Coronavirus: BofA déclare que les dépenses des consommateurs américains commencent à se redresser, comme elles se sont produites

Le bilan des morts aux États-Unis augmente de plus de 2 000 pour la troisième journée consécutive

Peter Wells à New York

Le nombre de morts aux États-Unis a augmenté de plus de 2 000 pour le troisième jour consécutif, portant le total à plus de 57 000.

Au cours des dernières 24 heures, 2041 autres personnes sont mortes des coronavirus, selon les données collectées par le Covid Monitoring Project, en dessous d'une augmentation quotidienne record de 2700 mercredi.

New York a connu sa plus faible augmentation quotidienne de décès, 306, depuis le 30 mars, mais les 18 321 décès depuis le début de l'épidémie en font l'État le plus touché du pays.

Le New Jersey a signalé 458 décès supplémentaires au cours des dernières 24 heures, une augmentation quotidienne record qui porte son nombre total à 7228. C'est le deuxième État le plus touché.

Depuis le début de l'épidémie, 57 266 personnes sont mortes, selon le CTP.

Les réseaux de paiement Visa rebondissent, alimentés par les dépenses par cartes de débit

Robert Armstrong à New York

Les dépenses sur les réseaux de paiement Visa se sont redressées ces dernières semaines, a indiqué la société lors de la publication de ses résultats pour le trimestre de mars.

Les dépenses des clients de Visa ont atteint un creux au cours de la dernière semaine de mars, alors qu'elles avaient chuté de près de 30% par rapport à l'année précédente. Mais au cours de la semaine se terminant le 28 avril, la baisse a été d'un peu plus de 10%.

La reprise a été tirée par les dépenses en cartes de débit, qui ont maintenant légèrement augmenté par rapport à l'année précédente. Les dépenses en cartes de crédit restent profondément déprimées.

La société a également signalé une augmentation des paiements en ligne. Les transactions effectuées sans carte physique, hors voyages, ont augmenté de près de 30% au cours des dernières semaines.

Les habitudes de dépenses coïncident avec celles signalées par le concurrent de Visa Mastercard plus tôt dans la semaine. Les résultats de Mastercard ont déclenché un net rebond des actions des prêteurs de cartes de crédit.

Les revenus et bénéfices de la société, à 5,9 milliards de dollars et 1,38 dollar par action, ont augmenté respectivement de 7% et 6% au cours des trois premiers mois de l'année, car une grande partie de l'activité du trimestre n'a pas été affectée par la pandémie de coronavirus. Les deux chiffres étaient légèrement en avance sur les estimations de Wall Street.

Les actions de Visa ont chuté de 1% sur le marché secondaire. Ils ont augmenté de 16% au cours du dernier mois.

Les actions de l'Asie-Pacifique suivent Wall Street à la baisse

Les marchés boursiers d'Asie-Pacifique ont chuté vendredi après la chute des actions américaines après une hausse plus importante que prévu des demandes de chômage, soulignant l'impact de la pandémie de coronavirus sur l'économie.

Le Topix au Japon a commencé à baisser de 0,9% en mai et le S & P / ASX 200 en Australie a baissé de 0,6%.

Les marchés de Corée du Sud, de Hong Kong et de Chine sont fermés pour la fête du Travail.

Le S&P 500 a clôturé en baisse de 0,9% jeudi, mais a réussi à gagner 12,7% en avril, son meilleur mois depuis janvier 1987. Cette baisse est intervenue après que plus de 3,8 millions d'Américains aient déposé des demandes de prestations de chômage la semaine dernière, prenant le nombre total de réclamations à 30m dans les six semaines depuis le début des blocus.

Les contrats à terme du S&P 500 ont chuté de 1%.

West Texas Intermediate, l'indice brut américain de référence. USA Il a augmenté de 3,3% à 19,46 $ le baril.

Le Bangladesh entame la réouverture de l'industrie du vêtement après la fermeture

Susannah Savage à Londres

Le Bangladesh rouvre ses usines de confection qui approvisionnent certaines des plus grandes marques de vêtements au monde, ce qui fait craindre que les travailleurs soient en danger pour aider le pays à redémarrer son économie.

Le deuxième plus grand exportateur de vêtements au monde, dont les 4 500 usines approvisionnent des détaillants comme Walmart et Marks and Spencer, n'a signalé que 6 000 cas sur une population de 170 millions d'habitants. Mais les critiques disent que les preuves sont faibles, avertissant que de nombreux points chauds de coronavirus se trouvent dans les districts de l'industrie du vêtement à la périphérie de Dhaka, la capitale.

Le secteur est l'épine dorsale de l'économie du Bangladesh et a été touché par les mesures de blocus du pays à un moment où il souffre également en Europe et en Amérique du Nord. L'industrie représente 34 milliards de dollars, contribue à plus de 80% aux recettes d'exportation du pays et représente environ 13% du produit intérieur brut.

Cependant, depuis mars, plus de 3,5 milliards de dollars de commandes de vêtements ont été annulées, selon la Bangladesh Clothing Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

Lisez l'histoire complète ici.

Voici une sélection des dernières actualités de l'entreprise

Forte croissance pomme Les services et accessoires, tels que les Airpods et les montres, ont aidé le fabricant d'iPhone à battre les estimations des analystes et à augmenter légèrement les revenus le trimestre dernier, malgré la fermeture de magasins de vente au détail dans le monde en raison du coronavirus.

Amazon Il a averti que les mesures contre les coronavirus pourraient lui coûter jusqu'à 4 milliards de dollars au cours de son prochain trimestre, ce qui pourrait éliminer tout gain d'une augmentation des ventes.

Ford a présenté ce qu'il appelle «le manuel» pour protéger les employés de la propagation de Covid-19 lors de la réouverture des usines en Amérique du Nord. La nouvelle routine, tirée de la réouverture des usines en Chine, implique des contrôles de température et la livraison d'une trousse aux employés qui comprend un masque, un masque, des lunettes et un désinfectant pour les mains.

Géant allemand de l'assurance Allianz Il a abandonné son objectif de profit pour 2020 après une baisse de 23% du bénéfice d'exploitation entre janvier et mars.

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ONGLE tiers de la France Il se trouve actuellement dans une zone de "catégorie rouge" qui empêcherait la libération du blocus des coronavirus le 11 mai si la circulation de Covid-19 et la capacité de traiter et d'évaluer les patients ne s'amélioraient pas d'ici là, selon des cartes publiées par Le ministre de la Santé Olivier Véran jeudi.

L'Espagne a établi des règles pour les personnes qui marchent ou font de l'exercice en plein air dans la relaxation de verrouillage la plus récente et incrémentielle de près de sept semaines du pays.

Premier ministre russe Mikhail Mishustin dit qu'il a été diagnostiqué avec Covid-19, l'infection causée par le coronavirus.

Premier ministre britannique Boris Johnson Il a dit qu'il était confiant que l'économie récupérerait fortement, mais a ajouté que l'austérité "ne fera certainement pas partie de notre objectif" quand il s'agira de reconstruire les finances publiques, s'exprimant lors d'une conférence de presse à Downing Street.

Les livraisons mondiales de smartphones baissent de 16,8% au premier trimestre

Les livraisons de smartphones ont chuté de 16,8% au cours des trois premiers mois de 2020, l'épidémie de coronavirus ayant entraîné l'arrêt de la production et la baisse de la demande des consommateurs, selon une maison de recherche.

Le service de renseignement sur les smartphones d'Omdia a constaté que les livraisons étaient tombées à 274,4 millions d'unités au premier trimestre, contre 329,9 millions l'année précédente, et toutes les grandes marques ont ressenti la pression.

Les blocus et les restrictions à la circulation des personnes en Chine ont forcé les usines à prolonger la récréation du nouvel an lunaire, interrompant la production de téléphones et des composants utilisés dans les téléphones.

Apple a annoncé jeudi que les ventes de son iPhone avaient chuté de 6,7% au cours du mois de mars, mais que cela avait été compensé par les ventes d'accessoires tels que ses montres.

De nouveaux lancements de modèles ont également été affectés, a déclaré Omdia. Les expéditions mondiales de smartphones devraient chuter de 13,1% en glissement annuel en 2020 pour atteindre 1,2 milliard d'unités.

Samsung a expédié 58,9 millions d'unités, en baisse de 17% par rapport à l'année précédente, et les expéditions de Huawei ont également chuté de 17% à 49 millions d'unités. Les livraisons de pommes ont chuté de 12% à 38,5 millions d'unités.

La Corée du Sud affiche son premier déficit commercial en 8 ans lorsque la pandémie frappe les exportations

Edward White à Wellington

La Corée du Sud a subi son premier déficit commercial en huit ans, mettant en évidence les défis économiques auxquels le pays est confronté malgré son succès dans la lutte contre l'épidémie de coronavirus dans le pays.

La valeur des exportations de la quatrième économie d'Asie a chuté de 24% par rapport à l'année précédente pour atteindre 36,9 milliards de dollars, tandis que les importations ont chuté de 16% à 37,8 milliards de dollars, selon les données de Refinitiv.
Les livraisons de puces informatiques, principal produit d'exportation du pays, ont diminué de 15%, tandis que les exportations vers la Chine ont chuté de 18%.

Avril a marqué la première fois en plus de huit ans que l'économie dépendante des exportations a subi un déficit commercial mensuel, selon l'agence de presse nationale Yonhap.

Les données surviennent un jour après que les responsables de la santé à Séoul ont signalé qu'il n'y avait pas de cas de coronavirus transmis localement pour la première fois en deux mois, le dernier signe que l'accent mis par Séoul sur les tests rapides et la recherche des contacts a montré être un modèle efficace pour lutter contre la pandémie.

Le gouvernement de Séoul a déjà annoncé une dépense liée au virus de près de 200 milliards de dollars alors qu'il tente de consolider les industries et les marchés financiers en difficulté, ainsi que de protéger les emplois.

Pékin réprime Hong Kong alors que le monde regarde dans l'autre sens

Alors que le monde est distrait par la pandémie de coronavirus, Pékin a accru la pression sur le mouvement pro-démocratie de Hong Kong. Quinze de ses membres les plus éminents ont été arrêtés par une assemblée non autorisée.

Sue-Lin Wong de FT s'entretient avec deux d'entre eux, Jimmy Lai, propriétaire du quotidien pro-démocratie Apple Daily, et Martin Lee, le soi-disant père de la démocratie hongkongaise.

Boeing dit qu'il ne cherchera pas de fonds gouvernementaux

Claire Bushey à Chicago

Boeing a déclaré jeudi soir que l'appétit du marché pour une émission d'obligations de 25 milliards de dollars plus tôt dans la journée avait éliminé la nécessité de rechercher des fonds auprès du gouvernement américain.

L'annonce marque un renversement des commentaires faits par David Calhoun, PDG de Boeing, plus tôt cette semaine et de ce que la société de Chicago a initialement dit aux investisseurs potentiels.

"La forte demande pour l'offre reflète un fort soutien à la force à long terme de Boeing et de l'industrie aéronautique", a déclaré la compagnie, ajoutant qu'elle "ne prévoyait pas de rechercher des financements supplémentaires par le biais des marchés de capitaux ou d'options. du gouvernement américain en ce moment. " heure. "

L'offre du groupe de défense et d'aérospatiale a été faite pour aider à résister à une fuite de trésorerie pouvant atteindre 20 milliards de dollars cette année, selon des personnes informées à ce sujet.

Cela s'ajoutera à la dette de près de 39 milliards de dollars que la société avait fin mars.

Le problème de la dette survient après que Boeing a déclaré une perte nette de 641 millions de dollars au premier trimestre et a déclaré qu'il réduirait de 10% ses effectifs et la production de la plupart de ses avions commerciaux.

La Chine signale 12 nouveaux cas de coronavirus, aucun nouveau décès

Les autorités sanitaires chinoises ont enregistré 12 nouveaux cas de coronavirus jusqu'à la fin de jeudi, contre quatre la veille.

Parmi ces nouveaux cas, six ont été trouvés chez des personnes récemment rentrées en Chine continentale, tandis que les six autres étaient des cas locaux.

Cinq des cas locaux ont été signalés dans le Heilongjiang, une province du nord-est de la Chine qui borde la Russie, tandis qu'un cas a été trouvé en Mongolie intérieure, qui borde la Mongolie et la Russie.

Les autorités du Heilongjiang ont décidé de réimposer des mesures de lutte contre les virus après un afflux de citoyens infectés par des coronavirus qui sont rentrés chez eux via une frontière terrestre.

Les nouveaux cas ont porté le nombre total d'infections signalées en Chine à 82 874 et 4 633 décès.

Trump confiant que Covid-19 est originaire du laboratoire de Wuhan

Demetri Sevastopulo et Katrina Manson à Washington

Donald Trump a déclaré qu'il avait vu des preuves solides que Covid-19 provenait d'un laboratoire scientifique de Wuhan, dans une escalade de ses attaques contre la Chine pour son rôle dans la propagation du coronavirus.

Lorsqu'on lui a demandé jeudi s'il avait vu des informations qui lui donnaient un "haut degré de confiance" que le coronavirus émanait de l'Institut de virologie de Wuhan en Chine, Trump a déclaré aux journalistes: "Oui, je l'ai".

Pressé de savoir ce qui lui avait donné confiance pour faire cette réclamation, le président des États-Unis a déclaré: "Je n'ai pas le droit de le dire".

Il a exclu l'annulation de la dette américaine détenue par la Chine comme un moyen de punir Pékin pour son rôle dans la propagation du virus.

"Nous pouvons le faire par d'autres moyens. Nous pouvons le faire avec des frais. Nous pouvons le faire par d'autres moyens, même au-delà, sans avoir à jouer à ce jeu. C'est un match difficile. "

En savoir plus ici

Les actions de la région Asie-Pacifique chutent alors que les principales sociétés américaines mettent en garde contre une pandémie

Hudson Lockett à Hong Kong

Les actions en Asie et dans le Pacifique ont chuté au début d'un nouveau mois, suite à la publication des résultats du marché américain. USA Ils ont sapé l'espoir des investisseurs que les marchés mondiaux ont laissé derrière eux le pire de la pandémie de coronavirus.

L'indice de référence japonais Topix a chuté de 1,6%, tandis que l'Australie S & P / ASX 200 a chuté de 4% dans les premières opérations asiatiques.

Les marchés en Chine, à Hong Kong et en Corée du Sud ont été fermés pour les vacances.

Ces baisses sont intervenues après qu'Amazon a averti qu'une grave souche liée au coronavirus pourrait laisser le résultat d'exploitation du deuxième trimestre entre une perte de 1,5 milliard de dollars et un bénéfice du même montant.

Cela a fait chuter les actions de 5% dans les échanges après des heures après avoir atteint un record jeudi.

Les actions d'Apple s'échangeaient de 2,5% après la clôture, après que la société ait signalé une légère augmentation de ses revenus pour les trois mois se terminant fin mars, mais a refusé de fournir des indications pour le trimestre en cours.

L'agence alimentaire des Nations Unies craint que des millions de personnes ne meurent de faim en cas de pandémie

L'Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture a averti que des millions de personnes risquent de rejoindre les rangs des affamés à la suite de la pandémie de coronavirus.

Un rapport politique de la FAO publié jeudi a prédit que 14,4 à 38,2 millions de personnes de plus dans le monde pourraient être sous-alimentées à la suite de l'épidémie de Covid-19.

"La note d'orientation fournit des preuves en faveur de faire de la réduction de la faim une priorité des mesures de relance économique pour lutter contre Covid-19", a déclaré Marco Sánchez, directeur adjoint de la Division de l'économie du développement agricole de la FAO, dans un communiqué. libération.

L'agence basée à Rome a exhorté les gouvernements à prendre des mesures pour maintenir les chaînes d'approvisionnement alimentaire accessibles aux pauvres.

Les mesures recommandées comprennent des transferts en espèces et en nature, de nouvelles lignes de crédit, des filets de sécurité, un soutien du revenu, des programmes de distribution tels que des banques alimentaires et des repas scolaires.

Des soldats australiens testés positifs pour le coronavirus

Quatre membres des forces armées australiennes sont rentrés chez eux après avoir été testés positifs pour le coronavirus alors qu'ils étaient déployés au Moyen-Orient.

Tous les quatre ont été transférés de la base de la Royal Australian Air Force à Darwin vers un hôpital local après leur arrivée, a indiqué le département de la défense du pays dans un communiqué.

Un cinquième soldat est en quarantaine obligatoire à Brisbane après avoir été testé positif après son déploiement, a-t-il ajouté.

Une porte-parole du département de la santé du Territoire du Nord a déclaré lors d'un briefing vendredi que le personnel de défense positif de Covid-19 ne représentait aucun danger pour le grand public.

Il y a eu 39 cas de Covid-19 enregistrés parmi le personnel militaire australien, dont 32 ont été récupérés, a indiqué le département de la Défense.

Holiday teste la capacité de la Chine à empêcher la & # 39; deuxième vague & # 39; des infections

Tom Mitchell à Singapour

Vendredi, la Chine a inauguré un jour férié prolongé, mettant à l'épreuve la capacité du gouvernement à réduire les voyages et autres restrictions sans provoquer une "deuxième vague" d'infections à coronavirus.

Les vacances, qui se terminent le 5 mai, sont généralement une période de pointe. Cette année, cependant, les agents de voyages chinois s'attendent à ce que les habitants de la nation la plus peuplée du monde ne fassent qu'environ 90 millions de voyages, soit environ la moitié des niveaux normaux.

Plus tôt cette semaine, les autorités de Pékin ont annoncé que les personnes visitant la capitale de la plupart des régions du pays n'auront plus à passer 14 jours en quarantaine. De telles mesures ont rendu impossible les voyages d'affaires et touristiques normaux.

Après l'annonce, il y a eu une augmentation des services de vol à destination et en provenance des deux principaux aéroports de Pékin. Dans un autre signe de confiance officiel que l'épidémie est largement sous contrôle, le parlement national chinois a annoncé qu'il tiendrait sa session annuelle retardée plus tard ce mois-ci.

Cependant, les voyages internationaux resteront en dehors des limites de la plupart des touristes chinois. Les destinations régionales populaires, comme Singapour, interdisent toujours les visites de citoyens étrangers.

La cité-État d'Asie du Sud-Est est à mi-chemin d'un arrêt de sécurité strict de deux mois après qu'une vague de nouvelles infections a commencé à se précipiter dans des dortoirs surpeuplés abritant des centaines de milliers de travailleurs migrants.

Moderna signe un accord avec Lonza pour fabriquer l'éventuel vaccin Covid-19

Hannah Kuchler à New York

Moderna a signé un accord avec le fabricant suisse de produits de santé Lonza pour étendre la fabrication de son potentiel vaccin Covid-19, après que la biotechnologie basée à Boston a reçu près de 500 millions de dollars du gouvernement américain pour augmenter sa production. .

Les entreprises commenceront à fabriquer ensemble le vaccin candidat aux États-Unis en juillet. Ils vont ensuite étendre leur production à la Suisse puis à d'autres sites à travers le monde, alors qu'ils se préparent à produire éventuellement un milliard de doses par an.

Les détails financiers n'ont pas été divulgués pour le partenariat, qui durera 10 ans et comprendra d'autres vaccins Moderna potentiels pour des conditions telles qu'une chaîne grippale et Zika.

Plus tôt cette semaine, Moderna a déclaré qu'il avait demandé l'autorisation de passer à la prochaine étape de tests humains pour le vaccin candidat Covid-19, avec l'intention d'inscrire 600 participants en bonne santé.

La Malaisie prévoit de rouvrir son économie après la fermeture

Stefania Palma à Singapour

La Malaisie rouvrira presque tous les secteurs économiques à partir du 4 mai, alors que le pays d'Asie du Sud-Est se libère d'un blocus des coronavirus qui a commencé il y a plus de six semaines.

Muhyiddin Yassin, Premier ministre de Malaisie, a déclaré dans un discours national que presque toutes les activités commerciales reprendraient la semaine prochaine, à l'exception de celles impliquant de grands rassemblements publics tels que les parcs à thème, les centres de karaoké et les cinémas, ainsi que les conférences et les expositions.

Kuala Lumpur a commencé une fermeture nationale le 18 mars. Des restrictions de voyage ont été imposées, ainsi que la fermeture d'entreprises et d'écoles non essentielles.

Les bazars du mois sacré du Ramadan seront également fermés après le 4 mai.

Muhyiddin a ajouté que le retour dans les villes d'origine pour l'Aïd al-Fitr, la fête célébrant la fin du Ramadan, était interdit, reflétant l'interdiction indonésienne de mudik, la migration de masse annuelle qui suit le mois de jeûne.

Mais l'Indonésie resserre maintenant les contrôles de santé à la frontière alors que des dizaines de milliers de travailleurs migrants rentrent chez eux.

Les autorités ont sélectionné des points d'entrée spécifiques pour accueillir les rapatriés, avec des structures de quarantaine pour héberger ceux qui présentent des symptômes de coronavirus.

Le taux d'infection à coronavirus en Malaisie a ralenti ces derniers jours, le pays comptant 6 002 cas et 102 décès.

L'Indonésie a l'un des taux de mortalité les plus élevés au monde avec 10 118 cas et 792 décès.

Maruti Suzuki d'Inde dit qu'elle n'a pas vendu une seule voiture en avril

Amy Kazmin à New Delhi

Le plus grand constructeur automobile indien, Maruti Suzuki, a déclaré qu'il n'avait pas fabriqué ou vendu une seule voiture dans le pays en avril, car un blocus national avait complètement interrompu les opérations d'un secteur automobile qui avait déjà été sous pression pendant une période prolongée. ralentissement économique.

"Conformément aux ordonnances du gouvernement, toutes les installations de production ont été fermées", a déclaré la société japonaise, qui représente généralement une grande partie des revenus annuels de Suzuki chaque année, dans un communiqué vendredi matin.

La société a vendu 143245 véhicules en avril 2019.

Le gouvernement du Premier ministre Narendra Modi a ordonné à toutes les industries moins essentielles, y compris les entreprises alimentaires et pharmaceutiques, de suspendre leurs activités fin mars.

Depuis lors, les autorités ont tenté d'alléger certaines des restrictions pour permettre la reprise des activités de fabrication dans les zones sans cas de coronavirus.
Mais les industries disent qu'une règle basée sur la localisation n'est pas réalisable étant donné la nature clairsemée des chaînes d'approvisionnement de l'Inde.

Dans sa déclaration, Maruti, qui exporte également des voitures, a déclaré avoir pu expédier 632 voitures en avril, après le redémarrage des opérations portuaires.

La fermeture nationale de l'Inde sera levée la semaine prochaine, mais avec des restrictions strictes susceptibles de se poursuivre dans les régions avec un nombre élevé de cas de coronavirus, l'industrie automobile indienne, qui est l'un des plus gros employeurs du pays, pourrait rester paralysé.

Les trois cinquièmes des nouveaux cas de coronavirus en Chine ne présentent aucun symptôme

Yuan Yang et Nian Liu à Pékin et Jane Pong à Hong Kong

Les trois cinquièmes des nouveaux cas de coronavirus en Chine ne présentaient aucun symptôme de la maladie lors du diagnostic, selon des données susceptibles de compliquer les mouvements des gouvernements du monde entier pour lever des mesures de blocage strictes.

Une analyse du Financial Times des données les plus complètes sur Covid-19 que le gouvernement chinois a commencé à publier début avril a révélé que 60% des cas confirmés enregistrés au cours du mois dernier n'étaient pas symptomatiques au moment du test.

La prévalence des cas non symptomatiques sera une préoccupation pour les autorités non seulement en Chine mais partout dans le monde alors qu'elles cherchent à rouvrir leur pays après des mois de fermeture. Cela suggère qu'il y a probablement un grand nombre de personnes dans la communauté qui propagent le virus sans le savoir.

Lisez l'histoire complète ici

Le chiffre d'affaires du jeu à Macao chute de près de 97% en avril

Primrose Riordan à Hong Kong

Les recettes des jeux de hasard à Macao ont chuté de 96,8% en avril, après que les restrictions imposées par les autorités sur le territoire chinois semi-autonome et la Chine voisine ont éloigné les visiteurs.

Les visiteurs ont dépensé 754 millions de patacas (95 millions de dollars) dans les casinos en avril, contre 23,5 milliards de patacas l'année précédente.

Les casinos en Chine ont été brièvement fermés en raison du virus au début de l'année. Ils ont rouvert en février, mais Macao a imposé des restrictions sur le nombre de visiteurs entrants pour lutter contre la propagation du virus.

La province voisine du Guangdong en Chine a également introduit une quarantaine obligatoire de 14 jours pour les personnes arrivant de Macao.

La baisse était légèrement plus importante que la baisse de 94% attendue par les analystes interrogés par Bloomberg.

Émoticône

RBS devient le dernier prêteur à signaler une énorme augmentation des provisions pour créances douteuses

Nicholas Megaw

Les provisions pour créances irrécouvrables de la Royal Bank of Scotland ont presque été multipliées par 10 au premier trimestre, alors que la société se préparait à une forte augmentation du nombre de clients commerciaux en difficulté.

La banque, détenue majoritairement par le gouvernement britannique, a affecté 802 millions de livres sterling pour faire face à une augmentation attendue des défauts de paiement futurs, contre 86 millions de livres sterling au premier trimestre de l'année dernière. En conséquence, le bénéfice net a chuté de 59% à 288 millions de livres sterling.

Cependant, malgré l'augmentation significative des déficiences en pourcentage, les activités relativement modestes de la banque en matière de cartes de crédit lui ont valu un coup franc plus faible que ses principaux concurrents, Lloyds, Barclays et HSBC. Au lieu de cela, le facteur le plus important dans ses nouvelles provisions était une augmentation attendue des défauts de paiement chez ses clients des banques commerciales.

Les revenus ont chuté de 1,6% en glissement annuel à 3,2 milliards de livres sterling, et RBS a déclaré que les récentes baisses de taux d'intérêt affecteraient sa génération de revenus dans un avenir prévisible.

Le régulateur britannique va demander une décision de justice sur l'assurance contre les pertes d'exploitation

Oliver Ralph

Les régulateurs britanniques doivent s'adresser aux tribunaux afin de résoudre la controverse croissante concernant l'assurance contre les pertes d'exploitation.

De nombreuses entreprises en difficulté affirment que les conditions de leurs polices couvrent les perturbations causées par l'épidémie de coronavirus, mais les assureurs ne sont pas d'accord, affirmant que dans la plupart des cas, les pertes ne sont pas couvertes.

On craint que de nombreuses petites entreprises ne tombent en panne avant que le différend ne soit résolu.

La Financial Conduct Authority a déclaré vendredi qu'elle prévoyait d'accélérer le processus en s'adressant aux tribunaux pour obtenir une décision sur l'applicabilité de certains termes de politique générale à cette situation.

Il a écrit à plusieurs assureurs pour demander des précisions sur la rédaction de leurs polices avant de poursuivre l'action en justice.

"Notre action en justice prévue est conçue pour résoudre un certain nombre de problèmes clés qui provoquent l'incertitude dès que possible et pour apporter une plus grande clarté à toutes les parties", a déclaré Christopher Woolard, directeur général par intérim de la FCA. "De toute évidence, une action décisive est appropriée compte tenu de la gravité des conséquences potentielles pour les clients."

La FCA a également demandé aux assureurs de s'assurer que leurs produits offrent toujours de la valeur aux clients et de rembourser les primes, le cas échéant. Par exemple, il a déclaré que l'assurance responsabilité civile qui avait été achetée par les bars et restaurants pourrait ne pas être pertinente en raison de la fermeture.

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Ryanair supprimera 3 000 emplois alors que les perspectives de l'aviation s'assombrissent

Tanya Powley

Ryanair s'apprête à supprimer jusqu'à 15% de ses 19 000 employés, devenant ainsi la dernière compagnie aérienne à avertir d'une lente reprise après la crise des coronavirus qui a affligé le secteur de l'aviation.

La plus grande compagnie aérienne à bas prix en Europe a déclaré qu'elle prévoyait qu'il faudrait maintenant au moins deux ans pour revenir à la demande et aux prix des passagers en 2019, estimant l'été 2020 dès que possible alors qu'elle établissait des plans de réduction des coûts.

Ryanair se prépare à supprimer jusqu'à 3 000 emplois de pilote et de membre d'équipage de cabine et à introduire des réductions de salaire pouvant aller jusqu'à 20%, ainsi qu'à fermer plusieurs bases d'avions en Europe jusqu'à la reprise des voyages en avion. Michael O’Leary, directeur exécutif, prolongera sa réduction de salaire de 50% pour le reste de l'exercice jusqu'en mars 2021.

Cela survient alors que les perspectives de l'industrie de l'aviation se sont détériorées cette semaine et que les transporteurs sont passés de licenciements à des licenciements alors que l'optimisme pour un rebond rapide s'est évaporé.

Le propriétaire d'Intu Mall obtient des exemptions de crédit jusqu'en juin

George Hammond à Londres

Intu, el propietario del centro comercial muy endeudado, ha llegado a un acuerdo provisional con sus prestamistas mientras lucha por mantener el control sobre sus centros comerciales.

La compañía estaba dispuesta a incumplir los convenios con sus prestamistas, ya que había recaudado solo el 40 por ciento de la renta que debía pagar durante los segundos tres meses del año. Ha negociado exenciones a los convenios relacionados con su línea de crédito renovable de 600 millones de libras hasta el 26 de junio, dos días después del vencimiento de la renta durante los próximos tres meses, dijo la compañía.

Es improbable que la fecha de pago de junio produzca una gran ganancia inesperada, ya que solo las tiendas esenciales abren en el patrimonio de la compañía y la mayoría de los inquilinos retienen el alquiler. Algunas marcas más grandes con capacidad de pago deciden no hacerlo, dijo Intu. "En estos casos, estamos preparados para tomar medidas más sólidas para hacer cumplir los términos legalmente vinculantes de esos arrendamientos", dijo.

Intu también ha designado al especialista en cambios David Hargrave para el cargo de director de reestructuración.

Un grupo de tenedores de bonos Intu, con deuda garantizada contra cuatro centros comerciales, designó de forma independiente a la firma de asesoría financiera Moelis & Company para analizar las opciones de reestructuración, según informó primero React News. Una opción que están explorando los tenedores de bonos es el nombramiento de un nuevo administrador de activos para hacerse cargo de algunos de los centros comerciales.

Mike Prew, analista de Jefferies, dijo que los prestamistas solo tomarían el control de los activos, un proceso conocido como aplicación de la seguridad, como último recurso.

IAG recurre al esquema de garantía de préstamos de coronavirus de España

Dos de las filiales de International Consolidated Airlines Group han recurrido al esquema de apoyo comercial del gobierno español para garantizar más de mil millones de euros en préstamos, ya que la pandemia de coronavirus oscurece las perspectivas para el sector de la aviación.

IAG dijo que la aerolínea de bandera española Iberia y la aerolínea de bajo costo Vueling habían firmado acuerdos de financiación sindicados por € 750m y € 260m respectivamente, y pedirían al plan de ayuda empresarial español para garantizar esos préstamos.

El financiamiento está condicionado a que las garantías estén disponibles, y los préstamos restringen el efectivo que se envía a otras sucursales de IAG, como British Airways.

La pandemia ha tenido un impacto particularmente agudo en el sector de la aviación, ya que los viajes se han estancado casi por completo. IAG advirtió que el regreso a los niveles de pasajeros de 2019 tomaría varios años, y esta semana informó una pérdida operativa antes de artículos excepcionales de € 535 millones para el primer trimestre, en comparación con una ganancia de € 135 millones el año pasado.

Heathrow informa colapso en los números de pasajeros de abril

Heathrow espera que el número de pasajeros se haya desplomado un 97 por ciento en abril y que la demanda seguirá siendo débil hasta que los gobiernos consideren seguro levantar las restricciones de viaje, lo que subraya la improbabilidad de una rápida recuperación del shock causado por el coronavirus a la industria de viajes.

El aeropuerto más grande del Reino Unido dijo que estaba trabajando con socios para establecer un estándar internacional común para viajes aéreos seguros para alentar a los pasajeros a regresar rápidamente a volar y acelerar la recuperación económica del país.

"Cuando hayamos vencido este virus, necesitaremos que Gran Bretaña vuelva a volar para que la economía pueda recuperarse lo más rápido posible", dijo John Holland-Kay, director ejecutivo de Heathrow. "Es por eso que pedimos al gobierno del Reino Unido que tome la iniciativa de establecer un estándar internacional común".

Se produjo cuando el aeropuerto informó que cayó a una pérdida de £ 278 millones antes de impuestos en el primer trimestre del año, en comparación con una ganancia de £ 132 millones en el mismo período del año anterior, ya que los ingresos cayeron un 12,7 por ciento a £ 593 millones. El número de pasajeros para el trimestre cayó a 14,6 millones, un 18,3 por ciento, después de su año más ocupado registrado en 2019 con 81 millones de pasajeros durante todo el año.

El grupo dijo que la pandemia y la apelación en curso en el tribunal contra la violación del acuerdo climático de París ha retrasado sus ambiciones de una tercera pista en el aeropuerto por al menos dos años.

Heathrow ha reducido los costos en aproximadamente un 30 por ciento, mediante la reducción de los salarios de gestión, la renegociación de todos los contratos y la consolidación de las operaciones en dos terminales y una pista, mientras que los gastos de capital se han reducido en £ 650 millones. El grupo tiene suficiente liquidez para sobrevivir durante 12 meses, incluso sin pasajeros, dijo.

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FTSE 100 se desliza casi el 2 por ciento
Los mercados bursátiles mundiales cayeron el viernes cuando una serie de débiles ganancias corporativas minó la confianza de los inversores.

El FTSE 100 de Londres abrió 1,9 por ciento, mientras que los futuros vinculados al S&P 500 en Wall Street fueron más de un 2 por ciento más bajos. La mayoría de los platos continentales europeos están cerrados hoy por un día festivo.

Los mercados en Asia cayeron bruscamente, con el índice de referencia Topix de Japón cayendo un 2,1 por ciento, mientras que el S & P / ASX 200 de Australia cayó un 5 por ciento. También se cerraron los mercados en China continental, Hong Kong y Corea del Sur.

La renta variable mundial disfrutó de uno de sus mejores meses registrados en abril, impulsado por la intervención del banco central y espera que las principales economías estén en vías de reapertura. But overnight warnings from Amazon and Apple, two important companies in a tech sector that has led the US market's rebound, raised fresh concerns over the corporate impact of the global health crisis.

What you may have missed

Three-fifths of new coronavirus cases in China showed no symptoms of the illness when they were diagnosed, according to data that are likely to complicate moves by governments around the world to lift strict lockdown measures.

Donald Trump said he had seen strong evidence that Covid-19 originated from a scientific laboratory in Wuhan, in an escalation of his attacks on China over its role in the spread of coronavirus.

Brussels’ plans for a further relaxation of its rules on state aid have been caught up in an increasingly hard-fought pan-European debate over whether government bailouts are skewing the single market. Meanwhile, Italy is preparing to join Germany in launching a Covid 19 contact-tracing mobile application that will avoid location tracking and a centralised database.

Gilead expects to receive emergency approval for its potential Covid-19 drug remdesivir soon, as it plans to expand production rapidly.

Three-quarters of restaurant and bar operators in the UK have warned they do not expect their businesses to survive with social distancing measures in place.

India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, says it did not make or sell a single car in the country during April, as a national lockdown brought a total halt to the automotive sector.

Malaysia will reopen almost all economic sectors from May 4 as the south-east Asian country eases out of a lockdown that started more than six weeks ago.

Covid-19 daily death toll over 5,000, as US records over 2,000 fatalities

Steve Bernard in London

The worldwide daily death toll rose by 5,801 on Thursday bringing the total to 214,436. This figure is significantly lower than the peak of more than 8,400 on April 17 but the daily rate of increase has held steady at around 3 per cent for the past week.

The global number of newly confirmed Covid-19 cases rose by a further 86,037 yesterday, the total now stands at more than 3.2m.

The US recorded its third consecutive day with more than 2,000 deaths yesterday. A further 2,041 fatalities were registered bringing the total to 57,255, according to data from the Covid Tracking Project. In New York, the worst-affected state, the lowest number of daily deaths in more than a month were recorded as 306 people died on Thursday.

The UK saw a large jump in the number of newly confirmed cases, with 6,032 diagnoses made yesterday. This is the highest daily number in three weeks, as the government attempts to ramp up its testing capacity to 100,000 tests per day. The death toll rose by 674 to 26,771, a figure that includes an additional 3,811 deaths in England reported since the start of the outbreak.

Russia added a record 7,099 daily confirmed cases on Thursday, as the total number of infections surged through 100,000 to stand at 106,498. The death toll passed 1,000 as 101 fatalities were recorded, bringing the total loss of life to 1,073.

The end of the office? Coronavirus may change work for ever

Daniel Thomas and Stephen Morris in London and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York

In the world of social distancing, many of the world’s office workers have not seen their desks for weeks. But when coronavirus lockdowns finally ease, there may be fewer desks to return to.

Facing a sudden need to cut costs, chief executives have indicated in recent days that their property portfolios look like good places to start, given the ease with which their companies have adapted to remote set-ups.

Read the full story here on how chief executives predict that offices and working life may change.

Daily cases in Russia rise as PM isolates with the virus

Henry Foy in Moscow

Russia reported a new record daily increase in coronavirus cases on Friday, announcing 7,933 new cases including the country’s prime minister.

The daily addition takes the country’s total case count to 114,431, a figure that has been steadily rising by around 7-8 per cent each day for the past week. The death toll from Covid-19 stands at 1,169, the country’s government said on Friday morning.

Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on Thursday evening that he had tested positive for the virus, and would temporarily stand down to place himself in self-isolation.

“What is happening to you now could happen to anyone,” said president Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin this week said he believed the infection in Russia would only peak in mid-May.

French car sales tumbled in April

Peter Campbell, Global Motor Industry Correspondent

French new car sales fell by almost 90 per cent during April as dealerships and factories were shut because of coronavirus.

Sales fell to 20,997, down 89 per cent compared with a year earlier, according to figures from the country’s auto body, the CCFA.

It is the first of the European markets to post figures for the month, but others are expected to show similar declines, after every car plant in the continent closed its doors during March.

In nations with stricter country-wide lockdowns, such as Italy, the decline is expected to be steeper.

Some factories have reopened in France, though the industry remains uncertain about demand levels because of the economic hit from the virus and the lockdown.

Covid-19 mortality rate twice as high in deprived areas of the UK

UK citizens living in deprived areas have experienced mortality rates from coronavirus that are more than double those living in more wealthy areas, new figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

The age-standardised mortality rate of deaths involving Covid-19 in the most deprived areas of England was about 55 deaths per 100,000 population, compared with about 25 deaths per 100,000 population in the wealthiest areas.

London had the highest Covid-19 mortality rate since March with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 persons, double the second highest region. The virus has been involved in four out of 10 deaths in the capital during that period, the statistics showed.

The boroughs of Newham, Brent and Hackney have been hit the hardest, all recording more than 125 deaths related to coronavirus per 100,000 people, as concerns grow about the amplified impact of the virus on economically disadvantaged communities and ethnic minority groups.

Eurozone economy could take 3 years to recover, ECB economist says

Martin Arnold in Frankfurt

The European Central Bank’s chief economist has warned it is likely to take at least three years for the eurozone economy to recover fully from the “extraordinary and severe shock” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Philip Lane said that under the severe scenario modelled by the ECB – entailing a 12 per cent decline in eurozone gross domestic product this year – the economy would still not have returned to last year's levels before the end of 2022.

A chart published by the ECB indicated that the same outcome would be true for its “medium” scenario that entails an 8 per cent economic contraction this year. The eurozone economy would only fully recover by the middle of next year under its “mild” scenario of a 5 per cent economic shrink this year.

“The scale and duration of the pandemic macroeconomic shock depends on how long the lockdown measures remain in place, their impact across sectors and the speed at which economic activity normalises,” Mr Lane wrote in a blog published on Friday.

Spanish GDP to fall nearly a tenth in 2020 followed by 'intense' rebound

Ian Mount in Madrid

The Spanish government expects GDP to fall 9.2 per cent and unemployment to rise to 19 per cent in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it said in an update to its 2020 stability programme filed with the EU.

After an intense drop in economic activity in the second quarter of the year, Spain’s economy will recover “gradually” during the second half of the year followed by an “intense” recovery in 2021, economy minister Nadia Calviño said on Friday. Spain’s GDP is expected to rebound by 6.8 per cent in 2021.

“Spain’s economy had been growing faster than Europe and all predictions showed a gentle slowdown over the coming years,” Ms Calviño said. “But the pandemic has overturned all economic expectations.”

Spain’s public deficit will rise from 2.8 per cent in 2019 to over 10.3 per cent in 2020, inflated by spending to combat the virus and its economic effects, as well as by a drop in tax income. Treasury minister María Jesús Montero fixed the cost of fighting the pandemic at €138.9bn, including €104.4bn in state-backed credit lines for business.

On Friday, IAG announced that it had turned to this business support scheme to guarantee more than €1bn in loans.

As around 12 per cent of GDP and employment come from the shuttered tourism sector, the Spanish economy has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, reporting a 5.2 per cent drop in first quarter GDP on Thursday.

On Friday, Spain’s health ministry announced that 281 people had died from Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, a slight rise from Thursday’s total of 268, which was the lowest tally since March 20. Spain’s total death toll was 24,824 as of 9pm on Thursday.

Trump's threat of tariffs on China unnerves investors

Stock markets have opened May with steep declines, as the spectre of a new flare-up in US-China relations adds to concerns over the corporate and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The US president raised the prospect of using tariffs against Beijing at a Covid-19 briefing on Thursday, but denied a US media report that he was considering cancelling US debt held by China.

London's FTSE 100 was 2.2 per cent lower in late morning trading, while on Wall Street S&P 500 futures were 2 per cent down. Europe's other major markets and parts of Asia were offline for holidays.

“The last thing the financial markets need now as they grapple with Covid-19 is a renewal of the trade war between the US and China,” said Derek Halpenny, head of European markets research at MUFG.

China’s currency weakened to its lowest level since early April as emerging market currencies sold off, while Australian assets were badly hit in a weak session in Asia. The country's main equity index fell 5 per cent, while the Australian dollar also fell. China is Canberra's largest trading partner.

UK and US insurers could pay over $80bn on coronavirus-related claims

Oliver Ralph in London

Insurers in the UK and US could end up paying over $80bn for coronavirus-related claims, according to new forecasts from broker Willis Towers Watson.

The disruption caused by the virus is likely to lead to one of the biggest ever payouts from the industry, but until now there have been few firm estimates of industry-wide losses.

Willis Towers Watson says that in an optimistic scenario losses in the UK and US could be limited to $11bn, but a severe scenario — similar to the scale of the 1918 flu pandemic — would lead to insurers paying out on $80bn of claims.

The broker also modelled an extreme scenario in which social distancing is abandoned and the virus spreads rapidly until there is global herd immunity. That, it says, could cost insurers $140bn.

Alice Underwood, global leader of insurance consulting and technology at Willis Towers Watson, said: “At this point, it appears that the industry-wide level of general insurance loss could exceed that resulting from the 2001 World Trade Centre event.”

Most of the claims are expected to come from business interruption and event cancellation policies. However the impact of those losses will be offset by lower expected claims in areas such as motor insurance, where the lockdown has severely reduced traffic levels.

Undertakers face shortages of body bags and PPE as demand soars

Naomi Rovnick in St Albans and Chris Tighe in Newcastle

English funeral providers fear they are close to running out of body bags and other personal protective equipment needed to handle Covid-19 corpses as they grapple with soaring demand for cremations and burials.

More than four in 10 funeral home directors only have enough PPE to last three days, according to a survey by trade body the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors of its 1,000 members, conducted last week.

“If there is not enough PPE, we won’t work,” said Terry Tennens, chief executive of SAIF.

Funeral directors across the country have warned they are finding it difficult to source goggles, masks and aprons, as well as body bags.

Read the full story here

Abe signals Japan will extend state of emergency

By Robin Harding in Tokyo

Japan is set to extend its state of emergency by another month when the current declaration expires on May 6th, prime minister Shinzo Abe signalled after a meeting of his expert advisors.

Addressing reporters on Friday evening, Mr Abe said:

Thanks to the great co-operation from the public, we have been able to escape the explosive increase in infections seen abroad under the current state of emergency, and our experts say it has worked to some extent.

However, hospitals on the front line are still facing tough conditions, and our experts say we need continued co-operation from the public.

Mr Abe is set to make a formal decision on May 4th.

Japan entered the current state of emergency in seven prefectures on April 7th and later extended it nationwide. There is no compulsory lockdown, but the government has requested the closure of numerous businesses, aiming for an 80 per cent reduction in person-to-person contacts.

Q1 earnings scorecard: worst yet to come

It’s half time in earnings season (give or take) and no one seems to be winning.

Around two-thirds of major companies in the US and one third of those in Europe, weighted by market capitalisation, have now reported, according to Goldman Sachs.

As the roll call of earnings reports outline the blow to profits from coronavirus in the first quarter, which reflects just one month of lockdowns in the West, the scale of the damage done is gradually becoming clearer.

Analysts polled by Factset now expect European earnings to be down almost 30 per cent in the three months to March for the Stoxx Europe 600 (based on a calculation of composite earnings per share of companies included in the index). This is in stark contrast to the modest gains forecast at the beginning of the year. Earnings on the S&P 500 are set to slide 16 per cent.

The all-encompassing nature of the lockdowns across Europe and the US mean that no sector has been left untouched. Travel restrictions have thrown airlines into the worst crisis in the sector's history. Energy producers are reeling from a collapse in the oil price. Banks are preparing for loans to go sour at an unprecedented rate.

But the worst is yet to come. With the brunt of the lockdowns still being felt, profits are set to deteriorate further when companies report their second-quarter results in a few months’ time. Analysts anticipate a near 50 per cent decline in earnings on the Stoxx 600 for the June quarter, while those on the S&P 500 are set for a tumble of more than a third.

As to how long the damage will last, in many ways it is a guessing game, depending on how quickly restrictions can be lifted. UBS strategists reckon European earnings will still be down 16 per cent from 2019 levels by the end of 2021, with a full recovery taking up to five years.

Chevron earnings beat forecasts but oil major announces further spending cuts

Derek Brower in London

Chevron, the US’s second-largest oil supermajor, on Friday reported first quarter earnings of $3.6bn, up from $2.6bn a year earlier, beating analysts’ expectations and bucking a trend of deep losses in a sector hit by the collapse of global oil demand and crude prices in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the company will also reduce capital spending to as low as $14bn this year, a further 12.5 per cent reduction that follows sharp cuts to the capital expenditure programme announced last month.

Total revenue was down to $31.5bn for the quarter, a drop of around 11 per cent, but still marginally above analysts’ expectations. First-quarter diluted earnings per share of $1.93 was almost three times greater than the consensus forecast from analysts and well above $1.39 per share from a year earlier. Cash flow from operations of $4.7bn also beat forecasts.

Mike Wirth, Chevron chief executive, said the deeper capex cuts were consistent with the company’s “longstanding priorities”, including protecting its dividend. Chevron held its dividend for the quarter at $1.29 per share, following an 8.4 per cent increase in payout during the previous quarter.

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Consumers opt for skincare over make-up in lockdowns, Estée Lauder says

Estée Lauder said that it has seen more resilient demand for skincare and haircare products than make-up and fragrance as consumers locked indoors use the time to take care of themselves.

This trend partly reflects a broader shift over the past few years, particularly among US consumers, towards spending more on skincare products and less on make-up.

The US cosmetics group reported that sales fell 11 per cent to $3.35bn in its third quarter, relative to the same period last year, and that it made a $6m loss, as most of its retail stores have been closed since March.

Estée Lauder forecast a bleak outlook since the majority of its physical stores are expected to remain closed for most of the next quarter. However, it said that it expects to grow its share in a declining market during the crisis with online sales soaring.

“In light of ongoing temporary store closures in many regions, we have begun to adjust our cost structure and have enhanced our liquidity during this challenging time,” Fabrizio Freda, chief executive of Estée Lauder said.

The company cut its costs by $250m during the quarter but operating expenses in the next three months will be reduced by approximately $500m to $600m as employees are furloughed and take temporary leave.

Clorox sales jump on surging demand for cleaning products

Clorox reported a jump in quarterly revenues and boosted its outlook as consumers stocked up on cleaning products like bleach and disinfectant wipes and sprays amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Revenues climbed 15 per cent from a year ago to $1.78bn in the fiscal third quarter ending in March, just ahead of expectations for $1.73bn. Sales of cleaning products, its largest division, climbed by nearly a third to $671m, while sales in lifestyle and household items climbed 10 and 2 per cent respectively.

"Beyond the extraordinary growth in our disinfecting products, we saw broad-based growth across all four segments as our portfolio is uniquely positioned to serve consumers in this unprecedented time," said Benno Dorer, chief executive.

Net income rose to $241m or $1.89 a share, from $187m or $1.44 a share in the year ago quarter. The company's gross margin increased by 3.3 percentage points to 46.7 per cent.

Clorox boosted its full-year sales and earnings outlook "driven by the impact of Covid-19". It forecast organic sales growth of between 6 to 8 per cent, up from previous expectations for growth of as much as 2 per cent. Meanwhile, its EPS outlook was lifted to between $6.70 to $6.90, up from $6.10 to $6.25 previously.

Clorox shares, which are up more than 21 per cent year-to-date, rose 3 per cent in pre-market trade.

Abbvie sales benefit from consumers stockpiling medicine

Donato Paolo Mancini in London

Abbvie sales were buoyed by stockpiling, growing 10 per cent on a reported basis during the coronavirus pandemic.

The drugmaker said net earnings were $3.01bn in the first quarter, up from $2.46bn in the year before, while overall revenues climbed to $8.62bn.

Abbvie is working with global health authorities to investigate its HIV antiviral Kaletra, a combination of lopinavir and ritonavir, for use against coronavirus. Abbvie has dropped global patent protection for that drug, paving the way for lower priced generics to flood the market if it is shown to be effective, the FT reported last month.

It is also testing ibrutinib, a blood cancer drug, in a phase-two trial for Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The company said it expected its merger with Allergan to close this month, subject to approval from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Richard Gonzalez, chief executive, said the company's business remained "strong". The company has updated its standalone statutory diluted EPS guidance for the year from $7.66-$7.76 to $7.60-$7.70.

Global net sales for Humira, the world's best-selling drug, increased 5.8 per cent to $4.70bn on a reported basis, with a decrease outside the US due to competition from biosimilars.

Its shares were up 0.9 per cent in pre-market trading.

Exxon takes $2.9bn writedown as oil prices plunge

Derek Brower in London

ExxonMobil, the US’s biggest oil company, on Friday announced a loss of $610m in the first quarter of the year, down from $2.4bn a year earlier, as it took a $2.9bn non-cash charge to reflect the impact of plummeting oil and gas prices on the value of its inventory and assets.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $56bn, Exxon said, below consensus forecasts, and down 12 per cent compared with the same period in 2019. But diluted earnings per share of $0.53 were well above expectations, pleasing equity analysts. Cash flow from operations of $6.3bn was also above expectations.

Exxon announced no new cuts to planned spending in 2020, but reiterated its intent — announced last month — to slash capital expenditures by 30 per cent compared with earlier plans, to $23bn.

“Covid-19 has significantly impacted near-term demand, resulting in oversupplied markets and unprecedented pressure on commodity prices and margins,” said Darren Woods, Exxon’s chief executive.

Oil prices have fallen by about 70 per cent since the start of the year, but the worst phase of the sell-off in April will only be fully visible in producers’ second-quarter earnings.

More than $1tn has flown into money market funds in 2020

Flows into money market funds ballooned in April, taking total inflows this year past the $1tn mark amid intense financial market turbulence early in 2020.

Money market funds – mutual funds that are considered ultra safe because they only invest in highly liquid near-term instruments – garnered inflows of $91.5bn in April, pushing total year-to-date gains to $1.1tn, according to data collected by EPFR.

Investment into haven assets like high-grade and government bond funds has strengthened since April, according to an analysis by Bank of America of the same data, while investment in "riskier pockets" such as high yield, emerging markets debt and equities have seen net outflows since March.

The municipal bond market has been hit particularly hard, and recorded net outflows for the seventh time in nine weeks.

7% of Fannie Mae-backed mortgages in forbearance as profits fall

Laura Noonan in New York

Around 7 per cent of homeowners whose mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae are already in restructuring agreements, America's biggest loan guarantor said on Friday, reaching a similar level to the industry average, which has seen mortgages in forbearance double within a month.

Fannie Mae, the biggest of the trio of government-backed mortgage guarantors, posted net income of $461m for the three months ended March 31, versus $2.4bn a year earlier. Its 80 per cent decline in profit was a touch better than the 88 per cent drop in first-quarter earnings reported by fellow mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac on Thursday.

Fannie Mae said that "approximately 7 per cent of loans in its single-family guaranty book of business were in a forbearance plan as of April 30, 2020" based on preliminary reporting by mortgage servicers who collect payments on the loans it backs.

"The company expects the number of loans in forbearance plans will continue to increase," Fannie Mae added, noting the "economic dislocation" from the coronavirus pandemic and the need to "stabilise the housing finance market" through the crisis.

The 7 per cent forbearance level is higher than the 5 per cent forbearance reported by Bank of America for its mortgage customers, though that figure was as of April 8. The Mortgage Bankers Association said on Monday that the forbearance level had increased from 3.74 per cent to 6.99 per cent within a month. Other banks have not given details of a metric seen as a main indicator on how well households are coping with depleted incomes and layoffs.

The surge in forbearance arrangements and increased likelihood of defaults prompted Fannie Mae to take almost $2.7bn of provisions for credit losses in the first quarter, up from a $650m release of credit provisions a year earlier.

Mark Calabria, who heads Fannie and Freddie's regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency, warned last month that both agencies could need a bailout if there was a long period where people were not paying their mortgages.

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US stocks fall 2% after US-China coronavirus row intensifies

Philip Georgiadis in London

Wall Street opened sharply lower on Friday joining the sell-off in global stock markets, as the spectre of a new flare-up in US-China relations added to concerns over the corporate and economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

US equities fell, with the S&P 500 down 2 per cent and the tech-weighted Nasdaq off 2.3 per cent following earnings from Apple and Amazon overnight.

In London the FTSE 100 slid 1.8 per cent while most continental European markets were closed for a public holiday.

Donald Trump escalated his attacks against China at a White House coronavirus briefing on Thursday, saying he had seen strong evidence that Covid-19 originated from a scientific laboratory in Wuhan.

The US president also raised the prospect of using tariffs against Beijing, but denied a US media report that he was considering cancelling US debt held by China.

“The last thing the financial markets need now as they grapple with Covid-19 is a renewal of the trade war between the US and China,” said Derek Halpenny, head of European markets research at MUFG.

Macron warns French that return to normality will be slow

Victor Mallet in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the planned end of the country’s coronavirus lockdown on May 11 will not mean an immediate return to normal life.

“May 11 will of course be an important stage,” he said at the Elysée palace as he met agriculture minister Didier Guillaume and representatives of the French horticulture industry, which produces millions of muguet — lily of the valley — flowers that are normally sold on the streets on May 1 and given as good-luck gifts. But he added that May 11, when a two-month confinement of the population is due to end, “will not mean a switch from the current situation to normal life”.

en un separate message to mark Labour Day, Mr Macron paid tribute France’s workers and trade unionists — who normally stage big May 1 marches — and said he hoped for a quick return to “those happy, if sometimes quarrelsome, May the firsts that make our nation what it is”.

McDonald's to reopen in UK on delivery-only basis

McDonald's plans to reopen a handful of its restaurants in the UK from mid-May, but will only provide a delivery service and its menu will be limited.

Social distancing restrictions brought in as a result of the coronavirus pandemic prompted the world's biggest fast food group to close all of its roughly 1,300 outlets across Britain and Ireland in late March.

But as governments look to reopen their economies slowly, McDonald's said this afternoon it would reopen 15 UK locations from May 13. It added, however, that it would be working with smaller teams, not serving breakfast and downsizing its menu. The reopening will be done on a delivery-only basis, with food brought to people's homes by Uber Eats and Just Eat.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's UK and Ireland, said it would be a gradual process and that things would be “different” as people “adjust to this new normal”.

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US manufacturing index hits 11-year low in April

A key measure US manufacturing activity tumbled to the lowest level since the financial crisis as coronavirus lockdowns halted non-essential business and triggered a sharp decline in demand for oil.

The Institute for Supply Management on Friday said its purchasing managers' index fell to 41.5 last month, down 7.6 points since March. That was the lowest level since April 2009 and compared with economists' expectations for a drop to 36.9.

The report showed a sharp contraction in new orders, employment, production and export orders as the coronavirus pandemic hit supply chains.

“Comments from the panel were strongly negative… regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiment clearly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and continuing energy market recession," said Timothy Fiore, chair of the ISM's manufacturing business survey committee.

Mnuchin asks private schools to return PPP loans

James Politi in Washington

Steven Mnuchin, the US Treasury secretary, has asked wealthy private schools to return loans they accessed through a $659bn government scheme to help small businesses. In a tweet on Friday morning, Mr Mnuchin said: “It has come to our attention that some private schools with significant endowments have taken (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. They should return them.”

Mr Mnuchin’s demand came as the US Treasury is struggling to ensure that the billions of dollars of federal money under the programme is directed towards small struggling establishments that have suffered a hit due to coronavirus, rather than larger and wealthier organisations. This week, the US Treasury warned that any loan over $2m under the PPP plan would be subject to a “full review”.

Mr Mnuchin’s comments followed a report in the New York Times this week pointing to Sidwell Friends, a private school in Washington attended by former president Barack Obama’s daughters, and St Andrews Episcopal School, where President Donald Trump’s son is a student, as recipients of PPP loans.

The Los Angeles Times separately reported that The Brentwood School, a private school in the city attended by two of Mr Mnuchin’s children, also received a loan under the programme. Monica Crowley, Mr Mnuchin’s spokeswoman at the Treasury, said in the article that he had “no knowledge” that the school had taken out a government loan.

Richard Branson withdraws National Lottery bid amid airline turmoil

Alice Hancock in London

Richard Branson has withdrawn his bid for the UK's National Lottery franchise as he battles to save his other companies including the Virgin Atlantic airline from collapse because of the coronavirus crisis.

It was the third time that Sir Richard had put in a bid for the lucrative lottery franchise, which has been run since its inception in 1994 by the Canadian-owned Camelot.

Other bidders that have registered an interest in the licence include Camelot, which is re-bidding, Sir Richard Desmond, owner of the Express newspapers, and the Czech lottery operator Sazka.

“Due to the extreme uncertainty caused by Covid-19, all of our Virgin Group resources are focused on the existing portfolio," said a spokesman for Sir Richard. "Sadly, this means we cannot continue our not-for-profit bid for the National Lottery at this time.”

Sir Richard is currently seeking new investors to save Virgin Atlantic, in which he holds a 51 per cent stake, after the government refused to support a bailout of the airline.

The competition for the new licence was due to start early this year, according to a draft timeline issued by the Gambling Commission. The current licence is up for renewal in 2023.

Oil traders turn to salt caves and train cars in storage crisis | Free to read

David Sheppard and Neil Hume in London

From salt caverns in Sweden to train cars in Chicago, oil traders spent the past two months stuffing unwanted crude into any available space after demand collapsed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Traders called on locations they usually ignored, including barges on rivers normally used for making relatively small deliveries to inland markets. Rail cars were filled up and so were “frac” tanks, normally used for holding water and chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

The price of storage has surged in the past two months as crude demand fell globally by as much as 30 per cent because of the coronavirus lockdowns. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell from about $70 a barrel in early January to an 18-year low below $20 a barrel last week. It took the sub-zero crash in late April to prompt producers to tighten their taps.

Read the full article here

Colombia's biggest guerrila group terminates ceasefire with the state

Gideon Long in Bogotá

Colombia’s biggest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), resumed its conflict with the state on Friday, ending a month-long ceasefire it called to allow the country to tackle coronavirus.

The ELN announced the unilateral ceasefire on March 30 saying it was “a humanitarian gesture” to help people deal with “the devastation of coronavirus”.

The government welcomed the move but repeated its longstanding position that it would only negotiate with the group if it renounced violence and released its hostages.

The group accused the government of intransigence and refused to extend the ceasefire past April 30, despite appeals from the UN and the Catholic church.

The ELN was set up in 1964, the same year as its bigger and better-known relative the Farc, which signed a peace deal with the state in 2016 and has transformed itself into a political party.

Colombia has registered 6,507 cases of coronavirus and 293 deaths so far.

India extends lockdown until May 18 but eases some restrictions

Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

India’s government has extended the nationwide lockdown for another two weeks after May 4, but eased many restrictions, as it seeks to balance its concerns about the spread of coronavirus with the need to limit the damage to the economy.

In guidelines issued Friday night, India’s ministry of home affairs said that all public transport services — including airlines, trains, urban metros and interstate and inter-district bus services — will remain suspended across the country until May 18, except for official purposes specified by the government, such as returning stranded migrant works to their homes.

However, in so-called “green zones” – districts which have had no new confirmed coronavirus cases in the last 21 days – local buses will be able to operate, though at only 50 percent capacity.

Schools and other educational institutions, hotels and restaurants, sports complexes, religious sites and other public gathering spots will remain closed across the country, and interstate movement of cars will also be prohibited across the country.

But authorities are relaxing some restrictions. Shops – except those in shopping malls – would be allowed to reopen, without any distinction as to whether they were selling “essential” or “non-essential” items, the guidelines said.

However, in areas deemed “red zones” — which are most of India’s big cities, e-commerce businesses would only be permitted to only be permitted to deliver essential items — such as food, hygiene and household cleaning products.

The new guidelines permit private offices across the country to resume operations, albeit with just 33 percent staff strength and others working from home. Industrial activities will also be permitted to resume in all areas, provided social distancing requirements are followed.

Cboe exchanges operator to reopen Chicago trading floor on June 1

Philip Stafford in London

Cboe Global Markets, the exchanges operator that owns the Vix volatility index, intends to be ready to reopen its Chicago options trading floor at the start of June.

"We'll be ready in and around June 1," chief executive Ed Tilly told analysts as it reported its first quarter earnings on Friday. The exchange's open outcry options floor has been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. All deals have been executed electronically. Illinois residents are under orders to stay at home until May 31.

Mr Tilly said that some traders had found it hard to execute more complex deals, that have six legs and involve options on the S&P 500 equities benchmark, without the floor.

Since the floor was shut, that type of business has halved from its usual level of around 5.5 per cent of total volume in the S&P 500 options, he said.

Mr Tilly added:

Safety-first is going to be our guideline. We recognise the impact that we potentially can have on the Chicago community if we act too quickly and recklessly.

Norwegian Air fails to get full approval for restructuring

Richard Milne in Oslo

Norwegian Air Shuttle failed to win over all its bondholders for a debt-for-equity swap, complicating its efforts to stave off bankruptcy due to its high debt load and the collapse in demand from coronavirus.

Europe’s third-largest low-cost airline said it had won the backing of three out of four bondholder groups, but in the fourth only 62 per cent supported the plan when a two-thirds majority was needed. It needs to convert the debt to equity to unlock NKr3bn ($290m) in government-backed loan guarantees and has warned otherwise it is weeks from running out of cash.

“Our dialogue with the bondholders continues with the clear goal of reaching a solution. Unfortunately, we were not able to reach an agreement within the deadline. However, the discussion is continuing through the weekend to find a solution,” said Jacob Schram, Norwegian’s chief executive.

Norwegian said it was still planning to hold its extraordinary general meeting on Monday, but would summon a new bondholder meeting for May 18. It added that it had received “strong support” from leasing companies for at least $550m conversion to equity, which would be enough to satisfy the condition set in the proposal for bondholders.

Norwegian added: “The company is however continuing a constructive dialogue with bondholders to assess whether the required majority for approval of the proposal can be reached.”

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UK meets its 100,000 tests a day target as coronavirus death toll rises

Sebastian Payne in London

The UK has hit its “audacious” target of carrying out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April.

Speaking at today’s Downing Street press conference, health secretary Matt Hancock announced 122,347 tests were deployed yesterday, although that figure includes home testing kits that have yet to return results. 73,191 tests were actually carried out on Thursday.

Mr Hancock said that the “unprecedented expansion in British testing capacity is an incredible achievement”. He added that the increased level of testing would be essential to “help us to unlock the lockdown”.

The UK’s death toll from coronavirus has risen sharply over the past 24 hours by 739 to 27,510.

WHO teams up with European Investment Bank on health systems

Camilla Hodgson in London

The World Health Organization and European Investment Bank have teamed up to bolster global healthcare systems, they announced on Friday.

In a memo of understanding, the two bodies agreed to collaborate on a new EU malaria fund, to support the development of antimicrobial resistance treatments and invest in the healthcare infrastructure of 10 African countries.

To support the fight against Covid-19, the partnership will also scale up financing to help support the transportation of key supplies, such as personal protective equipment, to areas in most urgent need.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said:

Combining the public health experience of the WHO and the financial expertise of the EIB will contribute to a more effective response to Covid-19 and other pressing health challenges.

The EIB will participate in the EU’s pledging conference on Monday, which aims to raise €7.5bn.
“We need to mobilise private sector financing to reach our objectives,” said Werner Hoyer, president of EIB.
He added that the bank was assessing more than 20 projects in the field of Covid-19 vaccine development, diagnostic and treatment.

United prepares for zero air travel demand into 2021

Claire Bushey in Chicago

United Airlines is preparing for a future where demand for air traffic remains at zero until sometime in 2021, and reducing cash burn is critical to the company’s plan.

Scott Kirby, United’s current president who will take the top job on May 20, told investors on Friday that the airline could lower its cash burn to $20m a day in the fourth quarter.

The airline is burning about $50m in cash per day as the aviation industry struggles to manage an unprecedented drop in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. United told investors that figure would fall to beneath $45m in the second quarter, then south of $40m in the third quarter.

“What I’m about to describe, I hope and pray we won’t have to do, but we already have a plan on the shelf … to get our cash burn, at a worst case, down to $20m dollars per day,” Mr Kirby said. “The difference between that third quarter number and that fourth quarter number is really about employees.”

UK government faces possible lockdown legal challenge

Jane Croft in London

An entrepreneur is considering bringing a legal challenge over the UK government's decision to impose a lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Dolan, who owns an aviation company, has appointed lawyers who have written a letter before legal action to Matt Hancock, health secretary, saying he will bring a judicial review legal challenge unless the lockdown is ended.

He has given the government until next week to respond.

The Department of Health and Social Care said it could not comment on ongoing or potential legal proceedings.

Mr Dolan's lawyers Wedlake Bell claimed in the letter that the government went beyond its remit in imposing the lockdown and imposed a test for lifting the restrictions that was "over rigid" and failed to consider the effect of the lockdown restrictions on the economy and on non Covid-19 health related illnesses such as cancer cases.

Mr Dolan is crowdfunding for his legal action and claims that the government restrictions will "lead to devastating economic impact". He also alleges that the government is breaching human rights law in forcing people to stay at home.

The government has said that continuing the lockdown is "vital" to avoid a second peak of coronavirus infections. It is due to review the restrictions on May 7.

New York schools to remain closed for academic year

Schools across the state of New York will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday.

Mr Cuomo said a decision on summer school programmes will be announced by the end of May. The academic year ends in June.

New York schools including those in New York City – the largest school system in the US – have been closed since at least March 18 in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Mr Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio butted heads over whether schools would continue distance learning until the end of their year. Mr de Blasio said last month schools in the city would remain closed, while Mr Cuomo insisted the decision was his to make.

There were 973 new hospitalisations in New York in the past 24 hours. While an improvement, “that is still too high a number of new cases to have every day”, Mr Cuomo said. The state’s total number of patients currently hospitalised with Covid-19 dropped by more than 600, versus a decline of 561 a day earlier.

New York registered 289 additional deaths, bringing the total to around 18,600.

JPMorgan nabs $15bn in second round of emergency small business loans

Laura Noonan in New York

JPMorgan Chase has secured another $15bn of small business rescue loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, giving the US's biggest bank a total of $29bn for its clients and satisfying most of its demand.

The news follows the Small Business Administration's decision to lock JPMorgan and other big banks out of the loan approval process for eight hours on Wednesday amid fears they would suck up a disproportionate share of the $310bn in the PPP's second round.

In a statement on Friday morning, JPMorgan said it had pushed 211,000 loans through the second round of the programme. It continues to process applications but is not accepting new ones.

The bank, which facilitated multimillion dollar PPP loans for big companies including Shake Shack in the PPP's $349bn first round, said that the average PPP loan across its customers was $123,000.

"We know how important capital is to their business, and we are trying to do all we can to help," said Jamie Dimon, chief executive. Shake Shack, and many other larger public companies, have since returned their grants.

WHO's emergency committee calls for uniform transmission indicators

Camilla Hodgson in London

The emergency committee that advises the World Health Organization has asked the body to develop indicators to help governments monitor transmission.

In its first advice since the pandemic was declared on January 30, the committee said the WHO should “clarify the testing strategy” and develop qualitative and quantitative indicators that countries can use to assess and monitor Covid-19 transmission.

The committee agreed the crisis remained a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of risk.

The WHO should also work to support the equitable distribution of diagnostic tests, in light of global shortages, the committee said.

“The pandemic is not finished,” said Professor Didier Houssin, the committee chair.

He said countries should consider whether it is possible to begin restarting international air travel, weighing up the risks, benefits and “unintended consequences”. Many countries rely on air freight for essential supplies, and the lockdown is causing them a “big handicap”.

Majority of US chief executives have not taken pay cuts, research shows

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson in New York

US chief executives from United Airlines’ Oscar Munoz to Marriott’s Arne Sorensen have made high-profile pledges to forgo their salaries while employees bear the brunt of coronavirus-induced collapses in their companies’ revenues. But new research suggests that they remain in the minority.

Just 11 per cent of the Russell 3000 companies have so far announced cuts to executives’ base pay, according to the Conference Board, a non-partisan US think-tank that analysed disclosures from March 1 to April 24 with Semler Brossy, an executive pay consultancy, and ESGAUGE Analytics, an ESG data provider.

More than 60 per cent of the 342 companies making such cuts were in the consumer discretionary sector, which includes retailers and hospitality groups, or industrials, which captures the airline industry.

The number of announcements peaked in the week of April 5, but the Conference Board said there may be a second wave in the coming weeks as more disclosures come through and companies continue to assess the impact of the crisis.

Of the companies that cut top executives’ pay, 27 per cent of CEOs had their salaries cut entirely and 19 per cent took a 50 per cent cut. The study did not analyse changes to bonus or share-based incentive programmes, which have typically been left untouched.

PHE refuses to hand over evidence for testing strategy

Camilla Hodgson in London

Public Health England has refused a request for the evidence on which it based its Covid-19 testing strategy, sought as part of a House of Commons inquiry.

On March 30, the House of Commons science and technology committee wrote to the director of the National Infection Service at PHE, Professor Sharon Peacock, requesting publication of the rationale upon which the UK's testing strategy was based.

In response, Prof Peacock said on Friday:

The Royal Society have agreed to prioritise research that will aim to understand the different approaches to testing and impact on R0 and to identify lessons learned from other countries.

We hope to have a timeline from them shortly and will share this with you on receipt.

Greg Clark, the committee chair, responded to say that he had not asked for "a retrospective analysis conducted now of different countries’ approaches to testing" and asked again for the evidence by May 7.

Prof Peacock had said on March 25 at an inquiry hearing that the evidence would be published “in the next few days”.

Mr Clark said on Friday: "It is important that the bodies responsible for UK policy and practice are transparent about the basis of vital decisions. It is disappointing that Public Health England has still not disclosed the assessment they made which led them to reject the South Korean approach to testing."

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France reports lowest daily death toll in more than 5 weeks

Victor Mallet in Paris

A further 218 coronavirus deaths were reported in French hospitals and old people’s homes in the past 24 hours, the lowest level in more than five weeks, according to data released by the health ministry on Friday.

Jérôme Salomon, director-general of health, said 15,369 Covid-19 patients had died in hospital and 9,225 in old people’s homes and other care homes since March 1, for a total death toll of 24,594.

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital, and the number of those in intensive care for the disease, continued to decline, but the government said the pressure on the health system will have to be further alleviated in parts of France if the lockdown is to be eased across the whole country from May 11 as planned.

“Circulation of the virus remains at a high level,” Dr Salomon said.

US stock losses build after blockbuster month

Wall Street’s sell-off on Friday deepened after earnings from tech giants and a weak US manufacturing survey drew attention to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and business shutdowns.

The S&P 500 – fresh off its best month since 1987 – was near its session lows with a decline of 3 per cent in afternoon trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fared worse, down 3.5 per cent.

The sell-off also came amid growing tensions between the US and China over the coronavirus crisis. President Donald Trump raised the prospect of using tariffs against Beijing, saying he had seen strong evidence that the outbreak originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.

The energy sector led the S&P 500’s decline, as ExxonMobil fell more than 5 per cent after the company posted its first quarterly loss in three decades.

Brent crude was down 1.2 per cent at $26.16 a barrel. West Texas Intermediate bounced 3.6 per cent higher to $19.52.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose 0.01 percentage points to 0.634 per cent.

Ireland extends lockdown but eases restrictions on movement

Arthur Beesley in Dublin

Leo Varadkar has extended Ireland’s lockdown by a fortnight until May 18, saying the battle against coronavirus is “not yet won”, but slightly easing restrictions that required people above 70 years old to stay indoors for more than a month.

In a televised speech on Friday evening, the prime minister said the easing of the lockdown will proceed in five stages, three weeks apart, with the final phase beginning on August 10. Schools and colleges will not reopen until the start of the new academic year in September/October.

From Tuesday, however, elderly people will be allowed to leave their homes for a walk or drive once they “avoid all contact with other people”. And rules that required all people to stay within 2km of their homes have been loosened to allow them to move 5km for exercise.

As 34 new fatalities on Friday brought the total number of lives lost to 1,265, Mr Varadkar said he remained concerned about the level of hospital and intensive care admissions. “Unfortunately, the risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present,” he said. “So we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase — and there is a risk that we’d have to go back a phase if that happens.”

Outdoor work such as construction and landscaping will resume on May 18 and garden centres, hardware stores and repair shops will reopen. Mr Varadkar said some outdoor sporting and fitness activities in small groups will be allowed at that time, and it will be possible to meet “small groups” of friends and family outdoors.

Russia's construction minister hospitalised for coronavirus

Max Seddon in New York

Russia's construction minister Vladimir Yakushev has been hospitalised after he and his deputy tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Yakushev on Friday said he and deputy minister Dmitry Volkov had taken CT scans that confirmed the diagnosis. "I will be treated under medical supervision in hospital," he said, adding that he remained in touch with his ministry officials.

Prime minister Mikhail Mishustin, who is leading the Kremlin's response to the pandemic, stepped down temporarily on Thursday after testing positive for the virus.

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FDA grants emergency approval for Gilead's potential coronavirus drug

Hannah Kuchler in New York

The US regulator has issued an emergency approval for Gilead’s potential Covid-19 drug remdesivir, after positive results from a US-led trial were announced earlier this week.

President Donald Trump said the Food and Drug Administration had issued an emergency-use authorisation for the antiviral drug, which the trial showed helped patients recover 31 per cent faster on average than without the drug.

The FDA published guidance for patients taking remdesivir on its website as well as the EUA update.

“Remdesivir is investigational because it is still being studied. There is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with Covid-19,” it said. “There are no medicines approved by the FDA as safe and effective to treat people in the hospital who have Covid-19.”

The drug, which was originally developed by the Californian biotech company for Ebola, has not received full FDA approval — or approval from any other regulator. Gilead on Thursday said it would apply for full approval after obtaining the EUA.

Shares in Gilead were down 4.5 per cent after analysts' downgrades on concerns the company may not profit from the drug.

BofA chief says US consumer spending is starting to rebound

Laura Noonan in New York

US consumer spending has started rebounding from a 30 per cent fall at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, said Brian Moynihan, Bank of America chief executive, on Friday, citing data on the outgoings of the 66m individuals with BofA chequing accounts and credit cards.

“What we’re seeing very recently, in the last four weeks, is about $50bn in total in cash moving through consumers’ accounts,” Mr Moynihan told CNBC. “That’s about what it was in the fall of 2017.”

Mr Moynihan said that while consumer spending was “starting to grow” across categories including clothing, gasoline and restaurants, it was too early to say that weekly spending had bottomed out after a 30 per cent decline at the peak of the crisis.

“It all depends on what happens next,” the bank boss said, adding that areas such as travel and movies remained weak.

Despite the economic uncertainty, Mr Moynihan said his bank continues to do a “million and a half mortgages a week”.

“Right now they (mortgage rates) are the lowest in history and it’s a good deal for the consumer.," he said.

Mr Moynihan also said his bank had received approvals for 231,000 loans under the government’s small business rescue programme, and had another 37,000 applications still in process.

Earlier in the day, JPMorgan Chase said it had gotten approvals for 239,000 customers who applied for the scheme.

Wall Street slips as corporate earnings show pandemic’s impact

US stocks dropped on Friday as investors gauged the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on corporate earnings.

The S&P 500 closed 2.8 per cent lower. The Nasdaq Composite lost 3.2 per cent with technology shares coming under pressure following closely watched earnings from Apple and Amazon.

The drop erased the S&P 500’s gains for the week, pushing it to a 0.2 per cent loss. The Nasdaq fell 0.3 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which sank 2.6 per cent on Friday, registered a 0.2 per cent weekly decline.

The energy sector was the worst performer in the benchmark S&P 500 on Friday. ExxonMobil fell 7 per cent after reporting its first quarterly loss in three decades.

West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $19.78 a barrel, up nearly 5 per cent, but remains more than 60 per cent lower since the start of the year. Brent, the international marker, ticked down 0.2 per cent to $26.44.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was roughly flat at 0.626 per cent.

IMF approves two-year credit line for Colombia

Gideon Long in Bogotá

The IMF has extended a two-year $10.8bn credit line to Colombia as it grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and the impact of the political and humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Venezuela.

Colombia can draw on the money at any time during the period with no conditions attached. It has had a similar arrangement in place since 2009 but it was due to expire.

“In the wake of the pandemic, Colombia’s economy is expected to contract for the first time in two decades," the IMF said, noting that the country was particularly vulnerable to "a further deterioration of Venezuela’s crisis".

Colombia has taken in 1.8m Venezuelan migrants in the past five years, many of whom are now out of work because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Colombia has registered 6,507 cases of the virus and 293 deaths.

Trump to block use of foreign electrical components in power grid

James Politi in Washington

Donald Trump has moved to block the use of foreign-made electrical components in the US power grid, through an executive order issued on Friday.

The move comes as the White House and members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about the country's reliance on international supply chains in a range of areas from medical gear and pharmaceuticals to food. The security of the US electrical network has long been a concern in Washington. Mr Trump said transactions involving “bulk power system electric equipment” directed, controlled, or designed by a “foreign adversary” would be subject to special scrutiny, including a block on imports.

“The bulk-power system is a target of those seeking to commit malicious acts against the United States and its people, including malicious cyber activities,” the president said. "Although maintaining an open investment climate in bulk power system electric equipment, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced with the need to protect our nation against a critical national security threat."

US coronavirus deaths climb above 59,000

The US has recorded more than 59,000 deaths attributed to coronavirus, while testing accelerated to its highest daily rate since the outbreak began.

About 34,580 additional confirmed cases of Covid-19 were confirmed over the past 24 hours, up from 27,944 a day earlier and bringing the total to more than 1.09m, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project. The US completed more than 320,000 new tests, the highest tally so far and an increase of more than 115,000 versus the previous day.

The total number of fatalities rose by 1,793 to 59,059.

Deaths in New York, the hardest-hit state, reached 18,610 today, an increase of 289, while the number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 continued to decline.

White House blocks Democrats' request for Fauci to testify

Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

The White House has blocked Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and coronavirus task force member, from testifying before Congress, Democrats said on Friday.

The Democratic-controlled House appropriations committee said Mr Fauci, one of the most trusted voices on the response to the pandemic, was requested to appear before Congress. But a top spokesperson for the committee said a Trump administration official told the panel that the White House had vetoed the move.

Mr Fauci is practically the only member of the coronavirus task force who has been willing to contradict Mr Trump publicly, sometimes even as he speaks beside the president at the White House press podium.

The White House rejected the criticism from the Democrats, saying it was not appropriate to have the officials who are instrumental to the US response to the pandemic to be appearing before Congress at this time.

“While the Trump administration continues its whole-of-government response to Covid-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings,” the White House said. "Estamos comprometidos a trabajar con el Congreso para ofrecer testimonio en el momento apropiado".

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