The United States, Europe, Japan, China, and India are unleashing trillions of dollars in government spending and newly created money as they desperately attempt to keep the global economy from sinking into depression. The response to the coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in terms of speed and scale commitments from government and central banks to date are close to $7 trillion, according to an analysis by CNN Business.
The total includes government spending, loan guarantees, and tax breaks, as well as money printing by central banks to buy assets such as bonds and stock funds.
“The [$2 trillion US] Stimulus package is likely the bare minimum needed to offset the current drag from the outbreak,” Bank of America economist Joseph Song told clients Thursday. “The economy will likely need close $3 [trillion] in fiscal Stimulus, if not more.”
The last time global economic growth was this depressed during peacetime was in 1938, according to Chetan Ahya, Morgan Stanley’s Chief economist. “It’s not going to be possible to get back to the same level of output and activity immediately,” Ahya Said, noting the lingering effects of a sharp spike in unemployment and battered corporate balance sheets.
Here are the highlights from the first wave of the central bank and government action.
US lawmakers are expected to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package later this week. The legislation includes direct payments to individuals, a boost to unemployment benefits and a $500 billion lending program.
Congress has already approved more than $112 billion to ramp up vaccine research and provide two weeks of paid sick leave for those who are being tested or treated for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Federal Reserve has let loose a tsunami of Stimulus measures in recent days. That includes an initial pledge to purchase $700 billion in US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, which now has no cap and can include corporate bonds and bond exchange-traded funds. The Fed also announced $300 billion in new financing to keep credit flowing to businesses and consumers.
The European Central Bank has said it will spend €750 billion ($824 billion) buying government debt and private securities before the end of 2020 and stands ready to do more if necessary. That’s on top of €120 billion ($133 billion) in extra purchases it announced previously.
So far, China has announced at least 116.9 trillion yuan ($16.4 billion) in financial relief and Stimulus, plus 800 billion yuan ($112.5 billion) in tax and fee reductions. But if necessary, the country could very well spend trillions of dollars and rack up massive amounts of debt to shore up its economy.
The Japanese government is expected to consider an economic stimulus package in the coming weeks that would likely include cash handouts as well as measures to help small and medium-sized companies get access to loans. The package could total 30 trillion yen($274.2 billion).
The Indian government unveiled a relief package worth $22.6 billion in just 36 hours after the country’s lockdown was imposed. It includes health coverage and food assistance, as well as subsidies and benefits for workers.