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Global economy could shrink by 1% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

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United Nations, April 2 : The global economy could shrink by up to 1 per cent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and may contract even further if restrictions on economic activities are extended without adequate fiscal responses, according to analysis released on Wednesday by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).

The UN-DESA briefing finds that millions of workers are at risk of losing their jobs as nearly 100 countries close their national borders. That could translate to a global economic contraction of 0.9 per cent by the end of 2020, or even higher if governments fail to provide income support and help boost consumer spending, Xinhua reported citing the UN-DESA study.

According to the forecast, lockdowns in Europe and North America are hitting the service sector hard, particularly industries that involve physical interactions such as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, recreation and transportation services. Collectively, such industries account for more than a quarter of all jobs in these economies.

As businesses lose revenue, unemployment is likely to increase sharply, transforming a supply-side shock to a wider demand-side shock for the economy. The severity of the impact will largely depend on the duration of restrictions on the movement of people and economic activities and on the scale and efficacy of responses by national treasuries.

Against that backdrop, the UN-DESA is joining a chorus of voices across the UN system calling for well-designed fiscal stimulus packages which prioritize health spending and support households most affected by the pandemic.

“Urgent and bold policy measures are needed, not only to contain the pandemic and save lives, but also to protect the most vulnerable in our societies from economic ruin and to sustain economic growth and financial stability,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs.

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Real GDP growth to remain negative in H1, full fiscal: RBI Gov Shaktikanta Das

RBI MPC meet: More protracted spread of the pandemic, deviations from the forecast of a normal monsoon, and global financial market volatility are the key downside risks, said Das

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National debt under Modi govt surges
  • Covid-19 impact: India’s GDP to contract 6.1% in FY21, says Nomura
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Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das said that the real GDP growth of the country is expected to remain in the contraction zone. “Real GDP in the first half of the year is expected to remain in the contraction zone.

For the year 2021 as a whole real GDP growth is also estimated to be negative,” said Governor Das during the MPC presser on Thursday.

Das said that in case of an early containment of the COVID-19 spread, there could be an upside to the outlook. “More protracted spread of the pandemic, deviations from the forecast of a normal monsoon, and global financial market volatility are the key downside risks,” he added.

“As regards the outlook for growth, the MPC noted that the recovery of the rural economy is expected to be robust, buoyed by the progress in kharif sowing. Manufacturing firms expect domestic demand to recover gradually from Q2 and to sustain through Q1 2021-22. On the other hand, consumer confidence turned more pessimistic in July relative to the preceding round of the Reserve Bank’s survey. External demand is expected to remain anaemic under the weight of the global recession and 5 contractions in global trade,” Das stated.

He said that the MPC has noted that in such an environment of unprecedented stress, supporting recovery of the economy would assume primacy in the conduct of the monetary policy. “While the space for further monetary policy is available, it is important to use it judiciously to maximise the beneficial effects on the underlying economy,” Das highlighted.

Das said there were signs of recovery across the world. “Monetary Policy Committee noted that in India too, economic activity had started to recover, but surges of fresh infections have forced fresh lockdowns, hence several high-frequency indicators have levelled off,” he added.

Additionally, the MPC putting all debates to rest, left the repo rate unchanged at 4 per cent and would maintain an accommodative stance.

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RBI leaves repo rate unchanged at 4%, reverse repo rate at 3.35%: Shaktikanta Das

RBI is perhaps the only central bank in the world which has set up a special quarantine facility for continuity of critical operations.

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Shaktikanta Das

Repo rate remains unchanged at 4%, and Reverse repo rate also remains unchanged at 3.3%, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said.

Accommodative stance of the monetary policy will continue as long as necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of COVID19 pandemic, while ensuring that inflation remains within target going forward.

RBI is perhaps the only central bank in the world which has set up a special quarantine facility for continuity of critical operations.

Taking into consideration all factors, the GDP growth in the first half of the year is estimated to remain in the contraction zone. For the year 2020-21 as a whole, real GDP growth is also estimated to be negative: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das

Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) noted that in India too, economic activity had started to recover, but surges of fresh infections have forced fresh lockdowns, hence several high-frequency indicators have levelled off: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das

With COVID19 infections rising under fragile micro-economic&financial conditions, we propose to take regulatory&developmental measures – enhance liquidity support for financial markets, ease financial stress caused by COVID19 while strengthening credit discipline improve the flow of credit, deepen digital payment systems and facilitate innovations by leveraging technology.

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Facebook launches TikTok-like product inside Instagram

Similar to TikTok, Reels users can record short mobile-friendly vertical videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.

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The product immediately got uptake with several celebrities, following a push by Facebook to attract creative talent before launch: actress Jessica Alba posted a video with her family promoting her Honest Company’s masks, while comedian Mindy Kaling showed off an intentionally underwhelming quarantine “workout” routine.

Reels’ debut comes days after Microsoft said it was in talks to acquire TikTok’s U.S. operations from China’s ByteDance. ByteDance has agreed to divest parts of TikTok, sources have said, under pressure from the White House, which has threatened to ban it and other Chinese-owned apps over data security concerns.

The launch escalates a bruising fight between Facebook and TikTok, with each casting the other as a threat. Both have been eager to attract American teenagers, many of whom have flocked to TikTok in the last two years.

Reels was first tested in Brazil in 2018 and then later in France, Germany and India, which was TikTok’s biggest market until the Indian government banned it last month following a border clash with China. Facebook also tried out a standalone app called Lasso which did not gain much traction.

Similar to TikTok, Reels users can record short mobile-friendly vertical videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.

Those similarities led TikTok Chief Executive Kevin Mayer to call Reels a “copycat product” that could coast on Instagram’s enormous existing user base after “their other copycat Lasso failed quickly.”

Facebook faced similar charges at a congressional hearing on U.S. tech companies’ alleged abuse of market power last week, with lawmakers suggesting the company has copied rivals like Snapchat for anti-competitive reasons.

Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, acknowledged the similarities in a Tuesday video conference call with reporters and said that “inspiration for products comes from everywhere,” including Facebook’s teams and “the ecosystem more broadly.”

Instagram is not yet planning to offer advertising or other ways for users to make money through Reels, although it did recruit young online stars like dancer Merrick Hanna and musician Tiagz – who was recently signed by Sony/ATV after rising to fame via TikTok memes – to test the product ahead of launch.

The company paid the creators for production costs, Shah said.

Joe Gagliese, chief executive of influencer marketing agency Viral Nation, said Reels was poised to mimic Instagram’s success with Stories, a product modeled on Snapchat’s core offering.

“They’re a huge monstrous threat (to TikTok),” he said. “The current turmoil couldn’t be playing more into (Instagram’s) court to launch this thing.”

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