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Sunday newspaper round-up: US Federal Reserve, Reasonable force, Virgin Atlantic

Sun 15 March 2020 22:49 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - The US Federal Reserve last night slashed its main interest rate by a full percentage point to near zero and said it would buy huge amounts of government bonds in a drastic bid to protect the US economy from the coronavirus outbreak. The Fed will keep interest rates at rock-bottom "until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events" it said in an unscheduled statement. The second emergency cut in less than a week brings rates back to the same level as they were in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. - Daily Telegraph

People aged over 70 face up to four months in self-isolation and the public risk being taken into jail or a €1,000 fine if they refuse to be tested or quarantined for suspected coronavirus. The emergency powers, expected to be announced this week, allow police in England and Wales to use 'reasonable force' to detain people who are at risk of infecting others. - Sunday Telegraph

Virgin Atlantic has called for a taxpayer-funded bailout to prevent the collapse of the aviation industry in the face of the coronavirus crisis. Chief executive Shai Weiss said the scale of the outbreak was "unprecedented" and that ministers needed to give "decisive, clear and unwavering" support in the form of government loans. America last night said it was extending its travel ban to include flights from the UK and Ireland from Tuesday. - Sunday Times

More than €26bn has been withdrawn from so-called absolute return funds - investments specifically designed to protect savers from market shocks - amid growing evidence that they are failing to do just that, as the FTSE 100 endured its worst crash since 1987. The blue-chip index fell 19% between Monday and Thursday last week, before staging a partial recovery. - Sunday Times

A Goldman Sachs employee at its London office has tested positive for coronavirus. The worker was confirmed on Friday to have caught the virus. They had been self-isolating since March 9, the investment bank said in an email to employees. It said: 'We have been for this over the last couple of weeks and we are prepared for the possibility of other cases in future.' - Daily Mail

Saudi Aramco will slash spending by up to a quarter next year in response to a sharp drop in oil prices. The state-backed energy giant, which went public in December in the biggest ever float, racked up costs of almost €27billion last year but could cut this to €20bn. It comes as profits fell by a fifth to €72billion in 2019, compared with €91billion in 2018. Oil prices declined last year but have plunged recently as the coronavirus outbreak hit demand for oil. - The Daily Mail

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