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Business Briefs

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2020 | 8:24 AM

Branson Centre goes digital

The Caribbean branch of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship has shifted fully to online delivery of its services.

This includes online training and support in three business development areas: finance, strategic planning and marketing.

Branson Centre is also developing a series of public webinars targeted at business leaders and their teams that will focus on recovery, resilience and growth.

“We want to support entrepreneurs so that they can be better equipped to withstand rapid operational change,” said Ainsworth. “This means taking a look at incorporating wellness in one’s daily routine, as well as remote work considerations and strategies for sustainability,” she said.

US trade gap rises to US$44b as virus slams commerce

America's trade deficit rose in March as the coronavirus outbreak battered America's trade with the world.

The US Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad widened 11.6 per cent in March to US$44.4 billion, from US$39.8 billion in February. US exports fell 9.6 per cent to US$187.7 billion on plunging orders for cars, auto parts and industrial machines. Imports fell 6.2 per cent to US$232.2 billion.

Total trade – exports plus imports – came in at US$419.9 billion in March, down 7.8 per cent from February and 11.4 per cent from March 2019.

The politically sensitive deficit in the trade of goods with China fell 21.3 per cent to US$15.5 billion in March as exports rose slightly and imports plummeted.

Puerto Rico rejects austerity

Puerto Rico’s government said Monday it has asked a federal control board to delay austerity measures for at least two years and warned it doesn’t have enough money to pay bondholders as it struggles with the costs of recent earthquakes, the COVID-19 crisis and the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Officials said that they submitted a revised fiscal plan requested by the board that oversees the island’s finances and said the US territory is bracing for billions of dollars in losses as a result of shrinking tax revenue and a drop in tourists, among other factors.

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake on Saturday caused damage in several southern towns, continuing a string of quakes that began in late December and have caused an estimated US$1 billion in damage.