Connect with us

Business

Germany business morale falls to lowest since 2009; economy ‘in shock’

Published

on

Lufthansa aircraft stand side by side at Munich Airport.

Peter Kneffel | picture alliance | Getty Images

Business morale in Germany logged its steepest fall in March since the country’s reunification in 1990, the closely-watched Ifo Institute for Economic Research said Wednesday.

The German Ifo business climate index fell to 86.1 in March from 96.0 in February. The reading was lower than expectations of 87.7 and was last at this level in July of 2009.

“The German economy is in shock,” the Ifo institute said on Twitter.

The latest figures come as the German and world economies face huge uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. The virus, which emerged in China in late 2019, has brought all major economies close to a halt. 

Many countries are in national lockdown, meaning that only pharmacies and grocery stores are open; airlines have mostly stopped taking off; and the number of new confirmed cases increases by the day. 

The expectations among German companies have “darkened as never before,” the institute also said in a statement Wednesday.

The Ifo’s latest numbers come after data released Tuesday showed the euro zone suffered a major collapse in business activity in March.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly. 

Source link

Business

Mexico: More social spending, no big business bailout

Published

on

By

MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday there will be no huge economic stimulus program as the country faces the threat of coronavirus-induced crisis almost certainly unlike any it has seen in the past century.

Instead, the administration will expand his signature social programs, continue to prop up the heavily indebted state-owned oil company, deepen the government’s austerity campaign and do everything possible to avoid taking on more debt.

“There is a lesson that we have learned well and that we don’t forget,” López Obrador said to an empty and echoing National Palace patio. “An economic model that only benefits minorities does not yield general well-being, but on the contrary engenders public misery and violence.”

The economic reactivation plan remains consistent with his administration’s priority of helping Mexico’s most vulnerable through greater public spending on social welfare, keeping people employed and cutting costs in the sprawling government, he said.

As an example, he said the top level of government bureaucrats — from undersecretaries on up to him — will have their salaries reduced and give up their annual year-end bonuses.

López Obrador quoted U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who he described as that country’s best president “We have always known that heedless self interest was bad morals, we now know that it is bad economics.”

Before the speech Sunday, the primary association of Mexican industries, Concamin, warned in a statement that the pandemic could cause Mexico’s worst recession in a century. It called for “support to businesses to avoid the temporary closure of hundreds of thousands of them.”

Thus far, López Obrador has mostly talked about protecting the country’s poorest and placed special emphasis on those working in the informal half of Mexico’s economy. The industrial chamber made multiple references to the government’s support being widely inclusive.

López Obrador has praised billionaire Carlos Slim for his commitment to not laying off any workers during the crisis and urged other business owners to follow his example. The president has said that only workers in essential businesses should still be going to work and that those who stay at home should continue to be paid.

But he tried to appear open while not making any promises. Last week he received several of the country’s top businessmen and on Saturday he tweeted a photograph of a video call he had with BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink, during which they exchanged “opinions about the coronavirus and the deterioration of the global economy.”

Even before the pandemic, Mexico’s economy had already been in recession. Then last week, Mexico’s Treasury predicted the country’s economy will contract as much as 3.9% in 2020 because of the pandemic, and private analysts are making even direr predictions.

The Bank of America predicted Thursday that Mexico’s GDP could contract 8% this year. That would be a bigger downturn than during the 2009 global recession, complicated in Mexico by the H1N1 pandemic, when GDP decreased 6.5%. It would also be worse than the December 1994 peso crisis, following which the country’s GDP fell 6.2% in 1995.

A close economic partner of the United States, Mexico will expect to receive some benefit from the huge $2 trillion stimulus package approved there.

On Sunday, López Obrador continued to strike an optimistic tone.

“This crisis is passing, transitory,” he said of the pandemic. “Soon normality will return. We will overcome the coronavirus. We will reactivate the economy and Mexico will continue standing showing the world its glory and its greatness.”

Mexico has reported 79 deaths related to the virus and nearly 2,000 confirmed infections.

For most people, the coronavirus results in mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But it can cause more several illness, including pneumonia and death, for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems.

The new coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened at least 1.2 million, killed more than 69,000 worldwide, crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading and overwhelming health care systems.

Christopher Sherman, The Associated Press



Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Coronavirus: Calgary business collects 3,500 pounds of pet food, donations in 4 hours – Calgary

Published

on

By

Calgarians are well-known for their community spirit, and despite the novel coronavirus crisis, that spirit was extended to include pets Saturday.

More than 3,500 pounds of pet food and donations were collected during a pet food drive on April 4 and delivered to the Calgary Food Bank.

“Being an essential business, we’ve been very fortunate,” Malmberg said.

“This crisis hasn’t affected us as much as a lot of companies, a lot of people. So we just wanted to do something.”


READ MORE:
What is an essential service? After groceries, it depends where you live in Canada

After hearing of a shortage of pet food donations at the Calgary Food Bank, Malmberg posted on social media April 1 that his store would be able to collect pet food and donations April 4.

Story continues below advertisement

“A lot of people, when they think of the [Calgary] Food Bank they’re thinking about food. But so many of the clients have dogs and cats and small animals,” he said.

Malmberg invited people to stop by the parking lot of his Lake Bonavista store on Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. Volunteers accepted donations from the backs of vehicles, and within the first couple of hours, Malmberg could tell the initiative was a huge success.

Malmberg said providing pet food for clients of the Calgary Food Bank might just be enough to ensure people are not forced to make difficult decisions.

“If [people] don’t have the food to feed their animals, they’re either going to have to surrender them or abandon them,” he said.

The four-hour food drive was such a success that Malmberg said he had to call on volunteers to bring more trucks to help deliver the donations to the food bank.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

“I just want to thank the entire city. The response has been overwhelming,” Malmberg said.

For more information on the Calgary Food Bank click here.


© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.





Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Cath Kidston to call in administrators amid coronavirus lockdown | Business

Published

on

By

Cath Kidston is preparing to call in administrators, putting more than 900 jobs at risk, as the vintage-inspired chain battles for survival during the coronavirus lockdown.

The business, which has 60 stores in the UK and a further 180 overseas, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, a legal process which protects the business from creditors for 10 working days, as it considers potential rescue options. The group employs 941 people in the UK, 820 of whom were furloughed on 22 March under the government scheme.

Advisory firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) was appointed last month to help Cath Kidston seek a buyer as the British brand, which opened its first store in 1993, struggled to make a profit for its Hong Kong-based owner Baring Private Equity Asia.

Cath Kidston Group has been in difficulties for some time, recording a pretax loss of £42.3m in the year to the end of March 2018 when sales rose just 1.2% and it closed small retail businesses in France and Spain.

Coronavirus lockdowns in the UK and elsewhere have only added to the difficulties and it is understood that even if a buyer is found, the rescue is likely to involve a pre-pack administration.

A Cath Kidston spokesperson said: “The notice of intention forms part of the process by which Cath Kidston is continuing to work with A&M to explore all options for the company in the current climate.”

The group is one of many retailers battling for survival in the UK after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of most stores.

Sign up to the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Debenhams is also preparing to call in administrators after the struggling department store was forced to close all its outlets under the lockdown while Sir Phillip Green’s Arcadia Group, the owner of Topshop and Miss Selfridge, is expected to permanently close hundreds of stores as it suffers from competition from the likes of Asos, Boohoo and Primark.

The lockdown has added to existing pressures on retailers from the consumer switch to online shopping and rising costs from business rates coupled with the fall in the value of the pound since the 2016 Brexit vote.


Fashion brands have been hit particularly hard as young people switch from spending on outfits to alternatives such as digital subscriptions and mobile phones while competition from online businesses remains intense.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending