|Bid||0.00 x 900|
|Ask||36.13 x 1100|
|Day's range||35.67 - 38.11|
|52-week range||35.67 - 58.68|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.20|
|PE ratio (TTM)||8.30|
|Earnings date||24 Sep 2019 - 29 Sep 2019|
|Forward dividend & yield||2.00 (5.30%)|
|Ex-dividend date||19 Feb 2020|
|1y target est||51.66|
(Bloomberg) -- For Maurizio Cattaneo, the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy’s Lombardy region became alarmingly clear when several clients called to scrap contracts with his haulage company.“More than 50% of our work for this week has been canceled, and I’m scared that the situation will worsen,” the 48-year-old who runs a small company transporting heavy machinery in the regional city of Lecco said from his office 118 kilometers (73 miles) from the center of the outbreak south of Milan. “We have a real psychosis.”Whether it’s supply disruptions, production halts or clients steering clear of Lombardy, businesses like Cattaneo’s in Italy’s economic heartland are counting the rising cost of the spread of the virus in a country that was already teetering on the brink of recession.As the number of people infected by the virus in Italy rises above 300 -- mostly in the rich, industrial north -- restrictions imposed to stem its spread are threatening deeper economic woes. About a third of Italy’s output comes from Lombardy and Veneto, the two most-hit regions that are home to 1.1 million very small businesses with fewer than nine employees.After a sharp contraction at the end of 2019, Italy was already headed toward a recession before the virus started disrupting its economy. With finances strained and a divided coalition, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has few tools to stimulate an economy that could slow as much as 0.4 percentage point if the crisis lasts more than a couple of months, according to the business lobby Confocommercio.Related Story: Italy Insight – Europe’s Weak Link Ill Prepared for Coronavirus“A large part of the production and commercial activities of our country are stopped with consequences that are certainly still very uncertain,” said Massimiliano Maxia, an analyst at Allianz Global Investors. “The fact that the regions that contribute the most to gross domestic product have been affected will obviously have an even more negative effect on this scenario.”Vast swathes of the Lombardy and Veneto regions, stretching from Milan to Venice, are in a virtual lockdown. Events and conferences are being canceled, including the last days of the Milan fashion week. Venice suspended its annual pre-Lenten Carnival, and Serie A soccer matches were postponed or will be played behind closed doors.Many large companies, including Unicredit SpA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, have asked employees to work from home and cut back on business travel. Software maker Zucchetti SpA, with 6,000 employees in Italy and headquarters in Lodi, just a few kilometers from the epicenter of the outbreak, has mandated employees from affected regions to work remotely.But laptops and phone conferences can only go so far. Giorgio Armani, who held his fashion show behind closed doors to avoid any contagion risk, has closed a textile factory near Trento. Design and engineering company Italdesign Giugiaro SpA shut two plants near Turin after one of its workers tested positive to the virus.Also with people staying home, a whole slew of ancillary businesses are taking a hit -- from restaurants, bars and cafes to car services. That in turn is hurting waiters, drivers, assistants and other temporary workers.Take the case of Ferdinando Dossan, 47, for example. Dossan has a private transport company, working mostly with businessmen and tourists arriving at Malpensa, Milan’s main airport.“Nothing is moving,” he said Tuesday. About 80% of his bookings have been canceled, not just for the coming weeks but even into May and June. Instead of the three seasonal drivers he usually hires to cope with the spring influx of holidaymakers on Lake Como, he has need for only one now, he said.The crisis could shave 3.9 billion euros ($4.2 billion) from consumer demand, according to the Confesercenti retailers’ group, and may lead to the closing of some 15,000 small companies. Restaurants, cafes and bars may see losses of about 2 billion euros in the first four months of 2020, according to industry lobby group FIPE.Granted, the outbreak has been an export opportunity for some Italian companies gaining from China’s partial lockdown.“We receive calls from France and Germany and just a few days ago an Italian client doubled the volume of an order,” Andrea Beri, CEO of steelmaker ITA SpA in Lecco, was quoted as saying by Il Sole 24 Ore. “These are companies that have trouble sourcing material from China.”But such opportunities are few and far between. For the most part, companies will be looking for help. The government has announced tax relief and other support measures for the most-hit areas, but the sum on the table for now is a mere 20 million euros.Opposition leader Matteo Salvini has called for a 10 billion-euro stimulus package, but this would most likely lead to Italy breaking its European Union budget commitments, even if more flexibility were to be granted to cope with the crisis.Meanwhile in Lecco, the big question for businessmen like Cattaneo who can’t cope with the uncertainty is: how long is this going to last?He has had a Florence-based client cancel a contract to supply a large crane because the pylons that needed to be moved hadn’t arrived. Then a Milan-based multinational company nixed a machine order because its employees had been idled.“My family, my workers all depend on this business,” the heavy machinery transport company owner said. “Coronavirus may not kill people, but it will surely kill small businesses and manufacturing.”\--With assistance from Marco Bertacche, John Follain and Chiara Remondini.To contact the reporters on this story: Alessandro Speciale in Rome at email@example.com;Sonia Sirletti in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org;Flavia Rotondi in Rome at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Vidya Root, Paul SillitoeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Travel warnings and cruise cancellations are starting to take a toll on cruise operators. In fact, the outbreak has persuaded major cruise operators to trim 2020 guidance.
(Bloomberg) -- Behind the coronavirus upsurge that has turned Italy into Europe’s worst-hit nation is a combination of bad luck and safety protocols that fell short. Health authorities say the country’s meticulous search for new cases is inflating the tally.The government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is battling to cope as the caseload escalates to 283, with seven deaths. Vast swathes of rich northern Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto regions, stretching from Milan to Venice, are in a virtual lockdown.Just why Italy is suffering more than its neighbors is a question bedeviling the government and health authorities. The virus’s rapid spread there contrasts with more modest clusters elsewhere in Europe, including at a German auto parts supplier and in a French ski resort, where authorities quickly identified an original carrier and kept the illness from spreading.The Italian outbreak has been traced to a 38-year-old man who sought treatment at a hospital in Codogno, near Milan, on Feb. 18, where he infected dozens of patients and medical staff. He had not been to China recently and how he became infected remains a mystery.“At the root of all this is sheer misfortune,” said Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist at Milan University. “Who would have imagined that a person with symptoms similar to pneumonia, in Codogno in an agricultural province of Lombardy, could have the coronavirus?”Containment MeasuresPreviously Italy had registered only three cases, all of them in Rome, including a married Chinese couple in the capital for a holiday.Fifty-four new cases were reported in Tuesday, Italian emergency chief Angelo Borrelli said to reporters in Rome, with 40 of those in Lombardy. Three cases have been identified in the province of Milan. Italian measures to identify the virus have been robust, and could account for the increased number of detected cases, World Health Organization executive board member Walter Ricciardi said.Conte blamed the surge on a hospital he did not name, saying that from there the disease had spread because safety protocols were not respected. Conte told Rai television in an interview late Monday that the government may limit the powers of local health authorities if they fail to coordinate.Lawmaker Riccardo Molinari of Matteo Salvini’s anti-migrant League party retorted that too much stress had led Conte to say “something inconceivable, almost fascist.”After the outbreak near Milan, the government ramped up containment measures and testing. Police are manning roadblocks to stop anyone from leaving or entering an area of some 50,000 people in Codogno and other towns south of Milan, where most cases have been identified.Across Lombardy and Veneto, schools and universities closed and public events were canceled as stocks and bonds tumbled on concern the spread would prompt a recession. Venice suspended its annual pre-Lenten Carnival, and Serie A soccer matches were postponed.Lower-than-expected growth due to the virus may lead Italy’s deficit to GDP ratio to exceed the 2.2% target for 2020 agreed with the European Commission, newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That may lead Rome to request budget flexibility of 2 billion to 4 billion euros, the newspaper said.The health authorities’ mobilization to seek out new cases goes beyond the efforts of other European countries, Conte said, noting that Italy had carried out 4,000 tests for the virus in hospitals.‘Very Meticulous’“The Italian approach is very meticulous,” said Massimo Andreoni, a professor of infectious diseases at Rome’s Tor Vergata University. “We’re looking for all the contacts that a given person has had. We’re testing thousands of people. The more we seek, the more we find. But we still don’t have a cast-iron explanation for the numbers of cases.”Health officials’ sleuthing also has yet to turn up an initial spreader -- dubbed “patient zero” by Italian newspapers -- from whom the man in Codogno caught the illness. In line with World Health Organization safety protocols, he was not tested initially for the virus as he said he had not had contact with anyone who had been to China recently.Later, his wife said he had met with a businessman who returned from the country. That man, however, tested negative.One theory floated by health experts is that the location of the outbreak could be due to the Lombardy and Veneto regions having close business ties with China.Conte, who has expressed his surprise at the surge, has drawn criticism for making Italy the first European Union country to ban flights to and from China. The WHO’s Ricciardi said this had stopped authorities from tracing arrivals as travelers could use stopovers to reach the country.Andreoni defended the measure. “The ban improved the situation because fewer Chinese people decided to come to Italy,” he said. “In any case, you can’t start testing for the virus everyone who steps off from a plane, whether it’s from China or anywhere else.”No SymptomsAs in other countries, efforts to contain the virus are complicated by the discovery that some people infected with it have few or no symptoms, and others are easily confused with victims of annual seasonal influenza.For Conte’s government, isolating affected areas is now the priority rather than seeking the patient behind the recent outbreak. The premier has resisted calls to suspend the Schengen agreement, which allows free movement across the borders of EU members.“The Codogno outbreak is the tip of the iceberg, and now the priority is to go underwater and find out how big the iceberg is with more tests,” said Milan University’s Pregliasco. “We should be able to establish in two weeks’ time, the duration of the incubation period, whether the containment efforts are effective or not.”(Updates with new cases from second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Flavia Rotondi, Alberto Brambilla, Ross Larsen and Marco Bertacche.To contact the reporter on this story: John Follain in Rome at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jerrold Colten, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg) -- China is trying to get people back to work, risking a renewed spread of the coronavirus.Central and local governments are loosening the criteria for factories to resume operations as they walk a tightrope between containing a virus that has killed almost 2,600 people and preventing a slump in the world’s second-largest economy.The rush to restart has been propelled by China’s leader Xi Jinping and top leaders, who are urging companies to resume production so the country can continue to meet lofty goals for growth and economic development in 2020. At stake are the fates of millions of Chinese businesses facing collapse because of the shutdowns, and the ability of companies across the globe from Apple Inc. to Nissan Motor Co. to access crucial components.Officials in China’s provinces have taken up Xi’s call, with one region after another relaxing rules that had kept more than half the nation’s industrial base idle following the Lunar New Year holiday. After weeks of empty streets and shuttered shops, signs of life are emerging along the manufacturing belt in the country’s coastal regions.On Monday, at least six provinces lowered their emergency response levels from the highest rating.Conflicting MessagesChinese authorities, however, reiterated that Wuhan -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- will stay locked down, retracting a statement sent earlier in the day that had announced partial easing of travel curbs. The conflicting messages underscore the dilemma China faces on how to spur its ailing economy and curb the deadly virus.About 600 kilometers east of Wuhan, vendors and customers at the Yiwu wholesale market in Zhejiang province are having their body temperatures tested at the entrances after the vast complex that wholesales manufactured goods reopened last Tuesday, three days earlier than expected. Power demand has also started to pick up in China, with six major generators reporting that coal consumption -- while still below pre-holiday levels -- rose 7% on Feb. 20 from the previous day.But labor is still a big issue for many.“Our factory is still missing quite a lot of workers, so we can only resume limited production,“ said Dong Liu, vice president of a textile manufacturer in Fujian, southeastern China, that employs more than 400 workers. Dong said he applied to the government on Feb. 17 to restart and the inspector came the next day and gave permission. “More and more factories are allowed to reopen this week,” he said.The push to get production rolling again risks a renewed spread of the virus, about which much is still not yet known. While more than 79,000 people have been infected worldwide, the vast majority of those cases are in seven Chinese provinces, and mostly in the central province of Hubei, where restrictions on movement were imposed in a number of cities, but not before a lot of people had already left the region for the New Year break.“A peak may come at the end of this month for the whole country but it won’t necessarily indicate a turning point,” Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease expert who led research into a treatment for SARS, told reporters in Guangzhou. “The epidemic could have a new peak after people travel back to work.”China’s economy was likely running at about 50% to 60% capacity in the week to Feb. 21, according to a Bloomberg Economics report. Official statistics showed that more than 70% of plants in provinces such as Shandong and Jiangsu have now restarted, with the rate above 90% in Zhejiang, though most are running below capacity with many workers still missing. In Hunan, the province just south of Hubei, the restart rate was only 46% on Feb. 17 with fewer than a third of staff returning.Cities that rely heavily on manufacturing such as Dongguan and Zhongshan are now saying they won’t require workers to be quarantined as long as they are healthy, and factories that meet new safety rules don’t need to wait for government approval to resume.Extremely Important“It is extremely important to get factories back to operate at their normal capacity, otherwise, it will hurt workers’ wages, companies’ cash flows, and therefore external exports,” said Iris Pang, an economist with ING Bank NV in Hong Kong.But it’s a risk.“Imagine if a factory resumes work today but has a worker found to be a confirmed case a week later, then the factory has to close for another two weeks,” she said.That’s making local governments and plant owners wary of how they proceed.In Dongguan, a key manufacturing city in the Pearl River Delta, a government document sighted by Bloomberg requires manufacturers to carry out a checklist to ensure facilities are clean and staff are healthy. Plants can then restart after posting notices of resumption inside and outside the plant. The document warns that the companies are responsible for handling significant risks to controlling the virus and may face punishment if they fail to do so. Healthy workers with a temperature lower than 37.3 Celsius from outside Hubei and other badly affected regions can work immediately after they return to Dongguan.But granting permission to restart is only the first hurdle in getting back to full production. Workers from heavily infected areas are still barred from returning to work in big industrial cities. Manufacturers must also wait for suppliers to begin shipping, villages to dismantle roadblocks and transport companies to restart distribution.“As the requirements to resume production in each region are rather different, even if we restart our factory, we still need to figure out a slew of issues ranging from upstream and downstream materials, to logistics, packaging, and storage,” said Jacky Han, owner of a car parts factory in Qingdao, a city in Shandong province. “Basically, every enterprise is freelancing on their own and using their own resources and networks to solve the puzzle.”Reducing RiskSince the Lunar New Year holiday began in late January, only about 20% as many trips have been taken each day compared to the previous year, meaning millions of people still haven’t traveled back to the cities where they work and live. Long-distance buses were only allowed to operate at 50% of capacity to reduce the risk of viral transmission.China’s central and local governments are taking other steps to try to reduce the economic effects to the outbreak. President Xi told U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a phone call last week that China is confident in achieving its growth targets set for this year, according to China Central Television.The government is considering direct cash infusions or mergers to help the airline industry, including a proposal for a provincial government to take over indebted conglomerate HNA Group Co.Read more: China Nears Takeover of Troubled HNA as Virus Rocks EconomyAbout 80 million migrant workers have returned to where they work, and 120 million more will return by the end of February, according to a transport ministry official, Liu Xiaoming. Another 100 million will return from March onwards, Liu said.Even if factories can get all their employees back to work, restrictions on work practices may mean that they aren’t able to resume full employment anyway.In Zhenjiang, a city in Jiangsu province, an LED car lighting factory recently resumed production, but only after finally getting enough supplies to fulfill local government requirements to provide five masks per worker, along with disinfectant and protective suits.Spot Checks“Every day several government departments send representatives to spot check our efforts to curb the virus,” said Melissa Shu, the company’s export manager. “They come from the district government, the center for disease control, the city government, at different times of day and check if we disinfect in time, whether we test the temperature of workers, whether workers have masks, whether one person has a separate lunch seat, whether lunch is properly arranged, etc, etc.”Shu said at lunchtime, workers need to sit at least one meter apart (about three feet).“As a result, we can’t ask all the workers to come to work even when they’re in town ready to work,” she said, adding that the plant has about 40-50 staff working in rotation, about half the number employed before the virus.Ironically, some Chinese factories already have plenty of space, thanks to the long-running trade war with the U.S.“Compared with the virus, that was much worse” said Hui Zhuo, founder of a wooden furniture manufacturer in Zhongshan, in the Pearl River Delta. “We’ve cut a lot of workers in the last two years -- so I’m not too worried this time because the space in my factory is big enough to avoid being crowded.”Delegated ShopperLike nearby Dongguan, the government in Zhongshan has relaxed restart rules. Zhuo has been studying the government checklist carefully, preparing sanitizer, masks and thermometers.Factories must disinfect facilities and check workers’ temperatures every day. Each worker dormitory must delegate one person to shop for them every other day, and the others are not allowed to leave the factory. Zhuo’s confident that if he sticks to the rules, he won’t have a problem with the virus.In the longer term, the outbreak is likely to exacerbate the damage wrought on China’s factories by the trade war. For some overseas customers in fast-moving industries like fashion, the factory shutdown amid the virus has been another wake-up call that may spur them to reduce their reliance on Chinese suppliers.“I think for the next season or the next year’s goods, retailers would be looking at sourcing more from other countries,” said AJ Mak, CEO of Chain of Demand, which provides artificial-intelligence systems to retailers in Asia and the U.S. to predict product demand. “I think those conversations which started from the trade war would be definitely accelerated.”Meanwhile China’s push to salvage its growth targets won’t be complete until the virus is fully under control -- something that is impossible to predict.“When can everyone come back to work? No one knows,” said Shu at the Zhenjiang LED factory. “Logistics is still not yet fully resumed, inter-city transportation is still restricted. Only after the epidemic is fully controlled, we can truly return to normal work and life.“(Updates with China continuing Wuhan’s quarantine measures in the sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Dong Lyu and Rachel Chang.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Daniela Wei in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Miao Han in Beijing at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jinshan Hong in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org, Adam Majendie, Bhuma ShrivastavaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The emergence of new centers of coronavirus infection outside of China is fueling concern the outbreak could become a global pandemic, rattling financial markets and stoking anxiety over the potential hit to economies.While the outbreak in China appears to be becoming more predictable, the virus is taking hold in other parts of the world, with increasing infection and death tolls in South Korea, Italy and parts of the Middle East sparking the most alarm.These bursts of infections could drive a second peak in an epidemic that’s already killed more than 2,400 in China and severely disrupted global business and travel activity.In Italy and Iran, the mortality rate from the pneumonia-causing virus appears to be much higher than that in China, hinting at hundreds or thousands of still-undiscovered cases of infection. In South Korea, which has the most in-country cases outside of China, the government raised its public health alert to the highest level, allowing it to quarantine cities, delay the start of school and restrict people’s movements.“At the moment, the death rate is running at about 3%,” Paul Hunter, a professor at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said in a televised interview. “That is almost certainly going to rise.”Stocks and higher-yielding assets retreated across Asia Monday, as investors grappled with the implications of the widening outbreak.Stocks Slide as Virus Case Rise Heightens Concern: Markets WrapNot Just China“There is now very justifiably concern that this is a global pandemic and not just a China issue,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Singapore. “The markets were taking consolation earlier on from the maturing spread cycle in China, which may no longer be the pertinent metric to follow now if it is the spread outside of China that’s causing concern.”In China, still home to the vast majority of the almost 80,000 cases of infection that have emerged globally, there are some signs the outbreak has stabilized, and the economy is starting to move past the state of stasis that’s gripped it since the Lunar New Year holiday.While mistrust lingers over shifting data from Hubei province, new cases of infection released daily appear to have stabilized at several hundred, while the same metric at the China-wide level has been declining for three days.Crises ElsewhereThere has also been an uptick in the number of recoveries from the virus in China and other Asian cities like Singapore. In the rest of China outside of Hubei, more than half of all cases are now declared recovered and discharged from hospital: 7,996 patients have officially recovered out of 12,863 total cases of infection in the country excluding Hubei. In Singapore, fully-recovered patients now number 47 out of a total of 86.Underscoring the shifting mood in China, six provinces -- including manufacturing center Guangdong -- downgraded their emergency threat levels on Monday, paving the way for restaurants and shops to re-open. Local factories, where month-long shutdowns have disrupted global supply chains for everything from watches to lobsters, are coming back to life.Read more: China Pushes Factories to Resume Even as Death Toll RisesStill, China appears to be at a dilemma over how to re-start its ailing economy without prematurely lifting the draconian measures that’s managed to slow the virus’ spread. In an unusual public flip-flop, Wuhan announced that there would be some easing of quarantine over the city that’s been in place since Jan. 23. Hours later, the statement was deleted and another saying that the announcement was “unauthorized” was issued. The quarantine remains in effect.China Announced Easing of Wuhan’s Quarantine, Then Retracted ItAnd the cautious optimism over the situation in China is overshadowed by the growing crises in other regions. South Korea now has more than 750 confirmed cases of the virus, and will send 1,000 hospital beds to Daegu, ground zero for the virus’s spread there. Screening will be expanded to all residents who show symptoms of infection in the city, with Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip telling reporters Monday there was a high risk of “nationwide spread” if they aren’t able to contain the disease.South Korea warned the epidemic poses a risk to its fragile economic recovery as airlines halted flights and travel agencies canceled group tours to the country. Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. are among major companies taking precautions as the outbreak rapidly gathers pace.”I don’t think it can be contained and there is a long way to go before reaching the turning point,” said Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at Hong Kong University. “The roles will soon be reversed -- countries that had banned travel from China may soon see China ban travel from them.”Restaurants ClosedItaly is becoming a virus hotspot, raising alarm levels given the European Union’s policy of free movement of people and goods within the 27-nation bloc. The Italian government canceled the remaining days of the Venice Carnival at the weekend and universities and restaurants have been closed with three deaths and at least 140 infections recorded.Austria halted train traffic from Italy on Sunday as an area of 50,000 people near Milan was locked down amid the surge in cases.“I suspect we’re going to see quite a few more cases reported from Italy,” Norwich Medical School’s Hunter said. “Whether the Italians will manage to contain the outbreak or whether it has already spread more widely throughout Europe, only the coming days will tell.”In Iran, reports there of eight deaths out of 43 infections -- which equates to a mortality rate of 18.6% -- sparked widespread concern that the extent of the virus’ spread within the closed-off country is being covered up. The mortality rate in China, where there is more than 76,000 cases, is 3.2%.Kuwait and Bahrain reported their first cases of the virus on Monday, linked to people who traveled back from Iran.At a weekend meeting of Group of 20 finance chiefs in Saudi Arabia, concerns over the virus’s spread dominated discussions. Kristalina Georgieva, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, said the outbreak would trim 0.1 percentage points from the IMF’s global growth forecast, but that it’s also looking at more “dire” scenarios.“We do not know what will be the next steps, indeed if the epidemic will turn to pandemic or not,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Bloomberg TV, referring to the official definition of a pandemic as an outbreak spreading across multiple continents. “But we have to be prepared.”(Updates with health expert’s comment on mortality in fifth paragraph)\--With assistance from Lilian Karunungan, Malcolm Scott, Claire Che and Francine Lacqua.To contact the reporter on this story: Rachel Chang in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Stunned by Europe’s biggest surge of the coronavirus, Italy appears to be operating in near panic mode.The government imposed a lockdown on an area of 50,000 people near Milan, authorities canceled the remaining days of the Venice Carnival, and universities closed. The Chinatown area in Prato near Florence saw many small businesses close as Chinese nationals voluntarily remained at home for two-week periods.Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party, used the outbreak to attack Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for not defending the borders. He cited the docking of the Ocean Viking humanitarian ship in a Sicilian port with 274 African migrants on board to say Italy needs “to make our borders armor-plated.” He called on Conte to resign “if he isn’t able to defend Italy and Italians.”The rise in infections to around 150 from just a handful a week ago comes at a bad moment for Conte’s administration, already under fire for failing to mount a coherent response to the spread of the virus. As Conte chairs a series of marathon meetings in Rome to counter the spread of the disease, his plan for tax reforms and investments to restart an ailing economy has stalled, and now businesses are set to be affected by measures against the virus.Italian 10-year government bond yields rose the most in more than a month and the benchmark stocks index fell the most since September 2018 as the government dealt with the spread of the virus. The FTSE MIB was down 4.2% at 9:23 a.m. in Milan.Conte’s government was censured by Beijing for an early ban on all flights to and from China, a decision criticized by Walter Ricciardi, a member of the World Health Organization’s executive council, because it stopped authorities from tracing arrivals as travelers could use stopovers to reach Italy.Efforts to contain the coronavirus could have been initially thwarted by difficulty in identifying the roots of the spread.Almost all of Italy’s cases are linked to a 38-year-old man who sought treatment at a hospital in the Lombardy region on Feb. 18. While there, he infected dozens of patients and medical staff, who then spread it further afield. Tracking efforts initially focuses on a friend of the man, a businessman who had returned from China, but tests proved negative and the origin of the contagion remains a mystery. A fourth death from the virus was reported in Lombardy on Monday, Ansa news agency said.“Conte is on difficult ground: He’s got to find an explanation for the big spread of the virus,” said Sofia Ventura, a political science professor at Bologna University, which announced it’s closing Monday along with other universities and schools in the northern Emilia-Romagna region.Conte hasn’t ruled out suspending the Schengen agreement that allows free movement between the borders of European Union members. To guarantee “maximum protection,” the government would take “any measure to safeguard the health of citizens,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a EU summit in Brussels on Friday. The League called for a suspension of Schengen.Austria’s state railroad temporarily halted traffic from Italy across a key Alpine crossing on Sunday, with a train from Venice to Munich held on the Italian side of the Brenner Pass after authorities received information that two people aboard had flu-like symptoms. Rail traffic had resumed as normal by Monday.Salvini’s political calculation is clear. While his League is the country’s most popular party, he was interior minister in Conte’s first coalition when his effort last year to force fresh elections backfired. He now has to contend with the resurgence of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, which has leapfrogged ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia.“Borders are the perfect issue for Salvini, and he’s out for revenge, with his ally and rival Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers of Italy party rising in opinion polls,” said Ventura of Bologna University.In his Facebook video, Salvini zeroed in on African migrants like the ones who landed in Sicily, saying “God forbid” one of them turned out to be a virus-carrier.Conte and Salvini skirmished over the spread of the virus, with the premier saying on La7 television that the only leader he had not managed to reach to discuss the issue was Salvini despite phoning him and sending him a message. “If he’d had the goodness to reply, I’d have explained to him why more severe measures couldn’t be taken earlier,” Conte said.At the port of Pozzallo, the latest migrants to attempt the deadly journey from north Africa were placed in isolation on Sunday, while the crew were confined to the ship. None of the cases in Italy so far have been linked to African migrants.Health authorities still don’t know the origin of the disease’s spread, according to emergency commissioner Angelo Borrelli.“It’s difficult to express forecasts for the spread,” he said. “The only concrete and valid measure to be taken is therefore the one of closing off territories.”Conte himself was left acknowledging that he hadn’t expected the surge.“I was surprised by this explosion of cases, which had been kept under control until a short time ago,” he told RAI television Sunday. But he insisted: “The line of maximum precaution has paid off, even though it doesn’t appear so.”(Updates with shares in fifth paragraph, fourth death in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Alessandro Speciale, Marco Bertacche and Chiara Remondini.To contact the reporters on this story: John Follain in Rome at email@example.com;Jerrold Colten in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at email@example.com, Karl Maier, Andrew DavisFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It was the calm before the storm.Last week, new data showed that the euro-zone economy had seen an encouraging rebound in February, as activity in the services sector expanded strongly, while manufacturing slowed less than expected. However, the disruptions from the new coronavirus epidemic look set to hit the region’s businesses hard, especially as the number of cases outside of China grows. The European Central Bank and euro region finance ministers have seemed oddly sanguine in recent weeks, but that’s likely to change soon.According to data published on Friday, the composite purchasing managers index — a closely-watched index of economic activity — rose to 51.6 this month, above the crucial 50 level that separates an expansion from a contraction. The dominant services sector hit 52.8, up from 52.5 in January. Manufacturing touched 49.1, the highest level in a year.The rosy figures sparked optimism that the euro area may be emerging from a soft patch at the end of 2019. The region’s economy expanded by a mere 0.1% in the last three months of last year, as France and Italy both contracted. The new PMI readings for Germany’s manufacturing industry — which touched 47.8 in February from 45.3 last month — were particularly encouraging. This sector had shrunk substantially at the end of last year, raising fears that Germany could soon head for a recession.The trouble is that these indicators are unusually noisy. PMI indexes incorporate a number of gauges, which are both backward- and forward-looking. Unfortunately, some figures that predict future activity — such as new foreign orders — were particularly weak. A possible interpretation is that the damage from the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak is not yet fully visible in the data.Moreover, the outbreak appears to be spreading fast. The number of infected individuals in China has risen to above 77,000, with more than 2,500 fatalities. Europe, which had been spared largely, has seen a steep increase in the number of cases: In Italy, it climbed in just a few days to more than 130. The country’s government had to take some dramatic measures, including the cancellation of Venice’s Carnival celebration and suspending schools and other public spaces in a number of northern regions.Until now, policymakers had displayed little sense of hurry. At the weekend, finance chiefs and central bankers from the world’s largest 20 economies failed to put in place a concerted set of measures to prop up the global economy, as they only agreed to a “menu of policy options” if conditions worsen amid the virus outbreak. Last Tuesday, euro-zone finance ministers had approved a joint policy recommendation that alluded to some form of fiscal expansion if the slump deepens. However, it is unclear when the boost would actually occur or how forceful it would be. Germany’s politicians appear particularly reluctant to open their purse. The German economy is now one of the worst performers in the currency area, and yet its leaders continue to rack up fiscal surpluses.The ECB has also been surprisingly upbeat recently. At the last press conference, President Christine Lagarde displayed excessive optimism that inflation was edging closer to the central bank’s target of close to but below 2%. On Friday, Philip Lane, the ECB’s chief economist, said he still expected the impact from the virus to be “V-shaped,” meaning there would be an economic contraction followed by a rapid expansion. The implication being that the central bank could just look through such weakness, since it would be largely temporary.So far, the fears for the global and European economies were largely the product of what was happening in China. The country is a large export market for European businesses and is deeply rooted in their supply chains. However, there will now be serious consequences for domestic demand and supply too. The outbreak in Italy has occurred between Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto — the country’s industrial heartland. As people choose to stay at home and travel less, this is bound to impact local services.An important question for central bankers and governments is to what extent these disruptions will have inflationary consequences. Over the past decade, policymakers have grown accustomed to responding to slowdowns by simulating demand, especially through unorthodox monetary policy moves, including quantitative easing. Lane said the central bank has room to respond to a more severe shock, for example by cutting interest rates further into negative territory. Perhaps, governments including Germany might agree to tax cuts and spending increases.However, severe supply disruptions would naturally have an upward impact on prices, as factories compete for a smaller number of providers. Of course, any slowdown in demand would have a dampening effect on inflation, for example via cheaper oil. But we just don’t know what effect will dominate.It is clear that we’re entering a new phase in the spread of the virus. The financial markets appear to have finally begun to take this threat seriously. It’s time for finance ministers and central bankers to do the same.(This column was updated with latest coronavirus case numbers.)To contact the author of this story: Ferdinando Giugliano at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Ferdinando Giugliano writes columns on European economics for Bloomberg Opinion. He is also an economics columnist for La Repubblica and was a member of the editorial board of the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Spot bullion as much as +2.2% to $1,679.70 an ounce, the highest price since Feb. 2013, amid growing concern that the coronavirus will harm global growth.Last week, gold +3.8% as investors sought a haven from escalating virus fearsREAD: Funds In Record Gold Bet as Investors Buy ‘With Three Hands’READ: Hong Kong’S Warning; Italy Cancels Carnival: Virus UpdateREAD: U.S. Stock Futures Slide as Virus Concern Grows: Markets WrapBullion trades +1.4% at $1,665.94/oz at 7:25am in SingaporeTo contact the reporter on this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at email@example.com, Jake Lloyd-SmithFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Italy canceled public events in the north of the country including the Venice Carnival after coronavirus infections rose to 140 and a travel ban affecting about 50,000 people southeast of Milan was implemented. South Korea raised the country’s infectious-disease alert to the highest level after a 20-fold increase in cases in five days.The U.K. said four passengers who arrived Saturday from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus. Three passengers on the ship have died while another tested positive at home, despite a negative reading during the ship’s quarantine.Inside China, a study showed how extended stays on ventilators are straining hospitals at the disease’s epicenter. China’s top leadership pledged further fiscal and monetary steps to help growth rebound, while finance chiefs from the world’s biggest economies, gathering in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, fretted over the risks.Key DevelopmentsSouth Korea raises alert to highest level as cases reach 602Italy infections reach 140China cases rose to at least 76,936, with 2,442 fatalitiesIMF’s Georgieva says outbreak puts recovery at riskClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.Air New Zealand Warns Coronavirus Will Hit Earnings (3:20 p.m. NY)Air New Zealand is joining the pack of airlines warning that earnings will be affected due to coronavirus. The carrier said Monday it expects a NZ$35 million ($22 million) to NZ$75 million hit as travel demand to Asia drops. Airlines across the globe have been hit by the outbreak, from flight bans to loss of bookings to higher operating costs.U.S. Trade Rep Says U.S. Offshored Too Much of Supply Chain (3 p.m. NY)White House trade adviser Peter Navarro says the coronavirus crisis shows, “not surprisingly,” that the U.S. has offshored too much of its supply chain.Navarro expressed confidence on Fox’s Sunday Morning Futures, saying the “American economy is exceedingly strong and not particularly vulnerable to what happens in China.”He emphasized his goal to bring more of the U.S. supply chain home. “A lot of it is in China, some of it is in India, some in Europe, but we’ve got to get that back on shore,” he said.New Cases in Italy Reach 140 (2:20 p.m)Italian authorities reported cases in three regions: 110 in Lombardy; 21 in Veneto and nine in Emilia Romagna. Of those, 25 are in intensive care. Italy reported its third coronavirus death on Sunday, a woman in her 80s.Long Ventilator Stays Strain Hospitals in China (1:50 p.m. NY)Critical care resources in central China are being strained by coronavirus patients needing a month or more on mechanical ventilators, a study finds.More than two-thirds of critically ill patients required invasive breathing support, doctors at the outbreak’s epicenter in Hubei province reported.That burden could become more acute: Some 40,0127 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 in Hubei. Among those, 8,853 cases are serious and 1,845 are critically ill.Italy Reports Third Death (11:46 a.m. NY)Italy confirmed a third death from the coronavirus as infections climbed to 132. Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said on RAI television that he’s confident the country can limit the contagion. The Lombardy region has entered into phase two of limiting and containing the spread of the virus, Lombardy health official Giulio Gallera said at a briefing in Milan.“We are ready to increase measures and restrictions if needed,” Attilio Fontana regional governor of the Lombardy region said. La Scala opera house is among the public buildings that suspended performances as a precaution.Passengers Test Positive in U.K. (11:32 a.m. NY)Four more patients have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.K., Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a statement. They arrived in the country yesterday on an evacuation flight with 32 passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship from Japan and are being taken from the quarantine location to specialist NHS infection centers. The total number of cases in the U.K. is now 13.EU Says More Containment May Be Needed (11:25 a.m. NY)The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said more cases in Italy and the EU are expected in coming days. “These extraordinary measures in northern Italy are essential to limit the outbreak and may need to be replicated in other communities in the coming days,” it said in a statement. The ECDC is monitoring the situation and will issue an updated risk assessment with the next 24 hours.Virus Could Put Recovery at Risk: IMF (8:55 a.m. NY)The virus outbreak has disrupted economic activity in China and could put global economic recovery at risk, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said in a statement after the G-20 meeting. “Even in the case of rapid containment of the virus, growth in China and the rest of the world would be impacted,” Georgieva said. “We all hope for a V-shaped, rapid recovery—but given the uncertainty, it would be prudent to prepare for more adverse scenarios.”Turkey Shuts Border With Iran (8:48 a.m. NY)Turkey will temporarily close its border with Iran and halt train services between the countries, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday. Turkey has no known cases of the coronavirus, while Iran has the most in the Middle East, with 43 including eight fatalities. Jordan won’t allow entry to expatriates coming from Iran, South Korea and China, Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said. Jordanians returning from these countries will undergo a two-week quarantine.Venice Carnival, Public Events Halted (8 a.m. NY)Authorities in Venice canceled all public events for a week, including the remaining days of the city’s flagship Carnival celebration, the head of the regional government said. Milan adopted similar measures, which will likely affect the rest of its Fashion Week.Italy has 132 confirmed cases, the country’s head of civil protection said at briefing. Of those, 22 are in intensive care and others are isolated after the relatives of known patients were tested. Lombardy has suspended schools and other public spaces and events. Bologna University is closed until March 2.Third Diamond Princess Passenger Dies (7:07 a.m. NY)A third passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama died, Japan’s health ministry said in a statement, citing pneumonia as the cause of death. The victim was a Japanese man was in his 80s.Iran Reports Eighth Death, 43 Cases (6:19 p.m. HK)The number of infected people has reached 43, including the eight fatalities, Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesperson for the health ministry, said on state TV. Iran has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East. Seven of the new infections are in Qom, the epicenter of the outbreak in the country, four in Tehran, and the others in Gilan, Mazandaran and Markazi provinces, he said. Kuwait stopped ships from Iran calling at its ports.SChina Central Banker Sees Limited Economic Impact (11:56 a.m. HK)China has sufficient policy scope to address the impact of the coronavirus on the economy, which will prove limited, according to People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Chen Yulu, the central bank said in a posting Sunday. Chen in a Financial Times column Feb. 20 wrote that China will probably see a “V-shaped” recovery.China’s top leaders pledged a more proactive fiscal policy after a Feb. 21 meeting, and the PBOC signaled further monetary steps to come.Hubei Has 96 Deaths for Total of 2,346 (6:10 a.m. HK)China’s Hubei province on Sunday reported an additional 630 cases on Feb. 22, and 96 further deaths. It said 1,742 patients were discharged. The death toll in the epicenter of the disease now stands at 2,346 people.Those tallies account for the majority of the national totals in China, which now stand at 2,442 dead and 76,936 cases.\--With assistance from Alessandro Speciale, Daniele Lepido, Arsalan Shahla and Nikos Chrysoloras.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org;Ian Fisher in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org, Sara Marley, Virginia Van NattaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Global economists are continuing to grapple with a new and unexpected threat to economic growth, leaving them scrambling to assess how quickly commerce can recover from the impact of the coronavirus.Research by Bloomberg Economics shows China is slowly getting back to work, with the economy running at 50%-60% capacity in the week to Feb. 21 and forecast to jump from Feb. 24. Still, the spread of the virus is starting to ripple into supply chains across the world, and showing up in data across Asia and Europe.In more conventional economic matters, policy makers from the U.K., Canada, Europe and the U.S. give speeches that may give clues into their view of the global outlook, while the world’s biggest economy publishes personal spending data.Here’s what happened last week and below is our weekly wrap of what else is going on in the world economy this week.AsiaAs the coronavirus’s spread continues to overshadow the region, China will release PMI data on Saturday that will give the first official read on how badly the world’s second-largest has been hit. South Korea’s central bank will meet to set policy on Thursday. Governor Lee Ju-yeol has warned the coronavirus outbreak could have a negative impact on the economy, but downplayed growing speculation the bank was preparing to cut interest rates.South Korea GDP, BOK Rate During SARS, MERSPresident Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to India from Monday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The White House has downplayed speculation that the leaders will make progress on a planned trade deal. India also publishes fourth-quarter GDP data on Friday.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for AsiaEurope, Middle East and AfricaWith the fallout from the coronavirus very much on policy makers’ minds, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and more than half a dozen Governing Council members are scheduled to speak. ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane told Bloomberg Television on last week that he expects the euro-area economy to bounce back from the outbreak and economic sentiment data for Germany on Monday and for the region on Thursday will show if it has left its mark on confidence. German inflation and unemployment data round off the week and Jens Weidmann presents the Bundesbank’s annual report.In the U.K., its a quiet week for data, with confidence and housing reports the most prominent. Meanwhile BOE officials Andy Haldane and Jon Cunliffe are due to speak. Hungary’s central bank holds rate-setting meeting on Tuesday. It’s a meeting to watch as policy makers hinted they may use all tools: while a change in rates is unlikely, the post-decision statement may hint at the end of the ultra-dovish era.Slowing inflation and a strengthening currency are putting pressure on the Bank of Israel to take a move dovish stance, but solid economic growth in the fourth quarter means the central bank is likely to hold interest rates again on Monday. South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni budget’s on Wednesday could be key in determining whether Moody’s Investors Service downgrades the nation’s debt to junk status next month.Also on Wednesday, Botswana’s central bank could cut interest rates again to boost slowing economic growth. While inflation in Mozambique is still low and the IMF has said there is room to cut, the metical has weakened to the lowest level against the dollar since 2017, which means the central bank may continue to hold rates on Thursday.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEAU.S. and CanadaOn Tuesday, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida discusses the outlook for interest rates and the economy at a conference in Washington, where speakers will also include IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester. Later in the week, reports on consumer spending and durable-goods orders are expected to show the U.S. economy off to a modest start to 2020, while the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge may have accelerated to the fastest pace in a year.Canadian fourth-quarter GDP data out on Friday will show the extent of the Canadian economy’s slowdown at the end of last year, and whether the nation’s expansion has any momentum at all going into 2020. Earlier in the week, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tim Lane gives a speech on digital currencies.For more, read Bloomberg Economics full Week Ahead for the U.S.Latin AmericaMexico takes center stage in Latin America this coming week with Brazil and Argentina celebrating the Carnival holiday through midweek. Monday’s bi-weekly consumer price report is followed a day later by the final reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic product, which should affirm that the economy in 2019 posted its worst performance in a decade.On Wednesday, the central bank’s quarterly inflation report updates official forecasts for all manner of economic indicators. Capping the week, the minutes of Banxico’s last meeting published Friday will likely cement bets that a sixth straight interest-rate cut is in the offing when policy makers meet next month.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America\--With assistance from Theophilos Argitis, Scott Lanman, Robert Jameson, Rene Vollgraaff, Malcolm Scott, Brendan Murray and Andrea Dudik.To contact the reporter on this story: David Goodman in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org, Zoe SchneeweissFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. raised its travel warning to Japan as Iran, Italy and South Korea all reported additional deaths from the coronavirus.The spread of the virus outside its origin in China stoked fear that the window to prevent a pandemic may be closing. The World Health Organization, which has a team traveling to the epicenter in Wuhan, said the situation in Iran is “very worrisome” because of the lack of a direct link to China.Cases in northern Italy climbed to 51. Passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship returned to the U.K.South Korea reported 229 new cases and Yonhap News Agency said a third patient died. Almost half of the country’s additional cases were linked to members of a religious sect, including most of the patients at a hospital’s psychiatric ward.Key DevelopmentsSixth patient dies in Iran, a second in Italy and a third in South KoreaChina cases rise to 76,288, with 2,345 fatalities, as of SaturdayXi Jinping pledges easier monetary policySouth Korea cases surge among church membersClick VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the novel coronavirus and here for maps and charts. For analysis of the impact from Bloomberg Economics, click here.U.S. Raises Threat Warning on Travel to Japan (3:50 p.m.)The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its alert level for travel in Japan to Level 2. That level warns of “sustained community transmission” and calls for “precautions for high-risk travelers,” such as those with chronic medical conditions.Though Japan has reported only one death -- amid nearly 80,000 cases and almost 2,400 deaths worldwide --- it has a relatively large number of cases, 121. Much of that was because of the spread on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.Sixth Iranian Reported Dead Amid Wide School Closures (2:15 p.m. NY)A sixth person died Saturday in Iran, in central Markazi province, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. Iran’s health officials also reported 785 suspected cases, raising the possibility of far-wider infection. There are 28 confirmed cases.Officials ordered schools in six provinces closed. Soccer teams, concerts halls, theaters and cinemas have also been told to cancel events, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The health ministry later said it closed universities in 10 provinces.Kuwait Airways said it would send planes to Iran’s second-biggest city of Mashhad to evacuate more than 700 Kuwaiti citizens. Private flights have been halted.Israelis and Palestinians Contain Possible Spread from South Koreans (2:10 p.m. NY)Israel and the Palestinian Authority took steps to contain the virus’s spread after nine South Korean tourists who recently visited tested positive.Israel’s health ministry imposed a two-week quarantine on people in contact with the visitors, who traveled to historic sites and cities like Jerusalem and Ramallah. The Palestinian ministry of interior said the visited sites will be closed. Israel also blocked the entry of South Korean tourists on Saturday. The country reported its first case of the virus on Friday.Britons Arrive Back from Diamond Princess (11:40 a.m. NY)The U.K. Foreign Office said 32 British and European citizens arrived today from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan. “Our number one priority has consistently been the health and safety of U.K. nationals,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.They are being transported to a hospital in northwestern England where earlier evacuees from Wuhan were quarantined.Iran Confirms Another Death, 10 More Cases (10:35 a.m. NY)Iran reported a fifth death from the coronavirus, the most outside China, according to state television. The country also confirmed an additional 10 cases, bringing the total to 28. Of the new cases, eight are in Qom, the epicenter of coronavirus in Iran, and two in Tehran, according to Kianoush Jahanpour, a health ministry spokesman said on state television.Northern Italy Has 51 Coronavirus Cases (8:42 a.m. NY)The Lombardy region has 39 coronavirus cases with another 12 cases in the Veneto, regional officials said in a press conference Saturday in Milan. Most of the cases are in the Codogno area, 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Milan. A woman who was found dead in her home subsequently tested positive, the health secretary said. Earlier, three tourists in Rome were diagnosed with the virus.South Korean Psychiatric Ward Infected (6:26 a.m. NY)Almost all patients at a psychiatric ward of a South Korean hospital tested positive for the coronavirus, with local reports saying a religious sect with followers who were infected had attended a funeral in the same complex. Two confirmed deaths in South Korea are from the Cheongdo hospital’s mental health division, Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.Italian Deaths Lead to Lockdown (6:10 a.m. NY)The new coronavirus is hitting northern Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto regions, where the number of infected people rose to 30 in about 24 hours, according to local media. In Lombardy, a dozen towns in the Lodi area were locked down Saturday after the virus claimed a second victim in the country. More than 50,000 people were ordered to stay at home by the regional government, according to newswire Ansa. Businesses and restaurants closed and soccer games and Masses were canceled.UBS Chairman Says Effects Underestimated (6:09 a.m. NY)UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber said markets are underpricing the risk that the coronavirus poses to the global economy. It will go beyond the first quarter, Weber said in a Bloomberg TV interview during the G-20 Summit in Riyadh. By his estimates, global growth will experience a massive drop from 3.5% to 0.5% and China will post a negative growth rate in the first quarter. That’s not happened since at least 1990, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Infections Spread in Hospital Psychiatric Ward (2:02 p.m. HK)A hospital near Daegu in Cheongdo County confirmed 111 cases, with 109 of those infected found to be in the psychiatric ward, either as patients or staff, according to Jung Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nine hospital employees are infected, she said.Xi Pledges Easier Monetary Policy (12:50 p.m. HK)China will exercise more flexibility in monetary and fiscal policy, according to a statement issued after a Politburo meeting chaired by President Xi on Friday. The central bank could allow some lenders to hold fewer reserves and adjust the benchmark deposit rate at an appropriate time, Deputy Governor Liu Guoqiang said in a statement.China Reports Latest Numbers (9:01 a.m. HK)Chinese health authorities reported 109 more deaths from the virus, taking the total toll to 2,345, while the number of infections reached 76,288. There were also 2,393 patients discharged on Friday. Hubei province accounts for 63,454 confirmed cases and 2,250 deaths.\--With assistance from David Stringer, Kanga Kong, Daniele Lepido, Arsalan Shahla, Kazunori Takada, Winnie Zhu, Manus Cranny, Marion Halftermeyer and Jihye Lee.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Kanga Kong in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Emma O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
It's certainly not the best of times for the big three publicly traded cruise ship companies: Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line.
The Diamond Princess quarantine was a two-week nightmare for many, after passengers tested positive for coronavirus. But at least two passengers would cruise again.
(Bloomberg) -- New Orleans is a city familiar with fanaticism, from secret family recipes for gumbo to the Saints, continually ranked first in fan experience in the NFL. But if there’s a singular obsession for Who Dat Nation and beyond, it’s Camellia Brand beans, the key component in the city’s emblematic Monday specialty, red beans and rice. The unassuming red kidney beans, which are sold in clear bags decorated with the titular flower, are among the Crescent City’s most sought-after products. With only nominal nationwide distribution, they’re not easy to find outside the city; for a hungry diaspora, they’re the most prized component of a care package.“Camellia red beans are everywhere in New Orleans. They are the stuff of myth and folklore,” says Mason Hereford, chef and owner of the acclaimed Turkey and the Wolf. “If I was a chunk of andouille sausage, I would tirelessly walk these streets until I found myself a pot of Camellia red beans I could call home.”The dull red-colored beans have become so synonymous with New Orleans that they represent 90% of dry beans sold in the city and around $61 million in annual revenue for the brand, in good part because of the sales of the one dish. They are America’s No.1 selling red bean according to Nielsen. Their rich and creamy texture is notable, yes, but to explain their cult-like status is to embrace a tautology: Camellia red beans are the best because they are the best. Speaking for a lot of New Orleanians, chef Chris Montero of the city’s vaunted Napoleon House puts it this way, “Comparisons aren’t an option.” He doesn’t know how to contrast them to other brands because Camellia is the only one he’s ever used—and he goes through, and occasionally runs out of, about 50 gallons of pork-studded red beans a week.Camellia is the country’s oldest bean company, started in NOLA’s French Market in 1923 and still family-owned today. Fans include the city’s late culinary matriarch Leah Chase, of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, who maintained that they were the only beans anyone should use. A bag of Camellia red beans is on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington next to a recipe collection inspired by Louis Armstrong. There are 18 varieties of Camellia legumes, sourced from farmers around the country. The red beans come from around half a dozen states in the Midwest and West, including Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, and the Dakotas. Fourth generation owner Vince Hayward says that the company sometimes takes less than 10% of a crop in their search for plump, uniform beans.Camellia’s popularity comes at a time when more and more people are adopting plant-based diets and interest in new cuisines has increased. Sales have grow 9% year-over-year since 2015, while the global legumes market is projected to grow at a rate of about 6% from 2020 to 2023. (The USDA saw an almost 40% increase in legume consumption between 2014 and 2017.) During Carnival season, consumption spikes, with an 11% bump in red bean sales for Camellia. The company sponsors the Dead Beans Parade on Lundi Gras, the Monday before Fat Tuesday (which is Tuesday, Feb. 25 this year), where revelers dress in customized bean-themed attire.This year, the company has also joined a new Mardi Gras initiative to provide an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional bead throws. The Grounds Krewe, a local nonprofit has created hand-sized bags of local food products including coffee beans, jambalaya mix and, of course, red beans. Camillia donated the beans although their name isn’t on the bags.“It’s more about the throw itself than a branding opportunity,” says Hayward. “Our beans get enough attention.”(Updates percentage of local sales and Jan. 2020 national Nielsen data in 4th paragraph. Adds Smithsonian exhibit in 6th paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Kate Krader in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Justin Ocean at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
BEIJING/SEOUL, Feb 21 (Reuters) - The coronavirus has infected hundreds of people in Chinese prisons, authorities said, as cases climbed outside the epicentre in Hubei province, including 100 more in South Korea and a worsening outbreak in Italy where officials announced the country's first death. Another 271 cases were reported in prisons in Hubei - where the virus first emerged in December in its now locked-down capital, Wuhan. Total cases of the new coronavirus in the Chinese capital neared 400 with four deaths.
British entrepreneur Richard Branson will unveil the "Scarlet Lady" on Friday, a 60,000 tonne cruise liner complete with a tattoo studio and yoga deck aimed at drawing in a younger generation of holiday-makers. Despite the unfortunate timing, with passengers on one ship quarantined after hundreds caught the coronavirus and another turned away by five countries over fears someone on board may be ill, Branson sees cruises as a growth area. "I have dreamed of starting my own cruise line since I was in my 20s and I'm thrilled that moment has arrived," he said in a statement.
The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation & Plc and Royal Caribbean Cruises
Boston Beer Company, Spirit AeroSystems, Apple, Starbucks and Carnival highlighted as Zacks Bull and Bear of the Day
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday that the government has arranged an evacuation flight for British nationals on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship to depart Tokyo on Friday. "We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan," Raab said in a statement We will continue to support British nationals who wish to stay in Japan.
The coronavirus outbreak has taken a bite out of the stocks of major cruise operators over the past month. But once these concerns wane, shares of cruise companies could be in for smoother sailing, as underlying trends in the cruise industry remain largely positive, according to multiple analysts.