imageCoronavirus8 hours ago (Apr 24, 2020 01:44PM ET)

(C) Shutterstock

By Gina Lee, Peter Nurse and Kim Khan

Investing.com – President Donald Trump signed Friday the fourth U.S. stimulus package to aid the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And just a day after disappointment with Gilead’s (NASDAQ:GILD) potential Covid-19 treatment, warnings came about the potential dangers of a drug touted by President Donald Trump as possible therapy.

Americas:

U.S. Trump signed a stimulus bill of nearly $500 billion that would top-up the Payroll Protection Program for small businesses. Trump also said that he would withold aid from the U.S. Postal Service if it did not raise prices and that the federal government should consider helping the airline sector by buying four to five years worth of airline tickets.

U.S. A study into use of malaria drug chloroquine on coronavirus patient was stopped due to a “primary outcome” of death, with patients developing irregular heartbeats, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Trump had called the treatment a potential “game changer” and asked what have people got to lose in trying the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration warned against its use outside of a hospital setting and said it is “would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.”

U.S. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations for the virus are still declining, but new infections are at a flatline, which is “troubling”.

Europe:

Germany The economy will contract by more than 6% this year, a government source told Reuters on Friday, which would be a post-World War Two record. This follows the closely-watched Ifo business climate index slumping to its lowest ever in April.

U.K. Retail sales fell by the most on record in March as a surge in food buying for the lockdown was dwarfed by a plunge in sales of clothing and most other goods. Official figures showed sales volumes plunged by 5.1% in March from February, the sharpest drop since the Office for National Statistics’ records began in 1996.

Spain The number of daily coronavirus-related fatalities fell to its lowest level in more than a month, with 367 deaths in the previous 24 hours. That took total fatalities to 22,524 from 22,157 the day before, the health ministry said Friday. The overall number of cases rose to 219,764 from 213,024 the day before.

EU The bloc’s economy could shrink by as much as 15% this year as a result of the pandemic, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde is reported to have told Europe’s leaders during a videoconference meeting Thursday.

EU The region’s leaders signed off on a pre-agreed EUR500 billion euro emergency financial package and on guidelines for lifting Covid-19 restrictions.Discussions about a recovery plan for European economies after the health crisis, and how to pay for it, were left for another day.

U.K. British consumer confidence remained at very low levels in early April, as the country remained in coronavirus lockdown and on track for a deep recession, a survey showed on Friday.

GfK, a polling firm, said its consumer confidence index held at -34 during the April 1-14 survey period, unchanged from the last survey for March 16-27 but still down very sharply from -9 earlier that month.

Asia:

China The central bank cut its targeted medium-term lending facility interest rate by 20 basis points to 2.95%. This follows similar reductions to borrowing costs on other liquidity tools in the past few weeks to support the economy.

Japan The central bank said it is contemplating replacing its government bond-purchase target to allow unlimited buying. The country is also considering extending its state of emergency during the upcoming Golden Week holiday.

Japan The new $1.1 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic is estimated to boost real gross domestic product by about 4.4%, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday.

Philippines The lockdown in the capital city of Manila has been extended until May 15, but restrictions in lower-risk regions of the country will be eased.

Hong Kong Thousands of students were among the first in the world to take their final secondary school exams on Friday, all wearing face masks and having their temperatures checked after being stuck at home for months due to the coronavirus.

COVID-19: Trump Signs Fourth Stimulus Bill

Check Also

2 Former GOP congressmen announce they support Biden, calling Trump ‘an ill-formed man who lacks basic self-control’

2 Former Republican congressmen announce their support for Joe Biden – Business Insi…