World Coronavirus Dispatch: Dividend payouts be may slashed by 17-23%

China has several novel coronavirus vaccine candidates in the late stage of development
The coronavirus crisis will see the world’s biggest firms slash dividend payouts by 17-23 per cent this year or what could be as much as $400 billion, a new report has shown, although sectors such as tech are fighting the trend. 

Global dividend payments plunged $108 billion to $382 billion in the second quarter of the year, fund manager Janus Henderson has calculated, equating to a 22 per cent year-on-year drop which will be the worst since at least 2009. Worldwide, 27 per cent of firms cut their dividends, while worst affected Europe saw more than half do so and two thirds of those cancel them outright.

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Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 23,424,844

Change Over Yesterday: 221,312

Total Deaths: 808,716

Total Recovered: 15,140,767

Nations hit with most cases: US (5,703,561), Brazil (3,605,783), India (3,106,348), Russia (954,328) and South Africa (609,773)

Americans go back to the movies despite continuing pandemic: The first big US film release since the pandemic drew more than $4m in box-office sales, in a tentative sign that Americans are ready to come back to the movies after a five-month shutdown. Unhinged premiered across 1,823 cinemas in North America. Read more here

Myanmar to get $250 million loan from Asian Development Bank: The Asian Development Bank said it would lend Myanmar $250 million to help the government respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Some would be diverted to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, "30 per cent of which are owned by women. Read more here

Trump hails FDA's authorization of plasma treatment for coronavirus: President Donald Trump on Sunday hailed FDA authorization of a coronavirus treatment that uses blood plasma from recovered patients, a day after accusing the agency of impeding the rollout of vaccines and therapeutics for political reasons. The FDA cited evidence suggesting blood plasma can decrease mortality and improve health. Read more here

Tokyo’s new cases hit a month-and-a-half low: Tokyo reported 95 new coronavirus cases on Monday, marking the lowest single-day tally since July 8. The cases were confirmed from around 2,900 tests, with those under 40-years-old accounting for 60 percent of new cases. Total serious cases in the Japanese capital declined by one from the previous day, to 38. Read more here

UK clamps down illegal gathering: People organizing raves or other illegal gatherings of more than 30 people in England could face a fine of as much as 10,000 pounds ($13,000) from Friday, as the government seeks to contain the coronavirus. The measures will come into effect just before the long holiday weekend. Read more here

Gold dips as coronavirus treatment hopes boost risk appetite: Gold prices fell on Monday as risk sentiment improved after the US drug regulator authorised the use of blood plasma from recovered Covid-19 patients as a treatment option, while the dollar held firm. Spot gold was down 0.4 percent at $1,932.48 per ounce after hitting a one-week low of $1,910.99 on Friday. Read more here

Food an unlikely route of transmitting the coronavirus across borders: Evidence shows that food is an unlikely route of transmitting the coronavirus across borders, but contaminated items continue to grab the spotlight, deepening the uncertainty over whether the $220 billion cold chain industry could be implicated in the spread of Covid-19. Read more here

Spanish hotel mergers expected as pandemic keeps tourists away: Pummelled by a health emergency that has seen spending by tourists plunge 71 percent in the first six months of the year, hoteliers are doing what they can to survive. For investors and larger hotel chains with sturdy balance sheets, the pandemic presents a chance to snap up smaller establishments that are struggling to weather the storm. Read more here


Factbox: China's coronavirus vaccine development efforts
China has several novel coronavirus vaccine candidates in the late stage of development. Four of the world’s seven vaccines that are in the third phase of trials are from China. Two of the candidates are from China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a unit of state-owned pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm). Sinovac Biotech is developing the third candidate called CoronaVac, while CanSino Biologics is working with state military research unit Academy of Military Medical Sciences on Ad5-nCoV. Read more here

Sovereign funds rethink once-reliable real estate
With prime office blocks lying empty around the world, hotels half-vacant and retailers struggling to stay afloat, the funds are retreating from many of the real estate investments that have long been a mainstay of their strategies. Sovereign wealth funds invested $4.4 billion in the sector in the first seven months of 2020, 65 percent down from the same period a year ago, according to Reuters and Global SWF, an industry data specialist. The nature of property investments is also shifting, with funds increasingly investing in logistics space, such as warehousing, amid a boom in online commerce during the pandemic, while cutting back on deals for offices and retail buildings. Read more here

The ten countries that kept out Covid-19

Countries with no recorded Covid-19 cases: Palau, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Tonga. In 2019, 90,000 tourists came to Palau, five times the total population. In 2017, IMF figures showed, tourism made up 40 percent of the country’s GDP. But that was pre-Covid. Palau's borders have been, in effect, closed since late March. It is one of the 10 countries in the world with no confirmed cases. Yet, without infecting a single person, the virus has ravaged the country. Hotels has been closed. The restaurants are empty, the souvenir shops are shut, and the only hotel guests are returning residents in quarantine. Read more here

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