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Italy’s prime minister has demanded the EU use “the full firepower” of its €500bn rescue fund to confront the continent’s economic crisis, as he warned against relying on monetary policy to counter a “global shock that has no precedents”.
With coronavirus deaths in Italy overtaking those in China for the first time, Giuseppe Conte told the Financial Times it was time for the European Stability Mechanism to offer emergency credit lines to countries reeling from the pandemic.
Divisions have again emerged between top European Central Bank officials after they disagreed over how far to take its new “no limits” policy to shield the eurozone from the economic and financial turmoil of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, China reported no new cases of coronavirus from local transmission for the first time since January but worries persist about a potential second wave of infections from abroad. China-US tensions are hampering antivirus efforts, writes our editorial board.
Global stocks, government bonds and oil prices rose on Thursday in response to a flurry of emergency packages from central banks intended to buffer economies and financial markets from the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s why the US Federal Reserve is trying to tame the dollar. (FT)
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- Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan cut benchmark rates on Thursday, in moves aimed at stemming the economic hit from the new coronavirus pandemic that is battering global markets.
- China’s slowdown because of the coronavirus outbreak has been pronounced and consequential for the global economy. In order to track these changes, the Financial Times has constructed its own measure of the slowdown and nascent recovery in the Chinese economy.
- The Imperial College coronavirus model, rocked the US and UK with its profound impact on public policy since its breathtaking results were shared with officials last week. As many western countries grapple with testing shortages, what’s causing the problem?
- The only US drugmaker that makes a potential treatment for the coronavirus raised the price in January by almost 100 per cent, as the virus caused havoc across China.
- Donald Trump has shown that he finally grasps the scale of the coronavirus threat. Alas, the US president has spent just as much energy pretending he understood it all along, writes Edward Luce.
- Netflix has taken the unprecedented step of reducing the amount of data used by its streaming platform across Europe, responding to calls to ease congestion on residential broadband networks as more people work from home. Follow our live coverage here. (FT, Nikkei Asian Review)
In the news
Japan weighs emergency stimulus The government has begun talks on an emergency economic package that could exceed ¥30tn ($275bn) as business calls for bolder steps to resurrect household spending and offset a possible postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. (FT)
And then there were two Tulsi Gabbard, who hadn’t qualified for a single debate in 2020, has suspended her presidential campaign and endorsed Joe Biden in his push for the Democratic nomination against Bernie Sanders. However, the Sanders worldview is winning even as Bernie loses, writes Janan Ganesh. (Axios, FT)
Biggest one-day gain for oil In New York, crude had its biggest-ever one-day gain as producers in the Middle East showed signs of strain and US President Donald Trump said he would get involved in the oil price turmoil at the “appropriate time”. Meanwhile, independent US energy producers are restructuring billions of dollars of debt. (Bloomberg, FT)
The fight for remote workers Slack and Microsoft have reported big jumps in the number of new users and business from their workforce collaboration platforms, as the coronavirus crisis reignites one of the software industry’s fiercest rivalries. (FT)
Salmond a sexual predator of ‘escalating gravity’, court hears Senior prosecutor Alex Prentice QC said the evidence against the Alex Salmond, the former Scottish National party leader, added up to “cohesive, compelling and convincing course of conduct”. Mr Salmond has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges, including attempted rape and other sexual and indecent assaults. (FT)
JPMorgan to close 1,000 Chase branches The US bank is temporarily closing about 1,000 of its branches to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, in the first example of a big US lender shutting some of its doors to deal with the escalating health crisis. (FT)
No family, fanfare for Nasa astronaut launch Chris Cassidy, who is set to leave the planet in April for six months, will launch without the normal festivities because of the coronavirus. Mr Cassidy is already in isolation preparing for his blast off from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station. (Associated Press)
The day ahead
Tiffany earnings The luxury company is due to report on Friday, but investors will be more interested in an update on the LVMH takeover. (FT)
Rishi Sunak to launch rescue package The UK chancellor is expected to announce “unprecedented” measures to support companies and their employees on Friday, in addition to this week’s promise of £20bn of direct support for business and a £330bn loan guarantee scheme. (FT)
Central bank meetings Russia and China are each set to meet on Friday. The People’s Bank of China is forecast to cut its one and five-year loan prime rates. A rate rise is a possibility for Russia as the oil price war with Saudi Arabia has sent the rouble down. (FT)
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What else we’re reading
What scientists can learn from economists Britain’s government desperately needs the advice of its economists, writes Chris Gilles. Ministers and officials must stop claiming they are in precise control of the path of the virus and making promises they have no chance of delivering. And they must learn these lessons quickly. (FT)
‘The Handmade’ offers calming creativity in troubling times Seriously, mum, Handmade?” snarked Helen Brown’s 10-year-old son, with one contemptuous eyebrow raised. “You want us to watch a man make a chair? For a whole half-hour? And there’s no talking or music? Wow.” Fifteen minutes later, however, the little cynic was mesmerised, seated in uncharacteristically awed silence. (FT)
Two things that tell the same panicked story The phrases “toilet paper” and “Treasury bonds” are not often uttered in the same breath. Right now, however, they should be, writes Gillian Tett. Gillian made one last dash before going into her own lockdown in New York City. (FT)
In praise of phone calls The phone offers a unique form of communication — now more than ever. But as messaging has overtaken phone calls in recent years, what have we lost? We may stand to regain the benefits of the phone call, even landlines, in this unprecedented moment. (The New Yorker)
How renewable energy is changing the politics of global warming In the US, the renewable-energy boom has been strongest in Republican-led states such as Texas rather than historically blue New York. Democratic policies in the New York are intended to attract investment. But Texas has lots of wind and sun and fewer Nimbys. (Economist)
How LVMH met France’s call for hand sanitiser in 72 hours The project, which happened at lightening speed, showed how billionaire Bernard Arnault, who built LVMH into a luxury giant and the country’s biggest company, can marshal resources quickly and draw upon informal yet powerful networks of influence. (FT)
Banks plead for rethink over post-crisis rules The global banking industry is demanding regulators relax or delay a raft of post-crisis rules on everything from capital and liquidity to accounting and climate change, which they argue are hampering their ability to respond to the coronavirus crisis. (FT)
Video of the day
FT science editor Clive Cookson on why the testing response in different regions has left western nations catching up with a crisis they never expected, and why culture, politics and behaviour are all important factors in beating the virus worldwide.
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