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The US plans to revoke special trade privileges for Hong Kong and sanction officials from the territory and mainland China, worsening relations between Washington and Beijing that were already strained amid the pandemic. Donald Trump, the US president, announced several measures targeting China on Friday after Beijing moved to impose new security laws on Hong Kong earlier this week.
India’s economic growth slowed to 3.1 per cent in the quarter ended March, the lowest in a decade. While the data beat many economists’ expectations, they captured only the first week of the country’s coronavirus lockdown. Much of the economy has since ground to a virtual halt as the government imposed a nationwide curfew and strict restrictions on economic activity.
Thailand is to allow gyms, massage parlours, cinemas, theatres and zoos to reopen from Monday. The kingdom will also shorten a night-time curfew by an hour, with the ban on going outdoors to run from 11pm to 3am. Thai boxing stadiums and other large venues remain closed, and a ban on selling alcohol in restaurants remains in place. Authorities have barred most incoming flights until June 30.
The FA Cup, football’s oldest competition, will resume next month and conclude with the final on August 1, the sport’s governing body in England announced. With the English Premier League resuming fixtures on June 17, the Football Association said the quarter-finals of the tournament, part of the soccer calendar for almost 150 years, would take place on June 27-28.
Sweden’s economy expanded in the first quarter as its no-lockdown approach to coronavirus helped prevent the deep recessions suffered by most other European countries. Gross domestic product in the first three months rose by 0.1 per cent from the fourth quarter of last year. The government still expects its economy to contract by 7 per cent this year.
Norway and Denmark have agreed to let each other’s tourists visit their countries from mid-June but excluded Sweden amid fierce debate about Stockholm’s coronavirus strategy. Sweden has a death rate per capita almost 10 times that in Norway and four times Denmark’s after pursuing looser restrictions. Denmark is also opening up to tourists from Germany and Iceland from June 15.
Italy’s economy shrank more than previously thought in the first quarter, as activity was choked by Covid-19 restrictions. Italy’s gross domestic product fell 5.3 per cent in January to March compared with the previous quarter, revised down from the 4.7 per cent contraction in preliminary estimates, according to official data, the largest contraction since records began in 1996.
France’s household consumption fell the most on record in April, but the economic contraction in the first quarter was less dramatic than previously estimated. Consumption fell 20.2 per cent in April, compared with the previous month, after contracting 17 per cent in March, statistics office data recorded. It was the second consecutive historic drop since measurement began in 1980.
Turkey recorded fast-paced economic growth in the first quarter before the coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on plans by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for a credit-fuelled boom. Gross domestic product expanded by 4.5 per cent in January-March, compared with the same period the previous year, when the country was suffering a recession as a result of a sharp slide in the lira.
German retail sales fell 5.3 per cent in April, adding to evidence that Europe’s biggest economy suffered a more modest drop in activity during the pandemic than its neighbours. Retail sales in April fell 20.2 per cent in France, 31.6 per cent in Spain, and 18.1 per cent in the UK. Children are returning to school, many shops and restaurants have reopened and manufacturers are ramping up production.