World Coronavirus Dispatch: OECD lowers decline in global economy to 4.5%

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In a welcome news, The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said the damage to the global economy this year will be “less than previously expected”, but still "unprecedented". The agency predicted a decline of 4.5 per cent in 2020, versus the six per cent drop forecast in June. The revision for 2020 is favourable, but even so, the global economy is facing damage that the OECD describes as "unprecedented in recent history".

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 29,764,055

Change Over Yesterday: 181,933

Total Deaths: 939,473

Total Recovered: 20,225,219

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,630,051), India (5,020,359), Brazil (4,419,083), Russia (1,075,485) and Peru (738,020)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Donald Trump says open to more stimulus spending for pandemic relief: Trump, at a White House press conference on Wednesday, said that he liked “the larger numbers” in a compromise $1.5 trillion stimulus proposal from a group of House lawmakers. The plan from a 50-member group of House Democrats and Republicans has a bigger total spending figure than the administration previously endorsed. Read more here

Bank of Japan takes less gloomy view on economy: The Bank of Japan took a less pessimistic view of the economy while leaving its aggressive monetary stimulus untouched a day after Yoshihide Suga took over as prime minister pledging to continue his predecessor’s stance on monetary and fiscal policy. The BOJ kept its key interest rate at -0.1% and left its asset purchases unchanged. Read more here

‘Next’ joins Zara and H&M in recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns: Next Plc raised its outlook for a second time since coronavirus lockdowns shut its stores, joining apparel chains Zara and H&M in reporting better-than-expected recoveries. The UK retailer now expects a pretax profit of 300 million pounds ($388 million) for the year, compared to the previous forecast was 195 million pounds. Read more here

Australia unemployment drops as half of jobs lost recovered: Australian unemployment unexpectedly fell as fiscal and monetary stimulus helped the labor market. The jobless rate dropped to 6.8 percent in August from 7.5 percent a month earlier versus a median estimate of an increase to 7.7 percent. Employment surged by 111,000 in August, completely wrong-footing analyst estimates of 35,000 drop. Read more here

Germany infections rise by the most in 9 days: There were 1,855 new cases in Germany during the 24 hours through Thursday morning. That’s the most since September 8. It brought the total of the country to 266,869, while fatalities increased by 6 to 9,373. On Wednesday, the infection rate dropped to the key threshold of 1.0. Read more here

Richard Branson to raise $400 million for ailing businesses: Richard Branson has joined the crush of high-profile investors seeking to raise money for blank-cheque companies, pitching a $400 million vehicle that would hunt for deals to expand Virgin Group’s brand in the US. The finances of Britain’s best-known billionaire have been strained by Covid-19’s impact on Virgin’s businesses from airlines to gyms, prompting him to suggest in April that he may need to mortgage his home in the British Virgin Islands. Read more here

Kia suspends Seoul factory after Covid-19 outbreak: South Korea's second-largest automaker said that the company has stopped production in the two plants located in Gwangmyeong, southwest of Seoul. Sohari, which employs 5,800 workers, produces 320,000 units per year, accounting for 10 per cent of Kia's total production. Its line ups include the Rio subcompact sedan, the K9 premium sedan and the Carnival minivan. Read more here


When to stop Working From Home? How about never, workers say

It’s not that they hate the idea of returning, but more that they’ve grown to really like the work-from-home life. It’s becoming the big topic of conversation across virtual workplaces, as companies try to get employees to leave their makeshift desks in bedrooms, kitchen counters, porches or backyards for the once-familiar surroundings of the good old office. A Wells Fargo/Gallup survey released Wednesday found 42 percent of 1,094 workers surveyed in August had a positive view of working remotely, versus 14 percent who viewed it negatively. Almost a third of the 1,200 US office workers surveyed by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers in June said they’d prefer to never go back to the office, while 72 percent said they’d like to work away from the office at least two days a week. Read more here

Depression has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic, study says

Almost as soon as coronavirus lockdowns went into effect in March, discussion turned to mental health. It’s well-documented that natural disasters, wars and other mass traumas can lead to significant increases in population-wide psychological distress. Weeks or months of anxiety, fear, sadness and social isolation can take their toll, leading many experts to fear the US would face a mental health epidemic at the same time it fought a viral pandemic. Now, a study published in JAMA Network Open offers one of the first nationally representative estimates of how severe that epidemic may be: Three times as many Americans met criteria for a depression diagnosis during the pandemic than before it, according to the paper. Read more here

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