FirstFT: Today’s top news | Financial Times

FirstFT: Today’s top news | Financial Times

The dollar weakened to a two-year low on Monday as sharp increases in US coronavirus cases and flare-ups around the world weighed on investor confidence.

The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of peers, slipped 0.9 per cent to its lowest level since May 2018, as the continuing spread of Covid-19 in the US threatens to dampen the economic recovery.

The poor performance of the US currency — on track for its worst month since April 2011, according to Refinitiv — has supported a rally in gold prices to an all-time high. The precious metal rose as much as 2.4 per cent to $1,945.16 per troy ounce.

“The thing that’s changed in the last few days is that it’s not just gold that has gone up against the dollar, but almost everything,” said Kit Juckes, foreign exchange strategist at Société Générale. (FT)

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Coronavirus digest

  • Google has told its workers around the world that most will not need to come back to the office until at least next July. (FT)

  • Household spending in London dropped 45% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020, while the average across the UK was 34%.(FT)

  • Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has tested positive for coronavirus, making him the highest-ranking official in the White House to contract the disease. (FT)

  • US biotech Moderna has given the first doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine to participants in what will be a 30,000 person trial. (FT)

  • Florida reported fewer than 9,000 new coronavirus cases on Monday for the first time in almost three weeks and the fewest new deaths in a fortnight. (FT)

The FT has launched a global economic recovery tracker to provide a first snapshot of activity across key sectors. Follow our live coverage here.

In the news

Hong Kong tech index fizzles on trading debut A new index of Chinese technology stocks that trade in Hong Kong failed to impress investors on its debut, as the Asian finance hub seeks to drum up interest in a market that has become a global laggard. (FT)

Alibaba chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang attends a listing ceremony at the HKEX © Reuters

Infection surges force countries to curb European travel European tour operators responded with dismay to new curbs on travel imposed by countries following a string of local upsurges in coronavirus infections. Spain’s tourism sector is in particular feeling the brunt of the latest caution. (FT)

Boris Johnson warns of a second wave The prime minister told more than a dozen British businesses on a conference call that the pandemic could worsen again after the summer. (FT)

LVMH profit dives as coronavirus hits sales The world’s biggest luxury group’s operating profit dived 68% in the first half of the year even as it slashed spending on store leases, hiring and advertising to cope with the pandemic. (FT)

Turkish lira drops towards record low against euro The Turkish lira slumped towards a record low against the euro as investors’ long-running concerns over monetary policy in Turkey stood in contrast to optimism over EU plans to issue joint bonds to help soften the economic blow of coronavirus. (FT)

Facebook takes EU to court for invading privacy The social media company claims EU regulators have asked broad questions beyond the scope of two ongoing antitrust probes, and it has requested that the General Court in Luxembourg intervene. (FT)

US baseball league postpones games A coronavirus outbreak affecting one of its teams forced Major League Baseball to postpone two games on Monday, leaving the future of the sport’s season in the balance less than a week after beginning play. (FT)

The Miami Marlins celebrate their win on Sunday over the Philadelphia Phillies © USA TODAY Sports

Under Armour receives SEC notice The sportswear maker has received a Wells notice from the US Securities and Exchange Commission indicating it intends to bring enforcement action against the company for alleged potential violations of federal securities law. (FT)

The day ahead

Claim over White House protest A US national guard officer is set to testify that the Trump administration’s forcible clearing of anti-racism protesters from outside the White House last month was “unprovoked” and an “excessive use of force”. (FT)

Big Tech is back in the congressional hot seat On Wednesday, the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will be questioned in a House judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing. This is perhaps the most important and high-profile conversation about monopolies since the Microsoft case of the 1990s, writes Rana Foroohar. (FT)

Hong Kong Q2 GDP Hong Kong is set to extend its recession on Wednesday as the city grapples with the effects of a China-imposed security law on top of the pandemic’s deep impact on its tourism, logistics and retail sectors. (FT, Nikkei Asian Review)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead. Click to subscribe here. And don’t miss our FT News Briefing audio show — a short daily rundown of the top global stories.

What else we’re reading

Goldman Sachs has done it again with its Malaysia deal Last week, after months of public sparring and days of tough in-person negotiations, the Wall Street bank finally reached a deal with Malaysia over allegations that it had helped a former prime minister loot billions of dollars from the state investment fund, 1MDB, writes Brooke Masters. (FT)

Goldman Sachs has reach a deal with Malaysia © Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

Lunch with the FT Jim Chanos has been cast as the “Darth Vader of Wall Street” and the “Catastrophe Capitalist”. The 62-year-old short-seller, who predicted the downfall of US energy giant Enron almost two decades ago, prefers to describe himself as a “forensic financial statement junkie”. (FT)

The Uighurs need urgent international support In recent days the horrendous treatment of the Uighur community by the Chinese government has received the attention it requires, writes Phillipe Sands. Some assert that a genocide is being perpetuated by China. (FT)

Person in the News Sarah Gilbert, the researcher leading the race to a Covid-19 vaccine, has devoted her career to combating deadly pathogens that may result in a pandemic, writes Clive Cookson. The Oxford scientist and her team recently published encouraging results from the first phase of testing of its ChAdOx1 vaccine. (FT)

Prof Gilbert had been preparing for just such a momentous event © Joe Cummings

The ghost City Coronavirus could permanently transform London’s financial centre, which traces its roots back to 1376, as the success of homeworking keeps staff home. Hiring in a pandemic is less easy than it looks, Pilita Clark writes — but Andrew Hill says lay-offs are the worst of the bad options facing recession-hit companies. (FT)

Tesla’s market ride Tesla bulls got exactly what they needed last week: blowout second-quarter figures from the electric car maker that helped justify a tripling in the company’s share price so far this year. But the market reaction has once again left investors and analysts puzzled. (FT)

Instead of powering higher after results that beat Wall Street estimates, Tesla shares suffered their first two-day run of declines in a month © AFP via Getty Images

Sweden’s companies reap Covid-19 benefit From telecoms equipment maker Ericsson to consumer appliances manufacturer Electrolux, Swedish companies have beaten expectations, raising questions about whether the Nordic country’s light-touch coronavirus strategy was the correct course after all. (FT)

Video of the day

How to spot a Covid-19 outbreak from data Data journalist John Burn-Murdoch examines how the outbreak in England and Wales has unfolded and how data distinguish isolated clusters from community spread. (FT)

Video: How to spot a local coronavirus outbreak from data

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