The $3bn Indian food delivery start-up Zomato has been cut off from its biggest Chinese investor in the first major example of how Delhi’s new foreign investment laws have hit funding. In January, Zomato announced it had secured $150m in fresh funding from Ant Financial, the Chinese digital payments giant. In April, the Indian government announced that it would block “opportunistic takeovers” by requiring official approval for any investment from a country that shares a land border with India.
Greece’s prime minister has said he will not accept strict EU conditions on the use of coronavirus emergency aid, in a sign of the difficult negotiations ahead for the bloc’s leaders on its proposed €750bn recovery fund. Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the Financial Times in an interview that he would not countenance a return of the strict and unpopular oversight imposed on his country by the “troika” of EU, European Central Bank and IMF officials during the debt crisis “forcing us to do reforms” even though “there was never really any domestic buy-in”. Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands are opposed to the European Commission’s plans for the recovery fund and are pushing for so-called “conditionality” to be applied to EU money to ensure it is spent to improve competitiveness.
The coronavirus pandemic is undoing decades of progress in poverty reduction as millions of people’s livelihoods are threatened in the world’s poorest countries. Since 1990, more than 1bn people around the world have escaped extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, which defines it as living below $1.90 per person per day.
This is just a smattering of what experts tell me the office of the very near future might look like in the age of Covid-19. If more follow, it is not impossible to imagine office costs easing which could in turn lower the pressure for hot-desking as we know it.
Twenty years before Neil Woodford’s spectacular fall from grace, the demise of another famed UK value investor dominated the headlines. Tony Dye, the fund manager dubbed Dr Doom for his views on the overvaluation of equities during the late 1990s tech bubble, was unceremoniously ousted in early 2000 after investors lost patience with his underperforming funds. In a cruel twist of fate for the late Mr Dye, the dotcom bubble burst just a few weeks afterwards, proving his thesis correct and rewarding his style of value investing.
In mid-March, when Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte declared a “state of calamity” after a spike in Covid-19 cases, economic and social stability in the developing archipelago nation was looking precarious. While the government scrambled to marshal its resources to fight the pandemic, managers at Ayala, the family-controlled conglomerate, were already at work on their own coronavirus response. In early March, Ayala’s chief executive, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, 61, and his younger brother Fernando, CEO of the group’s land division, began their brainstorming at a meeting of the group’s operating companies, which include property, construction, water, the country’s second-biggest telecoms company — Globe — and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
Lemonade, the SoftBank-backed home insurance start-up, got its long awaited IPO away last week and enjoyed a big initial price jump. Lemonade is one of the big hopes of the emerging “insurtech” sector, with investors betting that its combination of slick technology and new ideas about how to sell insurance will bring in ranks of new customers. The industry is “ripe for disruption”, said Hugh Tallents of consultancy cg42.
(Bloomberg) -- Crude oil is the world’s most important commodity, but it’s worthless without a refinery turning it into the products that people actually use: gasoline, diesel, jet-fuel and petrochemicals for plastics. And the world’s refining industry today is in pain like never before.“Refining margins are absolutely catastrophic,” Patrick Pouyanne, the head of Europe’s top oil refining group Total SA, told investors last month, echoing a widely held view among executives, traders and analysts.What happens to the oil refining industry at this juncture will have ripple effects across the rest of the energy industry. The multi-billion-dollar plants employ thousands of people and a wave of closures and bankruptcies looms.“We believe we are entering into an ‘age of consolidation’ for the reﬁning industry,” said Nikhil Bhandari, refining analyst at Goldman Sachs Inc. The top names of the industry, which collectively processed well over $2 trillion worth of oil last year, are giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. There are also Asian behemoths like Sinopec of China and Indian Oil Corp., as well as large independents like Marathon Petroleum Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. with their ubiquitous fuel stations.The problem for the refiners is that what’s killing them is the medicine that’s saving the wider petroleum industry.When U.S. President Donald Trump engineered record oil production cuts between Saudi Arabia, Russia and the rest of the OPEC+ alliance in April, he may have saved the U.S. shale industry in Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota, but he squeezed refiners.A refinery’s economics are ultimately simple: it thrives on the price difference between crude oil and fuels like gasoline, earning a profit that’s known in the industry as a cracking margin.The cuts that Trump brokered lifted crude prices, with benchmark Brent crude soaring from $16 to $42 a barrel in the space of a few months. But with demand still in the doldrums, gasoline and other refined products prices haven’t recovered as strongly, hurting the refiners.The industry’s most rudimentary measure of refining profit, known as a 3-2-1 crack spread (it assumes three barrels of crude makes two of gasoline and one of diesel-like fuels), has slumped to its lowest level for the time of the year since 2010. Summer is normally a good period for refiners because demand rises with consumers hitting the road for their vacations. This time, however, some plants are actually losing money when they process a barrel of crude.Worst FearJust a few weeks ago, the outlook appeared to be improving for the world’s biggest oil consumers. Demand in China was almost back to pre-virus levels and U.S. consumption was gradually rebounding. Now, a second wave of infections has prompted Beijing to lock down hundreds of thousands of residents. Covid-19 cases are also on the rise in Latin America and elsewhere.With demand in the U.S. now showing signs of heading south again as coronavirus cases flare up in top gasoline-consuming regions including Texas, Florida and California, the margins are at risk of deteriorating in America, which accounts for nearly two in each ten barrels of oil refined worldwide.“The worst fear for refiners is a resurgence of the virus and another series of lockdowns around the world that would again significantly impact demand,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.Another problem is that -- where it has been recovering -- the demand pickup has been uneven from one refined product to the next, creating significant headaches for executives who need to select the best crudes to purchase, and the right fuels to churn out. Gasoline and diesel consumption has surged back, in some cases to 90% of their normal level, but jet-fuel remains nearly as depressed as at the nadir of the coronavirus lockdowns, running at just 10% to 20% of normal in some European countries.Refiners had resolved the problem by blending much of their jet-fuel output into, effectively, diesel. But that, in turn, is creating a new challenge: too much of so-called middle distillates like diesel and heating oil.“Right now gasoline demand is barely keeping some plants alive,” said Stephen Wolfe, head of crude oil at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. “And with jet production shifting over to diesel and gasoline production, that puts even more strain on product supply,” he added.In the U.S. refining belt, processing rates are being continually tweaked in response to potential fluctuations in demand. In April, during the height of U.S. lockdowns, Valero Energy Corp.’s McKee, Texas, refinery cut rates to about 70%. It then raised processing to near 79% in anticipation of the Memorial Day holiday, before finding a new low of 62% by mid June, according to people familiar with the situation.Ultimately, if refiners don’t make money, they buy less crude, potentially capping the oil-price recovery of the past few months for Brent and other benchmarks. Even so, the actions of Saudi Arabia, Russia and the rest of the OPEC+ group suggest that refiners will remain squeezed for longer, with oil prices outpacing the recovery in fuel prices.The immediate problem is compounded by a longer-term trend: the industry has probably overbuilt over the last decades, and older plants in places like Europe and the U.S. can’t compete with new ones popping up in China and elsewhere in the world.“Refinery margins in the next five years are going to be worse than the average for the last five years, and particularly bad in Europe,” said Spencer Welch, vice president of oil markets and downstream consulting at IHS Markit. “We already thought that refining was in for a tough time, even more so now.”Catalyst for ChangeThe weakness means that the industry’s collective earnings will plunge to just $40 billion this year, down from $130 billion in 2018, according to an estimate from industry consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. of 550 refineries around the world.That could be a catalyst for change. The demand hit from the virus is yet to cause any delays in a number of mega-refining projects, most of which are in China and the Middle East, that will start operations from 2021 to 2024, according to the analysts at Goldman Sachs. This will cause global utilization rates to be 3% lower over this period than in 2019. Plants are more likely to close in developed countries because the bulk of demand -- and new refining capacity -- is in developing nations, they said.Many of the refineries that are being built in the Middle East and China will also get government backing, a fact that only makes life more challenging for the plants in Europe and the U.S.The industry is already moving to resolve the overcapacity: oil trader Gunvor Group Ltd. has said it may mothball its refinery in Antwerp, and U.S. refining group HollyFrontier Corp. in June announced it was changing its Cheyenne plant from processing crude oil into a renewable diesel facility.For now though, there’s a more mundane reality to deal with: the market. OPEC and its allies can constrain the supply of crude -- squeezing refiners -- but they can’t make end users consume fuel.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Dozens of soldiers clutching AK-47s and grenade launchers watch over roaring bulldozers on the white sand beach that meets a tropical turquoise sea. They’re guarding Africa’s biggest investment: a $23 billion project to export Mozambique’s natural gas from an area increasingly besieged by an Islamist insurgency.Companies led by Total SA will pump the gas from wells about 40 kilometers (25 miles) offshore, cool it to temperatures below minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit so that it turns to liquid, then ship it to electricity plants from France to China. The consortium is about to finalize almost $16 billion in project financing -- another record for the continent.“The work is immense,” said Ronan Bescond, the 44-year-old French chemical engineer who Total chose to lead the project after a career of nearly two decades at the company. “The first cargo of LNG must be in 2024. And we are on the right track,” he said to a handful of reporters in a prefabricated room at the site 32 kilometers south of the Rovuma River that marks the border with Tanzania.The obstacles facing a project that’s expected to transform the impoverished southeast African nation are huge.To achieve the target of first production for an undertaking worth billions of dollars more than Mozambique’s entire economy, developers need to move thousands of tons of equipment through territory thick with Islamic State-aligned insurgents. At one stage, a Covid-19 outbreak saw the Total site accounting for three in four of the country’s confirmed infections. All this as natural-gas prices plunged to near 25-year lows.Militants who first pledged allegiance to IS in 2018 have carried out increasingly brazen attacks this year.Deadly RaidLast week, they raided Mocimboa da Praia for a third time, and occupied the town for as long as three days. It’s a crucial supply hub just 60 kilometers south of the project site and the closest port.As many as nine workers for Total subcontractors Fenix Construction Services Lda died in the attack, Jasmine Opperman, an African analyst at Wisconsin-based Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, said in a Twitter post. The company didn’t answer seven calls and two emails seeking comment.Before the gas discoveries and insurgency, the remote coastline was more famous for luxury tropical island resorts. Last month, one of the nearby hotels offered a discount price of $19,820 a night to hire out an island as a refuge from the coronavirus.The private military company that Mozambique hired in April to provide air support to government troops in the form of helicopters fitted with machine guns has struggled to quell the violence. Lionel Dyck, the founder of Dyck Advisory Group, the firm the government employed, declined to comment when contacted by mobile phone.IS WarningGovernments including South Africa, the U.S. and Portugal have indicated willingness to help fight the insurgency.“The insurgency is a challenge but we’re happy that our defense and security forces have been playing their role,” Max Tonela, Mozambique’s energy and natural resources minister, told reporters during the June 19 site visit. “We all as Mozambicans must fight against this evil that comes from external attacks.”About 1,300 people have died in the violence, with a further 220,000 displaced since the first attack three years ago, which also took place at Mocimboa da Praia.For the second time, IS referred directly to the projects in a weekly newsletter this month. The group said that it would be “delusional” to think that the government could protect the investments, and warned other countries against getting involved.The marginalization of young men in a region that’s predominantly Muslim and 1,900 kilometers away from the capital, Maputo, has helped lead to radicalization that’s fueled the insurgency, according to researchers including Saide Habibe at the Maputo-based Institute of Social and Economic Studies who have studied the origins of the fighters.Total’s project will hire 14,000 people at peak construction, of which at least 5,000 will be Mozambican and many from the region, Bescond said at the briefing, wearing a surgical mask, as all visitors to the site must do to prevent another outbreak of the coronavirus.The financial rewards are worth the cost to the government of the soldiers patrolling the vast compound and snipers on its perimeter fence -- Total’s estimate is $50 billion in direct and indirect revenue over 25 years for the $15 billion economy.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Mexico surpassed France in the number of fatalities from the coronavirus outbreak, while Australians quarantined in Melbourne will get hardship payments and rent will be suspended as authorities enforce a lockdown on hot spots.The World Health Organization reported a one-day high for global coronavirus cases, led by the Americas, as U.S. cases rose 1.7%. Florida and Texas recorded new virus records. U.S. President Donald Trump said a vaccine remedy will be ready by the end of the year.In India, the number of confirmed cases climbed 7.2% to 648,315 on Sunday from the prior say. A sports agent said he’s confident U.S. baseball can resume, citing success in three Asia nations.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases top 11.1 million; Deaths exceed 528,000Cheers? English pubs shake off lockdown into uncertain worldAmericans aren’t much interested in going out and spendingLow-income U.S. households suffer inflation shock from virusSubscribe 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.Australia Offers Assistance to Citizens in Lockdown (11:26 a.m. HK)About 3,000 people quarantined in public-housing tower blocks in Melbourne will get hardship payments and their rent will be suspended, Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday. Residents of the buildings who have jobs but are unable to work because of the lockdown will receive a hardship payment of A$1,500 ($1,040) per household, while families with no one employed will get a A$750 check, Andrews said at a press conference.The state government’s announcement Saturday marked the toughest coronavirus control measures in Australia to date, with police moving in overnight to cordon off nine public-housing towers for at least five days in an effort to test every resident following a week of surging case counts.India Cases Rise 7.2% (10 a.m. HK)The number of confirmed cases in the coronavirus outbreak in India has risen 7.2% from Saturday to 648,315, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.Mexico Is Now Fifth in Covid-19 Deaths (8:06 a.m. HK)Deaths in the North American country reached 30,366, overtaking France, while the number of infections rose by a daily record 6,914 to 252,165, according to data released by the Health Ministry Saturday night. Mexico also overtook Spain this week as the pandemic’s toll on the country continued to mount.Like in other Latin American countries, Mexican officials have had to balance their response to the virus with consideration for significant groups of people who must work to meet basic daily needs. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has largely focused on reactivating the economy over imposing strict lockdowns.Trump Vows Vaccine, Therapeutic By Year-End (7:15 a.m. HK)President Donald Trump said a “therapeutic or vaccine solution” for the coronavirus will be ready before the end of the year, without offering any details.“We are now doing unbelievably well” on remedies, and “deep testing” on vaccines is under way, Trump said at a July 4 event at the White House. U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said a vaccine could be ready by early next year.“We’ve made a lot of progress, our strategy has moved along well,” Trump said of the response. “We’ve learned how to put out the flame.”Man in 9/11 Photo Dies of Covid-19 (5:15 p.m. NY)A New York electrical engineer photographed in a crowd fleeing the smoking World Trade Center in 2001 died of the coronavirus, the Palm Beach Post reported, citing his family. Stephen Cooper, 78, died March 28 in Delray Beach, Florida, where he lived part-time. The photograph was widely published and is part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York.U.S. Cases Rise in Line With Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)Coronavirus cases in the U.S. increased by more than 46,000 from the same time on Friday, to 2.82 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The 1.7% increase was below the average daily increase of 1.8% over the past week. Fatalities rose 0.3% to 129,601.Florida reported another record jump in Covid-19 cases, rising by 11,458 cases, or 6.4%. That’s compared with the seven-day average of 5.5%, for a total of 190,052 cases. Another 18 people died, the fewest since June 22, for a total of 3,702.New York, once the nation’s epicenter for the outbreak, reported a 0.2% rise in cases, in line with the past 7 days, or 726 cases. The state’s total is now 396,598. Eleven more people died, for a total of 24,896.California reported 6,510 new cases, and increase of 2.6%. In total, 254,745 people have tested positive. The number of deaths rose by 50 to 6,313. The state website warned some data might be delayed from Los Angeles County.Arizona reported 2,695 new cases, a 2.9% rise from a day earlier. It was the slowest rate of increase in five days, and below the record for daily cases set on Wednesday. Cases in the state have been rising at a 4.4% rate over the past seven days and now stand at 94,553.New Jersey reported 303 new cases, for a total of 173,033. That is a slight drop from 386 reported the day before. The state had 25 deaths, down from 58 the day before, for a total of 13,333.Trump Again Blames Testing for Case Rise (3:04 p.m. NY)President Donald Trump again blamed the amount of testing for the record rise in U.S. Covid-19 cases. “Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases,” he tweeted.But many health experts point out the percentage of those testing positive is also rising. In Florida, his home state, 14% of tests on Friday came back positive -- a daily rate that has topped 10% since June 25 -- compared with his former home of New York, which had a positive rate of 1.2% on Friday.WHO Ends One Malaria Drug Trial (2:30 p.m. NY)The World Health Organization halted one of the clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine, touted by President Donald Trump for Covid-19, and lopinavir/ritonavir, accepting a steering committee recommendation.WHO set up the so-called Solidarity Trial to find a treatment for patients in hospitals, but interim results showed the two drugs did little to reduce mortality rates while not adding to the risk of death.This decision doesn’t affect possible evaluation in other studies of the two drugs in non-hospitalized patients or as pre- or post-exposure protection for Covid-19, the agency said in a statement. Trump took hydroxychloroquine in May.Johnson Dad Defends Trip Despite Guidance (2 p.m. NY)The father of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his trip to Greece this weekend made after the government advised British citizens to avoid all but essential international travel, including to Greece.Stanley Johnson, 79, said his visit was “essential business” because he needed to “Covid-proof my property” ahead of the rental season, the Press Association reported. The elder Johnson, who owns a villa in Greece, earlier posted a picture on social media as he arrived wearing a face mask: “I didn’t put them up... in a spirit of defiance, or anything like that,” he told reporters, the PA said.Boris Johnson refused to condemn his father for the apparent breach of travel guidance during a radio call-in program on a London sation.WHO Reports Most New Cases for a Day (12:25 p.m. NY)The World Health Organization reported a record 212,326 new coronavirus cases in the 24 hours ended early Saturday, the first infection total to top 200,000. The WHO has reported more than 163,000 new cases every day for the past week, led by a rise in the Americas.The Americas region — chiefly the U.S. and Brazil — account for 61% of all new cases, followed by Southeast Asia, which made up 12% of the daily infections. Europe, once an epicenter for the outbreak, represented 9.3%, the WHO daily report showed. Cases in the U.S. and Brazil were 48% of the global total.The Americas make up 51% of all cases, or 5.58 million of 10.92 million, followed by Europe with 25% and the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Middle East, with 10%. The WHO total often lags behind tallies from John Hopkins University, which showed 11.13 million cases as of midday Saturday.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
At an estimated annual cost of about $300 billion, the American people have been suffering from the consequences of healthcare fraudsters for a long time. What Is Healthcare Fraud? Healthcare fraud comes in many forms, but can be generally defined as any crime that is committed that is involved with defrauding a health insurance policy says Dallas area criminal defense lawyer Clint Broden.
Singapore's High Court has appointed an independent supervisor to oversee the restructuring of trader Hontop Energy. The move came after Malaysian lender CIMB, its biggest creditor, raised concerns about what it described as 'suspicious' deals involving oil major BP <BP.L>, according to an affidavit filed with the court this week and reviewed by Reuters. Hontop, the trading arm of Chinese independent refiner China Wanda Holding Group Co Ltd, is one of four commodity trading firms in Singapore which ran into financial trouble as the oil price crashed.
Few things rile up American men like the cost of razor-blade cartridges. That’s why our columnist strops his razor, shaves infrequently, and is always happy to get a deal on blades.
Hang Lung Properties is delighted to have hosted the Graduation Ceremony for this year's Hang Lung Young Architects Program yesterday (July 4), bringing together over 300 students, school representatives, mentors and architect leaders for the online convocation and celebration of students'achievements. The winners of the "Sketch Your Sky" Creative Project, a key element of the program, were also announced during the ceremony. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's Program switched a series of activities, including workshops, seminars, and walking tours, from offline to online, providing over 11,000 training hours to student participants.
Britain's government will double the number of its job coaches as part of a plan to tackle a rise in unemployment triggered by the coronavirus lockdown, the finance ministry said on Saturday. The number of work coaches at British job centres will double to 27,000 at a cost of 800 million pounds ($997 million), the ministry said. Finance minister Rishi Sunak is due to announce on Wednesday his next steps for steering the world's fifth-biggest economy away from its lockdown slump which caused a 20% contraction in output in April.