Scarred and scared: Post-COVID consumers not their old selves

first_imgMichael Clark of Amy’s Housewares has one big fear as its London stores prepare to reopen on June 15 along with other retailers around Britain: “Customers not spending, having no trust in the economy.”His concern, captured in a survey by the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) before a nationwide easing of social distancing measures, may be well founded.Across the world, consumers are emerging from lockdowns warier and more thrift-conscious than before. That will drag on any recovery and could encourage governments and central bankers to follow up on coronavirus handouts with more costly stimulus. Topics : The new thrift is showing up in various ways: some households are hoarding the cash they saved during lockdowns; some are flocking to cheaper brands or sticking with essentials.Other risks to consumer demand include the outright collapse of purchasing power among those whose livelihoods were ruined by the pandemic and even imponderables such as what happens to spending patterns if more people continue to work from home.In China, shopping malls began to fill up again from April after lockdown eased. Online sales have surged in some categories, often helped by discounts and state coupons.But a lingering wariness about items deemed non-essential means consumers may still not emerge as the pillar of growth which Beijing hopes they will be.center_img “Consumers are placing a greater focus on essential spending categories,” Fitch Solutions said in a June 4 report, predicting a fall in Chinese household spending this year and slashing its 2020 growth forecast to just 1.1% from 5.6% before the pandemic.Dollar store clientele growsIn the United States, commonplace brands such as chocolate giant Hershey or toothpaste-maker Colgate say consumers have traded down. Dollar stores, meanwhile, expect to open their doors to a new set of customers as they did after the 2008-09 Great Recession.”In 2008, folks lost jobs … and they found us. And I think that’s some of what we’re planning for as we take a look into our crystal ball at back half of the year and 2021,” Dollar Tree Chief Executive Gary Philbin said on May 28.Much hangs now on what happens to the mountain of savings built up by those US households which weathered the worst of the lockdown fall-out and have pushed the overall US savings rate to a record 33% of income.While that rate will fall, those who expect cash to flood back into the economy may be disappointed. A 2012 paper by IMF researchers found that lingering uncertainty after the onset of the 2008-09 recession boosted saving rates durably, leading to lower consumption and growth in the wider economy.Moreover many US households are about to suffer “income cliffs” with one-off tax rebates expiring in May and pandemic unemployment compensation ending in July, Oxford Economics said, forecasting lower household income through the rest of the year.”This will likely act as a constraint on the consumer spending recovery well into 2021,” it said in a June 3 note.Such a scenario could force policy makers across the world to encourage savers to spend by speeding up moves to ease lockdowns, offering more economic support or pushing interest rates further towards, and even into, negative territory.The same dilemma exists in Europe. The European Central Bank expects household savings to rise six points to 19% of income this year and remain high next year due to what economists call “scarring”, when an event leaves a durable impact on behavior.Citing the risk of cash-hoarding, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has called for direct incentives to boost demand. The budget he will present next week will forecast a drop in consumer spending of 10% this year as households amass savings.Germany has announced a cut in valued-added tax for the second half of the year to drive consumption, coupling that with cash handouts to parents.Presenting hefty downgrades of the bank’s eurozone growth protections on Thursday, ECB President Christine Lagarde said the depth of scarring of domestic demand was one big factor that will determine the size of the contraction and recovery to come.She warned: “Overall, the [ECB] Governing Council sees the balance of risks … to the downside.”last_img read more


A Quebec court has invalidated parts of the medical aid in dying laws

first_imgMontreal CTV News 11 September 2019Family First Comment:This is the slippery slope. The bill being debated by our Parliament at the moment is simply the ‘foot in the door’ – as evidenced by overseas experience.“A Quebec Superior Court judge has invalidated sections of both the laws on medically assisted dying, ruling Wednesday they were too restrictive and therefore unconstitutional.”#rejectassistedsuicideA Quebec Superior Court judge has invalidated sections of both the federal and Quebec laws on medically assisted dying, ruling Wednesday they were too restrictive and therefore unconstitutional.Justice Christine Baudouin found in favour of two Quebecers struck by incurable degenerative diseases who’d argued they were denied a medically assisted death under laws that are discriminatory.Baudouin ruled invalid the Criminal Code requirement that a natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before someone can be eligible for assisted death. The condition has prevented some people from accessing the end-of-life procedure. She also invalidated a section of the Quebec law that says people must “be at the end of life.”Baudouin suspended application of the judgment for six months to give federal and provincial legislators a chance to modify the laws.But the court granted an exemption to Truchon and Gladu, allowing them to seek medical aid in dying during this period if they satisfy other conditions in the law.The laws in place deprived them of the right to have “a dignified and serene death”, she wrote in her lengthy decision.Baudouin, who heard from witnesses in January, agreed the rules governing who was entitled to medical assistance in dying were too restrictive and discriminatory.READ MORE: https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/a-quebec-court-has-invalidated-parts-of-the-medical-aid-in-dying-laws-1.4588622Keep up with family issues in NZ.last_img read more


Tyson Fury announces co-promotional deal with Top Rank/ESPN, Billy Joe Saunders moving up to super middleweight

first_img“I’m delighted that Frank and Queensberry Promotions have teamed up with Top Rank to promote my fights in America,” Fury said in a press release statement sent to Sporting News by Top Rank. “With ESPN and BT Sport behind me, the biggest sports platforms in the world are now linked up with the best heavyweight in the world!”Join DAZN and watch Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs on May 4Warren, the Hall of Fame boxing promoter, added: “This is a great move for Tyson Fury and a great move for Queensberry Promotions. By partnering up with ESPN and Top Rank in America, we’re giving Tyson the opportunity to perform on the biggest and most powerful platforms on both sides of the Atlantic and become a truly global star.”Top Rank chief Bob Arum also said: “Top Rank is very excited to enter into the promotional arrangement along with Queensberry Promotions for the lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury. He is a generational heavyweight talent at the peak of his powers.”What this means for a highly-anticipated rematch between Fury and Deontay Wilder remains to be seen, considering that Wilder is a Premier Boxing Champions fighter and PBC and Top Rank have a rather frigid relationship with each other.Nevertheless, Fury wasn’t the only one with big news Monday. His friend and fellow British boxer, Saunders, announced that he’s moving up from middleweight to super middleweight to fight for the vacant WBO super middleweight world title against Shefat Isufi at The SSE Arena in Wembley, England on Saturday, April 13.Last year wasn’t the best for the undefeated Saunders. Two injuries forced him out of title defenses against Martin Murray and then his October fight against Demetrius Andrade in Boston was scrapped after Saunders failed a VADA anti-doping test. He then decided to vacate his WBO belt. His replacement was Walter Kautondokwa, who stepped in at short notice to face Andrade, but was out classed in a very one-sided fight. Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders each delivered big news during a press conference in London on Monday.Fury, the reigning lineal heavyweight champion, and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions announced that they signed a multi-year co-promotional deal with Top Rank/ESPN, while Billy Joe Saunders announced that he’s moving up to super middleweight for a world title opportunity. The announcement of Saunders moving up in weight comes amidst reports that he was going to fight Andrade as a mandatory contender. Yet, Saunders says the timing to move up in weight is right.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year“It is a brilliant opening for me,” said Saunders in an official press release about moving up in weight for his April clash. “You’ve got these rumors that Andrade is going for shoulder surgery, as well as the financial side of it with the split — it all doesn’t add up. Me winning this super middleweight title will put me in a great position for unifications with the likes of Callum Smith, while we’ve got Chris Eubank boxing James DeGale at the weekend. There are a lot of big, big fights at this weight, but my real home of homes is middleweight, so I can move down at any time I want and be back as mandatory for my middleweight title and then become a three-time world champion.”He added: “So, I am really looking forward to it and Isufi comes as a really stiff test. He is very, very strong and you have to be really switched on and calculating with this sort of opponent. He is one of those who, with what he does, he does very, very well when the bell goes. He has boxed at light heavyweight and cruiserweight, so he is going to be a big, big lump and I need to make sure I am on it and stay away from those big bombs.”last_img read more