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March 26, 2020

Weekly US Jobless Claims Surge to 3.28 Million

 

Increased global measures are being taken to curb the impact of the virus. In the US, the Senate officially approved the $2T stimulus bill overnight in a unanimous vote. The bill includes loans to businesses, tax breaks, and direct payments to Americans. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow, with President Trump insisting he would sign it immediately. This provided some relief to markets after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the US economy "may well be in a recession," but "the virus is going to dictate the timetable." In the eurozone, the ECB has pledged support to Italy and other indebted countries by removing its limits on bond purchases. The original legal text stated that the ECB will buy up to 750 billion euros in the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program in order to avoid accusations of directly funding national governments -- the ECB will debate more relief options throughout the day. The yield on 10-year US Treasury closed yesterday at 0.86% and is trading slightly lower this morning at 0.79%.

 

 

The US initial jobless claims surged to a record 3.28 million last week. Jobless claims increased by 3 million last week, far exceeding the previous weekly high of 695,000 in 1982. This is the first hard data on the impact on the severity of the coronavirus -- the size of this figure was highly debated leading up to the print, with forecasts amongst major market participations widely ranging from 1-4 million. Economic data points other than jobless claims are expected to show similar signs of deterioration in the coming weeks as the spread of COVID-19 worsens in the US -- confirmed cases of infections surpassed 69,000 including 1,050 deaths.

 

 

Day ahead. This morning, the G20 held a teleconference to discuss a coordinated global effort against the coronavirus with leaders calling for increased aid to developing nations. US real GDP growth Q/Q met economist expectations at 2.1%. US international trade in goods for February fell to -59.9 billion. Kansas City Fed's manufacturing survey for March will be released later this morning. The White House will hold their daily coronavirus press briefing this evening.

 

 

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