Australia Tightens Rules for Foreign Investors as Pandemic Drags Down Economy

The Morrison government has granted the treasurer powers to block all foreign bids for Australian companies under tighter investment rules sparked by the Chinese Communist Party virus pandemic, also known as the coronavirus pandemic.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will be able to block any overseas takeovers after the threshold to intervene was temporarily slashed from A$1.2 billion to zero.

It comes amid concerns cashed-up foreign predators could target Australian businesses following major losses on the share market and a weaker Australian dollar.

Frydenberg denied the move was aimed at Chinese state-owned enterprises, saying that U.S. investment in Australia far outstripping that of communist China.

“We want to stop any predatory behaviour that is not in the national interest,” he told 3AW radio on Monday.

Chinese firms invested A$13 billion in Australia last year, while U.S. companies made investments worth A$58 billion.

But Liberal backbenchers and independents have raised concerns that Australian companies could be exposed after company values slumped in stock exchange carnage.

Chinese companies bought Australian medical supplies in recent weeks with the CCP virus sparking a surge in demand.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Frydenberg said national security, competition issues, tax concerns and the investors’ character would shape any decision to block foreign investment.

“This is a precautionary, temporary measure to increase our visibility and scrutiny over all foreign investment proposals to ensure that they’re in the national interest,” he told ABC radio.

He said foreign investment had served Australia well, with one-in-10 local businesses benefiting.

“We want that foreign investment to continue in Australia, not just during the coronavirus crisis, but also in the days and months and the years after,” the treasurer said.

Under the old rules, companies from countries with free trade agreements could make scrutiny-free bids for Australian assets with a value of less than A$1.2 billion.

Now all overseas offers will have to get the green light from the federal treasurer regardless of the sector or nation involved.

The measure will remain in place for the duration of the crisis.

Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said Labor would support the move in principle.

“This sounds like a sensible step in uncertain times,” he told AAP.

By Matt Coughlan

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Author: AAP

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Tornado Rips Through Arkansas City, Injuring 22 People

A tornado ripped through Jonesboro, Arkansas, injuring 22 people and leaving a trail of flattened homes and buildings.

Mayor Harold Perrin and other local officials said there were no deaths after the tornado touched down on Saturday in the city, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock.

Of the 22 injured people, two stayed in the hospital overnight but did not have life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Images posted on social media, including from the Jonesboro Police Department, showed broken walls, flattened commercial buildings and debris scattered across parking lots.

One picture showed a mangled vehicle in the mall parking lot. At the local airport, at least one airplane was overturned, and hangars were damaged.

The search and rescue efforts were completed by Sunday morning, and responders are moving into the cleanup and recovery phases, Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said.

The storm moved across Jonesboro around 5 p.m. local time, according to a video posted by the National Weather Service in Little Rock.

Day said there is a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., and Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott urged residents to stay home while debris is cleared out of roadways and other common areas.

“We’ve already asked you to stay at home for this virus but we’re really stressing to stay at home,” Elliott said.

Other Tornadoes in Iowa

Other tornadoes struck Saturday, according to the weather service. A map on its website showed tornado strikes in Arkansas and Iowa, though none appeared to have been as damaging as the one in Jonesboro.

Tornado sightings were reported in Iowa in Black Hawk, Buchanan, Marshall Adams and Adair counties. The weather service map said power lines were knocked down and roofs blown off in Jackson County, Arkansas.

The weather service issued a rare “Particularly Dangerous Situation” tornado watch for parts of the Midwest through Saturday night.

The states most at risk were Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois.

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Author: Wire Service

Real Death Toll In Wuhan Might Be 12 Times Official Figure: Ashes Urns Tell Us

Information provided by residents in China’s virus epicenter of Wuhan indicates that the real death toll there could be over 32,000, which is 12.7 times the official figure.

The Hubei provincial health commission announced on March 23 that in the whole of Wuhan, 2,524 people died of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei.

Medical specialists’ reports on Lancet and other magazines revealed that Chinese authorities have been lying about the virus outbreak since day one. The real situation in Wuhan and the whole of China is a mystery.

Recently, as the families of those who died of the virus were permitted to collect their relatives’ cremated remains from seven government-run funeral homes with crematoriums, a clearer idea of the true death toll began to emerge.

Wuhan Residents

Wuhan taxi driver Mr. Yin recently went to a local funeral home to retrieve his mother’s ashes.

His mother died on Feb. 1. He said his mother got a CT scan the day before she died. Doctors from three hospitals said that her lungs were infected severely with the CCP virus. However, the hospital wrote that she died of respiratory failure on her death certificate.

Yin told the Chinese-language Epoch Times on March 28 that his mother’s body was sent to the funeral home from the hospital and cremated directly. He did not have a chance to see her one last time.

Since the city was locked down on Jan. 23, government authorities had not allowed people to bury the ashes urns, and from Feb. 2, the authorities didn’t allow people to pick up their relatives’ ashes until March 23. In other words, the majority of the ashes of the deceased who died from Jan. 23 to March 23 were saved at funeral homes.

Yin went to the funeral home on March 24 to retrieve his mother’s ashes. “The urns were countless… The entire lobby was full of urns… Some of them were even placed outside the door [due to lack of space],” Yin said.

Wuhan resident Mr. Ding also lost his mother to the virus. He told the Chinese-language Epoch Times the Wuchang funeral home informed relatives of the deceased that the facility would release 500 urns per day, in order to ensure that all urns were distributed by April 4—the Qingming festival, the traditional Chinese holiday when people pay their respects to their ancestors.

A general view shows the Yangtze River and buildings in Wuhan, China on March 29, 2020. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

An Estimate

Wuhan has a total of eight government-run funeral homes: seven have crematoriums, while the eighth is dedicated to serving Hui Muslims and conducts burials.

According to a March 26 report by Chinese financial magazine Caixin, the Hankou funeral home bought 5,000 urns within 24 hours.

Staff then took a photo of the facility’s stock room, showing 3,500 urns inside. We can thus assume that the facility distributed 1,500 urns in 24 hours (5,000 – 3,500 = 1,500).

Assuming that the Hankou funeral home distributed the same number of urns every day from March 23 until Qingming festival, at Hankou there would be at least 1,500 * 12 days = 18,000 bodies. At Wuchang, there would be 500 * 12 = 6,000 bodies.

The Yushunshan funeral home in Caidian district is about two-thirds the capacity of the Wuchang facility, according to a staff member at Yushunshan. Thus, we could estimate that Caidian burned the remains of two-thirds that of Wuchang, or 4,000 bodies.

The Jiangxia, Huangpi District, Xinzhou District, and Qingshan funeral homes each have a similar capacity, which is about half of Wuchang’s. Then we might estimate that they burned about 12,000 bodies (6,000 divided by 2, then multiplied by 4 = 12,000).

We can estimate that the total number of urns distributed by all 7 facilities is roughly 40,000 (18,000 + 6,000 + 4,000 + 12,000).

In order to determine the number of deaths from the CCP virus, deaths from other causes must be accounted for. According to the latest statistics released by Hubei authorities, roughly 47,900 died in 2018. That means there was an average of 131 deaths per day.

The time between the city’s lockdown on Jan. 23 to when funeral homes reopened on March 23 is 60 days. Assuming that in a typical year, there are 131 non-virus-related deaths per day, then there were roughly 7,860 non-virus deaths in that period (131 * 60= 7,860).

Thus, we can estimate that the death toll due to the virus is at least 40,000 – 7,860 = 32,140.

On top of this, there were CCP virus patients who died in Wuhan before Jan. 23. But we ignore this data here.

Authorities also sent 40 mobile furnaces to Hubei Province in the middle of February, each capable of burning five tons of medical waste and bodies a day. It is unclear whether those were used to burn bodies that died from the virus.

The Passengers arrive in Hankou Railway Station in Wuhan, China on March 28, 2020. (Getty Images)

Hidden Truth

Throughout the spread of the CCP virus, the government’s data has been false.

On Feb. 29, a group of specialists from China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a report based on studying over 70,000 virus cases.

The specialists revealed that 104 people were infected with the CCP virus in December 2019. Wuhan authorities announced on Dec. 31 that there was an initial “viral pneumonia” outbreak among 27 people.

The specialists said the first medical staff to be infected with the CCP virus was diagnosed on Dec. 27. Then, between Jan. 1 to Jan. 20, 151 medical staff were infected with the virus in Wuhan. 49 were infected in other cities of Hubei, and another 30 were infected in other provinces.

Medical staff infections are a sign that the virus is capable of human-to-human transmission.

But authorities denied that the virus could spread among humans until Jan. 20. That day, a top epidemiologist working for the central government first announced that the virus was being transmitted among family members.

In March, The Epoch Times obtained four documents from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, which were statistical data sheets about diagnostic test results in the city on March 14.

The documents listed that in total, the city tested 16,234 samples on the day. Of those, 373 were positive with CCP virus. Among the positives, 91 samples were first-time positives.

Meanwhile, the government only reported four new infections in Wuhan that day.

The Wuhan government recently allowed businesses to reopen and citizens to return to work. The government admitted that there are people who can relapse after recovering or are asymptomatic, but that they would not be counted as new infections. In fact, some of them can spread the virus to others.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

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Author: Nicole Hao

Corpses and People Collapsing to the Ground Spotted in Many Locations

 

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The coronavirus calamity hit Wuhan when local residents were joyfully making preparations for the Chinese New Year. n just a few days, Wuhan turned from a vibrant city /into a ghost town. Crematorium staff wearing protective suits were seen in many neighborhoods, taking away corpses who had died from the virus. Around late January, there was footage and images circulating online showing people collapsing in the street and in hospitals across Wuhan.

Video 1

Location: Hanyang District of Wuhan City, Hubei Province
Man: Too bad! It is happening right behind our residential complex. I am here at Decai Elementary School. A resident in our complex who passed away is now being carried away to a van.

Video 2

Man: I’ve seen it with my own eyes at Xinhua Road’s cross section, a corpse being taken away. With my own eyes! I spotted it when I came out to drive around. See, carried away on a stretcher.

Video 3

Man 1: Does he have any family here with him?
Man 2: No.

Video 4

A patient suddenly collapsed to the ground when lining up in a hospital. The money he brought with him for treatment is scattered all over.

Video 5

Man in the background: Someone suddenly fell. Looks like they’re trying to rescue him using CPR.

Video 6

Elderly Man: Show this footage to your family, and they will understand why they must wear a mask.

Video 7

Man: Another body, here’s another body. Look, look how many bodies are already loaded inside the minivan. Look, one, two, three, four, four of them. Here’s another one. That’s five in total. There are a total of five bodies in the back of this minivan.

Video 8

Right before the CCP claimed /that there were no new infections inside China, a man collapsed right in front of the Tanzikou Water Corporation in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province. According to his ID card, he came from Qianjiang City, Hubei Province.

It’s unclear where he had been and how many people he had interacted with.

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Author: Mary Hong, Olivia Li

Bank of America Reassures Staff Will Keep Their Jobs in 2020 Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan assured its 208,000 employees not to worry about their jobs or their salary payments for 2020.

“We don’t want our teammates to worry about their jobs during a time like this,” Moynihan told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday. “We told them all; there’s no issue, you’re all going to be working now through year-end. No layoffs, no nothing.”

“We’ll continue to pay everybody, even those who can’t work from home because the type of work they do isn’t doable from home.

Moynihan explained in the interview that the bank was better prepared for the COVID-19 induced crisis because they had learned from the 2008 crisis and had some regulatory safeguards in place.

“What’s different this time is clearly our capital liquidity,” Moynihan said. “Everything that changed has led the banking industry be in a great condition to service clients continuously for the last few weeks as this thing has hit.”

The Bank of America logo is seen outside a branch in Washington, DC, on July 9, 2019. (Alastair Pike/AFP/Getty Images)

“We’re going to make sure we maintain strong capital ratios and strong liquidity right through this crisis,” Moynihan said, referring to the worldwide economic crisis sparked by the introduction of stringent safety measures hoping to slow down the spread of the Chinese Communist Party virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

NTD refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Bank of America in Manhattan, New York on Dec. 15, 2011. (The Epoch Times)

The second-largest bank in the nation based in Charlotte, North Carolina, granted over $50 billion in loans this month and is currently processing more than 150,000 deferral requests over car loans and mortgages to offer a grace period to its Main Street customers, Reuters reported.

“We’ve put our capital to work to increase the new lines of credit, the draws in lines of credit, the access to markets,” Moynihan told Bloomberg.

Not only did Moynihan pledge to relax repayments, but he said the Bank of America also hired 2,000 extra workers and shifted 3,000 workers internally to its consumer and small business divisions to cope with the surge in requests due to the now global pandemic.

Other banks, like Morgan Stanley, City Group, Wells Fargo, issued similar assuages to their clients and employees.

“While long term we can’t be sure how this will play out, we want to commit to you that there will not be a reduction in force at Morgan Stanley in 2020,” Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said in an internal memo on Thursday, obtained by CNBC. “Aside from a performance issue or a breach of the Code of Conduct, your jobs are secure.”

From NTD News

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Author: Victor Westerkamp

Actor Arrested by FBI for Selling Fake COVID-19 Cure

Hollywood actor Keith Lawrence Middlebrook has been arrested by the FBI for selling what he claimed to be a cure for COVID-19 that he also said he developed, according to a news release issued by the Department of Justice on Wednesday, March 25.

As indicated by the news release, authorities arrested him on federal fraud charges, as he claimed to have developed the alleged antidote for the cure and a disease prevention pill, and solicited investments for a fraudulent company that he said could mass-produce the products.

NTD refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Middlebrook was arrested after a criminal complaint was filed, which charged the actor of attempted wire fraud, according to the release. If convicted, he could go to federal prison for a maximum of 20 years.

“The complaint alleges that Middlebrook claimed to have personally developed a ‘patent-pending cure’ and a treatment that prevents coronavirus infection, even though every major health authority has warned that there is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19 and no vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection,” the release stated.

The actor was taken into custody after a meeting with an undercover FBI agent—posing as an investor—to deliver the pills—the ones that Middlebrook claimed was the cure for the virus.

The news release explained the process of Middlebrook’s fraudulent investment scheme: “Middlebrook fraudulently solicited funds with promises of massive profits for a company he called Quantum Prevention CV Inc. (QP20), and he falsely claimed to at least one potential investor that Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson was a member of the board of directors, according to the affidavit in support of the complaint.”

Johnson, whose name was used for the purpose of the fraud, was not aware of this and told the investigators that he had no knowledge of Middlebrook’s alleged company.

“QP20, according to Middlebrook, would mass-produce the pills he claimed would prevent COVID-19. Upon receipt of investor funds, Middlebrook would issue shares in both QP20 and Quantum Cure CV 2020 (QC20), another alleged corporation Middlebrook claimed would market the serum that could cure COVID-19 patients within two to three days, the complaint alleges,” according to the news release.

Middlebrook claimed that a patient who tested positive for the CCP Virus recovered after receiving the injections. He also claimed that “Investors who come in at ground level say $1M will parachute with $200M – $300M” at a minimum, according to the news release.

Authorities warned people about scams like these at times of crisis, and Nick Hanna, the United States Attorney said that people will target the general public’s fear and weaknesses with lies and scams.

“During these difficult days, scams like this are using blatant lies to prey upon our fears and weaknesses,” Hanna said. “While this may be the first federal criminal case in the nation stemming from the pandemic, it certainly will not be the last. I again am urging everyone to be extremely wary of outlandish medical claims and false promises of immense profits. And to those who perpetrate these schemes, know that federal authorities are out in force to protect all Americans, and we will move aggressively against anyone seeking to cheat the public during this critical time.”

From NTD News

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Author: Paula Liu

New York State Surpasses 1,000 Coronavirus Deaths

NEW YORK—New York state’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed Sunday above 1,000, less than a month after the first known infection in the state.

Most of those deaths have come in just the past few days.

New York City reported in the evening that its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths isn’t expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state’s total fatalities was at least 1,026.

The virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, has torn through New York with frightening speed.

The first known infection in the state was discovered March 1 in a health care worker who recently returned from Iran. Two days later, the state got its second case, a lawyer from the suburb of New Rochelle.

By March 10, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had declared a “containment area” in New Rochelle that shuttered area schools and houses of worship. That same day, the metropolitan area saw its first fatality: a man who worked at a harness track in Yonkers and lived in New Jersey.

By March 12, the state had banned all gatherings of more than 500 people, darkening Broadway theaters and sports arenas. A day later, the first New York resident died, an 82-year-old woman with emphysema.

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio closed New York City’s schools March 15.

More severe restrictions came March 20, when Cuomo ordered all nonessential workers to stay home, barred gatherings of any size and instructed anyone out in public to stay at least 6 feet from other people. At the time, only 35 New Yorkers had been killed by the virus.

That was only nine days ago.

It took Spain 18 days to go from its first death to its 1,000th, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Italy took 21 days. New York state took 16 days.

By Michael R. Sisak and Marina Villeneuve

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Author: The Associated Press

Singer-Songwriter Jan Howard Dies at 91

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Singer-songwriter Jan Howard, who had a No. 1 country hit “For Loving You” with Bill Anderson, has died at age 91, according to the Grand Ole Opry.

The Opry, of which she was a member for nearly 50 years, announced her death on Saturday.

“Jan Howard was a force of nature in country music, at the Opry, and in life,” said Dan Rogers, the Grand Ole Opry’s vice president and executive producer, said in a statement. “We were all so lucky so many nights to hear her voice on stage and to catch up with her backstage. We’re all better for having had her in our lives.”

Her most personal song was perhaps “My Son,” which she wrote as plea for her son Jimmy’s safe return from the Vietnam war. He was killed two weeks after its release in 1968. Another son later killed himself.

Howard documented her triumphs and struggles in the 1987 autobiography “Sunshine and Shadow.”

She is survived by her remaining son, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Author: The Associated Press

Nancy Pelosi and the Politics Pandemic

To paraphrase “The Godfather,” — Just when you thought common sense had taken over and you’re done with obsessive, non-stop, nauseating politics dominating your life, it pulls you back in.

Even during a pandemic, when, you would hope, people would know better.

They don’t.

Especially Nancy Pelosi for whom politics has been her sine qua non since birth.  It is more than mother’s milk to her. It’s that, plus her entire bloodstream, plus the limbic system, and who knows what else.

Sunday—on CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper”—she… what’s the proper verb…raged?…vilified?…Trump, telling Tapper “as the President fiddles, people are dying.”

Trump, a fiddler? Like Nero? Whatever else the man is, he’s a workaholic. Sometimes it seems as if he never sleeps. He may not be doing things Pelosi’s way, but odds are if he were, she’d reverse herself and declare that wrong anyway.

If anyone can be accused of fiddling it’s Nancy who held up the relief package for days making sure her pet projects (Beltway folks have to have their Beethoven, even if they can’t sit together) were injected into the trillions on offer. She was also the person who urged people to go to crowded Chinatown for New Years, undoubtedly to highlight that Trump had banned travel from China and was therefore “racist.”

In a similar manner, the mayor of New Orleans is blaming Trump for not banning Mardi Gras now that her city has a growing virus breakout. What was her job? Blame everyone but yourself and failing that, blame Trump.

In our world political hostility seems to overrule everything, obliterating common sense and collegiality in a crisis. In a sense, we have a “politics pandemic” as well as a medical one.

The medical one is probably worse, but the political one isn’t terrific and seems to be spreading with the rapidity of the original. Also, they work together, reinforcing each other. The political pandemic helps the medical pandemic spread.

It wasn’t always that way. It was not much more than a week ago that collegiality reined. Governors Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo were speaking well of Trump, lauding the president for his cooperation in the fight against the virus. Trump was lavish in his praise, demonstrating the feeling was mutual.

Then the roof fell in, at least on Cuomo’s part. He started by attacking Trump for not delivering enough equipment (hospital beds, ventilators, and so forth) but then let loose on the president as if he were a dictator for suggesting the possibility of quarantining New York and its neighboring states.

In probability, Trump, president of fifty states, was just trying to prevent the spread of the disease. But the president evidently (and wisely, in my view) did not want to get into a fight with the New York State governor. The idea was quickly passed off to the CDC as a “recommendation” not to travel. But Cuomo had treated it as Armageddon, even “un-American.” Why?

Politics again, I submit. Cuomo was getting whispers from his party that he was too close to the president and, more importantly, his name was being bandied about as a possible president himself, now that the Biden campaign was luffing.

A possible president does not consort with the enemy (i. e. the incumbent) in 21st Century politically-obsessed America, pandemic or no. He attacks him, no matter what.

As for the media, they are, if anything, worse than the politicians. Forget reporting the news. They see their job as playing “gotcha” on as many levels as possible. On the most primitive, we have seen it writ large with the White House press that take a rote (and virtually brainless) adversarial stance at every presidential press conference.

But even on the supposedly more sophisticated levels (e.g. Tapper, Chris Wallace) it’s about setting subtle traps that ultimately reward the journalist with a scalp. So the media fans the politics pandemic, spreading it further.

As we know, these political hatreds in our society have been with us for some time, rupturing work places, friends, and family. It’s a game that we can play or not. Better yet, we can keep it in its proper place and not let it take over every aspect of our lives. That’s something we can learn during the pandemic that will reward us afterwards.

Roger L. Simon is The Epoch Times’ senior political columnist. His most recent novel is the well-reviewed “The GOAT.” Set in the world of big time tennis, unlike much of his writing, it is almost entirely apolitical.

 

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Author: Roger L. Simon

Economists: Stimulus Package to Provide ‘Financial and Psychological Boost’

WASHINGTON—The rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic has led to an aggressive response from the U.S. government, with unprecedented coordination between fiscal and monetary authorities.

President Donald Trump signed into law on March 27 a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to address the severe disruptions caused by the CCP virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus. Economists believe that the relief measures for cash-strapped households and businesses are bound to have some positive effect on the economy.

“The current fiscal package looks adequate, for now, assuming economic activity begins to normalize around mid-May. If it does not, we may need a bigger boat,” Brett Ryan, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank wrote in a report.

He says the extraordinary coordination between fiscal and monetary authorities was the “novel feature” of this package.

The Department of the Treasury will provide $450 billion to the Federal Reserve to purchase loans and investments, as part of the package.

“This is incredibly important,” Ryan noted. It will provide roughly $4.5 trillion of lending capacity to the public and private sectors.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell earlier stated that the central bank could provide $10 in loans for every $1 it receives from the Treasury. That would allow the Fed to provide liquidity to the market and purchase corporate, municipal, and state debt.

The Fed will undertake open-ended quantitative easing for its asset purchasing program, which represents a potentially new chapter in the Fed’s “money printing.”

“These purchases will be designed to help the economy and the financial markets recover,” Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist of Northern Trust Asset Management, wrote in a report.

He said central banks have historically played crucial roles in lending during times of crisis.

“Purists will certainly feel uneasy about this apparent compromise of central bank independence. But with interest rates at zero in most major markets, traditional levers of monetary policy have been exhausted. Financing fiscal efforts is the best way for central bankers to continue to pursue their mandates,” Tannenbaum said.

The relief package includes direct payments of $1,200 to most Americans and jobless benefits to millions who have lost jobs.

Companies of all sizes will get loans, grants, and tax breaks. Large companies that have been directly harmed by the effects of the pandemic will receive direct aid.

The measure also includes billions of dollars for states and the health care system. Aid to states is a crucial part of the bill, as it would help prevent layoffs in local government and a related drop in public services.

“All of these elements should provide a short-term financial and psychological boost that is urgently needed,” Tannenbaum said.

S&P Companies Expected to See Lower Profits

Corporate profits have started to take a big hit from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wall Street analysts have sharply revised down earnings estimates for the second quarter. The S&P 500 companies are now expected to see a nearly $50 billion decline in total profits in the second quarter, according to FactSet.

Since March 1, estimated earnings for the S&P 500 companies for the second quarter have slipped to $320 billion from $369 billion, the data provider stated in a report.

At the industry level, oil, gas, and consumable fuels, as well as airlines, are seeing substantial declines in estimated earnings. Other industries that are most affected include automobiles, hotels, restaurants and leisure, and banks.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business organization, representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, praised the U.S. stimulus bill in a statement.

“Securing these funds could make the difference between keeping a business up and running over the coming weeks or being forced to reduce salaries, lay off employees, or shutter businesses entirely,” the chamber stated.

The stimulus package will also provide some boost to the oil price in the longer term, according to Phil Flynn, a senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

“Normally, you don’t like to see government intervention in a free market, but let’s face it, in this crisis, it’s warranted,” Flynn told The Epoch Times.

“I personally believe that it’s going to be a big boon for energy prices down the road.”

Oil prices plunged in recent weeks as the CCP virus weighed down on global demand. A price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has also contributed to the sharp drop in energy prices.

“A few months from now when we start reopening factories and cities—and China’s already getting back to normal—we’re going to see pent-up demand,” Flynn said.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

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Author: Emel Akan