Key Notes: About COVID-19 - Click to read more >

This article was updated on April 9,  2020. Latest developments:


More than 6.6 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, for the second week in a row. The US Federal Reserve unveiled plans to provide $2.3 billion in loans to small and midsize businesses, as well as cities and states. The economic downturn is expected to be worst recession since the Great Depression, the IMF says.


With more than 1 million confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus worldwide, businesses are coping with lost revenue and disrupted supply chains as factory shutdowns and quarantine measures spread across the globe, restricting movement and commerce. Unemployment is skyrocketing, while policymakers across countries race to implement fiscal and monetary measures to alleviate the financial burden on citizens and shore up economies under severe strain.

The International Monetary Fund on 9 April said the coronavirus pandemic had instigated an economic downturn the likes of which the world has not experienced since the Great Depression.

Global financial shocks

As the world grapples with the coronavirus, the economic impact is mounting – with the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors having a conference call on 23 March to discuss how to address the emergency.

Predicted slump for China

China is the world’s second-largest economy and leading trading nation, so economic fallout from the original COVID-19 epicentre will be critical to watch.

Economists polled by Reuters on 3-5 March said the outbreak likely halved China’s economic growth in the first quarter of the year, compared with the previous three months.

The poll of more than 40 economists, based both in and outside mainland China, forecast growth to fall to a median of 3.5% in the first quarter, from 6.0% in the fourth quarter of 2019, a full percentage point lower than predicted in a 14 Feb poll.

The Chinese economy is likely to be hit further by reduced global demand for its products due to the effect of the outbreak on economies around the world.

Data released on 16 March showed China’s factory production plunged at the sharpest pace in three decades in the first two months of the year – something which could mean an even greater economic slowdown than predicted in that poll.

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