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Good morning. The virus infection rate picture took a turn for the worse, there’s more predictions on the hit to the economy and big bank dividends remain in focus. Here’s what’s moving markets.

Virus Hopes Dampened

The latest infection numbers from European virus hotspots are dampening hopes of lockdowns being relaxed. Italy and Spain both recorded the most new cases in days, while the U.K. announced a record number of coronavirus deaths as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in intensive care, though his condition was said to improve. A “technical issue” meant France couldn’t give an update on its Covid-19 numbers. Worryingly, new research looking at the outbreak in China has suggested the disease travels faster than previously thought.

5 Trillion Hit

The coronavirus pandemic is set to rob the global economy of more than $5 trillion of growth over the next two years. That’s the warning from Wall Street banks as lockdowns plunge the world into its deepest peacetime recession since the 1930s. Although the downturn is predicted to be short-lived, it’ll take time for economies to make up the lost ground. Even with huge monetary and fiscal stimulus, gross domestic product is unlikely to return to its pre-crisis trend until at least 2022. A U.S. recession model confirms a downturn is already here. 

UBS, Credit Suisse Dividends

Swiss banking giants UBS Group AG and Credit Suisse Group AG announced that they will postpone half of their planned dividend distributions for 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, following a request from the regulator. Credit Suisse reassured that its financial strength would have continued to support the original dividend, while UBS noted  a strong operating performance in all business divisions. The move follows similar actions by peers on the continent and in the U.K.

Stock Futures, Oil Higher

European futures are pointing higher after mixed trading in Asian stocks amid lighter volumes ahead of the Good Friday holiday in many countries. Oil climbed after Algeria confirmed that the OPEC+ emergency meeting scheduled for today will discuss an output cut of 10 million barrels per day. An unprecedented accord between the world’s largest producers to scale back production has moved closer within reach after Russia signaled it’s ready to make output reductions.

Coming Up…

Just Eat Takeaway publishes an update having been touted as a potential lockdown winner, while German software giant SAP SE predicted a drop in revenue earlier. Keep an eye on shares of oil majors including Royal Dutch Shell, BP Plc and Total SA, too, as Saudi Arabia was said to buy stakes, according to the Wall Street Journal. And watch U.K. homebuilders after data showed the housing market flatlining. German exports and U.K. industrial production for February are expected to be weak, but will get much worse in the months ahead. U.S. weekly jobless claims are set to be in the millions again. 

What We’ve Been Reading

This is what’s caught our eye over the past 24 hours. 

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