14 minutes ago
Eurozone Retail Sales Collapsed in March
Retail sales volumes across the eurozone fell at a record pace in March as governments closed many stores to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The European Union’s statistics agency said sales were 11.2% lower than in February, and 9.2% lower than in the same month a year earlier. It was the largest month-to month decline by a large margin: the biggest previous drop was a 2% fall recorded in May 2011.
With physical stores shuttered, online retailers saw a 2.6% rise in sales from February, while sales of food and drink across all vendors rose by 5%.
But there were huge declines in other categories: clothing sales fell by almost 40%, and automobile fuels by more than a fifth. Even sales of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals declined, albeit by a modest 0.5%.
30 minutes ago
Volkswagen Sees V-Shaped Auto Rebound for China
Volkswagen, the world’s biggest car maker by sales, sees major automotive markets recovering at different paces.
Jürgen Stackmann, board member in charge of sales at the Volkswagen brand car group, told reporters that sales in April had essentially already returned to pre-crisis levels in China.
“It is clear that China is going through corona with a typical V-shaped recovery.” Mr. Stackmann said.
In Europe, the industry’s recovery is expected to be slower, and advance at different rates in the north and south of the region.
There are factors that made China different before the crisis that are coming into play, the most important of which is the lower rate of car ownership per capita in China compared to Europe and the U.S.
“We’re not really counting on a V-shaped recovery in Europe,” Mr. Stackmann said. “In Europe, we all have cars, so we think the recovery in Europe will take longer. We’re looking at a two-speed Europe. Southern Europe was hit really bad. It’s going to take longer than China. More bath-tub-shaped, as the economists say. Northern Europe is standing up really well.”
2 hours ago
India’s Services Sector in Record Contraction
Governments trying to contain the novel coronavirus have shut down large parts of their country’s services sector, but none appears to have gone so far as India’s.
According to data firm IHS Markit, the Purchasing Managers Index for India’s services sector collapsed to 5.4 in April from 49.3 in March, the largest single-month drop in that measure of activity for any country at any time on record. That follows a national lockdown that has affected more people than any other on the planet.
A reading below 50.0 points to a contraction. Until today’s release, the French services sector held the unenviable record of having the lowest measure in the history of purchasing managers surveys at 10.4 in April.
According to IHS Markit, 97% of the 400 services firms it surveyed reported a decline in output, although 90% said they had maintained staff numbers.
3 hours ago
Global Stocks Mixed as Investors Weigh Economic Reopening
World markets were mixed as investors gauged the possible effects of easing lockdowns to combat the new coronavirus.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% in early afternoon trade in Hong Kong on Wednesday, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.4%. China’s Shanghai Composite reversed earlier losses to stand little changed on its first trading day since Thursday, after a five-day holiday.
South Korea’s Kospi Composite rose 1.6%. Japanese stocks will resume trading on Thursday.
6 hours ago
Gilead Seeks Deals With Other Drugmakers to Boost Supply of Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir
Gilead Sciences said Tuesday it will join with other drugmakers to manufacture and sell its Covid-19 treatment remdesivir outside of the U.S., farming out production of the medicine to ensure supply meets global demand.
Gilead said it is in discussions with pharmaceutical- and chemical-manufacturing companies to license the rights to make the drug remdesivir for Europe, Asia and in the developing world through at least 2022.
The Foster City, Calif., company also said it is negotiating with drugmakers in India and Pakistan to grant them long-term licenses to sell generic copies of the drug in developing countries. Gilead said it is in talks with the Medicines Patent Pool, a United Nations-backed nonprofit, to license remdesivir to low-income countries.
Analysts anticipate high demand for remdesivir following the release last week of encouraging data in a clinical trial funded by the U.S. government. The preliminary study data showed patients taking remdesivir recovered faster than patients taking placebos.
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Last Updated: May 6, 2020 at 5:12 am ET