Europe

Struggling companies across Europe including Matalan, Travelodge and Heathrow airport have tapped their banks for €32bn of funds to help stay afloat through turbulence caused by coronavirus lockdowns, the Financial Times reported.  Over the past four months, at least 104 companies that rank below investment grade have drawn down roughly €32.2bn from their loan facilities from global banks, according to data from 9Fin, a fintech data provider that has scraped the filings of European bond issuers. The true figure is likely to be much higher, given that publicly traded companies are n

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Russia’s retail sales plunged the most since records began in the latest sign that the government’s cautious stimulus program has done little to soften the economic blow from the coronavirus lockdown, Bloomberg News reported. Retail sales fell 23% in April, compared with the same period a year ago, Russia’s statistics agency said on Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey had forecast an 18% drop.

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Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell to a seven-week low on Tuesday as risk assets rallied and comments from a European Central Bank official boosted hopes of further stimulus soon, Reuters reported. Italian borrowing costs have fallen for seven straight days, pushed down after a Franco-German proposal a week ago for a 500- billion-euro recovery fund that would offer grants to those European Union regions hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

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About one in seven Italian companies could be at risk of going bankrupt if new COVID-19 outbreaks prompt the government to impose fresh lockdown measures, Cerved Rating Agency said on Tuesday. Cerved has updated a February study that assessed the pandemic’s impact on Italian companies, based on a sample of 30,000 businesses, Reuters reported. That study found that up to one in 10 Italian businesses could be at risk of bankruptcy.

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In mid-March, the world as Deutsche Lufthansa AG had known it for close to seven decades unraveled in the space of a week, Bloomberg News reported. Italy’s government put the entire country into quarantine on March 9 as deaths from the coronavirus began spiraling out of control. Two days later, the U.S. announced sweeping travel restrictions from 26 European countries, cutting off the lucrative trans-Atlantic artery. Then on March 17, the German government issued an unprecedented global travel warning.

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The euro-area economy is still facing severe threats even after policy makers took unprecedented measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, according to the European Central Bank, Bloomberg News reported. The deep recession has exposed new risks to the financial system and exacerbated pre-existing ones, the ECB said in its Financial Stability Review.

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe has warned it is facing insolvency due to the coronavirus pandemic, Edinburgh Live reported. The stark warning was made by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which organises the August event and has so far made four staff members redundant, with 70% furloughed and all workers having their pay cut by a fifth. In a submission to Westminster's Culture, Media and Sport committee, the charity, which effectively facilitates the open-access festival, says it faces a shortfall of £1.5 million.

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The owner of Shearings, the coach holidays provider, has crashed into administration, resulting in the immediate loss of 2,500 jobs and thousands of customers' holidays being cancelled, Sky News reported. EY, the administrator to Specialist Leisure Group (SLG), confirmed late on Friday afternoon that it had made more than 2,000 staff redundant who had previously been furloughed under the government's job retention scheme. The news adds to the fast-growing toll of job losses across the economy as the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc with industries such as leisure and travel.

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Rich countries are set to take on at least $17tn of extra public debt as they battle the economic consequences of the pandemic, according to the OECD, as sharp drops in tax revenues are expected to dwarf the stimulus measures put in place to battle the disease, the Financial Times reported. Across the OECD club of rich countries, average government financial liabilities are expected to rise from 109 per cent of gross domestic product to more than 137 per cent this year, leaving many with public debt burdens similar to the current level in Italy.

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The economic, personal, and business challenges from the Covid 19 pandemic across Ireland and across the European Union are enormous, The Irish Times reported. One fact highlights this. In the EU in the past eight weeks some 50 million people – about 10 per cent of the entire population – now rely on government-provided employment subsidies. Not only can this not continue from a Government financing perspective, but it is a crushing blow for people who cannot find work or face long-term unemployment.

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