French and Riviera News.Friday March 6th 2020

Coronavirus latest-16 people in the Alpes-Maritimes are now receiving hospital treatment after contracting the coronavirus.

4 new cases were detected in the department on Thursday with one case in the Var.

Three of those infected  are women aged 27,34 and 63 and are all from Nice.The fourth is a 76 year old man from Villeneuve Loubet.

A national helpline is available for information about the virus .It’s 0800 130 000.

In Monaco the information helpline is 00 377 92 05 55 00.

 

 

Telephone hoax-Police in the Var are warning residents to be on their guard about hoax phone calls in connection with the coronavirus outbreak.

Authorities say that they’ve received a number of calls from worried residents who say that they’ve been contacted by someone purporting to represent the government and wants to come to their home to check the water supply for signs of the virus.

Police say that any such calls should be terminated immediately and that there is no problem with the water anywhere in the department.Anyone who receives such a call is asked to report it by calling 04 94 39 03 34.

 

Feeling the squeeze-The economic cost of the cancellation of the Menton Lemon Festival is still being counted with the town hall and tourism office suggesting that more than 600,000 euros in lost revenue could be the final outcome.

While a local survey showed that 87 percent of residents thought that it was sensible to cancel the rest of the Festival because of fears over coronavirus and that public health should come before generating revenue ,local businesses say that they’ve lost substantial income.

The squeeze could be felt when the Menton town council votes on its next budget with cuts to some services a likely outcome.

 

Air traffic controllers-Several airlines including Easyjet and Air France have warned of possible disruption to services owing to industrial action by air traffic controllers from now until the 8th of March.

The effect of the industrial action is not totally clear but passengers are advised to check with their airline before setting out on their journey.

The strike is the latest in a series of protests over the government’s proposed pension reforms.

 

 

Pension protests-A large demonstration has been held in Nice over the government’s pension reforms.

Unions say that they won’t give up the fight against the reforms despite the government forcing them through by decree under Article 49.3 of the French constitution.

Further demonstrations and more strike action has been promised.

 

Bricks and Mortar-Property prices in the Alpes-Maritimes are bucking the national trend with a rise of 4.1 percent per square meter in the final quarter of 2019.

Official notary figures coupled with the industry standard Seloger/IPL survey show that the average price of property in Nice rose to 4,348 euros per square meter in the final quarter compared with 3,357 euros in Marseille and 3,004 euros in Montpellier.Prices in the Var are on the decline with the average cost per square meter in Toulon sinking to just 2,333 euros.

Nationally prices fell by 0.6 percent in the final quarter with the average price per square meter coming in at 3,472 euros.

However ,the Cote d’Azur remains desirable for property investors because of the climate and the proximity of the mountains.

The most expensive area of Nice is the area around the Place Massena and prices in Antibes with an average cost of 4,703 euros per square meter and Cannes where the average price is 4,119 euros with some areas exceeding 6,000 euros are also buoyant.

Barclays named best private bank in Monaco for Sustainable and Impact Investing in the 2020 Euromoney Survey -  Euromoney recently announced Barclays Private Bank as the best private bank in Monaco for ESG/Impact Investing, according to its 2020 Private Banking and Wealth Management Survey. The survey, which is based on peer review, covers 16 different product and client categories on a global and regional basis, and has ranking results in 50 countries.

Jean-Christophe Gerard, Head of Barclays Private Bank Europe, Monaco and Switzerland commented: “These awards recognise the best in the industry and we are proud that the market and our peers acknowledge our leading position in ESG/Impact Investing in Monaco. This, along with our increase of market share within the Principality, further demonstrates our local expertise with global reach makes us uniquely placed to deliver bespoke services and a unique product offering for our clients.”

Damian Payiatakis, Head of Impact Investing, noted: “Families in the Principality increasingly want their investment portfolios to reflect their values. Over the last few years, Barclays has integrated consideration of ESG and impact into our investment process and offerings, so it’s an honour to be recognised for these efforts. We are pleased to guide an increasing number of clients in how to protect and grow their assets, whilst making a positive contribution to our world.”

This year, 791 institutions took part in the survey, which also recognised Barclays Private Bank’s newly introduced Next Generation service and Servicing Business Owners proposition, as well as its services for high net worth clients (US$ 5m to US$ 30m) in the UK regional list. 

The awards were presented at the Euromoney Private Banking and Wealth Management survey awards dinner on 18 February 2020 at The Guildhall in London. The event was also attended by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Princess Anne of Edinburgh.

Knight Frank Wealth Report - Knight Frank French Riviera has just shared the new edition of the Wealth Report, the global perspective on prime property and investment, including global wealth movements, property hotspots around the world and luxury investment trends.

Among the several highlighted trends, the publication reveals the results of its Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100). The index, which tracks the movement of luxury residential prices in 100 city and second home markets globally for the 12-months to the end of December 2019 reveals European & Asian cities dominate top rankings. Monaco continues to be the most expensive destination in which to buy luxury residential property. US$1m buys just 16.4 square metres of accommodation here - the equivalent of a bedroom. This is followed by Hong Kong and London. To read the whole report >> Click here

 

In National News.

 

Coronavirus crisis meeting-President Macron has held a meeting with leading French doctors ,scientists and laboratory managers to discuss ways of preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

France says that there are no plans for the mass closure of schools and universities as is the case in Italy but that establishments in areas where there are clusters of the outbreak will remain shut.

France is currently on a “stage 2” alert which aims to control the spread of the virus for as long as possible although experts say that a move up to a “stage 3 " alert is all but inevitable.

There have been 423 reported cases of the virus so far in France and 7 deaths with numbers expected to increase substantially.

More than 100 new cases were detected on Thursday including 4 more in the Alpes-Maritimes.

16 people in the department are currently being treated in hospital and many more are self isolating.

 

Meanwhile scientists in China say that the Coronavirus has mutated into two strains,one more aggressive than the other which could make the development of a vaccine more difficult.

Researchers in Beijing say that the more aggressive strain which has infected some 70 percent of those tested has been dubbed “L Type” and is prevalent in the city of Wuhan where the virus first emerged.

The less infectious “S Type” which is thought to be the original Coronavirus has been linked to 30 percent of cases.

Genetic analysis of a man in the United States who tested positive in January have shown that its possible to be infected with both strains.

 

Give them a hand-French manufacturers of hand sanitizer are redoubling efforts to keep up with demand.

The countries biggest manufacturers are taking on extra staff with one saying that its sold 1.7 million units in the past 6 weeks compared with 800,000 for the whole of 2019.

Manufacturers say that with 20,000 pharmacies in France selling an average of ten units a day they’re having to produce 200,000 units a day just to keep up and that’s not counting the demand from schools,hospitals ,transport firms and supermarkets.

All manufacturers insist that they haven’t increased their prices and any extra mark-up is being passed on by retailers..

The government has moved to fix the price of hand sanitizers at retail outlets.

 

 

Train derailment-21 people including the driver have been injured after a high-speed TGV train derailed between Strasbourg and Paris on Thursday.

Authorities say that the accident was caused after an embankment collapsed around 30 kilometres north of Strasbourg.

The train remained intact but the locomotive keeled over and two other wagons came off the tracks.

Reports say that the driver was taken to hospital and many passengers were shaken up.There are no reports of any serious injuries.

 

Business.

 

Global stock markets have slid again on fears over the spread of Coronavirus.

Markets in Europe took a big hit on Thursday and were followed down by Wall Street with financial stocks, travel and airlines and consumer products all falling heavily.

As well as fears about the spread of the virus ,there are increasing concerns about the effect on the global economy with supply chains drying up and consumers not spending.

Leading economists are warning that many countries including big industrialised nations could face recession unless the virus is contained quickly which seems unlikely given the current projections.

Shares in Cineworld have plunged by 17 percent with the virus threatening to keep people away from movie theatres as the release of the new James Bond film was put back until November.

Estimates suggest that Coronavirus could impact the global box office by as much as 5 billion dollars.

 

Opec says that the threat of a global recession could halve expected oil demand in the first half of this year.

The producers cartel and its allies have agreed the deepest production cuts since the financial crisis of 2008.

At a meeting in Vienna ,Opec said it was planning to deepen production cuts of 2.1 million barrels a day by a further 1.5 million barrels or 3.6 percent of global supplies from next month.

The cartel will take responsibility for cuts of a million barrels a day and expects its allies in the Opec+ group led by Russia to cut the remaining 500,000 barrels from their combined production.

Some analysts say that the proposed cuts might be too little too late to prop up prices as a reduction in April of May will have little effect in the current environment.

 

And-The UK retailer John Lewis has warned that some stores may have to close as it announced its lowest employee bonus for 67 years.

Staff at John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose will receive an annual bonus of only 2 percent this year after the firm reported a 23 percent drop in profits.

The John Lewis Partnership said that it will be considering further store closures and reducing the size of some sites as part of a strategic review which is expected to be completed in the autumn.

The firm ,which is owned by its more than 80,000 staff through a trust said that annual profits fell to 123 million pounds in the year to the 25th of January driven by significantly reduced profitability in John Lewis stores.

Sport.

 

Rugby Union-It’s the penultimate weekend of the 6 Nations Championship although the match between Ireland and Italy in Dublin has been called off because of fears over the spread of coronavirus.

Two matches remain with England hoping to complete the Triple Crown when they face Wales at Twickenham tomorrow.

On Sunday Scotland host Grand Slam hopefuls France at Murrayfield.

 

Meanwhile England’s final game against Italy in Rome has now been postponed because of fears over the spread of the virus.

The match on the 15th of March had initially been due to be played behind closed doors in Rome but it’s now been called off completely.

 

Football-Manchester United are through to the quarter finals of the FA Cup in England.United beat Derby of the Championship 3-0 at Pride Park and will now face Norwich at Carrow Road in the last 8.

 

In the English Premier League this weekend-On Saturday Liverpool play Bournemouth.Arsenal host West Ham.Crystal Palace play Watford.Sheffield United face Norwich.Southampton play Newcastle.Wolves play Brighton and Burnley host Spurs.

On Sunday Chelsea play Everton and Manchester United play Manchester City.

Leicester play Aston Villa on Monday.

 

Cycling-Team Ineos have withdrawn from all events until the 23rd of March because of fears over the coronavirus.

The team has informed the sport’s governing body the UCI and says that riders plan to return for the tour of Catalonia later this month.

Meanwhile ,more riders have withdrawn from the Paris-Nice race because of fears over the spread of the virus.

 

Formula 1- The sport’s bosses have said they were not convinced that Ferrari’s 2019 engine but did not take it further because of the difficulty of proving it.

The FIA was responding to a complaint from 7 Formula 1 teams which expressed “strong objections “ to a confidential settlement with Ferrari.

The FIA said that it had decided that further action would not necessarily result in a conclusive case.

 

Meanwhile it’s still not certain that the season opening race in Melbourne will take place as Australia steps up controls in a bid to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed measures that will see all travellers from Italy face extensive health checks before they’re allowed to enter the country.

The checks will affect staff from Ferrari ,AlphaTauri as well as the sport’s tyre supplier Pirelli.

If any member of the affected staff fails a health check they will not be allowed into Australia.

If one or more of the teams are unable to compete in the race then it will be declared nul and void.

Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn said earlier this week that any race that did take place with a weakened field would not count for championship points.

 

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate to strong westerly winds across the Var.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 8 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 15-16 degrees.

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