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Economy in Banff has ‘collapsed’ as COVID-19 effectively eliminates tourism industry – Calgary Herald

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In the nearly six weeks since declaring a state of local emergency and shuttering all non-essential businesses, the economy in Banff has been at a standstill.

Normally, tourists would be flocking in droves to the mountain destination — at this time last year, the town’s main concern was finding enough parking spots. Now, Banff streets are eerily quiet and RCMP checkstops occupy the two main entrances to town.

“Our economy is basically 90 per cent based on tourism, directly and indirectly, so our town has ground to a halt. It’s a very serious situation,” said Jason Darrah with the Town of Banff.

The effect of the COVID-19 crisis on Banff has far wider effects. Annually, on average, Banff’s tourism industry contributes more than $3 billion to the provincial economy. Nearly $470 million in federal and $250 million in provincial tax is generated from the town.

From April 2018 to March 2019 more than four million people visited Banff National Park, with more than 80 per cent of those visiting the town, Darrah said.

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A lost decade looms for America's economy – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
The CBO warns in a new analysis that the pandemic will reduce cumulative economic output over the next 10 years by $7.9 trillion, or 3% of GDP during the decade, compared to its projections from January. Without accounting for inflation, the damage totals $15.7 trillion, or 5.3% of GDP.
The CBO said the revisions reflect expectations of reduced consumer spending caused by business closures and social distancing. In addition, the recent drop in energy prices is expected to “severely” curtail investment in that sector, the CBO warned.
Recent legislation, which includes more than $2 trillion in stimulus, will only partially mitigate the economic fallout caused by the pandemic, the CBO said.
The big caveat: The CBO cautioned that there is an unusually high degree of uncertainty around its forecasts because the course of the pandemic is unknown and it’s not clear how the economy will respond.
The report from the highly respected government number crunchers further challenges hopes for a speedy economic recovery from the pandemic, which had been a common talking point in the early days of the crisis.
More than GDP: If recent history is a guide, it could take even longer for the labor market and household wealth to recover.
The 2008 global financial crisis took a much smaller bite out of GDP than what experts expect to see as a result of the pandemic. But 10 years after the Great Recession began, labor force participation rates for prime-age workers remained depressed in the United States, and household wealth had only started to recover.
Neil Shearing, the group chief economist at Capital Economics, said that most major economies are in a similar position — at least in the medium term —despite the recent pick up in high frequency data such as road traffic and electricity consumption.
“While the slump in output caused by the virus seems to have bottomed out, the recovery is likely to be slow going and uneven. Most economies are still likely to be below their pre-virus paths of GDP by the end of our central forecast horizon in 2022,” he wrote in a research note on Monday.
He cited three big reasons why a recovery in high frequency data doesn’t tell the whole story.
Reason 1: The recovery follows an extreme economic chock. “The fact that activity is recovering needs to be seen in this context of the huge loss of output incurred during lockdowns. Output in most major economies is still running at somewhere between 15% and 25% of pre-virus levels,” he said.
Reason 2: High frequency data doesn’t tell us much about what’s going on with demand —one of the biggest factors in any rebound. “The fact that more journeys are taking place is encouraging, but the extent to which this will translate into a recovery in consumer spending is unclear,” he said.
Reason 3: Governments and central banks still need to figure out how to transition from crisis mode to recovery, and to reopen their economies in ways that don’t do more damage.
“Policy needs to shift from combatting a crisis to supporting the recovery,” said Shearing. “Making this transition will not be easy. One of the biggest risks in the near-term is that governments move too quickly to embrace a new round of austerity.”

A walkout at Facebook

Some Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout on Monday to protest CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to take action on a series of controversial posts from President Donald Trump.
As part of the walkout, employees took the day off work. Managers at Facebook have been told by the company’s human resources department not to retaliate against staff who are planning to protest, or to make them use paid time-off, a source told CNN Business.
The public pushback from employees comes after growing scrutiny of Facebook’s inaction following controversial posts from the president. Trump and Zuckerberg spoke on the phone Friday.
What employees are saying: Jason Stirman, a design manager at Facebook, said he disagreed with Zuckerberg’s decision to do “nothing” about Trump’s recent posts. “I’m not alone inside of FB. There isn’t a neutral position on racism,” he wrote in a tweet on Saturday.
Andrew Crow, head of design for Facebook’s Portal devices, said on Twitter: “Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it’s newsworthy.” “I disagree with Mark’s position and will work to make change happen,” he added.
Katie Zhu, an Instagram employee, tweeted that she was taking Monday off and that she’s “deeply disappointed” and “ashamed” with “how the company is showing up.” Zhu encouraged others who work for Facebook’s apps to join her and “organize.”
While only a small number of Facebook employees are currently speaking out compared to Facebook’s overall workforce of about 48,000, the protests underscore the company’s difficult position.
Taking action on Trump’s posts risks angering the White House and conservatives, who have long complained of alleged bias on the platform and are threatening new regulations, but doing nothing could alienate some of Facebook’s top talent.

What black CEOs are saying

Just four Fortune 500 companies in America have black CEOs. Three of them are speaking out following the death of George Floyd.
Jide Zeitlin, CEO of the luxury goods brand Tapestry, which owns Kate Spade, Coach, and Stuart Weitzman, posted a personal message on LinkedIn to his employees.
“I sat down several times to write this letter, but stopped each time. My eyes welling up with tears. This is personal,” Zeitlin wrote.
“We can replace our windows and handbags, but we cannot bring back George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and too many others,” he added.
Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison posted a letter to his team on Saturday.
“I grew up in the segregated south and remember stories my parents shared about living in the Jim Crow South,” he wrote. “So, I have personal understanding of the fear and frustration that many of you are feeling.”
Merck CEO Ken Frazier told CNBC on Monday that he could have just as easily been George Floyd.
“What the African American community sees in that videotape is that this African American man, who could be me or any other African American man, is being treated as less than human,” Frazier told CNBC.
Frazier said that “huge opportunity gaps” exist in America.
“It is the responsibility of corporate America to bridge those gaps,” Frazier said. “If we don’t try to create opportunities for these people to be employed — joblessness creates hopelessness.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods will publish earnings before the opening bell.
Also today: CrowdStrike and Zoom earnings are up after the close
Coming tomorrow: ADP private employment report; US services data; Campbell Soup earnings

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The Latest: Spain's govt seeks last state of emergency span – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Latest: Tokyo issues alert amid fear of 2nd virus wave

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Tokyo governor issues alert after new cases rise again

— Greece to test workers on voluntary basis ahead of tourist season

— Portugal sees promising signs for tourism recovery

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TOKYO — The governor of Tokyo has issued a coronavirus alert for the Japanese capital amid worries of a resurgence of infections only a week after a state of emergency ended.

Governor Yuriko Koike issued a “Tokyo alert” on Tuesday after 34 new cases were confirmed in the city, where confirmed infections had slowed to a few per day in late May.

Koike said: “The alert is to precisely inform the people of the status of infections and to advise caution.”

Lighting on Tokyo’s Rainbow Bridge will be changed from rainbow-colored to red as a sign of alert. However, the alert does not mean restrictions that just got eased will be reimposed immediately.

Experts say the rise in new cases reflects the increased movement of people since mid-May and could increase further.

Koike said: “I want to remind everyone once again that we are fighting against an unknown virus as we still don’t have any vaccines or treatment for it.”

Under the second phase of a three-part plan for resuming business activity, Tokyo’s theatres , fitness gyms and other commercial facilities reopened. Night clubs, karaoke parlours and other highest-risk establishments are still closed. shut observing shutdown requests.

Kitakyushu in southern Japan is also experiencing what local officials say is a second wave of infections. New cases exceeding 110 in the last 10 days following a three-week hiatus.

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ATHENS — Greece’s Health Ministry says it will carry out coronavirus antibody tests on public health and support workers across Greece this month as part of its efforts to monitor the course of the nation’s outbreak.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that the testing will be carried out on a voluntary basis.. The plan was announced as Greece prepares to reopen to foreign tourists starting June 15.

Early and strictly enforced lockdown measures helped keep Greece’s infection rates comparatively low, and officials hope that will help entice summer visitors.

The government is racing to reopen international access to its resorts and to augment health care resources on the Greek islands and in mainland cities popular with vacationers.

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LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s economy minister says the outlook for the country’s crucial tourism sector is brightening.

Some low-cost flights have resumed from Zurich and Luxembourg to Faro, in Portugal’s southern Algarve region, which is one of western Europe’s main vacation destinations.

Flights to Faro from Amsterdam are set to restart this week. Ryanair and Jet2 expect to operate flights to Faro starting July 1.

Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said Portugal is in “advanced discussions” with Germany to establish a so-called “air corridor,” which could allow tourists who test negative for the coronavirus to fly to an area with a low infection rate, such as the Algarve.

The Portuguese government also has started talks with the British Foreign Office about creating an air corridor.

Siza Vieira told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday: “I and businesses in the (tourism) sector are less pessimistic than we were a month ago.”

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MADRID — The Spanish government is seeking to extend the state of emergency it imposed over the coronavirus until June 21, when most remaining restrictions on movement and business will be lifted.

New confirmed virus cases and deaths in Spain are at the lowest point since before the government ordered nationwide lockdown in mid-March.

The decree the Spanish Cabinet passed on Tuesday to prolong the state of emergency still needs to be approved by the lower house of parliament. Spain’s ruling left-wing coalition has secured enough support from smaller opposition parties for the measure to be approved on Wednesday.

Government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero says the extension will be the last one. But she warned that all precautions should be applied in advancing toward the post-lockdown phase the government calls the “new normality.”

For the first time since early March, Spain didn’t register any new deaths from COVID-19 on Monday. The official death toll stands at 27,127, and a total of 240,000 infections have been confirmed by laboratory tests.

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LONDON — An analysis of the disproportionate effect the coronavirus outbreak in the U.K. appears to be having on members of ethnic minority groups has found that those of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of dying with the virus than white British people.

The report by Public Health England found that black people were most likely to be diagnosed and that coronavirus-related death rates were highest among people from black and Asian ethnic groups.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This pandemic has exposed huge disparities in the health of our nation.”

The Public Health England analysis did not adjust for conditions such as obesity or for occupations when calculating the risk to various ethnic groups. There are a number of other findings in the report, including the fact that working age men are twice as likely to die than working age women.

Hancock says further analysis will be taken over the coming weeks and months to flesh out the early findings.

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to take quick steps to repair economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to Putin on Tuesday that the Cabinet’s plan contains measures designed to stimulate economic growth, raise incomes and reduce unemployment. It envisages spending 5 trillion rubles (about $73 billion) until December 2021.

A partial economic shutdown that Putin ordered in late March to stem the country’s outbreak badly hurt an economy already battered by a sharp drop in oil prices.

The Russian leader says the nation is now past the peak of contagion, allowing regional officials to gradually ease the restrictions. However, some experts warned that a daily increase of about 9,000 confirmed cases makes a quick lifting of the lockdown dangerous.

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LONDON — A leading epidemiologist said the coronavirus outbreak in the U.K. is unlikely to worsen during the summer but that the outlook from September was “very unclear.”

Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said he expects levels of coronavirus transmissions and cases to “remain relatively flat between now and September, short of very big policy changes or behaviour changes in the community.”

He told a committee of lawmakers in the House of Lords on Tuesday that the “real uncertainty” will be in September.

Ferguson resigned from his position as a government adviser last month after revelations that he broke social-distancing rules.

Ferguson leads a team which modeled the spread and impact of the coronavirus. The team’s data was instrumental in prompting Prime Minister Boris Johnson to impose the lockdown on March 23.

The lockdown is being eased across the U.K., most quickly in England, raising concerns among many health officials of a potential second spike in infections.

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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Health authorities in Slovenia say the first primary school pupil has tested positive for the coronavirus since children started returning to school two weeks ago.

A school in the city of Maribor said Tuesday that the 3rd-grader’s 17 classmates and teacher have been placed under a two-week quarantine.

Health authorities say the child with the virus likely acquired the virus from within the family and that contact tracing is underway.

The official STA news agency says it’s the first confirmed virus case since April 30 in Slovenia’s second-largest city.

Slovenia has declared an end to its outbreak and started easing anti-virus restrictions in mid-May.

The small European Union nation has reported 1,475 confirmed cases and 109 deaths since early March.

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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s total confirmed coronavirus cases have jumped to more than 35,000 while the province anchored by Cape Town remains a worrying hot spot with more than 23,000.

South Africa has the most confirmed virus cases of any nation in Africa. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the total number across the continent is now above 152,000.

South Africa took another step in easing lockdown restrictions on Monday with alcohol sales allowed again. Authorities have warned that the rate of new cases is expected to quicken.

South Africa has seen cases double roughly every 12 days while cases in the Western Cape have been doubling every nine days.

A major test lies ahead this weekend as places of worship are allowed to operate with a limit of 50 people, despite warnings from some religious leaders about the risk of spreading the virus.

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MOSCOW — The two main Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow have reopened their doors as officials take more steps to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo welcomed parishioners again on Tuesday.

The move was co-ordinated with federal and city officials. Church-goers are supposed to wear medical masks and maintain a proper distance from others during services.

Other churches in the Russian capital are scheduled to reopen on Saturday. Moscow churches have been closed to parishioners since April 13.

Russian officials say that the nation is now past the peak of contagion, making it safe to gradually ease lockdown measures. Some experts warn that with new confirmed cases increasing by about 9,000 daily, lifting restrictions quickly is dangerous.

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JOHANNESBURG — Africa’s coronavirus cases have surpassed 150,000 while the World Health Organization says the continent of 1.3 billion people is still the region least affected.

Concerns remain high as some of Africa’s 54 countries struggle with when to reopen schools and parts of their economies.

Rwanda, the first nation in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown, this week slowed the easing of it after reporting its first COVID-19 death.

More than 4,300 deaths have been confirmed across the continent as local transmission of the virus increases and testing materials and medical equipment remain in short supply in many places.

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Britain’s statistics agency says the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.K. up to the week ending May 22 was 48,106.

The updated figures from the Office for National Statistics come after it recorded a weekly 2,589 deaths involving the coronavirus in England and Wales. Although that was the lowest in the past seven weeks, the virus still accounted for 21.1% of all deaths.

The daily figures provided by the government have COVID-related deaths at just above 39,000. Those figures are based on initial cause of death assessments whereas those from the statistics agency are collated from death registrations, which can take a few weeks to be issued.

The agency also said there were 2,348 more deaths in England and Wales during the week than the five-year average. Excess deaths are widely considered to be the best gauge of the virus’s impact as they provide a clear guide over historical periods and include all-cause mortality.

Statistician Nick Stripe said there have been just under 62,000 excess deaths across the U.K.

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BERLIN — Berlin’s top health official says she is appalled by a weekend gathering in support of the city’s shuttered clubs that brought up to 1,500 people together and which organizers ended because participants weren’t keeping to distancing rules.

The demonstrators gathered on a city canal Sunday in 300 to 400 small boats and on the banks, with loud music. The city’s health minister, Dilek Kalayci, said Tuesday she understands nightclubs’ financial difficulties but noted that aid is available and said the weekend event was “grossly negligent” while the pandemic continues. She said “this is not the time for parties.”

Germany started easing its coronavirus restrictions in late April and is continuing to do so despite some concern over local outbreaks linked to slaughterhouses, a church service and a restaurant.

In the latest case, at least 68 people tested positive in the central city of Goettingen after private family parties.

___

HARARE, Zimbabwe — State media say Zimbabwe has confirmed its first coronavirus cases in prisons, with four inmates and two guards testing positive.

The Herald newspaper says authorities declared the prisons in Plumtree, which borders Botswana, and in Beitbridge, which borders South Africa, as “no-go areas.” Authorities also have suspended movement out of prisons countrywide, resulting in some prisoners failing to attend court hearings.

Zimbabwe’s cases more than doubled in the past week to over 200, with most new infections at centres where people crossing the border are quarantined. Most are returning from Botswana and South Africa, which host millions of Zimbabweans who fled economic turmoil in recent years.

South Africa has more than 34,000 virus cases, the most in Africa. Zimbabwe’s health ministry says the returnees pose the biggest virus threat. Those arrested for illegal border crossings are put into the prisons in Plumtree and Beitbridge. Zimbabwe earlier released more than 4,000 prisoners to ease overcrowding in facilities where health systems are weak. About 18,000 people are still behind bars.

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LAHORE, Pakistan — A leaked government document reveals authorities ignored experts who wanted a monthlong lockdown in Pakistan’s Punjab province and who estimated 670,000 might have been infected in the provincial capital of Lahore.

After media published the experts’ report Tuesday, residents criticized the government for easing the restrictions last month instead of heeding the recommendation.

The report was based on a sample survey done in Lahore, which had 245 deaths through May 15. Since then, Punjab has reported nearly 200 more fatalities related to COVID-19.

The document surfaced hours before Prime Minister Imran Khan relaxed more coronavirus restrictions implemented in March, saying Pakistanis must learn how to live with the virus since lockdowns don’t treat the disease.

Pakistan has registered 1,621 fatalities amid 76,398 cases.

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SINGAPORE — Singapore has reopened 75% of its economy as part of a three-phase controlled approach to end a virus lockdown in place since early April.

Finance, electronics manufacturing and logistics are among sectors that resumed operations after a two-month closure with strict safety requirements. Schools will also reopen in stages this month. But most retail shops, personal services, dining in at restaurants and social gatherings are still banned.

“It feels like it has come back to where it should be. Like you know, people start to see people again, and working again. It feels good,” said Firman Hanif, who works in a security firm.

The affluent city-state has more than 35,000 cases, one of the highest in Asia. More than 90 per cent of cases involved foreign workers living in crowded dormitories. The government says it will only lift further restrictions if infections remain low.

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 38 new cases of COVID-19, all but one in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

The figures released by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday brought national totals to 11,541 cases and 272 deaths.

Hundreds of cases have been linked to workplaces, including call centres and a massive warehouse operated by local e-commerce giant Coupang, which officials say failed to properly enforce preventive measures. At least two dozen cases have been linked to churches near capital Seoul, including a death of a follower in his 70s.

Incheon, a port city west of Seoul, banned gatherings at more at some 4,200 churches and other religious facilities. Gyeonggi province, which surrounds the capital, issued an administrative order to shut down warehouses, funeral homes and wedding halls.

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BEIJING — China is reporting five new cases of the coronavirus, all brought by Chinese citizens from outside the country.

No new deaths were reported on Tuesday, while 73 people remain in treatment for COVID-19 and 373 are under monitoring and isolation for showing signs of the virus or having tested positive for it without showing symptoms. China has recorded a total of 4,634 deaths among 83,022 cases of the disease.

China further re-opened schools this week and much of the economy is back on a regular footing following the virus outbreak that was first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

On Monday, China’s foreign ministry again defended the country’s handling of the outbreak against charges of incompetence from the Trump administration focusing on its failure to prevent people leaving Wuhan earlier than Jan. 23 when the city was put on lockdown.

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Follow AP news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

The Associated Press

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'No-deal' Brexit threat looms over pandemic-ravaged UK economy – BNNBloomberg.ca

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The threat of a no-deal Brexit is back — and with it the risk that the U.K. economy’s shaky recovery from the coronavirus pandemic will be hobbled.

As British and European Union negotiators head into the last round of talks scheduled before a key summit this month, chances are growing that the U.K. will end the post-Brexit transition period on Dec. 31 without a free trade agreement in place — spelling turmoil for businesses.

Instead of postponing its final parting with the bloc because of the coronavirus, the U.K. government has so far ruled out any delay. That may be, critics say, because Brexiters calculate the cost of leaving without a deal will be obscured by the far more extensive damage wreaked by the virus.

To Sanjay Raja, an economist at Deutsche Bank AG, a no-deal Brexit would halve the pace of growth next year to 1.5 per cent. The U.K. in a Changing Europe, a research group, estimates gross domestic product could be crimped by eight per cent over 10 years as trade barriers and a reduction in productivity hit output.

“It may be less politically costly for the U.K. to do no deal in the midst of a pandemic, but economically I’m not sure about that at all,” said Jonathan Springford, deputy director of the Centre for European Reform. “It might be that they’re able to get away with it — but I don’t think it changes the view that no deal would impose quite sizable economic costs.”

Citigroup Inc. says the size of the shock could even force the Bank of England to take the controversial move of cutting interest rates below zero because fiscal policy and other tools may not be enough.

Companies now have to think of how to prepare for Brexit while dealing with the fallout from coronavirus. Many are shuttered, indebted and struggling to pull through the lockdown.

The additional debt firms are carrying will make adjusting to Brexit more difficult, according to Alan Winters, director of the U.K. Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex.

The re-introduction of trade barriers with the EU and changes to trading relationships with other countries will require a major re-orientation of exports, he wrote late in May. Heavily indebted firms are less likely to invest in developing new export markets.

“It’s a tense conversation at the moment,” said Allie Renison, head of Europe and trade policy at the Institute of Directors. “Companies are struggling with their survival, and there’s not a narrative yet from government saying to prepare, but they are saying the transition is ending.”

While both the U.K. and the EU insist a deal is still their preferred outcome, the deadlocked talks and the limited time left available mean risk no agreement will be reached is rising: analysts at Eurasia Group now put the odds of that outcome at 55%. EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan told RTE last month that the U.K. “can effectively blame Covid for everything.”

If the sides can’t strike a deal by the year-end, the U.K. will default to trading with the bloc on terms set by the World Trade Organization. That means British manufacturers of goods such as cars, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and precision tools could face new costs and significant disruptions to their just-in-time supply chains in Europe.

For Patrick Minford, chair of the pro-Brexit group Economists for Free Trade, leaving on anything but WTO terms would mean Britain would “lose the gains of free trade with the rest of the world.” It’s also better that the U.K. stays out of the EU’s expensive coronavirus recovery plan, he said. “When you add them both up, it’s pretty serious, really, and we’re much better off leaving.”

The fracturing of supply chains due to the coronavirus is one wake-up call to the upheaval that could be on the way. More than 80% of small and medium-sized manufacturers say the pandemic has affected their supply chains, and while some say contingency plans for Brexit have proved useful in preparing for the situation, others are facing shortages.

The pandemic has also led to discussion of bringing supply chains closer to home, particularly as the U.K. struggled to fly in emergency supplies while factories were closed and most workers stayed away.

U.K. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove last week touted the “phenomenon of re-shoring” and said “we’re seeing how countries can increase resilience.”

But moves to shorten supply chains further could likely lead to goods becoming more expensive, according to Springford of Centre for European Reform. What is more, the U.K.’s geographical proximity to the EU means it’s likely to stay an important trade partner.

Philip Hammond, a former U.K. finance minister who campaigned to stay in the bloc, said last week that the government should at least seek a temporary trade deal to protect jobs.

Since the U.K. is such an open economy, “we will be more exposed than most developed economies to any headwinds in international trade during the recovery,” he said. “We really can’t afford to layer on top of that, during a very difficult recovery period, a sort of self-inflicted shock.”

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