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Business & Finance
Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition

Bloomberg Businessweek-Asia Edition February 10, 2020

Each issue of Businessweek features in-depth perspectives on the financial markets, industries, trends, technology and people guiding the economy. 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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Bloomberg Finance LP
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50 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
in brief

● With the new coronavirus outbreak gripping China, investors are pulling out. The country’s $7.5 trillion stock market had its worst rout in years; thousands of shares fell by their daily limit at the start of the trading week. ▷ 11 ● Tesla is having a blowout 2020, its stock more than doubling since the start of the year before dropping sharply on Feb. 5. ● Worldline, the French payment company, agreed to buy local rival Ingenico. The €7.8 billion ($8.6 billion) deal will form one of the world’s largest payment-services providers. Europe’s biggest transaction so far this year, it follows a spate of other major purchases in the consolidating electronic-payments market. ● Argentina is renegotiating its debt to avoid another sovereign default. The country’s largest province offered better terms to bondholders who agree to…

1 min.
a storm brews on lake zurich

▶ Alibaba releases third-quarter earnings on Feb. 13. Chinese retail is taking a hit, with shoppers reluctant to spend as the coronavirus outbreak spreads. ▷ 11 ▶ NATO Defense Ministers meet in Brussels on Feb. 12-13. The U.S. has pushed for the organization to broaden its scope in the Middle East and help tackle terrorist threats. ▶ The New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11 could shake up the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Senator Bernie Sanders, of neighboring Vermont, won the contest in 2016. ▷ 32 ▶ Samsung unveils new Galaxy mobile products in San Francisco on Feb. 11. It’s set to showcase its S20 family of phones, which have improved cameras, and the foldable Z Flip. ▶ Hedge funds and other rich investors in the U.S. stock market disclose their multimillion-dollar moves on…

9 min.
we’re not ready for this

In the evolutionary arms race between humanity and the microbes, the bugs are making a comeback. Yes, we’ve conquered diseases such as smallpox and polio, and deaths from communicable diseases have been falling worldwide. But since 1970, more than 1,500 new pathogens have been discovered, according to the World Health Organization, and “epidemics in the 21st century are spreading faster and farther than ever. Outbreaks that were previously localized can now become global very rapidly.” In late 2002 an airborne illness, dubbed severe acute respiratory syndrome, emerged in China’s southern Guangdong province, then quickly spread across the border and killed 774 people from Asia to Canada. In 2009 a novel influenza virus, H1N1, advanced worldwide in nine weeks and may have resulted in as many as 575,000 fatalities. The new virus…

8 min.
the economic pain is mild, so far

For businesspeople around the world, the new coronavirus that sprang from China is producing a severe case of cognitive dissonance. Their eyes are telling them things are bad: rising fatalities, history’s biggest quarantine, sealed international borders, broken supply chains, shuttered businesses. But economists are telling them the epidemic will lower China’s 2020 economic growth by just a couple tenths of a percentage point and global growth essentially not at all. So, which is it, a global crisis or a tempest in a Wuhan teapot? A lot hangs on the answer. The oddly calm economic forecasts are based on the assumption that the draconian measures imposed around the world to isolate the sick and the potentially exposed will succeed in killing off the outbreak, at which point there will be a sharp economic…

4 min.
two economies one recession

On Jan. 31, Caterpillar Inc. warned that sales of its heavy machinery would slump for a second straight year in 2020 amid “continued global economic uncertainty.” On the same day, Amazon.com Inc. added $72 billion in market value—about the size of Caterpillar—after reporting robust holiday season sales. That contrast shows just how much the U.S. industrial and consumer economies have diverged. The manufacturing sector went through a mild recession last year as President Trump’s trade war with China added costs to supply chains and curtailed business investment. New data from the Institute for Supply Management show U.S. factory activity barely expanded in January after contracting in the last five months of 2019. Yet this industrial downturn was at most a blip for the still-roaring consumer spending spree. While CSX, 3M, and other…

4 min.
ikea solves soviet sameness

Ikea has been diversifying its business model as fewer consumers trek to the big-box suburban showrooms that helped turn it into a furniture giant. In Russia, it found a way to replicate part of that shopping experience on the web—thanks to a preference for uniformity among Soviet city planners. About 60% of Russians live in standard, Soviet-era apartment blocks, which have a limited number of designs and floor plans. Ikea has replicated the layouts on its Russian website and given them virtual makeovers, letting a customer select suggested items and furnish her apartment with a few mouse clicks. The service, called Kvartiroteka—“selection of apartments” in Russian—has brought 2.8 million visitors to Ikea’s site since last June’s launch, mostly new customers, and contributed to a 17% jump in sales in Russia in the…