U.S.-China tensions, Caixin manufacturing PMI, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for a mixed start on Monday as U.S.-China tensions continue to heat up.

Futures pointed to a higher open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 21,945 while its countepart in Osaka was at 21,940. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 21,710.

Over in Australia, however, shares were set to decline. The SPI futures contract was at 5,877, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,927.80. 

Tensions between Washington and Beijing are likely to continue being watched by investors, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump is set to announce “in the coming days” new actions related to Chinese software companies viewed by his administration as a national security threat.

On Friday, Trump told reporters he will act soon to ban Chinese-owned video app TikTok from the

Read More

High-speed Covid-19 tests to be rolled out across UK next week

Millions of high-speed coronavirus tests able to return results in 90 minutes are being rolled out across NHS hospitals, care homes and labs from next week as the UK government seeks to contain a feared winter surge in infections.

The announcement follows the government’s promise to expand testing capacity to 500,000 a day by October in an attempt to keep a lid on the disease and avoid a return to tougher lockdown measures.

Sage, the government’s scientific advisory committee, has said that 80 per cent of infected people’s contacts must be tracked down within 48 hours to slow the spread of the disease — a goal that depends on rapid testing.

Boris Johnson, the prime minister, had set a target that all tests should be returned within 24 hours by the end of June. But although turnround times have increased markedly in recent weeks, latest data show that only about

Read More

City veteran Skeoch to become acting chair of audit watchdog | Business News

The departing boss of Standard Life Aberdeen is to become the stopgap chairman of Britain’s audit regulator as ministers seek a heavyweight figure to push through far-reaching reforms of the profession.

Sky News has learnt that the government is preparing to name Keith Skeoch as interim chair of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) following the sudden departure of Simon Dingemans in May.

Sources said on Sunday that Alok Sharma, the business secretary, was likely to sign off and announce Mr Skeoch’s appointment later this month.

Keith Skeoch, departing boss of Standard Life Aberdeen

Mr Skeoch’s appointment comes at a critical time for the audit watchdog, which is grappling with the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the financial reporting of London-listed companies as well as its wider reform agenda.

The FRC recently confirmed plans to press ahead with the effective break-up of the big four auditors – Deloitte, EY,

Read More

Britons shun foreign travel for holidays at home

At 7.40am last Sunday Teleri Hughes received an unexpected call. It was a holiday-maker anxiously enquiring if they could book any of her six holiday cottages in North Wales. Unfortunately for the caller, all the properties were booked.

“There’s been an awful demand for August, but I think it will keep going” said Ms Hughes, who runs a camping field as well as holiday cottages just outside the town of Betws-y-Coed, which is popular with hikers. She added that guests would normally ask for discounts, but now were willing to pay any price.

Across the UK, people desperate to take a holiday after months of lockdown, and put off going abroad by the government’s sudden advice against travelling to Spain, have been rushing to book what is left of the country’s holiday accommodation.

Some 14m adults in Britain intend to take a holiday in the country before the end of

Read More