What Moved Global Markets
– Global cases: More than 1,986,800
– Global deaths: At least 125,900
– U.S. deaths topped 25,700
- The coronavirus has now infected more than 200,000 people across New York state.
- Spain and Austria allowed partial returns to work on Tuesday but Britain, France and India extended lockdowns to try to rein in a coronavirus pandemic that the World Health Organization warned had not yet peaked. The WHO said the number of new cases was tailing off in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks were growing in Britain and Turkey.
- Wall Street jumped on Tuesday, Indexes gain: Dow 2.05%, S&P 2.56%, Nasdaq 3.49%. Oil prices shed more than 8% on Tuesday, with investors apparently unconvinced that record supply cuts could soon balance markets.
- The global economy will this year likely suffer the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday. IMF now expects the global economy to contract by 3% in 2020. By contrast, in January it had forecast a global GDP (gross domestic product) expansion of 3.3% for this year.
- Major international creditors from G7 countries will suspend debt payments this year for the world’s poorest countries. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said some 76 countries, including 40 in sub-Saharan Africa, would be eligible to have debt payments worth a combined $20 billion suspended by official and private creditors, with a remaining $12 billion in payments due to multilateral institutions still to be sorted out.
What Moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
- The Block reports that the Agricultural Bank, Chinese state-owned bank appears to have released a mobile test app that supports the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s digital currency project. The app displays several features related to the new digital currency, including digital currency exchange, wallet management, transaction tracking, and connecting other wallets. These features, however, appear to be unavailable to the general public for now.
- The Financial Stability Board (FSB), which coordinates rules for the Group of 20 (G20) economies, has issued recommendations for regulating “global stablecoins” such as the Facebook-led Libra project. The ten “high-level” recommendations, published Tuesday in a 67-page report, seek to promote “consistent” and “effective” regulation of global stablecoins.
- “The recommendations aim to mitigate the potential risks with the use of GSCs [global stablecoins] as means of payment and/or store of value, both at the domestic and international level, while supporting responsible innovation and providing sufficient flexibility for jurisdictions to implement domestic approaches,” said the FSB.
- Famed computer programmer, eccentric and cryptocurrency advocate John McAfee has announced that he is working on a privacy coin called Ghost. On April 11, McAfee tweeted that Ghost will be underpinned by a Proof-of-Stake algorithm, and will be tradable against leading cryptocurrencies via atomic swaps on the McAfeeDex decentralized exchange. “With a DEX/privacy coin combo we now have full control of our finances!” he said.
Fintech: 42% of Indians say they have increased use of digital payments during lockdown in the last three weeks, according to the latest report. Buying essentials and mobile recharges are top use cases for digital payments, according to a survey of 42,000 respondents done by consultancy firm Local Circles. Paytm and Google Pay are among the top digital payment apps being used by consumers.
Healthtech: Apple and Google held a live Q&A session about their new decentralized contact tracing tool for COVID-19. A lot of crucial questions answered – for example, how exactly a confirmed case will be identified, and when software updates will be rolled out (in mid-May).
AI: In a pair of preprint papers published this week, Amazon researchers describe two novel systems — one that facilitates automatic speech recognition and another responsible for dialogue state tracking — that they say achieve state-of-the-art performance compared with several baseline models. Assuming the claims have merit, their work could enhance the accuracy of AI agents in enterprise and consumer domains while reducing the amount of data required to train them.
Smart cities: In Italy, an energy transformation specialist and a location data and digital mapping company are launching a big data solution that maps mobility flows across the country. The City Analytics – Mobility Map is designed to provide government agencies with mobility indicators to analyse the impact of COVID-19 containment measures. It estimates variations in the public’s movements and kilometres travelled throughout national, regional and municipal areas.
NexChangeNOW Pick of the Day
China Unveils Members of Its National Blockchain Committee