The bad news for the movie business keeps piling up, enough that B. Riley analyst Eric Wold further cut his box office forecasts for both this year and 2021, before suggesting something of a return to old levels in 2022.

But in the meantime, the pandemic pinch that left theaters shut for months and Hollywood studios rescheduling most of their slates into next year or beyond continues to batter the business.

The latest news includes U.K. exhibitor chain Vue saying it will partially close a quarter of its screens during the week. The chain said in a statement that it will close 21 of its 87 theaters Tuesday through Thursday, beginning next week, “to ensure that our business is financially well-placed to withstand the uncertainty ahead.”

The move is similar to one by British competitor Odeon. Cineworld, which also owns the No. 2 U.S. chain Regal, took an even more drastic step, closing all its U.K. and U.S. locations for the next several weeks.

The situation is even more grim for B&B Theatres, the sixth-largest chain in the United States. The company warned that it was a few months away from bankruptcy if it doesn’t receive new content or government aid.

No. 1 U.S. chain AMC issued a similar warning last summer, then restructured its debt, cut a landmark revenue-sharing deal with NBCUniversal, and said it planned to issue 15 million new shares of stock. In response to the Cineworld closures, AMC said last week that it would keep theaters open and strive to open more, depending in part on potential revenues from that NBCU deal.

But the situation is ugly overall for the industry. Cineworld’s closure announcement came soon after MGM pushed back the

PARIS (Reuters) – Global airlines warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus-stricken industry was on course to burn through another $77 billion in cash in the second half of 2020, calling on governments to renew expiring wage support programmes.

a large air plane on a runway: FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Santiago

© Reuters/Ivan Alvarado
FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Santiago

“The issue now is that aid, particularly the wage subsidies, is starting to be withdrawn,” Brian Pearce, chief economist at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told reporters.


Load Error

Airlines consumed $51 billion in cash in the second quarter as the pandemic brought global travel to a near-standstill, the industry body said.

The call for increased support came as U.S. airlines begin furloughs of more than 32,000 workers amid fading hopes for a new federal bailout package. Wage support programmes are also tapering off in Europe and elsewhere.

Whereas the withdrawal of subsidies makes sense for sectors in recovery, IATA warned of further airline bankruptcies in the northern hemisphere winter as the collapse in revenue continues to dwarf cost savings. The average carrier now has cash for 8.5 months of operations, Pearce said.

“We’re facing some tough winter months for airlines when cash flows are always seasonally weak,” he said. “We’re looking (at) airlines getting into trouble if not failing without either further government support or (being) able to access capital markets for more cash.”

Airlines are pushing for a global system of pre-flight COVID-19 tests to replace quarantines and travel restrictions they blame for worsening the travel collapse.

(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

Source Article

LONDON (Reuters) – Five hundred of the world’s leading charities and social groups have sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund warning that its support programmes, which have had to be ramped up to cope with COVID-19, were condemning many countries to years of austerity.

The concern raised before the IMF and World Bank annual meetings next week said current programmes would see 80 countries required to implement austerity worth on average 3.8% of their annual economic output between 2021 and 2023.

An analysis by one of the 500 signatories of the letter, the European Network on Debt and Development, estimated that future fiscal consolidation would represent almost five times the resources allocated to this year’s COVID-19 packages.

More than half the projected consolidation measures — equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product — will take place next year, they added. Some 56 countries would be left with higher public debts by 2023; 30 would end up paying an additional amount equivalent to their 2020 Covid-19 packages to creditors as debt service costs rose every year.

“For 46 countries for which data is available, a decade of austerity measures will reduce public expenditures from 25.7% to 23% of GDP between 2020 and 2030,” the analysis said. The letter called on the IMF to “immediately stop promoting austerity around the world”.

The IMF has responded to an unprecedented number of calls for emergency financing as a result of this year’s pandemic and lockdown measures driving the global economy into a severe recession.

More than 100 countries have requested its help so far. The IMF has doubled the access to its emergency facilities — the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument — expecting demand for support to reach about $100 billion.

(Graphic: Debt and expenditure jumps due to COVID

Video: How much could Rishi Sunak’s plan cost? (Sky News)

How much could Rishi Sunak’s plan cost?



a small boat in a body of water: MailOnline logo

© Provided by This Is Money
MailOnline logo

Savvy drivers and homeowners who switch their insurance provider every year may be facing a steep rise in the premiums on offer from next year. 

The financial watchdog is proposing to ban what has become known as the ‘loyalty penalty’ from late 2021, potentially saving some 6 million customers £3.7billion over 10 years. 

Currently in the motor insurance market premiums rise by an average of 2.54 per cent at renewal, according to Consumer Intelligence. In home insurance, premiums go up by an average 12.67 per cent every year. 

Banning this will mean that insurers can no longer reserve the best deals for new customers while at the same time charging more to existing policyholders who don’t switch away when they renew. 

a small boat in a body of water: The FCA plans to ban insurers from raising premiums for loyal car and home customers

© Provided by This Is Money
The FCA plans to ban insurers from raising premiums for loyal car and home customers

It comes after years of campaigning from This is Money and others warning about the penalty and encouraging customers to fight back. 

While the rule change is good news for the majority of policyholders who choose to stay with their existing provider, it is likely to penalise those who have bothered to shop around. 

Insurance experts Consumer Intelligence said: ‘One thing is absolute – premiums are going to rise. 

‘In the current model, insurers offer heavily discounted new business prices to acquire new customers, but don’t make profit until year two or three of the policy. So naturally, prices will need to even out to support the sustainability of the industry.’

The price of loyalty penalty 

The FCA has calculated the differences in prices paid by existing and

“Enrolling in Health Insurance,” Wellness Corporate Solutions

September 28, 2020; New York Times

One of the worst times to lose your health insurance would have to be during a pandemic. To date, 12 million people have lost employer-based health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic shutdown, but 85 percent of those affected have been able to find substitute insurance, whether that be through the Obamacare health exchange, Medicaid, or a spouse’s plan.

But as the end of the year approaches and CARES Act protections expire, that could be changing. Stan Dorn, the director of the National Center for Coverage Innovation at Families USA, raises the alarm. Dorn tells Reed Abelson of the New York Times that, “we are on track to have the largest coverage losses in our history.”

Abelson notes that, “Many businesses have tried to keep their workers insured during the pandemic. Employers relied on government aid, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) authorized by Congress to ease the economic fallout, to pay for premiums through the spring and summer.”

Government funding appears to have “prevented the economic crisis from becoming a coverage crisis right away,” says Leemore Dafny, a professor at Harvard Business School and lead author of an article last month looking at the pandemic’s effect on small business. According to Dafny, nearly a third of small businesses surveyed in late June said they were not sure they could keep paying premiums beyond August.

“We will probably really start to see it during renewal time, November and December,” Mark Hall, a professor who directs the health law and policy program at Wake Forest University,” remarks. “That will be when the money really dries up.”

Abelson notes that many small business owners prioritized using PPP dollars to keep their employees on health insurance, even