Asian Stocks Fall Further After New Virus Variant Spreads | Business News

By JOE McDONALD, AP Business Writer

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stock markets fell further Monday after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was found in more countries and governments imposed travel controls.

Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney declined, though losses were much smaller than Friday’s sharp decline after reports said the variant first spotted in South Africa appeared to be spreading around the globe.

On Friday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 index fell 2.3% for its biggest daily loss since February. Investors sold banks, energy and airline stocks and shifted money into bonds and other safe haven assets.

“Financial market volatility will likely persist through this week,” said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank in a report.

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The Shanghai Composite Index lost less than 0.1% to 3,561.94 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed less than 0.1% to 28,746.49. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 0.8% to 23,876.74.

The Kospi in Seoul declined 0.5% to 2,922.25 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 retreated 0.3% to 7,259.20. New Zealand and Southeast Asian markets also were lower.

It is unclear whether the omicron variant is more dangerous than earlier versions, though the World Health Organization called it “highly transmissible.”

Governments have imposed new travel controls, fueling investor fears about possible setbacks in containing the pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people since the first cases in late 2019.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday announced the government will halt as of Nov. 30 its recent change to its border control policies that had allowed foreign business travelers and trainees to enter the country after a long, pandemic-related hiatus.

The new variant has been found in Hong Kong, Belgium and Tel Aviv and South African cities including Johannesburg. The European Union, the United States and Britain imposed curbs on travel from Africa. Israel banned entry by foreigners.

Also Monday, Japan’s government reported retail sales rose 1.1% in October over the previous month. Vehicle sales fell 6.7%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 index dropped 106.84 points to 4,594.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 905.04 points, or 2.5%, to 34,899.34 after falling more than 1,000 at one point. The Nasdaq Composite lost 2.2%, to 15,491.66.

Exxon fell 3.5% while Chevron shed 2.3%. JPMorgan Chase dropped 3%.

United Airlines gave up 9.6% and American Airlines declined 8.8%.

Vaccine makers benefited. Pfizer shares rose more than 6% while Moderna shares jumped more than 20%.

Investors shifted money into bonds and companies that benefited from previous rounds of anti-disease controls. Online meetings service company Zoom Communications rose nearly 6%.

The omicron variant might complicate planning by central banks that are deciding when and how to withdraw stimulus that is boosting stock prices.

Investors were rattled last week when notes from the Federal Reserve’s October meeting showed officials said they were ready to consider raising interest rates sooner than planned in response to higher inflation. The Fed previously said its first rate hike might not come until late 2022.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude surged $3.70 to $71.85 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rebounding from Friday’s $10.24 plunge. Brent crude jumped $3.38 to $74.97 per barrel in London.

The dollar rose to 113.68 Japanese yen from Friday’s 113.19 yen. The euro rose to $1.1280 from $1.1319.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Great News for Business owners looking for Citizenship by Investment

Then we have good news for you.

In the latest interview with CTrustGlobal CEO, we found out that the fastest, easiest, and affordable citizenship by investment program, the Commonwealth of Dominica, now allows you to travel visa-free to China.

Dominica is one of the oldest citizenship by investment program launched in 1993 has a stern due diligence process to shortlist applicants for granting Dominica passports.

“This is indeed a historical decision by the government of both great nations, will greatly increase the freedom of movement for the Dominica passport holders and boost their business with China, the international business hub,” says CTrustGlobal CEO

CTrustGlobal is the first and one of the leading Caribbean citizenship by investment firms in the middle east; they have affiliates in many countries around the globe.

By providing a second passport to the clients, helps them:

  • travel around the world with no visas, borders, or limits
  • run transparent and protected business in several countries
  • have a reduced tax liability (Dominica offers 0% global income tax rate for their citizens).

“One will experience real freedom after obtaining second citizenship” CTrustGlobal CEO continues “One can travel visa-free around the world anytime, anywhere, better education opportunities for kids and a lot more.”

“In current covid times, we have experienced a 65 percent increase for inquiry from developing countries like India, Pakistan and middle eastern nations Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan. We are expecting a huge spike in the demand after China’s addition to Dominica visa-free list” says CTrustGlobal CEO.

An individual can obtain the Dominica passport starting from 100,000 USD through donation option and for family four can go up to 175,000 USD excluding other fees.

Here are the answers to the most common questions about Dominica citizenship by investment

Can children from previous marriages obtain citizenship?

Children from previous marriages can obtain citizenship. It’s obligatory to obtain the notarial consent of the second parent.

Do I need to visit the country to obtain citizenship?

No need to visit Dominica to obtain citizenship.

Is it necessary to renounce my citizenship?

No need to renounce your citizenship, as Dominica allows dual citizenship.

How to get a US visa using a Dominica passport?

Dominica citizens can apply for a United States long-term visa having a validity of 10 years, with the right to stay in the country for up to 6 months a year. Visa applications may be submitted to one of the U.S. consulates.

In what cases my application could be rejected?

  • By providing false information.
  • Existence of outstanding conviction or criminal proceedings for serious criminal offenses in any country of the world.
  • If the applicant poses a potential threat to public order, national security, or threat to public order, national security, or the reputation of Dominica or any other country.
  • If your application for a visa to a country with which Dominica has a visa-free regime has been denied.

For more information and to find out if you are eligible for Dominica citizenship contact the CTrustGlobal office.

Photo –

SOURCE Caribbean Trust

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‘I even miss the airline delays:’ Meet the business travelers who can’t wait to get back on the road – Washington Post

‘I even miss the airline delays:’ Meet the business travelers who can’t wait to get back on the road  Washington Post

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business trip

The Impact of the Future of Work on Business Travel

The main stage Thursday morning at the Global Business
Travel Association featured future-of-work strategist Heather McGowan who
turned the structure of work sideways and offered new perspectives on how a culturally,
racially, gender and geo-diverse workforce would redefine the position of their
jobs within the context of their lives. The most immediate evidence of that
future and arguably the most impactful for business travel managers is the vast
scope of the remote workforce and the complexities—and as well as
opportunities—that will come with it.

A panel discussion with corporate travel heavy hitters—BCD
Travel CEO John Snyder, ARC CEO Lauri Reishus and Deem president David
Grace—followed McGowan’s presentation to discuss the implications of several of
her themes for the future of business travel. The panel was moderated by Envoy
founder and CEO Scott Wayne. The following are edited excerpts from that

Scott Wayne: Who are your employees today? Where are
they and who are they? How are you measuring them?

Lauri Reishus: They are all over, but mostly at home.
We never closed our offices [but] we have grown our remote workforce in the
U.S. and we have been doing really well from a business resilience perspective.
However, the pandemic hit us in the middle of a five-year transformation
effort… re-platforming of our products and new tech stack. That has created
challenges for us working remotely effectively.

We traditionally were an employer who has three locations
and wanted people to be close to those locations. Now we have opened up our
search across the nation and have found that to be working very well for us. We’re
finding talent that we wouldn’t have attracted if we insisted on that
close-to-physical-plant approach. We are still working on what that looks like
when we do return to the office.

In terms of measurements, they are the same. We have
employees providing operational support, service level agreements—you can easily
see how people contribute to the achievement of those or not. But most employees
are working on product developments and new programs and it’s really about [whether
we] are we hitting milestones. That hasn’t changed. But honestly, we’ve
struggled; we’re working on the digital transformation of our business. [There
has been] a variety of [contributing] factors, but one is our inability to get
together to collaborate. It’s difficult to envision major business process re-engineering
when you can’t get together and draw it out together. It’s proven to us that
being together is really valuable. But it won’t be five days a week, it will be
situational… but we need to get that collaboration going again.

Wayne: And what about maintaining the culture of an
organization? How do you do that in a remote work environment?

John Snyder: Culture drives everything. We are
blessed at BCD to have a positive culture. That was a key concern of mine and
our entire leadership team going into the pandemic. We had to go back to basics.
We built everything on trust and respect; let’s do the same thing.

We went to regular communication to entire global staff. We were
very transparent about what was going on. It wasn’t easy. There was the good,
bad and ugly in those communications. It went out on a weekly basis. It was
received incredibly well. Ten years ago we opened an ‘Ask John’ forum for our
employees to ask me questions or give me advice on how to run the company … and
that’s been fun for me. During the pandemic, the platform [traffic] for Ask
John went up 5,000 percent. Mostly [employees] were thankful we were so open
honest with the communications, but there were some tough messages that I had
to respond to. But [all that activity] gave me a clear indication that we were
hitting home with our employees and keeping the culture strong.

We [also] rejiggered our global intranet. We had a huge
virtual workforce before [the pandemic], but it went overnight to 100 percent. We
realized a big part of our culture was our people being able to interact with
their colleagues on a daily basis. And they no longer had that. So we made our
intranet a digital entry point as a social water cooler. So employees could
come together, share what’s going on with their job, what’s going on at home,
praise each other… that went over very well.

Wayne: As the CEO of Deem, you are focused on
personalization of travel, creating the travel experience. What are the ramifications
of the “Great Reflection” on how we organize our lives with work…what
are the ramifications in terms of business travelers?

David Grace: It’s a massive opportunity. As an
industry we’ve talked for a long time about personalization. And putting the
traveler at the center of what we do. I’m not sure as an industry we’ve done
that well. John and Lauri just talked about… personalizing the work experience in
the office, not in the office, where they work, in their community. That’s driving
all kinds of new traveler needs.

You have to meet the needs of your employees; [they] are the
most important asset we have. Its’ not always what’s the most economical, but
rather, what does that person need to do? You need to offer that personalization
within a context that it fits the program and fits the policy, but [the
employees] don’t even [have to] know it’s there. And it’s not about Covid all
the time. We have to drive for overall safety and personalization for the
workforce. We have to make [travel] easy and … make personalization the center
of that. We have to do this. It’s done in the consumer world, and we have to do
it here as well. A lot of what we’ve done in the corporate travel industry has
been about command and control. What we need to do is delight and enable. If
you can do that, [travelers] will drive more to your policy, drive more your
program and you’ll have greater visibility around duty of care.

Wayne: Let’s talk about volumes and reduced travel
footprint with sustainability and in an era when we digitize everything.

Reishus: I don’t think any of us know what the impact
of work from home will be. But as we look at hiring more remote employees,
don’t we also need to understand if we can afford to fly them in? It might be
once a month, it might be a couple times a year. For overall forecasts… we
expect to see air travel end this year about 30 percent below 2019. And a fairly
modest forecast for the end of 2022, we see it about 20 percent below 2019. But
honestly, this is a forecast in November 2021. It’s a guess based on the best
information we can glean from the industry. Time will tell.

Snyder: Every time I’ve predicted what will happen
the last 18 months, I’ve been wrong. So I’ve retired my crystal ball. But I
think we’ll settle into something 15 to 20 percent below pre-pandemic levels.
But Lauri hit on it… With all our employees virtual and in remote cities all
around the globe, there will be a resurgence of collaboration travel. where
employees who never traveled before are now working [remotely] but they need to
go to an office to collaborate with their customers and their colleagues. That
could potentially make up half the gap that we may lose coming out of the
pandemic. Those remote employees will have to interact with their colleagues.

Wayne: Is sustainability going to stick?

Grace: It always seems to be tied to how the economy is
doing… but it’s different this time. The look/feel/engagement around sustainability
is, for lack of a better term, sustained. But [the travel industry] has to get
to the point where the consumer can digest carbon emissions information and [we]
also need to give that reporting to the corporate so they can make decisions about
how engaged they’re going to be. Because a lot of that will be working with
their suppliers to help them manage it. [Deem has] to work together to give
visibility as a technology platform, but we don’t have control over the airplane
or car or hotel does as far as their [carbon] footprint. But [the booking
platform] can give that visibility and help travelers make the right decision.
And the bigger question is what premium is that company willing to buy or pay
for to make that right decision. And every company will be different on that.  

Snyder: [Sustainability] is here to stay. We ran a
survey having travel buyers rank what is most important to them coming out of
the pandemic. In the pandemic, duty of care shot to number one. Now, we are
seeing sustainability ramp up aggressively. In the past year, we haven’t seen a
single request for proposal that didn’t have a sustainability checklist. I
applaud people for doing that. … But we need to take it beyond the checklist.
We need to sit down as partners—the TMC the buyer and any other suppliers that need
to be a part of that—but use your TMC as a helping board to build your program,
set rules and help you drive and track those goals. We’re at a point where we
need to get beyond the checklist and put formal plans in place. I realize
there’s investment in that—some companies are ready, some aren’t.

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business trip

Southwest to Add Self-Service Portal for Business Customers

Southwest Airlines is in the early stages of development on a self-service travel portal for its Southwest Business program, the airline announced Wednesday at the Global Business Travel Association in Orlando. 

The company is partnering with Slalom Consulting to develop the product on Salesforce, and the portal will become the primary location for travel managers and travel management companies to keep up to date with their Southwest programs. 

“We hear from travel managers and TMCs that they need more self-service,” VP of Southwest Business Dave Harvey told BTN. “It’s one more step to make it easier to do business with Southwest.”

Harvey said the portal should be ready for a mid-2022 launch. He added that the company is prioritizing a list of tasks travel managers and TMCs want automated—such as reporting around sustainability—and that new features will be added through 2022. 

Southwest also announced that it joined the Concur TripLink Network, and Southwest Rapid Rewards members now can link their SAP Concur accounts. Users can see their company’s applicable discounted rates and other contractual benefits while booking travel on or via the airline’s mobile app. Once an itinerary is booked, the user’s data flows to SAP Concur for expenses, duty of care and other reporting needs.

Further, the company announced that Southwest Business customers who use the airline’s Swabiz managed travel tool now can book and manage aspects of their trips on their mobile devices. The functionality is available on iOS and the carrier expects it to be available for Android devices by the end of 2021.

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Climate change’s real and present threat to business travel

Frank Harrison World Travel Protection

Frank Harrison is regional security director, UK & North America, at World Travel Protection

The recent COP26 conference in Glasgow drove home the message that we – as individuals, as organisations and as an industry – all have responsibility for reducing our environmental impact and implementing behavioural changes that can play their part in doing so.

Sadly, the realities of climate change are more evident than ever. We are now witnessing widespread wildfires across the Western United States and on the islands and mainland of Greece, unprecedented rainfall in Greenland, and the human impacts of deforestation in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia.

The effects of the increasing intensity of significant weather events globally and the resulting implications of loss and recovery, whether financial or a lack of available resources, mean we can no longer ignore climate change and its impact on businesses.  

Environmental-related risks are fast becoming the paramount issue for insurers; and unlike risks with known and quantifiable ratings, climate change has an over-arching effect impacting many factors, from global supply chains to potentially destabilising civil societies.

The failure to protect our environment and the impacts of increasingly destructive severe weather and natural disasters poses a greater risk than the combined threats of infectious diseases. The result may be mass migrations of people from impacted regions and political inability.

There is no switch to turn climate change off. It will require concerted and long-term efforts at all levels, from individuals to governments.

Travel in all its forms – the commute, leisure travel, business travel and the supply chain – all impact the environment. Globally, carbon calculators have become very effective at demonstrating this impact through measurable carbon footprints of activities. Understanding your organisation’s carbon footprint and creating the transparency for business and individuals is the first step to addressing the effects of climate change as an organisation and to enable re-thinking and acting.
Before making decisions around sustainability policies, understanding your impact should be the driver to affect carbon footprint reduction planning. With over a year and a half of working from home for many people, digital interfaces have become common and accepted for most aspects of work.

Businesses need to weigh the cost-benefit over the net carbon footprint of travel. Is the travel core to business operations, development and relationship management? Can a digital interface suffice?

Companies should not only calculate the cost of a trip but also include the offsetting costs in case the trip cannot be avoided. Business should also aim to reduce the carbon footprint of their travellers and help individual employees make informed decisions.

Ask yourself this: as a business, do you address climate change risk within your travel risk management? Many businesses have well-developed business continuity programmes, crisis and emergency event management procedures, and travel assistance capabilities. An organisation’s business travel needs to focus on the traveller, the destination and the activity conducted.

The business traveller needs to be prepared, travel with confidence, be risk-aware, adapt, and be confident to leverage support. The easiest way to do this as an organisation is to provide travel assistance that engages your travellers with current and evolving information specifically for their journey.

Climate change brings many uncertainties, and your travellers will need to know that if they experience a weather event, environmental-related flight disruption, or a crisis or emergency event, that there is a means of emergency notification between employer and employee.

All businesses should be monitoring their carbon footprint, taking action to reduce it and, when the time comes for business travel, be prepared to deal with the effects of climate change.

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