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China wants to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature by imposing its own national security law on the former British colony, in a move that spooked markets on Friday..

“In the most emboldened of a series of aggressive foreign policy moves since the coronavirus outbreak, China outlined a draft law which would allow it to set up “agencies” to safeguard national security in the city that is supposed to retain its autonomy until 2047.

“Pro-democracy lawmakers said the move was a gross breach Beijing’s commitments to Britain when the city was handed over to China in 1997 and threatened to Hong Kong’s future as a regional financial centre.

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“Fearing a loss of independence, there were calls for protesters to return to Hong Kong’s streets on Friday night.

“The proposed new law, which will exacerbate rising hostilities between Beijing and Washington, would allow China to punish any act to “subvert state power, organise and carry out terrorist activities and other behaviours that seriously endanger national security”.”

https://www.afr.com/world/asia/china-moves-on-hong-kong-as-trade-war-worsens-20200522-p54vjm


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China made a rare decision not to set a target for its economic growth for 2020 due to uncertainties about the impact of the coronavirus.

““I would like to point out that we have not set a specific target for economic growth this year,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in an English-language text of the work report delivered on Friday.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/22/china-will-not-set-gdp-target-for-2020-as-coronavirus-batters-economy.html


While economists say China’s economic data can’t always be trusted, they now have a new dilemma – there is no data.”

https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/business-52754782


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Japan’s core consumer prices fell for the first time in more than three years in April on an annual basis, as weak oil prices and coronavirus lockdown measures heightened deflation risks.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-japan-economy-inflation/japans-core-consumer-prices-slip-into-deflation-for-first-time-in-three-years-idUKKBN22X2X6


Japan’s central bank unveiled its own version of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s “Main Street” lending programme on Friday, to channel nearly $280 billion to small businesses hit by the coronavirus and stop the economy sliding deeper into recession.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-boj/bank-of-japan-launches-its-version-of-feds-main-street-lending-scheme-idUKKBN22X2PV


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More than 2.4 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the virus outbreak that triggered widespread business shutdowns two months ago and sent the economy into a deep recession.

“Roughly 38.6 million people have now filed for jobless aid since the coronavirus forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the U.S. Labour Department said Thursday.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/nearly-39-million-people-have-sought-u-s-jobless-aid-since-pandemic-began-1.5578333


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“Bankruptcy doesn’t need to mean the end of a company. It can be a shot to shed debt, reorganize and come out stronger. 

“But during the coronavirus pandemic, bankruptcy filings are increasingly spelling doom for retailers.

“In turn, it threatens thousands of more workers in an economy that has already suffered tens of millions of lost jobs.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/coronavirus-crushes-bankrupt-retailer-hopes-for-rebound-threatens-jobs.html


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“Unemployed rates are now twice what they were in 1933 at the depths of the Great Depression. This trend is even more pronounced in the travel and hospitality segments of the economy.

At least eight million of the 15.8 million travel-related workforce that existed in the US just three months ago have evaporated into thin air. “

https://www.benzinga.com/news/20/05/16086804/as-the-global-economy-weighs-fears-of-a-recession-travel-is-already-in-a-depression


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UK banks have hit out at the prospect of negative interest rates

“With big British lenders on track to boost reserves to £18.5bn for bad debts in 2020, the Bank of England’s admission this week that it was eyeing negative rates for the first time in its 324-year history has caused deep concern in the sector.”

https://www.ft.com/content/f5339e6b-9bb4-48dd-8aad-aadd5f6f0d4f


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Having crashed to what was by far its lowest reading in the survey’s nearly 22-year history last month, IHS Markit’s Flash Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index for the Eurozone, seen as a good gauge of economic health, recovered to 30.5 from April’s 13.6.

“But while that was much better than the median expectation of 25.0 in a Reuters poll, it was still a long way below the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-eurozone-economy-pmi/euro-zone-contraction-eased-in-may-but-still-sharp-pmi-idUKKBN22X0TB


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Covid-19 has killed more than 32,000 people in Italy and wreaked havoc on the healthcare system and economy. But as the country creeps out of lockdown, the toll on mental health is beginning to become apparent.

In a recent survey by Italy’s order of psychologists (CNOP), eight in 10 Italians said they needed psychological support to overcome the pandemic.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/21/italy-lockdown-mental-health-psychologists-coronavirus


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“…tourism is what is keeping Italy’s economy afloat. Last year, for instance, Italy’s industrial output shrank by 2.4 percent while tourism grew by 2.8 percent…

“In a country plagued by unemployment, tourism offered jobs for guides, restaurateurs, waiters, cooks, and cleaners. The fact that Italy has a high percentage of home ownership allowed many families to turn their apartments or weekend houses into bed-and-breakfasts or Airbnbs. In the aftermath of the crisis, tourism provided a social safety net.

But the coronavirus lockdown changed all that…”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/21/without-tourism-italys-economy-faces-disaster/


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The looser lockdown has not spared Egypt an economic crisis, however. The private sector, weak to start, is in free fall… Citizens were already struggling after years of political turmoil and austerity; the state lacks the resources and reach to deliver large amounts of aid. Egypt may be first, but similar problems will clobber the Arab world’s other non-oil states in the coming months.

First to suffer was tourism, which employs one in ten Egyptians…”

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/05/23/egypt-chose-a-looser-lockdown-its-economy-is-still-in-crisis


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Here and across Lebanon, prices have at least doubled over the past two months, leaving basic goods outside the reach of more than half the population.

““Even during the civil war there was money and no one starved,” said an unemployed public bus driver, Mohammad, in his late 50s, in the Hay el Sellom neighbourhood. “There were queues outside bakeries in tough times, but people were waiting to pay. Now it’s just welfare. Who would have thought?””

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/22/lebanon-cash-crisis-eid-nothing-to-celebrate


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After about two months of quiet due to pandemic concerns, Iraqi protesters returned to the streets soon after the formation of the new government.

“As summer approaches, the protests are expanding in the southern provinces over a lack of electricity and clean water.”

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/05/iraq-kadimi-protests.html


In an unusual development for Tajikistan, there have been two episodes of mass unrest in the past few days. Both were suppressed by force.”

https://eurasianet.org/tajikistan-sees-unusual-protests-authorities-react-with-force


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“DUBAI, United Arab Emirates —

A staggering 70% of businesses in Dubai expect to close their doors within the next six months as the coronavirus pandemic and global lockdowns ravage demand, a survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce revealed Thursday.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/21/coronavirus-dubai-70percent-of-companies-expect-to-close-in-six-months.html


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“Lending credence to the dire forecasts rating agencies and brokerages had been lately making…

“…RBI governor Shaktikanta Das today said that India’s GDP growth would likely remain in the negative territory in 2020-21.”

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/india-runs-out-of-options-first-full-year-contraction-in-4-decades-all-set-to-be-reality/articleshow/75886233.cms


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Strict coronavirus lockdowns in Guatemala and El Salvador have so battered local economies that hundreds of families are flying white flags outside their homes or waving them in the street: not in surrender, but to seek food and assistance.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-guatemala-elsalvad/as-hunger-spreads-under-lockdown-guatemalans-and-salvadorans-raise-white-flag-idUKKBN22X2HQ


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After years of stress testing, financial companies might have been better positioned to withstand a market shock such as that triggered by the coronavirus. Instead, they’re standing out as persistent losers.

Down 29 per cent since January, banks and insurers have trailed the S&P 500 by 20 percentage points, their worst performance at this point of a year on record.”

https://www.straitstimes.com/business/banking/us1-trillion-wiped-off-us-financial-stocks-in-echoes-of-2008


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“It would be easy watching the freight trains rumbling through Camden Road station in central London to assume that everything in the world’s logistics system was working as normal…

“Yet the apparent normality masks a profound trauma affecting the world’s logistics system. Earlier this year it was hit by coronavirus-related disruption in China’s factories and is now suffering from an unprecedented collapse in demand in North America and Europe.”

https://www.ft.com/content/8403ddbc-9363-11ea-899a-f62a20d54625


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“Ten years ago, oil was one of the first industries to emerge from the crisis relatively unscathed, with demand strong and prices in the $80s.

“Now, it is likely to be among the last ones to recover from the double blow of demand destruction by the pandemic and the excess supply resulting from excessive production. And it may never recover fully.”

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Oil-May-Never-Fully-Recover-From-This-Crisis.html


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The PMI data doesn’t lie, and it’s telling you in no unequivocal terms we are still solidly on the downward slope towards the abyss.

Global growth hasn’t bottomed, there is no recovery in play, and you can darn well expect more downside from here.”

https://www.moneyshow.com/articles/tebiwkly08-54259/there-is-no-recovery/


With global hunger projected to increase dramatically this year as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian relief experts are calling on the U.S. government to play a leadership role in ensuring that global food supply lines remain open

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“…time is of the essence if the United States wants to ease what could become the worst food crisis in a century – which could lead to political destabilization in countries where Washington has national security interests, such as Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

https://www.postguam.com/the_globe/world/fears-of-worsening-global-food-crisis-if-us-does-not-lead/article_0a0af51a-9b1d-11ea-8595-070232a9dbc1.html


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