In a piece of good news from one end of the world, Disneyland in China’s Shanghai has tickets sold out for its May 11 reopening, after a four-month shutdown – a sign that consumers in China are prepared to spend as the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The theme park is implementing safety measures, including limiting visitors to a third of the normal capacity of 80,000.
Shanghai Disneyland was the first of Walt Disney’s parks to close on January 25. Disney’s US, Hong Kong and Paris parks will remain closed for now. Safety measures at the reopening park include social distancing in queues, restaurants, ride vehicles and other facilities throughout the park, and implementing increased frequency of sanitisation and disinfection. Read more here.
Let’s look at the global statistics:
Total confirmed cases: 3,864,696
Change over previous day: 82,800
Total deaths: 264,679
Total recovered: 1,292,672
Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,256,972), Spain (221,447), Italy (215,858), the UK (207,977) and Russia (187,859).
US, China engage to end trade deadlock: The top trade negotiators for China and the US pledged to create favourable conditions for implementation of the bilateral trade deal and cooperate on the economy and public health. China’s Vice-Premier Liu He talked with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin over phone on Friday and agreed to maintain communication. Read more here.
FDA clears Phase-II trials of Moderna Covid-19 drug: The US FDA has cleared the second-phase trial of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, in what the company has called a “crucial step”. Moderna will shortly begin the trials with 600 participants and is finalising plans for a Phase-III trial as early as this summer. This vaccine candidate uses synthetic messenger RNA to inoculate against the virus. Such treatments help the body immunise against a virus and can potentially be developed more quickly than traditional vaccines. Read more here.
Siemens says profits down, but this quarter could be the bottom: Siemens AG, maker of trains, power generators and medical scanners, saw its net profit sag during the most recent quarter. The company abandoned its business forecast for the year and said it was able to operate production sites and supply chains near normal levels, but that the outbreak meant lower demand, income and cash flows and restricted access to customer sites in the affected regions. Read more here.
Brazil approves quantitative easing to fight coronavirus woes: The Brazilian government has ratified a landmark constitutional amendment allowing the country’s central bank to begin what is expected to be the emerging market world’s biggest quantitative easing programme to fight the economic hardships of the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new measures, the central bank has been granted crisis-fighting powers to buy a range of private and public assets, including government and corporate bonds, to ensure liquidity and shore up an economy expected to shrink 5.3 per cent in 2020. Read more here.
How coronavirus is changing the wealth management industry: The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked dramatic changes to the wealth management industry, making clients more cautious, more digitally savvy and more interested in sustainable investments. Experts say clients are concerned about preserving their wealth and re-balancing portfolios as the global economy heads into its steepest contraction since the Great Depression. Read more here.
A restaurant in Amsterdam introduced 'quarantine greenhouses' for diners: Mediamatic ETEN, a restaurant in Amsterdam, is offering a four-course vegetarian menu for diners – served to guests while they sit in their own personal quarantine greenhouses. Right now, the trial service is only being offered to family and friends of staff, and all upcoming reservations are sold out, according to the restaurant's website. See the pictures of what could potentially be the future way of dining here.
Asean banks prepare for flood of bad loans: Across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), banks are bracing for a tide of non-performing loans as the coronavirus pandemic rattles companies' cash flows and creates difficulties in repaying debt. Main banks in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have all have set aside large provisions in anticipation of bad loans. Read overview about South Asian banks’ provisions here.
The pandemic is a chance to revamp India’s pharmaceutical industry: The Economist argues that companies can switch from primarily making generics to producing higher-margin licensed drugs. Read more here.
The Chinese lab theory: Everyone wants to know where the coronavirus came from. In the absence of a clear explanation, several theories are circulating — including one, pushed by the Donald Trump administration in the US, that the pandemic started because of a malpractice in a lab in Wuhan, China. But is there evidence to support that? Listen in to learn more.