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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