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Headlines
• Cathay Pacific announces 5,900 job cuts
• South Yorkshire to enter Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday
• Gyms and leisure facilities can reopen in Liverpool
• Czech Republic set to go back into lockdown
• AstraZeneca’s US vaccine trial expected to resume this week

Company news

Financial

Metro Bank – “The bank remains committed to SMEs and has extended more than £1.3bn in government-backed business loans to over 33,000 customers, primarily BBLS1. The macroeconomic scenarios applied to the measurement of ECL at H1 remain appropriate and we continue to offer support to customers experiencing payment difficulty. The number of active payment deferrals reduced to less than 3.5% of the retail mortgage portfolio at the end of Q3, down from 16% at H1. Activity levels continue to gradually recover post-lockdown, with new account openings tracking higher at around 90% of pre-pandemic levels.”

Real Estate

Segro – “Rental collection has continued to progress well, with Q4 rent collection in the UK currently at 85% of total rent billed, higher than at the equivalent date in the second and third quarters. A further 13% has been deferred by agreement with customers, most of which is now payable monthly, meaning that the majority of this will have been received by the end of the year.

Rents in our Continental European portfolio are typically paid monthly, so we are still early in the Q4 collection cycle. Current indications are that Continental Europe is also tracking ahead of previous quarters (98% of rents have been collected for both Q2 and Q3).

We have now collected 96% and 95% of the Q2 and Q3 rents respectively across the group, in line with the payment plans agreed with our customers. Of the remaining £9m we expect to collect £6m by the end of the year and the remainder in 2021.”

Transport

Cathay Pacific Airways – “is to cut 5,900 jobs and end its regional Cathay Dragon brand. The restructuring will cost $283.9m and the airline will also seek changes in conditions in its contracts with cabin crew and pilots. Overall, it will cut 8,500 positions, or 24% of its normal headcount, but that includes 2,600 roles currently unfilled due to cost reduction initiatives.”

Other

• The 5% of people in Britain predicted by a new tool to be at highest risk from Covid-19 accounted for three-quarters of deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, according to research published in the BMJ.

• The Japanese Health Ministry reports that the country is expecting a sharp drop in newborns next year, after pregnancies fell 11.4% in the three months from May compared to the same period in 2019. It is believed that many couples have postponed having children for economic reasons, as the pandemic worsens the employment situation. Travel restrictions are also thought to have contributed, in a country where many women return to their parents’ homes to prepare for giving birth.

• South Yorkshire, including the districts of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley, are to be placed in the “very high” Tier 3 level of coronavirus restrictions from 00:01 on Saturday.

• The UK inflation rate climbed to 0.5% in September, from 0.2% in August. Prices started to rise more quickly in September after the Eat Out To Help Out scheme ended, pushing up restaurant and café prices.

• UK government borrowing hit £36.1bn in September. The figure was £28.4bn more than last year, and the third-highest in any month since records began in 1993. At the same time, tax income fell. Lower spending and corporate profits meant the government received less in VAT and corporation tax.

• Gyms will be able to reopen across Liverpool after the government agreed to bring it in line with other areas under Tier 3 measures.

• The Czech Government on Wednesday ordered most shops and services to shutter and sought to limit all movement to essential trips such as for work and medical visits.

• AstraZeneca’s large, late-stage Covid-19 vaccine trial in the US is expected to resume as early as this week after the US Food and Drug Administration completed its review of a serious illness in a participant. The trial has been on hold since 6 September.

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