Global Business Daily: Renault quits China venture, UK 'to shrink by 35%'
Patrick Atack in London
"We are opening a new chapter in China. We will concentrate on electric vehicles."
Francois Provost, chairman of the China region for Renault, said the end of the French manufacturer's partnership with Dongfeng Motor was just a repositioning, and will not result in a complete lack of Renault-branded cars sold in the world's biggest car market.
Staying with China for a moment, its General Administration of Customs reveals exports dropped by more than six percent, year on year in March. But imports beat the forecast, and only fell by less than one percent.
In Europe, Spanish banks have borrowed more from the ECB in March than in any of the previous six months – to show the scale of the borrowing compared to Spain's record month, scroll to our graph at the bottom of today's email.
And the UK's Office of Budget Responsibility – which despite its name is not run by the government – has said the country's economy could take a hit of around 35 percent of GDP if its lockdown lasts for the expected three months.
Finally, our science and tech program RAZOR has produced a segment on the history and process behind the production of vaccines. Do take a minute to watch – it's in the usual slot.
French car maker Renault has pulled out of its landmark joint venture by selling it's plant back to China's Dongfeng Motor Corporation. It means Renault's petrol cars will no longer be sold in China but it maintains its electric car partnership with Jiangling Motors.
The former chairman of BT and president of the Confederation of British Industry Mike Rake has joined the board of Huawei UK as a non-executive director.
China's exports dropped by 6.6 percent year on year to $185.2 billion, and imports edged down 0.9 percent to $165.3 billion in March, showing signs of recovery and beating forecast, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
A non-governmental UK watchdog has warned the country's COVID-19 lockdown could cause its economy to shrink by 35 percent in Q2 – but GDP would see a rebound and level off in the second half of the year.
Italian pasta producer Barilla has donated $500,000 to U.S. non-profit association The Cure Alliance to fund research for a stem cell-based COVID-19 cure.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the national airline TAP may be completely nationalized to ensure it does not fold in the aftermath of the pandemic. The government currently holds 50 percent of the company after a 2015 bailout.
Global hotel chain Marriott International said its revenue per available room has dropped by 60 percent in March, and it expects that figure to be 23 percent for the whole quarter.
Spanish private banks borrowed $156.11 billion from the European Central Bank in March – the highest figure in six months.
The global diamond industry has all but stopped amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Nine-tenths of cutting and polishing is done in India, and with much of the country under lockdown, the trade has slowed down and the price has dropped by around 15 percent.
The International Monetary Fund has granted $214 million of debt relief to some of the world's poorest nations, such as DR Congo and Yemen. It comes ahead of an expected G20 initiative to delay repayments of as much as $18 billion in repayments.
The Asian Development Bank has tripled its offer of relief to member states to $20 billion. "We focused on the demand side looking at consumption and investment in China and other countries," said Masatsugu Asakawa, the ADB president.
JP Morgan Chase saw profits fall by 69 percent in the first quarter. The biggest consumer bank in the U.S. said today it is expecting a "fairly severe recession."
We've been told the lockdown and economic downturn might not fully lift until a vaccine is found for COVID-19. In today's video, our science and technology program RAZOR looks at the history of vaccines, and how a COVID-19 injection will be developed.
Spanish banks have borrowed more from the European Central Bank in March than in any of the prior six months. It's a large increase on February, but is still well short of the record amount, borrowed in August 2012 – as the chart below shows.