All but a handful of nations are announcing extreme steps to save their economies.
BRITIAN: The Boris Johnson administration has unveiled a £350-billion plan, equal to about 15 percent of the UK’s GDP, to guarantee cheap loans to every business needing cash. Small businesses can draw from a separate £5-million pool with no interest due for six months. Retail businesses can suspend business tax payments for a year.
Homeowners in trouble can skip mortgage payments for three months without penalty.
Other measures will be announced as deemed necessary because the government will “do whatever it takes” to rescue Britain’s economy through interventions that “would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago,” according to Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, or treasury secretary.
CANADA: Canada’s support net offers $10 billion in loans to small and medium-size businesses and has added $5 billion to its farm loan fund.
The Bank of Canada has lowered its repo rate by 50 basis points to 0.75 percent and loosened its repo collateral requirements, dropped the amount of reserve cash required, and loosened other regulations temporarily.
The government will buy up to $50 billion worth of insured mortgage bundles to make sure that banks will be stable and cash-rich enough to keep lending.
For workers facing layoffs, Canada will pay amounts equivalent to 10 percent of wages up to $1,375 per employee to keep people on the job and will offer cash incentives for workers to share jobs.
The government also has suspended federal student loan payments and interest for six months.
FRANCE: To support Europe’s second-largest economy, the French government has backed €300 billion in bank loans to corporations. The government also has said it stands ready to “recapitalize” key companies, which could mean buying into them or even taking them over.
The Macron administration also has deferred €32 billion in corporate taxes and social welfare charges for one month and €8.5 billion for two months of payments into unemployment funds.
The plan hikes France’s deficit to 3.9 percent of GDP this year, up from the planned 2.2 percent. The proportion violates the Eurozone limit on annual deficits, but France can’t “stint on spending when there’s a war on,” said budget minister Gerald Darmanin.
GERMANY: The plan offers cake to the rich, crumbs for the rest.
The €756-billion program plan allots €600 billion to large corporations but just €50 billion to small and medium-size businesses and self-employed people, which together make up more than half of German jobs.
The government forecasts that about three million small businesses, including one-person operations, will apply to the €50-billion fund, which would allow a maximum benefit of €15,000 per applicant.
Businesses with four or fewer workers will receive €9,000 a month for three months; firms with five to nine employees will receive three monthly payments of €15,000.
About €400 billion of the bailout fund is earmarked to buy corporate debt. Also, the government-owned Bank for Reconstruction will have €100 billion with which to make loans to businesses. The government has set aside another €100 billion to take over companies.
INDIA: The subcontinent’s relief plan focuses $22.5 billion on ensuring that two-thirds of the country’s 1.3 billion people have food and money. About $2 billion will be invested in the health care industry’s ability to combat the virus.
The plan will fund free grain and legumes for 800 million poor families for three months.
Under the program, 30 million elderly will receive a one-time gift of 1,000 rupees (about $13) and the farm support program would be expanded to grant 2,000 rupees to each of 87 million poor farmers.
Health care workers also will receive $66,500 worth of insurance.
SOUTH AFRICA: The government will pay 500 rand – about $30 – over each of the next four months to about four million low-income workers.
A pool of 500 million rand has been set up to make loans to more than 75,000 small and medium-size businesses struggling as a result of the virus’s economic impact. Businesses also have been granted a six-month delay in paying their taxes.
Another 13 billion rand has been targeted to industrial businesses and health care firms.
Also, a “Solidarity Fund” has been set up to solicit contributions to support afflicted businesses and their workers. The Rupert and Oppenheimer families have each pledged one billion rand to the fund.
SPAIN: The country has set aside €600 billion to help individuals whose incomes have been disrupted and also authorized the suspension of mortgage and utility-bill payments for hard-hit households.
The relief plan also makes it easier for workers to be “suspended” from work rather than laid off, which protects their access to their employee benefits.
A €100-billion government loan fund has been established to keep businesses open and is designed to leverage an equal amount in private-sector funding. “We are not going to allow temporary liquidity problems to become problems of solvency,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.