Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Philippine Covid Cases Drop as Testing Falls Below Target

Barclays crushes expectations for the third quarter as provisions for loan losses fall

  • The improvement, which more than doubles analyst expectations of £273.5 million, comes in part due to a sharp reduction in coronavirus-related impairment charges.

Barclays on Friday reported a net profit of £611 million ($797.7 million) for the third quarter, as the British lender attempts to plot a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The improvement, which more than doubles analyst expectations of £273.5 million, comes in part due to a sharp reduction in coronavirus-related impairment charges.

In the first half of 2020, the British lender posted a net income of £695 million after adding another £1.6 billion of loan loss provisions in the second quarter.

This time around, cash set aside to accommodate bad loans amounted to just £608 million.

Other highlights:

  • Common equity tier one capital (CET1) ratio was 14.6%, up from 14.2% at the end of the first half.
  • Group income hit £5.2 billion.

The bank reported a net loss of £292 million for the same period in 2019 after being hit by $1.4 billion ($1.8 billion) worth of insurance claims.

Major lenders have generally surprised to the upside so far this earnings season, with UBS easily surpassing expectations earlier this week to post a net income to $2.1 billion.

Barclays shares are down more than 42% since the turn of the year.

This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

France Dragged Back Into Economic Slump by Virus Resurgence

The resurgence of the coronavirus has dragged France’s economy back into a slump, cutting short the recovery from the lockdown recession.

IHS Markit’s monthly survey of business activity dropped more than economists forecast in October, falling to a five-month low of 47.3 from 48.5. A gauge for services dropped even further below the 50-mark that distinguishes expansion from contraction, reflecting the return of restrictions that have crimped demand.

New orders fell for a second month, driven by a “sharp reduction” in services, according to IHS Markit. In Paris and eight other major French cities, authorities have imposed a curfew that is hitting restaurants and bars particularly hard.

There was further evidence of a squeeze on profits, with businesses cutting prices even as costs rose. Employment declined, as did confidence, according to the report. The Purchasing Managers’ Indexes for Germany and the euro area due later Friday are expected to show similar weakness in services.

— With assistance by Josh Robinson, and Zoe Schneeweiss

Russia says still not close to agreement with U.S. on nuclear pact: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s deputy foreign minister said on Friday that Moscow and Washington were still not close to reaching an agreement over the New START arms control treaty, the RIA news agency reported.

The two countries’ positions on the nuclear pact, which expires in February, appeared to have moved closer when Washington this week welcomed a Russian proposal to extend it if they agreed to freeze their stocks of nuclear warheads.

Polish police detain 15 people after protests over abortion ruling

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WARSAW (Reuters) – Polish police detained 15 people after protests in Warsaw late on Thursday against a near-total ban on abortion, a police spokesman said on Friday.

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that abortion due to foetal defects was unconstitutional, banning the most common of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country.

InterContinental Hotels Q3 RevPAR Down 53.4% – Quick Facts

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc (IHG.L,IHG) reported that its third quarter Group RevPAR declined 53.4%. For the year-to-date period, Group RevPAR was down 52.3%.

Keith Barr, CEO, InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, said: “Trading improved in the third quarter, although progress continues to vary by region. RevPAR declined 53%, compared to a 75% decline in the prior quarter, while occupancy was 44%, up from 25% in the second quarter.”

Total available liquidity at end of September increased to $2.1 billion. After issuance of new bonds and partial repayment of 2022 bonds in early October, on a pro forma basis, liquidity increased further to $2.9 billion.

Philippine Covid Cases Drop as Testing Falls Below Target

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The Philippines reported fewer coronavirus cases this week amid a slowdown in testing, with the Red Cross suspending most of its Covid-19 operations after it wasn’t paid by the state health insurer.

Authorities reported nearly 1,500 new cases on Wednesday — the lowest since 1,442 on July 20 — with the daily tally below 2,000 in the past three days, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Samples tested plunged to nearly half of the 30,000 daily target at the start of this week, according to Department of Health data.

The Philippine Red Cross, which accounts for a quarter of the nation’s testing output, last week said it’s stopping coronavirus tests that are charged to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. due to nearly 1 billion pesos ($20.6 million) in unpaid bills. These include tests administered to thousands of Filipino workers returning from abroad.

The impasse has caused bottleneck in the nation’s testing capacity and has affected the daily output of laboratories, BusinessMirror reported, citing Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.

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