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Coronavirus latest: US posts biggest daily case rise of any country

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Thailand outlaws April Fool’s Day coronavirus tricks

John Reed in Bangkok

Thailand on Tuesday warned that it would criminally prosecute anyone who claimed to have coronavirus as an April Fool’s Day prank.

The government’s PR department warned “scaremongers not to spread false news or rumours” in a post on its official Twitter account.

Thailand ‘s government said that violators would be prosecuted either under the country’s Computer Crime Act, which it uses to police the internet, or an emergency decree dating to 2005 that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha invoked last week to impose emergency rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People around the world are suffering from #Covid19 outbreak, and that’s reason enough why people should be more considerate and not use this as a prank or a joke,” the government said.

Thailand on Tuesday reported 127 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 1,651 since the outbreak began, ten of whom have died.

https://twitter.com/prdthailand/status/1244917499361034240?s=20

Dubai to inject fresh capital into Emirates Airline

Simeon Kerr in Dubai

Dubai pledged to support Emirates Airline with financial assistance during this “critical period”.

The government, the carrier’s current shareholder, will inject new equity into the company, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the crown prince, said in a statement on Tuesday. Details will be released at a later stage.

Emirates, one of the world’s leading long-haul carriers, has like most airlines been hit hard by global restrictions on travel and reduced demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. Scheduled passenger flights from its home base in Dubai have been suspended. The airline has grounded much of its fleet and cut staff salaries.

The support has been made available to Emirates because of its strategic importance to the economies of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates and “the airline’s key role in positioning Dubai as a major international aviation hub,” he said.

Russia reports largest daily rise in Covid-19 cases

Henry Foy in Moscow

Russia reported 500 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, its largest daily increase by far, as the total number of infections surged 27 per cent to 2,337.

Russia said the number of people who had died almost doubled overnight to 17. The country has fewer cases than other European states but has seen a major spike in infections over the past week, with cases roughly doubling every three days.

The government has called for a lockdown imposed on Moscow – allowing people to leave their homes only for essentials – to be spread across the country in a bid to stem the spread of the pandemic.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered senior officials to make preparations “in all regions, taking into account all calculated options for the development of the [virus] situation based on the experience of other countries.”

Retail sales slashed in Hong Kong

Primrose Riordan in Hong Kong

Retail sales in Hong Kong dropped by 44 per cent in February compared to the year before to HK$22.7bn (US$2.9bn) as the coronavirus outbreak ravaged the sector and people were forced to stay at home.

Comparing the first two months of the year with the same period the year before, sales of watches and clocks dropped by 58.6 per cent, clothing by 49.9 per cent, motor vehicles by 24.2 per cent and department store commodities by 41.4 per cent, according to estimates by Hong Kong’s statistics department.

But the department said supermarket sales increased by 11.1 per cent in the same period.

ONS release death figures for March

Chris Giles in London

The first sign that coronavirus is causing more people to die than normal in March was revealed in official figures on Tuesday.

In a report into deaths in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics said that, in the week ending on March 20, it had seen evidence of 181 deaths from Covid-19.

The numbers include “deaths related to Covid-19 that took place outside of hospitals and those not tested for Covid-19”, it said.

The ONS figures are based on registrations of death and can be delayed. The 181 figure represents the latest count of number of people to have been known to have died in that week with coronavirus mentioned on the death certificate and is likely to rise as more data is submitted.

The figure represents data that has come in for that week until 25 March, the ONS said. Only 103 deaths registered mentioned coronavirus. The ONS data will be revised over the weeks ahead to include late data.

London’s gin distilleries switch to making hand sanitiser

Robert Wright in London

Three London-area gin distilleries are switching some of their production to ensure the capital’s police force has enough hand sanitiser for officers during the Covid-19 outbreak, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The force, the UK’s biggest police service, said on Tuesday that staff at its Commercial Services Department had recently started to look for alternative sources of hand sanitiser because of shortages and had contacted a number of distilleries and breweries about supplies.

The force said three operators – Portobello Road Gin of Notting Hill, 58 Gin Ltd of Haggerston and the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham – were now helping the force. The sanitiser was being made to a formulation by the World Health Organization. The force said another company approached – Budweiser Brewing Group – was donating 6,000 litres of its own supplies of hand sanitiser free of charge.

Mark Roberts, the Met’s director of commercial services, said hand sanitiser was an “essential item” for the force’s officers and staff.

“I am extremely grateful to all of the suppliers who have agreed to work with us and provide us with this vital commodity, which will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives,” Mr Roberts said.

Border restrictions hit Macau’s gambling sector

Primrose Riordan in Hong Kong

Wynn Macau said the Chinese territory’s junket operators are likely to face liquidity problems as it reported a 19 per cent drop in net profit for 2019 to HK$5.06bn (US$650m) from HK$6.25bn the year before.

While casinos have re-opened, Macau and Hong Kong have introduced various border restrictions which have slowed the flow of gamblers into the city.

“These factors may cause gaming promoters to face a decrease in liquidity, limiting their ability to grant credit to their patrons, and difficulty in collecting credit they extend,” the casino operator said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Wynn Macau said its VIP gaming business had also decreased in 2019, and the total VIP table games turnover was down over 30 per cent from HK$931bn in 2018 to HK$637bn last year.

Unemployment falls in Germany up to March 12

Martin Arnold in Frankfurt:

The number of unemployed people in Germany fell slightly over the past month, but the federal employment agency said its jobs data missed much of the impact from the coronavirus pandemic as it only measured up to March 12.

The agency said the number of unemployed people fell by 60,000 to 2.34m between February and March. After adjusting for seasonal fluctuations, it said the fall in jobless people was only 1,000 and the unemployment rate dropped from 5.3 to 5.1 per cent.

It warned that the shutdown of much of Germany’s economy to slow the spread of coronavirus would leave “clear traces in all areas of the economy”.

Most German companies have put hiring plans on hold and many of them are planning to lay off workers because of the coronavirus crisis, according to the Ifo institute in Munich which said last week that its employment barometer had fallen by a record amount from 98 in February to 93.4 in March, the lowest level in a decade.

But analysts are divided on how much the country’s short-term work subsidy scheme will cushion the blow. The German government has predicted that more than 2m workers will be put on Kurzarbeit, or shorter work-time, which allows companies to send workers home or radically reduce their hours while the state replaces a big chunk of their lost income.

The federal employment agency said on Tuesday that based on a preliminary estimate, there were 108,000 employees receiving short-term work allowances under the Kurzarbeit scheme in January, up from 89,000 in December and 42,000 a year ago.

Aldi to ease purchase caps in UK stores

Jonathan Eley in London

Aldi said it is easing limits on most of the products in its UK stores in a further sign that retail food supplies are back to normal after a sudden spike in demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The German-owned discounter, which has over 800 stores in the UK, was the first to limit items across all product lines.

It will continue to restrict shower gel, bleach, toilet and kitchen rolls, nappies, pasta, tinned tomatoes and beans, part-baked bread and alcohol to four items per customer.

Hand sanitiser, UHT milk and baby milk remains limited to two items per customer.

“While we would still encourage people to buy only what they need, product availability in store is good and the move will make it easier for people to shop for vulnerable people and those who are self-isolating,” it said.

US posts biggest daily case rise of any country

Steve Bernard in London

The US has recorded the biggest daily rise in cases of any country since the coronavirus outbreak began in December, even as the rate slowed, as it added more than 20,000 cases on Monday.

Its daily rate of growth slowed to 14 per cent from 16 per cent on Sunday.

Worldwide 61,404 people were diagnosed with Covid-19, bringing the total to 786,876. The global death toll increased by 3,723, as coronavirus claimed 37,839 lives.

Italy recorded a significant drop in new cases, adding 4,050, the lowest rise for 13 days. Spain continues to struggle with the outbreak with the death toll rising by 913 to 7,716. It added 7,846 new cases after four days of falling daily numbers.

New recoveries rose by a record 14,075 on Monday, bringing the total number of people free from the virus to 165,387.

Vietnam to impose two-week lockdown

John Reed – Bangkok

Vietnam will from midnight implement a 15-day national lockdown, under a directive issued by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday.

Under mandatory social distancing rules, people will be required to maintain a distance of at least 2 meters from others, and allowed to leave home only to buy food or medicine or in an emergency.

Gatherings of more than two people will be prohibited except in public offices, schools and hospitals.

Vietnam’s communist government has taken aggressive steps to contain the disease since reporting its first cases in January. The country has recorded 204 Covid-19 infections and no deaths to date.

Rate of new cases in Germany slows even as death toll rises

Tobias Buck in Berlin

Germany is slowing the rate of new coronavirus infections, while the number of fatalities has risen, figures suggest.

The country reported 4,615 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the number of confirmed infections to 61,913 since the start of the crisis, the latest data released by the Robert Koch Institute on Tuesday revealed.

This was the third day in a row that the number of new infections rose by less than 10 per cent. For much of last week, the growth rate was around 15 per cent and, before that, it was closer to 20 per cent.

The number of Covid-19 deaths jumped from 455 on Monday to 583 on Tuesday. That leaves Germany’s fatality rate substantially below that of other European countries.

Germany has had 66,885 coronavirus cases, and 645 deaths, shows Johns Hopkins University, which keeps a global tally of cases. The difference from Germany’s official count reflects delays in the flow of data from local health authorities to the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin.

Ukraine changes law to meet IMF demands

Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv

Ukraine’s parliament has given citizens the right to sell farmland, meeting one of two conditions needed to unlock an $8bn IMF loan programme that will be key to stabilising the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

MPs voted for the legislation late Monday while wearing masks, protective eyewear and gloves. Citizens, from next summer, will be able to buy up to 100 hectares from plots given to villagers years ago.

Villagers were given the land in the 1990s, but a moratorium prohibited them from selling their land. With this law, they can sell their land to farmers who could group the smaller plots into bigger plots and farm more efficiently. The right to sell land gives villagers the opportunity to use the land as collateral for loans.

MPs on Monday preliminarily approved banking legislation, the other condition required for an IMF programme, which would open the door to additional multi-billion-dollar support from foreign backers including the EU, World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Virus takes toll on mental health in Iran

Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

Iranian couples have been contacting Iran’s state mental health helpline three times more frequently than before the coronavirus outbreak, an official said on Tuesday.

“Under coronavirus conditions, we receive 4,000 telephone calls every day from 8am…over arguments such as hygiene issues or when one of the couples go out… or how to raise kids,” said Behzad Vahidnia, director general of psychological affairs. “Children react differently, demonstrating impulsive behaviours and hyperactivity which add to tensions in the families.”

Iran’s health ministry has urged couples to practice more patience during self-isolation as public concerns rise about the socio-economic consequences of Covid-19 which has so far claimed 2,757 lives in the country and inflicted heavy economic damage.

Iran’s vice-president for economic affairs, Mohammad Nahavandian, said on Monday that the spread of the respiratory illness could cause Gross National Product to fall by up to 15 per cent, if it is not curbed within a few months.

India seals off New Delhi ghetto found to be spreading virus

Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

Indian authorities have sealed off a crowded Muslim ghetto in New Delhi, from which followers of an evangelical Muslim sect have carried coronavirus to many different parts of the country.

Police have established a strict cordon around Nizamuddin West, where the Tablighi Jammat – a powerful movement of Islamic proselytizers, who encourage Muslims to practice their faith more rigorously – has its large headquarters, which doubles as accommodation for hundreds of missionary volunteers.

Indian authorities say the Tablighi held a huge conference – with around 1,800 people, including some foreign preachers from Southeast Asia – in mid-March just days before India imposed a nationwide lockdown.

Volunteer preachers from across India came to Nizamuddin to participate in the conference. After returning to their homes, many have fallen ill, and infected others in their own communities. Cases ranging from Jammu and Kashmir in the north and Telangana in the South have been traced back to the conference.

Authorities have found that 24 people still living in the crowded Tablighi headquarters were confirmed as infected, with hundreds of others in the building and residents of the nearby areas also showing symptoms. Overnight, hundreds of people were bussed out of the crowded neighbourhood and taken to hospitals and other facilities for observation and testing.

European markets gain ground

European markets opened with a bounce on Tuesday, as investors weighed upbeat data on China’s factory sector, which suggested the economy was reemerging from its paralysis and fuelling hopes of a similar rebound elsewhere once the crisis eases.

The benchmark Europe Stoxx 600 was up 1.4 per cent after the opening bell. The German Dax gained 1.9 per cent, while the French Cac 40 and London’s FTSE 100 gained 1.6 and 1.4 per cent, respectively.

US stocks also pointed towards positive moves when they open later in the day, with S&P 500 futures up 0.8 per cent.

BA to halt flights in and out of London Gatwick

Tanya Powley in London

British Airways has stopped flying from Gatwick Airport and will consolidate its London flight operations at Terminal 5 from Heathrow Airport.

It comes as airlines are looking at ways to cut costs as they battle the industry’s worst crisis in decades.

BA’s last flight from Gatwick was on Monday and there will be no more flights from the London airport until May.

The airline temporarily closed its operations at London City airport last week.

BA said:

Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick and London City, and have consolidated our operation at Heathrow.

We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.

Covid-19 concerns prompt Britons to stock up

Jonathan Eley in London

British consumers spent almost £2bn extra at supermarkets during the four weeks ending March 21, boosting their sales by a fifth.

“Total till roll” data from Nielsen, which measures spending on groceries and personal goods such as toiletries, showed that the week ending March 21 was the peak, with sales up 43 per cent.

It was during this week that buying switched from tinned and dried products to meat and poultry. Frozen food sales rose 84 per cent in the week, while the closure of pubs and restaurants drove alcohol sales 67 per cent higher.

Panic buying was the exception rather than the rule.

“Shoppers typically added just one extra item to their basket during each shopping trip,” it said. Average basket sizes rose just £1 to £16 over the four weeks.

But shoppers made an average of three additional trips in the same period, which added up to 79m extra visits to stores.

Shell warns of ‘significant uncertainty’ on crude prices and demand

Anjli Raval in London

Royal Dutch Shell said it expects “significant uncertainty” on crude prices and oil demand as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The energy major said on Tuesday that “global developments” on oil supply – namely a Saudi Arabia-led price war – “have caused further volatility in commodity markets”.

The company, ahead of its first quarter earnings, said new oil price assumptions would lead to a post-tax impairment charge of $400m to $800m.

Shell noted it takes a $6bn cash flow hit for every $10 a barrel movement in the Brent crude price. Yet it warned this was mostly applicable “to smaller price changes than we currently witness”.

The company did not disclose its new price assumptions. Brent crude this week fell to its lowest since 2002.

Still, Shell said its liquidity remains strong and it had financial flexibility in the form of two new credit facilities. Together with cash of around $20bn, available liquidity will rise from $30bn to more than $40bn, it said.

Corporate round-up: Galliford Try, Smiths Group

Here’s a round- up of companies reporting updates this morning:

Galliford Try: UK housebuilder has postponed its interim dividend and will consider paying it with the final one. It said it will not be providing guidance for financial years ending June 30 2020 and June 30 2021.

Smiths Group: The UK engineering group is withdrawing guidance for its fiscal year 2020. It is delaying the spinoff of its medical unit. It said: “Moreover, Smiths and Smiths Medical need to focus on navigating the external challenges – including the delivery of ventilators and other critical care devices. Therefore, the board has decided to delay separation until conditions improve. The intent to separate remains unchanged.”

Imperial Brands: The tobacco group announced a €3.5bn multi-currency revolving credit facility, which will be coordinated by NatWest, Santander and SMBC and is provided by a syndicate of 20 banks. It provides the business with committed bank financing until March 2023 and replaces the existing about £3bn facility.

Domino’s Pizza has appointed Dominic Paul as its chief executive, with effect from April 6. He will join the board on May 1.

UK stocks poised for worst quarter since 1987

London’s benchmark stock index has shed a quarter of its value over the past three months, leaving it on track for its biggest dive in more than 30 years.

The FTSE 100 has dropped 26 per cent since the end of last year as of Monday’s closing level, the sharpest quarterly decline since the final quarter of 1987. The pan-European Stoxx 600 gauge has recorded a drop of a similar magnitude and is also set for its heaviest rout since the same three-month period in 1987.

“The first quarter of 2020 has undoubtedly been eventful with an initial stock market record that quickly turned into a bear market,” said Daniel Bergvall, economist at SEB.

Futures trading on Tuesday pointed to a tepid open for both indices as traders weigh whether intense stimulus measures from governments and central banks around the world will be sufficient to prop up the global economy.

A survey on China’s large manufacturing sector pointed to a stabilisation in March after a historic contraction in the previous month prompted by lockdowns across the country meant to halt the spread of Covid-19.

“The shape is almost a perfect V and offer a glimpse of hope that economic effect might be short lived,” said Mr Bergvall. He noted, however, that the survey “does not indicate that everything is normal, just that things are better than before.”

News you might have missed

Samsung Electronics confirmed that an employee at one of its computer chip manufacturing facilities has tested positive for coronavirus.

New York’s Attorney General called for an investigation into the sacking of Chris Smalls, an Amazon worker who helped organise a protest at the firm’s warehouse facility in Staten Island, New York.

China’s manufacturing sector rebounded to expand in March, government data showed on Tuesday, after falling sharply in February as work came to a halt in most of the country.

South Korean factory production contracted in February at its quickest rate since the global financial crisis, hit by falling demand and production disruptions linked to the impact of the coronavirus.

Newly popular video chat app Houseparty said on Monday that it was offering a $1m bounty for evidence that viral rumours that it had been hacked were in fact part of a “paid smear campaign”.

Coronavirus risks pushing emerging Asian economies into recession

John Reed in Bangkok

Coronavirus will knock almost 4 percentage points off gross domestic product growth in emerging Asian economies this year in a best-case scenario, the World Bank has warned.

The disease risks pushing the region into recession, and could force up to 11m people into poverty, the bank said in a report on Tuesday.

In an unusually bleak update of its regular survey of developing Asia-Pacific economies, the Washington-based institution said that Asian countries “now face the prospect of a global financial shock and recession”.

“First this region was recovering from trade tensions, then it was struggling on its own with a viral disease, and now it faces the prospect of a third shock — an unprecedented [economic] shock, and it could increase poverty across the region,” Ergys Islamaj, a World Bank senior economist, said ahead of the report’s release.

Read more here

Hong Kong Monetary Authority warns on loan portfolios

Primrose Riordan reports from Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s defacto central bank has said the territory’s banking sector needs to address how risks such as the virus outbreak could affect the asset quality of their loan portfolios.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said the city was vulnerable to the impact of a number of events apart from the pandemic, including the US-China trade tensions and the local political crisis which started last year.

“Banks should carefully assess how the possible intensification of these risk factors could impact the asset quality of their loan portfolios particularly when the levels of corporate leverage and household debt-servicing burdens have been rising,” the HKMA said in its March report.

The authority also said the unemployment rate could rise “even faster” than it did in Hong Kong during the 2003 SARS outbreak due to the higher percentage of workers in the tourism sector and the greater reliance of the retail sector on tourism.

China delays university entrance exam by 1 month

Christian Shepherd in Beijing

China has delayed its notoriously competitive university entrance exam by one month, as coronavirus has kept many schools across the country closed since January.

With the exception of Beijing and central Hubei province, high school seniors will now sit the nationwide exam known as the gaokao in July, giving students an additional month to prepare, China’s education ministry announced on Tuesday.

Dates for the exam to take place in Hubei, the province where the outbreak has been most severe, and the capital of Beijing will be announced at a later date, the ministry said.

Schools in more remote areas of China with fewer confirmed Covid-19 cases, such as Xinjiang and Qinghai in China’s northwest, have in recent weeks allowed exam-year students to return to class. Larger cities like Beijing and Shanghai have kept instruction online.

China’s college entrance exam, which was taken by over 10m students in 2019, is a national obsession. It is often considered the most challenging and nerve-wracking experience of a Chinese person’s life.

A student that scores top marks in the exam can secure a highly sought-after spot in one of China’s elite universities, bolstering prospects of finding a well-paid job, while low marks can mean a drastic narrowing of future prospects.

Chinese families have in recent years often protested any changes to the exam that are perceived to disadvantage their children.

Human rights group warns internet shutdowns could prove ‘deadly’

John Reed in Bangkok

The internet shutdowns imposed by authorities in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and other countries could prove “deadly” during the Covid-19 pandemic, and governments should lift them immediately, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

“During this global health crisis, shutdowns directly harm peoples’ health and lives, and undermine efforts to bring the pandemic under control,” Deborah Brown, a researcher with the New York-based organisation said.

Access to timely and accurate information is crucial during a health crisis, the group said.

Internet shutdowns have become increasingly common during elections, anti-government protests, and armed conflicts. Myanmar’s government is blocking the internet for more than 1m people in Rakhine and Chin states, where its military is fighting against ethnic armed groups.

In neighbouring Bangladesh, an internet blackout and phone restrictions have been imposed at camps housing Rohingya refugees, which Human Rights Watch said was “hindering humanitarian groups from addressing the Covid-19 threat.”

India has had the most internet shutdowns of any country, according to the group, with at least 385 ordered since 2012.

Houseparty offers $1m reward to trace hacking rumours

Hannah Murphy in San Francisco

Newly popular video chat app Houseparty said on Monday that it was offering a $1m bounty for evidence that viral rumours that it had been hacked were in fact part of a “paid smear campaign”.

The Silicon Valley company, which has exploded in popularity in recent weeks among young people under government lockdown looking to chat and play games with friends, said in a tweet that it was “investigating indications that…recent hacking rumors were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty”.

It added that it would give a $1m bounty “for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign”.

Earlier on Monday, some users had started complaining on social media that their PayPal, Netflix, and Spotify accounts were hacked, blaming Houseparty.

The company, which was acquired by Fortnite developer Epic Games last year, said that it had found no evidence of a breach.

India’s biggest e-commerce businesses resume services in cities

Amy Kazmin in New Delhi

E-commerce companies in India, including Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, have resumed services in many cities after suspending them last week.

On its website, Amazon says it has “resumed services in select cities,” and is first “serving existing orders”. The services were suspended last Wednesday, amid confusion over India’s 21-day lockdown measures.

Despite the resumption, e-commerce companies continue to wrestle with severe challenges ranging from a shortage of delivery workers to major disruption in the transport of goods from factories to cities.

Big Basket, an online grocery store backed by China’s Alibaba, said it too had restarted services in some cities but warned that “due to a massive backlog of orders and some operational constraints, you may not find delivery slots.”

Softbank-backed Grofers said it is looking to induct new workers to help it cope with a massive surge in orders.

In a tweet, Albinder Dhindsa, Grofers founder and CEO, appealed to other business owners with idle, available workers to help make them available to Grofers. “If your company has idling semi-skilled workforce that can do with more income + work in a safe environment please reach out,” he tweeted. “We are hiring in our warehouses to increase in all cities.”

Meanwhile, logistics industry representatives have warned that many trucks – including some stuffed with essential goods – have been left stranded on India’s highways, as panicked drivers have fled. The flight of many migrant workers back to villages has also hindered the unloading of trucks once they arrive at their destinations, as laborers are now simply not available.

Yuanfudao raises $1bn as demand for online education soars

By Mercedes Ruehl in Singapore and Primrose Riordan in Hong Kong

Yuanfudao, one of China’s largest online education companies, has raised $1bn from investors including Tencent and Hillhouse Capital.

The fundraising, which values the company at $7.8bn, underscores how the coronavirus outbreak has boosted Asian “edtech” start-ups as millions of students have been prevented from attending school.

Yuanfudao, which offers online education products for K-12 students, said it saw a ten-fold increase in users over the past two months compared to the same period last year. The company suffered a two-hour system crash last month after 5m people took up its offer of free live courses.

It is now recruiting 10,000 people to meet the new demand. A spokeswoman for the company said 5,000 of those jobs would be in Wuhan.

Coronavirus case confirmed at Samsung chip factory

By Edward White

Samsung Electronics has confirmed that an employee at one of its computer chip manufacturing facilities has tested positive for coronavirus.

Production at the factory, located near Giheung, south of Seoul, has continued but a group of staff who were in contact with the infected person are currently self-isolating, a Samsung spokesperson said.

Samsung is the world’s largest producer of computer chips, smartphones and displays. Analysts have warned that any substantial disruption to Samsung’s chip production could wreak havoc on the South Korean economy and the global technology supply chain.

According to a person familiar with the situation, the infected employee, who worked on a semiconductor foundry line producing system chips, was diagnosed on Monday. South Korean health officials are currently assessing how the employee became infected.

The case is the first infection confirmed at a Samsung chip plant and is a worry for the tech giant which has insisted for several months that its chip-making facilities were unlikely to see disruption because production was highly automated and the factory environments are already tightly controlled with strict sanitisation measures.

The event also follows several temporary factory closures at other Samsung factories, including facilities making smartphones.

New York attorney general calls for investigation into Amazon firing

Dave Lee in San Francisco

New York’s Attorney General has called for an investigation into the sacking of Chris Smalls, an Amazon worker who helped organise a protest at the firm’s warehouse facility in Staten Island, New York.

Responding to reporting by the Financial Times, Attorney General Letitia James said the firing was “disgraceful”.

“In this midst of a pandemic,” she tweeted, “Chris Smalls & his colleagues bravely protested the lack of precautions that @amazon employed to protect them from #COVID19. Then he was fired. I’m considering all legal options & calling on the [National Labor Relations Board] to investigate.”

https://twitter.com/NewYorkStateAG/status/1244810606613577728?s=20

Amazon has said the firing of Mr Smalls was related to safety violations. “Mr. Smalls received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk,” the company said, adding that he had been told to stay at home, on full pay, due to close contact with a worker who later tested positive for Covid-19.

Mexico extends ban on non-essential movement

Jude Webber in Mexico City

Mexico declared a health emergency and extended a ban on non-essential movement until April 30, but stopped short of taking steps to enforce stay-at-home advice.

The ban came as the country’s health ministry reported 1,094 confirmed cases and 28 dead, a rise of 101 cases since Sunday.

Hugo López-Gatell, health undersecretary ruled out any state of exception or curfew but appealed for solidarity. “We are in the phase of rapid ascent [of cases]. We must not waste this opportunity for drastic mitigation … we’re in time … We all have to do our bit,” he said.

From April 30, the health, economy and labour ministries will draw up plans for a staggered return to work, he told a news conference. He said that at the weekend just 30 per cent of Mexicans were staying at home, but the country’s vast informal sector makes it impossible for many who live from day to day to comply with the voluntary ban.

Previously, Mexico had announced a social distancing campaign until April 19.
Mexicans aged over 60 with chronic illnesses including diabetes or who are pregnant must not go to work, even if they work in sectors deemed essential, according to the government measures. Among prominent cases, the governor of the state of Querétaro joined the governors of Hidalgo and Tabasco in testing positive for the virus.

South Korean schools move online as case numbers creep higher

By Edward White

South Korea is moving to nation-wide online school classes in April as the country struggles to fully stamp out the coronavirus.

Chung Sye-kyun, the prime minister, said that after repeated delays to the start of the new school year a decision had been made for students to begin online classes from April 9.

The move comes as health officials reported 125 new infections on Tuesday, up from 78 a day earlier and taking the total confirmed caseload to 9,786.

The daily infection rate has slowed sharply since peaking around 900 in late February but new clusters at churches, nursing homes and hospitals, as well as an increase in cases from overseas have frustrated containment efforts. The death of four people took the total death toll to 162.

The rate of recovered patients continues to outpace the infection rate, with 180 new recoveries taking the tally to 5,408.

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China’s manufacturing sector expands as companies return to work

Ryan McMorrow reports from Beijing

China’s manufacturing sector rebounded to expand in March, government data showed on Tuesday, after falling sharply in February as work came to a halt in most of the country.

The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.0 during the month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, from 35.7 a month earlier.

The 50-point level separates contraction from expansion. The March reading came in well above economists’ forecasts of 45 compiled by Reuters.

After coming to a standstill because of domestic work stoppages, China’s manufacturers now face plummeting global demand as the coronavirus locks down economies across most of the world.

In a statement, China’s statistics bureau said the reading “reflects that more than half of the surveyed enterprises have resumed work and resumed production, better than last month, but it does not mean that China’s economic operation has returned to normal.”

Amazon strike leader fired following walkout over coronavirus measures

Dave Lee in San Francisco

An Amazon worker has been fired after being among the leaders of a strike over an alleged lack of protection from coronavirus held at the company’s facilities in New York state on Monday.

“Today, I stood with my co-workers because conditions at JFK8 are legitimately dangerous for workers and the public,” Chris Smalls said in a statement distributed by Athena, a workers rights group. “Amazon thinks this might shut me up, but I’m going to keep speaking up.”

Amazon confirmed the sacking, but said it was over safety violations.

“Mr Smalls received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk,” a spokeswoman said. “He was also found to have had close contact with a diagnosed associate with a confirmed case of Covid-19 and was asked to remain home with pay for 14 days, which is a measure we’re taking at sites around the world.”

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Smalls called the explanation “ridiculous”. The number of those participating in the strike is under dispute, with organisers claiming more than 50 walked off the job, while Amazon suggested it was 15.

Elsewhere, workers for Instacart, the app-based grocery delivery service, said they too would stop working in protest at low rates of pay and what they feel is a lack of adequate safety measures.

Instacart said it had put in place new measures to keep its shoppers safe, and to support sick workers if they are diagnosed.

“Today, we saw 40 per cent more shoppers on the platform compared to the same day and time last week,” the company said. “Over the last 72 hours, more groceries were sold on our platform than ever before.”

US government waives hospital rules to help tackle outbreak

by Hannah Kuchler

The US government is waiving many of the rules that govern hospitals, as it tries to give them flexibility to use new locations and rapidly hire staff during the coronavirus public health emergency.

Seema Verma, the administrator for the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, which sets rules for all hospitals and oversees government-backed insurance programmes, said the “unprecedented temporary relaxation in regulation” would help staff and providers.

The changes – dubbed ‘hospitals without walls’ – make it easier for hospitals to set up temporary locations, from doctors’ offices and urgent care centres, to student dormitories, hotels and gymnasiums.

To encourage telemedicine visits, where patients are treated remotely, Medicare will reimburse at the same rates as for in-person appointments.

As staff shortages loom, CMS is also allowing clinicians, including physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists, to do more without a doctor’s supervision, if it does not break state law.

S Korean industrial production posts biggest fall since 2008 crisis

By Edward White

South Korean factory production contracted in February at its quickest clip since the global financial crisis, hit by falling demand and production disruptions linked to coronavirus.

Industrial output in February fell 3.8 per cent from a month earlier on a seasonally-adjusted basis, marking the biggest fall since December 2008 and a worse result than analysts expected, according to Reuters data.

South Korea’s technology and industrial exporters have been under increasing pressure since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan in January. Initial problems were caused by falling demand and supply shortages stemming from China’s sweeping shutdowns.

In February, factories across the South Korea were forced to temporarily halt production amid a rising number of workers falling ill, including at plants owned by Hyundai, the world’s fifth-largest carmaker, and Samsung, the world’s biggest producer of computer chips, smartphones and screens.

Now as the pandemic causes a slump in consumer demand across key developed markets for South Korean products, including the US and Europe, the groups are facing more uncertainty over whether anyone will buy their products.

The government in Seoul has rolled out record economic stimulus measures and jawboning of the financial markets in a bid to shore up the economy.

China reports 48 new imported coronavirus cases

Health authorities in China have reported 48 new coronavirus cases to the end of Monday, all of which were imported cases. That takes the number of imported infections to 771. Overall, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China stands at 81,518.

Experts have highlighted the existence of unreported cases, particularly for patients that show no symptoms.

There was one new death linked to the virus on Monday, taking the number of fatalities in China to 3,305.

The number of people treated and discharged from hospital rose to 76,052.

Asia-Pacific stocks track Wall Street higher

Asia-Pacific stocks gained on Tuesday following a positive lead on Wall Street as the number of new coronavirus cases in some hard-hit countries slowed.

Japan’s Topix nudged 0.2 per cent higher, the Kospi in South Korea was up 1.3 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 2.6 per cent.

Overnight on Wall Street, US benchmark S&P 500 ended the day 3.4 per cent higher as healthcare stocks climbed on expectations for new coronavirus tests and a potential vaccine. The $2tn emergency stimulus fund also helped soothe fears over the economic impact of the pandemic.

Futures tip the S&P 500 to open 0.4 per cent higher when US markets reopen.

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Cyprus imposes overnight curfew and doubles fine for violations Cyprus imposed a 9pm to 6am curfew on Monday for residents as it tightened restrictions on movement following a weekend spike in coronavirus cases reported on the Mediterranean island. From tomorrow people will only be allowed to leave their homes once a day, while the fine for violating lockdown rules has been doubled to €300, a government official said.

Greek prime minister donates half of salary to health service Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was donating 50 per cent of his salary over the next two months to help the country’s public health service curb the spread of coronavirus and urged other politicians to do the same.

Ford teams with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators Ford aims to produce 50,000 ventilators within the next 100 days as it prepares to ramp production of a stripped-down model, becoming the latest industrial group to repurpose shuttered facilities to supply medical equipment.

Mexico to tap new Fed swap line with first auction on April 1 Mexico said it would tap a new $60bn swap line with the US Federal Reserve with a first auction of $5bn on April 1. On that day, the finance ministry is also expected to publish the general budgetary criteria for 2021 and revise its 2020 GDP forecast, which is currently for 2 per cent growth. The market now sees a contraction of as much as 7 per cent this year.

US-UK trade talks delayed amid coronavirus crisis The launch of trade talks between the US and UK has been indefinitely put on hold as the number of coronavirus cases continues to escalate sharply in both countries.

France reports its highest single-day death toll from virus France has reported its highest coronavirus death toll in 24 hours, with 418 patients dying in hospital to take the country’s total to 3,024.

Tanker rates surge on oil supply glut Rates to hire large oil tankers have jumped back above $200,000 a day as producers and energy traders scramble to secure vessels to either store or ship crude.

Virgin Australia seeks $860m government rescue package

Jamie Smyth in Sydney

Virgin Australia has sought a A$1.4bn ($862m) rescue package from the government to enable it to survive the collapse in passenger demand due to the coronavirus crisis.

The airline, which has Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and China’s HNA Group on its share register, has suggested a government loan could be exchanged for equity in the carrier if it was not paid back within three years.

It told the government the rescue package could be part of a wider aviation industry package worth about A$5bn that would ensure Australia retained healthy competition in the aviation sector following the crisis, a source close to the discussions confirmed to the Financial Times.

Qantas has said it does not need any financial assistance and raised more than A$1bn last week from debt markets to bolster its balance sheet.

The requests for financial assistance are contained in a letter from Paul Scurrah, Virgin chief executive, to the government, which was first reported by the Australian newspaper.

A Virgin spokesman told the FT the airline has been in discussions with the government about the support the whole industry will need if this crisis is prolonged.

“The support we’ve proposed will be necessary for the industry if this crisis continues indefinitely, to protect jobs and ensure Australia retains a strong, competitive aviation and tourism sector once this crisis is over,” said the Virgin spokesman.

The government has already provided A$1bn in aid to the aviation sector since the crisis began and has yet not decided on whether to provide the additional support requested by Virgin.

US capital enters loose lockdown

The Washington DC metropolitan area is entering a loose form of lockdown after authorities in the city, Maryland and Virginia issued stay-at-home orders on Monday.

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of the US capital, told residents to remain at home late on Monday afternoon following similar directives from the governors of the two states surrounding Washington DC.

“Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from Covid-19,” she said in a statement.

Washington DC and the surrounding suburbs in Maryland and Virginia, known as the “DMV” area, are home to the majority of the US federal workforce.

Earlier on Monday, Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, said the number of cases in the DMV area had quadrupled in the past week to 2,709.

“A major outbreak among our critical federal workforce could be catastrophic,” he warned.



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Investors channel billions into Covid-19 bonds

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to the genesis of a new class of bonds, paving the way for fund managers to springboard from socially responsible investing to putting money toward the health crisis.

Governments, banks, companies and multinational organisations raised $151.5bn globally by May 31 from selling Covid-19 bonds, or debt whose proceeds are broadly earmarked for work linked to the pandemic, according to research by BNP Paribas.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Bank of China are among those that have tapped investors with such bonds since February, though sometimes even the issuers don’t classify the debt as virus bonds.

There aren’t set rules on what constitutes a Covid-19 bond, making it the latest example of investments with broad claims and murky definitions that have drawn large pools of money in recent years. Some part of the proceeds from the virus bonds are being used to fund the development of vaccines or treatments, or to bolster health-care systems and curtail the outbreak. In other cases, the funds may go toward relief efforts, but there is no system in place to track their ultimate use.

The Covid-19 bonds are generating more interest than conventional ones for now, said Agnès Gourc, co-head of sustainable finance at BNP Paribas. The French bank has been the bookrunner for 12 coronavirus bond sales so far.

 The debt has proven particularly attractive to investors who are interested in socially responsible investing, and who value environmental, social and governance practices. The growth of ESG investing in recent years helped the creation of virus-related bonds when the pandemic broke, allowing markets to quickly redirect the flow of capital to the health crisis, according to investors and bankers.

“These things don’t happen overnight,” said Yo Takatsuki, head of ESG research and active ownership at AXA Investment Managers. “Covid-19 bonds are a very natural progression and development from a lot of the structures we’ve been building in the market over the past decade” for the sustainable-finance industry, he said.

The Covid-19 bonds have attracted more money this year than bonds linked to sustainability projects, a corner of the debt market that has received a lot of attention due to growing interest in climate-change issues. Sustainability bonds, a broad term encompassing securities that raise capital for environmentally-friendly or for social-impact projects, drew $116.8bn from investors by the end of May, according to BNP Paribas.

The virus bonds should be a financing tool to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic and to address the recovery efforts, said AXA. The insurer’s asset-management division is asking issuers to be transparent about how the money will be used, and said it isn’t taking the label at face value. AXA has invested approximately €350m ($391m) in coronavirus bonds to date, including those issued by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.

In common with so-called green bonds, whose proceeds are earmarked for environmental projects, and other ESG-related debt, the characteristics of a coronavirus bond can vary depending on the type of issuer or the country. Virus bonds issued in China only have to use 10% of the proceeds toward relief efforts, while development banks tend to dedicate all the money, according to BNP Paribas.

Pfizer raised $1.25bn by selling 10-year debt in March labeled as sustainability bonds. That debt falls into the category of Covid-19 bonds, according to BNP Paribas, as the funds are to be used for work to address the pandemic, among other things. But Pfizer disagrees with that categorisation, underscoring the lack of consensus on what defines a coronavirus bond. The drugmaker said it began exploring the potential for a sustainability bond before the pandemic.

Bank of America said the $1bn it raised from what it labeled a corporate social bond last month would be used to “support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic” by lending to the health-care industry. The lender said the bond was the first of its kind from a US commercial bank, and the seventh ESG-themed bond since 2013 from Bank of America.

In China, more than 200 companies, including manufacturers, airlines and property developers, collectively raised over $74bn by May 26 from selling more than 700 coronavirus bonds, according to data provider Wind Info. Despite their label, some of the bonds’ proceeds are being used to refinance companies’ debt, which is helping them avoid defaults.

Broad demand for such bonds could in theory result in lower costs for the borrowers, but the market is too nascent for a definite conclusion, Gourc said. The coupon on the Pfizer bonds was 2.625%, comparing with a coupon of 3.450% for conventional bonds of the same maturity issued in 2019.

More such bonds are likely to come to market, according to Gourc, as investors are increasingly interested in allocating their funds to social-impact investing.

“If you have the same issuer having a conventional or Covid bond, do you have a preference?” she said. “All investors will have a preference for the ESG-type bond.”

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at anna.hirtenstein@wsj.com

This article was published by the Wall Street Journal.

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City of Windsor Financial Rating Affirmed At ‘AA’ | windsoriteDOTca News

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Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has affirmed its long-term issuer credit and senior unsecured debt ratings for the City of Windsor as ‘AA,’ citing that “Windsor’s prudent and forward-looking financial management practices will support the city’s strong budgetary results.”

In addition, S&P also issued a stable outlook for the city, noting an expectation that, “Windsor’s strong economy and prudent financial management practices will support healthy operating surpluses and robust liquidity.”

“The very positive independent rating further affirms that City Council’s focus on economic development initiatives and balanced approach to fiscal policy have built a strong, stable financial base which provides flexibility to continue to service and develop our community” said Mayor Drew Dilkens.



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Mogo Announces First Quarter 2020 Financial Results

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia–()–Mogo Inc. (TSX:MOGO) (NASDAQ:MOGO) (“Mogo” or the “Company”), one of Canada’s leading financial technology companies, today announced its financial and operational results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2020.

“In the past several months, we’ve made significant changes – both financially and strategically – in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact. We thank our team members who have done an unbelievable job during these challenging times,” said David Feller, Mogo’s Founder and CEO. “It’s clear that financial health is more important than ever, and consumers will increasingly look for a mobile-first digital solution to help them achieve this. With one million members and more than $250 million invested to date, our leading digital platform remains a unique and valuable asset in the Canadian market. Among the changes we have made recently, we are expanding our monetization strategy to include a new referral model for the financial products we do not offer today. This new referral strategy will provide a simpler, faster path to monetization and additional fee-based revenue streams.”

“As we outlined in a recent business update and COVID-19 response, we have taken quick and decisive action to navigate both the near-term economic uncertainty as well as create a leaner, more efficient cost structure that better positions our business for the long term,” said Greg Feller, President and CFO. “In addition to temporarily stopping loan originations, which has an immediate positive impact on cash flow, we have reduced cash operating expenses by approximately 50% in Q2 2020 as compared to Q4 2019. These two actions, along with the strong performance of our loan portfolio, which has seen record-low defaults in April and May and above-average principal paydowns, are expected to result in positive cash flow from operations net of investing activities of $5-$6 million for Q2 2020. We have been in this business for more than 15 years and always believed this portfolio – made up of small-dollar loans with low regular payments – would be resilient during extremely challenging times.”

Mr. Feller added: “We have significantly improved our overall balance sheet health in 2020, highlighted by the first-quarter sale of the majority of our MogoLiquid loan portfolio, subsequent debt reduction, and the recent amendment and extension of our convertible debentures to 2022. Once we see market conditions stabilize, we plan to slowly resume on-balance-sheet lending, in addition to expanding our lending partnerships and introducing new referral models to further monetize our member base. Access to responsible credit solutions remains one of the pillars to financial health, and we have deep capabilities and data as well as the most convenient mobile-first loan experience in Canada.”

Q1 2020 Business Highlights

  • Active members increased 26% year over year to 1,022,000 at quarter end, placing Mogo among the largest fintech companies in Canada by total members.
  • Sold the majority of our MogoLiquid loan portfolio to goeasy Ltd. (“goeasy”) for gross consideration of $31.6 million. In conjunction with the sale of the MogoLiquid loan portfolio, we repaid and extinguished one of our two credit facilities, which held an outstanding balance of $29.3 million at year end.
  • Signed a three-year lending partnership with goeasy following a successful pilot program that started in October 2019. The partnership enables Mogo to fully monetize our lending platform and drive new recurring fee-based revenue with no capital investment or risk of these loans.
  • Amended and extended the marketing collaboration agreement with Postmedia Network Inc. until January 2023.
  • Successful beta launch of carbon offset program for MogoSpend. For every dollar spent using the Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card, Mogo will offset one pound of CO2 on the consumer’s behalf. Full card rollout expected in Q3 2020.
  • Subsequent to Q1 2020, in May 2020, amended certain terms of our 10% convertible senior secured debentures previously set to mature on May 31, 2020. The amendments include, among other things, extending the maturity date of the convertible debentures to May 31, 2022.

Q1 2020 Financial Highlights

  • Core revenue2 increased by 7% to $12.2 million, compared with $11.3 million in the same period in 2019. Revenue was $13.9 million, a decrease of 7% compared to $14.9 million in the same period last year.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 was $0.5 million, compared with $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2019. This decrease is primarily attributable to a $1.2 million increase in provision for loan losses in Q1 2020 as a result of COVID-19. This provision is not the result of any significant increase in COVID-19 related defaults to date, but rather an upfront provision recognized for potential future losses on the existing book as at March 31, 2020, giving weight to the possibility that the economic conditions surrounding COVID-19 worsen or persist longer than expected.
  • Adjusted cash net loss1 for Q1 2020 was ($5.2) million, an increase of 32% compared to ($4.0) million in the same period last year. Net loss1 was ($10.1) million, compared with ($5.0) million in the same period of 2019.
  • At March 31, 2020, the Company had $25.5 million in combined cash and investment portfolio ($6.5 million of Cash and $19.0 million investment portfolio).

1 For more information regarding our use of these non-IFRS measures and, where applicable, a reconciliation to the most comparable IFRS measure, see “Non-IFRS Financial Measures” in the Company’s MD&A for the period ended March 31, 2020.

2 In light of the sale of the majority of our MogoLiquid loan portfolio, the Company has revised its definition of core revenue to exclude revenue related to Liquid loans. The prior period comparative figures for core revenue have been revised to conform with the new definition. Refer to “Non-IFRS Financial Measures” in the Company’s MD&A for the period ended March 31, 2020 for a reconciliation of core revenue to amounts reported in previous periods.

COVID-19 Impact

In light of the uncertain economic environment, Mogo has undertaken a number of initiatives to support our customers as well as reduce expenses and more efficiently manage our capital resources. Specific actions and results include:

  • In March 2020, we temporarily paused new on-balance-sheet loan offers, instead focusing on servicing our existing members and loan customers, and directed a certain portion of the reduced loan demand to our lending partner.
  • To date we have provided approximately 5% of our loan customers with some form of relief, including reduced interest and deferred payments, with less than half of these customers still on relief as at the date of this filing. In the second quarter to date, we have also experienced a decrease in the rate of customer default relative to historical levels.
  • Operating expense reduction initiatives with an estimated $5.0 million reduction in Q2 2020 operating cash costs relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, with a focus on deferring growth investments in technology and development and marketing. Included in this target reduction are cash personnel costs that are capitalized to intangible assets. Some of these cost reductions relate to variable expenses such as marketing, for which some increase would be expected if we were to resume a higher level of loan originations.
  • Reductions to headcount include natural attrition and both temporary and permanent layoffs. As of today, we have seen a reduction in headcount of over 40% since December 31, 2019, of which 40% have become permanent.
  • Implemented temporary salary reductions including a 40% reduction for our CEO and President & CFO, 5-20% for most of our other salaried employees and reduced hours for the majority of other hourly based employees.
  • In April 2020, we exercised our option to capitalize interest payments for Q2 2020 of our non-convertible subordinated debentures, rather than making monthly interest payments in cash. By contrast, Mogo paid $1.5 million of cash interest in respect of these debentures in Q1 2020.

Financial Outlook

We expect that our cost reduction initiatives combined with the temporary suspension of new loan offers and the strong performance of our existing loan portfolio to date, will significantly improve our cash flow from operations net of investing activities in the second quarter of 2020.

  • In Q1 2020, we reported net cash (used in) operating and investing activities of ($4.3) million, before one-time proceeds from the sale of the MogoLiquid loan portfolio.
  • In Q2 2020, we expect to report net cash generated from operating and investing activities of positive $5.0 million to $6.0 million, an improvement of $9.3 million to $10.3 million compared to Q1 2020, excluding one-time proceeds from the MogoLiquid loan portfolio.

Postmedia Amendment

The Company also announced that in light of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, it has entered into an amendment to the marketing collaboration agreement (the “Amendment”) with Postmedia Network Inc. (“Postmedia”) pursuant to which Postmedia agreed to waive certain amounts related to its payments payable by Mogo through December 31, 2020 in exchange for the Mogo reducing the exercise price of the 1,546,120 common share purchase warrants previously issued to Postmedia.

In connection with the Amendment, Mogo has agreed to amend the exercise price of: (i) the 1,196,120 common share purchase warrants originally issued to Postmedia in 2016, 50% of which expire on January 25, 2021 and 50% of which expire on January 25, 2023 (the “2016 Warrants”); and (ii) the 350,000 common share purchase warrants issued to Postmedia in February 2020, which expire on August 24, 2023 (the “2020 Warrants”), to a price that is not lower than $1.292, being the volume-weighted average price of the Mogo shares on the Toronto Share Exchange (the “TSX”) during the 5-day period ending June 2, 2020, from the existing exercise price of $2.96 and $3.537, respectively. The amendments to the 2016 Warrants and the 2020 Warrants are subject to TSX approval.

NASDAQ Notification

Mogo also announced it has received a notification letter from the Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Capital Market (“Nasdaq”) indicating that the Company no longer meets the continued listing requirement of minimum stockholders’ equity of US$2.5M, as set forth in the Nasdaq Listing Rule 5550(b)(1) .

The Nasdaq notification has no immediate effect on the listing or trading of Mogo’s shares on the Nasdaq and does not impact its listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The Company has until August 28, 2020 to regain compliance with the continued listing requirements and will be deemed to comply if the market value of its listed securities exceeds US$35M for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days during the compliance period or if its reported stockholders’ equity exceeds US$2.5M during the compliance period. Pursuant to Nasdaq listing rules, the Company has 45 calendar days to submit a plan to regain compliance. If approved, Mogo can be granted an extension of up to 180 days to regain compliance. If Mogo does not regain compliance and is not granted additional time, then its shares will be subject to delisting, at which time the Company may appeal the delisting determination. The notification will have no effect on the operations of the Company’s business, and the Company will take all reasonable measures to regain compliance.

Conference Call & Webcast

Mogo will host a conference call to discuss its Q1 2020 financial results at 5:00 p.m. EDT on June 3, 2020. The call will be hosted by David Feller, Founder and CEO, and Greg Feller, President and CFO. To participate in the call, dial (833) 968-2206 or (778) 560-2782 (International). The webcast can be accessed at http://investors.mogo.ca. Listeners should access the webcast or call 10-15 minutes before the start time to ensure they are connected.

Non-IFRS Financial Measures

This press release makes reference to certain non‑IFRS financial measures. These measures are not recognized measures under IFRS, do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. These measures are provided as additional information to complement the IFRS financial measures contained herein by providing further metrics to understand the Company’s results of operations from management’s perspective. Accordingly, they should not be considered in isolation nor as a substitute for analysis of our financial information reported under IFRS. We use non‑IFRS financial measures, including core revenue (total revenue excluding revenue from bitcoin mining and revenue related to Liquid loans), adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income (loss) and adjusted cash net income (loss), to provide investors with supplemental measures of our operating performance and thus highlight trends in our core business that may not otherwise be apparent when relying solely on IFRS financial measures. Our management also uses non‑IFRS financial measures in order to facilitate operating performance comparisons from period to period, prepare annual operating budgets and assess our ability to meet our capital expenditure and working capital requirements. Please see “Non-IFRS Financial Measures” in our Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the Period Ended March 31, 2020 for a reconciliation of these non-IFRS financial measures to the nearest IFRS measures which is available at www.sedar.com and at www.sec.gov.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, including statements regarding Mogo’s response to COVID-19, the reduction of its expenses, its path to cash flow positive, the resumption of on-balance lending, the expansion of lending partnerships and the introduction of new referral models. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies, and may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual financial results, performance or achievements to be materially different from the estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements and the forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Mogo’s growth, its ability to expand into new products and markets and its expectations for its financial performance for 2020 are subject to a number of conditions, many of which are outside of Mogo’s control. For a description of the risks associated with Mogo’s business please refer to the “Risk Factors” section of Mogo’s current annual information form, which is available at www.sedar.com and www.sec.gov. Except as required by law, Mogo disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise

About Mogo

Mogo — a financial technology company — offers a finance app that empowers consumers with simple solutions to help them get in control of their financial wellness. Financial wellness continues to be the #1 source of stress across all demographics and highest among millennials. At Mogo, users can sign up for a free account in only three minutes and begin to learn the 4 habits of financial health and get convenient access to products that can help them achieve their financial goals. The Mogo platform has been purpose-built to deliver a best-in-class digital experience, with best-in-class products all through one account. With more than one million members and a marketing partnership with Canada’s largest news media company, Mogo continues to execute on its vision of becoming the go-to financial app for the next generation of Canadians. To learn more, please visit mogo.ca or download the mobile app (iOS or Android).

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