of their income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to apply to withdraw two tranches of $10,000 tax-free from their superannuation, starting mid-April.

        Hospitality workers have been one of the group’s hardest hit by the coronavirus.Credit:AAP

        The government predicts just 1 per cent of the superannuation industry's assets will be affected but the industry has warned demand is likely to be much larger and may trigger a sell-off in shares and have wider impacts on the economy.

        Some experts say the super funds that are most at-risk of liquidity issues are those with younger members with lower account balances and working in industries that are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

        “For some funds, it will be no issue; others it will be a difficult issue," KPMG partner Damian Ryan said. "What is the profile of the member of that fund? Are they in an industry where lots of workers have lost their jobs? That will mean their contributions will stop."

        The typical Hostplus member is 35 years old, has an account balance of $37,000 and works in hospitality, tourism or sport, according to the fund's most-recent annual report released in June. These industries are among the hardest hit, with country-wide lockdowns shutting restaurants, stadiums and travel to curb the spread of the pandemic.

        Mr Elia said the fund was well-positioned to respond to the early access scheme and reiterated support for the policy but cautioned members should use it only as a last resort.

        "We have ample liquidity to support members undergoing financial hardship," he said. “We will have absolutely no problems in meeting any demand from members relating to the ERS [Early Release of Super].”

        While the bulk of Hostplus' funds are in shares (50 per cent), the fund also has exposure to defensive assets such as property and infrastructure, which are harder to sell especially in times of low economic growth. September figures show the hospitality fund has more than $4 billion invested in infrastructure – with 24.6 per cent in airports ($990 million) followed by seaports (14.8 per cent) and toll roads (15.9 per cent).

        It also has $1.04 billion in venture capital, $2.6 billion in alternatives and $4.3 billion in property – $1.8 billion of which is in retail (41.9 per cent) and $1.4 billion in commercial property (33.5 per cent), $413 million in hospitality (9.6 per cent).

        Rest, the $60 billion fund representing the retail sector, said it was bracing for a blow-out in demand for the scheme.

        "We believe the number of people applying for an early release of their super will far exceed the 1.6 million Australians initially estimated by the Treasury," a Rest spokesman said.

        Andrew Boal, the chief executive of consultancy firm RiceWarner, which has predicted demand for the government's scheme could be almost twice as much as government estimates, said Hostplus could be more affected by the scheme than other funds.

        "The hospitality sector has certainly been hit hardest and quickest by the impact on the economy. So their membership might have a higher than average proportion of people who might want to withdraw $10,000 in superannuation."

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