LAS VEGAS (KLAS) –– The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 7.8%, its steepest drop since the financial crisis of 2008, as a free-fall in oil prices and worsening fears of fallout from the spreading coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, legislators start to prepare for the financial difficulties consumers my face due to further impact.
The sharp drops triggered the first automatic halts in trading in two decades. The price of oil plunged nearly 25% after Saudi Arabia indicated it would ramp up production after Russia refused to production cutbacks in response to falling demand.
Some legislators are expecting further financial impact, among them, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) who announced Monday that she along with Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) as well as members of the Senate Banking Committee are asking financial regulators and trade groups in the financial sector to prepare for the likely impacts of the coronavirus.
The senators are calling on regulators to prepare to help consumers and communities who may potentially be impacted from a coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to having financial institutions work with consumers having difficulty paying their bills, the senators in a letter asked for the following:
- Modify terms of current loans or “extend new consumer -friendly access to credit” for consumer and business impacted by the virus
- Prevent negative information from being reported to the credit bureaus to any consumer affected by the virus
- Quick compliance to the requests stated
In a written statement Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said:
“As Americans seek to comply with CDC guidance and protect the well-being of their families, many consumers may face negative shocks to household finances, including challenges with paying their day-to-day bills, credit cards, student loans, small business loans and mortgage payments, among other financial obligations. Accordingly, we urge you to issue guidance to financial institutions encouraging them to work with consumers and businesses affected by the virus and to recognize that they may have difficulty accessing affordable credit and face temporary hardship in making payments on their credit obligations.”Senator Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) & Senator Mark Warren (D-Va.) in letter to financial regulators
In a press conference on Monday President Donald Trump said he will seek a payroll tax cut and relief for hourly workers as part of a coronavirus economic package.