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Here is what you need to know on Friday, April 17:

Markets are cheering initial hopeful results from the use of Gilead’s Remdesivir – a potential cure to coronavirus. The safe-haven dollar is down and gold has been extending its retreat from the highs. Commodity currencies are rising more than majors. 

Another factor boosting sentiment is hope for a return to normal in the world’s largest economy. President Donald Trump changed tack and said it is up to state government to decide on a phased reopening of the economy, providing only guidelines including three steps. The president expressed optimism of seeing fewer COVID-19 deaths than earlier anticipated. The number of mortalities jumped above 33,000, also due to a methodology change.

US economy: coronavirus has wiped out all the jobs gained since recovering from the Great Recession, according to he recent jobless claims figures. Over five million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time in the past week. The Philly Fed Manufacturing Index crashed to -56.6, far below expectations while housing data was mixed. 

The Chinese economy shrank by 6.8% yearly in the first quarter of 2020, the first squeeze since 1992 and worse than expected. The impact of coronavirus was more marked on the services sector, where consumption tumbled by 15.8% yearly in March while industrial output declined by only 1.1%. Beijing acknowledged a higher death toll from the disease in Wuhan, the epicenter, as deaths outside hospitals were accounted for.

Europe: Recent COVID-19 statistics have shown that cases and deaths have stubbornly remained high in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The data was partially skewed by the long Easter weekend but is still of worry. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said that the EU owes Italy an apology for not standing by its side at an early stage. 

UK: The lockdown of the economy will continue for at least three more weeks, announced Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary deputizing for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering from the disease. The number of cases surpassed 100,000 in Britain.

Oil prices are trying to find their feet on the low ground below $20 after Saudi Arabian and Russian officials held a call and released a statement reiterating their commitment to stabilizing the oil market. 

Cryptocurrencies are holding onto gains with Bitcoin trading above $170 and Altcoins also holding up. 

More: Oil has yet to find the bottom of the barrel, gold has more room to shine – Explained