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Note the reading below (87.6) was for February, ie *before* any nations outside China locked down:

International imports and exports have fallen to their lowest level for at least four years, according to World Trade Organization figures revealing the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Warning there was little evidence of the downturn ending soon as Covid-19 brings the world economy to an effective standstill, the global authority on trade said it believed import and export activity would fall “precipitously” in the first half of 2020.

“The WTO’s quarterly goods trade barometer, which provides real-time information on the trajectory of world merchandise trade relative to recent trends, slumped to 87.6 on a scale where anything below 100 indicates a downturn. Suggesting a sharp contraction in world trade extending into the second quarter of 2020, the reading was the lowest value on record since the indicator’s launch in July 2016.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/may/20/wto-reports-big-slump-in-global-trade-as-coronavirus-takes-toll


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President Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against China, suggesting that the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, is behind a “disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe.”

““It all comes from the top,” Trump said in a series of tweets on Wednesday night. He added that China was “desperate” to have former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, win the presidential race.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-21/trump-points-finger-at-china-s-xi-escalating-fight-over-virus


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Canada’s consumer price index dropped sharply in April amid nationwide lockdowns, but prices soared for the goods Canadians were actually buying.

“The price index for all goods fell 0.7 per cent in April, and was down 0.2 per cent from a year earlier. That’s the first time Canada has seen a year-on-year deflation in prices since the financial crisis of 2008-09…”

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/canadian-food-prices-soaring-amid-official-deflation/ar-BB14mJH1?li=AAggXBV


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The grim consequences for UK plc of the coronavirus crisis are becoming clearer with every passing day – as GDP goes into free-fall, public debt soars past £2trillion and millions become unemployed.

“Apocalyptic predictions from the Bank of England and others show the UK is on track for the worst recession in 300 years, when the Great Frost swept Europe.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8340037/Grim-charts-reveal-havoc-wreaked-economy-coronavirus.html


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The possibility that Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey will take rates below zero into negative territory for the first time ever has become “very real” as inflation nearly halves during the first full month of Covid-19 lockdown.

“The UK Consumer Prices Index 12-month inflation rate slumped to 0.8% in April.”

https://portfolio-adviser.com/pressure-mounts-on-andrew-bailey-to-implement-negative-rates-as-covid-halves-inflation/


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Banks in Britain hoping to get easy access to European Union markets after Brexit are facing a setback after talks for a cross-border trade deal soured.

“With seven months until Britain leaves the EU’s single market and customs union, the gulf between the two sides widened this week…”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-21/brexit-threat-to-banks-grows-with-gulf-between-u-k-and-eu


French economic activity shrank at a slower pace in May, though it’s still facing a huge slump this quarter, according to IHS Markit. Its latest monthly report showed prospects for a meaningful pickup remain well out of reach.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-05-21/france-faces-colossal-hit-even-as-economic-slump-eases


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Violence broke out on Wednesday evening in Madrid during a protest against the government’s coronavirus lockdown measures…

“There has been a growing wave of anti-government protests in Madrid over the past few days, with the central government refusing to allow the region to move out of phase zero of lockdown due to problems in the health system and the continuing number of infections.”

https://en.as.com/en/2020/05/21/videos/1590016458_034243.html


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Japan’s exports fell the most since the 2009 global financial crisis in April as the coronavirus pandemic slammed world demand for cars, industrial materials and other goods, likely pushing the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-trade/japan-exports-fall-most-since-2009-as-pandemic-wipes-out-global-demand-idUKKBN22W3D0


Up to 3.01 million jobs in Japan could be lost due to the new coronavirus pandemic in the year through next March… In fiscal 2009, the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. led about 950,000 people to lose their jobs in Japan.”

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/05/7c9bafef2333-over-3-mil-jobs-could-be-lost-in-japan-due-to-coronavirus.html


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Chinese companies are facing a reality check after years of ramping up debt.

“…potential investors are reassessing risks. They’ve also grown more skeptical about the quality of Chinese issuers’ financial reporting. In one case, the China Securities Regulatory Commission found Kangde Xin Composite Material Group Co., a laminating film and equipment maker in Jiangsu province, had fabricated 11.9 billion yuan of profits during 2015-2018.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/why-chinas-debt-loaded-companies-face-a-reality-check/2020/05/20/073ce1aa-9ab3-11ea-ad79-eef7cd734641_story.html


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Entire cities [in China] have been sealed again, with citizens forced to quarantine for as many as 35 days and to undergo nucleic acid tests.

“In Shanghai, 20 people were forced to quarantine after one infection was detected on Monday – the first in two months.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/05/21/chinas-new-normal-lockdowns-lifted-amid-second-wave-beijing/


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Eminent economist Ross Garnaut warns Australia is among the countries most exposed to a trade war and what he predicts will be a deep recession and will have to perform better and do more to avoid being one of the worst hit.

“Dr Garnaut said there is now “no chance” of avoiding a deep recession but “we can work to ensure the recession is as shallow and short as possible”.”

https://www.afr.com/policy/economy/australia-most-exposed-to-great-crash-20200521-p54v1u


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Emerging market currencies snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday as concerns about a deep post-pandemic recession returned to the fore after a report cast doubts on the effectiveness of a potential coronavirus vaccine.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/emerging-markets/emerging-markets-currencies-weaken-on-recession-worries-as-vaccine-hopes-fade-idUKL8N2D229A


“… the economic pain has spread as infections balloon, and Russia, dependent on oil revenues for a third of its state budget, finds itself poorly-equipped to offer the sort of economic support programs provided in the West.”

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/Russia-s-Economy-Suffers-Double-Hit-from-Oil-Slump-and-Coronavirus–30641493/


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Turkey’s economy, under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, has a major vulnerability: its local banks’ foreign debt.

“Investors are worried Turkish banks won’t have enough euros and dollars to hand and will struggle to raise funds overseas as a wall of debt comes due over the next year.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/turkish-banks-big-foreign-debts-worry-investors-11589977857


The Bank of Thailand cut its benchmark interest rate to a fresh record low and said it was ready to use additional policy tools if needed with the economy expected to shrink further. By a 4-3 vote, the central bank lowered the policy rate Wednesday by 25 basis points to 0.5%, its third cut this year.”

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/thailand-cuts-rate-third-time-075030620.html


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Mexico – By fueling fears of militarization, President Lopez Obrador’s move to expand the army’s role in public safety tasks risk further damaging his administration’s reputation both at home and abroad…”

https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/rising-crime-and-covid-19-leave-mexico-leaning-its-military


Coronavirus cases soared in Chile Tuesday as soldiers were deployed to back up riot police in Santiago following clashes with demonstrators angry about food shortages and job losses… Overnight Monday to Tuesday rioters looted a neighborhood gas station, while downtown a mob set a bus ablaze.”

https://dailytimes.com.pk/615376/chile-virus-cases-soar-as-soldiers-deploy-following-unrest/


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Social distancing is keeping people off the streets of central Rio de Janeiro.

“And that has created serious challenges for its trans sex workers, who have seen their clientele, and their income, melt away.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/21/if-i-dont-have-sex-ill-die-of-hunger-covid-19-crisis-for-rios-trans-sex-workers


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It is 7am and hundreds of children have come out on this chilly morning to queue for a plate of porridge

“The winding queue is a sign of the desperation that has gripped the populous township of Chitungwiza, on the outskirts of Harare, since Zimbabwe enforced national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, which has seen 46 cases and four deaths.”

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/may/20/we-cant-turn-them-away-the-family-kitchen-fighting-lockdown-hunger-in-zimbabwe


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South Africa has marshalled huge resources towards preventing its poor from starving because of COVID-19, but undocumented citizens and stranded migrants face hunger as they slip through the net, aid workers say.

“Some 11,000 families waited for charity food parcels on Wednesday in a queue stretching for several kilometres outside South Africa’s capital Pretoria, with some lining up from 4.a.m.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-safrica-hungry/migrants-and-those-without-id-face-hunger-in-south-africa-idUKKBN22W2GX


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Lebanon is at risk of a major food crisis and many Lebanese may soon find it hard to afford bread because of an acute financial crunch and the fall-out of COVID-19, the prime minister warned…

““Starvation may spark a new migration flow to Europe and further destabilize the region”, he said.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-lebanon-crisis-diab/lebanon-at-risk-of-major-food-crisis-pm-warns-idUKKBN22X0LG


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“Unless we open up our economy, we have millions facing starvation.”

“That was the straightforward assessment of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the impact of COVID-19 during a virtual meeting of the Forum’s COVID Action Platform on 20 May.”

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/millions-facing-starvation-global-political-and-business-leaders-on-the-economic-impact-of-covid-19/


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“Food is expansively traded cross-nationally, which generates a world price that is typically indexed in U.S. dollars (still the currency that is most used internationally, by far). Changes to the value of the greenback have the potential to move a wide range of prices around the world, including the price of food.

“And the value of the U.S. dollar is most influenced by the actions of the Federal Reserve.”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/20/food-price-spikes-and-social-unrest-the-dark-side-of-the-feds-crisis-fighting/


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Lifting social distancing requirements in order to reopen the economy is a false promise, according to Rebucci. An economic depression is inevitable, he believes, and the financial future of the country is unlikely to resemble the economy of the past. Instead, he says, in order for the U.S. economy to recover, the public needs an end to the pandemic.

“”What businesses and customers need to return to normalcy is safety and the certainty that the health risks have been brought under control,” he says. “Until then, it is difficult to see how we can go back to the new normal with adjustments here and there, relative to our pre-COVID-19 consumption habits and business models.”

“He adds: “Reopening an infected economy is no shortcut” to financial recovery.”

https://phys.org/news/2020-05-economist-reopening-infected-economy-shortcut.html


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