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April 20, 2020updated 19 Apr 2020 11:37pm

Brexit negotiations resume / First Volkswagen factories reopen / IBM posts Q1 results

By Robert Scammell


Good morning, here’s your Monday morning briefing. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Brexit negotiations resume

The latest round of Brexit negotiations takes place via videoconference this week, as EU and UK officials aim to get talks back on track following disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In March the EU’s lead negotiator, Michel Barnier, tested positive for Covid-19, while his UK counterpart David Frost has self-isolated after displaying symptoms of the virus.

After this week’s round of negotiations, two more are planned ahead of a key high-level meeting in June, which will assess the progress that has been made. Despite coronavirus hold-ups, the deadline for negotiations remains 31 December this year.

First Volkswagen factories reopen

Two Volkswagen plants resume production today after closing their doors a month ago in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Production at a plant in Zwickau, Germany and Bratislava, Slovakia, will resume during today’s night shift. The spread of the virus saw severe disruptions to the supply chains of car manufacturers around the world, while social distancing measures have forced factory workers to stay at home.

Remaining manufacturing sites – located across Germany, Portugal, Spain, Russia, South Africa and North and South America – are expected to reopen on April 27.

IBM posts Q1 results

Technology giant IBM posts its first financial results since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Its share price is down 12% since the start of the year. The New York Stock Exchange on which it lists has fallen by 21% (as of 17 April) over the same period.

During the first quarter IBM announced it was making its AI, Project Debator, available commercially to assist businesses with natural language processing. While Covid-19 doesn’t appear to threaten its results in the near term, the global economic slowdown is likely to start eating into the firm’s revenues as the pandemic continues.

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