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Economy

PRESS DIGEST- Wall Street Journal – June 26

June 26 (Reuters) – The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

– Texas paused reopening plans on Thursday, as new coronavirus cases and hospitalisations increased in many U.S. states, and a government estimate showed more than 20 million Americans may have contracted the virus, far exceeding diagnosed infections. on.wsj.com/2A5UzvF

– The Donald Trump administration urged the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act in a legal brief filed on Thursday, putting health care at center stage in an election year already focused on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact. on.wsj.com/3iaFGth

– The number of workers seeking jobless benefits has held steady at about 1.5 million each week so far in June, signaling a slow recovery for the U.S. economy as states face new infections that could impede hiring and consumer spending. on.wsj.com/2VkAU2o

– The Federal Reserve on Thursday said a prolonged economic downturn could saddle the United States’ biggest banks with up to $700 billion in losses on soured loans and ordered them to cap dividends and suspend share buybacks to conserve funds. on.wsj.com/3fXWdPa

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Politics

Singapore GE2020: We welcome others to come and stand, says Chan Chun Sing on prospect of Lee Hsien Yang contesting Tanjong Pagar

SINGAPORE – The PAP team in Tanjong Pagar GRC welcomes others to contest the seat as it will give residents a choice but it is not focused on “who is coming or going”, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said on Friday (June 26).

The ruling party’s focus, said Mr Chan, is the same as it has been for many years – working closely with residents to continue solving their issues, taking care of them, and also collectively taking care of Singapore.

Mr Chan, who is the PAP second assistant secretary-general, said: “For Tanjong Pagar, we welcome other people to come and stand. It offers Tanjong Pagar residents a choice. We are not particularly focused on who is coming or going.”

He was responding to a question on the prospect of Mr Lee Hsien Yang, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s estranged brother, contesting Tanjong Pagar GRC in the July 10 polls.

Mr Chan was speaking to reporters after wrapping up the last of the PAP candidate introductions in a virtual press conference at the party headquarters in New Upper Changi Road on Friday.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang has joined the opposition Progress Singapore Party (PSP), which announced his membership on Wednesday (June 24) at a breakfast meeting in Tiong Bahru Food Centre. The centre sits in Tanjong Pagar GRC.

However, he was not among the PSP’s slate of 24 candidates, the last of whom were announced on Friday. PSP chief Tan Cheng Bock said his party’s line-up will not be firmed up until Nomination Day on Tuesday (June 30).

Tanjong Pagar GRC is a PAP stronghold, and the bastion of founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew – PM Lee and Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s father. Mr Lee Kuan Yew held the Tanjong Pagar seat from 1955 – when it was a single seat – until his death in 2015, by which time it had become a part of Tanjong Pagar GRC.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his sister Lee Wei Ling have been embroiled in a long-running feud with PM Lee over the fate of their father’s house in Oxley Road.

When asked if he would be standing for election, Mr Lee Hsien Yang said: “When I’m ready to disclose that, you will find out.”

On Friday, Mr Chan said: “From the PAP team’s perspective, we are focused on serving our residents day in, day out, and we have been doing that for the last many years.

“I’m sure Tanjong Pagar residents know us well, they know what we stand for, they know how we care for them. And I look forward to working closely with the residents to continue solving their issues, taking care of them, and also collectively taking care of Singapore.”

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Economy

Mexican airline Aeromexico says will double domestic flights in July

June 25 (Reuters) – Mexican airline Aeromexico said on Thursday that in July it will operate twice as many domestic flights as it did in June and expects to increase its international operations four-fold over the same time.

Aeromexico said last week it was analyzing its options for an orderly restructuring of its short- and medium-term financial commitments, adding that it had not decided whether to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States.

The company said that in July it will add more flights to New York, Los Angeles, Madrid, Amsterdam, Paris and Seoul and will resume its operations from Mexico City to Austin, Tokyo and Sao Paulo.

“With these adjustments, the airline expects to have operated 6,000 flights in July,” the company said in a statement.

In the first quarter, Aeromexico reported a net loss of 2.5 billion pesos ($109.6 million), hit by a weak economy as well as the coronavirus outbreak. It had total liabilities of 116.6 billion pesos as of March 31, according to its first-quarter results.

The future of many airlines has been in doubt after governments around the world imposed curbs on travel to stem the spread of COVID-19.

While some governments have given airlines a lifeline, Mexico’s leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been adamant that he would not use taxpayer money to bail out shareholders in large companies. (Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru Editing by Robert Birsel)

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World News

India: China deployed army in 'large numbers' at disputed border

India acknowledges for the first time it has matched China in massing troops at their contested Himalayan border.

China has deployed large numbers of troops and weapons along a disputed Himalayan border in violation of bilateral agreements, India’s foreign ministry has said, accusing Beijing of escalating tensions and triggering a deadly clash last week.

“At the heart of the matter is that since early May, the Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC,” foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a briefing in New Delhi on Thursday, referring to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de facto border between the Asian nuclear powers.

Srivastava said “this is not in accordance with the provisions of our various bilateral agreements,” referring to treaties that include a 1993 one that dictates that both sides will maintain limited border deployments.

India had “to undertake counter deployments” because of the Chinese buildup, he said as New Delhi acknowledged for the first time it has matched Beijing in massing troops at their contested Himalayan border.

China has blamed India for the clash – the deadliest between the two nuclear-armed neighbours for at least five decades – and said Indian troops attacked Chinese officers and soldiers.

Responding to the heightened Chinese presence last month, India also deployed a large number of troops along the LAC, Srivastava said, leading to face-offs in the Ladakh region of the western Himalayas.

On June 15, Indian and Chinese troops brawled for several hours in the Galwan Valley, using stones and sticks with nails embedded in them to beat each other, killing 20 Indian soldiers and injuring at least 76 more. China has not disclosed how many casualties its troops suffered.

The neighbours have blamed each other for the high-altitude battle. After senior military commanders held parleys this week, both sides have since agreed to disengage their troops on the disputed border.

But in satellite images reviewed by Reuters news agency, China appears to have added new structures near the site of the Galwan Valley clash that India says is on its side of the LAC. These include camouflaged tents or covered structures and a potential new camp under construction with walls or barricades.

“Peace and tranquility in the border areas is the basis of our bilateral relationship,” said Srivastava, demanding that China follow up on its pledge to cool tensions. “A continuation of the current situation would only vitiate the atmosphere.”


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World News

Australia on track to further ease coronavirus curbs, PM Morrison says

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will stick with plans to further ease coronavirus curbs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday, despite a spike in infections in the second most populous state of Victoria.

“There will be outbreaks and what matters is that we continue to build our capability to deal with those outbreaks,” Morrison told a media briefing in Canberra, the capital.

Australia deployed ambulances and mobile test centres in a testing blitz across the southeastern state after a renewed outbreak of the respiratory disease there. On Friday, the state reported its tenth straight day of new cases in double digits.

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World News

Taiwan finds diplomatic sweet spot in bubble tea

The sweet drink with its chewy tapioca pearls has become synonymous with Taiwan as its global popularity has grown.

Taipei, Taiwan – Ordering a bubble tea is not exactly straightforward. First, there is the choice of tea base, then whether to have it milky or fruity, and the amount of sugar or ice to add, but most important of all is the kind of boba – the signature chewy tapioca pearls that make the drink utterly unique.

None of that has prevented the tea’s meteoric rise in popularity.

Somewhere between a dessert and a drink, bubble tea is an industry that was worth $2.4bn in 2017, and is forecast to reach $4.3bn by 2027, according to one market research firm.

In three decades, bubble tea shops have appeared from Taipei to New York, and from Singapore to London, and the drink has become shorthand for the self-ruled island of Taiwan. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu shared a bubble tea with the Japanese representative Hiroyasu Izumi. President Tsai Ing-wen served the drink during national day, and this year bubble tea was at the centre of a Twitter spat with Chinese internet users when Taiwanese joined an online “milk tea alliance” with the drink’s fans from Hong Kong and Thailand.

Bubble tea found popularity initially because boba tea shops not only offered a place to hang out at night and play cards, but something different from Taiwan’s existing tea culture, said Po-Yi Hung, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at National Taiwan University.

“The story of bubble tea is related to the social change in Taiwan. For oolong tea, you need time to brew the tea, you need more time to enjoy the tea. But the whole industrialisation and economic development in Taiwan pushed us to live a life where you have to save time – you don’t have that much time to brew tea and enjoy the so-called ‘laoren cha’, oolong tea culture,” he said. 

“So for the younger people, bubble tea culture is really convenient for them. You order a cup of tea and three minutes later the bubble tea is ready for you and you can take out.”

Cross-strait boba 

It was Taiwan’s emergence as an economic powerhouse, one of the so-called “Asian tigers”, that not only nurtured bubble tea’s fan base at home, but helped it spread beyond the island.

Taiwanese businesses started investing in China in the 1990s, as the mainland began to open its economy. Bubble tea quickly spread across the Taiwan Strait along with the new factories and foreign investment.

“Outside of Taiwan, China was one of the first places for consumers to know bubble tea and to consume bubble tea,” Hung said of the 1990s. “At that time, Chinese people were curious about Taiwan and wanted to know Taiwan. Because of the political tension between Taiwan and China, sometimes we don’t really have open connections to know each other, so we have curiosity.”

Boba tea quickly caught on and mainland entrepreneurs began to launch their own domestic chains, while people in other parts of Asia – including Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore – also developed a taste for the tea.

It spread, as well, to the West, first through Taiwanese and Chinese immigrants and university students looking for the taste of home, before gradually entering the mainstream in the 2000s.

It was only then, Hung said, once the drink had gone around the world, that Taiwanese people began to appreciate bubble tea as a uniquely Taiwanese export. 

“In the past from the early 1980s to the 1990s, I don’t think Taiwanese people took it as a symbol of Taiwanese identity. I believe after 2000, with globalisation, all kinds of food culture travelled worldwide. Bubble tea also at that time started spreading to the other places from Taiwan. And it’s become more and more popular and at the same time Taiwanese people feel kind of proud of it,” he said.

One nation, under bubble tea 

In the United States, bubble tea’s unofficial capital lies in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, according to John Chung-En Liu, an associate professor of sociology at National Taiwan University who has conducted extensive research in California.

The valley is home to one of the largest US concentrations of Asian Americans, who have been settling there since the middle of the 19th century. It is a place that is mostly suburban and car-based, and where it is possible to drive for “10 miles of one boulevard and just see Asian businesses,” according to Liu.

“Boba shops become these congregation places for young Asian Americans where they hang out after middle school and high school,” he said. “That’s also where a lot of the time they discover each others’ immigration experiences, and these are a majority Asian-heavy neighbourhoods, you are talking about high schools that are 80 percent Asian.”

Boba shops in San Gabriel and other parts of the US followed a similar trajectory, first with cheap restaurants for immigrants serving bubble tea on the side, gradually replaced by speciality shops and finally major chains like Chatime and CoCo.

Liu said that for many customers, bubble tea was no longer associated only with Taiwan but with the wider Asian community, thanks in part to its distinctly chewy tapioca pearls. The spongy or chewy texture – known as “Q” in Taiwan – is found throughout Asian cuisine in snacks like fishballs or mochi, but is noticeably absent in American and western foods.

“It’s kind of an easy way to make an in group and an out group dynamic for Asian Americans: this is our thing and we understand it and we know what’s good.'” said Liu. “They will joke about different levels of non-Asian people appreciating boba. There are different levels of learning [about ingredients], and that becomes a way of judging people’s ‘Asian-ness’.”

Third-wave bubble tea

Outside the US, bubble tea has more strongly retained its association with Taiwan and China, although even that is beginning to change, according to both Liu and Jun-Hua Lin, an assistant professor in the Department of Taiwan and Regional Studies at National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan.

In London, one of Europe’s East Asian hot spots, bubble tea is still largely associated with Taiwan, according to Lin, who has studied bubble tea consumption there. Lin says that is partly the result of the success there since 2008 of Taiwanese chains, which have found a following among other Asian ethnic groups in the UK.

But London and other global cities have also seen the emergence of what’s become known as “third-wave” tea; tea that combines a wide range of flavours and influences, she said.

At chains like Bubbleology, founded a decade ago by a British investment banker, there is a nod to Asian culture with jasmine or taro bubble tea, but customers can also order “Oreo Crush”, the technicolor “Genie” (coconut milk tea with strawberry boba and whipped cream) or the alcoholic “Cloud Nine Coffee” (milk coffee with coconut rum and boba).

Similar flavours can be found at “third-wave” bubble tea shops in Los Angeles, Liu said, with shops like Labobatory offering a “distinct California-style bubble and that’s very hybrid”.

Sweet tea, soft power

As bubble tea continues to expand its global reach, in Taiwan it has made the leap into food products. Taiwan made international headlines last year when Domino’s and Pizza Hut released duelling versions of “boba pizza”, while other boba-infused products, like chocolate and ice cream, are widely available. 

Like Taiwan itself, which China views as its own, the drink has not avoided political dramas.

Taiwanese chains found themselves boycotted by Chinese customers last summer for professing support for Hong Kong’s mass democracy protests, while Taiwanese consumers have boycotted other chains because they’ve failed to do the opposite.

Bubble tea, meanwhile, remains an important symbol for the island democracy, particularly as it loses its international representation due to pressure from Beijing, which claims sovereignty over Taiwan.

Food culture has proved harder to erase.

“We Taiwanese people always have been somehow trapped in the kind of anxiety of our national identity, and bubble tea has become a kind of symbol for the world to see the existence of Taiwan,” said the National Taiwan University’s Hung.

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World News

In China's 'Little Africa,' a struggle to get back to business after lockdown

GUANGZHOU, China (Reuters) – Mohammed has spent several weeks sleeping in his cramped trading booth in one of Guangzhou’s export centres after being kicked out of his apartment and forced into quarantine in April, but the Tanzanian trader says he is content to be in China.

As Africans in the Chinese metropolis were targeted that month in a coronavirus clampdown that sparked a diplomatic backlash, Guangzhou’s Xiaobei neighbourhood – known as “Little Africa” – went into lockdown.

Like many in the community, including those who were evicted from their dwellings, Mohammed said he is trying to return to normal life now that the lockdown has eased.

“It happened, it was bad, but I just want to move on,” said Mohammed, who trades garments and shoes and like most people Reuters interviewed did not want to provide his full name given the sensitivity of the situation.

Guangzhou is the hub for Africans engaged in trade in China, often small-scale business owners dealing in garments and other consumer goods, and is also a centre for students from the continent.

While Black Africans living in China say they have long experienced discrimination, several said the targeting of their community during the pandemic was deeply unsettling.

When five Nigerians tested positive for coronavirus in April, after China had shut its borders to foreigners, local government units in Guangzhou singled out Africans for mandatory tests and quarantines, the U.S. consulate in the city said.

Several African countries complained, and the U.S. consulate advised African-Americans to avoid the city. The outcry prompted a meeting between China’s foreign ministry, which denied discrimination, and more than 20 African ambassadors and representatives.

The situation eased and the government encouraged foreigners to report instances of discrimination to a 24-hour support hotline. McDonald’s apologised after staff at a Guangzhou branch forced Black customers to leave.

‘JUST GUESTS’

All the 20 Africans Reuters spoke with in Guangzhou said they were strongly supportive of the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and elsewhere. Around half said that similar protests were not necessary in China, but six said they would protest if they felt it were possible.

“This is a Communist country and we are just guests here, they would not let us protest,” said Chris, a Nigerian trader.

With 4,553 registered Africans in Guangzhou in April, the population is one-third its level a year ago, official figures show. About 351,000 Africans entered the city from abroad last year, often traders on short-term visits, but that traffic has almost come to a halt with coronavirus-induced travel bans.

Mercy, a Nigerian working for a small logistics company, said business is one-quarter its normal level.

“There’s fewer people in town, and there are fewer flights to Africa, so freight prices are too high,” she said from her office in a half-lit building where several hair-braiding shops and salons that served the African community were shuttered.

Several traders, however, said they were staying put in China because the current situation means fewer competitors and an advantage when freight fully resumes.

“China is good,” said Paur, a Nigerian trader. “You cannot find African people making these” he said, gesturing towards bags of clothes in his booth near Xiaobei.

He said he is still resentful after being evicted from his home in April and sleeping on the streets for four days, but has no plans to leave.

“The sad thing I realised is that they see me and will always think of the virus,” said Haman, a student from Niger who said he plans to return home after seven years in China once his course finishes next month.

Many of the Black Africans in the city said they were resigned to racism being part of life outside of Africa.

“If you are Black and you hold an African passport you cannot escape racism, so it doesn’t matter wherever you go,” said Aubrey Tsambatare, a Zimbabwean who works in banking in Guangzhou.

(This story corrects last paragraph spelling of surname Tsambatare)

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World News

UK thunderstorm warning: Atlantic chill to unleash HORROR storms – latest lightning maps

In addition, there is a possibility that lightning strikes and strong winds will cause damage to some buildings.

The storms on Friday could even bring hail, while in some areas there could be up to 50mm of rain falling in an hour.

Difficult driving conditions could follow, due to sudden flooding and spray from other cars, while other transport links such as rail services may also be disrupted.

The Met Office has also warned there is a chance of power cuts that will affect homes and businesses up and down the nation.

“Heavy showers and thunderstorms are likely to break out on Friday afternoon and evening. Many places will miss the storms, but where they do occur, torrential downpours could bring 30-50mm rain in an hour, with hail and lightning,” the Met Office said.

There are two yellow thunderstorm warnings issued by the Met Office.

The first has been in place since 16:00 on Thursday and is in place across the whole of the UK’s west and south coast, including all of Northern Ireland. This will expire on Friday morning at 09:00.

The second one will run from midday on Friday until 09:00 in the morning on Saturday, as the storm moves from the west coast and begins to hit the central and eastern areas.

For this second warning, the far south-east of England is exempt, the Met Office said.

Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell told PA news agency: “Not everyone will see a storm, but if you catch one, you will certainly know about it”.

READ: Suncream tips: How to keep yourself protected in UK heatwave

The storm will slowly head in a northeast direction through Friday, and will probably clear northeast areas of Scotland by Saturday morning.

The storms will come as a stark contrast to the wall-to-wall sunshine and heat experienced in much of the UK this week; Thursday was the country’s hottest day so far.

London’s Heathrow Airport, for example, clocked a high of 33.4 degrees.

While in Scotland and Wales the temperatures both tipped over the 30 degree line.

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While Friday will certainly see a change in terms of sunshine, the temperature will remain warm – perhaps stiflingly so, due to the humidity.

But temperatures will begin to cool on Saturday in the wake of the storm, which might leave a mixture of rainy and sunny spells as it goes.

Through Sunday to Tuesday, expect the weather to turn windier and fresher, though for many there will be longer spells of rain particularly in the north and northwestern areas of the country.

The hot weather this week has led to a major incident being declared in Bournemouth on the south coast, where tens of thousands of people flocked to go to the beach despite warnings to stay away.

The local BCP council said it had to put in place an emergency response in order to tackle a range of problems such as beach overcrowding, traffic gridlock, and even violence.

The Guardian reports that litter collection teams were escorted by security guards.

On TalkRadio, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that while people had had “a pretty tough lockdown”, the government would close beaches if it felt it was necessary to get Britons to observe social distancing rules.

Meanwhile, BCP council leader Vikki Slade said the council was “absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches”.

She added that the council is “not in a position to welcome visitors in these numbers now” and asked people not to visit the area.

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Politics

‘Access did not buy billionaire a decision’ Zahawi hits back at Jenrick criticism

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The row flared up as he insisted fresh documents proved there was no evidence former media mogul Richard Desmond exerted influence on Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick in a lucrative planning case. Mr Desmond attended a Conservative dinner and sat next to the Housing Secretary, who later signed off his development before a new fee was imposed that would have cost £40 million. Mr Zahawi insisted that “the access did not buy this billionaire a decision”.

He suggested anyone could have access to politicians if they wanted to pay to attend party events.

“If people go to a fundraiser in their local area for the Conservative Party, they will be sitting next to MPs and other people in their local authorities and can interact with different parts of the authority,” he said.

Labour said it was “cash for favours” and the comments showed that attending “swanky Tory fundraisers” was a way to get access.

Mr Zahawi said Mr Jenrick wanted to make sure the 1,500-home Westferry Printworks scheme in east London “gets built, that it is viable and that affordable housing is delivered”.

He added: “Viability is incredibly important. Getting stuff built is incredibly important to Robert Jenrick – that was his motivation.”

“Yes, of course there was access, because there was a dinner party that Robert Jenrick didn’t know he was going to sit next to Richard Desmond at, but Robert Jenrick also said in those messages, that he released after promising the select committee he would release them, ‘I can’t have this meeting with you’.”

Mr Desmond urged Mr Jenrick to approve the east London development scheme so that “Marxists” did not get cash for “nothing” in messages they exchanged.

The Cabinet minister originally gave the development the go-ahead in January 2020, overruling both Tower Hamlets Council and a planning inspector.

He subsequently reversed the ruling following legal action by the council, admitting that what he did was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias”.

Sir Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Liaison Committee, said he thought Mr Jenrick would survive the calls for him to resign.

He said: “Clearly there has been a little bit of a mistake and the decision has had to be rescinded but there is no sign of actual maladministration.”

Downing Street said Prime Minister Boris Johnson still had “full confidence” in Mr Jenrick.

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Business

Stocks going nowhere as virus fears hold optimism in check

SINGAPORE/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stock markets ground higher on Friday, and are set to end a choppy week more or less where they began it as surging coronavirus infections cast a shadow over encouraging economic data and checked hopes for a swift global recovery.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan MIAPJ0000PUS rose 0.3%, for a weekly gain of around 0.5%. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 rose 1% to sit flat for the week.

Bulls seem to have the upper hand in currency markets, with the U.S. dollar down 0.3% for the week, and riskier currencies such as the Australian dollar marginally ahead. Majors were steady in morning trade on Friday.

“The market probably ran ahead of itself anticipating a smooth recovery, which has set us up for the rougher period we’re now going through,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney.

“We’re stuck in a bit of a range. There’s a degree of optimism that any second wave will be offset by stimulus … but if we have to go back to a renewed lockdown then it’s a different story, and markets face a lot more downside risk.”

The moves followed a bumpy session on Wall Street, which finished in positive territory after a late surge led by banking stocks. Financials caught a boost from a relaxation in some capital requirements that ought to free up cash for lending.

Still, volumes were light and plenty of headwinds remain.

The governor of Texas paused the state’s reopening on Thursday as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations surged and the country set a new record for a one-day increase in cases.

Localised restrictions to slow the virus have now been re-imposed in parts of Lisbon in Portugal, western Germany, Australia’s Victoria state and Beijing.

The U.S. Senate has also passed legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy, yet another potential Sino-U.S. flashpoint.

To become law it must also pass the House and be signed by President Donald Trump.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index .HSI fell 0.4% in early trade on Friday, after being closed for a holiday on Thursday. Markets in China and Taiwan remain closed.

The U.S. Treasury market was quiet, with the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR steady at 0.6790%. Gold XAU= held steady at $1,761.39 an ounce. [US/] [GOL/]

BALANCE

The tug of war between bulls and bears this week has sent the S&P 500 .SPX ahead by as far 1.8% and down by as much as 2.4% on the week, with Thursday’s gains leaving it flat. U.S. stock futures ESc1 were flat on Friday.

Foreign exchange markets have likewise stalled, as the virus’ progress dents confidence in bets on further gains in hard-running riskier currencies.

“Having risen for three straight months, some payback may be due for stocks and currencies in July,” strategists at Singapore’s DBS Bank said in a note on Friday.

“We would avoid currencies – Indonesian rupiah, Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar – that appreciated most in June and Q2.”

Moves in majors were small on Friday, with the Aussie AUD=D3 steady at $0.6883, up 0.8% for the week, and the kiwi NZD=D3 flat at $0.6431 and steady for the week. The Aussie has rallied 25% from March lows and the kiwi 18%. [AUD/]

After a mixed bag of U.S. data overnight, with a smaller-than-expected drop in jobless claims but robust rise in goods orders, markets are looking for reassurance from European confidence surveys and U.S. spending data due later on Friday.

Oil prices, a barometer of energy consumption and so the global growth outlook, edged ahead to hold steady for the week.

U.S. crude CLc1 futures were last up 1.2% or 46 cents to $39.18 per barrel and Brent futures LCOc1 rose 1.3% to $41.58 per barrel.

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