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COVID-19 implications are far-reaching, affecting households, businesses, and the economy

While the exact economic damage caused by COVID-19 virus remains unclear at present, the pandemic's implications are indeed far reaching, affecting households, businesses and the economy at large.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the sectors and global brands badly hit by coronavirus outbreak, and the measures put in place to help those affected cope through the prevailing economic shock.

South Africa rand weakens as COVID-19 cases rises to 24

South Africa’s rand is understood to have weakened sharply Thursday, along with other emerging market currencies as concerns over the devastating impact of COVID-19 continues to intensify. This follows the classification of the outbreak as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) this week.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the rand was 1.12% weaker at 16.3850, tumbling overnight in frantic selling across a score of financial assets.

On Friday, health minister, Zweli Mkhize, said South Africa – yet to declare the outbreak a public health emergency – had recorded 8 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 24.

The announcement comes just a day after the rand took a deep of 1.12% early Thursday morning, tumbling overnight in frantic selling across a score of financial assets.

But according to Reuters poll forecast with 12 economists some sort of relief may come in the form of South Africa’s central bank pledging to cut rates by 25 basis points next week (March 19) to lift the economy out of recession.

Watch the space!

UK: The Bank of England doing its best to help keep firms in business and people in jobs

The Bank of England has announced emergency plan to cut in interest rates to help stabilize the economy following a sharp fall – as reported by the UK’s Office for National Statistics – in trading since the coronavirus outbreak late last year.

Policymakers reduced rates from 0.75% to 0.25%, making borrowing costs the lowest level in history since 2008. The sudden rate cut will immediately reduce the mortgage bill for minority of homeowners, while the test of savers and borrowers will see little to zero impact.

The Bank said it would also free up billions of pounds of extra lending power to help banks support affected firms, particularly small and medium-sized firms, who will benefit greatly from the reduction in interest rates.

“The Bank of England’s role is to help UK businesses and households manage through an economic shock that could prove large and sharp, but should be temporary,” Mark Carney, the outgoing governor of the Bank of England said.

He’s confident however that the virus is unlikely to inflict the damage seen during the 2008 financial crisis, “if we act as we have, and if there is that targeted support”.

Europe: European Union’s big banks in a scheme poised to alliviate distress among small businesses 

European companies severely impacted by coronavirus would qualify for close to trillion-euro loans backed by European Union and big banks, it was announced yesterday.

The bailout, aimed particularly towards small companies such as hotels, will see them through as they recover from a trough in sales as the virus spreads.

“This could form a central pillar of European governments’ anxiously-awaited response to a crisis that has seen public life in Italy grind to a near halt, schools shut from Spain to Greece and sent financial markets into a spin,” read an article published by

The Federal Reserve pledged to inject $1.5 trillion into the short-term lending markets that banks can use to lend to each other, while the Central Bank announced it will also buy $60 billion worth of Treasury bonds for the next month to help keep that market functioning appropriately. 

US: Trump’s Europe travel ban largely blamed for plumeting US stocks 

President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to ban travel from Europe to reduce the impact of epidermic appears to have added more pressure to trading, as disruptions to the world economy continues to sour.

On Thursday the New York Stock Exchange briefly suspended trading after the Standard & Poor’s 500 plunged 9.5 percent within minutes of the opening bell, officially ending Wall Street’s unprecedented bull-market run of nearly 11 years.

 The Dow Jones Industrial Average on the other hand plummeted 10 percent, its worst since its nearly 23 per cent drop on October 1987.

This comes as US President Donald  Trump announced Thursday that he would ban nearly all travel from Europe for 30 days to stem the spread of the coronavirus. 

The move has been largy disproved by experts, including the European Union, saying it was taken unilaterally and without consultation.

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