H.K. Relaxes Rules; Oil Demand Faces Long Recovery: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong will further ease social distancing measures by allowing public gatherings of…

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong will further ease social distancing measures by allowing public gatherings of as many as 50 people as the city’s unemployment rate rose to 15-year high in May in the wake of shutdowns and renewed anti-government protests.

U.K. jobless claims more than doubled to almost 3 million during the lockdown, with the country now mired in what could be its deepest slump for 300 years. The International Energy Agency said global oil demand won’t fully recover until 2022 at the earliest because of the hit taken by the airline industry.

Global cases surpassed 8 million as Beijing shut some areas to contain a virus cluster and data scientists predicted India’s numbers may surge after it abandoned a lockdown.

Key Developments:

Virus Tracker: global cases surpass 8 million, deaths exceed 436,000Ten nations account for most new virus cases, WHO saysEngland’s soccer Premier League returns on WednesdayCuba exports doctors to make up for lost tourism revenueAs Tokyo reopens its nightlife, clubs become virus danger zones.

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

Saudi Arabia Rolls Out $1 Billion Support Package (4:52 p.m. HK)

Saudi Arabia will offer a 3.7 billion-riyal ($1 billion) stimulus package to support more than 500 small and medium-sized industrial companies hurt by the pandemic.

The initiatives, announced by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund, are part of a wider package of government support, and include the deferral and restructuring of loan payments for hundreds of companies, according to a statement from the fund.

England, Wales Deaths Fall for Seventh Straight Week (4:45 p.m. HK)

Deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales fell for the seventh week running. There were 1,588 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the week ending June 5.

While that’s the lowest in nine weeks, it’s still above the level before lockdown was introduced in March, showing the government will have to be wary of the risk of a second wave.

Hong Kong Eases Restrictions as Jobless Rate Climbs (4:21 p.m. HK)

Hong Kong will further relax virus-related social distancing measures by allowing public gatherings of as many as 50 people. Top health official Sophia Chan said the easing would start June 19, dramatically raising the size of gatherings from just eight people.

The city’s unemployment rate rose to the highest level in 15 years in May, in the wake of the Covid-19 shutdowns and renewed anti-government protests. The jobless rate rose to 5.9% for the March-to-May period, compared with the 5.5% median forecast among economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

IEA Says Oil Demand Won’t Fully Recover Until 2022 (4:00 p.m. HK)

Global oil demand will rebound next year as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, but won’t fully recover until 2022 at the earliest, the International Energy Agency said.

Fuel use around the world will remain 2.5% lower next year than in 2019, largely because of “the dire situation of the aviation sector,” the Paris-based agency said in its first detailed assessment of 2021.

Russia Says New Infections Continue to Slow (3:44 p.m. HK)

Russia reported 8,248 new infections and 193 deaths over the past day, raising the total to 545,458 and the death toll to 7,284, according to data from the government’s virus response center. The 1.5% infection rate increase is the slowest to date, continuing the trend of gradual decline in June.

Germany Rejects Criticism as Covid Tracing App Goes Live (3:26 p.m. HK)

Germany’s new coronavirus tracing app will help break infection chains and allow the country to manage the return to normality more effectively, according to Health Minister Jens Spahn.

Spahn rejected criticism that it took authorities too long to develop the app, a joint project with telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom AG and software developer SAP SE. It’s being introduced after Germany brought its virus outbreak under control relatively quickly, with the daily number of new cases far below the peak of close to 7,000 in late March.

Yet Germany’s infection rate climbed further above the key threshold of 1.0. The reproduction factor of the virus, known as R-naught, was at 1.19 on Monday, compared with 1.05 the day before, according to the latest daily report by the Robert Koch Institute. This means that 10 people with the virus are estimated to infect just under 12 others.

China Seeks Information From Norway on Salmon Risk (2:32 p.m. HK)

Norway has been contacted by Chinese authorities seeking information from the seafood industry about the infection risk connected to the production of fresh salmon, Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said in a statement.

Norway aims to respond as quickly as possible to limit the impact on the industry and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has said the country’s fish and seafood products are safe to eat.

A fresh outbreak of coronavirus cases in Beijing is being blamed on imported salmon, prompting a nationwide boycott of the fish. Salmon has been taken off the shelves in major supermarkets like Walmart Inc. and deleted from grocery delivery platforms across China, while experts are warning people not to consume the fish.

Cineworld Set to Reopen Across Europe, U.S. (2:09 p.m. HK)

Cineworld Group Plc, one of Britain’s largest cinema chains, announced it is due to reopen theaters in the U.K. and the U.S. from July 10, and as early as June 26 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Cinema chains have been pummeled in the stock markets as prospects of spring revenues evaporated, with Cineworld’s shares down 64% in the year to date. The company says its theaters, schedules and booking system have been redesigned to ensure social distancing.

U.K. Jobless Claims Jump as Lockdown Bites (2 p.m. HK)

U.K. jobless claims more than doubled to almost 3 million during the virus lockdown, when the closure of businesses across the country put people out of work.

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits increased by more than 1.5 million in the two months through May, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. In April alone, employment dropped 429,000, even as the government’s furlough program protected millions of jobs. Meanwhile wage growth slowed to the lowest level since 2014.

Finnish Economy Shrinks Most in 11 Years (1:57 p.m. HK)

Finland’s economy shrank the most since the global financial crisis as the Covid-19 crisis eroded demand in April.

Gross domestic product fell 7.9% from a year ago, after a revised 5.7% decrease in March, the statistics office said on Tuesday, citing indicator data. It’s the deepest drop since November 2009.

Investment to Plunge as Much as 40%, UN Projects (1 p.m. HK)

The United Nations forecasts foreign direct investment globally will fall by as much as 40% this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and continue to slump in 2021, hitting developing nations hardest.

The lockdown measures are slowing investment projects and will lead multinational companies to reassess plans, according to a report released Tuesday by the UN’s trade and development arm. FDI won’t begin to recover until 2022, and then only slowly, the agency said, cautioning that the forecast is subject to uncertainty due to Covid-19.

The projected decline would put FDI below $1 trillion for the first time since 2005.

Beijing Struggles to Stem Virus as Cases Spread Beyond Capital (12:01 p.m. HK)

Beijing is ramping up mass testing to determine whether a new coronavirus outbreak warrants the same strict lockdown that shut down large swathes of the world’s second-biggest economy for months.

The Chinese capital on Tuesday closed another food market located near the financial district after a case linked to the original cluster was discovered. Eleven other food markets have been shuttered and almost 300 others sanitized, while nearly 30 housing compounds have been put under lockdown, local officials said. The total reported number of infections has reached 106, according to the National Health Commission.

Trump Team Weighs $1 Trillion for Infrastructure (11:52 a.m. HK)

The Trump administration is preparing a nearly $1 trillion infrastructure proposal as part of its push to spur the world’s largest economy back to life, according to people familiar with the plan.

A preliminary version being prepared by the Department of Transportation would reserve most of the money for traditional infrastructure work, like roads and bridges, but would also set aside funds for 5G wireless infrastructure and rural broadband, the people said.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to discuss rural broadband access at a White House event on Thursday.

China Plans to Sell $140 Billion of Virus Bonds by End-July (10:29 a.m. HK)

China will sell 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of special sovereign bonds by the end of July, with the proceeds used to combat the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, according to people familiar with the matter.

The government will sell 700 billion yuan worth of 10-year bonds, 200 billion yuan of five-year notes and 100 billion yuan of seven-year debt, said the people, who asked not to be named as the matter is private. The sale will be on top of the sale of regular sovereign debt over the period.

The Ministry of Finance held an online meeting to set a schedule for selling the special on Monday afternoon, they added.

Abandoning Lockdown, India’s Cases May Reach 800,000 in a Month (9:58 a.m. HK)

After giving up on a costly lockdown, India’s coronavirus outbreak is projected to nearly triple by July 15 to over 800,000 cases as its leaders tell citizens to ‘learn to live with the virus’, according to a forecast from a team of data scientists at the University of Michigan.

That would put India just below Brazil, the world’s second worst-hit country at present, and on track to surpass the Latin American country given its massive population of 1.3 billion people and the ongoing relaxation of containment measures.

Moderna Expects Vaccine Efficacy Data by Thanksgiving (7:46 a.m. HK)

Efficacy data for Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine could be available by Thanksgiving in a best-case scenario, Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said. Thanksgiving is on Nov. 26 in the U.S.

Moderna’s vaccine is in second-stage trials, with final-stage trials set to begin next month on 30,000 people. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration “might decide to give us emergency use approval for people at very high risk,” while the agency more carefully reviews the data before granting approval for a broader population, Bancel said.

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