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Charting the Economy: Data, Policy Reflect Virus Fallout

Zoe Schneeweiss and Vince Golle
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Charting the Economy: Data, Policy Reflect Virus Fallout

(Bloomberg) -- Soaring U.S. applications for jobless benefits, collapsing business confidence in Germany and a whirlwind of central bank actions underscore the coronavirus’s tightening grip on a global economy barreling toward recession.

Here are some of the charts that appeared on Bloomberg this week, offering a insight into the latest developments in the global economy:

U.S.

The number of people filing for unemployment benefits jumped by 70,000 last week, the most since November 2012, amid economic stoppages. It’ll get worse: Goldman Sachs economists expect jobless applications in the current week to soar to a record 2.25 million.

While restaurants and other services are clearly suffering, March manufacturing data show how the virus is extending its economic reach. Factory gauges from the Federal Reserve banks of Philadelphia and New York dropped by the most on record.

To help support better functioning of the global financial system, the Fed established temporary dollar liquidity-swap lines with a number of its counterparts.

Europe

The euro-area economy is due to suffer the worst growth ever in its two decades of existence, and lawmakers must unleash fiscal stimulus to ensure the monetary union is preserved, Bloomberg economists say.

German business confidence plunged the most in almost three decades. Forecasts are struggling to capture the extent of the disruption, which has swept across the continent in a matter of weeks.

Asia

The People’s Bank of China has injected money into the financial system but held off from steep interest rate cuts. The government is accelerating spending on infrastructure and has lowered taxes but has come nowhere close to the 4 trillion yuan ($570 billion) bazooka-style stimulus it unleashed during the financial crisis.

Emerging Markets

Meantime, Pakistan has a second battle on its hands -- locusts. The pest damage shows the world’s fifth most populous nation is having to cope with sporadic shortages of essential food items like sugar and wheat flour.

World

The guardians of the world economy are fighting a war on two fronts and giving their all to combat the coronavirus crisis. Not only are they defending businesses and consumers that look frighteningly vulnerable to the pandemic, they’re also striving to contain a rout on financial markets that threatens to make things worse.

(Updates final chart to include Mexico rate cut)

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