UK to ease travel restrictions for COVID-19 'low-risk' countries

China Industrial Profits Increase for First Time Since November

Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it’s going next.

The profits of Chinese industrial enterprises rebounded in May for the first time since November 2019, signaling the economy is continuing to recover from the coronavirus shutdowns

Industrial profits rose 6% to 582.34 billion yuan ($82 billion) last month from a year earlier, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Sunday. That compared with a decline of 4.3% in April.

Profits contracted 19.3% in the first five months of the year to 1.84 trillion yuan, and were down 39.3% at state-owned enterprises and 11% at private companies, according to the statement.

The improvement in May was due to smaller cost increases and higher profit at the refining, power, chemical and steel sectors, the bureau said in a separate statement.

“Domestic growth momentum continued to improve in May and likely into June, led by stronger property activities and infrastructure investment,” Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Group AG in Hong Kong, wrote in a note before the data release. “We still expect policies to remain supportive, especially in light of the potential headwinds and high degree of uncertainty.”

— With assistance by Sharon Chen, and Yinan Zhao

Nintendo Theme Park in Japan Won’t Open This Summer

Universal Studios Japan decided to postpone an opening of the Nintendo-themed area that was originally scheduled for this summer due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, people familiar with the matter said.

The theme park, owned by Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, is expected to make a formal announcement as early as this week, potentially with information on the new schedule, the two people said, asking not to be identified because the decision is not yet public. Construction of the area is nearly complete and Comcast is still aiming for an opening this year, they said.

Nintendo Co. and Universal Parks & Resorts tied up in 2015 and announced they would bring Nintendo-themed areas within Universal Studios theme parks around the world, beginning with Osaka’s before the now-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The area is expected to boost visitors to the popular amusement destination and raise awareness of Nintendo’s popular game characters, and boost sales of the company’s consoles and game software.

Universal Studios Japan and Nintendo didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment outside of business hours.

One of the people said the plan was for Comcast to open before the Tokyo Olympics, and not the summer of 2020. The Olympics is now scheduled to begin in July 2021.

Paschi Board to Meet on Transfer of Bad Loans, Messaggero Says

Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.

The board of Banca Monte Dei Paschi di Siena SpA is expected to meet Monday to weigh a plan to clear as much as 9 billion euros ($10.1 billion) of soured loans from its books and pave the way for privatization of the world’s oldest bank, Il Messaggero reported on Sunday.

The plan to move the non-performing and unlikely-to-be-paid loans to state-backed debt manager Amco is in its final stages, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources at the Italian Treasury.

In May, the European Union said Paschi’s planned transfer of bad loans to Amco didn’t constitute improper government assistance, wrapping up months of talks between the Italian Treasury and the European Commission over the bank’s request to offload the loans.

The move would significantly reduce the bank’s cost of risk and probably make Monte Paschi more attractive in a takeover or merger.

Monte Paschi, founded in 1472, is 68% owned by the Italian state after a government-backed recapitalization in 2017.

Libya’s Agoco to Resume Oil Output From Eastern Messla Field

Follow us @middleeast for more news on the region.

Libya’s Arabian Gulf Oil Co. will restart production at the eastern field of Messla this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Agoco, as the company is known, will start pumping around 10,000 barrels of crude a day, said the person, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak to the media.

The oil from Messla will be sent to the Sarir refinery and used domestically, rather than exported, said the person. Messla can pump around 70,000 barrels daily at full capacity.

Most of Libya’s oil fields and ports have been shut down since January amid a civil war between a United Nations-recognized government in the west and rebels based in the east.

The OPEC member produced 90,000 barrels a day in April and May, a fraction of the 1.1 million pumped on average last year.

The head of the state-run National Oil Corp. told Bloomberg last week that it will take plenty of time and hundreds of millions of dollars to revive Libya’s energy industry, even if fighting stops soon.

Sign up to our Next Africa newsletter and follow Bloomberg Africa on Twitter

— With assistance by Nayla Razzouk, and Tarek El-Tablawy

UK to ease travel restrictions for COVID-19 'low-risk' countries

The UK is set to waive its 14-day quarantine for people arriving from countries it considers to be low risk for coronavirus.

Next week, the UK government will relax rules that forced all arriving travellers to quarantine for two weeks.

Instead, the United Kingdom will introduce a traffic light system, with countries grouped together based on their coronavirus infection rates.

It is a move that could throw a lifeline to Europe’s tourism industry.

EU diplomats are also considering lifting some pan-European travel bans.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from London.