Caixin Business Digest: Global Deaths Top 100,000; IMF Warns of Worst Impact Since Great Depression
Caixin Global has started running a daily news digest to give readers a quick rundown of the top China business and finance stories, plus whatever is driving markets for the day. Please let us know if you have any feedback.
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed more than 100,000 lives worldwide while sickening more than 1.6 million. The economic devastation is so great that the International Monetary Fund is warning of the “worst economic fallout” since the Great Depression. But signs of hope may be emerging in Europe and the U.S.
— By Guo Yingzhe (firstname.lastname@example.org)and Han Wei (email@example.com)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Deadliest day in U.K., leveling signs in U.S.
The U.K. reported its highest daily death toll of 980 Thursday, bringing the total number of Britons to die from the disease to 8,958. But fatalities in Italy and New York, the worst-hit U.S. state, showed signs of decline.
New York deaths dropped slightly to 777 Friday after three straight days of record fatalities. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the leveling number shows a “somewhat hopeful sign.”
Italy extends nationwide lockdown until May 3
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended the nationwide lockdown until May 3 from the originally planned April 13. Conte said he hoped for a gradual resumption of normal life after May 3, though strict health protocols will remain in place.
Signs of relief emerged as Italy reported fewer new infections and deaths Friday. The country has the most fatalities in the world with 18,849.
IMF warns of “worst economic fallout” since the Great Depression
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the world economy is facing the worst fallout since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the world is in a crisis “like no other.”
As of Friday afternoon, global Covid-19 infections had surpassed 1.6 million with over 100,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Apple, Google join hands in tracing Covid-19
Apple and Google announced a joint effort Friday to develop technology to help track the spread of Covid-19 and alert cellphone users of potential contacts.
The companies will launch developer tools in May that “enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities,” Apple said in a release. In a separate statement, Google said the apps won’t collect personal identification or location information and will protect the privacy of people who test positive for the virus.
Coronavirus vaccine candidate in China enters phase-two clinical testing
A Chinese vaccine candidate meant to prevent Covid-19 infection, the earliest to have entered clinical testing on the Chinese mainland, will enter a second phase of clinical trials soon, according to one of its developers, CanSino Biologics Inc. Phase 2 clinical trials will need 500 healthy adult volunteers.
Most Chinese regions to reopen schools, except Beijing, Hubei
Most regions in China have announced timetables to gradually reopen schools (link in Chinese) as life slowly returns to normal.
Of the 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland, only Hubei province — where the outbreak began — and the capital Beijing have not announced school reopening plans, as both remain on high alert for coronavirus risk.
Other virus news
• China reported 56 new confirmed cases on Thursday and one new death, official data showed (link in Chinese).
• The U.S. may be experiencing the beginning of a “flattening of the curve” in its coronavirus outbreak, U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday.
• Singapore reported its highest daily increase of coronavirus cases Thursday. More than 200 of the 287 new cases were linked to dormitories that house mainly low-wage foreign workers. (Bloomberg)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Consumer inflation eases to five-month low
China’s consumer inflation eased in March but remains relatively high, with the consumer price index (CPI) up 4.3% year-on-year. The March growth was the slowest in five months. The producer price index fell 1.5% year-on-year in March.
Credit in March expands faster than expected
Credit in China grew faster than expected (link in Chinese) in March as monetary policy eased in response to the coronavirus pandemic. New yuan-denominated loans reached 2.9 trillion yuan ($411.8 billion) in March, beating the median forecast in a Caixin survey (link in Chinese) of 2.4 trillion yuan.
Bilibili receives $400 million investment from Sony
Chinese online entertainment platform Bilibili Inc. will receive about $400 million in equity investment from Sony Corp., according to a statement from Bilibili on Thursday. The company’s shares closed 2.4% higher on Thursday after the investment was announced.
China markets edged down
Chinese stock markets fell on Friday, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closing down 1% and the Shenzhen Component Index down 1.6%. Many overseas financial markets are closed on Friday ahead of the Easter holiday.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• China’s foreign trade is under unprecedented pressure as existing orders have been canceled or delayed, few new orders are coming in, and logistics remain in disarray, a commerce ministry official said (link in Chinese).
• The Eurasian Economic Union has announced an anti-dumping investigation (link in Chinese) into graphite electrodes produced in China.
• Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. may have to rely more on the domestic market this year due to U.S. sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic, a company executive said (link in Chinese).
• Two of China’s top electric carmakers, Beijing Electric Vehicle Co. Ltd. and BYD Co. Ltd., reported significant year-on-year sales drops in March, as consumers put spending on hold after Beijing scaled back subsidies and the epidemic dampened spending.
Chinese telecom equipment giant ZTE Corp. said Friday it accepted the resignation of independent nonexecutive director Bao Yuming after reports emerged accusing Bao of sexually abusing his adopted daughter. Earlier that day, Jereh Group, a Chinese oil and gas equipment producer, said it terminated the employment contract of Bao as a senior manager.
Zhu Hexin will no longer be a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, according to a Friday official statement (link in Chinese). Previously, he was appointed as the new Communist Party secretary of state-owned conglomerate Citic Group Corp.
** AND FINALLY
Dogs are no longer livestock in China
China will probably delete dogs from a list of livestock and poultry that can be subject to human consumption.
In a statement (link in Chinese) accompanying the draft list, the agriculture ministry said it omitted dogs from the list due partly to public concern over animal protection.
China will probably omit dogs from a list of livestock and poultry for human consumption.
** THE WEEK AHEAD
April 14: China import and export data for March
April 17: China Q1 GDP
Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editors Yang Ge (email@example.com) and Gavin Cross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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