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March 25, 2020 Newsletter Header


The Bilateral Chamber will continue to provide our members with relevant, timely information to help you navigate through these unprecedented times. This update will focus on the extraordinary fiscal stimulus measures being discussed, debated and implemented by governments around the world to support their economies. If you have any questions or would like to share helpful resources, please feel free to contact us at

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

March 25, 2020 Live coronavirus map
Taken as of March 25th, 2020 @10:00 AM CST.

To view the live update of the COVID-19 Global Cases, Click here.


CNN: White House, Senate reach historic $2 trillion stimulus deal amid growing coronavirus fears
The White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the most expensive and far-reaching measures in the history of Congress.

Axios: U.S. Economic Stimulus Packages Phase 1 and 2
In just a few weeks, the White House has gone from proposing a few billion dollars in quick aid to one of the largest and most expensive stimulus packages in modern history.

CNBC: The Federal Reserve just pledged asset purchases with no limit
The U.S. Federal Reserve announced a barrage of new programs to help keep the market functioning. Among the moves is an open-ended commitment to keep buying assets under its quantitative easing measures. The Fed will be moving for the first time into corporate bonds, purchasing the investment-grade securities in primary and secondary markets and through exchange-traded funds.

​U.S. Department of Treasury: Treasury and Federal Reserve Board Expand Measures to Enhance Liquidity and Flow of Credit to American Workers, Households, and Businesses
To immediately enhance liquidity and support American workers, households, and businesses through this challenging period, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin today authorized the expansion of two recently launched facilities and the establishment of three new facilities to provide liquidity to the financial system pursuant to section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act.

IRS: Tax Day now July 15: Treasury, IRS extend filing deadline and federal tax payments
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

IRS: Treasury, IRS and Labor announce plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses
The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the U.S. Department of Labor (Labor) announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Act), signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020.

EXIM Bank of the U.S.: Message from the Chairman to EXIM Stakeholders
In response to the current situation, EXIM announced initial relief measures for U.S. exporters and financial institutions, including waivers, deadline extensions, streamlined processing, and flexibility, on March 12, 2020. These measures are in place for an initial period of 30 days, with the possibility of U.S. IRS: Tax Day now July 15 further extension at EXIM’s discretion, and designed to allow business owners to focus their attention on the health of their employees, without worry of meeting EXIM’s deadlines.


Gulf News: Dubai banks offer relief for coronavirus impacted customers
The measures announced by the banks seek to support the UAE Government and the UAE Central Bank's six-month economic stimulus package and the Dubai Government's three-month economic stimulus package to sustain the business sector in the UAE and Dubai. Leading Dubai banks that have joined the effort to provide relief to their customers include Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Islamic, Mashreq and Commercial Bank of Dubai.

Arabian Business: Saudi Social Development Bank launches $3.2bn fund to support start-ups and SMEs
The Saudi Social Development Bank (SDB) has announced a SR12 billion ($3.2bn) programme to support start-ups and small enterprises, as well as families on low incomes, during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Nasdaq: Egypt will allocate 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27 billion) to support the stock exchange
Egypt will allocate 20 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.27 billion) to support the stock exchange, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday. The government had already announced a raft of measures aimed at protecting the economy against the global repercussions of the spread of the coronavirus, including a 3% interest rate cut, reducing energy prices for industrial users and cutting the tax on company dividends. Sisi had ordered the allocation of 100 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.37 billion) to finance a “comprehensive” state plan for tackling the disease.

Cairo Scene: Egypt Announces Breakdown of EGP 100 Billion Stimulus Package
According to the President’s address, EGP 50 billion has been earmarked for the tourism industry and keeping hotels afloat, specifically to maintain the operation of hotels and fund their running costs. EGP 20 billion has been dedicated to the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE)’s support of the stock exchange. A further EGP 27.6 billion is being directly disbursed, within the coming few weeks according to the Minister of Social Solidarity, to 2.4 million families (10 million citizens) through an amendment to a new law allowing pensioners to retroactively add five previous raises to their pay. The President also announced a 14% annual raise for pensioners and a two-year freeze on the implementation of the tax on agricultural land.

Arabian Business: Bahraini nationals can now delay loan repayments by six months
Bahraini nationals can delay payment of bank loans by six months as the kingdom fights against the deadly coronavirus pandemic. Central Bank of Bahrain Governor Rashid Mohammed Al-Maraj said: “All retails banks, finance and micro-finance firms have to grant citizens a six-month waiver without fees, interest-on-interest (compound interest) or increase in the profit or interest rate.” The waiver, which is applicable from this month, also covers credit cards, but does not include inter-bank deposits or borrowings.

Arabian Business: Bahrain announces $11.3bn stimulus package to soften blow of coronavirus
The government of Bahrain has announced an $11.38 billion economic stimulus package to support its citizens and the private sector amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The eight-point package includes a draft law – not yet passed – that concerns paying the salaries of all private-sector employees for three months from April 2020 from the unemployment fund, following constitutional procedures and in line with the country’s social insurance law.

Arabian Business: Kuwait sets up $33m fund to tackle spread of coronavirus
The fund was announced by the governor of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) and will be financed by Kuwaiti banks. The money will be placed in the hands of the cabinet who will be free to disburse as they see fit in order to address emergency cases.

Arabian Business: Oman unveils $20bn economic stimulus as virus burden looms
Oman's Central Bank unveiled a $20 billion incentive package for financial institutions to combat the impact of the new coronavirus on the local economy. The series of measures are expected to provide OR8 billion in additional liquidity to the country's financial institutions, the central bank said in a tweet.


National Law Review: UK Chancellor Announces Unprecedented Measures to Support the British Economy
The UK Chancellor announced an economic intervention which is “unprecedented in the history of the British state” with measures to support the United Kingdom’s economy in the midst of COVID-19.

World Economic Forum: The UK will pay workers’ wages during the coronavirus pandemic
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said the government would help to pay wages of companies in an unprecedented step as it unveiled a programme of support for working, self-employed and unemployed people, as well as businesses.

Independent: EU agrees to lift spending limits on national budgets
The European Union has agreed to limit spending limits on national budgets to give countries breathing space to fight coronavirus, effectively green-lighting massive stimulus packages and public spending. EU finance ministers said the "conditions for the use of the general escape clause of the EU fiscal framework" had been "fulfilled".

Financial Post: Germany launches 750 bln euro package to fight coronavirus
Germany agreed a package worth up to 750 billion euros ($808 billion) to mitigate the damage of the coronavirus outbreak on Europe’s largest economy, with Berlin aiming to take on new debt for the first time since 2013. The federal government’s supplementary budget of 156 billion euros, which will be financed with new borrowing.


Reuters: African finance ministers call for $100 billion stimulus, debt holiday
African finance ministers have called for a $100 billion stimulus package, including a suspension of debt service payments, to help the continent combat coronavirus. Some $44 billion would come from not servicing debt and they would also tap existing facilities in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other regional institutions.

The South African: Coronavirus stimulus package: 12 measures to ‘cushion’ the economy
On Monday 23 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced at the Union Buildings that businesses affected by coronavirus would not be left out in the cold. Besides a Solidarity Fund being set up to which South African businesses, organisations and individuals and members of the international community can contribute to fight the spread of COVID-19, Ramaphosa gave the assurance that businesses will also be given support. A Debt Relief Fund to help alleviate the economic impact of the coronavirus on small businesses in South Africa came into operation on Tuesday 24 March.

Nairametrics: CBN, Bankers committee back N3.5 trillion stimulus package for Nigeria
The Central Bank of Nigeria and the bankers’ committee have agreed to back a N3.5 trillion stimulus package for the Nigerian economy. The communique did not explain how the funds will be disbursed but pledged to grant funding facilities (in Naira and foreign exchange) to pharmaceutical companies in the country to enable them to procure raw materials and equipment to boost local drug production in Nigeria.

​Daily Monitor: Ethiopia's Abiy seeks $150b for African virus response
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed urged G20 leaders to help Africa cope with the coronavirus crisis by facilitating debt relief and providing $150 billion in emergency funding. The proposed $150-billion (138-billion-euro) aid package could include budgetary support from the World Bank and crisis financing from the International Monetary Fund, the statement said. To alleviate African debt burdens, Abiy proposed that interest payments on government loans "should be written off" and that "part of the debt of low-income countries should be written off."


The Economic Times: The Reserve Bank of India to Inject Rs 1 Lakh Crore Liquidity via Repo Operations
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would offer Rs 1 lakh crore to banks via repo operations in two equal tranches on March 23- 24. The objective is to tide over any liquidity requirement on account of disruptions due to coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan Today: Government Likely to Announce Rs 1.1tr Relief Stimulus Package
The Pakistani federal government, as part of its rescue-cum-economic stimulus package, would soon announce an income support programme as well as relief in energy prices for both domestic consumers and big businesses.


Gulf News: Philippine central bank to release Php300 billion ($6 billion) to fight coronavirus
The Monetary Board of the Philippines' central bank announced the amount will be made available to the national government through a repurchase agreement. The national government will then use the amount to fund initiatives and programs in fighting the pandemic.

Fox Business: China weighs $7T coronavirus stimulus plan, includes coal-fired power plant projects
According to a report from the South China Morning Post, China is planning to inject $7 trillion into its economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus. However, among the projects the plan is said to include are coal-fired power plants, which has sparked criticism among detractors that the government could be leaning toward more of a reliance on fossil fuels.

The Japan Times: Japan mulls ¥30 trillion ($270 billion) in economic stimulus to counter coronavirus impact
The sum includes spending by the private sector, the sources said. Spending by the Japanese government is likely to surpass ¥15 trillion, which is what it spent on the economic package hammered out during the 2008 global financial crisis sparked by the implosion of the U.S. housing market. The package could involve issuing cash and gift certificates to the public, and even subsidizing travel expenses, they said.

Jakarta Post: OJK relaxes debt payment, loan quality assessments amid COVID-19 pandemic
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) of Indonesia has launched a new stimulus to control the banking and non-banking industries’ bad loans ratio and ease loan repayment amid the COVID-19 pandemic that is expected to hit businesses.

Reuters: Malaysia says may extend movement curbs, to add stimulus
Malaysia’s Prime Minister said the government may consider extending movement restrictions by up to two weeks, and will announce more economic stimulus to soften the blow from the coronavirus outbreak and weak oil prices.

Reuters: Vietnam announces $1.16bln stimulus package to help virus-hit businesses
Vietnam plans to spend 27 trillion dong ($1.16 billion) to help businesses cope with the coronavirus epidemic and help the economy stick to its 6.8% growth target this year. The plan includes tax break, delayed tax payments and reduction in land lease fee. The government also aimed to speed up state spending on infrastructure projects.

Merco Press: Argentina unveils stimulus package
Argentina unveiled a 700 billion Pesos (some US$10 billion) stimulus package to try to sustain economic activity, avert shortages of food and medical supplies, help companies and protect workers and vulnerable groups affected by the worsening Covid 19 pandemic.

Reuters: Brazil government to inject $30 billion into economy to combat coronavirus hit
Brazil’s government announced emergency measures to inject nearly 150 billion reais ($30 billion) into the economy to soften the blow from the coronavirus pandemic.

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