(Bloomberg) — Warm weather may not slow down the spread of the coronavirus, said a top U.S. health official, counter to a theory put forward by President Donald Trump.Mobile World Congress, the premier mobile-industry conference, was canceled by its organizers over concerns about the spread of the deadly pathogen.In China, President Xi Jinping said the country would meet its economic goals while battling the coronavirus that has now claimed 1,115 lives. U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it would take time to measure the impact of the outbreak.A cruise ship, turned away by multiple countries, is now headed to Cambodia. Bloomberg is tracking the outbreak on the terminal and online.Key DevelopmentsChina death toll at 1,113; confirmed China cases at 44,653See a breakdown of virus cases hereVirus-hit firm tells staff: Welcome back, wash your handsJapan reports 39 more cases aboard cruise shipMobile World Congress Is Canceled (1:45 p.m. NY)Mobile World Congress, the premier mobile-industry conference scheduled this month in Spain, was canceled over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event” John Hoffman, the chief executive officer of conference organizer GSMA Ltd., said in a statement to Bloomberg News.Intel Corp., MediaTek Inc., AT&T Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Sprint Corp. joined Ericsson AB, Sony Corp. and others earlier this week in canceling plans to attend MWC Barcelona later this month. CDC Says Warm Weather May Not Slow Outbreak (1:06 p.m. NY)It’s too early to know if warm spring weather that typically heralds the end of cold and flu season will also slow the coronavirus, said a top official from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Wednesday that she hopes “it will go down as the weather warms up, but it’s premature to assume that.”Messonnier’s remarks Wednesday run counter to a theory put forward by President Donald Trump that heat would stop the new coronavirus.“The heat, generally speaking, kills this kind of virus,” Trump said Monday at the White House. “A lot of people think that goes away in April as the heat comes in.” At a campaign rally this week, he went further, according to a CNN report on his remarks, saying, “in theory when it gets a little warmer it miraculously goes away.”During a call with reporters Wednesday Messonnier said, “I would caution against over-interpreting that hypothesis.”The theory that the coronavirus will slow down when warm weather sets in is mostly based on the fact that other respiratory viruses such as influenza exhibit seasonal patterns, not specific data about this new virus, she said.More from the CDC press briefing:CDC officials haven’t yet been allowed into China or been given direct access to raw data on the epidemic.Some states conducting tests using CDC coronavirus test kits are getting inconclusive results. The CDC said it was working to resolve the problem.CDC is optimistic that lower case counts coming from China in the last few days mean that the country’s quarantine is working, but that it’s “too soon to say that for sure,” Messonnier said.Fed Chair Says Too Early to Know Virus Impact (11:15 a.m. NY)Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said it will take time to see the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the U.S. economy.“It’s too uncertain to even speculate” Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday. “We’ll be looking at the economic data.”Carnival Sees Material Impact on Results (9:28 a.m. NY)Carnival Corp. said it foresees a slowdown in global bookings and an increase in canceled voyages that will will have a material impact on financial results that wasn’t anticipated because of the coronavirus oubreak.“As a result of coronavirus, the company believes the impact on its global bookings and canceled voyages will have a material impact on its financial results which was not anticipated in the company’s previous 2020 earnings guidance,” the Miami-based cruise ship operator said in a statement Wednesday.The company said it was unable to determine the full financial impact on the current fiscal year.Read the full story hereMobile Conference Organizer Seeks Advice (8:10 a.m. NY)The organizer of MWC Barcelona, the wireless industry’s top annual event, said it has implemented additional health measures and will continue to seek medical advice as it monitors the situation. “This includes regularly meeting with global and Spanish health experts as well as our partners to ensure the wellbeing of attendees,” the GSMA said in a statement.The event is threatened by the withdrawal of some of the biggest telecom companies. The organizer could announce its cancellation as early as Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said earlier. MWC is due to run from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27, drawing around 100,000 people.Germany Faces Recession Risk, Deutsche Bank Says (7:45 a.m. NY)Germany could be on the verge of recession as the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates the nation’s industrial slump, according to Deutsche Bank.The lender now expects a slight contraction in the fourth quarter, and it cast doubt on the prospect of any rebound at the start of 2020. German GDP figures are due to be published on Friday.Chinese Grand Prix Postponed (7:17 a.m. NY)The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix, scheduled for April 17-19, has been postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, organizers confirmed.Formula 1 and the FIA will study potential alternative dates later in the year.OPEC Slashes Oil Demand Forecast (7:05 a.m. NY)OPEC cut forecasts for global oil demand as the coronavirus hits fuel use in China, leaving the group facing a renewed glut despite its recent production cuts.The cartel reduced projections for demand growth in the first quarter by 440,000 barrels a day, or about a third, in its monthly report.Cruise Ship Heads to Cambodia (6:50 a.m. NY)The Westerdam luxury cruise liner is now sailing to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It is due to arrive Feb. 13 and will remain in port for several days. Guests will be able to go ashore.Earlier, Thailand said it would consider helping any sick person aboard but stood by its decision to bar entry, as the ordeal continued for the 2,257 passengers and crew looking to disembark.The Westerdam, which is facing the risk of running low on food, has also been refused entry by Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and Guam. Carnival Corp.’s Holland America Line, the operator of the ship, has said there’s no reason to believe there are any coronavirus cases on board.Hong Kong Sevens to Be Postponed, TVB Says (6:21 a.m. NY)The Hong Kong Sevens, an annual international rugby tournament that has been running since 1976, is set to be postponed, local broadcaster TVB reported. It was set to start in April.A formal announcement will be made this week.JLR to Extend Shutdown of China Manufacturing: ET (6:20a.m. NY)Tata Motors Ltd.‘s Jaguar Land Rover unit has told its vendor network that the shutdown of its manufacturing operations in China would be extended till Feb. 17, the Economic Times reported.UOB Allocates S$3 Billion in Liquidity Relief (6:58 p.m. HK)United Overseas Bank has allocated S$3 billion ($2.2 billion) of “relief assistance” to Singapore companies aimed at addressing near-term liquidity as the coronavirus impacts economic activity.The bank is offering financing liquidity against mortgages, and will extend working capital financing of as much as S$5 million for as long as one year.ECB’s Lane Sees ‘Pretty Serious’ Short-Term Hit (6:42 p.m. HK)European Central Bank Chief Economist Philip Lane warned that the outbreak could have a “pretty serious short-term hit” to the economy as spending plans are postponed or canceled. He also foresees a bounceback though, with the full-year impact “relatively minor.”It’s a tricky time for the euro zone. Figures on Wednesday showed industrial output slumped the most in almost four years in December, and a January recovery now looks in doubt.Hong Kong Landlords Start to Slash Retail Rents (5:53 p.m. HK)Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd., the city’s largest developer by market value, will reduce rents for February by 30% to as much as 50% for some of its mall tenants to help them ride out the impact from the virus. Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. announced a similar move for its Harbour City shopping center, Apple Daily reported.Hong Kong’s usually booming property market has virtually ground to a halt. Just 13 homes were sold in the first three weekends after Chinese New Year at the city’s 10 largest housing estates, according to Centaline Property Agency Ltd. data.China’s Battery Storage Capacity Could Drop (5:13 p.m.)China’s battery storage production capacity may fall by as much as 10% to 237 gigawatt-hour this year compared with a pre-coronavirus forecast, Wood Mackenzie said in a note. Tight battery cell supply could slow down the cost decline of EV manufacturing and energy storage systems.China Should Target Bigger Fiscal Deficit: Ex-Official (4:48 p.m. HK)The country’s fiscal deficit should exceed usual 3% of GDP this year to help curb impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy, according to an article by Huang Qifan, a former legislator and official.BMW to Reopen Chinese Factories Next Week (4:33 p.m. HK)BMW plans to reopen its Chinese factories on Feb. 17. The carmaker said it was too early to know full effect of the virus.Taiwan Cuts 2020 GDP Forecast (4:28 p.m. HK)Taiwan lowered its estimate for full-year growth and officials said the coronavirus outbreak was set to diminish global trade this year. Gross domestic product will likely expand 2.37% this year, the statistics bureau said, compared to a previous government forecast of 2.72%.Separately, Sweden’s Riksbank said the coronavirus would likely reduce global growth in the short term, but it was difficult to fully assess the economic consequences.DBS Evacuates 300 Employees in Singapore (2:25 p.m. HK)DBS Group Holdings Ltd. evacuated 300 employees from an office floor in the heart of Singapore’s financial district after one of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus.Southeast Asia’s biggest bank has told the staff members on Level 43 at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 to work from home for the time being, the company said in a statement. The number of evacuees was given in a memo seen by Bloomberg earlier and confirmed by the bank.The coronavirus had already been detected in Singapore’s financial district earlier this week, prompting some companies to send workers home and temperature screening checkpoints to be set up at the entrances of several towers. A worker at an unnamed firm in Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 was confirmed as being infected with the virus over the weekend.Singapore last week raised its disease response level to the same grade used during the SARS epidemic, as it braced for what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said was a “major test for our nation.” Singapore has at least 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus.Early Virus Data Existed Weeks Before Public Release (11:32 a.m. HK)Preliminary genetic sequence data indicating the presence of a SARS-like virus in central China were known about two weeks before key information was publicly released, scientists said.In a commentary piece published Tuesday in the Lancet medical journal, scientists, including members of the World Health Organization’s emergency committee, said insufficient attention was paid to information doctors had gathered about the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus.Chinese Company Says It Can Make Gilead’s Virus Drug (11:18 a.m. HK)A Chinese drugmaker said it has started mass-producing an experimental drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. that has the potential to fight the novel coronavirus, as China accelerates its effort to find a treatment for the widening outbreak.Suzhou-based BrightGene Bio-Medical Technology Co. said it has developed the technology to synthesize the active pharmaceutical ingredients of remdesivir, Gilead’s drug that is a leading candidate to treat the highly-infectious virus that’s killed more than 1,000 people. The drug isn’t licensed or approved anywhere in the world yet.While BrightGene said that it intends to license the drug from Gilead, its move to start manufacturing at this early stage is highly unusual and a potential infringement of the American company’s intellectual property. It comes a week after Chinese researchers filed an application to patent the drug to treat the new coronavirus.Singapore Not Ruling Out More Stringent Measures (10:50 a.m. HK)Singapore is not ruling out more stringent measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak if the situation worsens, according to Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong.Singapore is preparing a strong package in the upcoming budget to help companies and individuals manage the economic impacts of the virus, Wong said in a Bloomberg TV interview. Singapore can implement additional measures to contain the spread of the virus without raising the national response level to red, he said.China Death Toll Rises to 1,113 (10:08 a.m. HK)China said the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 1,113 as of Feb. 11, with 97 additional fatalities reported. Some 1,068 of those deaths have occurred in Hubei, the province at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.Confirmed cases of the disease in mainland China rose to 44,653, according to a statement from the National Health Commission.Hubei reported 1,638 additional cases, the lowest daily level this month. That’s an encouraging sign for health experts looking for when the outbreak peaks. Also, the number of suspected cases as of Feb. 11 was 16,067, down from 21,675 the previous day.Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China, one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.China Supports Merger of Airlines Amid Outbreak (10:01 a.m. HK)China’s Civil Aviation Administration said it will support the restructuring of airlines to ease the impact from the coronavirus outbreak. The administration will also work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in urging some countries to continue international flights with China.The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted flights to and from China, one of the world’s busiest travel markets, as airlines around the globe halt service.Xi Vows China Will Meet Economic Goals, Defeat Virus (9:10 a.m. HK)President Xi Jinping vowed that China would meet its economic and social development goals while winning the battle against the deadly coronavirus.“We have the ability and confidence not only to defeat the epidemic, but also to accomplish the set goals and tasks for economic and social development,” he told Indonesian leader Joko Widodo in a phone call Tuesday, according to the official Xinhua news agency. “I believe China will be more prosperous after overcoming this epidemic.”China Ag Purchases May Be Less Than Hoped: Official (8:42 a.m. HK)China’s agricultural purchases from the U.S. under the first phase of a trade deal may not be as large as the Trump administration had hoped due to the coronavirus, said White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.“It could have an impact on how big, at least in this current year, the purchases are,” O’Brien said at an Atlantic Council event Tuesday in Washington. He also said American doctors are still not being let into China to deal with the outbreak.Japan Reports 39 More Cases Aboard Cruise Ship (7:54 a.m. HK)Japan’s Health Ministry confirmed an additional 39 cases of the novel coronavirus on a cruise ship in Yokohama, bringing the total number of infections from the quarantined vessel to 174.Defense Minister Taro Kono tweeted that a quarantine officer from the health ministry also tested positive for the virus. Carnival Corp.’s Diamond Princess cruise ship has become the biggest center of infection of any place outside of China.U.S. Raises Travel Advisory for Hong Kong (3:20 p.m. NY)The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory for Hong Kong to level 2, which means travelers should exercise increased caution.“The Hong Kong government has reported cases of the novel coronavirus in its special administrative region, has upgraded its response level to emergency, its highest response level, and is taking other steps to manage the novel coronavirus outbreak,” the department said.Last month, the U.S. raised the advisory for mainland China to level 4, the highest designation, which means do not travel.\–With assistance from K. Oanh Ha, Li Liu, Josh Wingrove, Emi Nobuhiro, Michael Heath, Karen Leigh, Dong Lyu, James Mayger, Sam Kim, Jon Herskovitz, Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, Paul Gordon, Morwenna Coniam, Kati Pohjanpalo, John Martens, Timothy Annett and Nate Lanxon.To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michelle Fay Cortez in Minneapolis at email@example.com;Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Jason Gale in Melbourne at email@example.com;Robert Langreth in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rachel Chang at email@example.com, ;Adveith Nair at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Drew Armstrong at email@example.com, Mark SchoifetFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
People Are Rushing to Buy 100-Ounce Bars of Gold
(Bloomberg) — There are few corners of the global financial market that have been upended as spectacularly, or as oddly, by the coronavirus pandemic as gold trading.Not only are prices swinging in an erratic fashion — surging one moment and crashing the next — that is undermining the metal’s vaunted status as a haven in times of crisis, but unprecedented logistical disruptions have also kicked off a frantic hunt for actual bars of gold.At the center of it all are a small band of traders who for years had cashed in on what had always been a sure-fire bet: shorting gold in the futures market. Usually, they’d ride the trade out till the end of the contract when they’d have a couple of options to get out without marking much, if any, loss.But the virus, and the global economic collapse that it’s sparking, have created such extreme price distortions that those easy-exit options disappeared on them. Which means that they suddenly faced the threat of having to deliver actual gold bars to the buyers of the contract upon maturity.It’s at this point that things get really bad for the short-sellers.To make good on maturing contracts, they’d have to move actual gold from various locations. But with the virus shutting down air travel across the globe, procuring a flight to transport the metal became nearly impossible.If they somehow managed to get a flight, there was another major problem. Futures contracts in New York are based on 100-ounce bullion bars. The gold that’s rushed in from abroad is almost always a different size.The short-seller needs to pay a refiner to re-melt the gold and re-pour it into the required bar shape in order for it to be delivered to the contract buyer. But once again, the virus intervenes: Several refiners, including three of the world’s biggest in Switzerland, have shut down operations.Signs of distress picked up on Friday, March 20, when the cost to swap New York futures and spot physical gold in London — the world’s biggest market — rose to about $2. Typically, this trade cost almost nothing. After the close of the next session on Monday, that premium had jumped further to $6.75.When traders in Asia entered Tuesday morning, there weren’t many sellers or offers, and suddenly they were scrambling to buy whatever gold they could get their hands on. By the time London came in, most of the market was squeezed and nobody wanted to sell.“I realized it was going to be an extremely volatile day,” Tai Wong, the head of metals derivatives trading at BMO Capital Markets in New York, said of Tuesday. “We watched this panic develop literally over the course of 12 hours. Having seen enough market dislocations, you recognize that the frenzy wasn’t likely to last, but at the same time you also don’t know how long it would extend.”By the time the panic finally subsided Tuesday night, major investors and decades-old veterans were reeling. At the peak of the carnage, potential total losses were estimated at as much as $1 billion, according to market participants. That’s even though the people involved in the trade represented less than 4% of total open interest — or the amount of outstanding contracts.Traders in need of physical metal went as far as to cold-call holders of gold bars in hopes that they’re in possession of exchange-approved metal. Some investors paid massive fees to have the remaining operating refineries to mint new gold bars, according to people with knowledge of the matter.The spread between April and June futures contracts on Tuesday jumped to $20 an ounce, meaning it cost that much more to buy metal for April than it did for two months later. That signaled more near-term demand for bullion and the need to soon have physical supply in hand.By the end of the week, though, the situation had flipped. The June contract cost almost $30 more than the April contract, suggesting that traders appetite for physical gold has subsided for now.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
What to watch on Disney+ while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic
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Disney+ is rolling out in Europe just as the coronavirus has caused nations to urge citizens to stay indoors. But it has already spent months racking up subscribers in the United States, thanks to a jam-packed catalog spanning Pixar classics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, National Geographic documentaries, ’90s animated cartoons, and much more.
With so many options to stream, families surfing Disney+ might find themselves understandably overwhelmed. Fortune’s here to help, breaking down the major services’ offerings into a few distinct recommendations based on whatever mood our current global crisis might have you in (all of which are completely valid). And if nothing in the Mouse’s new House strikes your fancy, here are our Netflix and Amazon Prime guides, for your continued perusing pleasure.
For a badly needed laugh:
10 Things I Hate About You A romantic-comedy classic you might be surprised to discover on Disney+, this ’90s touchstone featured one of the best non-clown-related performances by the late, great Heath Ledger, as the bad boy tricked into dating a smart-mouthed classmate (Julia Stiles), so that her sister (Larisa Oleynik) can get around their father’s strict dating rules and make out with the new kid (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Twenty years later, it’s remarkable how smart and fresh its script still feels, piled high as it is with quotable one-liners and endlessly clever turns of phrase.
Meet the Robinsons A whiz-bang animated outing that heads to some surprisingly dark places—as well as a wondrously bright future of flying cars, cookie-baking grandmas, and musical gangster frogs—this 2007 effort came at a time when Disney’s animated output was seen to be running low on imagination, after a few high-profile misses. But even if that hadn’t been the case, this thoroughly hilarious and heartwarming story, not to mention its bedeviled bowler hats, would have been met with open arms.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Pioneering and peculiar, this Robert Zemeckis–directed classic from 1988 renewed public interest in animation technology while crafting a delightfully skewed noir playground in which its mixture of animated cartoon characters and real actors could trade barbs and blows. Surprisingly, its off-kilter look holds up today; there’s something sneakily surreal yet effortless about its balancing of cartoon antics and the 1940s Hollywood sleuthing that brings private eye Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) into Toontown’s heart of unlikely darkness.
The Emperor’s New Groove
The Nightmare Before Christmas
For the whole family:
Inside Out Pixar’s most towering achievement, this 2015 animated insta-classic takes audiences inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, introducing us to the five basic emotions responsible for informing and influencing behaviors in her everyday life. Those would be Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Cubicle colleagues in the office of Riley’s brain, all five hover around a control console, eager to help their little human navigate the turbulence of a destabilizing move. More than just a brilliantly imagined tale and a beautifully animated family adventure, Inside Out invents a radically visual language for emotions, gently teaching it in terms children grappling with their many feelings will understand. The doors that open to deeper dialogue between children and the adults around them cannot be undervalued. Inside Out is at once an important public service and a work of true filmmaking wizardry all at once.
Sky High Too many missed this 2005 superhero comedy, but it demands revisiting in the age of the Marvel industrial complex. Refreshingly light on its feet and unironically enamored of comic-book sagas, the Mike Mitchell–directed movie split the difference between high-school comedies (especially Mean Girls and The Breakfast Club) and the save-the-world stakes found in most caped-crusader concoctions. As a result, its breezy, in-on-the-joke tone feels like more of a revelation now than it did then, amid the ongoing glut of too-big-to-fail blockbusters. And its characters—from Steven Strait’s adorably broody Warren Peace to Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s shifty upperclassman Gwen Grayson—are as memorably sub-Hughesian as ever.
The Lion King (1994) Sure, I’m highlighting this one in part as an opportunity to sucker-punch last year’s abysmal live-action remake. Is that petty? Absolutely. But there’s nothing like a soulless cash-grab from the more modern, mega-corporate Disney to remind everyone what a dream factory its animation studio once was. This emotionally potent, exquisitely drawn masterpiece still plays like Shakespeare in the Serengeti. Its songs remain the classics they always were, heartwarming and soul-stirring. And through its traditionally hand-drawn approach to realizing its world, The Lion King brings a measure of expressive, ecstatic humanity to its animal kingdom.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Flight of the Navigator
A Wrinkle in Time
To find your next binge-watch:
The Mandalorian The flagship series for Disney+, this surprisingly rich, impressively mounted Star Wars spinoff is a space western on the level that television hasn’t seen since Firefly went off the air. Its masked protagonist offers that perfect shade of Clint Eastwood cool, and its outer-reaches setting grants him an appropriately lawless sandbox to play in, complete with sea slugs and saloon shootouts. But let’s be real: The biggest draw of The Mandalorian (at least out of the gate, in the eight episodes currently available) is the presence of The Child, more commonly known as pop-cultural sensation “Baby Yoda,” particularly precious cargo the titular bounty hunter is tasked with protecting against a legion of former comrades in arms.
Gravity Falls A true mystery box of a kids’ series, Gravity Falls arrived now eight years ago on Disney Channel with little introduction. And across its 40 episodes—initially about the misadventures of 12-year-old twins shipped off to live with their eccentric great-uncle in a haunted Oregon outpost—it gradually revealed itself to be a much richer, smarter, more narratively purposeful tale of hidden worlds and fractured families than anyone could have guessed.
X-Men: The Animated Series Yes, the animation’s somewhat dated, but this ’90s cartoon laid the groundwork for many a serialized small-screen series to come with its uncommonly ambitious storytelling and nuanced treatment of the titular super-team. From season one’s epic saga surrounding the deadly Sentinels program to season two’s deepening of the dynamic between Wolverine and Rogue, X-Men: The Animated Series was one of the first comic-book shows to balance complex story lines with a fully fleshed-out, emotional approach to its characters. And its later-season staging of the Dark Phoenix saga, through which Jean Grey’s cosmic powers began to consume her, stands as the best telling of that arc to date, despite two separate efforts to dramatize it on the big screen.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The Imagineering Story
Onward (April 3) Pixar’s latest opened mere weeks before the spread of the coronavirus led major theater chains across the country to close their doors. Set in a suburban fantasy world where elves and centaurs drive decal-decked vans and slack their way through high school, it may be a slighter entry from the studio that brought you Up and The Incredibles. But even middle-shelf Pixar still has magic to spare.
Dolphin Reef (April 3) Natalie Portman narrates this stunning Disneynature documentary about Echo, a young Pacific bottlenose dolphin filled with curiosity about the coral reef his pod calls home. Exploring his surroundings and bumping up against all manner of sea critters, Echo gradually learns his place in the delicately balanced ecosystem of the reef.
National Treasure (April 30) Nicolas Cage heads up a ragtag team of self-described “treasure protectors” in this 2004 adventure gem, in which the epically named Benjamin Gates (Cage) leads the FBI on a merry chase through American history after, yes, stealing the Declaration of Independence (but only because the bad guys were already going to, see!). One of the more endearingly odd highlights of Cage’s filmography, made at the unlikely peak of his time as a Hollywood leading man, it has aged like fine wine and buried riches. (And if you can’t wait till the end of April, it’s on Netflix until it shifts to Disney+).
David Lynch’s The Straight Story (April 3)
Running Wild With Bear Grylls, Season Five (April 10)
America’s Funniest Home Videos, Seasons 12–19, 23 (April 24)
John Carter (May 2)
More must-read stories from Fortune:
—What to watch on Amazon Prime while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic
—What to watch on Netflix while social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic
—For Jesse Eisenberg, WWII biopic Resistance and sci-fi nightmare Vivarium both hit close to home
—Sobriety is the new black: How musicians are upending the usual narrative surrounding addiction
—MusiCares’s COVID-19 Relief Fund gets all-star help for donations, concerts
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BSP may pump more money into system amid outbreak
THE Philippine central bank is expected to pump more money into the financial system as low lending rates fail to stimulate an economy that has been put into a standstill by a novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Quantitative easing measures, through bond purchases and other tools by central banks are faster to implement and have immediate positive effects on the economy and financial markets,” said Michael L. Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
They are unlike stimulus measures that may require more time through legislation, he said in an e-mailed reply to questions.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) earlier went on a buying spree of three-month government securities worth $300-billion from the Bureau of the Treasury under a repurchase agreement payable in six months.
Both quantitative easing measures and policies are needed at a time of a pandemic, according to Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion, chief economist at UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc.
“With the magnitude of an impact such as a pandemic, all monetary and fiscal means should be on deck, and nothing should be left unused,” he said.
Quantitative easing would also help boost lending, apart from the liquidity boost and rate cuts enforced by the central bank, said Robert Dan J. Roces, chief economist at Security Bank Corp.
“The additional reserves would kick-start lending, causing broad money growth to expand, and eventually lead to an increase in real economic activity,” he said in an e-mail.
Meanwhile, BSP needs to come up with a bigger and stronger scope of response to ensure the economy is better cushioned from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts said.
The economic effects of the pandemic could be worse than the 2008 global financial crisis, UnionBank’s Economic Research Unit said in a report, adding that the government needs to boost its response.
“By mere optics, the current crop of policies may have to be augmented further and a more targeted policy support is very much needed,” it said in an e-mailed note.
The share of exports, imports and tourist arrivals in the gross domestic product (GDP) last year rose to 59.3% (from 52.9%), 68.7% (from 50.1%), and 12.7% (from 5.9%), respectively from 2007, the bank said, citing government data.
On the other hand, the share of consumption and remittances in the economy fell to 68.4% (from 71.6%) and 8.5% (from 9.7%), respectively. In absolute amount, consumption almost doubled to P6.7 trillion last year from 2007, while remittances more than doubled to P30.1 billion
“Apart from the trade’s bigger part of the economy, tourism has more than doubled in terms of GDP contribution,” according to the report.
“Aggregate consumption, the biggest contributor to GDP, and remittance inflows have continuously supported economic growth for more than a decade,” it added.
“An estimated deeper impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the bigger real macroeconomy, compared with the economic losses caused by the global financial crisis warrants wider and more encompassing policies,” it added.
The month-long lockdown in Luzon, which contributes 70% to GDP, is expected to slow the economy. Tourism, trade and remittances are also expected to suffer because of the outbreak.
Economic managers have estimated losses of P428.7 billion to P1.355 trillion in gross value added or about 2.1% to 6.6% of GDP. The government had targeted growth of 6.5-7.5% this year.
“If we are going to take their initial assessments seriously, then the response to this pandemic should be stronger and the scope bigger,” according to the report.
The central bank cut policy rates by 50 basis points this month and will buy P300 billion worth of securities from the Treasury bureau to help fund government initiatives related to the outbreak.
On Thursday, it remitted in advance P20 billion in dividends to the National Government to help it deal with the health crisis. — Luz Wendy T. Noble
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