Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup where we share headlines and brief summaries of notable news stories from around the world, along with a link for those seeking further information.

We intend for these roundup articles to provide a quick and easy way for readers to stay up to date with current legal and business affairs, and leave them well informed and able to participate in professional conversations.

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IMF downgrades global growth projections and warns of a disconnect between financial markets and the real economy

In a statement on published on Wednesday The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that they had “downgraded our growth projection for the world economy—a contraction of 4.9 percent for 2020.”

This was followed up by a statement on Thursday which warned of “a disconnect” between financial markets and the real economy, which could result in another major “correction” in asset prices.

As the global economy heads for the biggest slump in 100 years on foot of coronavirus, stock markets, after an initial plunge in March, have been racing ahead, buoyed by central bank support.

You can read the statement published by the IMF here, and a report from The Irish Times here.

U.S. Federal Reserve says banks can withstand the crisis

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday released the results of its stress tests for 2020 and additional sensitivity analyses that the Board conducted in to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The banking system has been a source of strength during this crisis,” Vice Chair Randal K. Quarles said, “and the results of our sensitivity analyses show that our banks can remain strong in the face of even the harshest shocks.”

In addition to its normal stress test, the Board conducted a sensitivity analysis to assess the resiliency of large banks under three hypothetical recessions, or downside scenarios, which could result from the coronavirus event. The scenarios included a V-shaped recession and recovery; a slower, U-shaped recession and recovery; and a W-shaped, double-dip recession.

The Fed noted in their analysis that “in the three downside scenarios, the unemployment rate peaked at between 15.6 percent and 19.5 percent, which is significantly more stringent than any of the Board’s pre-coronavirus stress test scenarios.”

You can read the full press release from the U.S. Federal Reserve Board here.

JMK Solicitors offer four-day week

Working hours at Belfast and Newry firm JMK Solicitors have been reduced by a fifth, with no loss in pay, as part of an ongoing project to improve “work-life balance”.

The personal injury and road traffic accident specialist firm said its 60 staff members now have the option of working for four days a week or working across five shorter days.

The change was made early this year following a two-year-long research project aimed at improving efficiency across the firm.

You can read the report from Irish Legal News here.

Leman seeks a trainee solicitor for their Dublin office

Keeping an eye on the Law Society of Ireland’s job boards last week, we spotted that Leman Solicitors were recruiting a Trainee Solicitor for their Dublin office.

Details of the vacancy are listed here.

Coronavirus will hasten ‘peak oil’ by three years, says research firm

Influential research firm Rystad Energy has cut its estimate of potential oil production by an amount that exceeds the reserves of Saudi Arabia, as the coronavirus crisis accelerates longer-term structural changes to the market.

In an annual report published on Thursday, Oslo-based firm said its estimate of “recoverable” oil resources — the volume that could be extracted from the earth, given constraints of technology and demand — has fallen since 2019 by 282bn barrels to 1.9tn barrels, as consumption habits change and oil companies abandon exploration plans.

The proven reserves of Saudi Arabia, the world’s second biggest producer, come to 267bn barrels. “‘Peak oil’ is now a little closer,” said Per Magnus Nysveen, head of analysis at Rystad, referring to the hypothetical moment of maximum production.

“We used to say that peak oil will happen around 2030. Now we say that it could happen in 2027 or 2028.”

Crude consumption dropped as much as one-third at the height of the coronavirus crisis in April, as lockdowns and travel restrictions forced people to stay home. Demand has begun to recover, but there is growing acknowledgment across the industry that the impact of the virus may reverberate for years to come.

You can read the press release from Rystad Energy here, and an article in the Financial Times which analyses the report here.

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