News ticker Corona: Bavaria increases emergency aid for small businesses

The corona virus continues to spread. Current developments follow.

12.55 p.m. – Bavaria increases the liquidity aid rates for small businesses. Companies with more than ten employees could get up to 9,000 (previously 5,000) euros that would not have to be repaid, said Minister of Economics Hubert Aiwanger. Companies with up to 250 employees could receive up to 50,000 (previously 30,000) euros.

12.51 p.m. – Commerzbank claims to have received over 15,000 financing requests from corporate customers in the Corona crisis. “Overall, the bank has already provided corona-related loans in the billions,” said a Commerzbank spokesman. There is a very high need for advice on the funding programs, and the money house is working flat out to check the applications quickly. “It is clear that we have to carry out an individual risk assessment. KfW demands this from us, and we continue to have this responsibility as a bank.”

12.49 p.m. – Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder does not want to talk to the other federal states until mid-April about a possible relaxation of the exit restrictions in the wake of the corona crisis. The further course of action should be coordinated nationwide, says Söder in Munich. The CSU politician had been criticized by some politicians in other federal states for his rushing forward in Bavaria – for example in the case of school closings or shop closings.

12.47 p.m. – The head of the economic operations, Lars Feld, sees so-called helicopter money – i.e. flat payments to all citizens – skeptical for Germany according to the US model. If it were assumed that the European Central Bank (ECB) should distribute vouchers to the population in such a case, other ECB instruments for supplying liquidity to the European economy would make more sense. In addition, against the background of the social market economy, opportunities such as short-time work benefits and the federal government’s aid package, helicopter money in Germany is not as necessary as in the USA. “The United States does not have these automatic stabilizers and must use other instruments.”

12.44 p.m. – Chancellor Angela Merkel and the state premiers want to hold a conference call on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the maintenance of restrictions on public and economic life, according to coalition circles. Chancellor official Helge Braun (CDU) had already announced at the weekend that there should be no easing before April 20.

12.42 p.m. – The number of proven coronavirus infections in Switzerland has risen to 15.475. The previous day there were 14,336 cases. Health officials say 295 people have died of Covid-19.

12.39 p.m. – Bavaria extends exit restrictions and store closings by two weeks until April 19. “There is no time for a hasty exit or a debate about it,” said Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) in Munich. However, the measures would not be tightened any further. The curve of new infections flattens somewhat. On Monday, 1147 infections were reported in Bavaria, a total of 14,437. The number of deaths increased by 23 to 133. “It is important that we do not act carelessly,” says Söder. “If you get up too early, you risk a massive relapse.”

12:29 – In Spain, the head of the health crisis team, Fernando Simon, has been tested positive for the virus, according to the authorities. Simon has been instrumental in developing the country’s strategy to fight the virus and has been in regular contact with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

12:24 – The Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany (CHKD) is calling for an accelerated customs procedure to facilitate the import of materials and supplies to combat the corona virus. This is one of the measures that the federal government must take to support the real economy, the CHKD explains. Maintaining supply chains is extremely challenging, sometimes impossible. However, although numerous Chinese companies surveyed in Germany anticipated a drop in profits, 65 percent of them looked optimistically and expected strong growth after the epidemic in the second half of the year.

12.15 p.m. – CSU finance politician Hans Michelbach demands that the federal government coordinate business and unions as soon as possible in order to prepare for a gradual relaxation of the current restrictions. “The gradual return to normality needs a lead in order to enable a structured start-up of economic life,” explains Michelbach. “Citizens and business need clear prospects in the current corona crisis.”

12 noon – According to the “Augsburger Allgemeine” newspaper, former economy minister and ex-SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel is calling for a government aid fund to help companies particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis to repay debt. Gabriel is quoted as saying that the current aid program to support companies with loans and guarantees does not help many companies because they do not know how to repay the new debts.

11:57 am – There are now more infected people in Spain than in China, where the new coronavirus broke out in late 2019. The Ministry of Health in Madrid reports an increase in the number of infections by 6398 to 85,195. The number of deaths rose from Sunday to Monday by 812 to 7,340. After Italy, Spain is the worst affected by the pandemic in Europe. In China, the number of new corona infections officially dropped for the fourth day in a row. There are now 81,470 confirmed infected and 3304 deaths.

11:48 am – The number of infected people in Iran has risen by 3186 to 41,495, according to the government. The number of virus deaths increased by 117 to 2757 within 24 hours, says a spokesman for the Ministry of Health on state television. He called on the population to stay at home.

11.45 a.m. – Following Boris Johnson’s positive coronavirus test, a leading adviser to the British Prime Minister is now in quarantine for Covid 19 symptoms. Dominic Cummings got symptoms at the weekend and isolated himself at home, a government spokesman said. Johnson had tested positive for the virus on Friday, as had Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The government’s chief medical advisor, Chris Whitty, is also in quarantine.

11.43 a.m. – President of the Physician Frank Ulrich Montgomery considers a gradual lifting of the nationwide closure of schools and universities at the earliest in May. “If the numbers continue to develop as they do now, we should be able to expect schools to reopen in regions that are not extremely stressed in May,” says the president of the German Medical Association “Bild”. But one also had to be prepared to close regional schools again if the situation changed.

11:28 – The economy Volker Wieland requires politicians to develop an exit scenario in the virus crisis and to communicate soon. “You can make it clear on the basis of certain criteria: How can it go on?” Says the economist in a video chat with journalists. This could stabilize the economic situation and create trust.

11.25 a.m. – Austria is tightening the measures to contain the virus. From Wednesday, all supermarket chains will be distributing protective masks at the entrance, which must then be worn, says Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. In the medium term, this mouth and nose protection should be worn wherever people go by.

11.20 a.m. – Achim Truger, a business man, calls for strong international cooperation in the fight against the corona virus “It is very important to coordinate health and economic policy measures.” It would be no use if a country – such as Germany – came out of the crisis well, but the situation in neighboring countries was significantly worse. “Then we cannot start up production either.” In the crisis, the communities would also come into focus. “Politicians should readjust so that local authorities can perform important services.”

11.08 a.m. – The banks in Germany are increasing the limit for contactless payments at the cash register, which do not have to be confirmed with a PIN at the terminal. Instead of 25 euros previously, customers will only have to type in the PIN from 50 euros when using the EC card, as the German banking industry reports. It may still take a while until the time comes. The precise implementation plan will be drawn up by all those involved, because the stability of the systems remains a top priority. In future, users would have to enter the PIN again after five transactions or after a total of 150 euros due to legal requirements.

10.50 a.m. – In Japan, the ruling Liberal Democrats have, according to a media report, proposed an economic stimulus package in the fight against the corona crisis of around 500 billion euros. Under the LDP’s plans, direct government funds of around € 167 billion will flow to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy, the Kyodo news agency reports.

10.47 a.m. – The CDU Presidium rejects a debate about easing the restrictions on going out at the moment. Only when the “doubling time” of the infected has reached ten days is one on the right path, says a participant in the meeting of the committee. It is therefore wrong to discuss the end of the measures now.

10:23 am – According to a survey by the industry association VDMA, the German machinery manufacturers are having more and more problems. “The proportion of companies whose operations are affected rose from 60 to 84 percent within two weeks. Almost every second affected company (45 percent) suffers from ‘serious’ or ‘noticeable’ disruptions along the supply chain.” Italy is particularly affected, followed by Germany, China, France and the USA. “This leads to noticeable production burdens and production downtimes.”

10.02 a.m. – The business climate in the Corona crisis in March also deteriorated significantly in the digital industry. The digital index of the industry association Bitkom and the Munich Ifo Institute dropped to 0.6 points from 24.6 points in February. This is the lowest value since the peak of the financial crisis in 2009, Bitkom said. A majority of companies in the IT and telecommunications industry expect further deterioration over the next six months, the barometer for business expectations fell by 30.9 to minus 18.4 points. This is the strongest decline within one month since the first survey in 2006. The current situation, on the other hand, is still mostly viewed positively.

9:50 am – ECB Vice-President Luis de Guindos does not consider EU bonds to be the most powerful weapon in the fight against the economic pandemic. “It is not the only defense tool, and certainly not the most powerful,” ECB chief Christine Lagarde’s deputy told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope on Monday. So-called “corona bonds” are highly controversial among the EU countries. While a number of EU countries, including France and Italy, are calling for it, Chancellor Angela Merkel sees the ESM euro aid mechanism as the appropriate tool instead.

9:33 am – French companies that receive state aid in the Corona crisis are not allowed to buy back shares. “Share buybacks will not be compatible with the use of state support,” said Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire to BFM TV. The government had already announced on Friday that financially supported companies must not pay dividends to shareholders.

9:27 am – According to insiders, Japan has another equivalent of around 134 billion euros in its fight against the effects of the virus crisis. The country will issue additional 16 trillion yen in government bonds from July, government officials say. The project is roughly the size of the package that the government put together in 2009 in the fight against the global financial crisis. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced massive aid to support the world’s third largest economy in the virus crisis, but the volume is still open.

9:22 am – According to a leading epidemiologist in the UK, there is hope of a slowdown in the coronavirus epidemic. “We believe that the epidemic in the UK is currently slowing,” said government college expert Neil Ferguson, who advises the government, on BBC radio. There are first signs of this. In addition, a third or even 40 percent of people would have no symptoms. Newly developed antibody tests could be ready for use in a few days.

9:11 am – Serbia wants to launch a five billion euro crisis program in the fight against the economic consequences of the virus crisis in order to support local companies with loans and subsidies. The measures are expected to increase the budget deficit this year, President Aleksandar Vucic said. They would be financed through financial reserves and new debts.

9:02 am – According to the VDA, the largely paralyzed German automotive industry is ready to support the manufacture of medical protective equipment and respirators. Many companies are looking for how they can help with the production of protective clothing, face masks and respirators, says VDA President Hildegard Müller on ARD. However, the manufacture of ventilators is a very complex process. The industry is considering how it can support production with spare parts. The exchange with politics is going very well.

8:48 am – The Corona crisis could delay Bulgaria’s entry into the euro zone. Central bank governor Dimitar Radev told Nova TV that accession to the previously required so-called exchange rate mechanism and the banking union should not take place until 2021. This was actually scheduled for July. This is usually followed by a two-year waiting period before joining. The Balkans are one of the poorest, but also one of the least indebted EU members.

8:45 am – The medical union Marburger Bund demands that Germany produce the much-needed protective clothing itself on a large scale. For this, Health Minister Jens Spahn and Economics Minister Peter Altmaier would have to create the legal framework, said the first chairwoman, Susanne Johna, to the SWR. Now industry support and unconventional solutions are needed to be able to produce large quantities in Germany as quickly as possible. The conditions are there: “We are not only the land of poets and thinkers, but also of engineers and mechanical engineers.” If you put the whole focus on it, it will be possible relatively quickly.

8:10 am – Short-time work in German industry will soon increase dramatically, according to a forecast by the Ifo Institute. 25.6 percent of all companies expect short-time work in the next three months, as the Munich researchers say, citing their company survey. That is the highest level since 2010. Three months ago, the share was 15.3 percent. The key sectors of automobiles (41 percent), mechanical engineering (33 percent) and electronics (32 percent) are affected above average. “The full extent of the corona pandemic has probably not yet been taken into account in all these figures because most of the responses were received by mid-March,” explains Ifo expert Klaus Wohlrabe.

8:05 am – According to a media report, the trade ministers of the 20 leading industrialized and emerging countries (G20) will be given a video conference during the day about the cooperation in the supply chains. The Japanese business newspaper “Nikkei” reports that the crisis consultations will focus on maintaining and strengthening the supply chains.

07.55 – Australia has put together a package worth around 72 billion euros to save jobs in the Corona crisis. It also includes a premium for employers to secure jobs, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison explains. This “job keeper” payment of a good 830 euros (1,500 Australian dollars) is to be paid to employers every two weeks for each employee. “We will pay employers to pay their employees,” said Morrison.

07:41 – Green Group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt pleads for a broad debate about how the restrictions on public life can be reduced. “We now have to talk about how it can be done,” she says on Deutschlandfunk. However, a point in time cannot currently be given. First, the conditions for easing would have to be created. Göring-Eckardt mentioned in this connection the increase in capacity in hospitals and health offices and better care for the population, for example with respiratory masks.

07:37 – FDP boss Christian Lindner calls for improvements in government aid for companies to deal with the corona crisis. He fears that the aid now granted is not targeted enough, is not being granted quickly enough and is still too bureaucratic, says Lindner on ARD. Therefore, Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz (SPD) should enable companies of all sizes to apply for a drop in sales to have taxes paid reimbursed. You can then bill exactly later. That would be even more accurate than a grant, but above all it would be faster. “I believe that we now need to preserve jobs and economic activity in the area.”

7:08 am – According to the Robert Koch Institute, the number of coronavirus infections in Germany rose by 4751 to 57,298. The number of deaths as a result of Covid-19 disease increased by 66 to 455.

7:02 am – In South Korea, most families should receive an aid payment in cash for the equivalent of up to 740 euros to help them cope with the crisis. President Moon Jae In announces this. The exception is the highest-income third of households. Moon wants to prepare another special budget, which Parliament should approve in April. There should also be additional help for small and medium-sized companies. This should relieve them of insurance and electricity costs.

6:31 am – As expected, the central bank (MAS) in Singapore has eased its monetary policy significantly in view of the expected recession. Economists speak of the most aggressive step since the financial crisis in 2009. The MAS controls its monetary policy primarily by setting exchange rates for the domestic Singapore dollar.

06:23 – The Alliance of Public Water Management (AöW) warns according to “Handelsblatt” in view of the scarcity of toilet paper in parts of Germany of risks for the sewage network. According to this, consumers resort to wet wipes, household rolls or paper handkerchiefs, but these threaten to clog sewage pipes. “Do not throw alternative hygiene articles into the toilet, but please dispose of them in well-sealed trash bags over the gray bin,” the association is quoted as saying.

4:19 p.m. – China’s central bank unexpectedly cuts interest rates on reverse repurchase agreements. The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) said on its website that it is lowering the 7-day reverse repo rate from 2.40 percent to 2.20 percent. The PBOC is pumping 50 billion yuan ($ 7 billion) into money markets through seven-day reverse repos, breaking the liquidity instrument with its usual 29-day break without fresh capital injections.

3:51 am – According to Chinese state television, Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to promptly adjust the support policy for small and medium-sized companies to protect them from the effects of the corona virus. Xi said during a Sunday visit to a factory in Ningbo that Chinese companies should actively resume operations and production, even if efforts to combat the corona virus continue, the report said.

3:44 am – Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez extends the nationwide curfew until mid-April. This was initially planned until the end of March. It will now be in effect until the end of Easter week, he says.

2:46 am – China reports 31 new coronavirus cases. According to the National Health Commission, this includes only a locally transmitted infection. The day before, the number of new cases was 45. The Commission reports four new deaths, bringing the total death toll from the mainland coronavirus outbreak to 3,304. According to the authorities, the total number of infections is 81,470.

02:31 – The US Department of Health (HHS) accepts drug donations from pharmaceutical companies Novartis and Bayer AG. Novartis has provided 30 million units of the agent hydroxychloroquine, Bayer one million units of its drug chloroquine, the agency said. Both preparations are used in the therapy and prophylaxis of malaria.

01:27 – Japan extends its entry ban to citizens from the United States, China, South Korea and most of Europe, reports the newspaper “Asahi”. The government is considering banning entry from some countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, the newspaper writes, citing several government sources.

00:38 – US President Donald Trump says he will extend the guidelines to slow the spread of the corona virus until April 30. Originally, he had planned the measures until Easter weekend. Trump adds that the Corona virus deaths could peak around Easter.

00:34 – The government in Australia will have its foreign investment review board (FIRB) assess all new foreign investments during the duration of the coronavirus crisis to prevent the economically troubled companies from being sold out as a result of the virus outbreak. “This is not an investment freeze. Australia is open to business and recognizes that investing at this time can be beneficial if it is in the national interest,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “These measures are necessary to protect national interest as the coronavirus outbreak is putting pressure on the Australian economy and businesses.”

00:23 – US President Donald Trump accuses hospitals of hoarding ventilators. We have some healthcare workers, some hospitals that bunker devices, including ventilators, “says Trump in the White House.” You have to release these ventilators – especially hospitals that they will never use. “Trump, whose critics accuse him of he tries to shift the blame for dealing with the crisis, gives no evidence to support his allegation, and remains unclear as to which medical facilities he refers to.

00:00 – Researchers at the Institute of German Economics (IW) advise against the use of the ESM euro rescue package in the current corona crisis, according to a media report. In an analysis, the economists examined how the EU member states could support each other financially in the corona crisis, reports “Welt” in advance. They came to the conclusion that the use of precautionary credit lines from the ESM (ECCL) bailout fund is dangerous under the current conditions. They warned that such loans could make the states affected even worse.

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