Costco has incurred $280m of additional costs within three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, keeping a lid on the warehouse retailer’s profit growth despite another surge in sales.
California reported more than 3,000 new coronavirus cases for the seventh time in eight days on Thursday, as well as back-to-back days of more than 100 deaths for the first time in a week. A further 3,170 people tested positive for the disease over 24 hours.
With inflation still beyond its target, the Bank of Mexico cut its key lending rate by a quarter point to 4.25 per cent in a widely-expected move that slowed the pace of recent cuts but left the door open to further reductions.
Florida reported more than 2,500 new cases, consistent with levels of the past three days but slightly below the average of the past week. A further 2,541 people in the state tested positive for the virus.
Sales of newly built homes in the US leapt to its strongest pace in nearly 14 years amid robust pent-up demand after coronavirus-related shutdowns in the spring.
Trade bodies representing retailers welcomed UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plan to help keep workers on the payroll, but said the lack of any further relief from business rates was a concern.
Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella hit back at UK prime minister Boris Johnson to say that Italians enjoy freedom but are also serious when they need to be. Mr Johnson had claimed the UK had a higher number of Covid-19 cases than Italy and Germany because it was a “freedom-loving country”.
The pound edged higher on Thursday after the UK chancellor unveiled support measures for jobs and businesses. Sterling rose 0.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.2765 by afternoon trading in London on Thursday.
The pace of new applications for US jobless aid ticked higher and hovered at historically high levels last week, in a sign of continued weakness in the labour market as it struggles to rebound from damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The opposition Labour party has said a delay from the UK government to introduce more support for businesses has knocked confidence as the jury is still out on whether recent tighter restrictions will be enough to stave off the spread of the virus in the crucial winter months.
Banks have borrowed an extra €174.5bn from the European Central Bank at deeply negative interest rates, raising the already abundant liquidity in the eurozone’s pandemic stricken economy.
Rishi Sunak’s scheme to bolster the UK labour market and help the country’s businesses weather the economic storm will provide a near-term boost but “risks remain”, a fund manager at JPMorgan Asset Management has said.
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