Wed, 08 Jul 2020

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. services sector contracted for the second straight month in May despite the gradual reopening of businesses across the country, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported Wednesday.

The non-manufacturing index (NMI), which gauges the performance of the services sector, registered 45.4 percent, 3.6 percentage points higher than the April reading, according to the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.

Amid widespread COVID-19-induced shutdowns, the U.S. services sector contracted for the first time since December 2009 in April. (US-Service-NMI)

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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil's industrial output fell 18.8 percent in April from March, the biggest decline since 2002, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Brazilian statistics agency reported on Wednesday.

The industrial production decreased in the fourth month of the year by 27.2 percent compared with April 2019, also a record fall, said the state-run Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in its report.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian industrial output dropped by 8.2 percent in the first four months of the year compared with the same period in 2019, according to the IBGE. (Brazil-Industry Output)

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BERLIN -- Germany has agreed on an economic stimulus package worth 130 billion euros (146 billion U.S. dollars) to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Wednesday.

"The size of the package will amount to 130 billion euros for the years 2020/2021, 120 billion of which will be spent by the federal government," Merkel said during a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures to boost the severely-hit economy.

"We have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future, and in addition, we're now dealing with our responsibility for Europe and the international dimension," she noted. (Germany-COVID-19-Economy)

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RIGA -- The Latvian Investment and Development Agency has decided to reorganize its network of economic representations abroad, after consulting entrepreneurs' organizations and the national exporters' association.

The government agency, which is responsible for facilitating Latvian businesses' operations in foreign countries and attracting foreign investment in Latvia, said on Wednesday that it will close economic representations in four countries and open new ones in four other countries.

At present, Latvia has economic representations in 20 countries. Those in Lithuania, Poland, Kazakhstan and Singapore will be closed, and the economic representation in India will be closed temporarily, the agency said. (Latvia-Investment-Representation)

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