Afternoon Coffee: U.S. services sector improves again; Canada stresses support for global supply chains during COVID-19; Virgin Galactic and Rolls-Royce partner on space tourism

Amid the coronavirus disruption, the U.S. economy got more positive news this week with ISM's services index showing growth for a second straight month. The index for the non-manufacturing sector (formerly the NMI) registered 58.1% for July and was 57.1% in June. Readings above 50 show expansion, and readings below 50 — like those in April and May — indicate recession. The manufacturing index earlier this week also showed two consecutive months of growth.

In coronavirus era, Canada stresses supply chain health

Canadian Minister of Finance Bill Morneau told Reuters on Wednesday that he discussed the need to support global supply chains amid the COVID-19 outbreak with his U.S. and British counterparts.

Finance ministers from Australia and New Zealand were also on the call that Morneau hosted, according to the article. The nations are members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network.

“The finance ministers and I discussed the importance of working together to support the resilience of global supply chains from which we all benefit,” Morneau said in a statement, according to the Reuters article. “(This) is important for economic recovery and long-term prosperity, and we discussed ways to further cooperate on supply-chain challenges.”

Virgin Galactic and Rolls-Royce partner to develop supersonic spacecraft for tourism

Space tourism become a closer possibility this week after Virgin Galactic announced a partnership with Rolls-Royce to develop an aircraft for supersonic travel, CNBC reported. Virgin Galactic has been developing reusable spacecraft capable of short trips to the edge of space for more than a decade.

Virgin Galactic completed a concept review with NASA for its vehicle design, according to the article. It will also work with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration to create a framework for certifying the aircraft for flight. In addition to high-end cars, Rolls-Royce builds aircraft engines and it built the engines that powered the supersonic Concorde aircraft, which was decommissioned in the 1990s.

“We have made great progress so far, and we look forward to opening up a new frontier in high speed travel,” said Virgin Galactic Chief Space Officer George Whitesides in a statement, according to the article.

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