Queen Elizabeth’s UK real estate portfolio corrected by $716mn last fiscal as COVID-19 crisis aggravated existing struggles for its tenants. The Crown Estate which looks after the vast holdings in UK took loss in its regional property segment, which includes shopping centers and business parks across country. The drop came from the challenging operational markets faced by the retail customers.
ByteDance is planning a US IPO of TikTok Global, the new company that will operate the popular short video app, should its proposed deal be cleared by the US government. The Trump administration, as of Thursday, was reviewing the deal, with a deadline looming for the app’s US operations to be sold to an American company, in line with an executive order from President Trump.
Britain’s Royal Mint has said there are enough of the 2-penny and 2-pound coins to last for the next decade and with cash use declining, it won’t make any more of these two. UK’s National Audit Office figures revealed that the demand for banknotes and coins fell by 71% from early March to mid-April, largely because of people opting for e-payments than using the physical cash.
As per the ONS data, UK retail sales continued their rise for the fourth consecutive month, on back of household spending on goods and DIY. The retail sales volumes rose by 0.8% between July & August. Sales are now 4% higher than in March, when a pandemic was declared. But Augusts’ increase was smaller than the post-lockdown rebound witnessed in July, when retail sales rose 3.6%.
The US Labor Department said new claims for state unemployment benefits totaled 860,000 in the week ending September 12. This is a drop of 33,000 from the week prior. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the United States, the number of Americans signing up for jobless aid had never exceeded 700,000 in a week. However, the current number is still over four times it was at the beginning of the year.
The Bank of England has warned that despite Britain’s economy is ’less weak’ than previously expected, the recent rise in Covid-19 cases may hit its recovery prospects. It said much of output lost during the Covid-19 lockdown had been recovered but the outlook remained ’unusually uncertain.’ Britain is still in a deep recession, while Covid-19 infections are at their highest level since mid-May.
The World Bank’s chief economist Carmen Reinhart said on Thursday that the global economic recovery from the crisis originated by COVID-19 may take as much as five years. ’There will probably be a quick rebound as all the restriction measures linked to lockdowns are lifted, but a full recovery will take as much as five years’, Reinhart said.
Canada’s Mountain Equipment Co-op, the outdoor retailer with over 5 million members, has been sold to an American private equity firm, Kingswood Capital Management. The move shocked and saddened members and former staff of the country’s largest cooperative. Established in Vancouver in 1971, MEC customers needed to buy a share in the co-op for C$5 – a figure that remained same for almost 5 decades.
After the wild popularity of the Travis Scott Meal ’Cactus Jack’ priced at $6 launched last week, McDonald’s said it is running out of ingredients. Franchisees are reportedly running out of some common ingredients, including fresh beef, bacon, slivered onions and shredded lettuce. Cactus Jack is the name of Scott’s record label, which also has a deal to sell exclusive merchandise with McDonald’s.
After President Trump’s announcement of TikTok ban the Chinese company ByteDance, current majority owner of TikTok, comes forward with a new offer to partner with the U.S. company Oracle. The offer is stated to need the approval of Beijing, however ByteDance is unsure whether or not the deal will pass, as they will retain majority ownership of TikTok. President Trump stated ’I don’t like that.’
In order to create a new special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, called VG Acquisition, Richard Branson is hoping to raise $460 million. This move by the billionaire makes him one of the latest in line to set up an SPAC. The company has said that it is looking at selling 46 million units each priced at $10. The same was stated in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A launch date of the 12th of November has been revealed for the two versions of the PlayStation 5 in the United States of America and markets across the world. The gaming console will then be released worldwide on the 19th of November. The two models of the gaming console, the standard version and the digital-only platform edition have been priced at $499 and $399 respectively.
Officials from the Donald Trump administration outlined a strategy to deliver safe and effective coronavirus vaccine to Americans as soon as possible and for free. Department of Health and Human Services along with the Department of Defense and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out the detailed vaccine distribution plans in a report to Congress and a separate document for states.
Fed policymakers signaled Wednesday that their benchmark short-term interest rate will likely remain at zero at least through 2023. Fed chair Jerome Powell stressed that while the economy has rebounded more quickly than expected, the job market is hurting and the outlook remains uncertain. The Fed also said that it will continue buying $120B in Treasury’s and mortgage-backed securities a month.
Over 160,000 businesses listed on the online directory Yelp have specified that they have shut shop since the onset of the pandemic in early March through Aug. 31. ~60% of these businesses are now permanently closing, as per Yelp report in its September Local Economic Impact Report. Business closure rates have been highest in metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.
The BOE has warned rise in Covid-19 cases could pressurize UK’s economic recovery. Also the uncertainty of UK’s future trading relationship with EU also posed a risk, as it held interest rates at 0.1%. It said that the economy had recovered much of the lost output of the lockdown but outlook remained ’unusually uncertain’. And hence it indicated no plan of raising rates till year end.
General Motors is set to announce plans to manufacture its own interchangeable ’family’ of electric vehicle drive systems and motors. It is planning to build an integrated electric car business, like Tesla. GM claims its new electric drive systems will have enough power that can be used with a range of vehicle types. GM already has some EV tie-ups, but has opted to design its own e-drive tech.
Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna has claimed that by November, Moderna will know whether its COVID-19 vaccine will work or not. Moderna was the first pharmaceutical company to conduct human trials for the vaccine in the US. The CEO maintained that it was possible but ’unlikely’ that the results could arrive in October, which is when Pfizer expects to know the results for its own vaccine.