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Coronavirus live updates: Cases in South Korea, Italy spike

CNBC Business - 13 hours 56 min ago
Mainland China's total is now 76,936 cases, and 2,442 deaths. Cases in South Korea and Italy continued to spike.
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The Wait for China to Shake Off Virus Nears Key Moment: Eco Week

Yahoo Business - 15 hours 57 min ago

 Eco Week(Bloomberg) -- Global economists are continuing to grapple with a new and unexpected threat to economic growth, leaving them scrambling to assess how quickly commerce can recover from the impact of the coronavirus.Research by Bloomberg Economics shows China is slowly getting back to work, with the economy running at 50%-60% capacity in the week to Feb. 21 and forecast to jump from Feb. 24. Still, the spread of the virus is starting to ripple into supply chains across the world, and showing up in data across Asia and Europe.In more conventional economic matters, policy makers from the U.K., Canada, Europe and the U.S. give speeches that may give clues into their view of the global outlook, while the world’s biggest economy publishes personal spending data.Here’s what happened last week and below is our weekly wrap of what else is going on in the world economy this week.AsiaAs the coronavirus’s spread continues to overshadow the region, China will release PMI data on Saturday that will give the first official read on how badly the world’s second-largest has been hit. South Korea’s central bank will meet to set policy on Thursday. Governor Lee Ju-yeol has warned the coronavirus outbreak could have a negative impact on the economy, but downplayed growing speculation the bank was preparing to cut interest rates.South Korea GDP, BOK Rate During SARS, MERSPresident Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to India from Monday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The White House has downplayed speculation that the leaders will make progress on a planned trade deal. India also publishes fourth-quarter GDP data on Friday.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for AsiaEurope, Middle East and AfricaWith the fallout from the coronavirus very much on policy makers’ minds, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and more than half a dozen Governing Council members are scheduled to speak. ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane told Bloomberg Television on last week that he expects the euro-area economy to bounce back from the outbreak and economic sentiment data for Germany on Monday and for the region on Thursday will show if it has left its mark on confidence. German inflation and unemployment data round off the week and Jens Weidmann presents the Bundesbank’s annual report.In the U.K., its a quiet week for data, with confidence and housing reports the most prominent. Meanwhile BOE officials Andy Haldane and Jon Cunliffe are due to speak. Hungary’s central bank holds rate-setting meeting on Tuesday. It’s a meeting to watch as policy makers hinted they may use all tools: while a change in rates is unlikely, the post-decision statement may hint at the end of the ultra-dovish era.Slowing inflation and a strengthening currency are putting pressure on the Bank of Israel to take a move dovish stance, but solid economic growth in the fourth quarter means the central bank is likely to hold interest rates again on Monday. South African Finance Minister Tito Mboweni budget’s on Wednesday could be key in determining whether Moody’s Investors Service downgrades the nation’s debt to junk status next month.Also on Wednesday, Botswana’s central bank could cut interest rates again to boost slowing economic growth. While inflation in Mozambique is still low and the IMF has said there is room to cut, the metical has weakened to the lowest level against the dollar since 2017, which means the central bank may continue to hold rates on Thursday.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEAU.S. and CanadaOn Tuesday, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida discusses the outlook for interest rates and the economy at a conference in Washington, where speakers will also include IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester. Later in the week, reports on consumer spending and durable-goods orders are expected to show the U.S. economy off to a modest start to 2020, while the Fed’s preferred inflation gauge may have accelerated to the fastest pace in a year.Canadian fourth-quarter GDP data out on Friday will show the extent of the Canadian economy’s slowdown at the end of last year, and whether the nation’s expansion has any momentum at all going into 2020. Earlier in the week, Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tim Lane gives a speech on digital currencies.For more, read Bloomberg Economics full Week Ahead for the U.S.Latin AmericaMexico takes center stage in Latin America this coming week with Brazil and Argentina celebrating the Carnival holiday through midweek. Monday’s bi-weekly consumer price report is followed a day later by the final reading on fourth-quarter gross domestic product, which should affirm that the economy in 2019 posted its worst performance in a decade.On Wednesday, the central bank’s quarterly inflation report updates official forecasts for all manner of economic indicators. Capping the week, the minutes of Banxico’s last meeting published Friday will likely cement bets that a sixth straight interest-rate cut is in the offing when policy makers meet next month.For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America\--With assistance from Theophilos Argitis, Scott Lanman, Robert Jameson, Rene Vollgraaff, Malcolm Scott, Brendan Murray and Andrea Dudik.To contact the reporter on this story: David Goodman in London at dgoodman28@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Zoe SchneeweissFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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IMF lowers global growth forecast, cases surge in South Korea

CNBC Business - 18 hours 36 min ago
The World Health Organization confirmed that over 77,794 people are infected with the coronavirus, with 2,348 deaths in China and 11 deaths outside of China.
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Virus Investors Don't Need No (Online) Education

Yahoo Business - 18 hours 57 min ago

Virus Investors Don't Need No (Online) Education(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Investors looking for an angle on the coronavirus crisis have naturally landed upon the online education sector in the hopes that tens of millions of quarantined school kids will turn such providers into profit-making machines on par with China’s hottest internet companies.Almost every mainland province and city has pushed back the starting date of the spring term by weeks. Most students haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since Lunar New Year in late January. Not wanting to be left behind, students, their schools and parents have turned to online alternatives, including options not offered by traditional education businesses.Giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., for example, added 100,000 servers to support its free DingTalk messenger, which is being used across the country to help pupils communicate with teachers and watch online classes. A similar tale is told at WeChat provider Tencent Holdings Ltd.Even San Fransciso-based Seesaw Learning Inc., developer of an early-childhood learning and communication app with less than 10% of revenue from China, saw a 31% jump in traffic from there and 21% from Hong Kong. Co-founder Adrian Graham admits it’s hard to tell whether that spike is due to normal post-new year usage increases or the impact of quarantined kids at the mostly international schools in the Greater China region that use the product.As a result, this could be the biggest sustained, mass experiment in online education since the internet was founded in the 1980s. But for those who specialize in education as a business, there’s little to suggest a surge of online students will boost the bottom line.In China, the commercial education business is driven chiefly by demand for after-school tuition (AST) classes. In physical classrooms, also known as cram schools, which are owned and operated by these providers, children as young as kindergartners spend an extra few hours after their normal day (and on weekends and during school holidays) to bone up on core subjects of Chinese, English and mathematics.To deal with the quarantines, TAL Education Group, one of China’s largest education companies, is moving students from offline classes to its programs and refunding the difference in tuition fees, with online up to 50% cheaper, Daiwa Capital Markets HK Ltd. analysts John Choi and Candis Chan wrote this month. New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., the other big player in Chinese education and a leader in test-preparation courses, is also moving students to its web and app platforms, they wrote. A key narrative supporting the thesis for big online education profits is that the massive home-schooled education program now under way will work as great marketing for companies like TAL and New Oriental, which spend a lot of money just getting students to enroll in their classes. A captive market of kids forced to learn via the internet might then be converted to long-term online tuition customers. That’s the theory, anyway.In truth, they’d better hope that doesn’t happen. Online is not as profitable as physical classrooms, competition is tougher, and average prices are falling faster. Take TAL as an example. Revenue for the three months to Nov. 30 climbed 47% from the previous year. Online sales were the major driver, climbing 86%. But actual enrollments grew 107%. In other words, student numbers rose faster than revenue because average prices actually fell 9% for the period.So while online has expanded, it still accounts for only 18% of total revenue. The glass-half-full scenario would tell you that there’s great potential ahead. A more pessimistic analysis would suggest that if TAL needs to cut prices this early, then there’s not a lot of room to boost profitability as time marches on. And the company is already suffering pressure that is hurting the bottom line. Operating margin shrank to 9% from 12% in the previous year, with net income plunging 77%.New Oriental isn’t faring much better. Online education accounted for 6% of its revenue in the latest fiscal year. The company gets more than 80% of sales from language training and test preparation. That indicates that internet-based programs have great potential. Yet data show New Oriental is struggling to scale. Subsidiary Koolearn Technology Holding Ltd., which it spun off and listed in Hong Kong, posted revenue growth of just 19% in the six months to Nov. 30. What’s more, operating loss tripled with margin deteriorating from -4.6% to -16.5%.One company might have nailed it, however. GSX Techedu Inc. describes itself as “a leading online K-12 large-class after-school tutoring service provider.” GSX’s niche is massive live online classes — it boasts being able to host 100,000 students in a single broadcast — that allow it to rake in cash while saving on teacher salaries, which account for a major proportion of the costs borne by rivals.That scalability helped it turn profitable in 2018, a feat repeated last year, earning it an operating margin of 10.7%, in line with TAL and New Oriental.GSX has since been joined in offering massive classes. More than 2.4 million users are reported to have tuned in for some TAL elementary-school classes during the coronavirus period. Others are jumping aboard, too. Alibaba, for example, developed DingTalk for enterprise use. While it launched a campus-focused program for the product last year, it wasn’t until the current crisis that its popularity in education really took off. Worse for GSX, Alibaba is offering it for free and allowing schools to make use of existing teachers and materials.So while the outbreak is necessitating internet-based education options, it’s also highlighting how cheap online learning can be. The great thing about the internet is its ability to allow anyone to deliver content easily and cheaply. That may not be the outcome education companies really would be hoping for.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at tculpan1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at pmcdowell10@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


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Boeing finds debris in fuel tanks of many undelivered 737 MAX jets

Yahoo Business - 20 hours 56 min ago

Boeing finds debris in fuel tanks of many undelivered 737 MAX jetsBoeing found debris in the fuel tanks of about 35 aircraft, a company spokesman confirmed on Friday. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that more than 50% of the undelivered 737 MAX jets inspected thus far have had debris found in them.


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