World Coronavirus Dispatch: Citigroup to resume job cuts after pause

The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to permanently replace some humans with machines, according to a new study
The US economic recovery is in danger of being weaker and more uneven if Congress and the White House fail to agree on a new round of fiscal stimulus, according to mounting warnings from Wall Street and academic economists. In recent weeks, hopes have faded for an accord before November’s election to pump $1 trillion or more in government money into the world’s largest economy through direct payments to households, enhanced jobless benefits and aid to small businesses and state and local governments. Read more here

Total Confirmed Cases: 29,275,604

Change Over Yesterday: 269,571

Total Deaths: 928,342

Total Recovered: 19,861,336

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,554,335), India (4,930,236), Brazil (4,345,610), Russia (1,064,438) and Peru (729,619)

Hong Kong plans new stimulus against virus: Hong Kong will launch a new round of its virus relief fund, as the city’s economy continues to suffer from a recession. CEO Carrie Lam is expected to provide more information on Tuesday. The fresh funding would add to nearly HK$290 billion ($37 billion) in direct Covid-19-related relief measures since the pandemic began, including cash handouts, tax relief, industry subsidies and funding for hospitals. Read more here

China’s recovery picks up speed on rebound in retail sales: China’s economic recovery sped up in August, led by an acceleration in industrial output and the first growth in retail sales since Covid-19. Retail sales gained 0.5 per cent in August from a year earlier, while industrial production rose 5.6 per cent in the period. Read more here

At JPMorgan, productivity of staff working at home falls: JPMorgan has found that productivity has slipped among employees working from home, particularly younger staff. Work output was particularly affected on Mondays and Fridays, according to findings discussed by CEO in a private meeting. That, along with worries that remote work is no substitute for organic interaction, is why the biggest US bank is urging more workers to return to offices. Read more here

Citigroup to resume job cuts after pausing for pandemic: Citigroup will resume job cuts starting this week, joining rivals such as Wells Fargo in ending an earlier pledge to pause staff reductions during the pandemic. The cuts will affect less than one per cent of the global workforce. The reduction comes as Citigroup is facing a likely revenue drop and another increase to loan-loss reserves this quarter. Read more here

Singapore lender United Overseas Bank freezes hiring, pay on virus outlook: United Overseas Bank has imposed a freeze on hiring, pay and promotions as the Singapore lender prepares for a further decline in earnings following the coronavirus pandemic. The city state’s third-largest bank told staff that it expects the situation to worsen before improving. The hiring freeze will last until December 2021. Read more here


In post-Covid era, some jobs may permanently move to machines

The coronavirus pandemic has the potential to permanently replace some humans with machines, according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Layoffs have been higher among workers in industries that can be automated, which increases the risk those jobs will become permanently obsolete, according to the study. At the same time, the spread of Covid-19 has accelerated automation in industries that have been hit hard by the virus or that don’t permit remote work. The longer the recession lasts, the deeper the impact of automation will be. Read more here

The Pandemic recession is leading Europe’s central bankers to join the fight against climate change

Instead of allowing the Covid-19 recession to bump climate off her agenda, IMF chief Christine Lagarde has used it to try to persuade sceptics that phenomena such as global warming are well within the remit of monetary policy, a notion that some of her European peers, notably Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann, have resisted. Lagarde’s argument is that the ECB will not be able to deliver on its mandate to preserve price stability or properly carry out its supervisory functions if it does not stay vigilant against threats from new and unexpected sources. This year, a virus brought the world economy to a nearly complete halt. Is it really unimaginable, asks the ECB’s new chief, that the next economic or financial crisis might be triggered by a devastating series of natural disasters, such as a string of wildfires or floods? Read more here

The economic hit from the virus has been more than four times worse than the financial crisis
The damage to the world’s major economies from coronavirus lockdowns has been more than four times more severe than the 2009 global financial crisis, and created an “unprecedented” blow to growth in the second quarter in almost every country except China, where the virus was first detected, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. Growth in the nations represented by the Group of 20—an organisation of 19 countries and the European Union, representing 80 per cent of the world’s economic production — fell by a record 6.9 per cent between April and June from the previous three months, as governments kept people indoors and froze business activity. The drop eclipsed a 1.9 per cent contraction recorded in the same period in 2009, when the financial crisis was at a peak, the organization said. Read more here

At home: How to declutter your digital world

If you’re overwhelmed from telecommuting for months, here are ways to step away from your devices and, just maybe, get to inbox zero. Read here 

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