Daniel Casali provides a round-up of key market activity during the week of 20th April.
- Positive news for small businesses in the UK as the government has launched a £1.25bn bailout plan for venture capital-backed businesses struggling to survive the coronavirus lockdown
- Oil prices in the US tumbled below zero for the first time in history as producers failed to find enough space to store their produce. Demand for oil has seen a drastic fall since worldwide lockdowns.
- In the UK, more than 1 million people were enrolled in the UK government’s flagship staff furlough scheme during its first day of operation.
- The rate of inflation in the UK came down from 1.7% in February to 1.5% in March due to cheaper fuel and clothing.
- The price of US crude oil contracts for June delivery plunged by nearly 50% as global oil markets remained under intense pressure.
- South Africa unveiled a $26bn stimulus (c.7% of GDP) package. This will target large increases in existing welfare grants, job protection and a loan guarantee scheme for pandemic-hit businesses.
- EU leaders agreed upon an economic rescue plan. This included a €500bn emergency financial package and confirmation of more support being released through current systems.
- The ECB started to accept some junk-rated debt as collateral for loans to banks. This aims to protect the euro area's most vulnerable economies as they face the risk of credit downgrades
- 4.4m Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, down by 810,000 from the previous week, but taking the total in the last 5 weeks to a record 26m.
- White House and Democratic congressional leaders struck a deal for a new $484bn stimulus bill, the fourth aid bill to clear Congress, which seeks to devote money to a small business aid fund, increased virus testing and hospitals.
- The UK is looking to borrow £225bn from bond market investors in order to finance its huge coronavirus spending bill.
- Rishi Sunak has agreed to offer 100% guarantees on loans to Britain’s smallest businesses.
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By necessity, this briefing can only provide a short overview and it is essential to seek professional advice before applying the contents of this article. No responsibility can be taken for any loss arising from action taken or refrained from on the basis of this publication. Details correct at time of publication.
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