The government’s next update to the traffic light travel restrictions is likely to take place on Thursday (16 September).

And the most recent government briefings indicate that the current system restricting travel to the UK is likely to be dismantled soon.

The UK has by far the highest infection rates for any major country in Europe, yet it also imposes the strictest rules on arrivals.

A total of 62 nations and territories are on the UK”s “red list,” representing a total population of well over one billion people.

Appearing on the red list is effectively a travel ban, with arrivals from those countries required to go into 11 nights of hotel quarantine once in the UK – at a cost, for a solo traveller, of £2,285.

So which countries might leave the club – and which nations should join?

Tim White, the Covid data analyst who tweets as @TWMCLtd, has trawled through the genomic sequencing records held by Gisaid, the worldwide database, with a focus on variants of concern.

He will be on hand to answer all your latest travel questions around the upcoming announcement and what might happen to the traffic light system in coming weeks during a live ‘ask me anything’ event being held on this page today (14 September).

Join Tim at 4pm today, 14 September, when he’ll be on hand to answer your travel questions about all the latest rules and restrictions live.

Register to submit your question in the Comments below. If you’re not already a member, click “sign up” in the Comments box to leave your question.

Don’t worry if you can’t see your question – they will be hidden until Tim joins the conversation to answer them.

Then join us live on this page from 4-5pm as he tackles as many as he can within an hour.

A man wearing protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

HONG KONG, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Japanese shares jumped on Friday after officials said Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga would step down, while the dollar was at a month low against major peers as traders awaited U.S. employment data with global equity markets at record highs.

Japan’s TOPIX stock index (.TOPX) rose to a 30-year high and was last up 1.50% after news broke that the embattled Suga would step down in September and not run for relection as leader of the ruling Liberal Democatic Party. read more

The Nikkei (.N225) gained 1.87%.

“Suga’s decision not to run for the leadership of the LDP reduces the risk of a big loss at the next general election … That has given relief to market participants in Japan,” said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management.

Away from Japan, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) edged up 0.12%, with gains in Australia (.AXJO) up 0.40% and Korea 0.66% higher.

If the gains hold, the regional benchmark would post its ninth session of advances in the past 10 as it edges back towards its position in mid July before Chinese regulatory crackdowns sent shares tumbling.

Asian shares are still off their peaks from earlier in the year however, and lagging those elsewhere. MSCI’s all-country world index (.MIWD00000PUS) which ended the previous session at its fifth consecutive closing high, inched higher still on Friday.

U.S. stock futures rose 0.18%, but pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 0.06% and FTSE futures fell 0.06%.

Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) were down 0.20% and Hong Kong (.HSI) was off 0.54%, bucking the trend as traders tried to balance weaker economic data out of China against the potential for future stimulus.

Activity in China’s services sector slumped into sharp contraction in August, a private survey showed on Friday, hurt by restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 Delta variant. read more

With other surveys from this week also indicating that growth in China is slowing, investors anticipate Beijing will accelerate fiscal spending and credit growth, but that such measures will be finely targeted as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to taper its own stimulus. read more

FED IN FOCUS

The Fed’s intentions are also on traders’ minds on Friday as they hope to get a better sense of the timing and pace of U.S. tapering after U.S. non-farm payroll data is published later in the day.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell has suggested an improvement in the employment numbers is the remaining major prerequisite for action.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, non-farm payrolls likely increased by 750,000 jobs last month after rising by 943,000 in July.

“When it comes to tapering the focus is now the labour market. If we’re in the area of 750,000 the expectation will be for

A man wearing protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

HONG KONG, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Asian shares held their gains on Friday while the dollar was at a month low against major peers as traders awaited U.S. employment data with global shares at record highs.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was broadly flat in early trading in Asia having posted gains in eight of the last nine sessions as the benchmark edges back towards its position in mid July before Chinese regulatory crackdowns sent shares tumbling.

Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) rose 0.38%, and MSCI’s all-country world index (.MIWD00000PUS) edged higher having ended the previous session at its fifth consecutive closing high.

Australia (.AXJO) was up 0.3% and Korea rose 0.61% while Chinese blue chips (.CSI300) fell 0.27% and Hong Kong (.HSI) dropped 0.6% right after the bell, as traders try to balance weaker economic data out of China against the potential for future stimulus.

Investors anticipate that Beijing will accelerate fiscal spending and credit growth as its economic recovery slows, but that such measures will be finely targeted as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to taper its own stimulus. read more

Traders are hoping to get a better sense of the timing and pace of U.S. tapering on Friday after U.S. non-farm payroll data is published later in the day, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell has suggested an improvement in the employment numbers is the remaining major prerequisite for action.

According to a Reuters survey of economists, non-farm payrolls likely increased by 750,000 jobs last month after rising by 943,000 in July.

“When it comes to tapering the focus is now the labour market. If we’re in the area of 750,000 the expectation will be for a September tapering announcement,” said Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist at LGT private bank in Asia.

Hofer said he was focused on leisure and hospitality jobs as they were a good indicator of the state of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. treasuries have been cautious ahead of the data release, and in Asian hours on Friday the yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.2919% compared with its U.S. close of 1.294% on Thursday.

The dollar stayed pinned at month lows against a basket of currencies , with the euro doing a fair amount of the work.

The European single currency touched its highest level since early August against the greenback on Friday, as markets start to react to the potential for more sustained eurozone inflation and reduced stimulus from the European Central Bank.

“The persistence of the increase in input inflation will provide more substance to arguments that the ECB should soon start to dial back its asset purchases,” analysts at ANZ said.

Oil prices fell in early Asian hours having risen by more than $1 a barrel on Thursday.

U.S. crude dipped 0.36%

Australia’s new limits on international travel appear to be the harshest since restrictions on incoming passengers were introduced, according to a Guardian Australia analysis.

The limit on the number of international arrivals coming into Australia via commercial flights, the so-called “passenger cap”, will be halved from 14 July over concerns from some state premiers around the Delta variant of Covid-19.

The reduced cap means the weekly state and territory intake is reduced from the previous cap of 6,370 (which included an extra 300 spots for vulnerable people to return via Brisbane) to 3,070. While the reduction is due to be reviewed by 31 August, Scott Morrison has indicated it will be in place until at least the end of the year.

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Even taking into account the number of places available for people to quarantine at the Howard Springs facility, which takes passengers from commonwealth-organised repatriation flights and domestic travellers to the NT, the limit on arrivals will be the strictest since the beginning of the pandemic with the exception of a few days in February when Victoria stopped accepting international flights while other states had their travel caps halved.

At least 35,000 Australians have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as being stuck overseas and wanting to return to Australia.

When announcing the cut in arrivals, Scott Morrison said the government planned to partly offset the cuts by increasing repatriation flights and people quarantining at Howard Springs, saying: “So where we will lose some capacity for inbound flights of those coming back through commercial flights, the commonwealth will directly seek to mitigate that by upping, wherever possible, those commercially facilitated flights that the commonwealth is pursuing.”

However, the analysis of travel restrictions also shows the government’s planned upgrade to the Howard Springs quarantine facility will do little to offset the cuts in arrivals from the states.

Morrison announced in March an agreement with the Northern Territory to increase the capacity of Howard Springs from 850 people a fortnight to 2,000 by April or May 2021.

Since then reports suggest that the NT government has not yet been able to recruit and train the staff needed to run the centre at its full capacity. A spokesperson for the NT health department said there were currently 1,344 people quarantining there, with just 623 of those being international arrivals.

Increasing the centre to its full capacity will only result in an extra 328 quarantine spots a week, compared with the loss of 3,185 quarantine spots from the states (this number varies depending on how Queensland’s “surge” amount is handled).

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A comparison of international arrival figures with the passenger caps also suggests that Australia’s quarantine program may have had places to spare at various points, despite the number of Australians stranded overseas.

Some important caveats

The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in June 2021 (after rising 559,000 in May), beating market expectations of a rise of 700,000 thanks to easing business restrictions amid reopening of economies, falling coronavirus infection rates and vaccine distribution from multiple makers.

The jobs market represented the strongest employment growth in 10 months. Still, nonfarm payroll employment is down by 4.4% from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Average hourly earnings increased 0.3%, below the forecast of 0.4%. The unemployment rate rose to 5.9% versus the 5.6% estimate.

Below, we have highlighted some of the sectors that will likely see smooth trading in the days ahead in light of the June jobs data.

Leisure

Last month, leisure and hospitality employment grew by 343,000, thanks mainly to the increasing reopening of the economy. Gains mainly occurred in food services and drinking places (+194,000). Job gains were also logged in accommodation (+75,000) and in amusements, gambling, and recreation (+74,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 12.9% from February 2020.

The data makes Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF PEJ a timely investment. The fund has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook. 

Retail


Last month, retail employment grew by 67,000, but employment is down by 1.9%, since February 2020. Job growth in clothing and clothing accessories stores (+28,000), general merchandise stores (+25,000), miscellaneous store retailers (+13,000), and automobile dealers (+8,000) was partially offset by job losses in food and beverage stores (-13,000) and health and personal care stores (-7,000).

The data makes SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT a timely investment. The fund has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) with a Medium risk outlook.

Mining

Employment in mining rose by 10,000 in June, reflecting an uptick in support activities for mining. Mining employment is now down by 110,000 since the peak in January 2019. SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF XME can thus be considered for a play.

Manufacturing

Employment in manufacturing (+15,000) was moderate in June. Within the industry, job gains in furniture and related products (+9,000), fabricated metal products (+6,000), and primary metals (+3,000) were notable. Employment in manufacturing is down by 481,000 from its level in February 2020. Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF XLI has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). 

Transportation

Employment in transportation and warehousing was decent in June (+11,000). Employment gains in warehousing and storage (+14,000), air transportation (+8,000), and truck transportation (+6,000) were noteworthy. Since February 2020, employment in transportation and warehousing is down by 94,000. SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN) has a Zacks Rank #2 with a High risk outlook (read: ETFs in Focus Post FedEx’s Robust Q4 Earnings).


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U.S. companies added more jobs in June than expected, indicating further progress in the nation’s labor market recovery.

The 692,000 gain in private payrolls followed a downwardly revised 886,000 increase in May, according to ADP Research Institute data released Wednesday, June 30. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 600,000 gain this month.

The advance in hiring suggests robust demand, diminishing economic uncertainty and a return to many pre-pandemic activities continue to drive additional employment gains, especially within the leisure and hospitality sector. The data also indicate businesses are having some success filling a multitude of open positions.

Amid a ramp-up in demand, many employers have rushed to increase headcount. Job openings stand at a record high, and a separate report out Tuesday from the Conference Board showed the share of respondents reporting that jobs are “plentiful” rose to the highest since 2000.

Service-provider employment increased 624,000 in June, with more than half the gain stemming from a 332,000 advance in leisure and hospitality, according to ADP. Payrolls in the health care industry posted another month of solid gains, climbing 93,000 after May’s 106,000 increase.

Payrolls at goods producers rose 68,000 during the month, driven largely by construction.

“Service providers, the hardest hit sector, continue to do the heavy lifting, with leisure and hospitality posting the strongest gain as businesses begin to reopen to full capacity across the country,” said Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist, in a statement.

The figures come just before the government’s monthly jobs report on Friday, which is forecast to show private payrolls increased by 610,000, an acceleration from a weaker-than-expected May report. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.6% as participation inches higher.

The increase in June payrolls was spread about evenly across firm sizes. Companies with 500 or more workers saw payrolls rise 240,000 while small businesses added 215,000.

ADP’s payroll data represent firms employing nearly 26 million workers in the U.S.

  • Graphic: Global asset performance http://tmsnrt.rs/2yaDPgn
  • Graphic: World FX rates http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Global equity markets edged lower on Monday, though supported by U.S. shares hitting new highs, while Treasury bond yields eased and the dollar was little changed as investors await jobs data that could sway the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.

MSCI’s all country world index (.MIWD00000PUS), which tracks shares across 50 countries, slid 0.1% as markets in Europe fell. But fresh highs by the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq offset the declines in the major French (.FCHI), German (.GDAXI) and UK (.FTSE) bourses as the global index is U.S.-centric.

Weaker-than-expected U.S. inflation and news of a possible bipartisan U.S. infrastructure agreement boosted risk appetite as the week opened. The infrastructure plan is valued at $1.2 trillion over eight years, of which $579 billion is new spending. read more

The plan is less than the White House’s initial proposal, but the total amount is likely to be greater than Republicans’ initial figure and lead Congress to spread the initiative across two bills, said Solita Marcelli, UBS’ chief investment officer for the Americas for its global wealth management division.

While that could provide a tailwind for the reflation trade, Marcelli said “(the spending) will be spread out over a multi-year period, and tax increases could be part of the mix. So the stimulative impact on markets overall may not be very large,” Marcelli said.

Stock markets across the world rebounded last week, but growing concern about the spread of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus took some shine off on Monday.

European stocks, as measured by the pan-European STOXX 600 index, closed down an unofficial 0.53%, still near record highs. Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI) fell 0.34%, while France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI) slid 0.89% and Britain’s FTSE 100 index dipped 0.88%.

Travel and leisure stocks took a particular hit, with the region’s sectoral index falling to a one-month low. (.SXTP)

“In Europe, the rapid spread of the highly contagious Delta variant is looming over the start of the tourist period,” said Sophie Griffiths, market analyst at OANDA. That could “be a severe blow to airlines and travel and tourism stocks, which are trading sharply lower today.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) fell 175.47 points, or 0.51%, to 34,258.65, the S&P 500 (.SPX) gained 0.95 point, or 0.02%, to 4,281.65 and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 102.99 points, or 0.72 percent, to 14.463.37.

Earlier in Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) edge up 0.1% at 703.86. Australian shares (.AXJO) slipped 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) and South Korea’s benchmark KOPS (.KS11) were barely changed.

Sydney is in lockdown and Malaysia extended its lockdown due to spreading cases of the new Delta variant. Indonesia is battling record-high cases, and Thailand announced new restrictions in Bangkok and other provinces.

Chinese shares were a touch higher, with the CSI300 index (.CSI300) up 0.2%. Data over the weekend showed profit growth at China’s industrial firms slowed again

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U.S. businesses in May added the most jobs in nearly a year, suggesting companies are making headway filling a record number of vacancies as the economy strengthens.

The 978,000 increase in private payrolls was the largest since June 2020 and reflected a large pickup in hiring in the leisure and hospitality industry, according to ADP Research Institute data released Thursday.

The ADP figures were followed by another positive reading for the jobs market: A separate government report showed applications for unemployment benefits fell for a fifth straight week.

Private payrolls increased by the most in nearly a year in May

The stronger pace of hiring suggests firms are having greater success filling open positions as the removal of pandemic-related restrictions and increased social activity spurs demand. Last month, federal health officials reconsidered mask guidance for vaccinated Americans and states moved away from restrictions on businesses.

The ADP data precede the monthly jobs report for May — due out Friday — which is currently forecast to show the economy added 600,000 private-sector jobs in May.

Read More: Economists Brace for Another Volatile Monthly U.S. Jobs Report

“While goods producers grew at a steady pace, it is service providers that accounted for the lion’s share of the gains, far outpacing the monthly average in the last six months,” Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist, said in a statement.

WATCH: ADP Research Institute reported that private payrolls increased by 978,000 in May, the largest since June 2020.

U.S. equities fell, the dollar strengthened and 10-year Treasury yields rose on Thursday as investors digested the latest economic data and mounting geopolitical tensions.

Industry Breakdown

Employment rose by 128,000 in goods-producing industries and 850,000 among service-providers. The largest payrolls gain was in leisure and hospitality, which posted a 440,000 jump from a month earlier, also the largest advance in 11 months.

Payrolls rose by 119,000 in health care, 65,000 in construction and 68,000 in business services.

Upside Surprise

U.S. private payrolls showed strong gains across several sectors

Source: ADP Research Institute


Hiring was consistent across all business sizes, including a 333,000 gain at small businesses. ADP’s payroll data represent firms employing almost 26 million workers in the U.S.

The report’s overall increase exceeded forecasts, with the median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists calling for a May increase of 650,000. April employment was revised down to a 654,000 gain.

The separate data on jobless claims reported by the Labor Department on Thursday showed applications for state unemployment benefits decreased last week to below 400,000 for the first time in the pandemic.

Read more: Jobless Claims Dip Below 400,000 For First Time in Pandemic

— With assistance by Chris Middleton

(Adds market reaction)

The stronger pace of hiring suggests companies are having greater success filling open positions as the removal of pandemic-related restrictions and increased social activity spur demand.

Last month, federal health officials reconsidered mask guidance for vaccinated Americans and states moved away from restrictions on businesses. The ADP data precede Friday’s monthly jobs report, which is currently forecast to show the economy added 600,000 private-sector jobs in May.

“While goods producers grew at a steady pace, it is service providers that accounted for the lion’s share of the gains, far outpacing the monthly average in the last six months,” said Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist, in a statement.

Employment rose by 128,000 in goods-producing industries and 850,000 among service providers. The largest payrolls gain was in leisure and hospitality, which posted a 440,000 jump from a month earlier, also the largest advance in 11 months.

Payrolls rose by 119,000 in health care; 65,000 in construction; and 68,000 in business services.

Hiring was consistent across all business sizes, including a 333,000 gain at small businesses.

ADP’s payroll data represent companies employing almost 26 million workers in the U.S.

Positive labor market data released Thursday added to rising confidence that the economy is returning in full force, with the latest weekly initial jobless claims falling below 400,000 for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic’s chokehold strained the nation.

Initial applications for unemployment benefits fell to 385,000 for the week ended May 29, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

Payroll processing firm ADP also reported better-than-expected numbers on Thursday, revealing that 970,000 people had been hired in May, the biggest gain since June 2020. Economists had predicted that May hirings would total around 680,000.

The latest employment metrics bolster the prevailing optimism about Friday’s closely watched monthly jobs report, with economists polled by Dow Jones projecting gains of 674,000.

“We have reason to believe the economic recovery will remain on track in the coming months,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, citing the increased number of vaccinated Americans and more widespread reopenings.

Aaron Sojourner, labor economist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, said the increase in vaccinations is a catalyst for job growth. “This boosts labor supply, as more Americans protect themselves, their families, and neighbors against Covid health risks previously created by work,” he said. “Vaccinations also boost labor demand, making it safe for people to enjoy in-person services.”

Vaccinations boost labor demand, making it safe for people to enjoy in-person services.

Frank Fiorille, vice president of risk management, compliance and data analytics at Paychex, said data from the company’s 350,000 small-business clients reveals that some employers are raising pay to coax workers off the sidelines.

In leisure and hospitality — one of the hardest-hit sectors throughout the pandemic — weekly pay has risen by nearly 10 percent over the past year, Fiorille said. “We’re seeing wages rise dramatically in that sector. The feeling is these businesses are having to pay them more to have them come back to work” he said.

And those employers recently have ramped up their hiring initiatives, said Nick Bunker, economist at Indeed.com. “Categories that have seen their level increase the most recently have been in the really pandemic-constrained sectors of the labor market,” he said, adding that job ads across all sectors are running about 26 percent above pre-pandemic levels.

“In light of last month’s report, this month’s is really important to give us a sense of whether last month was a blip or a sign of a bigger story in the labor market,” Bunker said of the upcoming labor market report.

While economists — and officials — say there can be enough noise in the data for any one month to be an anomaly, a second big miss would be a red flag, a warning sign for investors and politicians alike that the trajectory towards post-pandemic normalcy isn’t necessarily a straight line.

Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, said he plans to keep an eye on the numbers in manufacturing. The sector lost 18,000 jobs last month, and further erosion could indicate