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  • Apple is the best bellwether for the coronavirus fallout

    Outbreak is supply and demand shock for tech giant and markets must wake up to the global risks

    There are plenty of signs of the strains China’s economy is coming under as a result of the coronavirus. The sharp fall in German business confidence is one because Europe’s biggest economy suffers when demand for its exports falls. The decision by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s flag carrier airline, to cancel 40% of its flights in February and March is another.

    But the best bellwether of what has been happening in China is Apple, which has warned that it is on course to miss its revenue forecasts in the first three months of 2020. China is a big market for Apple – accounting for about one-sixth of its global revenues – and is the source of most of its products. The coronavirus represents a demand and a supply shock to the company.

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  • How should Jeff Bezos invest his $10bn Earth Fund?

    Scientists propose best use of funds pledged by Amazon founder to fight climate crisis

    Amazon revenue to restore the Amazon rainforest? A political war chest in the US to counter the pernicious influence of big oil? Or research funding for “moonshot” technologies to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere?

    The world’s richest man is never going to be short of suggestions for how to spend money, but Jeff Bezos’s announcement of a new $10bn (£7.67bn) Earth Fund to fight global heating has raised the question of what is the best bang for a climate buck.

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  • HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide as profits plunge

    Bank warns of ‘meaningful’ job losses in UK and of impact of coronavirus outbreak in Asia

    HSBC has said it will slash 35,000 jobs over three years as part of a major shake-up as it issued a warning over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Asia.

    The interim chief executive, Noel Quinn, confirmed on Tuesday that plans to cut $4.5bn (£3.5bn) worth of costs would involve slashing about 15% of the group’s global workforce. “We would expect our headcount to decrease from the current level of 235,000 to be closer to 200,000 in 2022,” Quinn said.

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  • Spain risks US ire after approving digital services tax

    Similar levy on tech firms in France provoked threats of retaliation from Washington

    Spain’s government has approved a digital services tax, after a similar move by France that prompted threats of retaliation from the US.

    The levy will place a 3% tax on earnings from online ads, deals brokered on digital platforms and sales of user data by tech companies with at least €750m (£623m) in global revenue such as Facebook and Google.

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