“This is the type of news the market wants,” Ilya Feygin, managing director at the institutional brokerage firm WallachBeth, said in an email. “Aid to households and businesses and attacking the virus directly, not monetary gimmicks.”
Mr. Mnuchin said Tuesday that President Trump instructed him to allow for the deferment of tax payments, interest free and penalty free for 90 days. People can defer up to a $1 million and corporations can defer up to $10 million in payments. The Treasury secretary said that this would inject $300 billion into the economy.
Autoworkers demand that the Big 3 shut down, while European factories are idled.
Pressure mounted Tuesday for General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler to close their factories, while Europe’s auto manufacturing was brought virtually at a standstill after Daimler, Ford Motor and Nissan joined Volkswagen and most other major carmakers in shutting down.
The United Automobile Workers union has called on the three Detroit carmakers to shut down manufacturing plants across the United States for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a request the companies have so far denied.
In an email sent to U.A.W. members on Tuesday, the union’s president, Rory Gamble, said he had requested the shutdown in a meeting on Sunday with the chief executives of General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler, based on the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
“Your U.A.W. leadership feels very strongly, and argued very strongly, that this is the most responsible course of action,” Mr. Gamble said in the email.
The automakers have responded by taking actions to protect workers, such as extending down time between shifts to allow for sanitizing of equipment and common areas in the plants.
Jim Cain, a G.M. spokesman, said the company was trying to keep factory workers safe while being mindful of the potential economic impact of a broad shutdown and of the hardship employees could face if they were no longer earning paychecks.
In Europe, Ford said the suspension would take effect Thursday and last “for a number of weeks” depending on the spread of the pandemic, as well as disruptions to supply chains, government restrictions on travel, and declines in sales.
Airlines and lawmakers discuss terms of a bailout.
Congressional leaders and airlines on Tuesday started to negotiate a bailout for the industry, which has been hobbled by the coronavirus outbreak, a day after an airline association proposed more than $50 billion in federal grants and loans.
The Trump administration has said that it wants to help airlines, and intends to include aid for them in a broader $850 billion package of economic stimulus measures it is proposing as a response to the outbreak. Separately, Democratic leaders in the House spoke with airline chief executives by phone Tuesday afternoon after hearing from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been a central point of contact within the administration.
In Tuesday’s call, the airline executives and members of Congress specifically discussed limiting executive bonuses and shares buybacks and protecting employees from layoffs or furloughs. They also discussed protecting collective bargaining and reversing any union concessions when the industry recovers. The airlines indicated that furloughs would be a last resort, according to a person familiar with the call, but unauthorized to discuss it publicly.
Airlines for America, an industry association, asked the federal government on Monday for a $58 billion bailout, equally split between grants and loans and loan guarantees, for passenger and cargo airlines. It is also seeking help in the form of a temporary tax break.
“Carriers are burning through cash as cancellations far outpace new bookings,” Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, said in a statement.
In a sign of the stress on the industry, Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded the debt of Southwest Airlines, which borrowed $1 billion last week, and put it on watch for further downgrades. Moody’s said the carrier, the most consistently profitable U.S. airline, “remains vulnerable to the outbreak continuing to spread” and that the outbreak could depress travel demand through “at least June.”
Hotels and other parts of the travel industry are also reeling as businesses and individuals have canceled trips and governments, including the United States, have barred visitors from other countries to slow the spread of the virus.
In a Tuesday meeting with hotel chief executives at the White House, Roger Dow, the chief executive of the U.S. Travel Association, told President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that the pandemic could wipe out $809 billion in economic output this year and destroy 4.6 million American jobs across airlines, hotels and related industries. His group is seeking $150 billion in direct aid for hotel workers and another $100 billion to support other parts of the travel industry.
Amazon is halting shipments into its warehouses.
Amazon told sellers and vendors for its website on Tuesday that it was halting some shipments of nonessential items into its warehouses for three weeks as it tries to meet demand for household staples and medical supplies.
That includes halting purchase orders from brands that sell directly to the company and stopping shipments from the third-party sellers that offer goods on its marketplace.
“We are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers,” emails from Amazon said. The emails were earlier reported by Business Insider.
Companies that work with brands report that Amazon is still allowing baby products, pet suppliers and other categories it deems essential into its warehouses.
On Monday, Amazon announced in a news release that it would hire 100,000 new workers and raise pay by $2 an hour for many employees in response to a surge in delivery orders from people staying at home to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Catch up: Here’s what else is happening.
Facebook announced a $100 million grant program for small businesses around the world that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The company said in a blog post that it would begin accepting applications in the coming weeks.
Macy’s said on Tuesday that it would close all its stores, including Bloomingdale’s, through March 31. The company added that it would provide benefits and compensation to its work force.
Reporting was contributed by Alexandra Stevenson, Julie Creswell, Neal Boudette, Jack Ewing, Jeanna Smialek, Ben Casselman, Matthew Goldstein, Jim Tankersley, Niraj Chokshi, Sapna Maheshwari, Liz Alderman, Michael Corkery, Jack Nicas, Daniel Victor, Kevin Granville and Carlos Tejada.
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