South Africa’s Gauteng Premier Tests Positive for Covid-19

Treasury yields lower amid concerns over economic recovery

  • On the data front, producer price index figures are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • There are no Treasury auctions scheduled Friday. 

U.S. government debt prices were higher Friday morning as traders monitor the health crisis and the subsequent pace of economic recovery.

At around 4:03 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note stood at 0.5906% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was at around 1.2803%. Yields move inversely to prices. 

It comes after Treasury yields dipped on Thursday after a disappointing initial jobless claims reading. In addition, the pandemic continued to hit the United States hard, with record hospitalizations in Florida and record daily infections in California. 

Treasurys

On the data front, producer price index figures are due at 8:30 a.m. ET.

There are no Treasury auctions scheduled Friday. 

Apple paid £6.2m in tax last year despite £1.4bn in UK sales

Its retail arm had a gross profit of £337million for the year to the end of September 2019, according to accounts filed to Companies House. But after costs and expenses of £1.35billion, Apple Retail UK made a pre-tax profit of just £39million.  Accounts show the firm paid a dividend of £25million to Apple Retail Europe in the tax haven of Ireland. 

Executive director of Tax Justice UK, Robert Palmer, said: “People are fed up of big companies like Apple using clever tricks to slash their tax bills. 

“Politicians need to step up and stop it being so easy for tech giants to avoid paying their fair share.” 

The US firm, which is valued at around £1.3trillion, has 38 stores in the UK and employs 5,012 staff. 

It is often accused of paying little corporation tax to HM Revenue and Customs. Multinational corporations use UK tax laws to legally send billions in sales to head offices in countries with lower tax rates. 

George Turner, director of Tax Watch UK, said: “Apple’s US accounts disclose that the company moves tens of billions of dollars a year out of Europe and into tax havens.” 

A spokesman for Apple said: “We always pay all that we owe.”

Hong Kong to suspend all schools due to spike in coronavirus cases

  • Hong Kong's Education Bureau on Friday announced the suspension of all schools from Monday after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases that has fueled fears of a renewed community spread in the city.
  • Schools in the Asian financial hub have been mostly shut since February with many having switched to online learning and lessons by conference call.
  • Many international schools are already on summer break.

Hong Kong's Education Bureau on Friday announced the suspension of all schools from Monday after a spike in locally transmitted coronavirus cases that has fueled fears of a renewed community spread in the city.

Schools in the Asian financial hub have been mostly shut since February with many having switched to online learning and lessons by conference call. Many international schools are already on summer break.

The city reported 42 new cases on Thursday, of which 34 were locally transmitted, marking the second consecutive day of rising local infections.

Some of the recent cases involved students and parents, said Education Secretary Kevin Yeung.

The total number of cases in the city since late January now stands at 1,366. Seven people have died.

Donald Trump Gets ‘An F’ For Fractions In Coronavirus Testing Tweet

President Donald Trump was ridiculed and scorned in equal measure on Thursday over this tweet about testing for the coronavirus:

Trump’s falsehood that the United States is only seeing a spike in new infections because more testing is being carried out was met with anger.

Met with mirth was the president’s claim that he was trying to set the record straight “for the 1/100th time.”

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South Africa’s Gauteng Premier Tests Positive for Covid-19

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The governor of South Africa’s economic hub, Gauteng province, David Makhura became the third political head of the country’s nine provinces to test positive for the coronavirus this week.

Makhura, the premier of Gauteng where commercial hub Johannesburg and the capital Pretoria are located, confirmed his diagnosis onTwitter on Friday and said that he’s gone into self-isolation for the next 14 days while monitoring his health.

South Africa reported 13,674 new confirmed cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 238,339. The death toll reached 3,720 with Gauteng, the country’s richest province, now theepicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Alan Winde, the premier of the Western Cape, which includes the tourist hub of Cape Town, announced he tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, a day after Job Mokgoro, premier of the North West, said he’d contracted the disease.