Covid Lockdowns - Hurtling Towards the Abyss



ORIGINAL POST
Posted by Ed 3 mths ago

https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=a5c7ae21-882e-464e-b75b-942ec4cc75de&refreshStamp=0 

In this thread we will document  the economic impacts of the ongoing Covid-inspired global lockdowns:
 
 
Hertz is preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

 

The situation is fluid, sources told the paper, as the company hopes to reduce lease payments by May 4.
 

The company laid off 10,000 employees – more than a quarter of its total workforce – in April.

Car-rental company Hertz is preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic brings nearly all travel to a standstill.



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COMMENTS
Ed 3 mths ago
Week 6 of the Collapse of the U.S. Labor Market
 
Gut-wrenching 30.3 Million Initial Unemployment Claims in six weeks. Florida ascends to Number One as it tries to catch up. “Insured unemployment rates” already over 20% in some states as of Apr 11.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Mortgage Forbearance Balloons, Home Sales Plunge
 
In addition to logistical difficulties of selling a home in the era of social distancing, there is the explosion of a historic unemployment crisis.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Dividend Massacre in This Crisis is Already Breaking Records, But it Just Started
The old saw that dividend stocks are good for bear markets is actually a high-risk gamble.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
What Manufacturing Executives Said About Their Business in this Economy
 
“Builders want extensions on their accounts and ask for better margins. Buyers are down by 50% to 60%. Employees are scared and do not want to work. Everything we do takes twice as long.”
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Coronavirus: pilots ‘devastated’ as British Airways set to slash up to 12,000 jobs
 

A pilots' trade union said British Airways staff were “devastated” after the airline's owner announced plans for up to 12,000 redundancies.

“In light of the impact of Covid-19 on current operations and the expectation that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years, British Airways is formally notifying its trade unions about a proposed restructuring and redundancy programme,” International Consolidated Airline Group (IAG) said.

Read More 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
“Investor confidence in European ETFs has taken a hit during the coronavirus sell-off with funds seeing higher redemptions than their “darkest days” during the global financial crisis.”
 
 
 
 “The oil crash is blocking American frackers from accessing the cheap credit that fueled their prolific rise. That reversal of fortunes could prove fatal for overleveraged shale oil companies.”
 
 
 
“China’s factory activity unexpectedly shrank in April, a private-sector survey showed on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic shattered global demand, causing a substantial drop in export orders and more layoffs.” 
 
 
 
“The International Energy Agency said Thursday it expects global energy demand to plunge this year in what the Paris-based agency called the biggest drop since World War II.”
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
“The demand-side impact… clearly dominates the economic outlook. Shutting large portions of the economy resulted in a collapse in spending and surging unemployment. “Not only do we have a collapse in demand, but the eventual rebound in activity is likely to be anemic, too.”
 
 
 

“France saw its sharpest economic contraction since World War II in the first quarter as a lockdown from mid-March left shops shuttered and consumers hunkered down at home, official data showed on Thursday.”

 
 

“UK Manufacturing output has fallen below 60 per cent of capacity to the lowest level since records began 40 years ago reflecting the closure and cutbacks at UK factories in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“The extent of the damage to the economy from lockdown was further underlined by data showing confidence in the services sector also slumped to a record low, raising the spectre of a spike in job losses.”


“While the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the United Nations food agency warned on Tuesday that a looming “hunger pandemic” will bring “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.”

“Famine in as many as three dozen countries is “a very real and dangerous possibility” due to ongoing wars and conflicts, economic crises and natural disasters, World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley told the U.N. Security Council during a virtual briefing.”

 
 

“The slump in [China’s] profit growth over the first three months of 2020 was led mainly by fuel processing plants, which fell 187.9% annualized after falling 42.5% last year; auto manufacturing fell 80.2% versus -15.9% in the same period last year; chemical products manufacturing fell 56.5% versus -25.6%; and ferrous metals manufacturing fell 55.7% from -37.6% a year ago.

“The continued contraction in industrial profits could weigh on manufacturing investment, employment and fiscal revenue.”

 
 

“China’s factory activity unexpectedly shrank in April, a private-sector survey showed on Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic shattered global demand, causing a substantial drop in export orders and more layoffs.”


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Ed 3 mths ago
“Research firm DigiTimes has published a report that projects a massive 15% decrease in global smartphone sales, bringing the numbers down to 1.15 billion units. Brands that have a larger presence in the United States and Europe… will bear the maximum brunt.”
 
 
The LNG Market Is “Imploding”
While everyone is watching the meltdown in the crude oil market, the global market for natural gas is also cratering.
 
 
 
How the Unicorn Blowup & Oil Bust Bleed into Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities
CMBS get to eat it all: Amid overvalued vacant collateral, there is a new thingy: Tenants delaying rent payments and landlords asking for forbearance.
 
 
 
Used-Vehicle Wholesale Volume Collapsed, Prices Drop: Mega-Pain for Automakers, Leasing Companies, Rental-Car Companies, Banks, Bondholders, Stockholders
No one has ever seen a mess like this before.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Tourism in Southern Europe, Accounting for 13%-21% of GDP, is on its Knees. When Will it Get Back Up Again?
 
“First sector to be afflicted by the virus crisis and, unlike other crises, likely the last to recover from it.” And these economies are still incredibly fragile, even eight years after the last crisis.
 
 
Housing Market under COVID-19: Regular Folks Retreat, Foreign Investors Blocked, Large US Investors Gone, iBuyers Frozen
 
Demand is a lot weaker in some places than in others. Here are the 20 cities with the largest drops.
 
 
 
How Far Will the U.S. Economy Plunge During Lockdown?
 
“Three times deeper than the Great Recession?”
 
 
 
Mainland Chinese Stop Buying Hong Kong Residential Properties, Try to Unload What They Have, Prices Follow
 
“Some forced selling is highly likely.”
 
 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
'We'll starve to death if this continues'
 
Half of the world's workers could lose their jobs because of this pandemic, the International Labour Organisation has said.
 

That's 1.6 billion people but who are they?
 


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Ed 3 mths ago
The auto industry — already fretting lengthy factory shutdowns and depressed new-vehicle demand — is starting to sound the alarm about a potential used-car price collapse that could have far-reaching consequences for manufacturers, lenders and rental companies.
 
 
 
 
Bali economy collapses despite holiday hotspot escaping worst of coronavirus pandemic 
 

Coronavirus is having a “catastrophic” impact on Bali despite the fact it has recorded just three deaths from the disease.

The Indonesian province appears to be escaping the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a total of just 135 infections, but is still experiencing a huge economic fallout in what the head of the Indonesia Institute has labelled a “really cruel twist”.

 
 
Coronavirus: Millions in India facing hunger during COVID-19 lockdown measures
 
The World Food Programme has said the coronavirus outbreak could cause "multiple famines of biblical proportions".
 
 
 
 
Philippines: Covid-19 will devastate the poor  
 
In Manila, as in many other places, the Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the poor the hardest and exposing. “If the poor go hungry”, Villanueva warned, “chaos will follow”. 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
COVID-19 Will Wreck The Car Industry
 
Summary

The short and long term effects of the pandemic on the car industry are going to be disastrous.

The car industry is likely to be hit much worse than other parts of the economy – and this is NOT priced in already.

I will show you why the car industry will continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic even after the pandemic has been overcome.

I recommend selling your car-related stocks.

 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Zoo animals in Indonesia face starvation as a result of Covid-19 closures
 
Thousands of animals are facing starvation at Indonesia's zoos as the global pandemic pushes shuttered facilities toward collapse. Sixty cash-strapped parks, housing 70,000 animals, across Indonesia have been closed since mid-March. Most say they will be out of food by the middle of May.
 
 
 
 
The coronavirus outbreak has triggered unprecedented mass layoffs and furloughs. Here are the major companies that have announced they are downsizing their workforces. 
 
- Boeing announced that it would cut about 10% of its workforce — or about 16,000 jobs — on April 29. The cuts are expected to be through a combination of buyouts, voluntary layoffs, and involuntary layoffs.
 
Hertz said it plans to lay off 10,000 employees on April 20. The car rental company previously employed 38,000 people.
 
- On April 12, a union representing workers at Walt Disney World said the company will be furloughing 43,000 employees starting April 19. The amusement parks have been closed since March 16 and 200 essential workers will continue maintaining them.
 
- JCPenney has already started furloughing workers and confirmed it would continue to furlough a "significant portion" of its 85,000 employees as of April 5. 
 
- On April 3, Under Armour announced that it will temporarily lay off about 6,700 employees starting April 12.
 
-  Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette informed his staff via email that the company would be furloughing most of its 125,000 employees on March 30. The company only plans to have work for "the minimum number of employees necessary to maintain basic business operations" across Macy's, Bloomingdale's, and Bluemercury, Gennette wrote. He will stop receiving his salary, along with the rest of the board of directors.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago

Half of Queenstown Residents Apply for Welfare - $500,000 Food Vouchers Distributed

AsiaXPAT (Queenstown)  The total population of Queenstown is roughly 40,000. Assume half of them are too young to be eligible for welfare. 10,000 applications have been received for welfare aid which translates into approximately half of all adults in Queenstown. Read More

 

This situation is set to worsen as the New Zealand policy regarding Covid is to completely eliminate the virus domestically then disallow all international travellers from countries where Covid is still present.

 

AsiaXPAT recently communicated with a WHO scientist who made the following comment off the record:

 

“Ah, NZ! They are fascinating. I am sure they will manage to stamp out the virus. And then they will have to have a 2-week quarantine for anyone who enters the country for the next 30 years or so. Will do wonders for tourism”

 

When asked to respond to this assertion, Professor Nick Wilson, Director, Burden of Disease Epidemiology of the University of Otago NZ and one of the architects of Jessica Ardern's total lockdown policy stated:

 

“If we can achieve elimination and open up the NZ economy – we would still need quarantine (but we could have a Trans-Tasman bubble with Australia).

 
But this would probably be better for the economy than using an ongoing suppression strategy with varying degrees of lock-down (as other countries might need to do).
 
Also it might be that at some point we can remove quarantine procedures (e.g. if there is a good antibody test – we could potentially use that instead of quarantine). There is also the issue that international tourism has effectively ended for a while – regardless of NZ’s border control. So tourism sectors are in big trouble in every country at present.”
 

AsiaXPAT contacted another prominent New Zealand epidemiologist, who commented off the record on this strategy stating:

 

"Yes, I agree that the virus may be eliminated once it has spread through the New Zealand population and immunity has been gained in the majority of people. This is the herd immunity concept.

 

At present, the government is claiming it can eliminate the virus with unknown immune state of the population. I think, without tests of immunity, elimination is unlikely unless the virus has already infected the majority of New Zealanders. Without testing for antibodies, it is hard to know what immune state our population is in.

 

Other countries with initially effective suppression are now experiencing second waves of the virus, such as Taiwan and Singapore. With measles for example, we were only able to eliminate it once it had spread through a large number of susceptible cases. For measles, we have a vaccine, and older adults are immune.

 

I don't believe it is realistic to eliminate a virus with so many asymptomatic infections, without a vaccine."

 

Knut Wittkowski, previously the longtime head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at the Rockefeller University in New York City, said in a recent interview:

“What people are trying to do is flatten the curve. I don’t really know why. But, what happens is if you flatten the curve, you also prolong, to widen it, and it takes more time. And I don’t see a good reason for a respiratory disease to stay in the population longer than necessary.

You cannot stop the spread of a respiratory disease within a family, and you cannot stop it from spreading with neighbors, with people who are delivering, who are physicians—anybody.

 
People are social, and even in times of social distancing, they have contacts, and any of those contacts could spread the disease. It will go slowly, and so it will not build up herd immunity, but it will happen. And it will go on forever unless we let it go.
 

Asked about Anthony Fauci, the White House medical expert who for weeks has been predicting significant numbers of COVID-19 deaths in America as well as major ongoing disruptions to daily life possibly for years, Wittkowski replied:

 “Well, I’m not paid by the government, so I’m entitled to actually do science.”
 
New Zealand recently extended its extreme Covid lockdown for another 3 weeks.
 
The New Zealand government is not recommending the use of face coverings even though the Centre for Disease Control website specifically states, "the CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth" to prevent the spread of Covid.
 
A team of scientists in New Zealand is urging the government to immediately drop the Lockdown to Level 2 to prevent further damage to the country's economy.   The data and rationale behind this advice can be found on this Plan B document

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Ed 3 mths ago
Macau’s April gambling revenue falls 97 per cent amid travel bans
 
Gross gaming revenue plummeted by an unprecedented 97 per cent to 754 million patacas (US$95 million) in April.  The plunge last month was 3 percentage points worse than analysts’ expectation.
 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
UK Coronavirus: 'We go hungry so we can feed our children'
 
 
Many families are struggling to put food on the table as the coronavirus lockdown robs them of their income. A report by food bank charities points to an alarming rise in the number of people in need of essential supplies. How are they coping and what more can be done to help?
 

"We have gone without meals so the children can eat. It isn't nice when you are feeling hungry and you open the cupboard and there is nothing in there for you."
 

Amie Smith and her partner Marcus were just about getting by before the coronavirus lockdown. Now they have had to give up their zero hours contract jobs and are relying on universal credit payments, food vouchers from the government and the occasional food parcel from local schools.
 
 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Biggest India Carmaker Clocks Zero Sales in April
 
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., which produces more than half the cars on India’s roads, recorded no sales in the domestic market last month after output was shuttered.
 

The nation’s biggest carmaker was forced to shut factories as India imposed the world’s biggest stay-at-home restrictions to control the outbreak of coronavirus. Lost production is costing the industry 23 billion rupees ($306 million) for each day factories remain closed, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago

As ‘quarantine fatigue’ spreads, Fauci says second wave of coronavirus is ‘inevitable’

As antsy Americans show growing signs of “quarantine fatigue” and officials face pressure to ease coronavirus restrictions, factories, malls and state governments in many parts of the country are taking steps toward reopening.

But Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said a second wave of infections is “inevitable” in the United States, which has recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases — nearly one-third of the global total. Fauci also warned that “we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter” if the right countermeasures aren’t put in place.



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Ed 3 mths ago
Coronavirus: Seven million Afghan children risk hunger
 
“More than seven million children in Afghanistan are at risk of hunger as food prices soar due to the coronavirus pandemic, a report warns. “A Save the Children spokesman said the country faced a “perfect storm of hunger, disease and death” unless the international community took action.”
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
The Pandemic Crisis Erupts Into Riots in the North Caucasus
 
“The North Caucasus is beginning to show signs of destabilization, as pandemic-related restrictions and a poor economy expose societal fault lines. Regional governments imposed draconian self-isolation measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus but provided little or no relief to struggling businesses and individuals.”
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
When Will International Air Travel Resume?
 
Peter Collignon, an infectious diseases physician and professor of clinical medicine at the Australian National University Medical School stated in this Bloomberg interview:
 
"International travel will be off the table for at least six months. I think travelers will be quarantined for two weeks here in Australia. We really need more information before we can know when to lift restrictions. I suspect we will find travel insurance won’t cover people. I can’t imagine international travel as a tourist is going to be on the horizon in under six months."
 
 
I have the highest level of travel insurance available and was informed two months ago that I would not be covered if I was hospitalized with Covid while traveling. 
 
 
 
Global airlines' estimated COVID-19 losses rise to $314 billion  Read More 
 
Should the international travel stoppages persist for 'at least 6 months' these losses will increase dramatically. 
 
 
 
How hard will the coronavirus hit the travel industry?
 
If the pandemic continues for several more months, the World Travel and Tourism Council, the trade group representing major global travel companies, projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue.   Read More
 
 
'at least 6 months' is already more than 'several more months' so expect trillions more in losses from hotels, airlines and other travel-related businesses. 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Meanwhile debating the efficacy of lockdowns, even if the debate includes hard data, is taboo.

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Ed 3 mths ago
Hong Kong’s business elite are cashing in their luxury villas at a loss as they brace for the city’s worst economic recession
 
Some of Hong Kong’s wealthy property owners are cashing in their luxury houses, often slashing the price to sell at a loss, as the city faces the threat of its worst recession ever.
 
Many of them are company owners and executives looking to free up much-needed cash to keep their businesses going as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the economy, according to property agents.
 
“People are losing jobs or getting pay cuts because their companies are not doing well. Thus the business owners, who are the major purchasing force of these luxury homes, are not doing well either and some may already be seeing liquidity problems and need quick money to stop bleeding,” said Vincent Cheung, managing director of Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
SUVs Get Parked in the Sea, Revealing Scope of U.S. Auto Market Glut
 
The length of almost two football fields, the cargo ship Jupiter Spirit arrived in Los Angeles’ harbor on April 24 after an almost three-week journey from Japan, ready to unload its cargo of about 2,000 Nissan Armada SUVs, Rogue crossovers and Infiniti sedans in a quick, half-day operation.
 
But when the ship, operated by Nissan Motor Co.’s freight arm, got about a mile offshore, its captain was ordered to drop anchor. And there the ship remained for almost a week -- a floating symbol of an unprecedented logjam as nearby storage lots covering hundreds of acres overflowed with vehicles that Americans suddenly have little desire to purchase.
 
There are gluts of all shapes and kinds forming in the U.S. nowadays, a testament to the scope of the economic pain the coronavirus is inflicting. Slaughterhouses are killing and tossing out thousands of pigs a day, dairy farmers are pouring away milk, oil sellers were paying buyers to take barrels off their hands last week, and now, brand-new cars are being left adrift at sea for days.
 
For the auto industry, the crisis has left cars gathering dust on dealer lots, dealerships shuttered, auction prices slipping and tens of thousands of workers laid off or furloughed. April U.S. sales plummeted 54% for Toyota Motor Corp., 47% for Subaru Corp. and 39% for Hyundai Motor Co.
 
“Dealers aren’t really accepting cars and fleet sales are down because rental-car and fleet operators aren’t taking delivery either,” said John Felitto, a senior vice president for the U.S. unit of Norwegian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen.
 
 
“This is different from anything we’ve seen before. Everyone is full to the brim.”
 
 

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Ed 3 mths ago
Covid-19’s Third Shock Wave: The Global Food Crisis

Many people are already going hungry in the United States; many more will face hunger or starvation in other parts of the world.
 
 “Major world disasters produce multiple ripple effects. Like a powerful tsunami, they trigger one shock wave after another, each producing injury and mayhem. In the case of Covid-19, the first wave was the global health crisis, still spreading around the world.
 

“Next came the stay-at-home requirements and the resulting shutdown of the world economy, resulting in massive job layoffs everywhere. These, in turn, are producing a third wave, possibly even more catastrophic in its outcome: the collapse of global food-supply systems and widespread human starvation.”


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Ed 3 mths ago
'We cannot go back': General Community Quarantine is the 'new normal,' Malacañang says
 
 In an interview with DZMM on Sunday morning, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Philippines cannot return to life as usual because of the overwhelming effects of the global pandemic.
 
“We are no longer back to normal as we know it po. The GCQ is already that, it is the new normal. For as long as there is still no vaccine, we cannot go back to normal as we know it,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
 

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Ed 3 mths ago

Thousands of desperately hungry people queued for hours for food aid in a line that stretched across two and a half miles in South Africa

 
Lockdown in the city of Centurion, just outside Johannesburg, has lasted just over five weeks so far, crushing businesses and leaving the poorest unable to eat. Drone footage revealed the scale of the queue for food after private businesses donated 8,000 hampers to the informal settlement of Mooiplaas.
 
The number of packages was described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ for what is actually needed by the communities hit hardest during the pandemic.

Read More 


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Ed 2 mths ago
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Clocks  Massive $50 billion loss due to Coronavirus Lockdowns
 
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday posted a record net loss of nearly $50 billion as the coronavirus pandemic pummeled its common stock investments.
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Spain admits it is in deep fiscal trouble and Italy is in Worse Trouble
 
An economic collapse is underway. Spain officially sent to the European Union a request for a bailout this year and a new era of adjustments starting in 2021 in order to make sustainable the gigantic jump in public debt.
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Lockdown Impacts on Oil Producers:  Bone-Chilling Collapse in US Demand for Gasoline, Jet Fuel, and Diesel
 

Oil companies are reporting financial fiascos every day: Today Exxon reported its first quarterly loss since 1999 ($610 million), on a “market-related” $2.9 billion write-down. “We’ve never seen anything like what the world is facing today,” CEO Darren Woods said.
 

On Thursday, Texas-based shale-driller Concho Resources reported a quarterly loss of $9.3 billion, after writing down the value of its oil and gas assets by $12.6 billion.
 

Also on Thursday, it was reported that Oklahoma-based Chesapeake Energy, a pioneer in shale-drilling, was preparing to file for bankruptcy (what’s taking so long?).
 

Still on Thursday, Royal Dutch Shell shocked the markets when it announced that it would reduce its dividend for the first time since 1945 (by 66% from $0.47 to $0.16). “The duration of these impacts remains unclear with the expectation that the weaker conditions will likely extend beyond 2020,” the statement said.
 
The already beaten-up shares plunged another 17% in two days. Shares are down 47% year to date.
 
 

https://wolfstreet.com/2020/05/01/the-bone-chilling-collapse-in-demand-for-gasoline-jet-fuel-and-diesel-in-the-us-in-charts/
 
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Ed 2 mths ago
Weary Algerians fear fresh economic turmoil as oil prices dive
 
Algerians are watching the collapse of oil prices with alarm as the energy markets on which the North African nation relies for most of its export revenues have been plunged into turmoil by the coronavirus crisis.  
 
The oil and gas producer has burnt through more than half its foreign currency reserves since 2014, when an earlier oil price rout began, while this year’s budget outlined a 9% cut in spending but was based on oil prices double today’s levels.
 

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has sent global demand for crude into tailspin, threatens to fling Algeria into a new crisis after a year of political upheaval and mass protests that forced a veteran president from power.
 

“We will soon start to feel a big crisis unless oil prices go back up,” said Halim Cherifi, a banker in Algiers.
 

Algeria’s Saharan Blend is now trading at less than $20 a barrel, while this year’s austerity budget was based on a price of $50 a barrel. Benchmark international crudes are trading at their lowest in about two decades.
 
 
 
With lockdowns set to continue indefinitely, and a V-recovery impossible, it is hard to see how oil prices will rise significantly any time soon, and bail producers like Algeria out of this desperate situation. 
 
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Warren Buffett : Berkshire sold all its airline stocks because of Coronavirus Lockdowns
 
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and billionaire value investor Warren Buffett said that the conglomerate has sold the entirety of its equity position in the U.S. airline industry. The prior stake, worth north of $4 billion dollars in December, included positions in United, American, Southwest and Delta Airlines.

“The world has changed for the airlines. And I don’t know how it’s changed and I hope it corrects itself in a reasonably prompt way,” he said during Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting Saturday, which was virtual this year. 
 
 
But “I think there are certain industries, and unfortunately, I think that the airline industry, among others, that are really hurt by a forced shutdown by events that are far beyond our control,” he added.
 
Demand for air travel has plunged since March as the virus and precautions like shelter-in-place orders keep potential passengers home. Asked by CNBC’s Becky Quick to clarify if Berkshire had sold all of its airline holdings, Buffett answered “yes.”
 
 
Berkshire books a $50 Billion Loss Read More 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago

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The Dire Impact of an Extreme Lockdown on a New Zealand Tourist Town
 

AsiaXPAT (Queenstown) New Zealand has endured 5 weeks of Level 4 Extreme Lockdown during which only supermarkets, petrol stations and medical facilities were open. Online shopping and food delivery services were not permitted.

Citizens have only been allowed out of their ‘bubbles’ to exercise, purchase food or receive medical care. New Zealand moved to a Level 3 Lockdown last week and food delivery and online shopping is now permitted. Otherwise the country continues to be is locked up tight with no domestic or international travel permitted.
 

A restaurant operator in Queenstown informed AsiaXPAT yesterday that the impact on this tourist town of 40,000 is enormous:

“One of the largest employers in Queenstown, operator of half a dozen major tourism businesses, will not re-open even if NZ lowers the Covid-lockdown to Level 2.

They are planning to release most employees when the government wage subsidies end in early June. They will not consider re-opening for at least a year.

The biggest food and beverage group in town will only reopen 4 outlets and only on weekends for dinner. They are expected to abandon their other restaurant and bar leases.

These guys are well-financed so if they are not opening outlets, then Queenstown will be a ghost town as other retailers and F&B who rely heavily on tourism, follow suit.

Approximately half of all adults in Queenstown have applied for welfare so will not be in a position to support local businesses.

Most property projects from new hotels to villa developments and other tourist accommodation have been mothballed. Once the tradesmen finish what’s in the pipeline they will struggle to find work.  Many will likely end up on welfare.

There will be a glut of residential property as foreclosed homes are dumped onto the market. This is already happening and at some point will decimate prices.

Buyers are unlikely to surface in significant numbers given so many people are out of work and the prospects for a pickup in Queenstown tourism are uncertain.

The local Council is going to be hammered as tax revenues are set to collapse.”

 
UPDATE:  NZ Government preparing for 300,000 new benefit applications - leaked documents 
 
Similar situations will be transpiring across the world's popular tourist destinations as the lockdowns continue indefinitely. 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Japanese Island Forced Back Into Lockdown After New Coronavirus Wave Strikes
 
Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido — the first area of the country to see a major coronavirus outbreak — was forced back into lockdown after lifting its stringent restrictions too early, according to new reports. 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Fauci warns protesters about dangers of ending lockdowns prematurely: 'It's going to backfire'
 

Asked for his message to those protesting, Fauci told ABC, "The message is that clearly this is something that is hurting from the standpoint of economics ... but unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery, economically, is not going to happen."


"If you jump the gun, and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you're going to set yourself back," he said. "So as painful as it is to go by the careful guidelines of gradually phasing into a reopening — it's going to backfire. That's the problem."
 


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Ed 2 mths ago
Locked Down India Faces Mass Famine
 

“The reality is that a lockdown is not a cure, nor does it stop the spread of the virus. A lockdown is a pause, it may slow the spread of the virus…"

“We will never know how many people died of starvation [in India], because no state government will admit to starvation deaths.”



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Ed 2 mths ago
https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/enabbaladi/english/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/2-21.jpg 
“The virus of poverty, hunger, and bankruptcy is more dangerous than any other virus.”
 

“With these words, the Chairperson of the Syrian regime’s Federation of Industry and a member of the Syrian parliament, Fares al-Shihabi, has responded to the preventive economic measures taken by the Syrian regime’s government in the past few weeks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”
 


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Ed 2 mths ago
Coronavirus Lockdowns : Rolls-Royce 'to cut up to 8,000 jobs'
 
The aeroplane engine maker employs 52,000 people worldwide, with 23,000 staff in the UK.

According to a company source, senior leaders have warned "cuts could be as high as 8,000, but efforts to mitigate the impact are ongoing".

It had announced plans to save £750m but now "needs to take further action".

Rolls-Royce is expected to tell staff the actual number of job losses by the end of May.

The aviation industry has been badly hit by the pandemic as many flights across the world have been suspended.

 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Coronavirus Lockdowns: Half world's workers may see livelihood destroyed
 
The International Labour Organisation's updated analysis emphasises its severe impact on people in informal work.

It says many have already suffered massive damage to their capacity to earn a living.

Without alternative income, these workers and their families would have no means to survive, it says.

The new analysis says 1.6 billion people's livelihoods are threatened by the virus, equivalent to almost half the global workforce.

 
 
 https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=fd1c86f1-b88a-4fb9-9366-802d065b146f&refreshStamp=0

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Ed 2 mths ago

LOCKDOWNS HIT HAR - RYANAIR SAYS NO HOLIDAY FLIGHTS UNTIL JULY AND CUTS UP TO 3,000 JOBS

“Europe’s biggest budget airline has said that it will not be running more than a skeleton service until July – and even then, only around half the expected passengers will travel.

Ryanair says it will cut up to 3,000 jobs [15% of its staff], mainly pilots and cabin crew, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It will also impose unpaid leave and pay cuts of up to 20 per cent, and close some bases, “until traffic recovers”

 

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Ed 2 mths ago
What are the Alternatives to Lockdowns?
 
As Europe and North America continue suffering their steady economic and social decline as a direct result of imposing ‘lockdown’ on their populations, other countries have taken a different approach to dealing with the coronavirus threat.  
 
You wouldn’t know it by listening to western politicians or mainstream media stenographers, there are also nonlockdown countries. They are led by Sweden, Iceland, Belarus, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
 
Surprisingly to some, their results have been as good or better than the lockdown countries, but without having to endure the socio-economic chaos we are now witnessing across the world.
 
For this reason alone, Sweden and others like them, have already won the policy debate, as well as the scientific one too.
 
 
 
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
‘Will we die of hunger?’: how Covid-19 lockdowns imperil street children
 
For millions of young people, coronavirus restrictions have made access to food, water and shelter even more precarious
 
Timothy, a teenager on the streets of Mombasa, wonders how he will eat. “Rich people can stay home … because they have a store well stocked with food,” he says. “For a survivor on the street your store is your stomach.”
However, says another, if the rumours are true and street children are arrested in the city during the Covid-19 crisis, he’d be happy to go to Shimo women’s prison, because there “you are sure to get free food, shelter and medical services”.
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Fauci - No Return to Normal Until there are No New Cases or New Deaths
 
The US needs to brace for an extended period of lockdowns and restrictions according to this interview with Anthony Fauci.
 
As most people infected with Covid exhibit minimal or no symptoms at all, it will be very difficult to eliminate the virus.    Even if that can be achieved, the United States would need to seal its borders until all other countries have eliminated Covid, otherwise the US will get re-infected.
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
"I'm starving now": World faces unprecedented hunger crisis amid Covid Lockdowns
 
Millions around the world desperate for food - Watch Video  

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Ed 2 mths ago
Pandemic slams Asia's factories, activity hits financial crisis lows
 
“Asia’s factory activity was ravaged in April, business surveys showed on Monday, and the outlook dimmed further as government restrictions on movement to contain the coronavirus outbreak froze global production and slashed demand.” 
 
A series of Purchasing Managers’ Indexes (PMIs) from IHS Markit fell deeper into contraction from March, with some diving to all-time lows and others hitting levels last seen during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. 
 
 
 
Coronavirus Lockdowns : EU factories' record slump sparks highest lay-offs since 2009 
 

Factories across Europe have suffered their bleakest month in decades as the coronavirus crisis has wreaked havoc with supply chains, production and demand, new figures show.

Read More

 
 
J. Crew files for bankruptcy as preppy retailer succumbs to COVID-19 Lockdown
 
J. Crew Group Inc filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday with a plan to hand over control to lenders, adding to a list of brick-and-mortar retailers pushed to the brink by widespread store closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Hong Kong records its worst-ever economic downturn
 
Tourism and retail spending, two big contributors to Hong Kong's economy, were hit by the COVID Lockdown and months of protests.
 
Hong Kong's economy recorded in the first quarter its deepest annual contraction since at least 1974, as the coronavirus pandemic dealt a heavy blow to business activity, already in decline following months of anti-government protest last year.

The economy contracted 8.9 percent on an annual basis, compared with a revised 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. That was the steepest contraction for a single quarter since records began in 1974, the government said.
 
 
 
 
 
Lockdown - Italian Car Sales Plunged 98% In April 
 
You can't get much more of a "worse case scenario" in auto sales than watching numbers plunge an astounding 98%. But that's exactly what has happened with new car sales in Italy, which remains mostly on lockdown, for the first 24 days of April for this year.
 

Across all sales channels in Italy, there were only 2,182 registrations, down from 107,930 the year prior, according to Automotive News Europe.
 
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Airlines begin to Collapse around the World 
 
In the US, flight volumes across all cities have dropped by at least 96% with some dropping 99%
 
https://youtu.be/mJmqssxtxe0 

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Ed 2 mths ago

Many Chinese Export Companies Face Bankruptcy 

“A company boss told employees that in south China, 80 percent of private companies rely on exports to survive. Now that these companies are losing their overseas customers from Europe and North America, a huge wave of layoffs is foreseeable.
 

“As long as the United States is struggling to combat the pandemic, there will be no improvement for China’s economy. Our business model is to produce about 85 to 90 percent of our products for export.

 In south China, 80 percent of private companies rely on exports, just like our company. How can we ever rely on China’s domestic demand? All our production is geared for export.
 

“No export means bankrupt factories. Bankruptcy means the Chinese will become jobless and not have income. It’s a chain reaction.”



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Ed 2 mths ago
Airbnb To Lay Off 1,900 Employees As Lockdowns Collapse Tourism Industry 
 
Airbnb is cutting nearly a quarter of its staff — 1,900 employees — as its revenue forecasts fall to be "less than half" of what it made in 2019.
 
The company, which has raised $2 billion in the last month, is having to make cuts across the business and will be pausing its transportation and studios business lines, according to a memo sent out by Brian Chesky and announced at an all-hands meeting on Tuesday.
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
The Lockdowns Must Continue Otherwise It's Murder
 
Reporter: “These are regular people who are not getting a paycheck and they’re saying that they don’t have time to wait for all of this testing and they need to get back to work in order to feed their families. Their savings are running out, they don’t have another week, they’re not getting answers, so their point is the cure can’t be worse than the illness itself, what is you’re response to them?

Gov. Cuomo: The illness is death, what is worse than death?


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Ed 2 mths ago
A University of Auckland Epidemiologist's Take on Covid 19
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Subprime Auto Loans Already Exploded in Pre-Covid-19 Good Times. With 30 Million Unemployed, Even Prime Loans Will Sour
 
"Delinquencies will now explode through the ceiling"

In April, specialized subprime lenders started reporting surging delinquencies and plunging new business.

Among the first was Credit Acceptance Corp [CACC] when it disclosed in an SEC filing on April 20 that it was getting hit due to the sudden job losses, as consumers were “delaying payments or re-allocating resources, leading to a significant decrease in our realized collections.”
 

It complained of a sudden drop in new business as consumer demand for vehicles fizzled. And this toxic mix of the surging delinquencies and dropping new business, it warned, “could cause a material adverse effect on our financial position, liquidity, and results of operations.”

 
 
https://wolfstreet.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/US-auto-loan-deliquencies-dollars-2020-q1.png 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Retail Landlords Reel as Big Luxury Brands Threaten to Close Stores if Rents Aren’t Slashed
 
A source who is familiar with the situation told me that some of the luxury brands have made their respective landlords a brutal ultimatum: either reduce the rent by 75% or tie it intrinsically to the sales generated by the store, which right now is essentially zero.
 
Otherwise, they will shut the shop.
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Lockdown Causes India’s Services Activity Collapses
 
The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index for April came in at 5.4 — an “extreme decline” from previous month’s 49.3 and way below a Reuters poll forecast of 40, according to the latest data release.
 
IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, described last month’s reading as an “extreme decline” and “the most severe contraction in services output since records began in December 2005.”
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Lockdown Causes India’s Services Activity to Collapse
 
The IHS Markit India Services Business Activity Index for April came in at 5.4 — an “extreme decline” from previous month’s 49.3 and way below a Reuters poll forecast of 40, according to the latest data release.
 
IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, described last month’s reading as an “extreme decline” and “the most severe contraction in services output since records began in December 2005.”
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Service Sector Falls Off Cliff in the Eurozone, Manufacturing Not Far Behind 
 

 The IHS Markit Services PMI for the Eurozone collapsed from an all-time historic low in March (26.4) to a catastrophic 12.0 in April. Note the cute little dimple of big-bad Financial Crisis 1, that had bottomed out at 39.2 (below 50 means contraction)

The service sectors of Italy, Spain, and France collapsed by the most – the countries with the most draconian lockdowns, where people were essentially cooped up at home for weeks, in response to some of the worst outbreaks of The Virus. The IHS Markit Services PMI by country:
 
https://hongkong.asiaxpat.com/Utility/GetImage.ashx?ImageID=9ba4e755-e12f-4449-a869-a3ef4f938e63&refreshStamp=0
 
 
 

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Ed 2 mths ago
Exclusive: Lord & Taylor to liquidate its stores as soon as they reopen 
 
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Venerable U.S. retailer Lord & Taylor plans to liquidate inventory in its 38 department stores once restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus are lifted as it braces for a bankruptcy process from which it does not expect to emerge, peopl