Daily Morning Note – 23 March 2020



Businesses in Singapore are hoping for more support from the government in the form of a larger second stimulus package as the global economy worsens amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) in a statement on Sunday cited a poll it conducted on March 13 in which 73 per cent of businesses believe that the second stimulus package should be as large or larger than the S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat during the Budget 2020.

Traders brace for more market mayhem as policy makers race to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus, Australia shuts its pubs, restaurants and cafes, and China begins to talk up green shoots in its economy. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

The dollar slipped in early trading in Asia on Monday as investors took stock of the latest developments on the coronavirus’s spread and more stringent measures from countries to control it. The New Zealand dollar fell after its central bank joined other countries in saying it will start buying bonds to stimulate the economy. The yen and Swiss franc edged up against the greenback. U.S. equity futures extended losses to trade limit down Monday after the S&P 500 lost more than 4% on Friday, when Asian futures signaled more declines to come.


Singapore will be closing its borders to all short-term visitors as it ramps up border control measures to conserve resources and to reduce further importation of Covid-19 cases.

New Zealand’s central bank announced plans to spend NZ$30 billion (S$24.72 billion) on government bonds Monday as a way of stimulating the virus-hit economy.

Congress could hand the US Treasury at least US$425 billion to backstop potentially much larger support by the Federal Reserve (Fed) for business and municipal borrowers as part of an economic aid package being hammered out by the Trump administration and congressional leaders.

Oil prices fell more than US$1 a barrel at the start of the trading session on Sunday, as more governments ordered lockdowns to curb the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic that has slashed the demand outlook for crude.

The World Bank’s executive board is expected to consider later this week the first fast-track funds to help Afghanistan and Ethiopia respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the Bank’s president said on Sunday.

Investors betting on declines in US stocks saw big profits in the last month as equities crashed while the global spread of the novel coronavirus darkened economic prospects and net increases in short selling implying no turnaround in bearish sentiment.

Airlines had made a last ditch plea urging that US$29 billion of US$58 billion sought in assistance for airlines be in the form of cash grants. They had offered not to make any job cuts through Aug 31 if they won the cash and to accept restrictions on executive pay and to forgo paying dividends or stock buybacks.

Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, PSR


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