Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | Getty Images
That surpassed the 29,317 high seen in mid-April, during the Shanghai lockdown, according to CNBC calculations of Wind Information data.
However, daily Covid infections with symptoms remain well below the high seen in April. Nearly 90% or more of total Covid cases reported in recent days have been asymptomatic, the data showed.
The southern city of Guangzhou, the national capital of Beijing and the southwestern municipality of Chongqing have been the hardest hit in the latest Covid wave.
But nearly all of China’s 31 province-level regions have reported new Covid infections, with and without symptoms, each day.
Since the weekend, six Covid-related deaths have been reported as of Wednesday, mostly in Beijing.
China’s stringent Covid controls have weighed on sentiment and business activity. National GDP barely grew during the second quarter due to the Shanghai lockdowns. As of the end of the third quarter, growth for the year was up by just 3% from a year ago — well below the official target of around 5.5% announced in March.
Factories located near Covid outbreaks have tried to maintain operations using what’s called closed-loop management, which typically requires staff to live on-site.
Business representatives have noted difficulties in getting workers from locked down neighborhoods to factories, while staff living at production sites for too long often become fatigued.
During the latest Covid wave, Apple supplier Foxconn’s iPhone factory in the city of Zhengzhou has drawn attention for videos of renewed worker unrest shared on social media. It was unclear how many of the factory’s roughly 200,000 staff were involved, or whether there was any impact to production.
Foxconn said Wednesday that some new hires had appealed to the company about a work allowance, while stating that contrary to speculation, new hires would only move into disinfected dormitories.
Separately, Zhengzhou said those living in the central part of the city should not leave their homes for five days beginning Friday while authorities conducted mass virus testing.
China this month trimmed quarantine times and has announced other measures to try to make Covid controls more targeted. But authorities have emphasized their zero-Covid policy, while there are concerns whether the public health system could handle a surge in infections.
The latest Covid controls on in-person business and apartment building lockdowns are scattered across parts of China, a country of 1.4 billion people. Fewer measures are publicly announced, while restrictions are increasingly targeted and can range from just a few days — to weeks or longer.
For example, Shanghai Disneyland said it plans to resume operations on Friday, after suspending operations due to Covid on Oct. 31.
Meanwhile, despite tighter restrictions in Beijing’s business district, Universal Beijing Resort on the city outskirts remains open, after a five-day closure that ended Oct. 31.
— CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.
Manhattan renters face sticker shock with average rent at $5,200
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The median rent for a Manhattan apartment in November hit $4,033, up from $3,964 in October, according to a report from Douglas Elliman and Miller Samuel. The average rent, which is often skewed by luxury sales, fell slightly for the month but is still up 19% over last year, hitting $5,249 in November.
The increases continue to defy predictions that New York’s sky high rents would fall after the summer and give renters some relief after rents hit all-time records. While rents are easing in many parts of the country, New York’s rents remain stubbornly high and the number of unrented or empty apartments remains low.
“Rents are not coming down as quickly as many would hope,” said Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel.
The rise in New York rents also adds pressure to overall inflation, since rents are a large component of inflation indexes and New York is the nation’s largest rental market.
Manhattan rents are so high that many tenants have started to balk at the prices — either moving out of the city or finding smaller, less expensive rentals. The number of new leases signed in November plunged 39% over October, marking the biggest decline since the start of the pandemic in 2020, according to Miller.
Brokers and real-estate experts say landlords over-reached when they started renewing the leases signed in 2020 and 2021, often demanding rent increases of 20% or more. With landlords typically requiring renters to have annual income of 40 times the monthly rent, the rising median rents have stretched many tenants to the breaking point.
“There is some gridlock,” said Bess Freedman, CEO of Brown Harris Stevens. “In 2021, rents took off like a rocket and now tenants are stuck. People aren’t going to sign new leases at these prices, they’re just too expensive. Landlords need to start getting more reasonable.”
Freedman said one of her friends faced a rent increase of 30% with a recent lease renewal. “She felt like she was being gouged,” Freedman said.
Vacancy rates remain low, putting little pressure on landlords to lower rents anytime soon. The vacancy rate in November was 2.4% — still below the historical norm in Manhattan of about 3%, according to Miller Samuel.
There are some early signs that landlords may start capitulating in 2023. The number of landlord concessions — which may include a month of free rent and other deals — rose to 16% in November from 13% in October. Real-estate experts say the big drop in new leases, if it continues, will eventually force landlords to meet renters at a lower price point.
Joshua Young, executive vice president and managing director of sales and leasing at Brown Harris Stevens, said landlords were overly bullish expecting rent increases of 20% or more, and many are now starting to lower prices or adding more concessions to keep their apartments filled.
“A lot of landlords are getting stuck with inventory so and they’re not getting their increases, so they’re reducing price,” he said.
Cramer’s lightning round: AGNC Investment is not a buy
Citigroup Inc: “The book value is so different from where the common stock is, the price. Something is very wrong there.”
Jim Cramer says not to fear bearish economic talk from bank CEOs – there’s no ‘financial apocalypse’
“Don’t panic the next time you hear one of these bank CEOs say something terrifying — they don’t know the impact of their words,” he said, adding, “Sure, we’ve got plenty of problems, but they’re not financial apocalypse problems.”
The S&P 500 slipped for a fifth trading session on Wednesday as investors mulled the possibility of a recession.
“Memo to America’s bankers: Don’t try to frighten us. Don’t try to get us to sell everything,” Cramer said. “Don’t be Grinches telling us a hurricane could be coming.”
He urged the chief executives to remind investors of what’s going right in the Fed’s fight against inflation, and gave an example of what he believes one of the CEOs should have said:
“There will come a day when the Fed will be done tightening, although that may be when the S&P 500 is a good bit lower. But I don’t know if I want to take the chance of possibly missing the [next] big rally. Hey, maybe buy small,” he said.
Disclaimer: Cramer’s Charitable Trust owns shares of Wells Fargo.
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