Top headlines: Covid-19 lockdown extended, Barclays sees no growth in 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Parliament floor leaders to discuss Covid-19 pandemic and the government's efforts to contain it, via videoconferencing Photo: PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended a nationwide lockdown until May 3, calling for economic sacrifices to save lives as the number of coronavirus cases crossed 10,000 in thee country. Barclays estimated the lockdown, with the extension, will cost India $234.4 billion and revised downeards the country’s GDP growth forecast further to 0 per cent for calendar year 2020 from 2.5 per cent earlier. Here is more on what made news on Tuesday.

Covid-19: PM Narendra Modi extends world's biggest lockdown till May 3

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would remain in force till May 3. as the number of people suffering from the disease in India touched 10,453 and deaths topped 358, according to Worldometer. “In view of all suggestions, it has been decided that the nationwide lockdown would be extended until May 3. This means we all will have to stay indoors, in a lockdown, until May 3 — with the same discipline and resolve that we have shown so far," said PM Modi in a televised address to the nation. Read More

Barclays pegs economic cost of lockdown at $234 bn; sees no growth in 2020

Barclays has pegged the economic cost of the lockdown, which has now been extended till May 3 with caveats, at $234.4 billion (8.1 per cent of gross domestic product, or GDP), assuming that India will remain under partial lockdown at least till May-end. While India’s coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic outbreak has not officially reached the community transmission stage, analysts at Barclay's believe the existing restrictions on movement are causing much more economic damage than anticipated. Read More

Covid-19 lockdown: May take two or three quarters for normalcy to return

The markets are bound to react negatively following the extension of the lockdown till May 3, as it could exert further pressure on the economy, pushing back the recovery. While most economists had predicted a low single-digit growth, but with an extension in lockdown, de-growth can become a reality. The local economy needs to restart. This is extremely critical as we get into the rabi crop harvesting season. Secondly, the smaller businesses are the ones severely affected and it would give them a chance to bounce back. Cities like Mumbai and Delhi can still afford to have a partial lockdown with hotspot locations being cordoned off. If we are able to exit Covid-19 without much damage and multiple future lockdowns, the markets could see fresh highs before the end of 12 months as we would have got attuned to the new normal. Read More

Covid-19 impact: Moody's takes rating action on three Indian NBFCs

Moody's Investors Service has taken rating action on three Indian non-banking financial companies (NBFCs). Hero FinCorp's local and foreign currency Baa3 issuer rating is placed under review for downgrade. India Infoline Finance's Ba3 corporate family rating, (P) Ba3 foreign and local currency senior secured MTN programme ratings and Ba3 senior unsecured debt rating are placed under review for downgrade. Muthoot Finance's Ba2 CFR is affirmed and its outlook changed to negative from stable. Read More

Covid-19 spells disaster for film industry, but boosts digital media: KPMG

The Covid-19 pandemic will have after-effects on the media and entertainment industry, turning out to be disastrous for films, entertainment events and theme parks. It will, however, boost digital media consumption in India. KPMG has released a report titled "Covid-19: The Many Shades Of A Crisis- A Media And Entertainment Sector Perspective", which highlights the impact of Covid-19 on the media and entertainment industry. The report states that the current environment could result in a dip in media consumption in the near term. Read More

India to buy Harpoon missiles, lightweight torpedoes from US for $155 mn

The Trump Administration on Monday notified the Congress of its determination to sell Harpoon Block II air launched missiles and lightweight torpedoes worth $155 million to India. The sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air launched missiles is estimated to cost $92 million, while 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes and three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes are estimated to cost $63 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in two separate notifications to the Congress. Read More

Covid-19 crisis: US airlines likely to accept $25 billion payroll aid plan

Some large US passenger airlines are close to accepting the terms of a $25 billion offer for government coronavirus payroll aid, with announcements possible as early as Tuesday, people briefed on the matter said. Airline industry officials expect all major airlines to accept the grants in coming days, and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday he expects decisions to come out "very quickly." Brent McIntosh, the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, told Reuters on Monday the agency was not planning to change the terms laid out on Friday, which require 30 per cent of the funds allotted to each airline to be repaid. Read More

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