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Business
IIROC Trade Resumption – QSC

VANCOUVER, April 16, 2020 /CNW/ – Trading resumes in:
Company: QuestCap Inc.
CSE Symbol: QSC (All Issues)
Resumption (ET): 2:45 PM
IIROC can make a decision to impose a temporary suspension (halt) of trading in a security of a publicly-listed company. Trading halts are implemented to ensure a fair and orderly market. IIROC is the national self-regulatory organization which oversees all investment dealers and trading activity on debt and equity marketplaces in Canada.

SOURCE Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)

Business
Unemployment Permeates the Economy During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Even as political leaders wrangle over how and when to restart the American economy, the coronavirus pandemic’s devastation became more evident Thursday with more than 5.2 million workers added to the tally of the unemployed.In the last four weeks, the number of unemployment claims has reached 22 million — roughly the net number of jobs created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that began after the last recession and ended with the pandemic’s arrival.The latest figure from the Labor Department, reflecting last week’s initial claims, underscores how the downdraft has spread to every corner of the economy: hotels and restaurants, mass retailers, manufacturers and white-collar strongholds like law firms.“There’s nowhere to hide,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago. “This is the deepest, fastest, most broad-based recession we’ve ever seen.”Some of the new jobless claims represent freshly laid-off workers; others are from people who had been trying for a week or more to file. “We’re still playing catch-up on multiple fronts,” Ms. Swonk said.

Business
At-Risk Students Given FREE Access to Essential Education Solutions… Learning Ally Provides Schools Nationwide with Distance Learning Platform

PRINCETON, N.J., April 16, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Learning Ally, a not-for-profit and leading education solutions organization serving at-risk learners, is responding to the COVID-19 crisis with a relief program to schools across the country.
The program includes the Learning Ally Audiobook Solution that helps students with reading deficits, a Distance Learning Resource Site for both educators and parents, and the Square Panda School to Home Engagement Program for emerging readers. The program offers complimentary access to these proven literacy development solutions effective immediately through August 1st, helping to keep students reading and providing a platform that educators nationwide can consider as a component for ensuring distance learning literacy progress, continuity, and equity in the future.
Learning Ally aims to get and keep students reading, engaged, and learning from home as long as school closures continue and through the summer and beyond. Whether they are at-risk PreK-1st graders or students already diagnosed with reading-based learning differences like dyslexia, these students have tremendous educational challenges in traditional school settings and conditions. Now, they are even more at risk of “slipping through the cracks.” Statistics show that for these students, falling behind can have dire consequences. Distance learning puts additional burdens on these students and on the educators and parents that support them.
Learning Ally’s COVID-19 Relief Program aims to assist an additional 500,000 students and 30,000 educators with a suite of solutions and resources that support distance learning:
The Learning Ally Audiobook Solution is the largest library of human-read audiobooks designed for students with reading deficits. Our library includes popular fiction, classics and textbooks – all the books students want and need to read for school and aligned to school curriculum, K-12. The solution’s human-voice to highlighted text enables students to read to their cognitive ability, read independently and become engaged learners.
The Distance Learning Resource Site contains a collection of literacy-based activities and professional learning opportunities, including webinars for educators and content in multiple formats for parents to assist their children while learning from home.
The Square Panda School to Home Engagement Program offers a multi-sensory literacy system for PreK-1 learners at home, designed to build critical foundational literacy skills with adaptive phonics instruction that guides students to work independently at home with very little parent supervision.
Learning Ally solutions are designed for “anywhere access” on personal devices, and are well suited to serve as a distance learning solution, especially under these difficult circumstances.

“Learning Ally solutions have always represented the critical difference between isolation and integration, between frustration and pride, and between struggle and success,” said Andrew Friedman, Learning Ally CEO and President. “We have a key role to play while schools are closed, to ensure at-risk learners, educators and families are supported in their continued efforts around reading, learning and succeeding.”
In the few weeks since Learning Ally made the announcement, there has been an enthusiastic response. Learning Ally staff are mobilized to help schools onboard and have already expanded services to nearly 100,000 students across the country.
For information visit https://www.learningally.org or call 1-800-221-1098.
 
SOURCE Learning Ally

Business
Verizon will buy video conferencing company BlueJeans

Hans Vestberg, CEO, Verizon Communications speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020.
Adam Galica | CNBC

Verizon is buying the video conferencing platform BlueJeans as workers increasingly rely on web tools to connect during the coronavirus pandemic, the company announced Thursday.
Many enterprise tools like Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have seen an uptick in usage as more American regions have been instructed to stay at home to tamp down the spread of the virus. The acquisition shows Verizon is looking to be a part of that movement as businesses still struggle to reopen offices.

Verizon will pay about $400 million in the deal, CNBC’s David Faber reported. BlueJeans has more than 15,000 customers, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in an interview with Faber shortly after the deal was announced.
“As the way we work continues to change, it is absolutely critical for businesses and public sector customers to have access to a comprehensive suite of offerings that are enterprise ready, secure, frictionless and that integrate with existing tools,” Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin said in a statement.
Zoom, which quickly became one of the most popular conferencing tools once stay-at-home orders set in, has recently stumbled into some speed bumps, creating an opening for rivals. After privacy and security issues with the platform came to light, some organizations ordered their workers not to use the platform, including the New York City Department of Education.
According to its website, BlueJeans counts Facebook, LinkedIn and IBM-owned RedHat among its customers.
BlueJeans will become “deeply integrated” into Verizon’s 5G services, according to the release.

Verizon said BlueJeans’ founders and management team will join the company to continue the platform’s growth and its employees will also become part of Verizon. Verizon said it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of the year.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
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Business
Three experts break down latest unemployment and housing start data

Austan Goolsbee, professor at the University of Chicago Booth School and former chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and David Bailin, chief investment officer at Citi Private Bank, joins “Squawk Box” to discuss the latest weekly jobless claims amid the coronavirus crisis.

06:31

24 minutes ago

Business
‘Nowhere to Hide’ as Unemployment Permeates the Economy

Even as political leaders wrangle over how and when to restart the American economy, the coronavirus pandemic’s devastation became more evident Thursday with more than 5.2 million workers added to the tally of the unemployed.In the last four weeks, the economy has lost about 22 million jobs, roughly the net number created in a nine-and-a-half-year stretch that began after the last recession and ended with the pandemic’s arrival.The latest figure from the Labor Department, reflecting last week’s initial unemployment claims, underscores how the downdraft has spread to every corner of the economy: hotels and restaurants, mass retailers, manufacturers and white-collar strongholds like law firms.“There’s nowhere to hide,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton in Chicago. “This is the deepest, fastest, most broad-based recession we’ve ever seen.”Some of the new jobless claims represent freshly laid-off workers; others are from people who had been trying for a week or more to file. “We’re still playing catch-up on multiple fronts,” Ms. Swonk said.

Business
If you thought the trade war was bad for global commerce…

CONTAINER-SHIP navigators, box-ticking customs officials, logistics wizards, truck drivers and warehouse nightwatchmen: all are familiar with dealing with glitches involving international trade, from strikes to trade wars. But with forecasters predicting a slump in global GDP this year, even their most creative thinking cannot keep $25trn of goods and services flowing around the world.
Trade is the conduit through which economic pain passes from one country to another. Even simple products rely on elaborate supply chains: a humble cup of coffee requires 29 firms to collaborate across 18 countries, according to one estimate. Shocks convulse in either direction. A port closure or customs delay can cripple production elsewhere. If consumers stop buying cars and phones, manufacturers and workers in distant lands feel the pinch.

When world output, at purchasing-power parity, fell by 0.1% in 2009, trade volumes collapsed by a whopping 13%. Quarterly volumes fell by even more (see chart). Weaker demand in America and the European Union rippled along trade routes to Canada, China, emerging Asia, Japan and Mexico. One study finds that 27% of the decline in American demand and 18% of that in the European Union was borne by foreign producers.

The shock coming this year threatens to be far more brutal. When one of the world’s economic giants sneezes, the rest of the world catches cold. Now everyone is coughing. Factory closures are being exacerbated by a rise in trade barriers. And global demand is plummeting as households’ incomes dry up and cash-strapped firms put their investment plans on ice.
At first the virus infected manufacturing in China, which typically supplies nearly 10% of the world’s intermediate-goods trade. The dollar value of Chinese exports in January and February was 17% below what it was a year earlier (though American tariffs may also have contributed to the weakness). As delivery times stretched out for longer and longer, companies had to pause production for lack of components.
Now factories across Europe, North America and Asia must cope not only with uncertain supplies of parts from China but also with sick workers and a dizzying array of local and national shutdowns. Audrey Ross of Orchard International, a company based in Canada that trades products including mascara and bath sponges, says planning has become a nightmare. One customer in Germany is closed; another in France is open. Warehouses in America have shorter opening hours. Diversifying away from China had at first seemed like a sensible strategy. Now nowhere is safe.
To make matters worse, barriers to trade are going up. More than 50 governments have restricted exports of medical supplies, 33 of which acted after the beginning of March. Tourism has been crushed—it accounts for 8% of global services trade. Flight cancellations have seen the cost of air freight, much of which goes in the belly of passenger jets, soar. Vaughn Moore of AIT Worldwide Logistics, a freight-forwarding company, reports that rates have risen from $2-3 per kilo to $9-11, which for some goods is prohibitively expensive.

Land borders are becoming harder to cross too. Countries from America to Armenia have placed new restrictions on free movement. In almost all cases there are meant to be exceptions for people transporting goods. But haphazard implementation has led to queues that stretch for miles. On March 15th the Italian transport minister had to call her Hungarian counterpart to request that a blockade be removed. Restricted border crossings have in some cases made it hard for drivers to get to work. “Everybody wants to do their own thing,” grumbles Umberto de Pretto of the International Road Transport Union. “If road transport stops the world stops.”
Bunged-up borders mean that it gets harder to refill empty supermarket shelves as people stockpile food, and to meet rocketing demand for medical equipment. Mario Aronovich, a customs broker in Mexico, remembers receiving calls when the crisis started about whether it was possible to export medical masks from Mexico to China. Now he is getting calls about trade in the opposite direction.

So just how big will the drop in overall trade be? In 2009 declining demand accounted for over two-thirds of the crash in trade, a far bigger share than the 15-20% caused by the credit crunch. The extent of the pandemic-induced slowdown in consumer spending and investment is already becoming clear. And it has already dented trade activity badly—a survey of factory bosses in March suggests sharp falls in export orders in advanced countries. Simon Macadam of Capital Economics, a consultancy, has pencilled in a 20% drop in trade volumes this year. That is bigger than in 2009. The drop in trade could be worse if the most pessimistic forecasts of jaw-dropping double-digit year-on-year declines in GDP in some rich countries over the next quarter or two come true.
A lesson from 2009 is that trade bounces back. Some of the precipitous drop then reflected companies drawing down their inventories; that reversed quickly enough when things returned to normal. Gloomier types point out the colossal uncertainty about when the rebound might come. Trade thrives on trust and predictability. Today, with supply chains buckling and borders closing, both are in short supply. ■
This article appeared in the Finance and economics section of the print edition under the headline “Trucks, queues and blues”
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Business
Exchange-traded fundamentals

JEREMIADS HAVE long argued that if some of the $6trn-odd of assets underpinning exchange-traded funds (etfs) are illiquid, then the funds must be too, posing a big risk to their investors. But so far there are signs of strain but not panic. During the current turmoil, some etfs are trading at a discount to their net asset value, often those that have invested in debt. But that may be because they are easy to trade, making them a better gauge of reality than the last recorded price of the underlying securities. ■

This article appeared in the Finance and economics section of the print edition under the headline “Exchange-traded fundamentals”
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Business
New trade barriers could hamper the supply of masks and medicines

IT IS BAD enough when individuals stockpile pasta and toilet paper. It is worse when governments put a protective ring around medical equipment. As the covid-19 pandemic leads to a rush for medical gear, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that supplies of respirators and medical masks will not keep up with demand, and soon global stocks of gowns and goggles will be insufficient too. Some governments are erecting trade barriers to safeguard their supplies. According to a new report from Global Trade Alert, a trade-policy monitoring service at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland, by March 11th 24 countries had restricted exports of medical equipment, medicines or their ingredients.
The stockpiling started early. The Chinese government bought up masks produced in the country as the virus raged, leaving foreigners with unfulfilled orders. On March 3rd France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced that the state would seize all masks, restricting sales abroad. German companies need their government’s approval to export respirators, even within the European Union. South Korea has banned the export of masks and of materials used to make respirators. Countries with few coronavirus sufferers so far, including Russia (20 cases by March 11th), Bulgaria (six) and Morocco (five), are applying restrictions too.

The urge to ensure citizens have what they need is understandable. It also makes sense to give priority to health-care workers who are tending to the sick. It is possible that a completely free market will not do the trick. Jens Spahn, Germany’s health minister, told a meeting of his EU colleagues on March 6th that supplies were not going to where they were most urgently needed, but to where people were paying the most.
The trade barriers pose serious risks, however. The first is that stockpiles in one place can stop supplies getting to others. Jennifer Ehrlich of 3M, a diversified conglomerate that is one of the biggest manufacturers of respirators, says that the company has increased production to meet higher demand. However, because manufacturing is regionalised, trade restrictions stop supplies getting swiftly to where they are most needed.

The second is that export limits “dilute incentives to ramp up output,” says Simon Evenett of the University of St Gallen. This could exacerbate global shortages. He suggests that if governments simply offer to pay more, rather than erecting barriers, they will secure the supplies they need.

A third risk is that trade restrictions start a vicious cycle and generate pressure for even more of them. When developing countries used export restrictions to cope with high food prices in the late 2000s, there was a cascading effect, as other governments responded with supply restrictions of their own, further fracturing markets. According to Global Trade Alert, export curbs have accelerated as the coronavirus has spread. The most recent came from Ukraine on March 11th “to prohibit export of anti-epidemic goods” until June 1st. More countries are reportedly considering controls.
Despite calls from the WHO for countries to work together to ease the problem, this is proving difficult even within a close-knit trading bloc like the EU. If there is so little solidarity now, what will happen when poorer countries with weaker health-care systems are hit? Beggar-thy-neighbour trade policies never end well.
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