Singapore will post its biggest budget deficit since at least 1997, pledging S$6.4 billion ($4.6 billion) in dedicated support for an economy being slammed by the coronavirus outbreak.
The deficit will widen to 2.1% of gross domestic product in the year through March 2021 from a projected 0.3% in the current fiscal year, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said Tuesday in Parliament.
Thieves in Japan have made off with some 6,000 surgical masks from a hospital, with the country facing a mass shortage and a huge price hike online due to the coronavirus.
Four boxes containing the face masks disappeared from a locked storage facility at the Japanese Red Cross hospital in the western port city of Kobe, a hospital official said on Tuesday (Feb 18).
New French health minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday there is a “credible risk” China’s coronavirus outbreak could turn into a pandemic, spreading across the world.
This is both a working assumption and a credible risk,” Veran told France Info radio.
Singapore construction firms are asking for advice about whether they have the option of invoking force majeure clauses in building contracts as the government turns away or quarantines Chinese labor to stop the spread of the coronavirus, lawyers told Reuters.
The firm lowered its growth forecast for China from 5.8% to 5.2% for 2020, which would reflect “a severe but short-lived economic impact, with knock-on effects for economies across the region.” It added that lower Chinese import demand would be the primary reason for slowing growth.
Doctors in Shanghai are using infusions of blood plasma from people who have recovered from the coronavirus to treat those still battling the infection, reporting some encouraging preliminary results, a Chinese professor said on Monday.
These sorts of payments are commonplace in many parts of the world — including in Argentina, where $44 billion in dividends were transferred to Treasury coffers over the past decade — but by pumping pesos into a fragile economy they would threaten to add to a surge in consumer prices that has already pushed the country’s inflation rate over 50%.
Speaking from Buenos Aires, Jimena Blanco, head of Latin America at Verisk Maplecroft, told CNBC via telephone that the risk consultancy had assigned a 77% probability that Argentina would default before the end of the year.
“Shares are acting like we’re in times of exuberance, not the middle of a huge public health crisis,” said Shi Junbo, a fund manager at Hangzhou Xiyan Asset Management Co. in Beijing. “But as a rule, when shares rise solely on liquidity hopes, they will without exception tumble. We’re not getting away from the impact of the virus on markets once and for all.”
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