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Over half of people in democracies feel freedoms overly curbed in COVID crisis: survey By Reuters

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Over half of people in democracies feel freedoms overly curbed in COVID crisis: survey By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Protestors demonstrate outside the home of Tucson’s Mayor Regina Romero in opposition to the new mask mandate to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tucson, Arizona, U.S., June 20, 2020. REUTERS/Cheney Orr

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By Marine Strauss

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Fifty-eight percent of people living in the world’s democracies are satisfied with the response of their government to the COVID-19 pandemic though over half believe their freedoms have been overly restricted, a survey published on Wednesday found.

The survey of over 50,000 people from 53 countries also found that a little more than half feel their nation is democratic but many view economic inequality and the power of big tech companies as threats to democracy.

Though the majority of respondents approve of how their governments had responded to the pandemic, 53 percent feel their personal freedoms have been excessively curbed by lockdowns, according to the survey.

“We now need to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic by delivering more democracy and freedom to people,” said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Chair of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which along with AI-powered brand tracking firm Latana conducted the survey.

Some 64% of those questioned regarded economic inequality as the single biggest threat to democracy around the world. Respondents in the United States were most concerned with Big Tech companies’ impact on democracy.

Almost half of those surveyed globally worried about the United States threatening their democracy, while 38% feared Chinese influence and some 27% were wary of that of Russia.

With the election of President Joe Biden, the perception of U.S. influence on democracy globally has improved from Donald Trump’s administration. However, in Europe, Russia and China, U.S. influence is still mainly perceived as negative.

Overall, 62% of respondents thought social media had a positive impact on democracy in their country. The global figure included 76% in Venezuela and 72% in Hong Kong where social media were used to organise protests and then banned. The U.S. reading stood at only 41%.

Most of the 53 countries included in the survey were multi-party democracies, with others including China, Venezuela, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Analysis-Global rates volatility forces investor rethink on Asian bonds By Reuters

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Analysis-Global rates volatility forces investor rethink on Asian bonds By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk with umbrellas in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Shanghai, China September 17, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

By Stanley White and Andrew Galbraith

TOKYO/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – A pause in a broad selloff in U.S. treasuries and other global bonds last month has given foreign investors time to rethink their Asian holdings and shift money to safer markets such as China, away from riskier countries like Indonesia and India.

China, India and Indonesia were among the largest recipients of yield-seeking foreign investment last year.

But a divergence in economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic, a dollar rally and questions about the Federal Reserve’s resolve to keep U.S. rates low have forced fund managers to see some markets as safer than others.

Moreover, a surge in U.S. yields in the first quarter of 2021, the sharpest since late 2016, has blunted the appeal of some lower-yielding Asian bond markets.

“Within Asia, you have countries like Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia that are now less attractive vis-a-vis the United States,” said Leonard Kwan, an emerging markets fixed income portfolio manager at T. Rowe Price in Hong Kong. “It would likely be those markets that we look to rotate out of, and into Treasuries.”

In March, foreign investors turned net sellers of Chinese sovereign bonds for the first time in more than two years. But asset managers remain bullish because of China’s high real yields and its close links to a rebound in global trade.

China’s bond market saw a rare 8.95 billion yuan ($1.38 billion) drop in holdings by overseas investors in March as they trimmed positions in Chinese government bonds, official data showed.

Kwan says he has continued to plough money into Chinese bonds, citing China’s domestically driven market with low correlations to global investment and rates cycles.

Davis Hall, head of capital markets in Asia at Indosuez Wealth Management in Hong Kong, reckons buying Chinese debt is a “no brainer” for Japanese, Swiss, or European investors with attractive yields compensating for currency risks.

real yields, which adjust for changes in consumer prices, are above 3%. In comparison, Japan’s and Switzerland’s real yields are less than 1% while German bunds and U.S. Treasuries carry negative real yields.

China’s efforts to rein in credit growth are a concern, but asset managers expect the central bank will avoid raising rates and resort to other tools that pose fewer risks to bond prices.

Last year’s investor darlings, Indonesia and India, are however no longer so, as asset managers worry about quantitative easing and currency weakness, suggesting a bigger shift in allocations around the region.

Foreign investors sold a net $1.1 billion in Indonesian bonds in February and $1.4 billion in March, marking the biggest outflows in a year. They sold a net $1.8 billion of Indian bonds in February and March, the biggest outflows in almost a year.

While a yield of 6.5% on its 10-year bond makes Indonesia an attractive bet, the prospects of a patchy and slow economic recovery, high fiscal deficit and a shaky currency that has already shed 2.8% against the dollar this year worry investors.

India is not as popular with bond investors as China or Indonesia, and risks to its economic outlook are more acute after a fierce surge in coronavirus infections.

Hayden Briscoe, head of fixed income global emerging markets and Asia Pacific at UBS Asset Management in Hong Kong, says investors are likely to keep away from emerging market bonds as these central banks contemplate raising pandemic-era low interest rates.

“At the moment you’ve got a few things going wrong,” Briscoe said. “You’ve got the rates going wrong for your rate volatility in the U.S. and then you’ve got the dollar on the stronger side now. It’s time to be sort of wary on your emerging market allocations.”

While U.S. volatility began to subside at the end of April, it remains relatively elevated and investors could be more “idiosyncratic” in their allocations and assessment of whether bonds pay enough to compensate for risks.

“There’s always the tension of, is there enough carry to compensate for the volatility?” said Briscoe.





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Stellantis NV Earnings, Revenue Beat in Q1 By Investing.com

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Stellantis NV Earnings, Revenue Beat in Q1 By Investing.com



© Reuters. Stellantis NV Earnings, Revenue Beat in Q1

Investing.com – Stellantis NV reported on Wednesday first quarter that beat analysts’ forecasts and revenue that topped expectations.

Stellantis NV announced earnings per share of €0.4356 on revenue of €37B. Analysts polled by Investing.com anticipated EPS of €0.3885 on revenue of €36B.

Stellantis NV shares are up 1.36% from the beginning of the year, still down 3.86% from its 52 week high of €15.46 set on March 11. They are under-performing the which is up 10.65% from the start of the year.

Stellantis NV follows other major Consumer Cyclical sector earnings this month

Stellantis NV’s report follows an earnings matched by Moncler SpA on April 21, who reported EPS of €0.0107 on revenue of €365.46M, compared to forecasts EPS of €0.0107 on revenue of €362.99M.

Piaggio&C had beat expectations on April 29 with first quarter EPS of €0.03 on revenue of €385M, compared to forecast for EPS of €0.02 on revenue of €346.3M.

Stay up-to-date on all of the upcoming earnings reports by visiting Investing.com’s earnings calendar

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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World shares resilient, drugmakers hit by Biden’s move on vaccines By Reuters

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World shares resilient, drugmakers hit by Biden’s move on vaccines By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man works at the Tokyo Stock Exchange after market opens in Tokyo, Japan October 2, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO (Reuters) – World shares and commodity prices held firm on Thursday as investors switched to cyclicals amid hopes of a strong economic recovery, but drugmakers’ shares came under pressure after Washington backed waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines.

MSCI’s broadest gauge of world stocks, ACWI, was up slightly and European stocks are expected to open flat with both Euro Stoxx futures and futures little changed.

jumped 1.8% as it reopened after a five-day holiday.

But MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.15% as Chinese shares, also resuming trade for the first time since last week, wobbled. The CSI300 fell 1.3%, led by falls in biotech firms.

China’s healthcare share index dropped more than 4% after U.S. President Joe Biden threw his support behind waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden’s move hit U.S. vaccine makers, too, including Moderna (NASDAQ:), but Wall Street was supported overall by gains in energy and other cyclical shares.

Dow hit a record high overnight, having risen 0.29%, while the added 0.07%.

“This year, both the U.S. and Chinese economy could grow 6% or more. If the world’s two biggest economies are growing that much, clearly that’s positive,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ (NYSE:) Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) Securities.

Against this backdrop, commodity prices are riding high, with flirting with 10-year peaks.

Oil prices extended gains to edge near their March tops as crude stockpiles in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, fell more sharply than expected.

futures stood at $65.65 per barrel, little changed on the day but just below Wednesday’s two-month high of $66.76. [O/R]

As agricultural products such as corn, soybeans and wheat, have gained sharply in recent weeks, Thomson Reuters (NYSE:) CRB index has risen to its highest level since 2015, having gained more than 21% so far this year.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES

Higher commodity prices are fuelling inflation expectations in the bond market.

The U.S. breakeven inflation rate, or inflation expectations calculated from the yield gap between inflation-linked bonds and conventional bonds, rose to as high as 2.48% overnight.

But the U.S. nominal bond yields held relatively stable, with the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield little changed at 1.584%.

“Bonds were supported partly because the pace of vaccinations has slowed in the States and as real-money investors are starting to buy,” said Naokazu Koshimizu, economist at Nomura Securities.

“The rise in inflation is also driven more by supply constraints than demand, which is why we are seeing rising inflation expectations and a fall in nominal yields,” he added.

In currencies, the Australian dollar briefly dropped as much as 0.6% after China said it was indefinitely suspending all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, the latest setback for their strained relations.

It last stood down 0.15% at $0.7734

The British pound was flat at $1.3910 ahead of a central bank policy review.

The Bank of England could slow the pace of its bond buying to allow its quantitative easing programme to last until the end of the year, as it could reach the cap by September at the current pace of buying.

Investors also looked to Scotland’s election that could trigger a showdown with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over a new independence referendum.

Other currencies were little moved, with the focus on Friday’s U.S. monthly jobs report which is expected to show that nonfarm payrolls increased by 978,000 jobs last month.

The euro stood flat at $1.2004 while the yen changed hands at 109.35 per dollar.





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