COVID-19 continues to upend economies, but Bitcoin soars.
The eurozone economy is in a double-dip recession amid lockdown restrictions due to a resurgence in coronavirus cases, according to a Reuters poll of economists, who said the risks to their already weak outlook was skewed more to the downside. Amidst delays to the European Union’s vaccine roll-out and concerns about new coronavirus variants sustaining current lockdowns, hindered economic activity, and rising unemployment pose a serious threat to any expected recovery.
The NASDAQ and S&P 500 eked out modest gains at the end of last week with investors betting on more fiscal stimulus, but US President Joe Biden said China was poised to “eat our lunch,” a warning that tempered enthusiasm for a market near record highs. Biden told a group of US senators in a meeting to discuss the need to upgrade US infrastructure that the United States must raise its game in the face of the challenge from China.
Bitcoin hovered close to record highs on Friday, set for gains of over 20% in a milestone week marked by the endorsement of major firms such as Elon Musk’s Tesla, while the dollar pared losses that were incurred after weak US jobs data. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency traded about 0.5% down at $47,728, just south of a record high of $49,000 reached after US banking group BNY Mellon said it had formed a unit to help clients hold, transfer, and issue digital assets.
Japan’s economy will suffer a much bigger contraction than initially expected in the January-March quarter, as an extended state of emergency to contain the coronavirus pandemic hurt corporate and household spending, a Reuters poll found. A firm majority of analysts said whether or not Tokyo proceeds with the Olympic Games this year would have little impact on the economy either way, as most big construction projects have already been completed and spectator numbers may be limited.
The European Union on Thursday acknowledged a move by the new US government to refrain from imposing additional tariffs on EU goods in a long-running dispute over aircraft tariffs, and said it was ready to work to resolve trade disputes. The US Trade Representative’s office on Thursday said it had agreed with the US industry that it was unnecessary to revise existing tariffs on European goods at this time, refraining from changes that would have been possible during a periodic review.
||Australia will next week introduce landmark legislation to force Alphabet’s Google and Facebook to pay publishers and broadcasters for content, a senior government official said on Friday. The legislation, which Google says will be “unworkable”, will make Australia the first country to require Facebook and Google to pay for news content.|
|Amazon.com Inc on Friday sued New York’s attorney general to stop the state from taking legal action over its early COVID-19 response, including its firing of activist Christian Smalls. The retailer drew scrutiny 10 months ago when workers protested conditions at a Staten Island warehouse and it fired Smalls for violating a paid quarantine.|
|Volkswagen’s software arm Car.Software announced a collaboration with Microsoft to build a cloud-based automated driving platform (ADP) using the tech giant’s Azure software. The partnership is aimed at helping the vehicle maker offer faster automated driving services.|