Countries around the world have introduced massive stimulus packages to save their economies from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
In February, when coronavirus was mostly limited to China, International Monetary Fund's Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that IMF was expecting the virus to have a "V-shaped impact" on the economy. IMF expected a mild impact with sharp decline in activity in China, followed by a sharp recovery.
In less than a month after World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic, the IMF belatedly recognised that Covid-19 would have "quite severe" impacts and it forecast a three percent contraction in 2020.
But according to IMF's latest findings, the recent economic data for "many countries was coming in below" its three percent contraction forecast, Reuters quoted Kristalina Georgieva as saying.
As coronavirus spirals out of control, Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimated the Covid-19 pandemic could cost the world $4.1 trillion while the UNCTAD forecast 40 percent cut in global Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows. According to UNCTAD, it is also impacting negotiation of international investment agreements.
Coronavirus has dug its claws on the economy of more than 185 countries and territories, and it did not spare Bangladesh as well.
Earlier in April, the World Bank and IMF made alarming forecasts of our impending economic slump saying GDP growth may come down to 2 to 3 percent due to the impact of the pandemic.
On the backdrop of such gloomy predictions worldwide, countries poured down trillions of dollars in stimulus packages to save their economy and livelihood.
Distinguished economist Joseph E Stiglitz of Columbia University wrote, "if not for massive government bailouts, the system would have collapsed."
Bangladesh too has declared massive stimulus packages since the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in the country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has declared stimulus packages of around Taka one lakh crore (nearly $11.6 billion) – which accounts for 3.3 percent of the country's GDP – to fight the pandemic.
These packages are designed to help various sections of people including industrialists, small traders, farmers and day labourers.
In this special compilation, The Business Standard explores what initiatives other countries have taken so far to save their respective economies.
United States of America
The US has so far reported 1.33 million confirmed coronavirus cases and around 78,986 ensuing deaths.
There has been much controversy around US President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis.
The US Congress has approved some $2.3 trillion to combat the pandemic and economic fallouts. This includes billions of dollars bail out to industries, rescuing of small businesses, and packages in response to unemployment crisis.
The US announced to pay up to $1,200 in cash for each adults of the household who has less than $99,000 annual income – which roughly constitute 90 percent of the US population. In three weeks, around 90 million citizens got the stimulus checks so far.
The Federal Reserve announced in March that they will do everything in their power to provide liquidity and support the US economy.
The Fed has been credited with decisive directions in terms of stabilizing the financial market including – cutting interest rates close to zero, reducing bank reserve requirements to zero, buying corporate and municipal debt, and extending emergency credit to nonbanks and etc, the Council on Foreign Relations reported.
China has so far reported some 82,887 confirmed cases, and 4,633 ensuring deaths as its began to recover from coronavirus quickly in April.
China, however, didn't jump in with attractive stimulus packages like the rest of the world. The Chinese leadership seems have learned a lesson from its liberal spending after 2008 financial crisis which almost doubled its government debt.
Some analysts think they cannot afford an aggressive spending this time.
So, among the relatively modest actions, China's central bank is reducing reserve requirements for bank. This will allow them to loan some $169.7 billion.
Central bank chief Yi Gang said in late April that "the normal monetary policy should be kept as long as possible. The impact of the pandemic is temporary. China's economy has strong resilience and great potential, while the fundamentals for high-quality development won't change."
Japan has so far 15,663 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 606 ensuing deaths.
Japan, however, has been one of the most aggressive responding countries in terms of stimulus packages.
On April 7, the cabinet of Japan approved some JPY 108 trillion in stimulus packages which is equivalent to $997 billion.
The country has increased the package with nine more trillions of Japanese yen later, which finally accounted for JPY 117.1 trillion – equivalent to roughly $1.09 trillion.
In late April, Japan's central bank vowed to buy "an unlimited amount of government debt to double its purchases of corporate debt."
According to a BBC report, Japan's stimulus packages roughly stands for 20 percent of its GDP.
As of today Germany has so far reported around 171 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus and some 7,549 deaths.
As a consequence of the pandemic, the German economy has been predicted to shrink anywhere from 3 to 10 percent this year.
The government projection portrays the country's worst economic nightmare as the country could see a contraction of over 6 percent.
To fight the grim consequences of the pandemic, Germany has allocated some $383.96 billion – which stands for 10 percent of its GDP – to support its economy.
The German stimulus packages will be used in helping the struggling businesses. The country will make unlimited loans and could take equity stakes in a bid to fight the pandemic.
The UK has so far reported some 215 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus, and some 31,587 deaths.
This ravaging pandemic is having a very bad impact on British economy, especially given the timeframe when the country is in negotiation with the European Union.
Economists have warned the UK could lose 5 to 10 percent of its economy in 2020 due to the paralyzing impacts of the pandemic.
However, to fight the pandemic the British Treasury has vowed to pay 80 percent of the workers' salaries to prevent the companies from layoffs.
The country has so far spent some $496.23 billion in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic- which roughly stands for 15 percent of the country's GDP.
As part of the stimulus packages, the UK government will also compensate self-employed workers for lost wages, raise unemployment benefits, establish loan programmes for small and medium companies.
Italy has some 218 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, and 30,395 ensuing deaths.
Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to fall in tremendous crisis because of coronavirus. As the country came to a halt, Rome was one of the first to announce a gigantic stimulus spending of $822.78 billion, which is almost half of its GDP.
The country is spending the money in propping up coronavirus-stricken businesses which were hit very hard by the lockdowns.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the spending as the "the most powerful intervention in the country's history".
Half of Italy's stimulus funds are for the domestic market and the other half is for supporting exports. This stimulus package will provide loans to business, which would cover around 90 to 100 percent of smaller businesses' debt. The larger companies would have 70 to 80 percent coverage while they could take up to 800,000 pound in loans.
The Italian government will also suspend work taxes, which would cost them 10 billion pounds.
India has so far reported some 59,662 confirmed cases of coronavirus and around 1,981 deaths.
When the largest democracy in the world went into the largest ever lockdown, the Indian government announced a $26.4 billion stimulus package last March.
These packages would directly aid the poorer communities in the country heavily affected by the days of lockdowns.
The Indian stimulus package includes direct cash transfers and food security measures as it offers reliefs to millions of poor people across the country.
This package, however, accounts for only 1 percent of India's GDP, which is a stark contrast to other countries like US and Singapore who are spending roughly 10 percent of their GDPs.
Economists like Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee are demanding a second and larger economic stimulus in India to effectively fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Pakistan has so far reported some 28,673 cases of coronavirus and around 636 deaths.
The country's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a lockdown to curb the speed of the coronavirus spread which affected the economy badly.
In a bid the support the economy, Imran Khan announced a $7.5 billion crore stimulus package to prop the country's already struggling economy.
The package was meant to rescue businesses and vulnerable people. Separate from the announced package, the Pakistani government allocated some Rs 7,500 crore for small and medium enterprises.
In addition, the country's central bank capped interest rate from 13.25 percent to 9 percent from March to help the private sector. Islamabad also announced concessional loans at 4 to five percent to the companies.
Sri Lanka has so far reported 847 confirmed cases of coronavirus and nine deaths.
The country's central bank, in the fight against coronavirus, has announced $25 million dollars in refinancing facility for banks.
This stimulus is supposed to enable the banks' lending capacity to the businesses. Besides, it offered loan repayment moratoriums and provide capital at four percent interest.
A heavily aid-dependent country, Afghanistan has so far found 4,033 cases of coronavirus and more than a hundred deaths.
The pandemic has now ravaged the country's economy even further.
However, the Afghan government has allocated some $25 million to tackle the crisis.
Meanwhile the World Bank has issued a $100.4 million grant for Afghanistan to combat coronavirus.
Maldives has reported some 744 confirmed cases of coronavirus and three deaths far.
To prop up the economy, the government of Maldives announced some 2.5 billon Maldivian rufiyaa, which is equivalent to $161.8 million of stimulus packages.
The packages include some $100 million in emergency loans for various companies and businesses to meet the short terms challenges.
Maldives central bank announced some $2 million stimulus aid to help the country's tourism industry which is a staple source of revenues for the island nation.
Singapore has found some 22,460 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and around 20 deaths.
Singapore has been one of earliest nations to effectively respond to the pandemic. But recently, the country is witnessing a spike in coronavirus infections and a slight spike in the number of deaths as well.
Singapore has announced around 59.9 billion Singapore dollars in stimulus packages, which is equivalent to $42.7 billion, and accounts for roughly 12 percent of the country's GDP.
This additional spending is supposed to pose a budget deficit of 44.3 billion Singapore dollars, which is equivalent to 8.9 percent of the GDP. The government however announced to draw some further 4 billion Singapore dollars from its reserve for funding stimulus measures including wage subsidies for all companies, rental waivers and cash payout for all adult Singaporeans, CNBC reported.
Vietnam has turned out as a miracle during this pandemic as the east Asian nation has successfully controlled the curve in the best possible way.
Despite having a border with China, the country has only 288 confirmed cases of coronavirus and not a single death has been recorded thanks to the country's aggressive testing and quarantining.
Besides, most of the infected patients have recovered already.
However, Vietnam has pledged to spend some 27 trillion dong – which is equivalent to $1.16 billion – to help businesses facing the pandemic.
This stimulus is supposed to help the country stick to its 6.8 percent growth target this year.
The country's stimulus package included tax breaks, delayed tax payments, reduction in land lease fees etc.
Taiwan has so far recoded some 440 confirmed cases of coronavirus and around six deaths.
The island nation is expected spend some T$1.05 trillion, which is equivalent to $34.72 billion in stimulus packages.
The money will be directed to help businesses and industries while the country's central bank is cutting interest rate to a 1.125 percent.
Central bank governor Yang Chin-long, however, said there is still more room for cutting interest.
The Middle Eastern country has so far reported some 37,136 confirmed coronavirus cases, and around 239 deaths.
The pandemic has hit the kingdom's economy badly. In a bid to revive the economy, Riyadh has recently announced $31.9 billion of stimulus packages.
Riyadh's stimulus packages are made up of $18.6 billion to support the private sector, including the SMEs and other such economic activity.
These initiatives also include exemption of some government dues to provide liquidity to the private sector. This is supposed to enable them to manage the continuity of their functions.
The country's central bank on the other hand is supporting with $13.3 billion to prop up the banking sector.
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has so far 17,417 confirmed cases of coronavirus and some 185 deaths.
As of April 5, the UAE has doubled the size of their stimulus package from $34 billion dollars to $70 billion.
The UAE has allowed banks and finance companies to extend deferrals of principal and interest payment to their customers until December 31, 2020.
Qatar so far has found around 21,331 confirmed cases of coronavirus and around 13 deaths.
To rebound from the economic peril as a result of the pandemic, the country has announced some $23.35 billion in stimulus package.
Qatar's stimulus package largely targets the country's private sector and capital markets as they invest an additional QAR 10 billion in the Qatar Stock Exchange.
Oman has so far found around 3,112 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 16 deaths.
In a bid to fight the economic impact of coronavirus, Oman announced around $20 billion stimulus, which they solely intended for the banking sector.
Besides, they announced a range of incentives to support private sector firms and workers.
South Africa has reported 9,420 cases and 186 deaths resulting from coronavirus.
Following the rest of the world, the country has recently announced a massive stimulus package of $26 billion, which accounts for 10 percent of the country's GDP.
The stimulus package will give a much needed relief to the informal sector and the overall ailing economy of the African nation.
The African nation has reported some 8,964 confirmed cases of coronavirus and some 514 cases of deaths.
To address the impending economic crisis, the Egyptian government has announced several economic stimulus of $6.3 billion to mitigate the economic impact on formal and informal sectors of the country's ailing economy.
Tunisia has so far confirmed 1,030 cases of coronavirus and 35 deaths resulting from coronavirus.
To combat the economic impacts of the virus, the Tunisian government has announced $850 million in stimulus packages.
These packages will help to combat the economic and social effects of the coronavirus.
As par the measures, the government will delay tax debts, postpone taxes on small- and medium-sized businesses, delay repayment of low-income employee loans and provide financial assistance to poor families.
Australia has so far reported some 6,833 cases of coronavirus and around 93 deaths.
To fight the economic impacts, the Australian government has unveiled the country's biggest ever economic package.
Australia's $133.5 billion stimulus package will be spent on keeping six million people, which constitute half of the country's workforce, in jobs.
So far, direct government aid to businesses in response to the virus is edging on A$200 billion, which is 10 percent of the country's GDP.
New Zealand has so far reported some 1,142 confirmed cases of coronavirus and some 21 deaths.
To reduce the economic impact, New Zealand pledged some $7.4 billion to support businesses, increase benefits for seniors and low-income families, pay people who can't work because of self-isolation, and boost virus testing and intensive care capacity, The Conversation reported.
Brazil has reportedly found 149 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus and an ensuing 10,000 deaths.
To soften the pandemic's economic impact, the government has injected some $64.65 billion into the economy.
According to the country's ministry of economy, 83.4 billion reais of the stimulus package will be freed up for the most vulnerable people in society, 59.4 billion reais will help companies keep jobs filled, and 4.5 billion reais will go to directly to combating the coronavirus.
Argentina has reported some 5,598 cases of coronavirus and 293 ensuing deaths so far.
The country has unveiled $11.1 billion in stimulus package to sustain its economic activities.
This package is intended to avert shortages of food and medical supplies.
Besides, it will also help companies and protect workers, and other vulnerable groups.
Argentina's minister of economy, Martín Guzmán said, "These are decisive measures to ensure that economic activity will continue and that Argentine society is protected in a context in which working conditions are going to be different."