COVID-19 lockdown hurts Germany’s services sector

COVID-19 lockdown hurts Germany’s services sector
Germany introduced a ‘lockdown light’ on November 2 to contain the spread of COVID-19. (AFP)
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Updated 23 November 2020

COVID-19 lockdown hurts Germany’s services sector

COVID-19 lockdown hurts Germany’s services sector
  • Activity in the factory sector eased to a still-healthy 57.9 from 58.2 in October
  • Germany introduced a ‘lockdown light’ on Nov. 2 to contain the spread of COVID-19

BERLIN: German service sector activity has contracted faster this month after restrictive measures were introduced to tame a second wave of COVID-19 infections, a survey showed on Monday.
IHS Markit’s flash services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 46.2 from 49.5 in October, sliding further below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction and marking a second straight month of decline. A Reuters poll had predicted a drop to 46.3.
The survey also showed that activity in the manufacturing sector continued to grow, albeit at a slightly slower pace, offering support to an economy otherwise forecast to post its deepest recession this year since World War Two.
Activity in the factory sector eased to a still-healthy 57.9 from 58.2 in October, beating a forecast for a drop to 56.5.
“The resilience being exhibited by the manufacturing sector, which the survey shows is benefiting for growing sales to Asia in particular, supports our view that any downturn in the final quarter is expected to be far shallower than those seen in the first half of the year,” said IHS Markit’s Associate Director Phil Smith.
“The positive news surrounding the development of COVID vaccines has helped lift the spirits among German businesses, many of which are now hoping for a return to normality over the next 12 months,” he added.
“This looks to have been a supportive factor in the latest employment figures, which show factory jobs numbers moving closer to stabilization and services payrolls edging higher.”
Germany introduced a “lockdown light” on Nov. 2 to contain the spread of COVID-19.
IHS Markit’s flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which tracks the manufacturing and services sectors that together account for more than two-thirds of the economy, edged down to 52.0 from 55.0 in October.


Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
A view of Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, during test launch of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. January 17, 2021. (REUTERS)
Updated 18 January 2021

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try

Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reaches space on 2nd try
  • The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats

LOS ANGELES: Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit reached space on Sunday, eight months after the first demonstration flight of its air-launched rocket system failed, the company said.
A 70-foot-long (21.34-meter-long) LauncherOne rocket was released from beneath the wing of a Boeing 747 carrier aircraft off the coast of Southern California, ignited moments later and soared toward space.
The two-stage rocket carried a cluster of very small satellites known as CubeSats developed and built as part of a NASA educational program involving US universities.
The launch occurred after the Boeing 747-400 took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert north of Los Angeles and flew out over the Pacific Ocean to a drop point beyond the Channel Islands.
“According to telemetry, LauncherOne has reached orbit!” Virgin Orbit tweeted later. “Everyone on the team who is not in mission control right now is going absolutely bonkers.”
The rocket’s upper stage coasted for a period, reignited to circularize the orbit and then deployed the nine CubeSats.
The flight developments were announced on social media. The launch was not publicly livestreamed.
Virgin Orbit, based in Long Beach, California, is part of a wave of companies targeting the launch market for increasingly capable small satellites, which may range in sizes comparable to a toaster on up to a home refrigerator.
Competitor Rocket Lab, also headquartered in Long Beach, has deployed 96 payloads in 17 launches of its Electron rocket from a site in New Zealand. Another of its rockets was nearing launch Sunday.
Virgin Orbit touts the flexibility of its capability to begin its missions by using airports around the globe.
Virgin Orbit attempted its first demonstration launch in May 2020.
The rocket was released and ignited but only briefly flew under power before it stopped thrusting. The lost payload was only a test satellite.
The company later said an investigation determined there was a breach in a high-pressure line carrying cryogenic liquid oxygen to the first-stage combustion chamber.
Virgin Orbit is separate from Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Branson to carry passengers on suborbital hops in which they will experience the sensations and sights of spaceflight.
Virgin Galactic expects to begin commercial operations this year in southern New Mexico.