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Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek May 18, 2020

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Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. Get the digital magazine subscription today and draw upon Businessweek's timely incisive analysis to help you make better decisions about your career, your business, and your personal investments.

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United States
Bloomberg Finance LP
50 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
in brief

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged last year, plans to test its entire population of 11 million people again after reporting new infections for the first time since it lifted its lockdown on April 8. Globally, there are 4.3m cases, and 294,000 people have died. “It could almost turn the clock back rather than going forward.” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Health Committee on May 12 of the perils of easing lockdown measures too soon. Norway plans to withdraw a record 382 billion kroner ($37.3 billion) from its sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest. It’s by far the biggest cash-out yet by the oil-rich country, which is hurting from the twin fallout of the pandemic and…

3 min.
to restart business, protect workers

States that are reopening their economies even as cases of Covid-19 are still rising are threatening their own residents and the whole country. But they’re also running into two challenges that all states will face: Employees don’t want to return to work if they fear exposure to the coronavirus on the job, and employers don’t want to get sued if their workers or customers end up sick. Both concerns are reasonable, and both could further cripple the economy unless Congress steps in. It’s essential that companies take actions that protect their employees, yet they’re getting little federal guidance in what exactly that means. Even those that take every conceivable precaution, however, will face unprecedented liability concerns that could paralyze investment and prevent them from rehiring workers they may have laid off…

1 min.
a hard landing for softbank

Chinese online commerce giant Alibaba reports fourth-quarter earnings on May 22. The pandemic has kept many merchants from resuming operations and delayed some deliveries. The U.S. Federal Reserve releases its April 28-29 policy meeting minutes on May 20, providing insight into its decision to maintain borrowing costs near zero. Turkey’s Central Bank delivers its latest rate decision on May 21. The policy committee has already cut its benchmark eight times in under a year to prop up a weakening economy. Germany’s Finance Ministry provides an update on the health of Europe’s largest economy and borrowing needs with its monthly economic report, due on May 22. Following a delay of two months, China’s Communist Party opens its annual National Congress on May 22, with Premier Li Keqiang delivering a state-of-the-country address. Walmart reports earnings on May…

5 min.
sweden is not the world’s top model

On May 8, Swedish state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell gave an interview via Zoom from a parked car. The hot pink cord of the earbuds plugged into his phone flapped distractingly in the foreground. Before this year, it would’ve been hard to scare up 10 journalists to listen to him or any other epidemiologist, but Tegnell drew 450 reporters and other curious people from 60 countries. An additional 10,000 have since listened to the recording of the colloquy with Joyce Barnathan, president of the International Center for Journalists. The next few weeks or months will tell whether Tegnell’s strategy is brilliant or—as many experts outside of Sweden believe—benighted. The Swedish government has deferred to him and his fellow scientists to set the rules for a relaxed semi-shutdown of Swedish society in response…

6 min.
china’s malls are starvedfor traffic

For decades, North Sichuan Road was Shanghai’s answer to Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay—a place where thousands shopped daily for everything including food and designer clothes. But that was before the new coronavirus. Now the local Printemps, a franchise of the glitzy Paris department store, has closed its doors, a nearby shopping center has shut for renovation, and few people were browsing the neighborhood on a recent evening. It’s an ominous sign for a once-vibrant segment of the world’s biggest consumer market: restaurants and the malls that depend on them. Food, whether daily essentials or haute cuisine, has been a people magnet in China’s malls since they started to take off a decade ago. Landlords have welcomed restaurants, which Changjiang Securities estimates account for about a third of mall tenants, safe in…

5 min.
so who buys a mall during a pandemic?

Even before the novel coronavirus, Walmart and Sears had shut down their stores at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South Los Angeles. The shopping center’s movie theater and many of its other retailers have been closed in recent weeks, too, because of a stay-at-home order. Some may struggle to reopen. That didn’t stop developer CIM Group from agreeing to buy the mall for more than $100 million last month. The allure, like so much in real estate, came down to location: The shopping center sits at a soon-to-open light rail station. One concept is to convert the former Sears and Walmart into offices, which could help drive foot traffic to the remaining retail. “This is what we do well,” says Shaul Kuba, CIM’s co-founder. “We try to figure out difficult…