President Donald Trump will not take the dramatic step for now of seeking control of the National Guard, his national security adviser said on Sunday as protests flared in U.S. cities after the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis in police custody last week. Civil unrest has swelled following Monday’s death of George Floyd, who was shown on video gasping for breath as a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck. A presidential move to federalize National Guard troops is rare, occurring about 12 times since the mid-1900s, mostly during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, according to the National Guard press office. It was not invoked in protests following the deaths of other black men in recent years in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore. The Minnesota National Guard has been armed following detection by the FBI of a “credible lethal threat” specifically against it, Army Major General Jon Jensen, the head of that state’s Guard, told reporters in a call. Jensen said he told Minnesota Governor Tim Walz about the threat, which the FBI informed the Guard about on Thursday, and Walz approved the arming of the Guard. Troops were carrying ammunition in magazine pouches, not in firearms, Jensen added. Army Major General Thomas Carden, the head of the Georgia National Guard, told reporters the Guard was ready to support authorities. But he said he believed Americans should not get used to uniformed service members having to secure people inside the country. “While we’re glad to do it and honored to do it, this is a sign of the times that we need to do better as a country. We stand ready to do this mission anytime we’re called on to do it, but I pray I never have to do it again,” Carden said.
Japan’s factory activity shrank at the fastest pace since March 2009 in May, a private sector survey showed on Monday, as manufacturers widely struggled with the demand blow from the coronavirus pandemic. The final au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 38.4 from 41.9 in April, its lowest since March 2009, and matching a preliminary reading last month. The survey pointed to the quickest contraction in output, new orders and work backlog since early 2009, as government-imposed lockdowns globally halted economic activity and hurt consumer sentiment. The pandemic has been particularly disruptive for trade-reliant nations such as Japan, which already slipped into recession in the first quarter. The government last week lifted the state of emergency and approved a second $1.1 trillion stimulus package, bringing the total pledged to save the economy from the pandemic to about 40% of gross domestic product. A silver lining in the gloomy data were employment conditions as the rate of job shedding eased from April, when the drop in staffing levels was the sharpest in more than a decade. While easing lockdown measures will be positive for the economic environment, it is clear that dislocations will remain. Until we see a sustained improvement in demand, manufacturing conditions are likely to remain fragile.
Financial stocks led Indian shares higher on Monday, as the country geared up to further open its economy after a months-long lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 2.46% at 9,817.45 by 0350 GMT, helped by a broadly stronger mood to Asian markets, while the S&P BSE Sensex gained 2.44% to 33,206.18. The Nifty 50 rose nearly 6% over the previous week led by a rally in beaten-down banking stocks. The Nifty bank index rose 3.9%, while the financial index .NIFTYFIN gained 3.6%. India permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen from June 8 but extended lockdowns in high-risk zones until June 30 as a record high number of cases were detected nationwide on Saturday. The reopen plan comes as data on Friday showed the domestic economy grew at 3.1% in the January-March quarter, its slowest pace in at least eight years. Meanwhile, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 2% as progress on opening up economies helped offset jitters over riots in U.S. cities.
Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Monday as traders hedged bets with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June. Brent crude fell 34 cents to $37.50 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for July delivery were at $35.17 a barrel, down 32 cents, by 0123 GMT. The price falls come after front-month Brent and WTI prices posted their strongest monthly gains in years in May. Gains were boosted by OPEC crude production dropping to its lowest in two decades with demand is expected to recover as more nations emerge from coronavirus lockdowns. Still, tensions between the United States and China weighed on global financial markets while traders are also keeping an eye on riots over the weekend that have engulfed major U.S. cities. Saudi Arabia is proposing to extend record cuts from May and June until the end of the year, but has yet to win support from Russia, sources have told Reuters. Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait. Russia has no objection to the meeting being brought forward to June 4. Meanwhile supply in North America is also falling as data from Baker Hughes Co showed that the U.S. and Canada oil and gas rigs count dropped to a record low in the week to May 29.