European shares lower … Australia says it doesn’t want a trade war with China … British unemployment up by 69%
TOKYO (AP) – European shares have opened lower after a rally on Wall Street fueled by optimism over a potential vaccine for the coronavirus ran out of steam. France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.6% in early trading, while Germany’s DAX lost 0.4%. Britain’s FTSE 100 edged down 0.6%. In Asia, the mood was more upbeat. Japan’s Nikkei finished 1.5% higher, South Korea’s Kospi was up 2.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.9% and the Shanghai Composite edged up 0.8%. Wall Street is expected to open lower, with Dow and S&P futures both down 0.4%.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Australia’s trade minister says his country doesn’t want a trade war with China but maintains Beijing has erred by imposing stiff tariffs on Australian barley in what is widely seen as punishment for advocating an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic. China effectively ended imports of Australian barley by putting tariffs on more than 80% on the crop, accusing Australia of breaching World Trade Organization rules by subsidizing barley production and selling the crop in China at below costs. The move came a week after China banned beef imports from Australia’s four largest slaughter houses over labeling issues.
LONDON (AP) – Unemployment claims in Britain jumped by 69% in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and hit the labor market. The Office of National Statistics says jobless claims surged by 856,000 to 2.1 million in April as compared to the month before. Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, says the figures cover only the first weeks of the lockdown. He says employment for the month held up because furloughed workers still count as being employed but “hours worked fell sharply in late March, especially in sectors such as hospitality and construction.”
ATHENS, Greece (AP) – Greece’s government says revenue from its vital tourism industry has been hammered as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures. Detailed guidelines on how the season will operate are expected to be announced Wednesday. A government spokesman told private Antenna television today that the country usually brings in 19 billion euros a year from tourism but has made less than one billion euros so far this year. Greece has reopened beaches, mainland travel, and ancient sites over the past three days as part of preparations for the holiday season. Restaurants will reopen Monday.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Billionaire Saudi businessman Saleh Abdullah Kamel, who founded the banking and real estate conglomerate Dallah Albaraka Group, has died at the age of 79. Kamel’s business empire expanded to tens of thousands of employees and includes subsidiaries and stakes in a range of businesses, such as the operation and maintenance of airports and roads, tourism, trade, trucking and transportation, telecommunications, media, food manufacturing and health care.