COVID-19

How Europe can support its economy as the COVID-19 outbreak grows

Victoria Craig Mar 11, 2020
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The European Central Bank benchmark rate already sits at a record low of -0.5%. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
COVID-19

How Europe can support its economy as the COVID-19 outbreak grows

Victoria Craig Mar 11, 2020
The European Central Bank benchmark rate already sits at a record low of -0.5%. Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Six weeks ago, the European Central Bank was optimistic about the eurozone economy thanks to improving business sentiment, recovering global trade and a de-escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions.

But that was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last week, the Federal Reserve stunned markets with an emergency half a percentage point rate cut, and central banks in Japan and the U.K. vowed to take part in a coordinated global effort to support financial markets and maintain economic stability.

On Thursday, the ECB will decide whether to commit to that promise, too.

But economists have warned there’s little scope for the central bank to act since its benchmark rate already sits at a record low of -0.5%.

Aside from further slashing rates into negative territory, investors say the bank could expand the asset purchase program it restarted last year, or provide new lending systems for small businesses hit by coronavirus disruption.

President Christine Lagarde has said the ECB is “ready to take appropriate and targeted measures” to address the crisis. She just may need to dig deeper in her monetary policy toolbox to find the right recession fighting fix.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s going on with extra COVID-19 unemployment benefits?

It’s been weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum that was supposed to get the federal government back into the business of topping up unemployment benefits, to $400 a week. Few states, however, are currently paying even part of the benefit that the president promised. And, it looks like, in most states, the maximum additional benefit unemployment recipients will be able to get is $300.

What’s the latest on evictions?

For millions of Americans, things are looking grim. Unemployment is high, and pandemic eviction moratoriums have expired in states across the country. And as many people already know, eviction is something that can haunt a person’s life for years. For instance, getting evicted can make it hard to rent again. And that can lead to spiraling poverty.

Which retailers are requiring that people wear masks when shopping? And how are they enforcing those rules?

Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, CVS, Home Depot, Costco — they all have policies that say shoppers are required to wear a mask. When an employee confronts a customer who refuses, the interaction can spin out of control, so many of these retailers are telling their workers to not enforce these mandates. But, just having them will actually get more people to wear masks.

You can find answers to more questions on unemployment benefits and COVID-19 here.

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