FTSE 100 LIVE: Japan’s economy shrinks at record pace as pandemic wipes out gains

Foreign direct investment to Mexico nearly $18 billion in first half of 2020

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Foreign direct investment (FDI) to Mexico during the first half of 2020 was $17.97 billion, according to preliminary figures published by the economy ministry on Sunday.

The figure represented a 0.7% decrease compared with the same period last year, the ministry said.

Australian shares poised to drop at open; NZ up

    Aug 17 (Reuters) - Australian shares are set to open lower
on Monday as investors took a cautious stance ahead of earnings
from index heavyweights this week amid growing uncertainty about
an additional round of U.S. fiscal stimulus.
    The local share price index futures YAPcm1 fell nearly 1%, a
100.2-point discount to the underlying S&P/ASX 200 index        
close. The benchmark closed 0.6% higher on Friday.
    New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index         rose 0.2%
in early trade. 

 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

India coronavirus deaths hit 50,000

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s death toll from the coronavirus hit 50,000 on Monday (Aug 17), with more than 900 new fatalities reported in 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

The country last week overtook Britain with the world’s fourth-highest number of deaths, behind the United States, Brazil and Mexico, and has recorded 2.6 million infections.

India’s death toll from the pandemic now stands at 50,921, an increase of 941 from the previous day, according to the health ministry’s website.

Philippine Trade Chief Pushes for Looser Virus Curbs in Capital

The Philippines’ trade department wants looser movement restrictions in the capital region to enable more people to go to work, Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

“Let those who want to work and healthy enough to work go to work,” the trade chief said in a virtual briefing with entrepreneurs on Monday. “That’s also what President Duterte wants,” Lopez said.

President Rodrigo Duterte will announce either an extension or easing of the restrictions before the tightened curbs implemented in Metro Manila and nearby provinces for 15 days lapse on Tuesday.

Philippines Puts Capital Manila Back on a Stricter Lockdown (1)

The Philippines has the worst coronavirus outbreak in Southeast Asia, with more than 161,000 cases as of Sunday.

U.S. Productivity Spikes In Q2 As Hours Plummet More Than Output

Labor productivity in the U.S. soared by much more than expected in the second quarter, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The report said labor productivity spiked by 7.3 percent in the second quarter after dipping by a revised 0.3 percent in the first quarter.

Economists had expected labor productivity to jump by 1.5 percent compared to the 0.9 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous quarter.

The much bigger than expected increase in productivity, a measure of output per hour, came as hours worked plummeted by even more than output.

Hours worked plunged by 43.0 percent in the second quarter after slumping by 6.1 percent in the first quarter, while output cratered by 38.9 percent after tumbling by 6.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said unit labor costs skyrocketed by 12.2 percent in the second quarter after surging up by 9.8 percent in the first quarter.

Economists had expected unit labor costs to spike by 6.2 percent compared to the 5.1 percent surge that had been reported for the previous quarter.

Unit labor costs showed the biggest increase since the first quarter of 2014, as hourly compensation soared by 20.4 percent in the second quarter after jumping by 9.4 percent in the first quarter.

Real hourly compensation, which takes into account changes in consumer prices, spiked by 24.8 percent in the second quarter after surging up by 8.1 percent in the previous quarter.

Baring Private Equity says it is offering to buy Japan's Nichiigakkan at 2,000 yen per share

TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Hong Kong-based buyout firm Baring Private Equity said on Monday it has offered to buy Japan’s nursing home operator Nichiigakkan at 2,000 yen ($18.77) per share.

Nichiigakkan has agreed to be bought by the U.S. buyout firm Bain Capital and Bain’s offer is set to expire on Monday.

Baring Private Equity said in a statement it has not yet gained support from the management of Nichiigakkan for its offer. ($1 = 106.5400 yen) (Reporting by Junko Fujita; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

China approves 11 fixed-asset investment projects worth $5.5 billion in July

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said it approved 11 fixed-asset investment projects worth 38.2 billion yuan ($5.50 billion) in July.

The record high power output and consumption in August was related to hot weather, which leads to more power usage and also reflects a recovering economy, Meng Wei, spokeswoman with the NDRC told a news briefing on Monday.

FTSE 100 LIVE: Japan’s economy shrinks at record pace as pandemic wipes out gains

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Japanese officials are under pressure to take action after the economy shrunk at a record pace overnight. Policymakers are scrambling to prevent a deeper recession as the COVID-19 crisis batters economies across the globe.

The third straight quarter of declines knocked the size of real gross domestic product (GDP) to decade-low levels.

While the economy is emerging from the state of depression after lockdowns were lifted in late May, many analysts expect any rebound in the current quarter to be modest as a renewed rise in infections keep consumers’ purse-strings tight.

“The big decline can be explained by the decrease in consumption and exports,” said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

“I expect growth to turn positive in the July-September quarter. But globally, the rebound is sluggish everywhere except for China.”