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How is Delta affecting the economy? The jury is out – 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.

London (CNN Business)The Delta variant of Covid-19, which has caused a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in countries around the world, is a major risk to the recovery from the pandemic. And in some places, clear signs of damage are cropping up.

What’s happening: IHS Markit released preliminary readings from its closely-watched surveys of purchasing managers on Monday. The data showed that in many advanced economies, the more contagious Delta strain is having a real impact.
In Australia, business activity in the private sector fell for the second straight month, with the pace of contraction increasing since July.
“Survey respondents signaled that the increase in Covid-19 cases, underpinned by the Delta variant, and the corresponding lockdowns across various Australian states in August continued to dampen demand and output,” IHS Markit said.
Japan is also experiencing worsening business conditions, with companies reporting dwindling optimism following a recent surge in Covid-19 cases.
Ongoing supply chain issues are part of the problem, stoking fears ahead of the important holiday shopping period.
Coronavirus is a factor here, too; the latest obstacle is in China, where a terminal at the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port has been shut since Aug. 11 after a dock worker tested positive for Covid-19. Major international shipping lines have adjusted schedules to avoid the port and are warning customers of delays.
“The pressures on global supply chains have not eased, and we do not expect them to any time soon,” Bob Biesterfeld, CEO of logistics firm C.H. Robinson, told my CNN Business colleague Hanna Ziady.
In the United Kingdom, private sector output is still growing, but the recovery appears to be sharply losing momentum.
“Despite Covid-19 containment measures easing to the lowest since the pandemic began, rising virus case numbers are deterring many forms of spending, notably by consumers,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.
In addition to supply chain concerns, businesses also pointed to staff shortages as a major headwind.
Holding up better: Supply chain woes are also affecting Europe, which logged a slight decline in its Purchasing Managers’ Index.
But business output among the 19 countries that use the euro “continued to grow at one of the strongest rates seen over the past two decades in August,” according to IHS Markit.
“Although the spread of the Delta variant caused widespread problems across the region, curbing demand and causing further supply issues, firms benefited from virus containment measures easing to the lowest since the pandemic began,” Williamson said.
On the radar: Which camp will the United States fall in? We’ll find out when IHS Markit’s data for the country posts later Monday.
The Back-to-Normal Index from CNN Business and Moody’s Analytics indicates that the US economy is operating at 92% of its pre-pandemic level. But expectations for third quarter economic growth are softening thanks to Delta’s effect on spending.

Bitcoin passes $50,000 for the first time since May

Bitcoin has surged above the $50,000 mark as the digital currency continues to climb out of a months-long slump, my CNN Business colleague Diksha Madhok reports.
It’s the first time bitcoin has reached that milestone since May 15. Bitcoin’s peers also advanced. Ethereum was up more than 3%, while dogecoin rose nearly 2%.
Bitcoin had been inching near $50,000 all weekend before finally crossing the threshold Sunday evening, according to data from CoinDesk.
Driving the gains: The cryptocurrency is getting a lift after PayPal announced that it will allow people to buy, hold and sell four types of cryptocurrencies — bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash — in the United Kingdom.
This announcement marks the first international expansion of the company’s cryptocurrency offering outside of the United States, where it launched the service in October last year.
Remember: It’s been a turbulent few months for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin, which hit an all-time high of nearly $65,000 in April, plummeted as low as $28,800 in June after China escalated its crackdown on digital currencies.
Bitcoin, which had been hovering between $30,000 and $40,000 for many weeks, began to break out of its slump earlier this summer. One catalyst has been Amazon, rumored to be considered an entrance into the crypto market after posting a job opening for a digital currency and blockchain product lead.

What forced changes at OnlyFans?

Last week’s decision by the creator platform OnlyFans to soon stop hosting a wide swath of sexually explicit content has sent shockwaves through the internet.
OnlyFans, a website with 130 million users and more than 2 million content creators, has become synonymous with pornography. For many, performing on the app is a lifeline: Some who lost their jobs during the pandemic turned to sharing explicit videos of themselves on OnlyFans to help pay the bills. Many of these sex workers are now expressing outrage at what they view as OnlyFans’ betrayal of a community that enabled the platform’s massive success.
One explanation: Venture capital firms are often wary of investing in platforms that host adult content. According to internal documents obtained by Axios, OnlyFans’ popularity and revenue both exploded during the pandemic, yet it has struggled to secure outside investment.
The pivot at OnlyFans is also tied to a much wider crackdown by payment processors who handle credit card swipes behind the scenes, my CNN Business colleague Brian Fung reports.
OnlyFans said its decision was driven with a view toward building a sustainable platform for the long term. “These changes are to comply with the requests of our banking partners and payout providers,” the company said.
Seth Eisen, a spokesman for Mastercard (MA), told CNN Business it was not involved in OnlyFans’ decision to restrict the content it would allow on the platform. “It’s a decision they came to themselves,” Eisen said.

Up next

JD.com (JD) and MSG Entertainment (MSG) report earnings before US markets open.
Also today →
  • The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index for the United States posts at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • Existing US home sales for July arrive at 10 a.m. ET.
Coming tomorrow: Best Buy (BBY), Nordstrom (JWN) and Urban Outfitters (URBN) earnings.

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Economy

What is a recession? Your economy questions, answered. – The Washington Post

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The U.S. economy is back in the headlines, with more economists and financial experts warning of an impending downturn at some point in the next year. But what is a recession — and what happens during one?

The answers can be complicated and vague.

“Recessions are notoriously hard to predict in advance,” said Tara Sinclair, an economics professor at George Washington University. “It’s pretty easy to say a recession is coming at some point in the future. … It’s much harder to quantify exactly when, how long and how deep.”

For nearly two years, the U.S. economy has notched blockbuster gains, with millions of new jobs and wage hikes adding to the streak of good news. Families and businesses were flush with cash, which they used to buy houses, cars, electronics and other big-ticket items. That extra spending — combined with lingering supply chain shortages and delays from the pandemic — helped drive up prices and contributed to the highest inflation in 40 years.

Now policymakers are trying to tackle some of those skyrocketing prices with higher interest rates. They’re hoping that by making it more expensive for families and businesses to borrow — for investments, homes and cars, for example — that demand for those things will go down. The question is whether they will be able to slow things down just enough, without sending the country into a recession.

Here, we answer some common questions on economic downturns and how they affect Americans.

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Economy

Ontario premier Ford vows to rebuild economy, unveils new Cabinet – Reuters.com

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OTTAWA, June 24 (Reuters) – Doug Ford took the oath of office for a second term as the premier of Canada’s most populous province on Friday with a promise to build highways and homes, and rebuild Ontario’s economy.

Ford’s right-leaning Progressive Conservatives returned to power with a sweeping victory in a provincial election on June 2, winning 83 seats in the 124-seat legislature.

He unveiled a larger 30-member Cabinet, moving former solicitor general Sylvia Jones to role of minister of health and deputy premier, while keeping Peter Bethlenfalvy in post as the debt-laden province’s finance minister.

Ford said he had an “ambitious plan” for his second stint, as his government faced challenges posed by inflation rates hitting a nearly 40-year high in Canada.

“That plan starts with rebuilding Ontario’s economy,” Ford said at his swearing-in ceremony.

He reiterated pledges made in the lead-up to the election, including new spending on highways, transit and the auto sector.

“We’re investing to connect every part of our auto supply chain … the cars of the future will be built right here, Ontario, from start to finish,” Ford said.

Ontario, home to just under 40% of Canada’s 38.2 million people, is Canada’s manufacturing heartland. It is also one of the world’s largest sub-sovereign borrowers, with publicly held debt in excess of C$400 billion ($309.6 billion).

Ford also pledged to address soaring home prices in the province by building more affordable housing.

Canada’s national housing agency projects Ontario to be one of the worst affected by a housing shortage over the next decade. Provincial capital Toronto is already one of the most expensive cities to live in globally.

“Too many families are frozen out of the housing market … we need to build more attainable homes,” Ford said.

($1 = 1.2921 Canadian dollars)

(This story was refiled to fix typo in headline)

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Economy

Northern Shootout's return provides a big boost to Orillia's economy – CTV News Barrie

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The return of an annual slo-pitch softball event marks the unofficial start of summer in Orillia.

The Northern Shootout is back for its 13 edition after a pandemic-driven hiatus.

The tournament consists of 78 men’s, women’s and co-ed teams from Ontario and Quebec and promises a big boost to the economy in the city.

“Especially after two years of pandemic restrictions,” said Mike Ladouceur, City of Orillia. “This helps our tourism recover, puts heads in beds, hotels are filled, restaurants filled, this is really the big event that begins our summer of events.”

Organizer Mike Borrelli said the tournament has grown to become one of the biggest in Canada.

“We’re pretty much at capacity for participants. We can’t accommodate anymore,” he added. “We’re using the other diamonds, we got all the diamonds in Orillia, and we’re using the Rama diamond, so if we had more diamonds, we could accommodate more teams.”

The owners of Adovo Pizza in Orillia say the increase in tourism has done wonders for their business this year.

This being the first big event of the season, they’re excited to welcome so many people into the city.

“Everyone has just been waiting to get out,” said Adam Zimmerman, co-owner. “Especially for sporting events and vendors, have a cold beer. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

The tournament culminates with an annual home run derby, which organizers said typically draws 1,200 fans to watch.

Sixteen participants will compete to walk away with a championship belt.

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