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Covid-19 live timeline

Economic Update: More women losing jobs than men – ECB says financial stability is at risk’ – estimated 56 million out of work in China

28 May

Citi research has shown that the Covid-19 crisis is leading to more women then men losing their jobs, mainly due to the sectors that are being impacted most as well as often their role as caretaker of children or elderly.

Citi wrote on its blog: “Given this level of economic loss from women leaving the workforce, decision makers must take women into account in any policies being implemented to address the Covid-19 economic disruptions.

“These policies should be some of the same vital policies that supported female labor force participation and employment prior to the coronavirus shock.

“They include policy options that support women, workers, and families with caring responsibilities, options that support women, workers, and families facing job and economic loss, and policy options to support entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

 

The European Central Bank (ECB) has said that financial stability risks could arise as pre-pandemic vulnerabilities interact with the pandemic. These include richly valued asset prices, fragile investment funds, the sustainability of sovereign and corporate debt, and weak bank profitability.

ECB Vice-President Luis de Guindos said: “The pandemic has caused one of the sharpest economic contractions in recent history, but wide-ranging policy measures have averted a financial meltdown.

“However, the repercussions of the pandemic on bank profitability prospects and medium-term public finances will need to be addressed so that our financial system can continue to support the economic recovery.”

 

HSBC chief China economist Qu Hongbin wrote on the company’s blog that by April, only 76% of Chinese SMEs were back in business compared with 99% of larger companies in China.

Qu Hongbin wrote: “That means an estimated 56 million workers had not returned to work – many in locked-down retail or catering firms.

“Unlike in countries such as the US and UK, mainland China has not implemented a wage-protection scheme for furloughed workers.

“This means most of the estimated 81 million Chinese, or 18% of urban workers, who became ’employed, but not working’, were not receiving income.”

Hongbin believes that propping up domestic demand to support jobs thus remains a policy priority for China.

1:27 pm

Axora launches smart mining centre to help mining companies recover from Covid-19

Axora, an innovation hub for digital solutions, has launched an online smart mining resource centre to help mining companies recover after the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The smart mining resource centre provides industry insights and access to digital solutions and technologies which mining companies can adopt to accelerate their business growth, reduce wasted investment, and avoid duplication.

Click here for the full article

10:40 am

Brazil’s iron ore production set to recover post-Brumadinho disaster and Covid-19 to reach 498.3Mt by 2024

Since the start of 2019, iron ore production in Brazil has suffered due to the Brumadinho tailings dam disaster, weather-related conditions and the spread of Covid-19. In 2019, production from the country’s largest producer, Vale SA, was down by 21.5% year-on-year, with the company having to shut down several mines in February 2019 due to safety concerns following the Brumadinho disaster.

In Q1 2020, production disruption occurred due to the Covid-19 outbreak, along with the production losses of around 4.5Mt in the northern system, unscheduled maintenance at the SD11 complex, worse-than-expected weather conditions, a delay to the start of the Morro1 mining section and an operational loss of 2.1Mt in the southern system.

By 2024, however, Brazil’s production and overall exports are expected to grow steadily to reach 498.3Mt and 359.7Mt respectively, equivalent to CAGRs of 4.5% and 2.6% from 2020-2024.

To read more, please click here.

9:40 am

International Update: Global Covid cases near 5.7 million – more than 100,000 deaths in US as states relax lockdowns

28 May

Global: Known global cases near 5.7 million, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The UN World Food Program is warning that upward of at least 14 million people could go hungry in Latin America as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

US: Defence Secretary Mark Esper said that as the US military prepares for another potential wave of the coronavirus, it may do things a bit differently, providing more targeted aid for cities and states and possibly shorter quarantine times for troops.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the United States has recorded more than 100,000 deaths from Covid-19, moving past a sombre milestone even as many states relax mitigation measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Employers could bring workers back to office buildings more safely with steps including improving office ventilation, spacing workers apart and reducing shared objects like communal coffee pots, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Europe: Over a third of European foreign direct investment projects announced in 2019 have been either delayed or cancelled outright because of the coronavirus pandemic, an annual survey by professional services group EY found.

European governments moved to halt the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients, and a second global trial was suspended. These are further blows to hopes for a treatment promoted by US President Donald Trump.

South Korea: South Korea has reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases in 53 days, triggering warnings it may have to revert to stricter social distancing measures after appearing to have brought the outbreak under control.

Colombia: More than 200 Colombian nationals have asked their government to send a special flight to bring them home after camping out inside Brazil’s Sao Paulo’s international airport.

Thailand: Thailand on Thursday reported 11 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing its total to 3,065 confirmed cases and 57 fatalities since the outbreak started in January.

China: China will soon relax its border controls for seven more countries, the country’s civil aviation agency said, allowing domestic and foreign airlines to apply for the so-called “green channels” for chartered flights to the mainland.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Antamina restarts – Peru faces production drop – South African miners have reported 320 cases

28 May

Teck Resources has announced that Compania Minera Antamina, joint-owned by Teck, BHP, Glencore and Mitsubishi Corporation, has restarted operations at the Antamina mine with comprehensive Covid-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health of workers and local communities. Antamina, which has mobilised a reduced workforce, plans to work at roughly 80% of full capacity. A gradual ramp-up to full production is expected in the third quarter of this year.

Buenaventura general manager Victor Gobitz said Peru’s mining sector will witness a fall in production by at least 15% this year due to disruptions caused by Covid-19. The decline represents a loss of up to $5bn in revenues. Gobitz was quoted by Reuters as saying at a virtual news conference that large-scale mining, which makes up 80% of the country’s copper production, would not be fully up and running until early next month. The mining sector has been hit hard by the pandemic in Peru, which has so far reported 129,751 confirmed cases of the virus.

The Minerals Council South Africa has reported that mining industry in the country has so far recorded 320 cases of Covid-19, as underground mines prepare to increase output when Africa’s industrialised economy eases lockdown measures next week. South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum, chrome, gold and diamonds. Due to a nationwide lockdown that started in March, mines in the country were forced to close temporarily. According to the Minerals Council, close to 5,000 tests have been conducted so far for Covid-19 at mines.

Data released by India’s mines ministry has revealed an under-utilised fund amounting to $3.1bn, which could be a crucial resource in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The District Mineral Foundation funds were created under a law in 2015, with the money generated from contributions made by miners in addition to royalty payments, Bloomberg reported. The fund was aimed at improving the lives of people in areas affected by mining.

7:44 am

Covid-19 pandemic could cause housing crisis in US

28 May

The lockdown measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced workers to stay home and unable to work and earn money.

The unemployment benefits offered by the US government are not reaching the workers due to delays and eligibility issues.

As a result, the pandemic may cause a housing crisis as workers are unable to pay rent.

Pedro da Costa, Federal Reserve and economy watcher at Market News International, on how the pandemic may result in homelessness in the US.

California is expected to face an increase of 20% in homelessness and a more severe rate in other parts of the US.

If the economic downturn continues, the US is expected to witness more evictions and foreclosures than those recorded during the Great Recession.

Experts believe that it is essential that the government cover the costs of rent and help workers and landlords to avoid a housing crisis.

Read more

3:23 pm

Economic Update: Fitch Ratings cuts GDP forecasts again – McKinsey see opportunities for a greener recovery

27 May

Fitch Ratings has made further cuts to world GDP forecasts in its latest Global Economic Outlook (GEO).

Brian Coulton, Chief Economist, Fitch Ratings, said: “World GDP is now forecast to fall by 4.6% in 2020 compared to a decline of 3.9% predicted in our late-April GEO.

“This reflects downward revisions to the eurozone and the UK and, most significantly, to emerging markets (EM) excluding China.”

Fitch now expects Eurozone GDP to fall by 8.2% in 2020 compared to a contraction of 7.0%, and the UK 7.8% this year.

McKinsey has said that the tragedy of Covid-19 does present an opportunity for a greener recovery.

The consultancy said: “Low-carbon recovery could not only initiate the significant emissions reductions needed to halt climate change but also create more jobs and economic growth than a high-carbon recovery would.

“Our analysis of stimulus options for a European country suggests that mobilizing €75 billion to €150 billion of capital could yield €180 billion to €350 billion of gross value added, generate up to three million new jobs, and enable a carbon-emissions reduction of 15 to 30% by 2030.

Nomura predicted that Covid-19 is to derail Asia’s GDP growth to -0.5% y-o-y in 2020, from 5.3% in 2019. 8 out of 10 economies will contract in 2020 in the region.

The investment bank also said: “We expect China’s GDP growth to remain negative at -0.5% in Q2 and Beijing to roll out a large stimulus package soon.”

3:15 pm

Iran to launch 200 new industrial, mining, and trade projects

The Iranian Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade has announced plans to organise 200 new projects across the country by the end of March 2021. The news was reported by the Islamic Republic News Agency, a government body.

About 1.69 quadrillion rials ($40.23bn) has been invested in the planned projects, which are set to create job opportunities for 41,000 people.

The variety of projects selected can be characterised by factors like completing the industry’s value chain, reducing imports, being export-oriented, using technology, and creating jobs.

9:39 am

Amid Covid-19 challenges for raising capital, gold M&As were a feature of Q1 2020

The total value of mining deals declined by $3.4bn to $22.8bn in Q1 2020, a second consecutive decline. A series of challenges and high economic uncertainty has kept investors away from long-term financial instruments with a 32% fall in the capital raised by mining companies during the first quarter.

However, this decline was partially offset by a 26.4% increase in mergers and acquisitions (M&As), especially involving gold.

Click here to read the full article.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – South Africa faces production hit – Poland faces outbreak among miners – Lithium producers struggle with demand slump

27 May

The Minerals Council South Africa has warned that mining production in the country is likely to fall by between 8% and 10% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After a nationwide lockdown was announced in March to contain the virus, mines across South Africa were forced to close temporarily. Since 1 May, open-cast mines have been permitted to work at full capacity, while deep-level mines were restricted to 50% owing to concerns around the viability of social distancing in underground mines.

More than 3,600 miners have so far tested positive for Covid-19 in Poland. In the hardest-hit area of Poland, the Silesia region, miners account for half of the total confirmed cases. Results of large-scale testing are still coming in, according to the Polish press agency PAP.

BHP has established new partnerships to support communities through the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of this, the company’s Vital Resources Fund is offering more than $3.3m in funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled community health services across Australia. Using this funding, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health bodies and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services can continue to deliver critical health care services, distribute supplies and educate communities about transmission risks that are associated with the virus.

Lithium producers have been forced into survival mode with output cuts as well as delays in expansion and sales of major assets, Reuters reported, as the Covid-19 pandemic  has caused economic stress. Since January this year, lithium industry shares have dropped as the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has hit demand for the metal.

7:23 am

Economic recovery following Covid-19 may be more sluggish than initially predicted

27 May

The global economy is expected to face a prolonged downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many have predicted a U-shaped recovery as countries slowly ease restrictions. However, as the threat of a second wave of infections looms, the recovery may be more L-shaped with a sluggish recovery ahead.

Nouriel Roubini, Professor at Stern School NYU, shared an article containing his views on the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that the economic recovery will not be U-shaped as claimed by many economists but rather L-shaped resembling a greater depression.

Roubini noted that an L-shaped recovery means the economy will contract sharply and stay there for an extended period of time.

Read more

6:48 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: US Covid-19 deaths approach 100,000 – cases still on the increase in Brazil – Japan lifts state of emergency

27 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reach over 5,518,000 with over 346,700 deaths and 2,232,000 recoveries.

In the US, there are over 1,662,000 cases and over 98,000 deaths. However, Covid-19 deaths in the US are on the decline.

Brazil’s daily incidence is reported to be second only to the US and may become number one globally if the increasing incidence trend continues.

Daily incidence rates also continue to rise in Peru and Chile, making these three South American countries in the top six countries in terms of daily incidence rates.

In Japan, the state of emergency has lifted and marks the official end of the restrictions. The prime minister ended the state of emergency after a month and a half.

Japan currently has over 16,500 cases and over 800 deaths.

Nanthida Nanthavong, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

10:41 am

Poland coal miner sells coal online amid Covid-19 lockdown

Polish coal miner PGG has revamped its website, now offering coal to consumers for home delivery.

“Due to the epidemic crisis, the market for a lot of sectors has shown growing interest in online sales, ” PGG spokesman Tomasz Głogowski told PAP. “We suspect that in a few weeks, during sales season, the trend will also appear on the heating coal market.”

Customers pay online and can either have coal delivered, or they can collect their order from a company outpost in the town of Pszczyna in southern Poland. Currently, the system only accepts orders over 750kg.

Poland remains heavily reliant on coal for power generation, with the fuel used to produce 80% of the country’s power. Coal is also used in homes for heating, contributing to significant air pollution in Polish cities.

10:18 am

Czechia closes Darkov coal mine following 212 cases of Covid-19

Yesterday. Czech officials suspended work at the Darkov coal mine in the eastern city of Karviná, following 212 positive tests for Covid-19 among the mine’s workforce.

The shutdown follows weeks of growing concern over the spread of the virus at the mine, with confirmed cases of Covid-19 growing from 11 on 15 May to 84 by 19 May, and now over 200 just weeks later. Following the first set of positive tests, the mine’s operator, state-owned OKD, tightened hygiene measures at the project, including mandatory protective gear and regular health checks for workers, but these policies seem to have done little to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Karviná in general has been hit particularly hard by the virus, with the local government banning public gatherings of more than 100 people, compared to a ban on groups of 300 people elsewhere in Czechia, and there are concerns that the spread of Covid-19 among mineworkers will worsen this trend. Over 1,000 friends and family members of affected miners have been placed into quarantine following the shutdown, according to City Spy Prague.

The Darkov mine is a key component of the country’s coal industry; OKD is Czechia’s only producer of hard coal, and the mine is capable of processing up to 800 tonnes of ore per hour, retrieved from a shaft over one kilometre deep.

9:42 am

International Update: WHO warns of second Covid-19 peak as lockdowns ease, Indonesia deploys army and police after record infections surge

26 May

Global: There are almost 5.5 million Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins university coronavirus tracker, which has counted a total of 5,495,061 confirmed infections. The death toll stands at 346,232.

Countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an “immediate second peak” if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak, the World Health Organization said on Monday.

The World Health Organization has suspended testing the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients due to safety concerns.

Indonesia: Indonesia deployed hundreds of thousands of army and police personnel across the vast archipelago to enforce social-distancing rules, after a record surge in infections in the past week cast doubt on plans to reopen Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

US: The White House brings forward Brazil travel restrictions by two days, amending the timing to 11.59pm ET on Tuesday, 26 May.

The Trump administration said sufficient quantities of Abbott Laboratories’ ID NOW Covid-19 test and Quidel Corp.’s Sofia 2 instruments exist to support 200 million US tests per month.

Latam Airlines Group SA, Latin America’s largest air carrier, sought bankruptcy court protection in New York after the Covid-19 pandemic grounded flights across the region.

Australia: Australia will not open the country’s borders “anytime soon”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday, but added the country will continue its discussions with neighbouring New Zealand for a trans-Tasman safe travel zone.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia will revise curfew times this week, and lift it entirely across the Kingdom with the exception of the holy city of Mecca starting 21 June, state news agency reported in a statement early on Tuesday.

Germany: Germany threw Lufthansa a €9bn (US$9.8bn) lifeline on Monday, agreeing a bailout which gives Berlin a veto in the event of a hostile bid for the airline.

Iceland: Iceland eased its national alert against the coronavirus on Monday, allowing for public gatherings of up to 200 people and night clubs and gyms to reopen as the country nears complete recovery from the outbreak.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong International Airport will open for some transit services from 1 June, chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

China: China reported seven additional coronavirus cases by the end of 25 May , with all of them from abroad, according to a statement from the National Health Commission. Of the seven cases, five were reported in Inner Mongolia.

UK: England’s outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen from 1 June, as soon as they can meet guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said as he urged the public to spend money in stores when the curbs are lifted.

 

9:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – AngloGold Ashanti suspends Mponeng – Sierra Metals seeks Peru restart – Newcrest offers PPE support

26 May

AngloGold Ashanti has suspended operations at its Mponeng mine in South Africa after a total of 164 Covid-19 positive cases were identified at the site. Mining at Mponeng, the world’s deepest operating mine, will remain suspended while the company implements contact tracing, deep cleaning and sanitisation. The company has processed a total of 651 tests for the virus at the mine.

Sierra Metals said that it continues to seek consent from the Peruvian government to restart mining activities at the Yauricocha Mine after the country extended its lockdown until 30 June. The company wants to restart activities, citing its remote location and implementation of strict health protocols exceeding the guidelines put in place by the government. Large open-pit mines and a select number of underground mines in the country have already received permission to restart operations.

Newcrest Mining is supporting an initiative for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) by UNICEF for national distribution to Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) frontline health workers. The company is working with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the World Bank and the Japanese Government to support the procurement. Newcrest PNG chief operating officer Craig Jones said that the company is supporting the PNG government and its host communities to manage the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) is urging the Australian government to introduce reforms in an effort to protect the minerals industry and accelerate the country’s post-pandemic economic recovery. These reforms form part of the council’s priorities to fast track economic recovery in the sector. It has placed heavy emphasis on the mining industry’s major contributions to the country’s economy and declared that projects need to be accelerated to increase regional communities’ jobs as well as investment.

7:29 am

Testing needs to be ramped up for economies to re-open

26 May

Experts across world continue to highlight the need to reopen economies to limit the economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, some believe that unless testing capabilities are ramped up, reopening the economy may result in an upsurge in infection rate.

A Testing ramp up with limited lockdown measures may be the most optimal solution to reopening the economy.

Kaushik Basu, Professor of Economics at Cornell University, shared a chart comparing the mortality rates across various countries.

He noted that the mortality rates are so different that emerging economies cannot blindly imitate the economic policies of those implemented by European and North American nations.

Basu added that economic revival will depend on a limited lockdown that will enable the economy to function.

2:06 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Brazil about to overtake Russia with most Covid-19 cases after US – Indonesia reports a sharp rise

23 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 5,110,000, with over 333,000 deaths and 1,950,000 recoveries.

Cases have been rising sharply in Latin America with Peru, Mexico, and Chile each continuing to experience a record number of daily cases or deaths.

Meanwhile, Brazil is set to overtake Russia with second most number of cases in the world after the US.

Cases in India are rising at the fastest pace in Asia with a record number of daily new cases.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, is reporting sharp rise in new cases and will be the one to watch in the near future.

Indonesia is struggling to keep the spread of infection under reasonable control compared to neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:32 pm

Economic Update: McKinsey’s four forces that will mould the next normal – US DOL reveals more than 38 million unemployed

22 May

McKinsey has said that they are predicting “Four forces that will mold the next normal” in the post Covid-19 world.

Those being: The metamorphosis of demand, Rapid changes in the workforce, Shifts in regulation and Increasing information about protocols for safety.

According to the US Department Of Labor, (DOL) the US unemployment rate has increased by another 2.4 million in the week to 16 May, bringing the total of unemployed Americans to over 38 million since the start if the pandemic and consequent social distancing measures.

3:12 pm

Golden Star reports two Covid-19 cases at Prestea mine in Ghana

Golden Star Resources has reported two positive Covid-19 cases among employees at its Prestea mine in Ghana. As a precaution and after contact tracing, the company has placed 60 employees under quarantine.

Read more here.

10:39 am

Indian coal miners return to work after 51-day shutdown

The Singareni Collieries Corporation Company Limited (SCCL), an Indian state-owned miner operating projects in the south-central state of Telangana, has announced that almost two-thirds of employees returned to work on Thursday, following a 51-day suspension of activities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, which employs around 48,000 people across its 27 mines, claimed that 60,000 tonnes of coal production were lost during the shutdown, and has been eager to restart work following significant disruption to its operations. Just five of the company’s mines remained open during the shutdown, and these were only working at half capacity, as SCCL tried to enforce social distancing measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.

SCCL has implemented a number of safety measures at its reopened mines, including building hand-washing stations and requiring workers to wear masks when heading underground, as the government tries to cope with the growing pandemic. According to Worldometers, India has the 11th-most cases of Covid-19 in the world, with over 119,000, and has struggled to provide tests for its vast population, with just 1,973 tests per million people.

9:32 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 5.1 million – Brazil deaths exceed 20,000 – Australia extends ban on cruise ship visits

22 May

Global: Global cases stand at 5,102,573, with deaths reported at 332,924, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukraine have reached an agreement in principle on a new $5bn aid package to help Kyiv battle the coronavirus crisis.

Germany and Russia urged the United Nations to partially reopen its New York City headquarters as the secretary general proposes to scale back the annual General Assembly meeting in September.

Brazil: Latin America’s biggest country has recorded a one-day death toll of 1,188, taking the confirmed total to 20,047.

Indonesia: Indonesia has had its biggest one day jump in cases: the world’s fourth most populous country reported 973 new infections on Thursday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 20,162.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 20 new cases, which came as health authorities worked to contain the cluster connected to Seoul nightclubs.

Thailand: Thailand reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths on Friday, maintaining the total of 3,037 confirmed cases and 56 fatalities since the outbreak started in January.

Thailand will extend its nationwide state of emergency for another month through June, according to Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 centre.

China: China took the rare move of not setting an annual growth target this year after the coronavirus battered the world’s second-largest economy and ravaged global growth.

Australia: New South Wales has announced cafes and restaurants will be allowed to have up to 50 patrons from 1 June, up from ten currently allowed.

Australia extended its ban on cruise ship visits for three months until September 17. The Australian Border Force said any cruise ship capable of carrying more than 100 passengers is prohibited from operating cruises in the country.

Australia is seeking an exemption from a requirement that travellers arriving in the United Kingdom quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

India: India’s central bank cut interest rates in an unscheduled announcement on Friday, ramping up support for an economy it expects will contract for the first time in more than four decades.

US: The US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday that 27 antibody tests will no longer be distributed in the US, part of a previously announced crackdown on the tests.

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Tardan reports cases – Colombia coal production declines – Hudbay Minerals delays extension

22 May

Auriant Mining’s subsidiary Tardan Gold has reported 26 Covid-19 cases among its 271 employees working at the Tardan mine in Tyva, Russia. The tests were carried out as part of a government initiative to contain the spread of the virus in the region. All the employees showed no symptoms. In accordance with the instructions of the Russian authority responsible for the containment of Covid-19, Tardan Gold has implemented quarantine measures. All employees tested positive have been placed under observation in a separate quarantine facility at the mine.

Coal production in Colombia has declined 7.2% in the first quarter due to low prices and the impact of quarantine measures in effect. National Mining Agency head Silvana Habib said that the fall in prices in addition to the reduction in operations of some companies as a preventative contingency measure are the principal causes of the decrease in coal production. A national lockdown started in Colombia in March, which forced many mines to reduce operations.

Canada-based mining company Hudbay Minerals has announced that a delay of up to four months is expected before it can start mining an extension at its Constancia copper mine in Peru. Hudbay president and CEO Peter Kukielski said in February that it expected to start mining the Pampacancha satellite deposit this year, but restrictions imposed to fight the Covid-19 pandemic have limited the ability of the government to consult with the local indigenous community.

Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 2.1% higher at $101.67 a tonne, increasing for a seventh straight session. The commodity has recovered lost ground as worries about its tightening supply from Brazil prevailed over a bleak outlook for steel demand across the globe.

8:03 am

Strategic lockdown lifting may help economies recover

22 May

Lockdown measures implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic have led to contraction of GDP levels globally.

Research indicates that some of the damage caused by the pandemic may be undone by lifting the restrictions.

The lockdown measures, however, should be lifted based on a strategic approach to avoid the threat of a second wave of infections.

Gregory Daco, Chief US Economist at Oxford Economics, shared an article on how lifting of lockdown restrictions in China helped in returning the industry value to positive levels in April.

Retail sales, however, were lagging due to consumers’ maintaining voluntary social distancing.

The article notes that based on the trends in China, the global economy may start to expand again if the lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Consumers may start to spend on goods and services that they could not purchase in the second quarter but will also cut back their spending on other areas, the article added.

Read more

7:25 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases exceed 5 million – increases continue in Latin America – no new cases in London

22 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 5,000,000, with over 328,000 deaths and 1,900,000 recoveries.

In Europe and North America, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

In Latin America, Peru, Mexico, and Chile each continues to experience a record number of daily cases or death.

Peru has second most number of cases after Brazil in Latin America.

Cases in India are increasing at the fastest pace in Asia with a 30% increase in cases since last week.

After facing the brunt of Covid-19 in the UK, London has reported steep decline in daily new cases with no new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

This is a positive development, but it remains to be seen if this decline in new cases will continue in the near future.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

2:22 pm

National Union of Mineworkers concerned about virus in mines

South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is concerned about the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the mining industry, particularly in the province of Limpopo and at the state-owned Eskom’s operations.

The union said that some operations in Limpopo had become hotspots, with the virus spreading at an alarming rate. The NUM is said to be concerned about the impact on mining communities if the virus is not contained.

The NUM has been critical of mining companies, accusing them of “not complying with Covid-19 regulations,” and said that the regulator must “deal harshly” with companies that are not abiding by the regulations.

2:14 pm

Economic Update: Covid-19 worst pandemic driven economic impact since 2000 – people could be out of work for 2-3 years

21 May

Deloitte economist Akrur Barua says that the economic impact of Covid-19 is likely to be more harsh than other epidemics and pandemics in Asia since 2000:

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Asia will likely be worse than other epidemics and pandemics due to three key reasons.

“Firstly, the scale of the current pandemic is much larger than any other health care crisis this century.

“Secondly, state-mandated social distancing in Asia (and the world over) now is way more severe than in the past.

“Finally, Asia plays a bigger role in the world economy and is more interconnected with the rest of the world now than at the time of SARS.”

A new report from the World Economic Forum looks at what the coronavirus pandemic means for the world, based on the views and analysis of 350 senior risk professionals.

Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum and Head of Centre for the New Economy and Society, concluded: “The effects of recent events will be felt by many businesses for years to come and some may not survive without support.

“We have to think much more carefully about helping with reskilling and upskilling, and providing better social safety nets for affected workers, because it may be a two- to three-year journey before they’re able to move into a new sector.

“We’re already starting to see some of the permanent structural changes brought about by the impact of the pandemic.

“As parts of Asia and Europe begin to emerge from lockdown restrictions, there are signs of seemingly permanent changes in consumer behavior.

“We have to start rethinking where future sources of economic growth will come from.”

 

12:19 pm

Hwange Colliery announces Q1 growth despite Covid-19

Hwange Colliery, the Zimbabwean coal miner, has announced a 50% yield increase in the first quarter, despite Covid-19’s “challenging operating environment,” as the firm’s production rose from 1,17,165 tonnes in Q1 2019 to 1,75,849 tonnes in Q1 2020.

In a trading update for the quarter, the company has said that its revenue improved by 860%, amounting to $219.2m, while gross profit was on a positive growth trajectory, rising by 22% to $22.8m.

9:38 am

International Update: Covid-19 infections near 5 million – Europe told to brace itself for second wave – global trade lowest in four years says WTO

21 May

Global: After the biggest single-day increase in cases worldwide so far in the pandemic, the number of confirmed infections is close to 5 million, with the Johns Hopkins University data currently listing 4,996,634.

The World Health Organization gave a stark warning on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, after 106,000 new cases were recorded worldwide over the past 24 hours – the most in a single day so far.

International imports and exports have fallen to their lowest level for at least four years, according to World Trade Organization figures.

Europe: Europe should brace itself for a second wave of coronavirus infections, according to the director of the EU agency responsible for advising governments on disease control.

European Union regulators called on passengers to wear face masks, observe physical distancing and frequently wash their hands in new guidelines for air travel in the age of Covid-19.

Greece: Tourists will be welcomed back to Greece from 15 June, the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has announced.

Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the country won’t be cutting foreign aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, and further relief for poor nations is needed.

UK: The number of unaccompanied young migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain has spiked during the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions force them onto boats rather than trucks.

US: Donald Trump has said he may seek to revive a face-to-face meeting of Group of Seven leaders near Washington, after earlier canceling the gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Expedia Group Inc. followed its peers in the online travel industry in witnessing a staggering decline in business since the spread of the virus, with total gross bookings down 39% in the first quarter.

Mexico: At least 500 Cuban health workers are helping tackle the coronavirus in Mexico City, Mexican officials told Reuters, making it likely the largest contingent the communist-led island has deployed globally as part of its response to the pandemic.

Japan: Japan’s economy minister says experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighbouring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido.

Cambodia: Cambodia has announced the lifting of a travel ban of tourists from Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US.

South Korea: South Korea’s exports of coronavirus test kits are expected to gather momentum down the road due to high overseas demand, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday, quoting industry sources.

 

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Harmony Gold confirms cases – Brazil’s crisis drives higher iron prices – Sulphur prices rise 10%

21 May

Harmony Gold has confirmed that two employees of a contractor working at its Kalgold gold mine located near Mafikeng in South Africa’s North West province have tested positive for Covid-19. Both the individuals were asymptomatic and identified as positive through the company’s testing process that is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Health. Harmony is currently tracing possible contacts and all those identified will be either self-quarantined or quarantined at a company facility for 14 days.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Chamber of Mines said that the mining sector in the country will see a rise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities following the Covid-19 pandemic. Standard Bank DRC CEO Amedeo Anniciello was quoted by Reuters as saying that the country has value of mineral resources in the country is $24tn. The bank is expected to provide capital for deals in partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

The Covid-19 crisis in Brazil has disrupted supplies of iron ore across the globe, just as demand from China is picking up, The Wall Street Journal reported. This pushed the price of the commodity to a seven-month high. Iron ore, which is a heavily traded commodity, can influence the price of other materials used in everything from buildings to cars.

Disruptions caused by Covid-19 have resulted in the increase of sulphur prices by about 10% this year in the DRC, Reuters reported. This has increased the costs of a vital ingredient for mining cobalt and copper in the country. The DRC, which accounted for 70% of global supplies of cobalt last year, is the world’s biggest producer of the metal, which is used in alloys for jet engines and batteries for phones and electric cars.

7:44 am

Covid-19 driven recession could impact 2020 graduate careers for a decade

21 May

Unemployment levels have reached new highs over the last three months since the lockdown was initiated in the US.

As millions of students graduate during this uncertain time, their future job prospects remain bleak.

Careers and earnings may be impacted for graduates for many years.

Konstantina Beleli, an economist and journalist, shared an article on how million of students in US are graduating in one of the worst job markets witnessed since the Great Depression.

The article notes that the unemployment rate in the US currently stands at 14.7% but for people aged between 20 and 24, the rate increases to 25.7%, according to statistics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Research suggests that the careers and earnings of these students are expected to be impacted for more than a decade.

Read more

7:10 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global confirmed Covid-19 cases exceed 4.9 million – record daily numbers of new cases in South America

21 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,900,000, with over 323,000 deaths and 1,690,000 recoveries.

Brazil account for most of the daily confirmed cases in Latin America.

Meanwhile, countries to watch will be Peru, Mexico, and Chile as each continues to experience a record number of daily cases.

Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Chile have each set a record high of new daily cases.

In Europe and North America, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

It has been accepted that children are not the group most at risk from Covid-19.

However, as schools have started to reopen in Europe; it remains unclear whether they are super spreaders and transmit the infection even if they are asymptomatic.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

2:19 pm

Economic Update: Global economy expected to shrink by 1.9% – growth still predicted for China and India

20 May

The global economy is now expected to shrink by 1.9% in 2020, according to experts from GlobalData.

Western Europe and the US are still expected to bear the brunt, with Italy’s GDP forecast to contract by 10% over the year.

France’s GDP is predicted to shrink by 8.6%, the UK’s by 8.2%, Spain’s by 7.9% and Germany’s by 6.6%.

Those forecasts are slightly worse than GlobalData was forecasting a week ago.

The US’s estimate has been revised upwards, however, with the country seeing a steady decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths.

GlobalData now predicts the US economy will shrink by 5.0% across 2020 – slightly less than the 5.3% predicted a week ago.

Latin American countries, where the numbers of Covid-19 cases are now surging, are also expecting an economic downturn. Mexico’s economy is expected to contract by 7.0% in 2020, Peru’s by 4.1% and Brazil’s by 4.0%.

China and India are among the few countries predicted to still see economic growth this year.

Covid-19 macroeconomic dashboard

12:08 pm

Economic Update: US GDP to contract by 11% in Q2 – eyes on China’s additional fiscal support – UK GDP downgraded

20 May

The US Congressional Budget office has said that it estimates that real gross domestic product will contract by 11% in the second quarter of this year, which is equivalent to a decline of 38% at an annual rate, and that the number of people employed will be almost 26 million lower than the number in the fourth quarter of 2019.

World Bank commentators have written that all eyes are on China this week as additional fiscal support to stem downward pressure on growth is expected:

“How to spend may be as important as how much to spend. China’s fiscal stimulus should be aligned with its medium-term objectives of rebalancing the economy toward more inclusive and greener growth.

“This suggests that the priority this time around needs to be enhancing China’s social safety nets and investing in accelerating the transition toward a carbon-neutral, more resource-efficient and competitive economy.”

Deloitte UK chief economist Ian Stewart has written on the company’s blog that due to the UK’s slow lockdown easing and contraction of economic activity, the firm is downgrading its 2020 UK GDP forecast, ‘with an expected contraction of 11.7% compared to our previous estimate of 6.8%’.

Stewart says: “For 2021 we see the economy growing by 8.5%, up from a previous forecast of 6.5%. Our 2020 forecast is at the low end of the current range of forecasts, which on average expect a contraction of 7.9% this year.

“However, the trend has been for forecasters to downgrade their numbers, with more recent forecasts consistently more pessimistic than earlier ones.”

11:04 am

Covid-19 crisis drives companies to rethink global expansion strategies

The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates global foreign direct investment flows will contract by as much as 40% over the next year.

But is the impact equal across all sectors and geographies?

Where will companies pull back from, and where will tomorrow’s opportunities most likely be found?

How are companies changing their modes of entry for new markets in order to adapt to the current conditions?

NS Media Group – which is set to launch a dedicated information service focused on corporate cross-border expansion – is running a short survey to help answer these questions and would like to hear directly from executives in multinational companies involved in overseas investment decisions as to how corporate strategies are evolving.

This is an essential piece of research to better understand the impact Covid-19 is having in global business and investment.

View the survey

10:29 am

Mining equipment suppliers facing a tough second quarter

The spread of Covid-19 over the course of the first quarter of 2020 negatively impacted leading mining equipment suppliers’ revenues and profits with revenues down by between 7% and 21%. However, an even greater impact is expected in the second quarter.

Out of Caterpillar, Komatsu, Sandvik and Epiroc, it was Caterpillar that had the steepest decline in sales and revenues in the first quarter. Caterpillar’s Q1 2020 sales and revenue was $10.6bn, 21% lower than in Q1 2019, due to ‘lower sales volume driven by lower end-user demand and the impact from changes in dealer inventories’.

Click here to read the full article.

10:17 am

South Africa published Covid-19 safety guidelines for mines

The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has published guidelines for the management of Covid-19 in the country’s mining sector, as work continues amidst the pandemic.

Miners are now obligated to implement a code of practice that complies with “any relevant guidelines and instructions issued by [the] government”, according to the DMRE, and names a number of specific regulations mining companies must follow in order to continue operating. These include compliance with the 2002 Disaster Management Act and working alongside recommendations from the country’s department of health, department of employment and labour, and the World Health Organisation, to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.

Read more about the impacts of Covid-19 on South African mining here.

10:02 am

International Update: Covid-19 cases approach 5 million – EU criticizes Trump’s threat to permanently cut US funding for the WHO

20 May

Global: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 323,286 people are known to have died while at least 4,897,567 are confirmed as having been infected since the outbreak began.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the developed world could learn lessons from the preventative measures taken by many African countries to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus shutdowns around the world could undo three years of gains in alleviating poverty, the president of the World Bank has said.

The European Union hailed the World Health Assembly’s approval of an EU-sponsored resolution on the virus, saying the move highlights the importance of a “collective response” to the pandemic and criticized Trump’s threat to permanently cut US funding for the WHO.

US: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday praised the Taiwan’s coronavirus response and called it a reliable partner, in a statement congratulating President Tsai Ing-wen on her inauguration for a second term that stood in sharp contrast with recent US criticism of China.

New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority will use ultraviolet light to help remove Covid-19 from its subways, buses and commuter trains as the technology has been shown to eradicate the virus from surfaces.

Moderna Inc. fell as much as 12% after trade publication Stat reported the company withheld key information about its coronavirus vaccine.

The US and Canada will keep their border shut to non-essential travel for another month as efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are extended.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has suggested employers to consider a four-day working week and other flexible working options as a way to boost tourism and help employees address persistent work/life balance issues.

Netherlands: The Netherlands will press ahead with a further easing of lockdown measures in June due to a steadily declining number of infections and hospital admissions, its prime minister Mark Rutte has said.

The Dutch government confirmed that bars and restaurants can start opening for business again next month as the country slowly lifts more restrictions to aid an economy hurting from the coronavirus outbreak.

UK: There will be no “face-to-face lectures” at the University of Cambridge in the 2020/21 academic year, the institution has said.

Rishi Sunak, the UK’s chancellor, said the country is facing “a severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen”.

Estonia: The Baltic nation of Estonia has started testing one of the world’s first digital immunity passports, according to Back to Work, a coalition of technology firms, medical experts and local government officials which are developing the app.

9:14 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Antofagasta cuts dividend – Mining could be key to Brazil’s recovery – Newmont set to restart

Antofagasta has cut its 2019 final dividend by $70m, citing uncertainty due to Covid-19 restrictions in Chile, as mining companies across the globe fight supply chain disruptions and production halts. The company, which will now pay a final dividend of 17.8 cents per share, amounting to $175.5m, said that the restrictions in the country are not expected to impact its current operations.

Brazilian mining association Ibram said that the mining sector in the country is expected to be the first to rebound from the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic due to large iron ore capacity and demand from China. Reuters quoted Ibram president Flávio Penido as saying that there could be a negative impact on the country’s production if the government fails to contain the spread of the virus, and that the mining sector will be the first sector to recover from the effects of Covid-19 on the Brazilian economy.

Newmont announced that it will continue to ramp up operations at Peñasquito, Cerro Negro, Éléonore and Yanacocha. In the coming weeks, 13 sites among the company’s 12 operating mines and two joint ventures will be completely operational. Newmont president and CEO Tom Palmer said that the company will continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic from a position of strength.

Mining companies that depend on indigenous workers or operate near remote communities have had to act fast to contain the virus at their operations and avoid a health crisis. Reuters reported that the companies have changed rosters to stop outsiders infecting remote communities and are paying staff with potential health issues to stay at home. There are concerns that mining operations could spread the virus to indigenous communities.

8:27 am

Trade wars could result from Covid-19 driven economic downturn

20 May

Global trade wars could result from the devastating economic impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Some countries have held China accountable for not controlling the spread of the disease.

Prof. Steve Hanke, Applied Economist Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the 80% tariff imposed by China on barley exports from Australia for five years.

China is imposing the tariff after Australia became one of 100 countries that called for a probe into the spread of the Covid-19 disease.

Similar actions on other countries are also expected in the near future, with experts predicting that global trade wars are in the making.

Read more

7:30 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 4.8 million – concerns over accurate reporting in Africa

20 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,810,000, with over 319,000 deaths and 1,790,000 recoveries.

In Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries except for Russia which continues to experience an increase in cases.

Brazil in Latin America and the US in North America account for most of the reported daily confirmed cases in that continent.

There are ​approximately 85,000 confirmed cases and 3,000 Covid-19 deaths in Africa.

The relatively low death toll had raised hopes that Africa may be spared worst of this pandemic, until recently. ​

A WHO model estimated that although cases might rise exponentially to at least a quarter of a billion people infected in Africa this year, countries in Africa will have fewer deaths than Europe and the US because of its younger population ​and lower comorbidity prevalence such as diabetes. ​

However, the current reported death toll is unlikely to accurately reflect the true extent of the outbreak’s impact in Africa due to testing limitations.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

3:34 pm

Czech Covid-19 cases rise amid outbreak in OKD’s Darkov mine

The Czech Republic has announced its biggest daily rise of new Covid-19 cases in four weeks, climbing by 111. The increase is partly due to an outbreak in the Darkov mine, operated by state-owned coal miner OKD, Czech Radio reported.

It was further reported that 53 cases had been confirmed among 860 miners tested by Monday evening, near the eastern town of Karvina, where the mine is located.

2:28 pm

Almost 50,000 ‘excess’ deaths in England and Wales, says ONS

19 May

Nearly 50,000 more people than expected have died in England and Wales since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

New figures put out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning show an estimated 49,647 “excess” deaths occurred from 14 March to 8 May, with 39,071 of those attributed to Covid-19.

However, the number of weekly deaths, both caused by the virus and overall, is now at its lowest since the start of April.

11:24 am

Economic Update: UNCTAD projects trade decline of 27% – IMF questions future financial stability – UK Jobseekers exceed 2 million

19 May

The coronavirus pandemic has led to a 3% drop in global trade values in the first quarter of 2020, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The downturn is expected to accelerate in the second quarter, according to UNCTAD forecasts, which project a quarter-on-quarter decline of 27%.

International Monetary Fund researchers have written in a blog that relying on monetary policy alone to respond to shocks from events such as Covid-19 might not be enough and also raise questions about side effects on future financial stability and threats to central bank independence:

“While keeping an eye on debt sustainability concerns over the long term, fiscal policy needs to play a larger role. Putting in place more automatic fiscal responses in advanced economies could help build their resilience to future adverse shocks.

“If rules for fiscal stimulus are well communicated and established before shocks occur, they can help shape expectations and reduce uncertainty, thereby dampening the drop in activity once a negative shock materialises.”

The UK Office for National Statistics said that in April there was a 69.1% month-on-month increase in the number of claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance, taking the level to over 2 million.

10:56 am

Daily Report: Big falls in Covid-19 fatalities in Europe – global figures lag behind

19 May

Western Europe and America might have “passed the peak” – but many countries around the world are still very much fighting a rising tide of Covid 19.

Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Peru, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia have all seen daily death figures rise, when calculated as a seven-day rolling average.

The rise in South America and elsewhere means that global figures are only going down slightly week-on-week, despite big falls in Europe.

In the last seven days, 32,151 people died after being tested positive for the disease, according to the latest data from John’s Hopkins University.

That compares to 34,793 over the previous week.

At least 318,481 people have now died from the disease worldwide.

Covid-19 daily report

9:41 am

International Update: Global Covid cases pass 4.8 million – Trump taking hydroxychloroquine – IMF says full economic recovery unlikely in 2021.

19 May

Global: Global cases pass 4.8 million. There are 4,805,005 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The World Health Organization said on Monday an independent review of the global coronavirus response would begin as soon as possible.

IMF chief says full economic recovery unlikely in 2021.

Studies from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums have confirmed that more than 85,000 museums across the world – about 90 percent of all institutions – have shut because of the coronavirus.

US: President Trump has said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, his doctor released a letter confirming that they had discussed the use of the drug and “concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.

Some areas of New York City have seen death rates nearly 15 times higher than others, according to data released by New York City’s health department, showing the disproportionate toll taken on poorer communities.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set aside $11bn in new funding to support coronavirus testing.

US President Donald Trump has again attacked the WHO calling the UN agency a “puppet of China” that has “done a very sad job” in handling the coronavirus.

Brazil: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Brazil stands at 255,368, according to Johns Hopkins University, overtaking the UK to become the third-worst affected country in terms of cases.

Australia: The death toll in Australia has reached 100, following the death of a 93-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with Covid-19.

Qantas Airways Ltd. said putting extra space between passengers on planes could lead to a big increase in airfares and discourage people from flying.

India: The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India has passed 100,000, currently standing at 100,328 according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

Qatar: Qatar will close all shops and halt all commercial activities, from 19 to 30 May.

Italy: Italy registers lowest deaths since March as bars, restaurants, shops, hairdressers, museums and churches reopen. The country registered 99 deaths and 451 infections on Monday.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – MIT supports small-scale miners – Freeport-McMoRan to reduce Indonesian operations – Miners cut 2020 capex

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-Lab has partnered with artisanal and small-scale gold miners in Colombia as part of a programme to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the community. D-Lab and partners will also deliver virtual trainings on making masks and hand sanitisers. With the onset of Covid-19, the market for gold has ground to a halt and small mining communities have few defences against the novel coronavirus. More than 12,000 cases have been recorded in Colombia.

The Indonesian subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan has announced plans to cut the workforce at its Grasberg mine following an increase in coronavirus infections in the area, including at the mine workers’ living quarters. Three deaths have also been reported. The move is aimed at ensuring workers at the mine can comply with physical distancing measures, while avoiding any further spread of the virus. A total of 17,514 have been infected with Covid-19 in Indonesia and 1,148 have died.

Metals mining company Hochschild Mining has restarted production at its Inmaculada and Pallancata mines located in Peru. The company plans to reissue its full-year forecast after achieving full production and clearance of the overall impact of the output suspensions due to Covid-19-related restrictions. Hochschild operates two mines in southern Peru and one in Argentina and is targeting full output from these locations in the coming weeks. Last month, it withdrew its 2020 forecast citing uncertainties related to the coronavirus crisis.

Mining companies across the globe have been forced to cut their 2020 capital expenditure by about 19%, and copper production outlook by 8%, data compiled by Reuters revealed. Due to the spread of the virus, demand for metals has been hit and several countries were forced to suspend large parts of their economies to contain the outbreak.

7:39 am

Covid-19 lockdown increases online spending to 25% – 100,000 stores could close

19 May

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced retail and food outlets to remain closed to avoid the spread of the disease and comply with the lockdown measures.

Consumers unable to make purchases in physical stores are increasingly opting for online services for a variety of products.

Gregory Daco, Chief US Economist at Oxford Economics, shared a chart on how the recession caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is shifting consumer spending towards online shopping, which increased by 15% to 25%.

Consumers are purchasing various products online including office supplies, consumer electronics, home furnishings, auto parts etc.

In the article, UBS Group notes that approximately 100,000 retail stores will close over the next five years as online shopping picks up.

Clothing, electronics and home furnishings stores are expected to be most affected by this trend.

Read more

7:13 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: More than 4.7 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide – concerns about rapid spread in Brazil

19 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,720,000, with over 316,000 deaths and 1,750,000 recoveries.

Latin and North America continue to see a rise in daily confirmed cases, whereas in Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease in majority of the countries.

Russia continues to experience a surge in cases, ranking second in the world behind the US.

India, the second most populous country in the world, has seen rise in daily confirmed cases, which has prompted it to extend the lock-down by two weeks.

This pandemic has also hit indigenous population in Brazil raising concerns about how quickly the disease had spread through remote vulnerable communities with poor access to healthcare facilities.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:44 pm

Covid-19: How are mining companies keeping workers safe?

Mining Technology has taken a look at the measures some of the world’s top mining companies have taken to prevent Covid-19 outbreaks at their operations.

A GlobalData report found that around 1,600 mining operations had been temporarily suspended or part-suspended at the start of April as Covid-19 spread worldwide. With a number of countries now lifting lockdown measures and mines being permitted to restart, politicians, mining companies and mining unions have expressed concern at the ability of mines to be operated while maintaining physical distancing measures aimed at suppressing the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more here.

4:02 pm

Cities And Regions Update: Changes in infections focus as lockdowns ease – Illinois in US and UK North West gain prominence

18 May

The number of new daily Covid-19 cases had continued to drop in the most affected regions in Europe and America, with most new cases recorded in Mexico and some South American countries.

Illinois has overtaken Massachusetts as the third most affected region in the US, with the number of daily new cases there quickly approaching those in New York.

In the UK, where restrictions were slightly eased on May 13, the north west of England has now recorded 23,610 cases of Covid-19 and is set to overtake London as the epicentre of the outbreak with numbers.

Lombardy, the most affected region of Italy, has seen more modest decreases in the number of new cases compared to the rest of the country.

Italy’s shops and cafes reopened on Monday after ten weeks of lockdown.

Madrid has also seen a slight uptick in the proportion of Spain’s new Covid-19 cases.

This chart is currently being updated weekly with the latest figures – although some countries have a slight delay in publishing the very latest case numbers by region or state.

Covid-19 regional comparison chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:00 pm

Glencore supplies food parcels in Mpumalanga

Glencore has distributed more than 1,250 food parcels, worth over ZAR658,000 ($35,840), to the communities of Mpumalanga, as part of its ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mining Weekly reported that Glencore Coal is working in close collaboration with local municipalities, the Department of Health and the company’s social partner, Re-Action! to counter the impact of Covid-19 on the community.

Glencore previously set up a $25m Covid-19 response fund to support the communities the company operates in, and the company pledged to work with governments and health agencies across 189 sites worldwide to tailor the most effective response to support local and regional communities.

11:19 am

Daily Report: Some South American countries seeing a rise in Covid-19 fatalities – worldwide trend is down

18 May

The daily rate of deaths attributed Covid-19 has continued to fall.

Most counties worldwide – including the US and the UK – are now on a downward trajectory of new deaths.

However, some South American countries are struggling to control the outbreak, with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador all seeing the number of deaths rise, when looking at a rolling average.

At least 315,185 people have died from Covid-19.

Covid-19 daily report

10:57 am

Economic Forecast: US recovery could take until the end of 2021 – job losses and disinflation the medium term outlook for Europe

18 May

US Federal Reserve: Jay Powell warns US recovery could take until end of 2021 saying the Fed and Congress might still have to do more to support the economy, according to an exclusive interview with CBS.

Writing about Europe’s labour market HSBC Senior European Economist Chris Hare said that the medium-term outlook is for job losses and disinflation.

“But for the longer-term, weak labour supply and a shift away from low-cost employment risks weaker economic growth, squeezed company profits and higher inflation.

“A large portion of recent Eurozone and UK GDP growth came from employment expansion. If migration and labour participation gains now stagnate, long-term employment growth could be very weak.

“But profits cannot be squeezed forever: recovery may eventually give firms more power to raise prices more quickly this time.”

In a May 17 note, Goldman Sachs economists Prachi Mishra and Andrew Tilton Goldman estimated that India will have its deepest recession ever as they forecast the GDP to contract 45% in Q2 this year. However, the bank also predicts a 20% uplift in Q3.

 

 

 

10:39 am

Hochschild to resume mining at Peruvian operations

South American miner Hochschild Mining has announced plans to resume operations at its two Peruvian mines, the Inmaculada and Pallancata projects, following the successful restart of work at its San Jose mine in Argentina.

The miner announced that it had met all of the safety requirements set by the Peruvian Government to restart operations at its two mines, bringing an end to the industrial disruption triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures. The move means all three of the company’s mines will be online “in the coming weeks”, according to Hochschild, and CEO Ignacio Bustamante is optimistic that the restart will be the first step in a comprehensive resumption of activities.

“I am pleased that we are now in a position to restart our Peruvian operations and we intend to execute a disciplined remobilisation of our workforce in line with the prescribed health protocols and guidelines from the government,” said Bustamante.

Read more about the miner’s plans to restart operations here.

9:46 am

International Update: Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Brazil – fatalities fall in Europe – US freeze on WHO payments continues

18 May

Global: There are 4,716,513 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. At least 315,187 people have died over the course of the pandemic so far.

Sunday has seen lower death tolls reported in the UK, Spain and Italy. The UK’s daily coronavirus death toll was the lowest since lockdown began, with 170 deaths recorded. Meanwhile, Spain has recorded its lowest single-day death toll in two months. Italy on Sunday recorded its lowest daily toll, 145, since lockdown was declared.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to raise the question of Taiwan’s participation as an observer at the World Health Assembly (WHA), which opens virtually on Monday, before one of its committees.

Brazil: In Brazil, the BBC reports that the mayor of São Paulo, the country’s largest city, has warned that hospitals have reached 90% capacity and are “near collapse”: they could run out of space in just two weeks’ time, he said.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Brazil have surpassed the total in Italy, with the country announcing nearly 15,000 new infections on Saturday. This takes Brazil’s total to more than 230,000, the fourth-largest confirmed caseload after the US, Russia and the UK.

US: US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Sunday that US unemployment could hit 25%, but expressed optimism Sunday that the economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave.

President Donald Trump said US payments to the World Health Organization that he froze last month may return at 10% of the existing level. Trump said the cut is one of the numerous options he’s considering. A cut to 10% would match “much lower China payments,” Trump said in a tweet responding to broadcaster Lou Dobbs. “Have not made final decision. All funds are frozen,” Trump said.

Japan: Japan dived into its first recession since 2015, according to official data Monday, with the world’s third-largest economy contracting by 0.9% in the first quarter as it wrestles with the fallout from the coronavirus.

South Africa: South Africa on Sunday reported 1,160 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily number since the first case was recorded in March, AFP reports.

India: India has extended a nearly two-month-old lockdown by another two weeks with Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai and other key regions still fighting to control the rising curve of coronavirus infections.

Nigeria: Nigeria has seized a British plane for defying a travel ban imposed as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the aviation minister said Sunday.

Qatar: Qatar has begun enforcing the world’s toughest penalties of up to three years’ in prison for failing to wear masks in public, in a country with one of the highest coronavirus infection rates.

Italy: Italy’s shops, restaurants and hair salons have been preparing to reopen on Monday, as the government further eases the lockdown.

China: The city of Wuhan conducted 222,675 nucleic acid tests on 16 May, the local health authority said, nearly doubling from a day earlier.

Russia: The growth of new coronavirus cases in Russia is stabilising, a top health official has said, as the daily tally fell under 10,000 for the third time this week.

Spain: Spain recorded 102 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours from 138 deaths reported on Friday, according to data from the Health Ministry. New infections increased by 539 to 230,698, compared to 549 the previous day.

Thailand: The ban on international commercial flights to Thailand that was supposed to end on May 31 will be extended for another month, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand said.

 

9:21 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Impala Platinum suspends operations – Ecuador set for restart – Sepon gold mine ahead of schedule

18 May

South Africa’s Impala Platinum has temporarily suspended operations at its Marula operation in Limpopo province after it identified 19 Covid-19 positive cases. Of these cases, 14 were identified as the result of proactive testing of employees returning to work. One of the remaining five was identified as a primary contact and the remaining four were identified through contact tracing. Two of the active cases had recently returned from the Eastern Cape.

China’s Chifeng Jilong Gold Mining has started processing gold ore from its Sepon mine in Laos three months ahead of schedule, despite the Covid-19 outbreak. This marks the first time the project has produced gold in almost six and a half years. Reuters reported that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted investors to pile into the safe-haven precious metal. The company said in a statement on its website that finished gold can be produced in early June.

Ecuador’s National Emergency Operations Committee (COE) has issued a favourable opinion for the restart of mining activities in the country, with the approval of the Biosecurity Prevention Protocol for the Mining Sector in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision will allow start of the process to reactivate mining operations in all phases in the next few days. This is expected to re-establish around 33,000 direct employment places and 100,000 indirect employment places.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is set to organise a digital conference on 21 May in partnership with Finnish-Russian digital solutions provider Zyfra for the mining sector. As part of a series of web-based seminars to support the industry, the countries will brainstorm on emerging industry 4.0 and mining sector in the world after Covid-19, The Economic Times reported. The webinar will focus on the mining industry.

6:55 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 cases still rising in the Americas – first incidents recorded in Bangladesh refugee camps

18 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,444,000, with over 302,000 deaths and 1,588,000 recoveries.

In Europe, the daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while Latin America and North America continue to see a rise in daily cases.

In Asia, daily cases continue to decrease in the majority of countries, while Russia continues to experience a surge in cases, ranking second in the world behind the US.

In Bangladesh, the first cases of coronavirus were confirmed in crowded refugee camps.

Approximately one million refugees have taken shelter, raising concerns about how quickly the disease can spread through vulnerable communities.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

1:56 pm

Covid-19 responsible for more than 27% of UK care home deaths during March and April – deaths more than double same period 2019

15 May

Nearly 46,000 residents of care homes in England and Wales lost their lives between the start of the coronavirus pandemic and 1 May.

Between 2 March and 1 May more than 27% of care home deaths, some 12,526, are known to have involved Covid-19, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.

The ONS recorded a total of 45,899 deaths among care home residents between 2 March and 1 May  – more than twice as many as the 22,573 who died during the same period in 2019.

It means that even after the 12,526 known Covid-19 cases are accounted for, there have still been 10,800 “extra”, unexplained deaths which may be directly or indirectly related to the virus, too.

12:11 pm

Economic Forecast: German economy faces biggest slump since WW2 – US employment shows largest decline since 1948

15 May

Deutsche Bank says the Covid-19 pandemic and, in particular, lockdown measures will push the German economy into its biggest slump since WW2. Their report suggests that the Covid-19 pandemic hits German labour market differently than the Global Financial Market Crisis of 2009.

The US Bureau of Labour Statistics said the unemployment rate increased 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent in April.

“The employment–population ratio, at 51.3 percent, dropped by 8.7 percentage points over the month. This is the lowest ratio and largest over-the-month decline in the history of the data back to January 1948.”

HSBC has said the near-term global inflation outlook is clear – it is heading even lower. HSBC global chief economist Janet Henry wrote in a blog:

“The collapse in oil prices and discounting by companies keen to boost sales should more than offset higher food prices to turn Eurozone and US inflation negative this summer.”

“But if businesses fail – including restaurants or even airlines – the reduced competition could see the survivors raise prices over the next year or two.

“Supply-chain disruptions may also push up prices. So after hitting new lows by mid-2020, headline inflation will be notably higher in 12 to 15 months as demand increases and oil recovers.”

 

 

11:36 am

Fortescue restates commitment to Aboriginal businesses

Fortescue Metals has restated its commitment to supporting Aboriginal communities and businesses in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fortescue has awared a contract for the West Canning Basin earthworks at the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project to Cundaline Resources, a 100% Aboriginal-owned company. Cundaline will carry out the earthworks, access preparation and rehabilitation services associated with the hydrogeology drilling program for the Iron Bridge project.

Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines said: “Fortescue’s Aboriginal procurement initiative, Billion Opportunities, has awarded over A$2.5 billion in contracts and sub-contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint venture partners since the program began in 2011.

“We are committed to building on this proud track record through our growth projects, Eliwana and Iron Bridge, which have already awarded over A$60 million in contracts to Aboriginal businesses.

“Importantly, Billion Opportunities is focused on building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal businesses, and it is very pleasing to see Cundaline, a business which commenced operations as a labour hire company, now expand into earthworks and mechanical maintenance contracting areas.”

11:12 am

100 groups support Shuar Arutam People over alleged spread of Covid-19

More than 100 organisations, from human rights groups to research institutes, have signed an open letter expressing their support for the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), an indigenous Ecuadorian group which claims to have lost two members to Covid-19 following their involvement in a Canadian mining conference.

The letter alleges that seven members of the PSHA were invited to a mining fair organised by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), held in Toronto in March, and that following the event, the mother of one delegate, and the father of another, died, showing symptoms similar to that of Covid-19. A further eight members of the group have since shown symptoms of the virus, raising concerns that the Canadian conference may have inadvertently triggered the spread of Covid-19 among the indigenous group.

Read more about the spread of the virus among the Shaur Arutam People here.

10:39 am

Daily Report: Covid-19 deaths approach 303,000 – UK fatalities fall as US and Italy rise

15 May

At least 302,418 people have died from Covid-19 so far, according to the latest statistics published by Johns Hopkins University.

The figures are likely to be an undercount, as do not include people who have died without being tested for the disease.

The grim milestone means that the epidemic has now overtaken the 1812 Russian typhus outbreak and the 1812–1819 Ottoman plague in terms of the raw number of people killed.

Deaths appear to be falling in the UK, although the US and Italy have both seen a slight uptick in the number of fatalities over the last two days.

Covid-19 daily report

9:28 am

International Update: Covid-19 infections near 4.5 million – Bolsonaro wants lockdown lift as Brazil records almost 14,000 cases in a day

15 May

Global: The global toll from Covid-19 has passed 300,000, with nearly 4.5 million people infected. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, at least 302,452 people have now died as a result of the outbreak. The institution says it has counted 4,443,597 confirmed cases worldwide.

The health ministers of South Korea, China and Japan will gather by video conference to discuss ways to work together in the global campaign against the novel coronavirus, South Korean officials said.

A WHO modelling study indicates the coronavirus could kill 150,000 people in Africa and infect 231 million people in a year unless urgent action is taken.

EU: A vaccine for coronavirus must be available to all countries, the EU has insisted, after the British chief executive of French drugs company Sanofi said it was reserving the first shipments of its vaccine for the US.

The European commission has suspended the delivery of  ten million face masks from China after two countries complained about the poor quality of the batches they received, the Associated Press reports.

Brazil: Brazil registered a daily record 13,944 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday as President Jair Bolsonaro urged business leaders to push for lifting lockdown orders in the country’s financial center, Sao Paulo.

US: President Donald Trump signalled a further deterioration of his relationship with China over the novel coronavirus, saying he has no interest in speaking to President Xi Jinping right now and going so far as to suggest he could even cut ties with the world’s second largest economy.

New guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advising states on how to reopen bars, restaurants and workplaces was posted on Thursday. It outlines a series of steps workplaces and restaurants should take to keep employees and customers safe before they reopen, including encouraging hand-washing, social distancing and how to check for symptoms of potential Covid-19 cases.

US House Democrats will push aside more than 200 years of precedent and vote on Friday to let lawmakers serve as proxies for colleagues quarantined or otherwise stuck at home during the pandemic.

The Trump administration is preparing an executive order that would require certain essential drugs and medical treatments for a variety of conditions be made in the US.

Delta Air Lines Inc. will retire all 18 of its biggest aircraft, the Boeing 777, by year-end and is warning pilots of massive overstaffing amid the collapse in travel demand caused by the pandemic.

UK: British Airways owner IAG SA said it intends to go ahead with plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, while Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh castigated the government’s handling of the crisis.

Slovenia: The Slovenian government is calling an official end to its coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first European country to do so after authorities confirmed less than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.

Australia: Australia’s most populous state New South Wales (NSW) is reopening restaurants, cafes and bars after a two-month shutdown, under the condition they limit customers to ten at any one time.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Rio Tinto supports Australian recovery – Mexico mulls restart – Sierra Leone mining revenues plummet

15 May

Rio Tinto is supporting jobs in Western Australia as its Covid-19 recovery phase ramps up. The company’s iron ore business in the state is continuing to recruit apprentices, graduates and Aboriginal trainees as it progresses development plans in the Pilbara. More than 300 jobs including skilled operational and maintenance roles are currently being offered. Additionally, the company’s medical provider for Covid-19 screening at Perth Airport has recently hired more than 100 staff.

Russian PGM producer Norilsk Nickel said that the company is shipping supplies of palladium and platinum using air cargo flights as most of the passenger flights the company would usually use had been suspended amid the Covid-19 pandemic. In its market report, the company noted that deliveries to clients had not been affected despite the disruptions to flights. Reuters quoted the company as further saying that there was a good flow of precious metals in general from Russia.

Mexico’s Mining Undersecretary Francisco Quiroga said that the industry should aim to restart activities on 1 June this year. There would be a delay as certain safety protocols need to be carried out with the ministries of health and labour after 18 May and this is expected to take time, the undersecretary said. Earlier this week,  the Mexican government said that along with the auto sector and construction, mining would be classified as essential activity, paving the way for operational restarts after a prolonged shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic, Reuters reported.

Revenues from mining in Sierra Leone have declined from $2.24m in April last year to just $0.33m in April this year, representing an 85% decline year on year, according to mines ministry figures seen by Reuters. The country is witnessing a dramatic crunch in revenue as restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic hurt the ability of the companies to export gold and diamonds and access essential supplies. Mining minister Foday Rado Yokie said that the pandemic is completely debilitating to the country’s economy.

7:48 am

US unemployment could hit 25% say experts

15 May

The latest report from the US Labour Department pegs the unemployment rate at more than 20%.

Although new unemployment claims have slowed down, the unemployment rate is still one of the highest since the Great Recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, tweeted on the US Labour Department’s latest report on unemployment claims.

The report notes that an additional 2.98 million claims were filed over the last two months bringing the total unemployment claims to 36.5 million.

McBride noted that the unemployment rate is expected to be more than 20% or even 25% by the time the next official report is released.

Read more

6:59 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Covid-19 on the rise in Latin America – total lockdown in Chile’s capital

15 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,364,000, with over 297,000 deaths and 1,560,000 recoveries.

In Latin America, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and Chile will be countries to watch as each continues to experience a record number of daily cases or deaths.

To date, the daily mortality reached all-time highs in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru.

Additionally, Brazil set a record high with 11,385 new daily cases, and surpassing France’s total cases.

In Chile, a significant spike of more than 60% increase in daily new cases triggered a total lockdown of Santiago, the nation’s capital.

In China, Wuhan launched its mass testing drive in response to a resurgence of cases observed over the weekend.

While some residents are supportive of this initiative, others are concerned over further spreading the infection while waiting in long lines.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

3:07 pm

Covid-19 driven decline in the jobs market may be slowing

14 May

The Coronavirus crash in the jobs market appears to be starting to taper off in several badly hit industries.

Figures from data analytics firm GlobalData shows that while the jobs market has contracted since 1 March, in recent weeks the number of available jobs remained flat in the hardest hit sectors.

All of the sectors tracked have seen jobs shrink – but some have escaped more lightly than others.

The statistics show that the number of travel and tourism jobs available for application has fallen to a fifth of what it was on 1 March.

However, jobs in the oil and gas industry have dropped just over 30% compared to 1 March.

Covid-19 has had a major, ongoing economic impact across the globe; but that impact is not uniform across different industries.

While some economic sectors have seen business rapidly decline, others have – to date – been more stable. Some have even seen an increase in demand.

This chart aims to give a broad overview of which sectors are suffering the most since the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

It uses exclusive dynamic intelligence provided by GlobalData to track the number of jobs open for applications, across the world, across 19 economic sectors.

The summary chart shows the six which have seen the biggest percentage drop in these “active” jobs.

Economic sector impact chart

2:10 pm

OceanaGold reports $26m loss in Q1

OceanaGold has posted its Q1 2020 financial results, reporting a net loss of $26m. The company has, however, reaffirmed its 2020 production guidance.

OceanaGold President and CEO Michael Holmes said: “With the first quarter of 2020 complete, we look ahead to the remainder of the year where, in the second half in particular, we expect increased production at lower All-In Sustaining Costs.

“At Haile, mined and processed grades are expected to increase progressively with two-thirds of Haile’s annual gold output expected in the second half with the fourth quarter being the strongest quarter. At Macraes, second quarter production is expected to be lower than in the first quarter due to the impact of the five-week New Zealand Government enforced Covid-19 lockdown.

“However, with production now effectively back to capacity we are targeting a rebound in the second half of the year.”

10:58 am

83% of new Polish Covid-19 cases hit mining heartland Silesia

Polish mining has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic particularly hard. With 83% of new cases reported on 12 May in the Silesia mining region, the pandemic poses a growing threat to both human life and industrial production.

Silesia is home to five coal mines where work has been suspended due to the virus. The region’s coal mines produced 43.8% of the country’s electricity in April, despite the spread of the virus, and there are concerns that Europe’s largest coal miner will struggle to replicate its industrial successes the longer the pandemic, and associated quarantine and lockdown measures, persists.

Earlier this week, deputy prime minister Jacek Sasin reported that 800 miners, and 650 family members of miners, have caught the virus in the mining region of Silesia alone. Poland has over 17,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to Worldometers, with 265 new cases and eight new deaths as of today.

10:48 am

Daily Report: Global Covid-19 deaths rise by more than 5,000 – weekly trend is down

14 May

The number of deaths from Covid-19 around the world rose to by 5,255 yesterday to a total of 297,197.

There have been 33,342 deaths over the last seven days – down slightly from 36,166 the previous week.

Covid-19 daily report

10:10 am

Economic Forecast: Covid-19 to slash global economic output by $8.5trn – 305 million full time jobs could be lost in Q2

14 May

Covid-19 is to slash global economic output by $8.5 trillion over next two years, wiping out nearly all gains of the previous four years according to the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report.

The report highlights the pandemic could foster a new normal, fundamentally reshaping human interactions, inter-dependence, trade and globalization, while accelerating digitalization and automation.

A rapid surge in economic activities online will likely eliminate many existing jobs, while creating new jobs in the digital economy.

The United Nations’s International Labour Organization predicts 1.6bn informal economy workers could suffer “massive damage” to their livelihoods.

In the second quarter of 2020, Covid-19 may cost the equivalent of 305 million full-time jobs.

Current G7 jobless totals vary widely, from 30 million in the United States to 1.76 million in Japan.

McKinsey believe that Europe’s CEOs will have to draw on the region’s spirit of innovation to recover post Covid-19.

However, the region with its vast innovation and ideas has seen companies struggling to monetise and commercialise ideas:

“A lot of good ideas that originated in Europe, in areas such as big data, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI), for example, are often not scaled at all or adopted and brought to market by foreign investors.”

McKinsey also add that: “No European company established in the past 30 years has yet joined the ranks of the world’s top 100 companies by market capitalization, compared with three in China and seven in the United States.

“SAP, established in 1972, was the last European entrant to the global top 100, and all top 100 European companies are more than 30 years old.”

 

9:28 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 deaths near 300,000 – WHO warns virus could become endemic

14 May

Global: The number of lives lost worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic is nearing 300,000, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, with 297,197 deaths reported.

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIV, the World Health Organization has said, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating and calling for a “massive effort” to counter it.

The United Nations is forecasting that the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2 percent this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s, pushing an estimated 34.3 million people into extreme poverty mostly in Africa.

US: A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that an unelected state agency head’s emergency order shutting down the state because of the Covid-19 pandemic is not enforceable.

President Donald Trump plans to name Moncef Slaoui, the former head of GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division, and Gustave Perna, a four-star US general, to lead a Manhattan Project-style effort to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, two people familiar with the matter said.

Canada and the US appear likely to extend a ban on non-essential travel until June 21 amid the pandemic, a Canadian government source and a top US official told Reuters.

Russia: The city of Moscow said on Wednesday it had ascribed the deaths of more than 60% of coronavirus patients in April to other causes as it defended what it said was the superior way it and Russia counted the number of people killed by the novel virus. At 242,271, Russia has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States.

UK: Roche Holding AG’s coronavirus antibody test was cleared by a UK health authority, a boost to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he seeks ways to gradually relax lockdown restrictions.

The UK government’s coronavirus aid program for self-employed people received more than £340 million ($416 million) of claims in its first morning of operation.

Italy: Doctors in Italy have reported the first clear evidence of a link between Covid-19 and a rare but serious inflammatory disorder that has required some children to undergo life-saving treatment in intensive care units.

Italy’s government approved a much-delayed €55 billion ($60 billion) stimulus package to rescue an economy crippled by a two-month nationwide lockdown, promising a boost in liquidity for businesses and aid for families in need.

China: Hong Kong authorities are going to screen hundreds of families, local media is reporting, after its 23-day run of no local infections was broken with the diagnosis of Covid-19 in a 66-year-old woman with no recent travel history, and her five-year-old granddaughter.

Japan: Japan was expected to lift a state of emergency across a large part of the country on Thursday, according to Reuters, but Tokyo will remain under restrictions until there is a convincing containment of the coronavirus.

Japanese company Takeda Pharmaceutical could start a clinical trial as early as July for a potential treatment of Covid-19 that is based on antibodies from recovered patients’ blood, company executives said.

Qatar: The Qatari government ordered all citizens to wear masks when they step outside for any reason beginning 17 May, state-run QNA reported. People who violate the order will be subjected to either imprisonment of up to three years, or a fine of as much as 200,000 riyals ($55,000) or both, according to the report.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s finance minister Grant Robertson has unveiled an unprecedented NZ$50bn fund to save jobs and reduce unemployment to pre-coronavirus levels within two years.

Australia: Australia posted its biggest ever monthly rise in unemployment on Thursday because of coronavirus lockdown measures, even as the country begins to gradually ease those social distancing rules.

9:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mines to restart in the Phillipines – Great Panther report more cases – South Africa urged to restart mines in full

14 May

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in the Philippines has issued guidelines to miners to restart mining and mineral processing operations. Reuters quoted the government as saying that miners are now allowed to operate at full capacity as the country begins to relax containment measures related to Covid-19, with strict safety protocols still in place. In order to restart operations, the companies are required to provide medical equipment and other supplies such as thermal scanners, face masks, along with transportation to and from mine and plant sites.

Great Panther reported that two additional employees and one contractor have tested positive for Covid-19 at its operations bringing the total number of cases across the company to five. All affected employees are stable with mild symptoms. They remain in isolation and are monitored by local health authorities. Meanwhile, the company’s Tucano Gold Mine in Brazil continues to operate at full capacity with strict Covid-19 mitigation protocols in place.

Chile’s Minister of Mining Baldo Prokurica has visited Amerigo Resources‘ operation, Minera Valle Central (MVC), to learn about the actions that are implemented by the mine to protect the health of its workers and subcontractors, while maintaining zero contagion at the operation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. MVC general manager Christian Cáceres said that the operation has established a Covid-19 Emergency Committee that is reviewing the situation.

Sibanye Stillwater said that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa must allow mines in the country to operate at full capacity as lockdown due to Covid-19 risks killing the mining industry. Last month, companies were allowed to restart operations with half their normal employees amid worries that the shutdowns could damage the viabilities of the country’s mines. Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in an interview that as labour intensive mines cannot operate at these levels continuously, they will have to either restructure or close.

7:52 am

US sees slowdown in Covid-19 driven job losses among lower paid

14 May

The US has already announced more than $2.2tn in stimulus packages to protect the economy from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As unemployment rates continue to rise, additional stimulus packages may be needed even if they are costly and increase debt.

Paul Krugman, an economist and Nobel laureate, tweeted an article on the slowdown in unemployment rate due to Covid-19 in the US.

The article is based on surveys conducted by Civis Analytics, which shows that women, part-time workers and workers earning more than $100,000 are still facing unemployment.

However, the unemployment rate among full-time employees, men and workers earning less than $50,000 was falling by mid-to-late April.

Read more

7:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: New clusters of Covid-19 as lockdowns ease – confirmed cases surge in Brazil

14 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,278,000, with more than 292,000 deaths and 1,502,000 recoveries.

As nations continue to gradually lift lockdown measures, new clusters emerge in regions once commended for their mitigation efforts. These include South Korea, Wuhan, China, and Singapore.

In South Korea, more than 100 new cases were reported over the weekend in a popular Seoul nightlife district.

In Wuhan, six new cases were confirmed over the weekend after more than a month, prompting the city to order testing for all residents.

Meanwhile, in Singapore, more than 23,000 cases were linked to migrant worker dormitories at the end of April.

Brazil continues to experience a surge in confirmed cases, with 178,214 cases which surpass the 173,289 cases in Germany, and draw closer to the 178,349 cases in France.

Additionally, Brazil records its highest death toll to date with 881 confirmed deaths.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

2:08 pm

Anglo American Platinum provides update on Covid-19 safety

Anglo American Platinum has provided an update on cases of Covid-19 in and around its operations, confirming there are no cases at its operations. Testing has identified contractors, as well as spouses of Anglo American employees, that have contracted the virus, but in line with the company’s Covid-19 safety protocols these cases have been tested and traced. The families of those identified have been placed in quarantine measures.

You can read Anglo American Platinum’s update here.

11:18 am

Economic Forecast: Downturn ‘sharper but shorter’ than 2008, says Morgan Stanley – IMF warns of catastrophic consequences in sub-Saharan Africa

13 May

Morgan Stanley Chief Economist and Global Head of Economics Research Chetan Ahya said this economic downturn will be sharper—but shorter—than the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) that began in 2008.

His view is based on the cause of the downturn and that, “this recession has prompted the most coordinated and aggressive monetary and fiscal easing that we have witnessed in modern times”.

“By our estimates, global economic contraction will trough at 7.5% in the second quarter of this year (far worse than the 2.4% contraction in the first quarter of 2009), while output—for the world as a whole and developed markets—will return to prerecession levels in 4 and 8 quarters, respectively, compared with 6 and 14 quarters after the GFC.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that a failure to contain the spread of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa will have catastrophic economic, health and humanitarian consequences.

According to the latest Regional Economic Outlook by the IMF the sub-Saharan Africa economy will contract by 1.6 percent this year; the worst reading on record.

Economies across the regions of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) may contract on average by 3.5% this year, because of the impact of the coronavirus, with a rebound of 4.8% possible in 2021.

However, in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report, the EBRD warned that these projections are subject to “unprecedented uncertainty”.

9:59 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Deaths from Covid-19 continue to fall in most countries with serious outbreaks – US still seeing highest number

13 May

Daily new deaths from Covid-19 continue to fall in most countries with the largest outbreaks.

Worldwide, the US is continuing to see the highest number of new deaths from Covid-19, followed by the UK, however, in both countries the figure is falling.

Brazil is currently seeing the most rapid spread of the disease, with 808 new deaths yesterday, up from 571 the week before.

Although the raw number of deaths in many countries rose yesterday compared to Monday, that is likely to do with the “weekend effect” – a lag in data collection over the weekend.

At least 291,942 people have now died from the disease worldwide.

Covid-19 daily report

9:48 am

International Update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 4.25 million – NIAID director warns US of ‘serious consequences’ if lockdown eased too soon

13 May

Global: According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, at least 4,261,955 people around the world are known to have contracted the virus, while at least 291,964 have died since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization says some treatments appear to be limiting the severity or length of suffering caused by Covid-19 and that it is focusing on learning more about four or five of the most promising ones.

US: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr Anthony Fauci has warned of serious consequences if US states reopen before building capacity to deal with new Covid-19 outbreaks.

US Republican senators proposed legislation on Tuesday that would empower President Donald Trump to impose sanctions on China if Beijing does not give a “full accounting” for the coronavirus outbreak.

Twitter will allow its employees to work from home “forever”, chief executive officer Jack Dorsey said in a company-wide email Tuesday.

Brazil: Brazil reported a new record for coronavirus deaths as Latin America’s largest economy becomes the new global hotspot for the pandemic. The country reported a record 881 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday, its health ministry said, taking its total to 12,400.

China: The Chinese city of Wuhan, the original centre of the pandemic, plans to test all 11 million residents for the coronavirus, according to local media.

China’s National Health Commission has confirmed seven new cases of coronavirus, six of them in the northeastern province of Jilin where the city of Shulan increased its risk level from medium to high at the weekend.

India: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a stimulus package for labourers and small businesses on Tuesday worth about 10% of India’s GDP.

Gilead Sciences Inc. is licensing its potential Covid-19 treatment, remdesivir, to five generic drug manufacturers in India and Pakistan to expedite supply chain development and help meet anticipated demand.

Iceland: Iceland will test all airline passengers arriving at Keflavik Airport for coronavirus by June 15, with those resulting negative spared a mandatory two-week quarantine, the government said Tuesday.

8:15 am

Covid-19 driving a fall in consumer price index that could lead to recession, say economists

13 May

The consumer price index (CPI) continues to fall as the Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to shutdown and people to remain under lockdown.

The consumer spending has drastically reduced amid this environment with the threat of rising inflation or even deflation.

Pedro da Costa, a journalist, shared an article on the decline in consumer prices in the US. The consumer price index (CPI) dropped 0.8% in April after falling 0.4% in March, which is biggest decline since December 2008 when the country was going through recession.

The article is based on a report from the Labour Department that showed a record decline in prices in April raising the possibility of deflation.

 

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7:16 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Russia second highest in confirmed Covid-19 cases – India eases lockdown as infections rise

13 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,194,000, with over 286,000 deaths and 1,464,000 recoveries.

Russia now leads the Eurasian region with over 232,000 confirmed cases, ranking second highest in the world following the US.

Of the top ten most affected countries outside of the US and Russia, the majority are experiencing a decrease in daily cases, with the exception of Brazil and Iran, with over 169,000 and 109,000 cases, respectively.

Meanwhile, India eases lockdown restrictions by restarting its train network, one of the world’s largest in the world, despite rising infections.

While passengers will wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning; more than 54,000 people have made reservations

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

4:40 pm

South Africa seeks post-pandemic mining sector investment

As part of the South African government’s plans to keep the nation’s economy afloat during and in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council for Geosciences has been instructed to increase its nationwide geological survey to bolster South Africa as an exploration hotspot once the country’s lockdown is lifted.

The country’s economy relies heavily on mining, and South Africa had previously been identified as one of the countries that could be most adversely affected by a global economic downturn resulting from Covid-19.

The Council for Geosciences’ mandate is aimed at identifying potential exploration sites to attract investment in the South African mining sector following the Covid-19 pandemic.

3:08 pm

Caledonia Mining’s quarterly revenue increases despite Covid-19

Today, Caledonia Mining, the Canada-headquartered gold producer, reported that its revenue grew by 48% from $15.9m to $23.6m with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation rising more than twice, from $3.9m the year before, to $10.2 m for the first quarter of 2020, Alliance News reported.

In terms of operation, the company’s production increased from 11,948 ounces in 2019 to 14,233 ounces in 2020, as grade and recoveries improved.

Caledonia Mining said that Covid-19 had little effect on production and capital projects in the quarter, as production stayed at 93% capacity and has since then returned to normal levels.

Caledonia Mining’s production guidance for 2020 remains unchanged, at 53,000 to 56,000 ounces.

2:50 pm

Macroeconomic Forecast: GDP forecasts revised downwards again – Italy nears double digit decline

12 May

The GDP growth forecast for European countries and the US have been revised downwards yet again — with estimates for France seeing the biggest drop.

Italy remains the country likely to take the biggest hit according to this week’s GlobalData forecasts, with the country’s economy expected to shrink by 9.4% during 2020.

France now expected to see a 8.4% shrinkage of GDP over the year, compared to last week’s estimate of 7.4%.

The UK economy is expected to shrink by 7.6% this year, Germany’s by 6.7% and that of the US by 5.3%.

Both China and India continue to register modest estimated positive growths of 0.8% and 1% respectively.

Stock markets have seen some positive growth from last week in all markets except India.

 

Covid-19 macroeconomic dashboard

We are using exclusive dynamic figures provided by GlobalData analysts to track key economic indicators in major world economies hit by Covid-19. Deaths from the virus are plotted alongside the indexed performance of each country’s major stock exchange. Figures are tracked daily from the March 1, 2020.

Covid-19 macroeconomic dashboard

12:43 pm

Economic Forecast: Covid-19 pandemic could push 40-60 million into extreme poverty

12 May

The World Bank predicts an increase in poverty globally for the first time since 1998 due to the current pandemic. They said that the pandemic is pushing about 40-60 million people into extreme poverty, with their best estimate being 49 million.

The modelling also predicts that the share of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 per day—is projected to increase from 8.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020, or from 632 million people to 665 million people.

McKinsey estimates that in the weeks from 6 April to 19 May around 22 percent of the United Kingdom’s working-age population, or nine million people, had been furloughed.

At that same time less than 1 percent of businesses reported ceasing to trade permanently or having laid off people.

McKinsey states: “The knock-on consequences of the lockdown are anticipated to result in significant job losses down the road. Businesses’ ability to continue to employ and pay workers might be particularly precarious when government support starts to be withdrawn.”

10:56 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Global mortality rate trending down – fears that trend could be halted as lockdowns ease

12 May

The number of Covid-19 cases continues to fall with the number of deaths seeing an expected post-weekend slight uptick on Monday, our coronavirus tracker shows.

The total number of cases is now at 4,117,502, with the number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths now at 286,330.

The US continues to have the biggest share of those, recording 1,156 deaths yesterday.

That’s double the number of deaths in the UK, Spain and France combined.

The mortality rate in all the countries in our tracker is generally trending downwards.

However, as lockdowns are eased in some capacity across the world, some fear we could see the numbers climb back up.

 

Covid-19 daily report

10:11 am

International Update: Work on vaccines accelerating – Trump declares victory – New York Covid-19 deaths may be 5,000 higher than official figures

12 May

Global: The global confirmed death toll exceeds 285,000. The number of people known to have died since the pandemic began has reached at least 286,330, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. They say at least 4,177,584 people are known to have been infected.

The World Health Organization says “extreme vigilance” is needed as countries begin to exit lockdowns imposed to curb the virus’ spread.

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the International Council of Nurses are calling on governments to commit to ensuring the protection and safety of nurses and other health workers, especially in resource-poor, disaster and conflict settings.

The World Health Organization chief says there are approximately seven or eight “top” candidates for a vaccine to combat the coronavirus and work on them is being accelerated.

US: New York City’s death toll may be 5,000 higher than official toll. Between 11 March and 2 May, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect during that time period, a report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

President Trump declared victory over the “invisible enemy” as deaths surpassed 80,000 in the US. “We have met the moment and we have prevailed,” Trump, flanked by ventilators and testing supplies, said during a briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.

The White House ordered everyone entering the West Wing to wear a face mask after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus last week.

The Trump administration plans to distribute $11 billion to states for coronavirus testing, according to senior administration officials.

China: China reports no new domestic cases after spike on weekend. China reported zero new domestic coronavirus infections on Tuesday, after two consecutive days of double-digit increases fuelled fears of a second wave of infections.

Australia: Easing restrictions to boost Australian economy by US$6bn a month. Once Australia removes most social distancing restrictions by July, its economy will be boosted by AU$9.4bn (US$6.15bn) each month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say on Tuesday.

Japan: The Japanese Health Ministry is set to approve antigen coronavirus testing kits on Wednesday, a ministry official said on Tuesday, in a move to boost the number of diagnostic tests available to battle the pandemic.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is following the US in speeding up the approval of unproven virus drugs, as he faces new criticism over his plan for exiting a state of emergency and reviving Japan’s economy.

Russia: Putin eases Russia lockdown despite infection surge. The Russian president announces an easing of the nationwide lockdown, even as the country sees a record number of new infections.

UK: Boris Johnson watered down his plan for rebooting the UK economy after employers and labour unions said many workplaces aren’t ready to return to work.

9:24 am

Corronavirus company news summary – Chile faces copper surplus – Covid-19 outbreak among Polish miners – Cameco to restart operations

12 May

Chilean industry group Sonami has reported that the copper market in the country will witness a supply surplus of 200,000t this year as the economic impact of Covid-19 hits demand for the metal globally. Sonami president Diego Hernandez was quoted by Reuters as saying that the association anticipates supply to decline by 3%. In early April, it predicted that copper miners in the country were planning to reduce production amid increasingly strict measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Poland’s coal mining region in Silesia is witnessing an increase in Covid-19 cases since the end of last month. Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that almost 3,800 of the more than 16,000 confirmed cases were registered in the region. A total of 600 miners have been diagnosed with the virus so far. Due to this, a large-scale testing operation was conducted among 10,000 miners, with results expected this week.

Cameco is set to restart production at its Port Hope Conversion Facility’s UF6 plant and Blind River Refinery which were placed in a temporary safe shutdown. They were closed down for approximately four weeks as screening protocols and other measures Covid-19 safety measures contributed to workforce uncertainty at the UF6 plant.

Canada-based Pure Gold Mining has confirmed that its Red Lake Mine in Ontario remains on track to pour its first gold by the end of this year. Development activities at the mine are continuing to operate normally, with no significant impact to date beyond the implementation of additional safety measures. The first gold pour aligns with a rising gold market. The company has not reported any incidences of Covid-19 at its operations.

8:54 am

Stimulus packages could bring higher taxes and debt post Covid-19 say economists

12 May

The lockdown measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic has affected countries across the world with decline in revenues, high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty.

Governments are releasing stimulus packages to combat the impact but this may lead to higher taxes and debt, which will further burden people after the crisis.

Prof. Steve Hanke, Applied Economist at Johns Hopkins University, tweeted an article on the stimulus packages announced by the government and its consequences.

He noted that the US government has already created $1.48tn in deficit in 2020 and is still planning to announce more stimulus packages.

Hanke mentioned that future taxpayers will have to bear the hefty costs of the stimulus packages being announced by the government.

8:33 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global cases of Covid-19 exceed 4 million – Germany reports increasing infections after easing lockdown

12 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 4,118,000, with over 283,000 deaths and 1,420,000 recoveries.

Several European countries enter their first week of eased lockdown restrictions, ranging from re-opening restaurants, bars, and salons to partially re-opening schools.

While the daily confirmed cases are decreasing in most European countries, there is still concern over a second wave of cases.

In Germany, where lockdown measures were gradually reduced at the end of April, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an increase in the infection rate, or the estimated number of people a patient infects.

While there is a degree of uncertainty in the implications, this will be a country to watch as lockdown measures continue to lift around the world.

Meanwhile, Russia officially surpassed the number of confirmed cases in both Italy and the UK, with approximately 221,000 cases to the UK’s 220,000 and Italy’s 210,000 cases.

This development comes in response to Russia reporting their highest daily increase to date with 11,656 new infections, positioning them as the third most burdened country in the world, after the US and Spain.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist, GlobalData

2:51 pm

Covid-19 Cities and Regions: New cases continue to drop – widespread easing of lockdowns

11 May

The number of new daily Covid-19 continues to drop in major cities and regions in Europe and the US as Wuhan records its first new cases since the end of the lockdown.

The US reported relatively stable numbers of new cases throughout last week, but some fear that the economic reopening in several states might push the numbers back up.

There are also reports of an outbreak inside Donald Trump’s White House as some staff went into isolation.

The UK saw some of the smallest daily increases in new cases since March. Britain is also set to slowly ease restrictions as the official government guidance was changed from “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives” to “stay alert, control the virus, save lives”.

Spain is loosening lockdown rules as well, mostly in rural areas that were less affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Italy, which has the third highest death toll at 30,000, saw numbers continue to fall over the last week.

Elsewhere in China, authorities have reported new coronavirus clusters in Wuhan, where the outbreak first originated. These are the first new confirmed cases since lockdown was ended in April.

Monitoring the cities at the heart of the Covid-19 outbreak

Cities – with their high population density, young and mobile demographics, and developed public transport systems – are particularly susceptible to rapidly-spreading viral outbreak. Here we drill down into subnational Covid-19 figures to show which areas are seeing disproportionate numbers of Covid-19 cases.

While different countries count at different administrative levels, the pattern is clear: London and Madrid are “regions” in their own right, while New York State includes New York City and Lombardy covers Milan. This chart is currently being updated weekly with the latest figures – although some countries have a slight delay in publishing the very latest case numbers by region or state.

Covid-19 regional comparison chart

11:43 am

Unemployment post Covid-19 must be addressed, say economists

11 May

The Covid-19 pandemic may lead to unknown economic challenges as countries across the world face rising unemployment rates and inflation.

Governments are trying to minimise the impact of the pandemic through economic relief packages but it may lead to huge debts.

Jonathan Portes, professor of economics at King’s College London, tweeted about the basic things that need to be done to address the unemployment issue in the UK.

He noted that people’s income should be supported, viable jobs should be made available for workers after the crisis and help should be provided to workers to find new type of jobs if their old jobs are no longer viable

Portes added that assistance should be provided to young people who are entering the labour market amid the economic downturn.

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11:16 am

Chilean mining minister orders use of copper to halt Covid-19 spread

Chilean mining minister Baldo Prokurica has ordered that the building that houses his office be disinfected using an ammonium solution enhanced with copper particles, so as to halt the spread of Covid-19 through the building.

The minister said that the copper-enhanced substance prevents wood, glass and fabric from becoming a host for pathogens.

“For a long time we have been proposing the use of copper, a Chilean product that is a powerful antimicrobial agent, to back efforts to stop the spread of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in places like hospitals.” Prokurica said.

The solution used is being developed by Chilean company Aintech.

10:35 am

Economic Forecast: Small businesses under pressure – Hamada warns against monetary easing – ‘populist’ investments forecast to increase

11 May

The European Central Banks SME survey showed that SMEs are reporting a rapid deterioration in economic environment in context of Covid-19.

The survey shows that expectations about the availability of bank loans were falling significantly in the Euro area (-11%, down from 4% in 2014 when survey was last carried out)), with the level of deterioration varying across countries.

Reflecting the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in different countries, Italian SMEs reported the largest deterioration in net terms (-13%, from 9%), followed by French and Spanish SMEs (-9% and -12%, from 8% and -1%, respectively).

Yale University Professor of Economics Koichi Hamada warned over the dangers of monetary easing led by the US.

Hamada wrote in his blog published by the World Economic Forum: “Today, governments are generally focused either on “flattening the curve” of their first wave of Covid-19 infections or, increasingly, on avoiding a second wave of infections as they ease social-distancing protocols and allow economic activity to resume.

“But, with the US apparently intent on flooding global markets with dollars, even economies that have so far managed the crisis effectively may have little choice but to pursue their own monetary easing.”

 

Commenting on the surge in unemployment in the US investment bank Citi said it expects more populist stances to gain traction in western economies.

From an equity market standpoint the bank said: “refocusing on domestic-focused industries vs. globally-oriented businesses could prove an opportunity for value stocks as the anti-globalisation drive negatively affects global industries and promotes domestic ‘national’ champions.

“Pressure on stock buybacks could mean the end of a ‘just buy the market’ mentality and usher in a new period emphasising the importance of stock selection and dividends in the search for positive returns.”

The analysis by the bank also added that: “Currently, US equity markets are pricing in an earnings rebound, but with concerns over falling profit margins as a result of the downturn, expectations for medium-term earnings growth might be optimistic.”

 

 

10:07 am

Covid-19 Daily Report: Deaths showing a downward trend – US continues to record the greatest number

11 May

The number of Covid-19 deaths has continued to fall, with all of the countries with the highest death tolls seeing a general downwards trajectory when looking at a rolling average of deaths.

The figures today are likely to be skewed downwards by the “weekend effect” – so daily progress might seem better than it is.

The US continues to record the most deaths in the world, recording 731 yesterday – more than double the UK which saw 268.

However, both countries seem to be on a slow downwards trajectory.

Covid-19 daily report

9:20 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Rio Tinto begins testing – Polyus reports outbreak – India to open coal to commercial mining

11 May

Rio Tinto is introducing Covid-19 testing at its Diavik diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories as an additional precautionary measure to protect employees as well as community members. Non-profit public health expert GuardRX has installed an on-site laboratory at the mine to carry out a testing programme for employees and contractors using nasopharyngeal swabs in collaboration with the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories. All personnel are tested on arrival at the site.

Russian gold company Polyus has reported more than 90 Covid-19 cases among employees of its Polyus Krasnoyarsk unit based in eastern Siberia. The regional branch of the Rospotrebnadzor consumer health watchdog told Reuters that of the 89 infected employees at the unit, 82 tested positive for the virus in a day. Those infected with the virus are in self-isolation and more employees are being tested.

The Indian government is expected to open the doors of the regulated coal sector for commercial mining by the private sector in July this year. The move was initially planned for April but delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Initially, a total of 80 large and small mines will be put up for auction for commercial mining by Indian as well as overseas mining companies, IANS reported. Before auctions commence, the Cabinet is expected to approve draft rules, and bid documents and agreements are to be prepared and finalised for commercial mining.

Stainless steel futures in China have increased as much as 4.4% to a more than nine-month high following recovery in domestic demand as Covid-19 related shutdowns are lifted . For June delivery, the most-traded stainless steel futures contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose as much as 4.4% to $1,939.68 per tonne. Reuters quoted Huatai Futures analyst Fu Zhiwen as saying that the purchasing demand at downstream sectors for stainless steel has been good.

9:14 am

International Update: Covid-19 deaths fall in New York – new outbreak in China – scientists find evidence of coronavirus mutations

11 May

US: New York reported the fewest new Covid-19 deaths – 207 – since the end of March and other indicators began to show the outbreak nearing the level of the starting point for what Governor Andrew Cuomo called “this hellish journey.”

UK: In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to ease restrictions, but they’ve been labelled divisive, confusing and vague, after he said some places could reopen and the government was “actively encouraging” people to return to work, without giving details of how.

New Zealand: New Zealand to move to level 2 lockdown, easing some restrictions. Jacinda Ardern said parties, weddings, stag dos, and funerals will be capped at ten, both inside and outside, as the director-general of health had deemed these events “high-risk”.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 35 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, with 29 linked to Seoul clubs and bars, which were attended by a man in his 20s.

Japan: Japan could lift a state-of-emergency in many regions this week if new coronavirus cases are under control, the economy minister said on Monday.

China: An untraced coronavirus outbreak in a Chinese city near the Russian border and a spate of new cases in Wuhan has prompted fears of a fresh wave of infections in China. Wuhan has recorded its highest number of new infections since 11 March, reporting five new cases for 10 May, among 17 new cases nationwide, the highest in almost two weeks.

Scientists have found evidence for mutations in some strains of the coronavirus that suggest the pathogen may be adapting to humans after spilling over from bats.

Pakistan: Pakistan will allow markets and shops to open for several days a week from Monday, as it loosens its coronavirus lockdown.

Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Monday ordered the distribution of ‘Ramadan Aid’ worth 1.85 billion riyal ($492.6 million) for social security beneficiaries.

9:35 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases exceed 3.8 million – numbers spike in Germany – low UK recovery rate a concern

9 May

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 3,834,000, with over 269,000 deaths and 1,278,000 recoveries.

While the daily confirmed cases and death are decreasing in most European countries, the UK experienced a noticible increase in daily new cases on 6 May.

While the number of daily confirmed death is still decreasing in the UK, the total recovered cases in the UK is very low at about 960 cases.

Compared to the global recovery rate of 32%, UK’s rate of .46% is concerning and shows that UK still has long to go until full recovery.

Germany, a country frequently used as a model for Covid-19 response in Europe, also reported spikes in new cases of more than 1,000 on Wednesday and Thursday.

Other countries such as Russia, Brazil, India, Egypt, and Mexico are still experiencing a rise in confirmed cases.

There are indications of a slow shift of the pandemic toward African countries.

Although compare with the US and Europe, the confirmed case numbers are not significantly high.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist, GlobalData

12:58 pm

Covid-19 Transport Status: Berlin, Milan, Madrid, Rome mobility all up – London increasing

8 May
Road traffic and public transport use in Berlin, Rome, Milan and Madrid have picked up as governments in Continental Europe eased lockdown restrictions this week.

All four cities showed a definite uptick in mobility – although movement in Milan and Rome remains at roughly 10 per cent of the levels seen before Covid-19 struck.

That may well reflect some confusion and compromises in new rules introduced in Italy, which mean most shops will remain closed for another fortnight and people are only permitted to visit family and those with whom they have a “stable and enduring” link.

Road congestion and public transport use in Berlin rose above 20% of pre-lockdown levels this week; Madrid saw public transport use double.

Among countries where strict lockdowns remain in place, London saw public transport use creep above 10% of pre-lockdown levels – a result, perhaps, of somewhat confusing messages about how and when the Westminster government plans to ease current restrictions, as well as anecdotally-reported “lockdown fatigue” as bright spring weather tests people’s resolve.

 

The Covid-19 lockdown: tracking if, when and where the world starts moving again

This graphic is fed by three key sources.

We use Citymapper’s mobility index to monitor public transport use, TomTom’s live traffic index to measure road use, and summary data from FlightRadar24 to count the total number of commercial flights each day.

City transport index chart

9:02 am

Covid-19 rescue packages risk years of public debt say economists

Public debt concerns are being voiced by leading macroeconomic influencers.

Governments across the world are providing stimulus packages to protect people from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although these packages are essential, as millions have lost their jobs due to lockdown measures, it may lead to huge levels of public debt. The consequences of the debt are expected to impact economies for a long time.

David W Versailles, an economist, shared an article on how public debt in advance economies will reach high levels amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The article notes governments should find a balance between stimulus and restraint as too much public debt can burden societies for years to come.

 

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