Earthquake in Philippines Kills at Least One, Damages Homes
At least one person died when a powerful earthquake struck several provinces in central Philippines on Tuesday, prompting disaster-monitoring agency officials to warn residents against immediately returning to damaged structures.
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit about 5 kilometers southeast of Cataingan coastal town in Masbate province at a depth of about 21 kilometers at 8:03 a.m., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said. Disaster-prone Philippines sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
A retired police officer died when he and his family were trapped when their house collapsed, while a female resident was injured in the town near the epicenter, the police said. A public market, a public attorney office, a seaport, a road, and houses of light materials were damaged, but there’s no threat of a tsunami, authorities said.
Westpac Scraps H1 Dividend Due To Certain View
Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AX,WBK) announced that its board has now decided that it is prudent not to pay a First Half 2020 dividend, citing the desire to maintain a strong balance sheet in an uncertain operating environment.
Westpac also specified that it will next consider dividends as part of finalising its Full Year 2020 results.
The company reported third quarter statutory net profit of A$1.12 billion, up 87% than the quarterly average of A$595 million.
Cash earnings for the quarter were A$1.32 billion, which is higher than the quarterly average of A$497 million in its first half when notable items were excluded.
Core earnings were A$2.72 billion, while net interest income was A$4.27 billion and non-interest income was A$1.01 billion.
Net interest margin 2.05% for the quarter. Common equity tier 1 capital ratio of 10.80% at 30 June 2020.
“We have maintained our strong balance sheet and increased provisions for bad debts to support our prudent approach to managing impairments,” Chief Executive Officer Peter King said in the statement.
“While there have been some signs that the economy is performing better than early expectations, significant uncertainty remains, particularly given the unpredictability of Covid-19 outbreaks and their local impacts.”
Geberit Q2 Profit Drops; Sees H2 Adj. Net Sales Slightly Below Last Year
Geberit Group (GBERY.PK,GBERF.PK) reported that its second-quarter net income dropped to 131.0 million Swiss francs from last year’s 173.2 million francs, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and negative currency developments. On a per share basis, net income was 3.64 Swiss compared to 4.80 Swiss in the prior year.
Quarterly sales declined to 670.5 million francs from 797.0 million francs in the previous year.
The company said it remains very difficult to provide an outlook at present, as a result of the ongoing uncertainties in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company expects the construction industry to continue to return to normal during the second half of the year. However, delayed or stopped projects and the temporary closure of the showrooms in the second quarter may have a negative impact on demand in the second half of 2020.
The company expects currency-adjusted net sales in the second half of the year slightly below the level of the second half of 2019, and, for the full year 2020, an operating cash flow margin slightly below the previous year’s level.
Russian energy minister tests positive for coronavirus: Ifax, citing PM
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Interfax reported on Tuesday citing Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.
Unexpected Jump in Remittances Drives Philippine Peso Higher
A surprise increase in money sent home by overseas workers has given Asia’s best-performing currency this year another boost.
The Philippine peso advanced for a fourth day Tuesday to the strongest since November 2016 after the central bank said the previous day thatremittances increased 7.7% in June, defying forecasts for a decline. The peso has now appreciated 4.7% in the past three months, compared with 2.3% for its Asian peers.
The turnaround in remittances adds another positive for a currency that’s already been benefiting from a weaker U.S. dollar and a gradualwinding back of lockdown restrictions to support the economy.
“The peso is rising largely due to remittances as the currency continues to outperform even when the dollar gets stronger,” said Paul Raymond Favila, head of markets and securities services at Citigroup Inc. in Manila. “Sustainability is there until there is economic recovery, which will lead to larger imports, especially of oil. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
Remittances are the nation’s largest source of foreign exchange after exports, and account for about 10% of the economy. The reading of $2.5 billion for June was the largest gain in eight months. Economists had forecast a decline of 7.2%.
AstraZeneca: FDA To Review Imfinzi For New Less-frequent Dosing Option
AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L,AZN) announced acceptance for supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Imfinzi (durvalumab). It has been granted Priority Review for a new four-week, fixed-dose regimen for treatment in the approved indications of non-small cell lung cancer and bladder cancer. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act date is during the fourth quarter of 2020.
Imfinzi is approved in the curative-intent setting of unresectable, Stage III non-small cell lung cancer after chemoradiation therapy in the US, Japan, China, across the EU and in many other countries. It is also approved for previously treated patients with advanced bladder cancer in the US and several other countries.
The company said the new option would extend dosing to four weeks in non-small cell lung and bladder cancer reducing medical visits by half.