Daily death toll in the US drops below 1,000 for the first time in a month
The number of daily deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States has dropped to 938, the first time the death toll has fallen below 1,000 since April 1.
The rate of infections has also shown signs of slowing with the number of positive tests in the past 24 hours dropping from 21,251 to more than 1.17 m – its smallest one-day increase since late March. A total of 62,806 people have died in the United States since the start of the epidemic.
The latest data, compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, comes amid declining cases of coronavirus in New York, the hardest-hit state in the United States. However, in New Jersey, a system outage over the weekend may have contributed to a sharp drop in new cases and deaths reported on Monday.
New York officials said 226 more residents died as a result of Covid-19, the lowest daily total in the state since March 28. There were 2,538 new infections for a cumulative total of more than 1 million.
New Jersey data showed 45 more deaths and 1,621 cases with only 2,154 new tests recorded, less than the 12,754 tests on Sunday and 5,767 a day earlier.
New York Fed study links Spanish flu to extremist voting in Germany in the 1930s
James Politi in Washington
A report by staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has found a correlation between deaths from the influenza pandemic in 1918-1920 and extremist voting in Germany in 1932 and 1933, in research that will fuel concerns about the implications. long-term social and political issues of the coronavirus epidemic.
New York Fed study released Monday found German cities hardest hit by disease that spread after World War I ended more than a decade later , through lower public spending and a higher propensity to vote for Adolf Hitler. Nazi party.
“Deaths from the flu themselves have had a significant effect on the share of votes won by extremists, especially the National Socialist Extremist Party,” research by the New York Fed, by Kristian Blickle, revealed. . “This effect dominates many other effects and is persistent even when we control the influences of local unemployment, urban spending, war-induced demographic changes and local demography or when we instrument mortality from influenza,” a he declared.
The New York Fed report said the coronavirus epidemic had “renewed age-old questions about the economic and social effects of pandemics,” claiming that the 1918 epidemic had “profoundly shaped German society in the future.” “
Its findings could sound the alarm over the long-term ramifications of the coronavirus at a time when Western democracies are already grappling with the reality of populist leaders in power or close to power. Germany has not been hit as hard as other European countries such as Spain, Italy and the UK by a pandemic – and a big difference from the 1918 flu epidemic is that the disease of the last century has affected young people more.
New York Fed research has suggested that one of the consequences of the 1918 flu pandemic was worrisome “resentment” toward foreigners and minorities. “The correlation between flu-related mortality and the share of votes won by right-wing extremists is stronger in regions that have historically accused minorities, especially Jews, of medieval plagues,” he said. .
Shake Shack sales rebound but weakened by pandemic
Shake Shack, the hamburger chain that drew criticism for seeking financial relief from the Washington Coronavirus Support Fund, said sales rebounded from a low point in March but remained well below normal levels .
Quarterly results released on Monday showed that average weekly sales at the company’s nationwide Shake Shack stores doubled from $ 24,000 to $ 49,000 in late April. Even after the recovery, however, they remained 45% below last year’s levels.
Shake Shack, who has approximately 290 outlets, has been under surveillance since applying for a $ 10 million support loan from the United States government. The New York-based company said it would repay the funds following criticism that publicly traded operators with access to the capital markets had used funds to save small businesses.
New outlets helped Shake Shack’s overall first quarter revenue increase 8% from the same period last year to $ 143 million. However, sales fell 13% on a like-for-like basis and Shake Shack posted a net loss of $ 1.1 million during the quarter.
California to ease restrictions on certain businesses by Friday
Hannah Murphy in San Francisco
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that he would begin easing lock-in restrictions for certain businesses starting this weekend, as the state begins to reopen its economy.
Newsom said florists, bookstores and clothing and sports stores would be allowed to reopen for curbside pickup starting Friday. However, individual counties will be able to maintain more stringent restrictions if they wish, he said.
Newsom’s decision to make a shelter in place on March 20 – one of the first states to do so – would have helped keep the number of coronavirus cases fairly low compared to some other states – as of May 2, -he brings back. nearly 54,000 cases and 2,215 deaths.
However, several small California counties have decided to challenge state foreclosure in the past few days and there have also been a handful of quarantine protests. Newsom added that offices, restaurants and shopping malls would remain closed.
AIG profits plummet as CEO warns virus could be the biggest disaster loss
Robert Armstrong in New York
AIG said quarterly profits fell more than 90% due to lower investment income and losses from the coronavirus outbreak, which CEO Brian Dupperault says will be the largest catastrophic loss the insurance industry has experienced.
The company reported net earnings, excluding capital gains, of $ 99 million or 11 cents per share for the first quarter, $ 1.3 billion lower than the same quarter a year ago, mainly due to lower investment income and $ 272 million in coronavirus losses. Wall Street analysts expected earnings per share of 72 cents. The company’s technical profits continued to improve.
Duperreault said in the press release that “we believe Covid-19 will be the [catastrophe] loss the industry has never known. ” He noted that in the first quarter, “our core businesses performed well”.
Losses from the virus have been split between travel, commercial property, trade credit, workers’ compensation and other types of policies.
In the company’s main damage insurance division, the combined ratio (claims and overheads as a percentage of premium income) was 95.5, compared to 96.1 in the same quarter last year, the latest in a series of improved outcomes that started last year. .
The company withdrew its financial targets, but said it expected the combined P&C ratio to continue to improve and that Covid-19 is unlikely to have a significant impact on segment returns life and retirement.
Wall Street bounces back to wipe out airline-induced losses
US stocks rose Monday, wiping out the first losses after Warren Buffett announced he had sold his holdings on airlines.
The S&P 500 benchmark closed up 0.4%. The tech-rich Nasdaq rose 1.2%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.1%.
The energy sector was the strongest performer in the S&P 500, with US oil futures climbing above $ 20 a barrel for the first time in almost three weeks. West Texas Intermediate crude was $ 20.39, up 3.1% on the day. Brent crude jumped 2.9% to $ 27.20.
The technology sector, up more than 1%, also contributed to the recovery.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill fell 0.01 percentage points to 0.629% as prices rose. The dollar index rose 0.3%.
Greece eased its lock on Monday by applying social distancing measures in public transport and allowing the reopening of certain stores. Here is a glimpse into life in Athens when the restrictions have been relaxed.
Opticians and customers wear protective masks in an Athens store.
Hairdressers and barbershops were the busiest, according to retail associations in Athens, Kerin Hope of FT reported.
Customers and staff had to wear masks.
Commuters were seen wearing masks at the metro station on Syntagma Square. Passenger capacity has been reduced by 50% on buses and metros.
A customer in protective gear stores in a garden store in Athens.
Greece eases lockout with opening of retailers
Kerin Hope in Athens
Greece cautiously released a six-week lockout on Monday, lifting traffic restrictions and allowing 10% of retailers to reopen, while imposing strict social distancing in shops and public transport.
Hairdressers and hair salons, where customers and staff had to wear face masks, were the most popular, according to retail associations in Athens. There were queues outside the electronics stores, where each customer had four square meters of personal space. If the rest of this week goes well, all other retailers will reopen on May 11.
Masks were mandatory for the first time on public transport, while passenger capacity was reduced by 50% on buses and metros. A metro official said the number of passengers is low but is expected to increase during the week, with buyers “beginning to feel confident about the safe use of the train”.
Six new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported, bringing the total to 2,632, while two deaths have been recorded, bringing the death toll to 146, the public health organization said.
Wider tests for the coronavirus began on Monday with mobile units testing in day centers for the elderly in Athens and two other cities, as well as a high-security prison in central Greece. Up to 500 mobile units will be deployed in the coming weeks as Greece accelerates the process to match the percentages of the population tested in other European countries. The public health organization has performed fewer than 100,000 tests since the country reported its first case of Covid-19 on February 26.
While several new cases are still appearing daily, the RO in Greece – the number of people infected with a coronavirus victim – has fallen below 0.25, the lowest level in the country to date, said Sotiris Tsiodras, the epidemiologist at the head of the Greek scientific team fighting against Covid-19
US banks tightened lending conditions as crisis deepens – Fed survey
James Politi in Washington
U.S. banks set to tighten lending standards for businesses and households as coronavirus pandemic has spread to the U.S. economy in the past three months, according to closely watched Federal Reserve survey of senior officials loans.
The survey, which is published on a quarterly basis, said that banks “have significantly tightened their standards and conditions on commercial and industrial loans of all sizes” because businesses have been forced to close, lay off or lay off workers and deal with a volatile financial situation. markets.
The crackdown on lending standards came as the demand for credit from large and medium-sized businesses increased, while it remained unchanged for small businesses. According to the Fed’s survey, the banks have become more stringent in terms of lending with regard to the different types of consumer loans, as well as commercial real estate. However, the Fed’s investigation found that only a “moderate fraction” of banks have tightened standards for residential mortgage lending.
According to the survey, “less favorable or more uncertain economic prospects” were the main reason for the tightening of lending standards by American banks. The tightening of standards came at a time when banks were called upon to play a crucial role in the granting of government-supported loans to American businesses thanks to the $ 2.2 billion stimulus legislation approved last month to protect the US economy of greater damage. The stimulus package was then expanded by an additional $ 484 billion.
Finland to reopen restaurants and relax rules for public gatherings
Finland will allow restaurants, libraries and sports facilities to open from June 1, while essential trips to other EU Schengen countries will be allowed from mid-May on the last opening in the Nordic country.
Public meetings will be able to accommodate 50 people from June 1 instead of the current 10 as part of the relaxation of measures taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Finland, which closed in mid-March, reopens its schools on May 14, the same day, essential travel – which includes business travel – will be allowed.
Finland has had 240 deaths from Covid-19 and its reproductive rate – the number of people infected with each positive case – has now dropped to 0.8, which means the virus is decreasing, according to the country’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin.
Turkey presents plans to ease foreclosure
Laura Pitel in Ankara
Turkey has announced plans to relax restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, open shopping malls, barbers and beauty salons, and lift travel bans.
Speaking after a cabinet meeting on Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the first step towards normalization would be the lifting from midnight of a ban on entering and leaving seven of the 31 Turkish provinces currently locked out, including the coastal regions of Antalya and Mugla.
Barbers, hair salons and malls will be allowed to open from next week as long as they follow strict rules, said Erdogan, while universities will return in mid-June.
Over 65s and under 20s will be allowed to go out at certain scheduled times starting on Sunday after weeks spent at home.
Turkey, like countries around the world, has faced a difficult balance in seeking to stop the spread of the virus while limiting the suffering of the country’s economy.
Erdogan said his country, which has seen a decline in its number of new cases and daily deaths in the past few weeks, has reached a “turning point” in its fight against the coronavirus. But he warned that its 83 million citizens should adjust to a “new normal,” with certain measures – including restrictions on overcrowded areas and the use of masks – which should continue for the foreseeable future.
Victor Mallet in Paris
Mortality across France has risen sharply due to the coronavirus pandemic and peaked three weeks after the country’s containment measures began in mid-March, according to the latest data from INSEE, the national institute of the statistics.
Deaths recorded between March 1 and April 20 reached 109,831, an increase of more than 23,000 or 27% over the same period last year, and an increase of almost 15,000 or 16% from compared to 2018.
General mortality is an imperfect measure of Covid-19’s additional balance sheet, but the increase from last year closely matches the official total of 25,201 deaths from coronavirus in hospitals and retirement homes for the aged. March 1 to today this year. An influenza epidemic in early 2018 claimed thousands of lives that year.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health announced on Monday that 306 more people had died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, although the number of intensive care patients continued to decline slowly. The nationwide lockdown is expected to be relaxed on May 11.
Coronavirus-boosted López Obrador approval rates found in survey
Jude Webber in Mexico City
The coronavirus increased the approval rate of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico, to 68% from 60 in March, according to a new poll by El Financiero, 53% praising his management of the pandemic, almost twice as high as in March.
However, 50% of those questioned said that their management of the economy was bad or very bad, a strong acceleration compared to 40% in March and 32% replied that a family member had lost their job or their jobs. income in the previous three months. , almost triple from 11% in March.
In the two peoples’ perception of their employment prospects and their personal finances, pessimism increased by almost 10 points.
López Obrador said Mexico, which has registered 23,471 confirmed cases and 2,154 deaths so far, is well prepared for Covid-19 and will only experience a brief crisis. He ruled out a big stimulus package, preferring to tighten the government’s belt and offer small loans.
The poll, which interviewed 820 people in late April, found that 59% thought cutting government spending was the right decision, but more than two-thirds of those polled thought the president should cancel airport, train plans. and refinery to save money. – something he vowed not to do.
The number of active cases in Italy drops below 100,000 as it eases restrictions
Miles Johnson in Rome
The total number of active Covid-19 cases in Italy fell below 100,000 as the country entered its first day of lifting restrictions after nearly two months of foreclosure.
The virus has killed 195 people in the past 24 hours, a slight increase from Sunday, according to official statistics released Monday. The total number of cases in Italy shows an increase of 0.6% to 211,938, the lowest since the start of the outbreak.
The third largest economy in the euro area has suffered a total of 29,079 coronavirus deaths since the start of the crisis, making it the most affected country after the United States.
Research released by the statistics office on Monday has suggested that the actual death toll from Covid-19 in Italy is likely far higher than the number officially attributed to the virus.
Deaths nationwide in Italy increased 39% over the period from February 21 to the end of March, said Istat, compared to the same period average for the past five years.
Out of 25,345 so-called excess deaths from these figures, 13,710 were officially recognized as Covid-19 deaths, leaving 11,600 missing.
Cuomo sets requirements for New York to start reopening
Governor Andrew Cuomo has detailed the conditions regions will need to reopen on May 15 when New York City recorded its lowest daily death toll from coronavirus – 226 – in more than a month.
May 15 is the expiration date of the last closing order issued by Mr. Cuomo. As the pandemic has eased in recent days, citizens have watched impatiently if the governor will lift these restrictions. Instead, he put the blame on the various regions and industries of the state to prove they were ready, saying, “May 15 is a possible reopening, if you are ready. “
To resume normal activities, a region will have to demonstrate that its workload has been decreasing for the past 14 days. It must also have at least 30% unused capacity in its hospitals and provide personnel with protective equipment for 90 days.
“We cannot have another crazy race where nurses and doctors do not have gowns and masks,” said the governor.
It also required minimal testing and tracing capacity to track new infections.
In a list of companies that should be given priority for reopening, Cuomo placed New York’s financial and professional services industries in a second phase – after construction, delivery of food, and more front line workers.
UK presents ‘test, track and trace’ strategy
Sebastian Payne in London
Matt Hancock unveiled a pilot of the government’s “test, track and trace” strategy, saying the Isle of Wight will be used to test the next step in efforts to contain the spread of the virus and facilitate locking.
Contact tracing is ready for the island off the south coast of England, the health secretary said at the Downing Street press conference on Monday as government preparing to ensure he can monitor Covid-19 once national restrictions are relaxed.
The National Health Service’s app for tracking coronaviruses will be available to health care professionals starting Tuesday, Hancock said, and to the island’s 80,000 residents starting Thursday. It will be ready across the country by “mid-month.” Citizens will also be able to order Covid-19 test kits from the NHS through the app.
The app uses Bluetooth capabilities on smartphones to store proximity information about the people with whom people come into contact. If any of these individuals are diagnosed with Covid-19, they will notify everyone who has been in contact with that person.
Hancock said the “test, track and trace” strategy will allow the government to “take a more targeted approach to foreclosure.”
Britain has a capacity of 108,000 tests per day, he said, adding that 85,186 tests for the coronavirus were performed on Sunday, below the target of 100,000 for the second consecutive day. He added that the health service is doing well and that there are currently 3,413 intensive care beds available.
The virus claimed 28,734 lives, it added, up 288 in the past 24 hours from 5 pm Sunday.
FDA tightens rules for deployment of antibody tests in the United States
The US health regulator is tightening rules for antibody testing after unreliable and unauthorized tests have flooded the market.
The Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that the relaxed rules, which allow certified labs to sell their own tests before seeking regulatory approval, are intended to promote flexibility, not fraud.
“Unfortunately, we see unscrupulous players marketing fraudulent test kits and using the pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of American anxiety,” he said in a statement.
Now, developers whose tests are already on the market have 10 days to submit an emergency authorization request, and newcomers will have 10 days from the first notification to the regulator of their own validation of their test.
Antibody test developers incorrectly claimed that their tests were approved by the FDA, while others falsely advertised them as diagnostics, or said that they could be done at home, which is contrary to FDA rules, warned the regulator. He added that an independent assessment by the National Institutes of Health had shown that some were underperforming.
UK retention program covers 6.3 million jobs
Delphine Strauss in London
More than 6 million British workers receive part of their wages from the state under the job retention scheme.
At midnight on May 3, 800,000 employers had applied to use the program, which allows companies to put staff on government leave covering 80% of their regular wages, HM Revenue and Customs said on Monday.
The number of jobs covered by the program has reached 6.3 million, said the HMRC, a tally which could include a small number of workers counted twice because they had been removed from part-time employment by more from an employer.
The total value of wages claimed by employers reached £ 8 billion, almost double the amount previously announced on April 23, when the scheme had only been running for a few days.
GE to cut 10,000 more aviation jobs
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York and Claire Bushey in Chicago
GE cuts another 10,000 global aviation jobs as it prepares for an 80% drop in air traffic in the second quarter and aircraft manufacturer production cuts that will continue next year and beyond.
The new permanent layoffs are in addition to 2,600 cuts made by GE Aviation to its US workforce on March 23 and are expected to affect a quarter of the 52,000 employees who span from Ohio to Europe in the coming months. They will fuel plans to save $ 1 billion in costs and preserve $ 2 billion in cash, which GE announced to investors last week.
“To protect our business, we have responded with tough cost-cutting actions in the past two months. Unfortunately, we need to do more to adapt our business to the realities of our commercial market, ”said David Joyce, CEO of GE Aviation, in a statement to employees.
Les coupes dans une entreprise qui fabrique des moteurs, des composants et des systèmes intégrés pour les avions commerciaux, militaires et d’affaires ont été «la réponse requise à la contraction continue de l’industrie et à sa reprise prolongée», a déclaré M. Joyce.
Les détails de la baisse des réductions sont toujours attendus, GE Aviation appelant à des licenciements volontaires et préparant des négociations avec les comités d’entreprise sur les licenciements involontaires. Il n’a donné aucun détail sur les employés de maintenance et de réparation de la division, dont la moitié ont été mis en congé en mars pendant 90 jours.
L’annonce de GE est intervenue un jour de pessimisme croissant pour l’aviation commerciale après que Warren Buffett a déclaré à la réunion annuelle de Berkshire Hathaway que l’industrie aérienne pourrait avoir «trop d’avions».
Jamie Baker, un analyste de JPMorgan Chase, a déclaré la semaine dernière que davantage de licenciements devraient être attendus car le plan de relance américain ne protégera les emplois des compagnies aériennes que jusqu’au 30 septembre. À moins d’un renflouement, il a déclaré que «le 1er octobre est susceptible d’émerger comme l’un des les jours les plus sombres de l’histoire du travail aérien « .
La BCE se penche sur l’achat de la dette italienne, française et espagnole
Martin Arnold à Francfort
La Banque centrale européenne a concentré ses achats d’obligations souveraines sur les pays les plus durement touchés par la pandémie de coronavirus le mois dernier, achetant principalement des obligations d’État italiennes, françaises et espagnoles, selon des données publiées lundi.
Les détails du programme d’achat du secteur public de la BCE ont montré que ses 29,6 milliards d’euros d’achats nets étaient principalement constitués de 10,9 milliards d’obligations italiennes, 8,3 milliards d’obligations françaises et 4,3 milliards d’obligations espagnoles.
Ce sont les trois pays qui ont enregistré le plus grand nombre de décès dus aux coronavirus dans la zone euro et, par conséquent, leurs économies ont subi le plus de perturbations. La BCE a acheté proportionnellement moins d’obligations de pays qui ont eu relativement moins de morts – n’achetant que 628 millions d’euros d’obligations allemandes le mois dernier.
Les achats d’obligations souveraines de la banque centrale sont censés être effectués proportionnellement au poids économique de ses 19 pays membres – mesurés par leur contribution à son capital selon un critère appelé «clé du capital». Mais la BCE a souligné qu’elle avait une certaine souplesse dans cette règle.
Frederick Ducrozet, stratège chez Pictet Wealth Management, a déclaré: « La BCE a encore une fois dévié massivement de ses clés de capital en avril. » Il a déclaré qu’il avait dépassé son capital clé de 6,4 milliards d’euros en achats d’obligations italiennes et sous-estimé d’un montant similaire en obligations allemandes.
En mars, la BCE a augmenté ses achats d’actifs existants de 20 milliards d’euros par mois en ajoutant un programme initial de 120 milliards d’euros et un autre programme d’achat d’urgence pandémique (PEPP) de 750 milliards d’euros pour lutter contre l’impact des coronavirus sur l’économie.
Il a déclaré lundi qu’il avait acheté 118,8 milliards d’euros d’actifs dans le cadre du PEPP à la fin de la semaine dernière, mais il ne doit publier les détails de ces achats que le 2 juin.
Mnuchin dit qu’il n’est pas clair si les voyages à l’étranger s’ouvriront cette année
James Politi à Washington
Steven Mnuchin, le secrétaire américain au Trésor, a déclaré qu’il était «trop difficile de dire» si les voyages internationaux pouvaient être rétablis cette année, ce qui laisse entrevoir la possibilité que les États-Unis puissent maintenir les interdictions de voyager affectant l’Asie et l’Europe, même si les restrictions nationales sur l’activité économique sont levées.
Dans une interview avec Fox Business Network, M. Mnuchin a déclaré que Donald Trump, le président américain, « cherchait des moyens de stimuler les voyages », mais a suggéré que cet effort serait initialement limité aux voyages aux États-Unis.
Lorsqu’on lui a demandé si les voyages internationaux seraient «ouverts cette année», M. Mnuchin a déclaré: «Trop difficile à dire à ce stade. J’espère que ce sera le cas… notre priorité est d’ouvrir l’économie nationale. “
Il a ensuite ajouté: «De toute évidence, pour les hommes d’affaires qui ont besoin de voyager, il y aura des déplacements limités. But now’s the perfect time for people to explore America. “
Les commandes d’usine aux États-Unis ont chuté de 10,3% en mars
Les nouvelles commandes de produits fabriqués aux États-Unis ont plongé en mars, alors que les efforts pour freiner la propagation du coronavirus, y compris la fermeture d’entreprises non essentielles, ont frappé les chaînes d’approvisionnement.
Les commandes aux États-Unis ont chuté de 10,3% et ont diminué pour le troisième mois consécutif, a annoncé lundi le département du Commerce. La baisse a été la plus importante jamais enregistrée depuis 1956. Elle a également suivi une baisse de 0,1% en février et a été pire que les attentes des économistes pour une baisse de 9,7%, selon une enquête de Reuters.
Le matériel de transport a été le frein le plus important, en baisse de 41%, les commandes d’avions et de pièces autres que de défense ainsi que de navires et de bateaux ayant chuté.
Le gouvernement américain fournit 2,4 milliards de dollars pour la riposte mondiale aux virus
Katrina Manson à Washington
Les États-Unis ont défendu leur décision de ne pas participer à l’effort mondial d’annonce de contributions organisé par l’UE pour soutenir la réponse mondiale aux coronavirus lundi, affirmant qu’ils étaient déjà le plus grand contributeur à ces efforts.
«En tant que leader mondial de l’aide étrangère de Covid-19, nous saluons les efforts de l’UE [for] des promesses de contributions supplémentaires pour lutter contre cette pandémie », a déclaré lundi un haut responsable de l’administration, ajoutant que les États-Unis étaient en train de fournir 2,4 milliards de dollars en assistance sanitaire, humanitaire et économique mondiale pour la réponse à Covid-19.
James Richardson, le responsable du département d’État américain en charge de l’aide étrangère, a déclaré que ce chiffre signifiait que les États-Unis représentaient 39% de toute l’aide gouvernementale et multilatérale mondiale consacrée à la réponse mondiale contre les coronavirus, affirmant que c’était presque 50 fois plus que la Chine et deux fois autant que le deuxième donateur en importance. Il a déclaré qu’avec les dons de bienfaisance de sources privées, les États-Unis accordaient 6,5 milliards de dollars, soit 60% des efforts mondiaux de lutte contre la maladie.
Les États-Unis ont été critiqués pour leur refus de se joindre à l’effort mondial mené par l’UE pour collecter 7,5 milliards d’euros pour aider à développer et à distribuer équitablement des tests, des traitements et des vaccins dans le monde entier.
La facture d’épicerie hebdomadaire des familles britanniques avant Pâques fait plus que doubler
Les familles britanniques se sont tournées vers leurs propres cuisines à Pâques, dépensant près du double du montant de l’épicerie cette année qu’en 2019, alors qu’elles s’installaient chez elles dans le cadre des efforts mondiaux pour endiguer la propagation du coronavirus.
Les dépenses moyennes en alimentation de supermarché ont augmenté de 81% à 49,30 £ pour la semaine précédant Pâques cette année, par rapport à la semaine qui a commencé le 15 avril 2019.
Restaurants took up 42 per cent less out of the family budget for the pre-Easter week that began April 6, compared with Easter 2019, as takeaways did not quite pass muster for many during the pandemic crisis this year, the Open Finance platform Moneyhub’s consumer data showed on Monday.
For the same calendar week in 2019, rather than the Easter period, restaurant spending dropped 76 per cent, Moneyhub revealed. Payments to Netflix meanwhile more than doubled during March this year, compared with the same month in 2019 – the UK spent 145 per cent more on the US streaming service’s subscription.
London’s Nightingale hospital to be placed on standby
Sarah Neville and PA
London’s Nightingale hospital, part of a chain of temporary hospitals set up around the UK to treat coronavirus sufferers, is to stop admitting new patients, the government has said.
The prime minister’s official spokesman said no new coronavirus admissions were expected at the 4,000-bed-capacity hospital, built in the ExCel centre in East London, part of the 2012 London Olympics site. However, it will remain on standby in case of a fresh wave of coronavirus patients after the government eases social distancing rules.
« It’s not likely that in the coming days we will need to be admitting patients to the London Nightingale while coronavirus in the capital remains under control, » the No 10 spokesman said. « That’s obviously a very positive thing and we remain grateful to everybody in London for following the government’s advice in helping to protect the NHS. “
When the hospital opened early last month, it had been anticipated that regular NHS hospitals might be overwhelmed by patients, requiring overflow capacity in the form of the Nightingales. There are seven of the field-style hospitals in total in England and similar facilities in Scotland and Wales, but two have yet to open their doors and those that have opened have treated only small numbers of patients.
In a message to staff on Monday, the London Nightingale’s chief executive, Charles Knight, said that the facility would « stand ready » if cases in the capital began to climb again.
After the last of its current patients left, the hospital would be placed on standby « ready to resume operations as and when needed in the weeks and potentially months to come », he said.
Prof Knight added: « We must be ready for the possibility that the number of Covid-19 cases rise again if and when the government eases social distancing rules. “
Javier Espinoza in Brussels
Germany’s state aid is set to act as a “locomotive” for Europe’s recovery, according to competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, despite concerns by member states that some have more capacity than others to aid their ailing sectors.
Speaking at the European Parliament, Ms Vestager said:
Even in normal days when we have a strict set of rules for state aid to make sure that as little help is paid out – no more than needed – that private funding is not crowded out and that we have a level playing field; even in those days some member states have more fiscal space to use the rules to help than other member states…Now under these extreme circumstances it becomes massive. I think it’s important for all of us that Germany do what they do because to some degree that will work as a locomotive.
Her comments followed concerns among less wealthy countries in the EU that those with massive fiscal powers will be able to emerge from the crisis disproportionately better off then the rest, undermining the principles of the bloc’s single market.
Carnival to resume some North American cruises in August
Cruise operator Carnival will resume some services in North America this summer, while extending a temporary suspension in services elsewhere in North America and Australia as it looks to gradually restart operations.
The Miami-based company said all North American cruises from June 27 to July 31 had been cancelled, but that beginning August 1 it will resume services with eight ships from Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida and Galveston, Texas.
Carnival added that cruises in other parts of North America and in Australia have been scrapped until the end of August.
“We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the Covid-19 situation,” the company said in a statement. “We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service in a number of home ports where we have larger operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our customers. “
The plans come even as the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on Friday opened a probe into the cruise operator, requesting documents about its coronavirus response.
More than 3,700 passengers were quarantined for more than 20 days off the coast of Japan on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess after the virus erupted on the ship earlier this year. The letter from US lawmakers cited media reports noting « at least nine of Carnival’s ships have been infected with Covid-19 resulting in more than 1,500 confirmed infections and at least 39 deaths ».
Carnival shares slid 3 per cent on Monday and are down about 75 per cent year-to-date.
London’s Metropolitan Police have taken advantage of a reduction in some types of crime during the coronavirus crisis to seek out “wanted offenders” in an effort to curb post-lockdown offences, Robert Wright reports from London.
Laurence Taylor, deputy assistant commissioner for operations at the UK’s largest police force, said the Met had experienced a shift in demand from “volume” crimes, such as disorder at pub closing times, to enforcing lockdown laws.
It has meant that we can have possibly a greater focus on some of those areas of serious criminality.
Read Robert’s full story
Hundreds of asylum-seekers leave overcrowded Greek camp
Kerin Hope in Athens
Almost 500 asylum-seekers left the overcrowded Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos over the weekend under a scheme to prevent the spread of coronavirus on the island, the migration ministry said.
No confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported at any of the reception centres hosting some 38,000 asylum seekers in poor conditions on five eastern Greek islands. Six Greek residents of Lesbos infected with the virus have all recovered, health authorities said.
Medical facilities at Moria have been extended to provide coronavirus testing for residents and two isolation areas for suspected cases.
The latest departures brought the number of asylum-seekers moved to new accommodation to about 870. Most were transferred to camps on the mainland, but some 250 vulnerable people, mostly elderly or with chronic diseases, are staying at hotels on the island, a UNHCR official said. About 19,000 migrants and refugees remain in Moria.
The flow of arrivals by small boat from Turkey fell to less than 100 in April, following a stand-off on the Greek-Turkish land frontier over an Ankara-backed attempt by several thousand refugees to break through a border fence and enter Greece. The Greek government says it intends to deport most of the 110,000 asylum-seekers living in camps on the mainland.
US stocks open lower
Global stocks fell as tensions flared between the US and China over the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Wall Street the S&P 500 slipped 0.7 per cent in the early minutes of trading, while the Dow Jones lost 1 per cent and the tech-weighted Nasdaq was 0.5 per cent lower.
The falls came after Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, on Sunday reiterated US government claims linking the coronavirus outbreak to a laboratory in Wuhan, China, without providing any evidence. China has denied the virus came from the lab.
In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx 600, which tracks the region’s largest companies, fell 2.5 per cent by mid-afternoon. The losses were most pronounced in continental Europe, where markets had missed Friday’s liquidation due to a public holiday. In Frankfurt, the Dax fell 3.8 per cent, while the CAC 40 in Paris was 4.2 per cent lower. London’s FTSE 100, which had fallen more than 2 per cent in the previous session, slipped a further 0.1 per cent.
“The last thing we need is more trade war,” said Kit Juckes, a strategist at Société Générale.
Italy’s Covid-19 outbreak may have taken far more lives than initially thought, according to the first near-nationwide assessment by the government.
Only half of the deaths earlier this year in Italy in excess of normal levels were diagnosed as coronavirus, the official data show.
Italy registered nearly 91,000 deaths between February 20 and March 31, compared with the average over the past five years for that period of 65,600, an increase of 39 per cent. However, only 54 per cent of the 25,300 excess deaths were diagnosed as Covid-19, according to a report by Italy’s Office for National Statistics together with the National Health Institute.
The 11,600 excess deaths that were not diagnosed as Covid-19 could have been linked to people not being tested or fatalities caused by the crisis of the health system, particularly in severely hit areas, the health institute said.
Italy’s excess deaths during the early weeks of the outbreak were almost exclusively concentrated in the north of the country, where the number of fatalities rose by 73 per cent compared to the average of the last five years. In some provinces of that region, such as Bergamo, deaths jumped by 568 per cent.
Across the north, only 52 per cent of the excess deaths were diagnosed as Covid-19. In the centre and south of Italy, the number of fatalities between February 20 and the end of March rose by an average of 4 per cent, with 80 per cent of excess deaths attributed to Covid-19.
Javier Espinoza in Brussels
The EU is pushing member states to agree to a ‘decentralised’ approach when it comes to deploying tracing apps to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the European Parliament, executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager said officials were working hard to build consensus. She said:
We are actively discussing with member states how to build a system where existing apps can talk to one another so cross border travel becomes a thing that’s safe to do…It’s more difficult to make apps work together if one stores on your phone and the other stores centrally…This is why we have been working with member states to have a consensus that goes in the direction of decentralised storage. We hope that we can go in that direction.
Her comments followed reports that European countries are split over the different approaches to deploy tracing apps, raising concerns about interoperability between platforms and the efficiency of the technology to tackle the crisis.
Experts have raised concerns that using both centralised and decentralised apps would lead to lack of interoperability between them, undermining efforts to trace people once travel within countries is permitted again.
However, Ms Vestager sounded hopeful of building consensus around a decentralised system, which would be supported by a system being developed by Apple and Google.
“More and more countries are coming to have that approach,” she added.
JPMorgan expects Wall Street to outperform European markets, largely thanks to the considerable policy response to the pandemic from Washington and the Federal Reserve.
« The US is benefitting from stronger fiscal stimulus and greater Fed backstops, » the bank’s global equity strategists said in a note to clients on Monday.
US markets also have a greater alignment with the bank’s preference for defensive and growth stocks, given that it still sees the potential for new declines ahead.
JPMorgan has shifted its global portfolio to give a greater weighting to US stocks, which it is now neutral on. It has downgraded eurozone stocks from overweight to neutral.
The S&P 500 is trading about 15 per cent lower than its late-February highs, while the Stoxx Europe 600 is still nearly 25 per cent off its levels in February.
While the eurozone should have benefited from trade uncertainty easing, and while it is trading cheap on most valuation metrics, its sector tilts are a drag and the policy response is weaker.
Japan extends state of emergency until end of May
Leo Lewis in Tokyo
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has formally extended the country’s state of emergency until the end of May, keeping restrictions in place but hinting that some of these could be relaxed sooner if the rate of new infections is brought down.
The widely expected extension and Mr Abe’s call on the public to adopt a “new lifestyle” comes almost a month after the original state of emergency was announced for Tokyo and several other prefectures on April 7. It was shortly afterwards extended to the rest of the country.
The decision to declare an emergency came nearly three months after Japan detected its first coronavirus case in mid-January and began its protracted battle to bring the disease under control. Fears remain that Japan’s medical system, which has a smaller ratio of intensive care beds to population than Italy, could break down if infections continue to rise.
Mr Abe admitted that the strains on the medical system are still severe, and that the number of patients in critical condition had tripled since the emergency declaration was made in early April.
Unlike stricter, legally enforced responses elsewhere, Japan’s strategy has involved a combination of the formal closure of many public spaces and a hope that individuals will engage in voluntary social distancing and effect an 80 per cent reduction in person-to-person contact. Under this system, small restaurants and other businesses have been able to stay open.
The prime minister pledged a review of the situation around the middle of the month, with museums, libraries and some other facilities now likely to reopen if they take sufficient precautionary measures. No firm date has yet been set for when schools will reopen. Officially, Japan has recorded more than 15,000 cases and 550 deaths.
Airline stocks hit as Buffett jettisons aviation investments
US airline stocks took a hit on Monday after Warren Buffett said he ditched his investments in carriers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shares in Delta Air Lines, United and American Airlines tumbled 10 per cent, while Southwest fell 8 per cent in pre-market trade.
Mr Buffett said during Berkshire Hathaway’s virtual annual meeting that he exited all four carriers in April, as the investment vehicle sold more than $6bn in stock related to airline trade.
“It turns out that I was wrong,” he said. “The airline industry – and I may be wrong and I hope I am wrong – I think it has changed very significantly.”
Airlines worldwide have sharply reduced capacity as governments have issued stay at home orders and travellers choose to stay home to curb the spread of Covid-19. United Airlines has drawn up plans to reduce its workforce if air travel does not rebound as it currently burns about $50m in cash per day amid a drop in demand.
Mr Buffett’s comments had a knock-on effect on the broader airline industry as well, as shares in JetBlue and Alaska Air fell 10 and 9 per cent respectively in pre-market trade. The broader US Global Jets exchange traded fund fell 8.3 per cent.
Ferrari slashes earnings outlook on hit to F1 income
Peter Campbell in London
Ferrari downgraded profit estimates by up to 17 per cent on Monday after predicting a “harsh reduction” of income from Formula 1 and its branding division because of coronavirus.
The supercar maker sold 2,738 cars in the first three months of the year, booking €220m of pre-tax profit, down 5 per cent against a year ago, on revenues that were 1 per cent lower at €932m.
Deliveries of the 488 Pista and the 488 Pista Spider, along with the ramp up of the F8 Tributo, helped car shipments to grow by 5 per cent in the quarter.
Ferrari lowered full year pre-tax profit guidance to €600-800m, down from the previous range of €950m-€1bn, with expected revenues downgraded from €4.1bn to €3.4-3.6bn.
The group expects a “significant reduction in Formula 1 revenues” during 2020 with races cancelled or held without fans present, as well as predicting a “substantial reduction in turnover” in the business unit that licenses its brand.
The group’s factories, which have been shuttered since March 14 because of coronavirus, reopened this week and are expected to reach full production levels by Friday.
Mure Dickie in Edinburgh
The Scottish government has set out details of the “test, trace, isolate, support” approach it hopes to use to contain coronavirus after an easing of the current lockdown, but stressed that it was too early to set a date for such a relaxation.
The lockdown is to be formally reviewed on Thursday, but Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, made clear there would be no substantial shift in her government’s guidance then. The UK government is expected to set out details of its thinking on a relaxation on Sunday.
Ms Sturgeon told her daily coronavirus briefing:
I cannot see the circumstances based on the evidence I’m looking at … of me being able to stand up here on Thursday and say we are lifting elements of the lockdown in any significant or meaningful way at all.
In a paper published on Monday, the Scottish government said it was preparing to test people in the community who have Covid-19 symptoms, then use contact tracing to identify their close contacts and then ask and support those close contacts to self-isolate.
“‘Test, trace, isolate, support’ will be most effective when levels of infection are low — lower than now,” the paper said. “Its success relies on all of us knowing and agreeing what to do if we have symptoms, and being prepared to self-isolate when advised to do so.”
Tyson warns of meat sale declines and higher costs
Tyson Foods, the largest US meat company, reported disappointing quarterly results and said it expects sales volume to fall in the second half of the year and costs to rise as it contends with the coronvirus pandemic.
The Arkansas-based company said: « The volume increases in retail have not been sufficient to offset the losses in foodservice and as a result, we expect decreases in volumes in the second half of fiscal 2020. » The company also said it expects to continue to experience lower productivity and higher production costs « until the effects of Covid-19 diminish » and that it is unable to « provide segment adjusted operating margin guidance ».
Last week, Tyson Foods warned of a shortage of products for consumers, saying the country’s complex food chain was “breaking” by closing the slaughterhouses.
The news accompanied fiscal-second quarter results that showed a 4 per cent year-on-year rise in sales to $10.88bn, which missed analyst expectations for $10.96bn. Net income slid to $364m or $1 a share, down from $426m or $1.17 a share in the quarter a year ago. Le bénéfice ajusté de 77 cents par action n’a pas répondu aux attentes des analystes.
« During the quarter, we witnessed an unprecedented shift in demand from foodservice to retail, temporary plant closures, reduced team member attendance, and supply chain volatility as a result of the virus, » the company said.
Tyson shares fell 7 per cent in pre-market trade to $56.
US conspicuous by its absence on list of G20-backed donor event
Michael Peel in Brussels
Washington appears to have ducked a high-profile international coronavirus donor event aimed at raising an initial $8bn to boost testing, treatment and development and distribution of a vaccine.
No US government representative is listed on a programme of interventions to be made by leaders or other senior officials from more than 40 countries at Monday’s pledging conference, which is backed by the G20.
Zhang Ming, China’s ambassador to the EU, will represent his nation at the event moderated by Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president.
Washington has given money through other means to likely beneficiaries of the conference including Gavi, an international organisation that uses donor funding to supply vaccines to the world’s poorest countries.
George Parker in London
The government has published a long-awaited list of members of the government’s scientific advisory group on emergencies (Sage), the key body providing evidence on coronavirus to ministers.
The list does not include the names of those who wished not to be identified, nor does it include the names of government officials who « attend » the meetings, such as the prime minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings.
The government said the list named « participants who provided input as experts at one or more meetings, including public servants who acted in an expert capacity ».
Greg Clark, Commons science and technology committee chairman, said: « I strongly welcome the commitment to transparency made by SAGE in publishing the names of the members. “
This was something my committee called for in order to provide public reassurance that Government decisions are informed by a broad and substantial body of expert advice.
Two members of Sage asked not to be named.
Spain is heading for a political confrontation over its harsh lockdown as the daily coronavirus death toll remains at virtually its lowest point since the measure was imposed more than seven weeks ago. The prime minister insists no other option remains but to maintain the state of alert.
Loosening the lockdown: Many European countries are taking tentative steps to ease the strict measures that have kept so many housebound for weeks. Germany is gradually reopening places such as barber shops and hair salons while Italians can visit relatives for the first time in nine weeks. Spain over the weekend allowed its citizens to exercise outdoors for the first time since mid-March. Masks will become more visible on streets and buses as many governments make it mandatory to wear them on public transport. Elsewhere, Iran is set to hold Friday prayers this week and has reopened some mosques.
Takeaway coffee from a cafe in Rome
Company news: Air Canada expects it will take at least three years to recover to 2019 levels of revenue and capacity while US fashion group J Crew, the private-equity backed group known for its preppy style, has filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the first major US retailer to be pushed over the edge by the pandemic.
Markets: Global stocks tumbled as tension flared between the US and China over the origin of the outbreak. In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx 600, which tracks the region’s largest companies, fell more than 2 per cent. The losses were sharpest in continental shares since markets had missed out on Friday’s sell-off because of a public holiday.
Economic news: Experts have slashed their forecasts for eurozone growth, inflation and jobs, the latest European Central Bank survey of professional forecasters shows. Hong Kong meanwhile has shrunk at the fastest quarterly and annual rate on record as the pandemic has disrupted supply chains. The territory’s first-quarter gross domestic product decreased by 8.9 per cent, the sharpest decline from the same period a year earlier since records began in 1974.
Air Canada warns that recovery of capacity will take over three years
Air Canada expects that it will take at least three years to recover to 2019 levels of revenue and capacity, in the latest warning of the prolonged recovery ahead for the beleaguered airline industry.
The North American airline said that it had reduced its capacity by 85 to 90 per cent for the second quarter and it foresaw cutting it by three-quarters for the third quarter of this year compared with a year earlier, due to ongoing travel restrictions and lower passenger demand.
“We are now living through the darkest period ever in the history of commercial aviation,” said Calin Rovinescu, chief executive of Air Canada. “We expect that both the overall industry and our airline will be considerably smaller for some time, which will unfortunately result in significant reductions in both fleet and employee levels.”
The gloomy outlook came as the group reported that it failed to grow revenue for the first time in 27 quarters on a year-on-year basis and that it fell to an operating loss of $433m, versus operating income of $127m a year before.
UK sets up mask-making industry after Scotland stumps up loan
Andy Bounds in Huddersfield
The UK is creating a domestic industry to make vital FFP3 respirator masks after the Scottish government provided a loan to a manufacturer of the rare filter material needed.
Don & Low has bought a machine to produce fabric used in the type of masks required for close contact with coronavirus patients.
Scotland has provided £3.6m of finance for the £4.5m investment.
The textile maker will supply meltblown material, of which there is a global shortage, sufficient to make 125m masks annually, with priority for the National Health Service and government. The company already makes material for FFP2 grade masks, which block only 95 per cent of potentially infectious particles.
Production will start in October. US business 3M is the only maker in the UK of the material and FFP3 masks so London has had to buy supplies from around the world in a competitive market.
Many NHS staff say they are still short of such vital equipment.
“Covid-19 isn’t going away any time soon, » said Scottish trade minister Ivan McKee, « so while we have enough masks to protect our frontline health and social care workers now, we are also taking a long-term view to build PPE manufacturing capability in Scotland to meet future needs.”
Spanish lockdown extension sparks political standoff
Daniel Dombey in Madrid
Spain is heading for a political confrontation over its harsh lockdown, as the country’s daily coronavirus death toll remains at virtually its lowest point since the measure was imposed over seven weeks ago.
Pablo Casado, the main opposition leader, said that there was now no point in his centre right People’s party backing a further two week extension of the state of alert, the extraordinary legal order underpinning the lockdown. This gives sweeping powers to the central government to rule by decree but is due to expire on May 10.
Pedro Sánchez, prime minister, maintains there is no other option but to continue the state of alert, since the government plans to phase out the lockdown only very slowly, in several phases until the end of June or mid-July.
Mr Sánchez says the lockdown is working: according to health ministry figures released on Monday, the daily death toll remained at 164 for the second consecutive day, the lowest level since March 18, barely three days into the lockdown. In the 24 hours to 9pm on Sunday, just 356 people nationwide tested positive for coronavirus in relatively reliable PCR tests — a mere 0.16 per cent increase on the previous day’s figure, bringing the official accumulated number of cases to 218,011. Such low numbers may however be influenced by slower reporting times over the weekend.
But Mr Casado — who has to date voted in favour of the lockdown, despite his bitter criticism of the government — said the opposition would not give in to “blackmail”. He contends that the government could instead achieve its objectives through legislation both in terms of restricting mobility and providing economic aid.
Several of Spain’s regions have also objected to the central government’s plans to relax the lockdown, calling for a return to more devolved power. The chamber of deputies, in which Spain’s left wing coalition government is far short of a majority, is set to debate and vote on the state of alert and the lockdown on Wednesday.
Iran to reinstate Friday prayers and reopen mosques
Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran
Iran is set to hold Friday prayers this week and has re-opened mosques in a handful of towns believed to pose a low risk to public health after about two months of closure.
Iran’s health ministry said that Friday prayers will be held in 157 towns this week while people could go to mosques in 132 towns as of Monday. Worshippers can spend a maximum of half an hour in mosques and have to wear face masks and gloves, while no tea can be served.
A ban on holding mourning ceremonies in mosques remains in place and the country’s main shrines in the holy cities of Mashhad and Qom will be closed until further notice.
The decision to halt group prayers and visits to shrines and mosques had faced initial opposition by hardline forces who believe holy sites could help to cure disease rather than infecting worshippers.
Iran’s death toll reached 6,277 on Monday, up from 6,203 a day before. A total of 98,647 individuals have now tested positive.
J Crew files for bankruptcy
US fashion group J Crew has filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the first major US retailer to be pushed over the edge by the coronavirus pandemic.
The private equity backed company, known for its preppy styles, said on Monday that its parent Chinos Holdings had filed for Chapter 11 relief as the sector struggles to contend with the widespread closures brought in to stem the spread of Covid-19.
As part of the restructuring process, J Crew said it had reached an agreement with its lenders to convert $ 1.65 billion of debt into equity. It also said it had secured commitments for a debtor-in-possession financing facility of $400m. It will retain its Madewell brand as part of the agreement.
“This agreement with our lenders is a critical step in the ongoing process to transform our business with the goal of driving sustainable and long-term growth for J Crew and further strengthening Madewell’s growth momentum,” said Jan Singer , general manager of the group.
J Crew had already been under pressure from its heavy debt load and had fallen out of favour with many American consumers following a series of design mis-steps in recent years. It also faced intense competition from lower-priced fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara. But the shock sent through the industry by the coronavirus pandemic proved to be the final straw.
Retailers in the US and around the world have been among the hardest hit by the outbreak, with much of the sector facing a historic crunch. Lockdowns across the US have forced the closure of hundreds of thousands of outlets and the National Retail Federation has suggested $430bn in industry revenues could evaporate over the course of the second quarter.
Hong Kong economy shrinks at the fastest rate on record in first quarter
Nicolle Liu in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s economy contracted at the fastest rate on record on a quarterly and yearly basis, according to the latest government data, as coronavirus seriously disrupted local economic activities and supply chains.
The territory’s gross domestic product decreased by 8.9 per cent in the first three months of 2020 relative to the same period a year earlier, the sharpest decline since records began in 1974.
The fall in GDP was 5.3 per cent when compared to the previous quarter, which was also the steepest fall on record. The city has recorded four consecutive quarters of economic contraction since the second quarter of 2019.
Paul Chan, the financial secretary, said that: “Due to the events in our society and violent conflict last year, as well as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak recently, the three major engines of our economy — exports, consumption and investment expenditure — have stalled.”
The government last week revised the full year 2020 GDP forecast to a contraction range of 4 per cent to 7 per cent. The government estimate in February was that the economy would shrink by up to 1.5 per cent.
Coronavirus tracked: Has your country’s epidemic peaked?
The visual and data team at the Financial Times have created an interactive chart that enables you to explore data about the Covid-19 pandemic to track the infection’s spread around the world.
Find any country and customise the FT’s Covid-19 charts
Experts slash forecasts for eurozone growth, inflation and jobs
Martin Arnold in Frankfurt
Eurozone growth and inflation rates are expected to fall sharply this year, while unemployment is set to surge as the coronavirus crisis hits the region’s economy hard, according to the latest European Central Bank survey of professional forecasters.
In its first quarterly survey of experts since the pandemic froze activity across much of Europe, the ECB said on average they had forecast a 5.5 per cent contraction of the economy this year, compared with a 1.1 per cent growth forecast three months earlier.
Inflation is set to slow to 0.4 per cent this year, the 57 experts polled by the ECB predicted in the poll, which was conducted in the first week of April.
This was a sharp fall from their previous forecast for inflation to be 1.2 per cent this year, but it was in line with the fall in the inflation rate from 0.7 per cent in March to 0.4 per cent in April. It is well below the ECB’s core inflation target of just below 2 per cent.
Unemployment is expected to increase to 9.4 per cent in the eurozone, the experts predicted, a big increase from their previous forecast for the jobless rate to remain stable at 7.5 per cent. In March, eurozone unemployment was close to a 12-year-low at 7.4 per cent.
The experts forecast that growth, inflation and the labour market would recover next year. On average for 2021, they predicted growth of 4.3 per cent, inflation of 1.2 per cent and an unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent.
By 2024, the experts predicted that growth would be 1.4 per cent and inflation would be 1.6 per cent, both in line with their earlier forecasts. Unemployment, however, would remain stubbornly higher at 7.7 per cent, above their earlier forecast for it to fall to 7.3 per cent.
China has questions to answer on how speedily it made the world aware of the extent of the coronavirus crisis, the UK’s defence minister said, as concerns grow over future relations between the west and China.
“The time for the post-mortem on this is after we’ve all got it under control and have come through it,” Ben Wallace said on LBC radio. “It’s in everybody’s interest for us to be transparent.”
His comments on Monday come after US President Donald Trump raised the heat on China for its role in the spread of the virus by accusing it of trying to cover up a “horrible mistake” and pledging to soon release a “very conclusive report” on the origin of the disease.
Mr Wallace said that the difficulties in achieving a higher volume of tests in the UK was due to the shortage of reagents, not a lack of will.
« Testing would have improved all of our chances of understanding this virus, » he said.
If we had known from the outset more about the virus, then of course more lives could have been saved. I don’t think it’s a country-by-country problem. I think it is a massive problem around how we share intelligence on viruses and learning at pace.
He defended the government delaying to Sunday a decision on whether to extend, ease or lift the lockdown in order to make the right decision based on testing and analysis.
Steve Bernard in London
The worldwide daily coronavirus death toll dropped to 3,481 yesterday, the fifth day in a row that the number has fallen. Sunday’s total represents the smallest daily increase since the end of March.
The US suffered an additional 1,158 deaths to push the total there to 61,760. This is the lowest daily figure since April 6, though the US still accounts for a third of all daily fatalities.
Globally, the number of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases climbed by 82,260 yesterday. This is the highest daily rise on a Sunday since the pandemic began. It brings the total number of infections to 3.4m.
You can explore data about the pandemic to better understand the disease’s spread and trajectory in the live-updating and customisable version of the FT’s Covid-19 trajectory charts, which are available here.
The data for the maps is provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and now include care home deaths in the UK and France, which means the numbers will vary from our previous tallies.
Lockdown lunches: how to make sourdough pizza
Consumers have stockpiled essential ingredients during the coronavirus crisis, such as flour and yeast.
So FT food writer Tim Hayward shows the FT’s Daniel Garrahan, in the fourth of our lockdown cookery series, how to grow and feed a sourdough starter before turning it into a home-baked pizza.
Saudi’s Sabic suspends most capital expenditure
Simeon Kerr in Dubai
Saudi petrochemical giant Sabic said it would suspend all but essential capital expenditure as repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic weighed on demand.
The company said the negative impact of coronavirus would also affect demand and market sentiment in the second quarter “and potentially later this year.”
Sabic reported a first quarter net loss of 950m riyals ($250m), compared with a net profit of SAR3.41bn in the year-ago period.
“Sabic is committed to capital discipline and maintaining a strong balance sheet and has suspended all capex,” said Yousef Al-Benyan, chief executive.
Non-discretionary spending on “safe and reliable” operations and late stage projects would continue.
The first quarter results were impacted by a “challenging product-pricing environment” and lower demand caused by Covid-19, the company said.
Revenues were down 18 per cent, year on year. Sales decreased by 4 per cent and prices by 2 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2019.
Saudi Aramco, which is also cutting its spending, is set to complete the acquisition of the sovereign Public Investment Fund’s 70 per cent stake in the petrochemicals firm this year.
Italy’s manufacturing activity plummeted to the lowest level in more than 20 years as the coronavirus pandemic choked production and severely weakened domestic and global demand.
April’s IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index sank to 31.1 from March’s 40.3. This is a lower reading than during the financial crisis and it marks the worst performance since the survey began in 1997.
A reading below 50 indicates the majority of businesses reporting a deterioration in activity compared to the previous month.
“PMI data highlight the unprecedented and substantial damage from the coronavirus pandemic on the Italian manufacturing sector,” said Lewis Cooper, Economist at IHS Markit.
Last week, Italy’s office for national statistics revealed that the eurozone’s third-largest economy shrank 4.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the steepest contraction since the series began.
What you may have missed
President Donald Trump said he thought China made “a horrible mistake” on the virus outbreak, as he promised the US would soon release a “very conclusive report” on what had happened. Mr Trump said earlier that up to 100,000 people could die from coronavirus in the US, an upward revision of his previous forecasts.
French rules that will require arrivals from abroad to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival to prevent the spread of coronavirus will not apply to travellers from the EU, the Schengen zone or the UK.
Greece announced that wearing face-masks will be obligatory from Monday on public transport and at all medical facilities.
UK manufacturers of protective kit used to try to stop people catching coronavirus are struggling to meet a huge wave of orders from companies preparing to restart or scale up their operations.
Central banks have injected close to $100bn to prop up investment funds hit by the coronavirus-induced market turmoil.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is today expected to announce the extension of a nationwide state of emergency until the end of May.
India’s manufacturing activity contracted to a record low in April, as Asia’s third-largest economy reels from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
Tanzania’s government is covering up the true extent of the coronavirus pandemic with secret burials taking place at night, hospitals overflowing and three parliamentarians suspected of dying from the disease, according to doctors, opposition leaders and activists.
Markets await details on UK exit plan and Bank of England reports
A big week lies ahead for the UK.
On Thursday morning, the Bank of England is set to release its Monetary Policy Report and Interim Financial Stability Report.
The Monetary Policy Report will set out the economic analysis and inflation predictions used by the bank to make its interest rate decision. It is expected to contain detailed scenarios on the hit to the economy from the virus, similar to predictions set out by the European Central Bank last week.
Analysts at Jefferies said the ECB’s calculation of a drop of up to 12 per cent in eurozone GDP this year was “far too optimistic” and suggested the UK economy could contract by as much as 35 per cent in the second quarter.
The Financial Stability Report will outline the central bank’s take on the current stability of the UK financial system (and what it is doing to remove or reduce risks). Markets will be watching closely for what it says regarding the health of the banking sector and its ability to withstand a heavy blow from the pandemic.
This becomes all the more important, according to Jefferies, given that the eventual fallout from the virus is “impossible to quantify with any degree of precision”.
Later in the week, the prime minister is expected to provide details on how Britain will exit the current lockdown and get the country’s economy moving. Draft rules for UK workplaces suggest companies will be told to curtail hot desking, staff canteens will have to stay closed and lifts will be kept half-empty.
Valentina Romei in London
Survey data released through the European morning will outline the pandemic’s impact on the region’s factories.
Spain is first to report, and manufacturing activity plunged to a near all-time low in April amid factory closures and slumping demand.
The IHS purchasing managers index for Spain fell to 30.8 in April, from 45.7 in March. The score is just shy of the all-time record low of 28.5, recorded in December 2008 during the financial crisis. A reading below 50 indicates the majority of businesses reporting a deterioration in activity compared to the previous month.
The output component of the index fell at the fastest rate since records began in 1998, while the PMI employment index fell to its lowest level in more than a decade.
Separate data released on Monday by the Spanish office for national statistics (INE) showed that in March the number of nights in non-hotel tourist accommodation, such as camping and self-catering accommodation, crashed 63 per cent compared to the same month last year. The figure points to a sharp contraction in revenues in 2020 from tourism, an important share of Spain’s GDP.
Corporate news round-up
The Financial Reporting Council launched an investigation last month into the audit undertaken by Ernst & Young of the financial statements of NMC Health, the UK accounting regulator announced on Monday. The decision comes after the hospital operator revealed in March that it had found evidence of suspected fraud in its accounts.
Spain’s Telefonica confirmed that it is in talks with John Malone’s Liberty Global to combine telecoms operator O2 with Virgin Media, which would create a stronger competitor to BT.
US and European banks are on track to book more than $50bn of charges on soured loans in the first quarter, the biggest such provisions since the 2008-09 financial crisis.
IG Group, Europe’s largest online trading platform, appointed Charlie Rozes, former finance director of Jardine Lloyd Thompson, as chief financial officer.
Pendragon, the UK’s second largest car dealer, confirmed that it held talks with rival Lookers regarding a possible merger but that those discussions had ceased.
Hotel Chocolat replaced its £10m overdraft facility with a £35m revolving credit facility, after reporting that the growth in online sales could not mitigate the loss in sales at retail stores over Easter.
Vaxxel, a French start-up that develops vaccines against respiratory viral infections, announced the acquisition of Transgene’s DuckCelt-T17 cell line which is used against influenza and an acute respiratory virus.
Germany’s Covid-19 outbreak shows further signs of easing
Germany reported 679 new coronavirus cases on Monday, a slight decline on the previous day’s tally, in a further indication that the spread of the pandemic is noticeably slowing in the country.
According to official data from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, the number of people who died of Covid-19 over the past 24 hours rose by 43 to 6,692. The total number of detected infections increased to 163,175, though about 132,700 of them have already made a full recovery.
European futures slide
European stocks were on course to tumble on Monday, as tensions between the US and China over the outbreak of Covid-19 rippled through markets.
Futures trade pointed to significant losses for continental Europe, with the Dax down 3.5 per cent in Frankfurt and Paris’s CAC 40 3.7 per cent lower. Many European markets had missed Friday’s sharp sell-off for a public holiday.
The FTSE 100, which fell nearly 2.5 per cent on Friday, was facing more modest losses of around 0.5 per cent at the open.
Analysts said that an upcoming decision in the German constitutional court on the legality of the ECB’s asset purchasing programme was also weighing on sentiment, as it could undermine the central bank’s Covid-19 response.
« The real event is the Bundesverfassung which could decide that the PSPP [asset purchasing programme] is illegal, sending the entire European periphery into a tailspin, » said Sebastien Galy, strategist at Nordea Asset Management.
Norwegian Air closes in on debt-for-equity swap
Richard Milne in Oslo
Norwegian Air Shuttle announced it was close to its goal of pushing through a large debt-for-equity swap that would help the embattled low-cost airline unlock a state rescue after a dramatic weekend of negotiations.
Minutes before an extraordinary shareholders meeting on Monday, Norwegian announced that it had reached agreement with enough aircraft leasing companies that it should be able to convert more than NKr10bn ($960m) in debt into equity, pushing its equity ratio significantly above the 8 per cent threshold imposed by Norway’s government for NKr3bn in loan guarantees.
Norwegian said on Monday morning it had received “strong support” from leasing companies to convert $730m into equity, up from $550m on Friday evening, and that it was continuing to discuss with other lessors.
Monday’s extraordinary meeting will ask existing shareholders to allow themselves to be all but wiped out by the debt-to-equity swap, before asking new shareholders to back a NKr400m rights issue, the fourth from Norwegian in two years. Norwegian said that it had received commitments from bondholders – who are set to become large shareholders under the plan – for a “meaningful amount”, leading it to declare that it expects investors to approve the rights issue.
Egyptians awaiting deportation from Kuwait launch protests
Simeon Kerr in Dubai
Kuwaiti security forces quelled violent protests by Egyptian expatriates awaiting deportation in a camp.
The interior ministry in a statement said officers had detained some of the protesters who caused a “riot and anarchy” as they called for the Egyptian embassy to repatriate them home.
Ahead of the provision of evacuation flights, the Gulf state has been isolating some “illegal” expatriates who have seen work opportunities collapse in the aftermath of coronavirus.
“The security services will not allow chaos or bypassing the law,” the ministry said in a report carried by the official news agency on Monday.
The report said Egyptian diplomats had attended the scene and assured those who had violated their residency status that they would start to be evacuated this week. The embassy previously said women and children would be prioritised with the first flight allocations.
Videos of the disturbances have been circulating on social media, showing the use of tear gas and protesters brandishing makeshift weapons from wood and bed posts.
India manufacturing activity shrinks to record low
Stephanie Findlay in New Delhi
India’s manufacturing activity contracted to a record low in April, as Asia’s third-largest economy reels from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
The Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, compiled by IHS Markit, fell to 27.4 in April from 51.8 in March — the sharpest contraction since data collection started 15 years ago. Une lecture PMI inférieure à 50 points à une contraction.
The plunge in demand resulted in a series of layoffs, with employment reduction also the steepest in the survey.
“Record contractions in output, new orders and employment pointed to a severe deterioration in demand conditions,” said Eliot Kerr, economist at IHS Markit. “Meanwhile, there was evidence of unprecedented supply-side disruption, with input delivery times lengthening to the greatest extent since data collection began in March 2005.”
India has extended its nationwide lockdown until May 17 to contain a surge in cases, with 427 people testing positive in New Delhi on Sunday, which represents the steepest jump in fresh cases in the capital. The country has now recorded a total death toll of more than 1,300 people.
“Looking ahead, with the shutdown now extended for another two weeks and with hopes of a quick post-virus recovery evaporating, local industry will remain on its knees for a long time,” said Darren Aw, Asia economist at Capital Economics, warning “the economy will almost certainly contract this year and the recovery will be hampered too”.
Greece outlines compulsory face-mask rules
Kerin Hope in Athens
Greece announced that wearing face-masks will be obligatory from Monday on public transport and at all medical facilities as the country begins to emerge from a five-week lockdown that appears to have curbed the spread of coronavirus.
« We’re entering uncharted waters this week: we will move one step at a time and continue to follow closely the advice of experts, » a government spokesman said.
Some retail outlets will re-open, among them bookshops, florists, stationers, electronics stores and opticians, while hairdressers and beauty salons will operate only through appointments and will have to record customers’ details, the civil protection agency said.
Opening hours for shops and services will be staggered so that social distancing can be enforced on public transport, it said.
Six new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 2,626. One death was recorded, raising the number of fatalities to 144. Thirty-seven patients are being treated in intensive care units, compared with more than 70 two weeks ago, the public health authority said.
French quarantine rules will not apply to visitors from EU or UK
Victor Mallet in Paris
French rules that will require arrivals from abroad to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival because of the coronavirus pandemic will not apply to travellers from the EU, the Schengen zone (which includes Switzerland) or the UK, the Elysée palace said on Sunday night.
The statement clarified a declaration on Saturday about the new rules that would accompany a two-month extension of the country’s state of “health emergency” until July 24.
“All those entering French territory from the EU/Schengen zone and the UK will not be affected by the quarantine measure, whose details will be announced shortly,” the Elysée said.
France is planning to ease on May 11 a lockdown that will have lasted two months, although tight restrictions may remain in parts of the country if the virus continues to circulate actively and hospitals are still overloaded with intensive care patients. On Sunday, the official daily death toll fell to 135, the lowest level for six weeks.
Les stocks de pétrole et d’Asie chutent alors que la tension américano-chinoise flambe à nouveau
Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong
Asian stocks were broadly lower as renewed US-China tension added to coronavirus concerns, while oil prices tumbled as traders fretted over rapidly filling global storage capacity.
Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 3.9 per cent on Monday, while South Korea’s Kospi index fell 1 per cent. The markets in Japan and mainland China were closed for the holidays.
Oil benchmarks also started badly this week, penalized by lingering concerns about oversupply and inadequate storage. West Texas Intermediate, the US marker, was down 4.8 per cent at $18.84 a barrel in Asia trading while Brent crude, the international benchmark, dipped 0.1 per cent to $26.41.
Futures markets tipped the S&P 500 to drop 0.9 per cent when trading begins on Wall Street later on Monday.
Le dernier recul des actions mondiales est intervenu après que Mike Pompeo, secrétaire d’État américain, a réitéré dimanche les déclarations du gouvernement américain liant l’épidémie de coronavirus à un laboratoire à Wuhan, en Chine, sans fournir aucune preuve. China has denied that the virus came from the laboratory.
Trump promises ‘very conclusive’ report on how outbreak started
President Donald Trump said he thought China made “a horrible mistake” on the virus outbreak, that it did not want to admit it and had tried to cover it up as he promised the US would soon release a “very conclusive report” on what had happened.
His comments, broadcast in a Sunday night interview on Fox News, echoed comments made earlier in the day by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who said there was “enormous evidence” that the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory.
China has previously denied the claims that the virus was linked to the laboratory.
Mr Trump suggested “a case could be made” that Beijing deliberately allowed the virus to spread outside China, but declined to directly criticise President Xi Jinping.
Markets were broadly lower in Asia after the comments highlighted heightened tensions between the US and China.
Supply chain fears spark run on toilets in Japan
Kana Inagaki and Leo Lewis in Tokyo
The early weeks of the coronavirus outbreak triggered twin bouts of panic buying in Japan — of toilet paper and of the toilets themselves as building wholesalers competed to secure the precious commodity.
The rapid rise in demand for lavatories and an accompanying sudden nationwide shortage of them from mid-March was the result of market participants attempting to “game” the system ahead of rivals as Chinese factories closed and supply chains dried up.
The panic buying was prompted by a fear among housebuilders that they would be unable to declare any new property liveable without a secure supply of the vital equipment, said manufacturers.
Read more here.
Kathrin Hille à Taipei
Le secteur manufacturier de Taïwan a fortement ralenti en avril, le coup porté par la pandémie de coronavirus à l’économie mondiale entraînant une baisse de la demande pour ses exportations.
Deux indices des directeurs d’achat (PMI) publiés lundi sont devenus négatifs, reflétant une baisse record de la production et des nouvelles commandes des entreprises manufacturières le mois dernier.
Le PMI IHS Markit Taiwan Manufacturing est passé de 50,4 en mars à 42,2 en avril, son niveau le plus bas depuis mai 2009, alors que l’économie était sous le choc de la crise financière mondiale.
Le PMI établi par la Chunghua Institution for Economic Research (CIER), le groupe de réflexion macroéconomique du gouvernement taïwanais, est passé de 53,1 en mars à 47,6 en avril, la baisse la plus rapide depuis que l’institut a commencé l’indice en 2012.
Une lecture PMI inférieure à 50 points à une contraction.
Les lectures négatives mettent en évidence les risques pour l’économie de Taiwan, même si sa maîtrise réussie de la pandémie a laissé son économie intérieure moins affectée que celle des pays en situation de verrouillage. Le produit intérieur brut a augmenté de 1,54% par rapport à la même période l’année dernière, selon la première lecture du gouvernement publiée la semaine dernière.
« La production et les nouvelles commandes ont chuté aux taux les plus rapides depuis les profondeurs de la crise financière mondiale en janvier 2009, de nombreuses entreprises notant que les fermetures sur les principaux marchés d’exportation en Europe et aux États-Unis avaient pesé sur la performance », a déclaré Annabel Fiddes, associée. Directeur chez IHS Markit.
« Le virus, qui a provoqué des fermetures massives d’entreprises et des restrictions de voyage dans un certain nombre de pays, a également entraîné une pression accrue sur les chaînes d’approvisionnement, la dernière enquête indiquant la plus forte augmentation des délais de livraison depuis le début de l’enquête en 2004. »
Selon le CIER PMI, seules les industries chimiques, pharmaceutiques et électroniques ont poursuivi leur croissance le mois dernier. L’industrie des machines de transport et les secteurs des machines électriques et d’outillage ont enregistré la plus forte baisse.
Selon le service PMI de l’institut, également publié lundi, le secteur des services est resté en contraction.
New Zealand reports no new coronavirus for first time in 7 weeks
Jamie Smyth in Sydney
New Zealand reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time in more than a month on Monday providing hope that the Pacific nation may be on course to eliminate the virus.
« Clearly these are encouraging figures today, but it is just one moment in time, » said Ashley Bloomfield, director general of New Zealand health.
“The real test is later this week when we factor an incubation period for the virus and the time it takes for people to display symptoms which is generally five to six days after exposure. “
New Zealand imposed one of the world’s toughest lockdowns in mid-March, shuttering most businesses as it sought to eliminate the virus rather than contain it.
The strict measures, high levels of compliance and remote location have reduced the number of new cases to a handful over the past week. The last time authorities reported no new cases of coronavirus was March 16.
Dr Bloomfield told reporters New Zealand has 1,487 cases of coronavirus with one probable case reclassified as confirmed following a positive test in the last few days. Ten further cases have recovered since Sunday, bringing the total to 1,276, which is 86 per cent of all confirmed and probable cases.
New Zealand authorities have urged caution despite the positive news, asking people to continue complying with social distancing restrictions.
Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand prime minister, has been invited to join Australia’s national cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where discussions will focus on efforts to establish a « trans-tasman » travel bubble and both nations’ development of mobile phone contact tracing app.
Thailand to permit repatriation flights
John Reed in Bangkok
Thailand, which began from May 1 to relax some of its strict lockdown measures, has given the green light for all of its international airports to begin handling repatriation flights.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand’s order, announced on Sunday, comes after domestic flights resumed on Friday. It will pertain only to international flights flying foreign nationals home or the thousands of Thais who live overseas and have been seeking to return.
Thailand remains off limits to commercial passenger flights after the CAAT’s decision last week to extend a ban on them until end-May.
Foreign arrivals to the kingdom’s economically vital tourism industry dropped 76.4 per cent in March year on year, the Bank of Thailand said last week.
Aime Williams in Washington
US president Donald Trump has said up to 100,000 people could die from coronavirus in the US, an upward revision of his previous forecasts.
In a Fox News “town hall” meeting on Sunday evening at the Lincoln memorial in Washington, Mr Trump said the death toll was a “horrible thing”.
But he added he believed it was possible to relax some of the strictest restrictions. “I really believe that you can go to parks, you can go to beaches,” said Mr Trump, adding the social distancing recommendations should still be followed in those places.
Japan set to announce extension of state of emergency
Robin Harding in Tokyo
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe is today expected to announce the extension of a nationwide state of emergency until the end of May as the country struggles to bring down the number of coronavirus cases.
The government’s council of expert advisors met at 8.30am with the prime minister expected to give a press conference this evening. An existing declaration was due to expire on May 6th.
Under the state of emergency, Japan has engaged in voluntary social distancing, with schools and many shops closed but a number of restaurants still open. The government has urged the public to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in person-to-person contacts.
During the extension, the rules will remain largely the same in 13 “special alert” prefectures including Tokyo and its suburbs, although parks, museums and libraries will be allowed to open if they meet hygiene rules.
In Japan’s remaining prefectures, the rules will be more relaxed, including the possibility of reopening schools.
South Korean factory gauge drops as shutdowns hit production
Edward White in Wellington
South Korean manufacturing volumes fell at their fastest pace in more than 10 years in April, as the coronavirus outbreak forced factory shutdowns domestically and abroad and battered global demand.
The Nikkei-Markit manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell to 41.6 from 44.2 in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, declining further from the 50-point marker separating contraction from expansion. The April reading was the lowest point seen since the global financial crisis.
IHS Markit, which conducts the PMI survey, noted supply chain dislocations saw delivery times lengthen to their longest in almost 16 years.
« Although China, South Korea’s biggest export market, appears to be slowly re-opening for business, it’s clear this will be far from sufficient to offset the severe weakness elsewhere. It’s certainly going to be a challenge for South Korean policymakers to prop up an economy that’s so reliant on global trade,” said Joe Hayes, an economist at IHS Markit.
The data comes despite South Korea winning international praise for suppressing the coronavirus outbreak. Last week Seoul reported its first day of no new local transmissions for the first time since February and this week will further ease social distancing measures.
The government has already announced virus related spending of almost $200bn as it attempts to shore up battered industries and financial markets as well as protect jobs.
China reports 3 new coronavirus cases
Health authorities in China reported three new coronavirus cases to the end of Sunday, with all of the new infections found in people who had returned from overseas.
Two of the infections were found in people returning to Shanghai, while one was discovered in Shandong.
Those new cases bring the total in mainland China to 82,880.
There were no new deaths linked to Covid-19, meaning the number of reported deaths remains at 4,633.
China reported 13 cases of people who tested positive for coronavirus but showed no symptoms. A Financial Times analysis found that 60 per cent of confirmed cases recorded in April were non-symptomatic at time of testing.
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Total number of Brazil The number of confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday surpassed 100,000 as President Jair Bolsonaro drew supporters defying social isolation.
The economy of Greece is expected to decrease this year from 4.7% to 8.9% depending on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new projection by the Ministry of Finance.
French rules which will require arrivals from abroad to be quarantined for 14 days after arrival will not apply to travelers from the EU, the Schengen area (which includes Switzerland) or the United Kingdom, said Sunday evening Elysee Palace.
The formation of a new irish government On Sunday, the opposition Greens decided to enter into formal coalition talks with Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and the opposition party Fianna Fáil. Varadkar has led an interim government since talks after an inconclusive election on February 8 were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
New York and its six neighboring states in the northeastern United States form a purchasing consortium to secure billions of dollars in medical and testing equipment for coronaviruses as they prepare to reopen their economies.
Consumer Ombudsman of Mexico, who attends President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s daily press conference every Monday, said he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Low cost airline Norwegian air shuttle reached a last-minute deal with bond holders for a debt-for-equity swap, taking it one step closer to obtaining a government bailout needed to avoid a financial collapse.
A second round of bailout funds for small american businesses has provided more than half of its total funding in a few days as the government seeks to help “the smallest of small businesses”.
Personalities of the City of London urged the government to proceed cautiously to ease the lock, saying there should be a gradual reopening of the economy.
Asia-Pacific stocks slip as coronavirus sparks US-China tensions
Asia-Pacific stocks slipped and US stock futures fell at the start of the week as the coronavirus pandemic reignited US-China tensions.
The Kospi in South Korea fell 2.4 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.5 per cent. S&P 500 futures pointed to a 1.5 per cent fall when US markets open later on Monday.
Japanese and Chinese markets are closed for public holidays.
Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, on Sunday repeated US government claims linking the coronavirus outbreak to a laboratory in Wuhan, China, without giving evidence. In a television interview, Mr Pompeo said China was blocking access to information and refusing to co-operate with overseas scientists.
On Friday, the S&P 500 ended 2.8 per cent lower as investors assessed the potential hit from the coronavirus to companies after Amazon warned of higher costs to protect workers.
Westpac to defer dividend after 62% plunge in net profit
Jamie Smyth in Sydney
Westpac will defer paying a dividend following a year-on-year 62 per cent slump in net profit, caused by loan losses linked to the coronavirus crisis and the fall out from a money laundering scandal, the bank said on Monday.
Australia’s second-biggest lender by assets reported profit of A$1.19bn ($759m) in the six months to the end of March with A$1.6bn in Covid-19 related impairment charges and a A$900m provision for expected penalties linked to the money laundering scandal denting its performance.
Westpac’s wealth platforms, pensions and life insurance businesses will be amalgamated into a single unit in preparation for a potential sale to a new owner, according to the company.
“This is the most difficult result Westpac has seen in many years. It is significantly impacted by higher impairment charges due to Covid-19, as well as notable items including the Austrac (money laundering) provision,” said Peter King, Westpac chief executive.
“We are well capitalised and our liquidity and funding metrics are comfortably above regulatory requirements.”
Westpac reported tier one capital, a measure of balance sheet strength, of 10.8 per cent, which is down from 11.25 per cent reported following the bank’s A$2.77bn capital raising in November. Prior to raising that capital Westpac reported tier one capital at 10.67 per cent.
US reports 1,158 more deaths as total nears 62,000
Peter Wells in New York
The number of coronavirus deaths in the US over the past day rose by the least in a week and took the total number of fatalities since the pandemic began to near 62,000.
A further 1,158 people died over the past 24 hours, according to data compiled by Covid Tracking Project on Sunday, the smallest daily increase since April 26.
New York had a further 280 deaths, the smallest daily increase since March 30. Since the outbreak began, 19,189 people have died in the US’s hardest-hit state.
New Jersey, the second-hardest hit state, had 129 deaths over the past 24 hours, the smallest daily increase since April 27. A cumulative total of 7,871 people have died.
Nationally, 61,868 people have died in the US over the duration of the outbreak.