Japan suffers worst economic slump in five years

by Miwa SUZUKI TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan has suffered its worst quarterly GDP contraction in more than five years, with a tax hike and a deadly typhoon taking a toll on the world’s third-largest economy. The nation’s gross domestic product in the three months to December shrank 1.6 percent from the previous quarter, even before the novel coronavirus outbreak in China hit Japan, according to official data published on Monday. The quarter was marked […]

COVID-19 causing first drop in oil use in decade: IEA

  by Richard LEIN Agence France Presse Global oil demand will suffer its first quarterly drop in a decade as the COVID-19 virus lashes the economy in China and its impact ripples throughout the world, the IEA said Thursday. “Global oil demand has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the widespread shutdown of China’s economy,” the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly report. “Demand is now expected to fall by […]

Coronavirus jitters push Asian markets down

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets fell on Thursday after a dramatic spike in the number of coronavirus deaths and cases in mainland China, with traders concerned about the economic impact of the epidemic. Chinese authorities have changed the way they count infections from the virus — officially named COVID-19 — and the latest reports propelled the nationwide death toll to 1,355 and the infection count to nearly 60,000. Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 […]

Asian markets rebound after fresh Wall St records

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets rebounded on Tuesday spurred by fresh Wall Street records but investors remained jittery about the global economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak in China. Eyes are on China as the world’s second-largest economy sputters back up after a forced extension to the Lunar New Year holiday because of the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people and disrupted major global supply chains. After a nervous start to […]

Google HR chief stepping aside as worker activism rises

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Google on Monday confirmed that head of human resources Eileen Naughton was stepping away from her job as “vice president of people operations” at the internet company. “We’re grateful to Eileen for all she’s done and look forward to her next chapter at Google,” Sundar Pichai, the head of Google and its parent company Alphabet, said in a statement. Google added more than 70,000 employees during Naughton’s time as […]

Global stocks mixed on coronavirus but S&P 500, Nasdaq hit records

NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — Major US stock indices finished at fresh records Monday, shrugging off worries about the coronavirus that pressured other equity markets and drove oil prices lower. As the outbreak continued, Chinese President Xi Jinping donned a face mask while visiting medical workers and patients affected by the deadly coronavirus that has killed more than 900 people. Although parts of China remain shut down, roads in Beijing and the financial hub […]

Asian markets fall on coronavirus impact woes

  HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Markets across the Asia-Pacific were in the red on Monday with investors worried about the impact of the China coronavirus outbreak on the global economy. The virus has killed more than 900 people, infected 40,000 across mainland China and spread to more than two dozen countries in what has been termed a global health emergency. It has also jolted major supply chains for everything from food and household supplies […]

Hong Kong Airlines to lay off 400 staff as virus hits city

    HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Hong Kong Airlines said Friday it has been forced to slash hundreds of jobs and ask remaining staff to take unpaid leave as the coronavirus outbreak compounds problems at the already-struggling firm. The announcement by the city’s number two carrier comes days after Cathay Pacific said it had asked all its 27,000 workforce to take three weeks leave without salary between March and June because of collapsing demand […]

Asian markets turn negative after healthy week, eyes on virus

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets fell Friday after a week-long rally as investors take profits and assess developments in China’s deadly coronavirus crisis. Strong US data, Chinese financial support and a broadly healthy earnings season have provided a much-needed boost to equities after last week’s sell-off, while there is a sense that the economic impact of the outbreak globally could be limited. China’s decision Thursday to halve tariffs on $75 billion of US […]

Nokia recovers in Q4 but cautious on outlook

HELSINKI, Finland (AFP) — Finnish telecom equipment provider Nokia beat expectations in a “challenging” 2019 as a strong fourth quarter enabled it to post its first full-year net profit since 2015, of 7.0 million euros. For the three months to December, it chalked up net profit of 563 million euros ($620 million), sparking sharp gains in the share price. Nokia was up more than 2.05 percent on the Helsinki Stock Exchange around early afternoon at […]

Staff making iPhones in central China plant to be quarantined

  TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Workers making iPhones at tech giant Foxconn’s plant in central China will be quarantined for up to two weeks, the company said Thursday, as cities on the mainland tighten their defences against the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Also known by its official name Hon Hai Precision Industry, Foxconn is the world’s biggest contract electronics maker and assembles Apple’s iPhones as well as gadgets for other international brands. Foxconn’s vast network of […]

Virus highlights OPEC reliance on Chinese oil demand

by Benoît PELEGRIN LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Fears of an economic slowdown, fuelled by the coronavirus slashing output in China, has shone the spotlight on OPEC, whose oil is heavily bought by the world’s second-biggest economy. “China has become increasingly important for OPEC countries in recent years,” research group JBC Energy told AFP. In total, more than two-thirds of China’s crude imports come from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. Following a […]