Oman tells all government agencies to cut spending by at least 10%
DUBAI, April 14 (Reuters) – Oman’s finance ministry told all government agencies to cut their operating budgets this year by at least 10% and stressed they should reduce them by as much as possible, including by reviewing salaries and benefits.
The ministry said all exceptional bonuses for state employees would be halted, state media reported. It said the decisions applied to all ministries, agencies and public entities, as well as security and military bodies. (Reporting by Alaa Swilam; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Alex Richardson)
Rwandan forces accused of 'excessive force' over virus controls
Human rights groups say Rwandan security forces used excessive force in enforcing lockdown against COVID-19.
Rwanda was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to impose a lockdown.
But there are human rights violation concerns as campaigners in several African countries accuse security forces of using heavy-handed tactics to enforce it.
Al Jazeera’s Catherine Soi reports.
Texas Ordered to Let Many Abortions Resume During Virus Crisis
Texas abortion clinics can once again offer pill-induced abortions to all patients as well as surgical procedures to women whose pregnancies will be too far advanced by the time the governor’s emergency public-health decree expires, a federal appeals court said late Monday.
The New Orleans appeals court unexpectedly reversed course and denied Texas’s second bid to overturn an Austin judge’s order blocking the state’s directive banning nonessential medical procedures in order to conserve scarce supplies to treat coronavirus patients. Last week, the appeals court twice sided with Texas before fully analyzing the clinics’ arguments.
Read More: Texas Abortion Ban Back With Exception for Advanced Pregnancies
Gold Rises On Virus Worries, Fed Stimulus
Gold prices rose slightly on Tuesday to hover near seven-year highs as concerns remained over the coronavirus‘ spread in places like Japan and Indonesia.
Japan’s health ministry reported 390 new cases of the coronavirus for a domestic total of 7,645.
Indonesia today reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths with 60 new fatalities, taking the total to 459.
India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, has been extended until at least May 3, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi said restrictions may be eased after one week in areas where the virus situation doesn’t deteriorate.
Spot gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,721.45 per ounce, after having touched its highest level since Nov. 2012 at $1,726.85 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures were up 0.25 percent at $1,765.80.
The virus has infected more than 1.92 million people worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 119,800, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Over 458,500 have recovered from the disease.
Besides the risk-on environment, the precious metal is also benefiting from the Federal Reserve’s stimulus aimed at injecting liquidity into the virus-hit U.S. economy.
The Fed last week announced a $2.3 trillion stimulus package, while European Union finance ministers agreed on half-a-trillion euros worth of economic support.
Several other countries and central banks around the world have also announced fiscal and monetary measures to prop up their economies amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Strategist: 2020 earnings are a black hole
New York (CNN Business)As the coronavirus pandemic crushes the global economy, JPMorgan set aside a stunning $6.8 billion worth of reserves to insulate itself from losses on loans it believes may not be paid back.
That helped send JPMorgan’s profit plummeting 69% in the first quarter. America’s largest bank by assets said its net income fell to $2.9 billion in the first three months of the year, compared to $9.2 billion in the same period last year.
Net revenue dipped slightly to $29.1 billion from $29.9 billion year-over-year.
JPMorgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon described the first quarter as an unprecedented challenge in the earnings release. However, Dimon noted that absent the loan reserve, the bank had a fairly decent first quarter, and it remains in a strong financial position.
“The company entered this crisis in a position of strength, and we remain well capitalized and highly liquid,” said Dimon. The bank has $1 trillion of liquidity resources, he added.
JPMorgan’s stock was up 1.7% in premarket trading.
This is a developing story. It will be updated
Wells Fargo Q1 Profit Drops
Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) reported that its net income applicable to common stock for first quarter 2020 dropped to $42 million or $0.01 per share from $5.51 billion or $1.20 per share last year. The latest-quarter results included the impact of a reserve build of $3.1 billion or $0.56 per share, and an impairment of securities of $950 million or $0.17 per share, driven by economic and market conditions.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.33 per share for the first-quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenue was $17.7 billion, down from $21.6 billion in the prior year. Analysts expected revenues of $19.35 billion.
Net interest income was $11.3 billion, down $999 million from last year. Non-interest income was $6.4 billion, down $2.9 billion from the previous year.
Non-interest income in the first quarter was $6.4 billion, down $2.3 billion from fourth quarter 2019. First quarter non-interest income included lower market sensitive revenue4, mortgage banking income, and card fees.