Updates on the coronavirus pandemic

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Covid cases and vaccinations

Total global cases: 213.2 m

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Latest news

  • An indicator of U.S. business investment stagnated in July after months of gains as supply chain problems and labor shortages hit manufacturers

  • Johnson & Johnson said a booster of its Covid-19 vaccine produced a strong and rapid antibody response against the virus

  • U.S. retailer Dick’s Sporting Goods raised its forecast for the full year as consumers grabbed its outdoor gear and casual wear for work from home

For the latest updates on coronaviruses, visit our live blog

As we reported today, rich countries are under pressure to shift some of their incentives from the IMF to poorer countries, once again underscoring the uneven impact of the pandemic on the global economy.

The IMF this week handed over $ 650 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) – a form of reserve asset that effectively acts like newly minted currency – to its member states to help them straighten out their hard-hit finances. pandemic. However, funds were allocated to countries roughly in proportion to their share in the global economy, meaning low-income countries received only $ 21 billion of the total.

Oxfam said the amount was “far from enough” and urged developed countries to “channel their SDRs” to bridge the “massive gap” between themselves and their poorer counterparts. The IMF itself has previously said low-income countries need $ 450 billion over the next five years to finance their way out of the crisis.

The most visible disparity between rich and poor countries – highlighted by an Asian Development Bank report calculating that the pandemic has pushed up to 80 million people in the region into extreme poverty – has been the “terrible injustice” in the distribution of vaccines. The situation has been made worse by the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and prompted further calls for the relaxation of intellectual property rules on vaccines – a move the pharmaceutical industry has opposed.

Meanwhile, proposals from some countries such as the US and UK to offer vaccine boosters – a move bolstered by new research showing that the effectiveness of some vaccines declines within six months – have been criticized by the World Health Organization, which has called for a two-month moratorium on additional doses amid fears of exacerbating shortages in poorer countries.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for urgent action to fight this “vaccine injustice”. Of the 4.8 billion doses delivered worldwide, 75% went to just 12 countries, he said yesterday.

Mondial economy

Business confidence in Germany fell for the second month in a row in August as supply chain issues and Covid-19 fears hit the eurozone’s largest economy, with concerns growing in hospitality and tourism. The fall in the Ifo index reflects similar results in this week’s Zew index and PMI survey.

Line graph of the Ifo index showing the expectations of German companies falling sharply

US President Joe Biden $ 3.5 billion in domestic spending the proposals advanced to Congress. Biden is committed to solving long-standing structural problems in the U.S. economy and making the recovery from the pandemic more uniform.

Hotel groups in Spain are offering discounts of up to 35% in a bid to encourage tourists to take vacations in early fall, when Covid-19 vaccination programs are still advanced. They are keen to attract visitors from Germany and other European countries, where overseas travel restrictions have been relaxed, to offset the sharp drop in the number of British tourists.

Business

Clipper Logistics, which manages supply chains for Asos, John Lewis and Asda, reported a 31% increase in pre-tax profits to £ 28.8million in the year through April, as purchases online in the UK have increased during the pandemic. The e-tail boom has been one of the few bright spots for the UK economy.

The decision of the United States Food and Drug Administration to grant full approval to the Jab BioNTech / Pfizer Covid-19 urged U.S. companies to demand that their staff be vaccinated before returning to the office. Goldman Sachs said vaccination will be mandatory from September 7 while similar announcements have been made by Deloitte and CVS Health.

One of the unexpected winners of the pandemic has been the plastic surgery industry because working from home and being in isolation made people less aware of their post-operative recovery. Private equity group Bain Capital said on Wednesday it had sold its majority stake in South Korea’s leading manufacturer of Botox to a consortium of investors for $ 1.5 billion.

Markets

Hedge funds that the profits of struggling companies benefit from an exceptional year as the rally induced by the stimulus measures pushes up the price of debt which was close to default, underlining the speed of recovery of companies after the pandemic. Borrowing costs for businesses have come down across the board, helping even hard-hit industries such as cruise lines, airlines and hotel groups raise billions to overcome them.

Bar chart showing 2021 hedge fund returns by strategy

David Giroux, one of the main active fund managers at T Rowe Price, pulled out of U.S. stocks, underlining investor fears that stocks have been overvalued since their rebound from pandemic lows. The leading US S&P 500 Index has risen nearly a fifth this year, hitting a new all-time high this week.

S&P 500 line chart showing the rise in US stocks

Is there really a link between cryptocurrency prices and cases of Covid-19 in the United States? FT Alphaville reporter Jemima Kelly takes a look at some rather dubious allegations and serious crimes against the charts.

Have your say

Paul Hope Comments on American concert workers continue to fight for rights as unemployment aid comes to an end:

Concert workers are in a vulnerable position. As the job has low barriers to entry and requires easy skills, the competition is stiff. Once in a paycheck-to-paycheck-to-paycheck work cycle, there is little path up or down. Organizing for better conditions is the only way to “go up”. On the flip side, companies that profit from pay-per-view work do so largely through regulatory arbitrage and disruption of systems previously organized to support and support workers i.e. disruptive Uber taxi cartels.

It is quite dark. Mainly because these companies are unprofitable, they have become a means for capital to flush out workers’ protections by working on a platform at a loss for greater market share. But there is no market equilibrium in sight.

Final thought

The pandemic has changed not only the way we do our jobs, but the clothes we do them in as well. that kids are happier in schools that demand uniforms (although they may deny it) – that’s one less thing to worry about. Freedom will turn out to be a lot of work.

White House adviser Kevin Sabet and Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg dress up for a conference
White House adviser Kevin Sabet and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg dress up for a conference © Getty

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