Philippines suspends stock market trade over virus fears

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — The Philippines suspended trade on its local stock exchange Tuesday, becoming the first country to close its financial market over coronavirus fears. President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered most of the 55 million people on the main island of Luzon, which includes the capital Manila, to stay at home for the next month after social distancing measures failed to keep people away from one another. Philippine Stock Exchange President Ramon Monzon […]

Oil rebounds from four-year lows

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Oil rebounded Tuesday as investors bought at bargain levels after prices plunged to four-year lows as governments worldwide ramped up measures to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Analysts said, however, that any recovery in oil prices is likely to be shortlived as travel restrictions and other tough measures rolled out to fight the virus sap demand amid a production glut and price war. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) […]

Eurogroup chief says EU living ‘war-like’ conditions

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — Eurogroup chief Mario Centeno warned on Monday that under the coronavirus outbreak the European economy is experiencing the equivalent of war and that a long struggle lies ahead. “We know the virus hasn’t reached its peak. We must not kid ourselves,” Mario Centeno said ahead of a eurozone finance ministers video conference. “These are the first steps in a temporary, but long fight. Forced containment is bringing our economies to war-like […]

Public utilities extend payment deadlines due to COVID-19

(Eagle News) — Public utilities are extending bill payment extensions in view of the Luzon-wide community quarantine imposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19. In a customer advisory released Monday, March 16, MERALCO announced that it will provide a 30-day payment extension for all electric bills due from March 1 to April 14, 2020. “Stay safe and healthy; stay home,” the MERALCO advisory stated, adding that customers may use its online and […]

Bank of Japan unveils emergency measures over virus

by Richard CARTER / Miwa SUZUKI TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — The Bank of Japan on Monday unveiled a series of emergency monetary policy measures to shore up the world’s third-largest economy, as the coronavirus pandemic threatens a global recession. In a meeting brought forward by two days, the BoJ said it would double its annual capacity to purchase exchange-traded funds and Japan real estate investment funds, the latest global central bank to take emergency action. […]

Major banks move to calm coronavirus fears as toll passes 6,000

by Joseph BOYLE with AFP bureaus PARIS, France (AFP) — The US Federal Reserve and other central banks announced on Sunday a bold set of measures to shore up confidence hit by the new coronavirus pandemic, as the number of deaths around the world passed 6,000. Faced with a growing economic shutdown from the pandemic, the US Federal Reserve said it was slashing the key interest rate to virtually zero, at a range of 0-0.25 […]

Saudi Aramco 2019 profit slides 20.6% on lower crude prices

by Anuj Chopra with Omar Hasan in Dubai RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Aramco reported Sunday a 20.6 percent drop in 2019 net profit due to lower crude prices and production levels, in its first earnings announcement as a listed company amid an escalating price war. The world’s most valuable firm also announced it was slashing its capital expenditure for this year, as the price war with Russia and the spreading coronavirus pandemic rattle […]

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates leaves board

  SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Microsoft on Friday announced that co-founder Bill Gates has left its board of directors to devote more time to philanthropy. The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wife, Melinda. Gates served as chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors until early in 2014 and has now stepped away entirely, according […]

Asian stocks nosedive, extending global rout on recession fears

HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Asian markets opened in freefall on Friday, extending a global rout that saw bourses experience their worst day in decades on fears of a recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index nosedived more than seven percent shortly after the open, with markets around the region plummeting after a historically bad trading day in the US and Europe. The Nikkei 225 index dropped 7.12 percent or 1,322.15 points […]

Oil prices fall around 6% after Trump virus address

SINGAPORE, Singapore (AFP) — Oil prices plunged about six percent Thursday after US President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on all travel from Europe to the United States over the coronavirus pandemic. West Texas Intermediate slipped 6.2 percent to $31 a barrel while Brent crude was off 5.8 percent at under $34 a barrel. Both contracts extended heavy losses from a day earlier, which came after Saudi Arabia and Gulf partner the UAE stepped […]

Amazon increases paid sick leave due to coronavirus

SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Amazon on Wednesday beefed up paid leave for workers quarantined due to the novel coronavirus or diagnosed with the COVID-19 illness. The company also announced the creation of an Amazon Relief Fund — starting at $25 million — to serve as a pool of grant money for independent delivery drivers, seasonal employees and others losing paychecks due to the pandemic, according to the global internet retailer. “Effective immediately, all […]

Saudi to boost oil output capacity by 1 million barrels per day: Aramco

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Energy giant Saudi Aramco said Wednesday it plans to raise its crude production capacity by one million barrels per day to 13 million BPD as a price war with Russia intensifies. “Saudi Aramco announces that it received a directive from the ministry of energy to increase its maximum sustainable capacity from 12 million BPD to 13 million BPD,” the company said in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange. The […]