Happy new week! Today, we tone things down a bit and look at the latest news.
Coronavirus cases are around 350,000. Whoa, hold your horses! Just last week there were half those numbers of cases. Evidently, the situation is changing rapidly, and by the time you read this article, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the number will have hit the 400,000 mark.
We are not sure whether more cases are being discovered or these are new infections. With effective and available testing services, it is a likely scenario to see this number skyrocketing.
It’s chilling that the US has about 40,000 cases, but that’s not all, because New York has 5% of the total global infection cases and over 30% of all US cases. Thank God for small mercies of the lockdown!
In other news, Spain is extending its lockdown for two more weeks, while Germany has banned social gatherings of more than two people.
The US Market
While the markets ended pretty well in Europe and Asia, considering the ravages of the Coronavirus, in the US it was all doom and gloom. The NASDAQ fell down 3.8%, and the Dow and SP500 fell about 4.5%.
Now, this hardly comes as a surprise, keeping in mind that the US has the 3rd largest population of Coronavirus infections globally. And not forgetting that all the promises of government support haven’t been forthcoming yet.
So far in March, the Dow has fallen approximately 24.5%, and this implies that the Great Depression is the only other event that has seen a worse downfall in the stock market.
Life is so unpredictable, considering that just recently in mid-February, things were really looking up! Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
It is clear that we have a bit of a recession on our hands, and unless people foresee a secure future or/and infections reach their peak, a rebound is highly unlikely.
The good news is that the experts don’t predict a total market failure with the worldwide stimulus efforts in effect. All in all, long-term investors can only hold on for dear life and wait it out.
Khamenei Refuses Any Help from the US
Wonders will never cease! The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has some pretty interesting theories why Iran cannot accept any assistance from the US in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In his usual stubborn nature, the Ayatollah has sensationally claimed that Covid-19 is an American created bio-weapon specifically targeting ‘Iranian DNA!’
This conspiracy theory leaves people wondering if the other nearly 400,000 infected people globally are imaginary.
The Supreme leader has been accused of being full of himself in the past, but this time, his recent claim takes the trophy hands down.
Interestingly, the Iranian government has been criticized for its weak and unprepared response to the epidemic, so just maybe this is their leader’s way of shifting the blame.
US Deadlock Rocks Markets
What are the odds that the only US Senator to object a Coronavirus relief package last month caught the virus! Senator Rand Paul tested positive on Sunday.
Even as we enter the fifth week of panic in the markets due to the Coronavirus, there is still no let up. This comes amid news that the US Senate failed in its attempt to approve a considerable funding plan to deal with the impact of the epidemic.
A crucial Senate procedural vote on Sunday evening deadlocked at 47-47, with Democratic senators at odds with a financial package that they argue doesn’t offer enough support to workers who’ll be affected by the coming recession.
According to Chuck Schumer, a leading Democrat, the plan is ‘…large corporate bailout with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight.’
As governments all over the world inject money into fiscal spending, the US cannot see past its political squabbling.
Airline Sector Warns Government that Time is Not on Their Side
After the UK’s government’s failure to implement the measures it had promised the aviation sector, airports and airlines have warned that time is running out.
Ryanair and EasyJet are suspending flights on Monday, and as the Coronavirus rages on, less than 5% of passengers are expected to use major airports.
With the government seeming at a loss on how to keep crucial infrastructure functioning, it is not clear whether the talks slated for Monday between the sector and ministers will still go on as planned.
Balpa, the Pilots Union claimed that additional airline employees would be rendered redundant before any proper steps could be taken while accusing the government of ‘sitting on its hands’ as airlines are closing down.
There is a sense of frustration in the sector due to no concrete details, despite the Chancellor Rishi Sunak making a second massive intervention in three days late last week.