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Good morning. The U.K. is adding more countries to its quarantine list, Daimler AG is paying up and China’s recovery continues. Here’s what’s moving markets.
Travel is getting trickier because of the pandemic. The U.K. added France, the Netherlands and Malta to its list of countries from which people arriving have to quarantine for 14 days, a move likely to cause dismay among holidaymakers and anger from the countries involved. And Prime Minister Boris Johnson said England can resume the paused easing of lockdown rules, with theaters, casinos and beauty parlors allowed to reopen — but warned of tougher penalties for breaking social-distancing restrictions. Meanwhile, New Zealand recorded 12 new confirmed local cases and new infections in South Korea almost doubled from a day earlier.
Daimler AG will pay more than $2 billion to settle U.S. diesel-emissions issues in the latest fallout from years of closer regulatory scrutiny on vehicle pollution. Although the expenses add to Daimler’s financial headwinds triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the amounts are minor compared with the larger-scale emissions violations that have cost rival Volkswagen AG more than 30 billion euros. Daimler says it fully cooperated with U.S. authorities, whereas VW officials initially lied to EPA and California regulators.
China’s economic recovery continued in July with industrial growth remaining steady, even as weak retail sales undercut the rebound. Industrial output rose 4.8% in July from a year earlier, the same as in June, but lower than economists’ expectations. Overall retail sales fell 1.1%, compared to a projected 0.1% increase. The July data show that China’s recovery is still uneven, with consumption unable to keep up with the rebound in industrial output. China stock and currency markets showed little reaction to the data.
Welcome to a summer Friday. Asian stocks are drifting as investors mull the stalemate in stimulus talks in America and parse signs of an economic recovery. Treasury yields steadied near an eight-week high. Gold dipped and the dollar was steady. With markets in the Middle East closed today, we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see how investors in the region react to the historic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to begin normalizing relations. European equity futures are edging lower after a mostly positive week.
The earnings calendar is devoid of household names, but there’s some economic data. We’ll get an update on how much the euro area’s economy contracted in the second quarter; the initial report showed a 12.1% plunge. More importantly, we get euro-zone employment statistics, which could be misleadingly benign. France’s unemployment rate yesterday fell to the lowest since 1983, but the statistic doesn’t include people who wish to work but aren’t counted as unemployed because they were unable to look for a job in confinement. And U.S. retail sales should show the consumer recovery slowed down in July from the 18.2% increase in May and a 7.5% jump in June. Economists on average forecast sales climbed 2.1%.