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Japan raises economic view for second month, but wary about resurgence of virus cases – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government slightly raised its economic view for a second straight month in July, though authorities conceded that the situation remained severe in light of a renewed spike in coronavirus cases in many parts of the world.

The government described the world’s third-largest economy as “showing signs of picking up” from the COVID-19-induced recession, underscoring cautious optimism among policymakers as more countries have started re-opening their economies following lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.

Although the global economy has shown some signs of bottoming out recently, analysts say world demand for cars and other durable goods is unlikely to recover strongly given the resurgence of coronavirus cases in major economies.

“The Japanese economy remains in severe situation due to the novel coronavirus, but it is showing signs of picking up recently,” the government said in its economic report for July.

“The pick-up trend in the economy is expected to continue… However, attention should be paid to the risk that domestic and overseas infections would affect economies.” the report added.

Japan’s economy is in the grip of its worst postwar recession as the health crisis takes a heavy toll on business and consumer activity. It is forecast to shrink 5.3% this fiscal year, the biggest contraction in decades, followed by a 3.3% bounce next year, a Reuters poll showed.

With car exports to China, the United States and European Union bottoming out, and with auto production starting to pick up from June, the government raised its view on exports and output.

Shipments were about to stop contracting, and output showed signs of picking up in some industries although it was declining as a whole, the report said.

However, a Cabinet Office official said an exports recovery is unlikely to be very strong.

The government also lifted its view on business sentiment for a second straight month in July to say corporate morale showed the trend towards improvement, a slightly better assessment than the previous month.

(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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As economy recovers, some Toronto restaurants commit to end tipping – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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TORONTO – As the Canadian economy continues to adapt to the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, some restaurants in Toronto are saying goodbye to a service industry staple: tipping.

So far three restaurants — Richmond Station, Ten and Burdock Brewery — have publicly signed onto doing away with the practice.

The aim is to make the industry more equitable and provide service workers with access to the social safety nets afforded to other professions.

Each of them has instead implemented what is known as a “hospitality included” fee — essentially an enforced gratuity, usually set at 18 per cent of the bill.

Unlike the practice of “tip-pooling,” which typically pays back-of-house staff such as cooks and dishwashers significantly less than front-of-house staff, a hospitality included fee is designed to be more evenly distributed.

Ryan Donovan, co-owner of Richmond Station, says his team decided it was the right choice when they saw how badly service workers were hit by the pandemic.

But James Rilette, vice-president of the industry group Restaurants Canada, doesn’t think ending tipping will go over well with customers.

He says conversations with restaurant owners and customers over the years have led him to believe that consumers tend to prefer tipping over price increases on menu items.

Rilette says the biggest problem is sticker shock — since people are going to react to seeing the price of their burger go up 20 per cent.

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Thai leader says unity necessary to revive virus-hit economy – 570 News

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BANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister, facing growing demands from students for change, warned Thursday that the nation must pull together to overcome the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech marking the appointment of a new team of financial specialists to his Cabinet, Prayuth Chan-ocha said the economic crisis will not go away quickly.

Thailand has been praised for its handling of the health effects of the coronavirus, with no local cases reported for 80 days. But it has suffered an especially strong shock to its economy because of its heavy dependence on tourism and exports.

Prayuth’s speech comes at a time of growing political pressure, as a student-led protest movement issues increasingly strident calls for his government to step down, the military-installed constitution to be revised, and limits to free speech to be lifted to promote democracy.

Some of the protesters’ criticisms challenge aspects of the country’s constitutional monarchy, setting them at odds with the conservative political establishment led by royalists and the military.

Prayuth, as army commander, led a coup in 2014 that ousted an elected government, served as prime minister in the military regime that followed, and returned as prime minister after a general election last year that was widely seen as free but not fair.

He declared Thursday that “our future is in the hands of the young,” but pushed aside the demands of the mainly young protesters at frequent rallies around the country.

“Right now, we must focus on the economic survival of tens of millions,” he said. “Let’s get the economy going first, first get that done by working together, and we can look to fixing the other issues, collaboratively, later.”

He also referred to the political conflict that has afflicted the country for much of the past decade and a half, including street clashes and two military coups.

“The politics of division that rejects a united approach to solving problems belongs to another era in history,” he said.

Prayuth said he appointed experts rather than politicians to the Cabinet to manage financial policy because “the economy is as big a threat to our lives as is the health threat.”

The Asian Development Bank recently forecast that the economy will contract by 6.5% in 2020, compared to its December 2019 projection of 3.0% growth.

“We are a small boat in a big ocean, and our economy can only start returning to normality when the rest of the world starts returning to normality,” Prayuth said.

Grant Peck, The Associated Press

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Province ramping up efforts to restart economy – CHVN Radio

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Premier Brian Pallister is sharing ways the province is hoping to grow Manitoba’s economy.

Pallister says there are approximately 40,000 people unemployed who had jobs one year ago.

“If we have a safer society we’re going to have people more confident to go to work, to shop and create more job opportunities.”

He says both public safety and a growing economy are locked in a symbiotic relationship, which is why the province is paying for advertisements, highlighting things they say are important for Manitoba.

The province’s #RestartMB campaign is focusing on both public safety and economic recovery as officials say Manitobans are ready to live with COVID-19 while creating jobs and restarting services.

“Public health and safety is a key driver of recovery, and as we continue to safely restart our economy and reopen our communities, we must learn to live with this virus,” Pallister says. “We are committed to being ready for what lies ahead – ready to live with COVID-19, ready to return to school, ready to restart our services, create jobs and grow our economy.”

He adds the province must continue to act and follow public health advice to keep COVID-19 test positivity cases low.

“The past four months since COVID-19 arrived in Manitoba have been a period of rapid response and adaptation for programs and for public engagement,” Pallister says. “We have done well and accomplished much, adapting as we go and working rapidly to respond.

The campaign hopes to continue to encourage Manitobans to contact the Manitoba Economic Support Centre to access programs and resources. Pallister says the centre has called more than 20,000 businesses to promote programs such as wage subsidies and the Manitoba Gap Protection Program.

The Premier says the centre will promote program priorities in the coming weeks. 

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