1,997.59 0.00 (0.00%)
After hours: 4:18PM EDT
|Bid||1,994.88 x 800|
|Ask||1,995.63 x 800|
|Day's range||1,930.02 - 1,998.49|
|52-week range||1,626.03 - 2,185.95|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.25|
|PE ratio (TTM)||86.81|
|Earnings date||22 Apr 2020 - 26 Apr 2020|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||2,409.78|
Reuters has learned Amazon.com is in touch with two coronavirus test makers as it considers how to screen its staff and reduce infection risks at its warehouses. Internal meeting notes seen by Reuters say the online retailer is talking to CEOs at Abbott Laboratories and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The CEOs said they'd like to work with Amazon but said their testing capacity is taken up by the U.S. government. The documents also say talks touched upon whether Amazon could start such tests in at least one warehouse near its Seattle headquarters. In a statement Saturday, Abbott confirmed it has been contacted by Amazon and other companies to provide testing for their workforces. Thermo Fisher did not respond to a request for comment, and Amazon declined to comment. The drive to increase screening measures come as Amazon faces protests at several warehouses, where employees say they increasingly fear they'll contract the coronavirus at work. The company plans to roll out temperature checks and face masks for workers at all its U.S. and European warehouses by early next week. In the longer term, the notes say, Amazon wants to test workers for the virus and hopes other companies will follow suit.
On Monday, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island walked off the job for a second time, just one week after holding an initial strike, citing continued coronavirus fears amid 26 cases of the virus at the warehouse.
Yahoo Finance talks with retired Home Depot Chairman and CEO Frank Blake about how leaders should be leading amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the sort of uptick in broadband usage that you’d expect to see over the course of years. In the US, data usage via the cable company Comcast is up 32 per cent nationwide, and by over 60 per cent in locked-down cities. Verizon had a 75 per cent increase in gaming traffic in just one week in mid-March.
(Bloomberg) -- Data sharing by technology companies is helping government officials fight the dizzying spread of the coronavirus by monitoring compliance with social distancing and stay-at-home orders.It’s also putting privacy experts on edge.Companies including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. were already collecting, for advertising purposes, huge volumes of data from websites and smart-phone apps like maps and weather services, which transmit signals about their owners’ location. Some of them are now stripping the data of personal identification markers, aggregating it, and providing it to researchers, public-health authorities and government agencies.The ability to pinpoint the movements of individuals is crucial at a time when controlling the pandemic’s spread depends on compliance with government orders to stay home if possible, and to practice social distancing if not.But consumer advocates fear that an emphasis on health over privacy could undermine the protection of civil liberties, similar to what happened after 9/11, when the U.S. secretly began collecting mass amounts of data on its own citizens in an effort to track down terrorists.Risk of Intrusion“There is an understandable desire to marshal all tools that are at our disposal to help confront the pandemic,” said Michael Kleinman, director of Amnesty International’s Silicon Valley Initiative. “Yet countries’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as an excuse to create a greatly expanded and more intrusive digital surveillance system.”In the U.S. the new data-sharing practices are happening on many levels. One leading effort that began two weeks ago involves a partnership between a network of researchers and tech companies such as Facebook, which supplies anonymous and aggregated geo-location data.In assembly-line fashion, an analytics firm called Camber Systems takes mobile application data from digital ad companies and sends it multiple times a day to researchers who’ve joined the Covid-19 Mobility Data Network, according to network co-coordinator Andrew Schroeder.Those scientists study the now-anonymous data from multiple sources for insights about mobility rates, which are then shared with foreign governments like Italy and Spain and with U.S. states and cities, including New York, Seattle and California, Schroeder said.No ‘Surveillance’ The network says the analysis, which is meant to help measure enforcement of social-distancing rules, doesn’t contain personally identifiable information and that contracts governing the use of the information prohibit raw data from going directly to governments.Camber Systems declined to comment. Facebook said its data are aggregated in formats that prevent re-identification of individuals and that scientists and other users are subject to licensing agreements. Schroeder said the group is only using the data to address the public health crisis and not “for commercial purposes” or for “police surveillance.” Separately, Facebook, Google, Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and others have pledged to work together in coordination with government to combat the spread of the virus. An ad hoc tech industry task force has also spoken with White House officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a person familiar with the matter. Members of that task force have discussed proposals to share analyses of social-distancing compliance and hospital usage, the person said.Google announced Friday it would release new data about how the pandemic has cut down on foot traffic to transit centers, retail stores and public parks in more than 130 countries. The company said it’s responding to requests from public-health officials who want to know how people are moving around cities as a way to better combat the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. Google reiterated in a blog post on Friday that, in its mobility reports, it’s using anonymized, aggregated data. Apple Inc. launched yet another initiative when it announced on March 27 that it was developing an app in partnership with the White House’s coronavirus task force, the CDC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The goal is to give the CDC guidance on users who input symptoms, risk factors and other information. The company said that individual responses wouldn’t be sent to the government.Earlier: Apple Joins Others in Launching Covid-19 Screening ToolsBut on Friday, four Democratic senators sent a letter asking what Apple was doing about privacy compliance, data retention, cybersecurity, and the terms of agreements with governments.With so many initiatives popping up, privacy gurus worry that information collected will later be used in ways it wasn’t intended. They say they don’t want to obstruct efforts that could help turn the tide in the crisis. Still, they want assurances that the data are truly anonymous. They want the data to be clearly defined, with real potential to be helpful, and to include limits on its reuse -- especially by law enforcement. They also want the data discarded once the coronavirus crisis ends.The sources of anonymous data can sometimes be exposed by combining datasets. Even when made anonymous, location points that come from phone apps, for instance, can be linked to a person by checking who lives at the address where the phone rests at night.“Location data can clue you in to a lot of other sensitive points about you,” said Sara Collins, policy counsel at Public Knowledge. “This discussion about backing into sensitive data from one data point I think is going to stay relevant.”Some of the data-sharing initiatives have already exposed potential community-spread problems. Tectonix GEO, based in Maryland, specializes in visualizing geolocation data, including for the federal government. It teamed up with X-Mode Social, based in Virginia, which sells location data from mobile phones to marketers. In March, they used the phone coordinates found on a single Florida beach during spring break to show how people had congregated and then dispersed -- possibly spreading the virus far and wide.X-Mode hasn’t shared any data with governments or heath agencies and hasn’t been been asked to, a spokesman for the company said.Cuebiq Inc., which specializes in helping companies analyze the effectiveness of ad campaigns on travel, weather, and other location-based apps, is posting its own “Mobility Insights,” with county-level readings across the U.S. on the movements of people in areas under stay-at-home orders. Chief Executive Officer Antonio Tomarchio, said it chose to provide analysis from a wide geographic area to protect privacy while trying “to help as much as we can.”“This is not like surveillance,” said Tomarchio, who’s watched the “disaster” unfold in his native Italy. “It’s not that we’re seeing each device.”Privacy RulesBusiness groups have used the pandemic to seek a delay in privacy rules, including a March letter from dozens of trade groups that urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to delay enforcement of the state’s new privacy law for six months due to Covid-19. The groups represent advertisers, tech companies, financial services firms, telecom providers, retailers, toymakers and more. Becerra’s office said it wasn’t planning any delay in the July 1 enforcement date.“Industry wants to use its role addressing today’s threats to public health as a lobbying tool to weaken the resolve of lawmakers to protect privacy,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and a longtime online privacy advocate.Use of consumers’ data is governed largely by individual services’ privacy policies, which are often contained in sprawling documents that most users click through without reading. Few, if any, of the data uses clearly run afoul of laws or regulations, privacy experts say.Hubei ProvinceMany of the proposed ways to use data to combat coronavirus in the U.S. also stop short of what several other countries have done.In China, authorities used phone-carrier data to trace everyone who’s been in or near Hubei province, home to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Singapore’s TraceTogether app uses Bluetooth technology to map a person’s contacts in case an infected person fails to recall all social interactions. And Israel has approved the use of tracking technology developed to combat terrorism to trace the movements of coronavirus patients.The lack of a federal law in the U.S. and the potential for privacy erosions are prompting advocates to push for guardrails. “This pandemic is just another example of why we need a strong, comprehensive baseline federal privacy law and a U.S. data protection agency,” said Caitriona Fitzgerald, policy director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which has filed government records demands about the White House’s work with tech companies.“People may choose safety for the moment,” said Jessica Rich, a former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection bureau and now a fellow at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Technology Law & Policy. “When this crisis is over, we will have eroded privacy norms and expectations and even regulations. And will we be able to get that back?”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As the Black Death scythed through Europe in 1348 and 1349, workers across the continent discovered that they had power for the first time in their lives. Textile workers in St. Omer in northern France asked for and received three successive wage rises within a year of the Great Plague’s passing. Many workers’ guilds struck for higher pay and shorter hours. When the French government tried to cap these demands in 1351, it still allowed pay rises of as much as a third more than their pre-plague level. By 1352, the English Parliament — which in 1349 had passed a law limiting pay to no more than its pre-plague level — was taking action against employers who had instead doubled or tripled workers’ pay.These numbers come from the historian Barbara Tuchman’s, “A Distant Mirror,” a masterwork on the miseries of Europe in the 14th century. Published in 1978, when she thought it reflected the contemporary miseries of the 1970s, it has surged up the Amazon ratings as scholars from all disciplines search the history of pandemics to understand the post-coronavirus future that awaits us. Pandemics, we discover, have shaped civilization, and there are even arguments that they have ushered in positive change. The Black Death, which came as the Catholic Church was riven by a papal schism, changed attitudes toward religion, leaving Europeans more reluctant to submit to authority. As Tuchman put it, “the Black Death may have been the unrecognized beginning of modern man” — even if the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment were all centuries in the future.One of the clearest lessons: labor gains in power at the expense of capital. This might seem too big an extrapolation from one of history’s truly extreme events. The Black Death cut Europe’s population by some 40% in less than two years. Naturally that strengthened the hand of the surviving workers. No other epidemic has had so great an impact, and neither will this one. But research just published by the San Francisco Federal Reserve suggests that less damaging pandemics have similar effects. They looked at a dozen epidemics, from the Black Death through to the H1N1 flu of 2009, which claimed at least 100,000 lives. The final death toll of several of these outbreaks was much lower than the current estimates for Covid-19 — although they tended to attack the working-age population more directly. The academics also re-ran their data excluding the Black Death (by far the most lethal) and the Spanish flu of 1918 (because the Great Depression following barely a decade later might have skewed results) and found the same picture. In the decades after a pandemic, real wages in Europe (for which there is the best continuous data) invariably increase:These figures are relative to what would have been expected absent the plagues, (and they are in real terms: after the Black Death, grain prices shot up, so higher wages initially only kept up with inflation) and show that pandemics boost labor for almost four decades. These gains are at the expense of capital; shareholders should brace for lower returns than they had been anticipating. Any look at the headlines should confirm that we could see a replication of these patterns. Under emergency conditions, governments across Europe are subsidizing wages and paying workers not to work. Workers who are still required to work while others are social distancing, and who had previously been prepared to accept poor pay and conditions, are becoming much more assertive. Most famously, workers at Amazon, long subject to complaints about practices at its warehouses, took to the streets to protest being forced to work in close proximity to each other after colleagues had contracted Covid-19; and Amazon even responded by making 80,000 new hires. Another alarming finding from the study is that there is no great recovery to look forward to. Pandemics are not like wars. Buildings and machines are not destroyed, and so there is nothing to rebuild. Some European politicians, including Spain’s prime minister, already are calling for a “new Marshall Plan” that would be “the greatest mobilization of economic and material resources in history.” But it may be optimistic to draw a parallel to the Marshall Plan, the enormous program of investment with which the U.S. supported the reconstruction of western Europe after World War II.When the academics looked at real natural interest rates after pandemics and compared them with the impact of wars, they found they had exactly opposite effects. The natural rate of interest, by their definition, is “the level of real returns on safe assets which equilibrates savings supply and investment demand—while keeping prices stable—in an economy.” Greater economic activity will require higher rates, all else being equal, while weaker economic activity will bring with it lower rates. A remarkable paper published by the Bank of England earlier this year calculated real natural rates back to 1311, before the Black Death. Their finding was clear-cut. Wars lead to higher real interest rates, which imply greater economic activity that needs to be controlled. Pandemics are followed by lower real rates, implying sluggish economic activity:The intuition behind this is that there is no shortage of capital that needs to be replaced, as there would be after a war. Further, there is probably a tendency to save rather than invest. When the economy takes a huge hit, many feel the need to save more — and hence consume less, meaning slower economic growth.There are also important psychological differences. After a war, traumatic though it was, the winners have the satisfaction of victory, while the losers can bring great intensity to rebuilding and salvaging national honor. The second half of the 20th century, and the economic rise of countries such as Germany, Japan and South Korea, shows the possibilities. After a pandemic, people have literally had the fear of God put in them, and there is no great sense of victory at the end. Often survivors feel guilty. Thus consumption and investment patterns can be influenced by post-traumatic stress disorder. To quote the investment analyst Peter Atwater, of Financial Insyghts: “We don’t recover from trauma; we adapt to it. We learn to live with its scars and to move forward amid the pain.”Specific effects of the coronavirus also include greater demands on government, as this generational crisis has shown at least one case where clear direction from the top can be very helpful. Figures on the political right are already alarmed that the coronavirus era will lead to a “collectivist temptation” and a rise in the appeal of left-wing and socialist political movements. More alarming is the potential for disorder and unrest. A common thread of pandemics has been an attempt to blame outsiders and foreigners. Massacres of Jews during the Black Death forced them to resettle in eastern Europe. Loss of faith in the church’s authority was disorienting, as were workers’ attempts to assert their rights. The two centuries after the Plague saw Europe riven by a succession of unnecessary wars. Revolts by peasants and artisans were common and always ended in brutal suppression. Like its predecessors, this panic has probably tipped the balance in favor of labor and against capital. It will intensify distrust in governments while also intensifying the desire for governments to take a more active role in society and in markets. We will be lucky if those conflicts are resolved peacefully.This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.John Authers is a senior editor for markets. Before Bloomberg, he spent 29 years with the Financial Times, where he was head of the Lex Column and chief markets commentator. He is the author of “The Fearful Rise of Markets” and other books.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
At-home entertainment is seeing a dramatic surge amid the coronavirus pandemic, with streaming platforms like Disney+ (DIS) and Netflix (NFLX) benefitting.
(Bloomberg Markets) -- Mia Mottley’s gravelly voice rang with urgency. Standing at the podium at the United Nations, the prime minister of Barbados was warning of the dangers her island faced as storms swollen by warmer oceans tore through the Caribbean. “This is a matter of life or death for us,” she said.It was late September 2018 hurricane season and Barbados was flooding. A tropical storm threatened neighboring St. Lucia. On the other side of the globe, a typhoon took aim at Japan. The confluence of disasters was almost unthinkable. Almost. “This is not a science fiction movie,” Mottley said. “This is not a cartoon. And if I ever thought that it was a fantasy, what transpired in the last 24 hours across the different poles of the world has reminded me that it is not.”Mottley had won office only four months earlier, becoming her nation’s first woman leader. This was her inaugural address to the UN, but she spoke with conviction, her words charged by decades of pent-up concern about a changing climate. She had seen for herself how flying fish, a once plentiful delicacy, were avoiding warming coastal waters, how rising seas were eating away at the wide white-sand beaches she’d known growing up, and how droughts were drying up aquifers that provide the islanders’ drinking water.Financially shaky Barbados had escaped the wrath of disastrous hurricanes, but for how much longer? “We cannot plan our affairs or that of our people on the basis of luck,” she said. “It must be on the basis of policy and decisive action, but above all else on the basis of caring and empathy. I ask the world to pause, pause, and just get this one right.”In front of her in the UN’s vast General Assembly hall, half the seats were empty. Some in the audience of dignitaries slumped in their seat. Others milled about. The signs were clear: Mottley was on her own. She returned to Barbados that day to work on a plan to protect the island, a plan of her own.With wildfires ripping through Australia and the Amazon and along the U.S. West Coast, rising seas threatening small islands, and supercharged storms killing thousands and costing billions of dollars, markets and public officials are grappling with how to respond. There’s little that the prime minister of a country of some 290,000 people can do on her own to cool the world. But she can prepare her island nation for the inevitable crisis and its financial impact.Now 54, Mottley has become a champion of what are known in sovereign debt contracts as natural-disaster clauses, measures that give the government a break from principal and interest payments in the event calamity strikes. Over the course of a year and a half of contentious negotiations to restructure Barbados’s sovereign debt, Mottley was finally able to persuade creditors to accept the clauses last October. She also needed to win the support of Bajans, as the people of Barbados are called, many of whom lost money when the government defaulted on its Treasury notes.But in the process, Mottley says, Barbados has developed a model for how countries can protect their finances from climate change, especially neighboring Caribbean islands, which have been prone to default. “You’re not walking away from the liabilities, but you are walking away from the immediacy of the payments to create the cash flow that you need,” she says, seated at the head of a conference table at government headquarters in Bridgetown.Under the deal the government and its creditors finalized in October, Barbados would get a two-year payment moratorium in the event of a disaster severe enough to trigger a payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility Segregated Portfolio Co., a risk pool that provides coverage for calamities. The Mottley clauses, which now cover about 80% of the country’s outstanding debt, would free up as much as $700 million to spend on rebuilding if weather events cause the government to enact them in the next five years. That’s equivalent to almost 15% of the economy that otherwise would go to debt payments. After the moratorium, payments would resume, including on accrued interest.That sort of breathing space could preserve the ability of Barbados and other tiny nations to respond to ever-more-frequent disasters. Hurricanes have caused more than $212 billion in losses and damages in the Caribbean since 1980, according to the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany.QuickTake Q&A: Who Pays Cost of Mother Nature's Destructive Fury?The region is strewn with examples of the link between disaster and debt. The Bahamas, 1,400 miles northwest of Barbados, is borrowing as much as $300 million to deal with 2019’s Hurricane Dorian, the worst in its history. In 2017, Hurricane Maria crippled Puerto Rico’s ability to pay down the more than $70 billion in debt owed by the U.S. commonwealth at the time. Again and again, natural disasters have held back economic growth and, coupled with fiscal mismanagement, pushed countries into untenable situations.Caribbean countries have restructured debt more than a dozen times in the past 20 years. “We live in such a bad neighborhood in terms of our vulnerabilities,” says Monica La Bennett, a vice president of the Bridgetown-based Caribbean Development Bank. “Governments, multilateral institutions, and the financial markets are recognizing that this is now a new normal, and so these clauses have become more important as part of the armory these countries can put in place.”Mottley has lived under the specter of a natural catastrophe for all her life. At the decaying three-story concrete government headquarters in the capital, she recalls how two decades ago, when she was minister of education, she warned that a bad storm could set back the country, once one of the most prosperous in the eastern Caribbean because of a thriving tourism industry and its offshore banking businesses. “The gains of development you thought you had are immediately whittled away in hours,” she says.The 166-square-mile pear-shaped island sits closer to South America than the U.S. That’s put it outside the main Atlantic hurricane belt, sparing it so many times that locals quip, “God is Bajan.” And it can look that way. Across from Mottley’s offices, sailboats bob in the clear waters of a horseshoe-shaped bay while cruise ships the size of office buildings dock in the distance.But Barbados is small, flat, and vulnerable. Most of the population lives near the coast. Some Bajans live in rickety wooden homes known as chattel houses, their design dating to days when sugar plantations dominated the island and many residents were former slaves. “Nature—and what it brings with it—was our greatest threat,” Mottley says.In conversation, Mottley, who earned a law degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1986, switches fluidly from climate science to international finance to economic policy. She wears polygonal glasses that contrast with a round face, and an occasional smile reveals a gap between her front teeth.Mottley’s immersion in Barbadian politics began early. Her grandfather was Bridgetown’s first mayor. Her father served as consul general in New York, where Mottley studied at the United Nations International School. She entered politics before turning 30, becoming one of the youngest education ministers in the country’s history. She rose to become leader of the then-minority Barbados Labour Party in 2013.By 2017 she was already hatching a plan to turn the country around. The economy had stopped growing a decade or so earlier, infrastructure was in such disrepair that sewage leaked into the sea, and the country’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio was surpassed only by Japan and Greece.The economy of the former British colony depends massively on tourism, so when the financial crisis came along, it ravaged international travel. Growth contracted and didn’t return until 2015. The travel and tourism industry supports more than a third of the nation’s $5 billion GDP. In recent years, the number of foreign visitors has risen to more than 1.5 million annually. The coronavirus pandemic has hit the island hard. Tourists canceled thousands of hotel reservations in March, according to the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, even as cruise lines dropped voyages to the Caribbean, including Barbados, where some 800,000 passengers normally disembark each year.The year before the 2018 election, as leader of the opposition, Mottley recruited a team of advisers that included Avinash Persaud, a native Barbadian, who’d spent years abroad as an investment banker at global heavyweights including State Street Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., winning recognition for his work on risk modeling.As Mottley’s team settled down to work, Persaud and the others couldn’t ignore what was going on around the region. The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season brought 10 of them, plus a handful of tropical storms that wreaked havoc in the U.S., the Caribbean, and Central America. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Category 5 monsters, formed within days of each other, severely damaging Caribbean and Atlantic islands and the U.S. mainland. Irma destroyed tiny Barbuda. Maria left almost 3,000 dead in Puerto Rico. “It was just a horrific year,” Persaud says. “It led to a complete rethinking.’’Mottley was already familiar with debt clauses that could afford protection against storms. The idea was actually born in neighboring Grenada, a tiny island whose major exports are nutmeg, mace, and newly minted doctors from its medical school. Hurricane Ivan hammered it in 2004, beginning a decade of economic malaise that resulted in a default a decade later.During Grenada’s restructuring, financiers sought ways to cushion government indebtedness. A few ideas already existed, including so-called collective action clauses, which give a supermajority of bondholders power to make debt restructurings binding, as well as catastrophe bonds, mainly issued by insurance companies to protect against disasters.Grenada’s adviser in the restructuring was White Oak Advisory in London. Managing director J. Sebastian Espinosa, an ex-managing director at investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc., and his partner David Nagoski, a former U.S. Treasury official, have advised governments throughout Africa and Latin America. In Grenada’s case, they developed a clause that would specifically address the government’s fiscal condition after a hurricane.“We wanted to come up with something that was conducive to bolstering resilience to rising climatic risks,” Espinosa says. “Adverse-weather clauses provide vulnerable sovereign debtors with a degree of flexibility by creating built-in buffers that can help them absorb some of the financial impact.”Grenada’s restructuring culminated in 2015, and Mottley would build on that work. Having won office in a landslide in May 2018, she promptly announced the island would default on its debt of about $8 billion. She took the born-in-Grenada idea and expanded it, hiring White Oak for Barbados’s restructuring. The company drafted clauses that would include all types of natural disaster and cover almost all of Barbados’s obligations. Mottley sees the clause as a way to free up cash for rebuilding that would otherwise go to creditors. “If you have an event, you need fiscal space,” she says. “How do you best do that but by suspending your debt payments?”To get the restructuring done, however, Barbados needed buy-in from skeptical creditors. Mottley also needed the support of her own citizenry, who in a restructuring risked losing money from their savings and from retirement plans.In the end, Mottley was able to spread out the pain of austerity. She raised taxes on tourism, reasoning that visitors use infrastructure and services as much as residents, if not more. She also announced that foreign loans and bonds would be renegotiated, a surprise from a country that once boasted of its investment-grade credit rating and history of fiscal prudence.Reaching an agreement with foreign holders of dollar-denominated bonds proved more contentious. Mottley tried to sell the natural-disaster clause as protection for lenders, because the government, without the clause, might default on its debts following a big storm.Creditors didn’t buy it. Several institutional bondholders formed a committee, including Eaton Vance Corp., Greylock Capital Management, Teachers Advisors, and the Guyana Bank for Trade & Industry. The group wanted Barbados to consider an alternative approach, such as an insurance policy, says Rafael Molina, managing partner at Newstate Partners LLP, an advisory firm in London for the creditors. “I can understand the government of Barbados is concerned about hurricanes, because the threat of climate change is very real,” he says. “But from the beginning, creditors said they didn’t want this clause. There is no market for bonds with these clauses. It has to be driven by the market.”Mottley took a hard-line approach. Negotiations dragged on and at times appeared stalled. Having secured a $290 million bailout package from the International Monetary Fund, she could afford to bide her time because Barbados didn’t necessarily need to borrow from capital markets.In the end, fatigue set in, Molina says. Despite the creditors’ objection to the clause and to other government demands, they wanted to close the deal. “The thought was, Do we really want this to drag on for two years? We’ll just take it and move on,” he says.The creditor committee accepted the government’s deal, with one caveat designed to make the bonds more salable: If natural disaster strikes, Barbados has to notify creditors of its intent to enact the clause. If a committee majority votes against its use, it can’t be enacted.The wrangling over the Barbados deal exposed a weakness that may inhibit widespread use of Mottley clauses: The market hasn’t figured out how to price the risk in such cases. So far, though, investors seem welcoming. Similar bonds issued by Grenada were trading around par before the March credit sell-off. Buyers have actually pushed up the price for the new Barbados dollar bond, which matures in 2029 and carries a 6.5% coupon, since it started trading in December.Just as Barbados built on Grenada’s experience, other countries may build on Mottley’s. As they consider ways to balance the needs of countries and creditors alike, the IMF and World Bank have held discussions on the clauses. In the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in losses and damages, the government has considered a similar provision in new debt sales.For now, the clauses are “experimental,” says Michael Papaioannou, a visiting scholar at Drexel University in Philadelphia and an expert on emerging-market debt. They could become common if multilaterals such as the World Bank and IMF include them in loan contracts. “We are seeing the first steps,” he says.Barbados is determined to keep taking them. Although wide-scale acceptance of the clauses “will take a while,” Persaud says, Barbados plans to include the clause in all future debt sales, blazing a path for other governments. “It does require a few pioneers,” he says. “Financiers love to let someone else be first. They get paid a lot of money, but they’re risk-averse.”On a January afternoon in Bridgetown, Mottley gathers her cabinet together to go over the numbers for the coming budget year. She whips out an iPad to check spreadsheets that show debt has declined to 114% of GDP from about 176% when she took office. She points to a part of the spreadsheet that shows how much the country will save if it has to enact the hurricane clause—a bit of certainty amid the wild unpredictability of climate change.Outside, a steady, light rain is falling. It’s a welcome respite from a punishing dry spell. But even this relatively small amount of precipitation is inundating streets that have never flooded before. “Even without hurricanes you have normal floods,” she tells the room. She mentions that it’s been six decades since a catastrophic hurricane struck the island. She turns to a wooden tabletop and raps it with her knuckles. “Barbados has been luckier than most.”Fieser is a credit market reporter based in Bogotá. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
A nationwide closure would be crushing for the company, crippling its distribution network amid a spike in demand for Amazon’s delivery service.
Cloud computing comes to the rescue as countries practice social distancing, making people work remotely to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The deadly and rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak has been wreaking havoc on companies around the world. Nevertheless, some companies — including online pet product retailer Chewy — have emerged as winners amid the chaos.
The novel coronavirus has capsized the lives of freelancers and self-employed workers who are trying to find financial stability.
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Bloomberg’s daily technology newsletter here.The tech bubble is popping, but not in the way anyone expected. After years of fretting that free-spending startups with unrealistic valuations would bring down the startup economy on its own, a global pandemic is doing it in instead.Tech layoffs are accelerating. The New York Times dubbed it “the great unwinding” and one reporter tweeted “here comes the pop.” Of course, this isn’t the dot-com era, where Silicon Valley stood out from the pack for its wild exuberance. Boeing Co. seems more imperiled than Uber Technologies Inc.We might never be able to disentangle what would have happened without this crisis. Would the bubble have burst another way? It feels like a distant memory when in January I took stock of former Y Combinator President Sam Altman’s narrowly defeated bubble bet.At the time it looked like enormous funding rounds for the biggest startups had gotten out of hand, but that many companies were still extremely valuable. Only a few months later, that period looks like the moment just before the peak of the market. Now venture capitalists are hoping to help the companies they’ve invested in score government loans.In some ways, the poster children for this tech run-up had already been chastened. WeWork had much of its dirty laundry aired and its CEO deposed last year. Now, its business model faces serious challenges for reasons that are hard to blame on the company. It’s unreasonable to expect WeWork to have predicted Covid-19, but it was spending money in a way that certainly didn’t protect itself from this black swan event.This week, SoftBank Group Corp. backed out out of a $3 billion deal to buy WeWork stock, which means that Adam Neumann, WeWork’s former CEO, isn’t even a billionaire anymore, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.SoftBank cited regulatory concerns and government investigations, not the collapsing market, as the reason for the move. Those problems would have existed without coronavirus.The hype around scooter companies had already been fading. It turned out that winter, with all its snow and ice, wasn’t great for tiny two-wheeled open-air vehicles. Now that spring is here though, everyone is in lockdown, and so layoffs are underway.WeWork and scooter sharing were prime examples for people who wanted to argue that startups had gone too far. Now they’re plummeting in a way that feels existential. The question is: were things headed this way already or was it the exogenous shock? People will probably be debating that well into whatever boom comes next.And just as in the aftermath of the last crash, the seeds of that next boom may already be being planted. Zoom Video Communications Inc., the video conferencing service, revealed this week that it had gone from 10 million daily active users to 200 million thanks to the crisis. Grocery delivery has become an essential service. Amazon.com Inc., is facing plenty of criticism for its treatment of workers, but the company is the backbone of the American way of life.Everyone is stuck at home watching the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," searching for thermometers, masks and toilet paper on Amazon Prime, and streaming themselves on Twitch. Tech valuations may be down and some sectors of the industry look very imperiled, but Silicon Valley didn't collapse under its own contradictions. It turns out this time was different after all.If you read one thingAmazon executives said the focus of its public relations campaign responding to a work stoppage on Staten Island should focus on the warehouse worker who organized the action, rather than "simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers." Notes from a private meeting written by Amazon's General Counsel David Zapolsky described the organizer, a man named Chris Smalls who Amazon subsequently fired, as “not smart, or articulate." Zapolsky said in a statement after the notes became public that "I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me.” The incident came a day after Amazon's top spokesman, Jay Carney, complained on Twitter about "ad hominem vitriol."And here’s what you need to know in global technology newsWeWork rival Industrious dismissed or furloughed of 30% of its staff. Sales have spiked at online pet supply retailer Chewy Inc., as homebound pet owners stress buy squeeze toys. Google will start allowing coronavirus political ads. The company is revising its policy after a DNC official complained about decisions that "hamstring Democrats' ability to call out and counter Donald Trump's lies."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Few activities expose the divide between haves and have-nots in the US like online shopping. Fortunate Americans isolated at home during the coronavirus pandemic are using online deliveries from the likes of Amazon to stay safe indoors. Workers at Amazon and Whole Foods staged walkouts this week, asking for protective gear and hazard pay.
(Bloomberg) -- A senior Amazon.com Inc. executive called a fired Staten Island warehouse worker “not smart or articulate” in internal discussions about how the company should respond to employee criticism of its handling of the pandemic, according to a person familiar with the matter.Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky said fired worker Chris Smalls should be the focus of Amazon’s public-relations campaign countering activist employees, said the person who saw an internal memo. Amazon workers around the country have been walking off the job or holding demonstrations to highlight what they describe as inadequate safety precautions.Smalls said the memo reveals that Amazon is more interested in managing its public image than protecting workers, and he called on employees to keep pressuring the company to implement stronger safeguards.“Amazon wants to make this about me, but whether Jeff Bezos likes it or not, this is about Amazon workers -- and their families -- everywhere,” he said, referring to the company’s chief executive officer. “There are thousands of scared workers waiting for a real plan from Amazon so that its facilities do not become epicenters of the crisis. More and more positive cases are turning up every day.”The e-commerce giant has emerged as a go-to provider of essentials for customers looking to avoid stores during the outbreak. But it has also been criticized for not doing enough to protect workers in its warehouses and those making deliveries.“My comments were personal and emotional,” Zapolsky said Thursday in an emailed statement. “I was frustrated and upset that an Amazon employee would endanger the health and safety of other Amazonians by repeatedly returning to the premises after having been warned to quarantine himself after exposure to virus Covid-19. I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me.”Vice reported Zapolsky’s comments earlier.Smalls participated Monday in a worker demonstration at Amazon’s Staten Island facility and was fired afterward, prompting complaints from the New York attorney general and other officials, including presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. Amazon said Smalls was fired for violating safety guidelines, including social distancing.Amazon workers and delivery people are panicking as the illness spreads to warehouses and delivery stations around the country. They’ve complained about a lack of communication from the company about the full scope of coronavirus cases in the ranks. And they cite inadequate protective measures despite Amazon’s insistence that it’s cleaning more and enforcing social distancing guidelines. Some workers said they’re being asked to come in for nonessential work, such as processing returns and packing toys, clothes and cosmetics.Their concerns are getting the attention of lawmakers and regulators even as Amazon executives downplay them on social media. The Zapolsky remarks could hurt Amazon’s reputation in the long term, said Christopher Borick, director of Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion.“In the short term, as Americans turn to Amazon for many of their needs this incident may not catch the public’s attention or be of limited concern,” he said. “But as we emerge from the height of the pandemic, and the performance and roles of companies and institutions are evaluated, I think this type of incident can add to the public’s existing uneasiness with Amazon’s workplace practices.”(Updates with comments from worker in the third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- In four months, the new coronavirus infected more than 1 million people and killed more than 51,000. The U.S. accounts for a quarter of the cases. Italy and Spain represent almost half the deaths.British Airways furloughed 30,000 staff and cut pay. Portugal closed airports during Easter. New York City reported a rise in new cases.The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits more than doubled to a record 6.65 million. In Britain, almost 1 million people claimed welfare payments in two weeks. Stocks gained as oil surged.Key Developments:Global cases top 1 million; deaths exceed 51,000: Johns HopkinsNations with mandatory TB vaccines show fewer coronavirus deathsLA urges city to mask up; NY, NJ deaths double in three daysLocked up, beaten and shamed: virus laws lead to abusePalantir’s new ‘driving thrust’: predicting virus outbreaksLife-or-death hospital decisions come with threat of lawsuitsTrump Issues Order on Supplies (4:40 p.m. NY)President Donald Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act to speed production of ventilators after state officials raised alarm that supplies are inadequate.Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that General Electric Co., Hill-Rom Holdings Inc., Medtronic Plc, ResMed Inc., Royal Philips NV and Vyaire Medical Inc. obtain needed supplies. The order doesn’t name the suppliers to companies manufacturing ventilators.Trump has expressed reluctance to use the law, comparing it to nationalizing industries. He has said he prefers to use threats to invoke the act as leverage to force companies to comply.Tennessee Issues Stay-at-Home Order (4:25 p.m. NY)Tennessee is requiring citizens to remain at home, ending one of the last holdouts by U.S. states. Governor Bill Lee, who had previously only urged residents to stay home, said he made the decision after seeing traffic data showing people were traveling more.Ohio Extends Stay-Home Order (4:15 p.m. NY)Ohio Governor Mike DeWine extended a stay-at-home order that closes non-essential businesses through May 1. The order was set to expire April 6 but is still needed with models showing the peak of the outbreak expected by mid-May, the governor said. Stores will be asked to set, post, and enforce limits on number of customers inside at at any one time.Germany’s Deaths Top 1,000 (3:15 p.m. NY)Deaths in Germany climbed to 1,074 Thursday, a day after the government extended a nationwide lockdown beyond Easter. The toll was 931 the previous day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Confirmed cases increased to 84,264 -- the third-highest in Europe -- from 77,981.The head of Germany’s public health authority said this week he expects the nation’s relatively low death rate of 0.8% to rise in the next few weeks.NYC Ambulance Response Slows (3 p.m. NY)New York City ambulances are taking almost three minutes longer than usual to respond to the most critical distress calls as administrative bottlenecks in emergency rooms cause delays, even as streets are uncharacteristically clear.Response times in March averaged 10 minutes and 7 seconds, according to New York City Fire Department records, compared with an average 7 minutes, 15 seconds in the same period a year earlier. Ambulances sometimes wait as long as an hour to deliver patients to an ER, said Anthony Almojera, an EMS technician and vice president of the fire department’s EMS Officers Union Local 3621.Sressed-out drivers and paramedics will get some help from 250 more ambulances and 500 specialists that the Federal Emergency Management Agency sent to the city this week.Portugal Shuts Airports (2:40 p.m. NY)Portugal’s airports will be closed April 9-13 as the nation deals with the outbreak during the Easter holiday period. The government also is limiting the number of passengers on flights to put distance between travelers, Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in Lisbon on Thursday.President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa earlier extended the state of emergency for two weeks through April 17. The number of confirmed cases in Portugal rose 9.5% to 9,034, slower than the two previous daily increases.U.S. Layoffs Lead to Lost Insurance (1:10 p.m. NY)Some 3.5 million American workers probably lost their employer-provided health insurance policies in the past two weeks as the epidemic triggered an unprecedented wave of layoffs, according to research published Thursday by the Economic Policy Institute.The “very rough estimate” is based on industry-specific unemployment claims filed in Washington state, which had the earliest U.S. outbreak.It’s hard to be precise because some laid-off workers will be able to get insurance via Obamacare exchanges or a family member who still has a job, or will qualify for government coverage under Medicaid, the EPI said. On the other hand, the 3.5 million doesn’t include spouses or children of the newly unemployed who may now be without coverage.N.Y. New Cases Rise Almost 9,000 (1 p.m. NY)New York’s coronavirus outbreak shows no signs of abating, with almost 8,700 new infections, 1,200 new hospitalizations, 400 new ICU admissions and more than 400 new deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.Cuomo said at the current infection rate, the state is six days away from exhausting its stockpile of breathing machines. About 350 new patients per night need ventilation, and the state has about 2,200 stockpiled.Unlike other states that claim to have received faulty ventilators from the U.S. stockpile, Cuomo says all those received by New York appear to be in working order.British Airways Staff Furloughed (12:45 p.m. NY)British Airways, which grounded most of its fleet as travel demand slumped, will furlough about 28,000 employees and pay them 80% of their usual pay, the Unite union said Thursday after labor talks. The U.K. government will cover up to 2,500 pounds ($3,095) a month under a national plan, with the airline picking up wages beyond that level.The airline is following other carriers in furloughing workers as the virus wipes out global travel demand. Among U.K. rivals, EasyJet Plc laid off cabin crew for two months Monday after grounding its entire fleet, while staff at Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. have signed up for eight-week breaks, extended sabbaticals or voluntary severance.Netherlands Urges Quarantine for U.S. Travelers (12:40 p.m. NY)Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called on citizens returning to the Netherlands from the U.S. to self-quarantine for 14 days, press agency ANP reports.The same is being asked for all citizens who are being repatriated. Rutte also called on residents in neighboring Germany and Belgium to stay away in the long Easter weekend.Pence Says 100,000 Get Tested (12:34 p.m. NY)Vice President Mike Pence said more than 100,000 Americans are now being tested daily for coronavirus, as the government tries to ramp up its lagging response to tracking the outbreak.A weekend breakthrough on point-of-care testing by Abbott Laboratories will make an additional 50,000 tests available each day, Pence said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.There have been about 1.2 million coronavirus tests performed in the U.S. as of noon Thursday, according to the Covid 19 Tracking Project, which examines data supplied by states.Italy Infections Slow (12:20 p.m. NY)Italy reported 4,668 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday compared with 4,782 a day earlier, as growth in infections slowed.The nation had 760 deaths as the number of fatalities rose again after three weeks of nationwide lockdown.The toll over the past 24 hours compared with 727 on Wednesday, according to figures from the civil protection agency.Remy Cointreau Takes Hit on China Sales (12:20 p.m. NY)Remy Cointreau SA, one of the world’s largest sellers of Cognac, cut its forecast for the fiscal year and said it expects profit to be down between 25% and 30%. Producers of the spirit are enduring a collapse in sales from China as a result of the coronavirus. The country had previously grown to become one of the most important sales markets for Cognac and other European luxury goods. Just under a third of Remy Cointreau’s revenue comes from Asia, with China being the largest market in the region.Democrats Postpone Convention (12:05 p.m. NY)The Democratic National Committee on Thursday postponed the presidential nominating convention from July to Aug. 17 due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to two people familiar with the decision. The delay comes after likely presidential nominee Joe Biden said it should be pushed back for safety reasons.Pelosi Forming Panel to Oversee Stimulus (11:35 a.m. NY)U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will create a select committee with subpoena power to oversee the government’s response to the outbreak, including how the $2.2 trillion from last week’s stimulus plan is spent.Pelosi on Thursday compared the committee to the panel chaired by then-Senator Harry Truman in the 1940s to investigate defense spending as the country mobilized for World War II.“We want to make sure there are not exploiters out there,” she told reporters. “Where there is money, there is mischief.”Putin Extends Lockdown Through April 30 (10:36 a.m. NY)President Vladimir Putin extended his order keeping Russians at home until April 30, warning that the spread of coronavirus has yet to reach its peak.The Russian leader said certain parts of Russia, including Moscow, haven’t managed to get the situation under control. He said he would give additional authority to regional leaders to determine the level of response locally. He noted that the stay-at-home period could be shortened if the situation improves.Russia has more than 3,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus after a 28% increase overnight.NYC Business Activity Falls (10:30 a.m. NY)A measure of business activity in the New York City area sank to the lowest level on record in March. The Institute for Supply Management-New York’s current business conditions index fell 39 points last month to 12.9, the lowest in data back to 1993 and well below its 27.1 reading duriing the global financial crisis. Levels below 50 signal contracting activity.Kenya to Hire Health Workers (10:15 a.m. NY)Kenya is set to hire 6,000 health workers to help fight the coronavirus outbreak, with 5,000 deployed to counties and 1,000 will remain at the national hospitals, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said.Kenya has confirmed 110 Covid-19 cases and three deaths.Walgreens Flags Sales Downturn (9:43 a.m. NY)Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. executives said sales have started to decline at its drugstores as a result of the pandemic, though the full impact on its business won’t be known for months.U.S. consumers had raced early last month to stock up on drugs, cleaning supplies and toilet paper as they prepared to stay at home to avoid getting or spreading Covid-19. Now, that rush appears to be ebbing.Amazon Hires 80,000, Steps Up Warehouse Safety (9:24 a.m. NY)Amazon.com Inc. said it has hired 80,000 people to help meet demand for online orders and has stepped up safety precautions at its U.S warehouses.Dave Clark, Amazon’s logistics chief, said in a blog on Thursday that Amazon would probably go “well beyond” its previous estimate of an additional $350 million in costs to support a growing workforce.Germany Backs Use of Bailout Fund (9:15 a.m. NY)The government in Berlin says it’s ready to send an “unambiguous signal” to markets by letting countries tap the European Stability Mechanism, the euro area’s rescue fund, to help them deal with the fallout of the pandemic.That’s according to a position paper seen by Bloomberg, which also advocates setting up a 50 billion-euro fund to guarantee loans to small and medium-sized companies, especially in countries that don’t have their own development banks. Germany also said it would welcome a European unemployment reinsurance.U.S. Jobless Claims Doubled to Record Last Week: (8:38 a.m. NY)The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits more than doubled to a second straight record as the coronavirus widened its reach and closed more businesses.A total of 6.65 million people filed jobless claims in the week ended March 28, according to Labor Department figures released Thursday, as many stores and restaurants were forced to close across the nation to mitigate the outbreak.U.K.’s Johnson Still Has Mild Symptoms (8:24 a.m. NY)U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to show mild symptoms after contracting Covid-19, his spokesman, James Slack, said at a briefing with reporters.New Cases in Italy’s Lombardy Region Remain Flat (8:21 a.m. NY)Lombardy’s trend of new virus cases remains flat, with no increases in the last 24 hours, the region’s governor, Attilio Fontana, said at a press conference on Thursday.“It seems what our experts have predicted is happening, and that in a few days we might see a blessed decline in the pandemic trend,” Fontana said.Germany Sees Economy Contracting 5% in 2020 (7:43 a.m. NY)The national output is expected to contract more than 5% in 2020, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said. Germany’s economy could be in position for “reasonable growth” next year, he added. Angela Merkel’s government was widely anticipated to slash its forecast from the pre-crisis prediction of 1.1% growth.Amgen Joins Hunt for Coronavirus Drug, DJ Says (7:35 a.m. NY)Amgen Inc. and Adaptive Biotechnologies Corp. are partnering to develop a drug to treat the coronavirus, Dow Jones reported on Thursday, citing an interview with David Reese, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development.No Decisions on Domestic Travel Ban, Fauci Says (7:32 a.m. NY)“It’s on the table,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci says about whether the U.S. has any plans to restrict domestic travel. “We look at that literally every day,” he said. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he’s looking at domestic travel limits for virus hot spots.HK Orders Bars, Pubs to Close (7:28 a.m. NY)Hong Kong has ordered bars and pubs to close for 14 days from April 3. The city earlier reported 37 new cases, taking its total to 802.Boeing Offers Voluntary Buyouts (7:24 a.m. NY)Boeing Co. offered voluntary buyouts to eligible employees, in a bid to quickly shed costs and adjust its work force of 161,000 to a coronavirus crisis that’s quickly undermined the outlook for aircraft sales. The move will preserve much-needed cash at Boeing, which is facing a sharp contraction in demand along with its European rival Airbus SE.Airline customers around the world have slashed schedules, with some parking their entire fleets as the coronavirus pandemic guts travel. About 44% of aircraft across the globe are in storage.ECB Delays Strategic Review (7:21 a.m. NY)The big policy rethink, which was supposed to become the hallmark of President Christine Lagarde’s presidency, will be completed by the middle of next year, or six months later than initially planned, the ECB said on Thursday.EU Says It Should Have Acted Faster to Help Italy (7:05 a.m. NY)In a letter to Italian newspaper la Repubblica, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted the bloc was late in understanding the scale of the outbreak in Italy and slow to act. She said Brussels has done far better recently.The unusual admission comes amid fear that Italy’s debt market is still vulnerable to a mass exodus by investors, even with the European Central Bank offering support through its 750 billion-euro ($820 billion) bond-buying program. The country’s yield spread over Germany, a key gauge of risk in the country remains elevated after last month’s virus-induced rout.Biden Says Sees Democratic Convention Delayed to August (7 a.m. NY)“I think it’s going to have to move into August,” Biden said in an interview on “The Tonight Show.” “I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July.”Norway’s Wealth Fund Lost a Record $113 Billion in 1Q (6:41 a.m. NY)Norway’s sovereign wealth fund lost a record 1.17 trillion kroner in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic roiled stock markets. The loss comes as the fund for the first time faces forced asset sales to cover emergency spending by the government to weather the impact on the richest Nordic economy.Stanchart CEO Says U.K., U.S. Acted Too Late (6:35 a.m. NY)Standard Chartered Plc Chief Executive Officer Bill Winters said authorities in London and Washington have been too slow in ordering the type of lockdown that China used to control the outbreak. Speaking on Bloomberg Television, Winters became one of the highest-profile CEOs to criticize the Western response to the pandemic, saying the U.S. and U.K. had acted “too late.”“I find it interesting to listen to the debate now that we in the West, or in the U.K., or in the U.S., couldn’t have done what the Chinese did because we don’t have that kind of society,” Winters said. “Well, we are doing what the Chinese did; we’re just doing it too late.”EU’s Borrell Warns of Pandemic ‘Spiraling Out of Control’ (6:30 a.m. NY)European Union foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc must mobilize help for poor countries. “Globally, it is to be feared that the worst is yet to come,” Borrell said in a letter to foreign ministers as they prepare to hold a video conference Friday. “Countries already affected by conflicts or mismanagement are particularly vulnerable.”Jobless Claims Soar As Lockdowns Bite (6:20 a.m. NY)Earlier on Thursday, Spain said claims rose by a record 302,265 in March. Spain, one of the countries at the center of Europe’s outbreak, already has an unemployment rate that’s among the highest in the developed world.Almost a million people have claimed welfare payments in Britain over the past two weeks and even Finland, one of the world’s best-funded welfare states, is starting to crack. In Ireland, more than 300,000 people are on government support and 200,000 are classed as unemployed -- that’s a total of about half a million people in a country where around 2.3 million were in work before the crisis.And one-third of Thailand’s population has registered for government cash handouts designed to soften the blow of the novel coronavirus outbreak, far exceeding the funds available for the policy.Brexit Delay May Be Inevitable (6 a.m. NY)Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he won’t delay Britain’s final parting with the European Union at the end of the year. Empty meeting rooms across Whitehall suggest delay is all but inevitable.Business lobbyists say government officials have canceled most meetings to prepare for Brexit as civil servants are pulled away to deal with the growing coronavirus pandemic. It’s now only a question of how Johnson will sell a delay to the British public, rather than whether or not one will happen, they say.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.