Top international headlines: Swiss economy rebounds and more

Also in the spotlight: Ford cuts production and China provides funding boost for small businesses.

Switzerland emerges from pandemic-induced economic slump, and China gives small business financial assistance. The semi-conductor chip shortage forces Ford to cut production of highly profitable vehicles lines again. Meanwhile, students look to cryptocurrency investment to fill funding gaps and Britney Spears continues to fight conservatorship order.

Students show increasing interest in crypto
Students facing a financial shortfall have increasingly turned to cryptocurrency investment to fund life at university, a US survey has suggested.

The proportion of students investing in cryptocurrencies tripled in a year, website Save the Student found. Investment in cryptocurrencies was still niche, with about six percent of students trying it, but their numbers had risen threefold in a year.

The survey found that the typical student faced a shortfall of £340 (R6,719) every month, as maintenance loans failed to cover the average monthly living expenses, reports the BBC.

Swiss economy bounces back
The Swiss economy rebounded from its pandemic-induced slump in the second quarter, as a relaxation of social distancing restrictions allowed the service sector to ramp up operations.

Gross domestic product increased 1.8 percent, just short of the 1.9 percent forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Hotels, restaurants and leisure all registered a strong rise in activity.

The Swiss economy has bounced back more quickly than neighbouring Germany with spiralling unemployment and business insolvencies not materialising, due in part to fiscal support.

China provides funding boost for small business
China has ramped up financial support for small businesses and pledged better use of local government bonds as the economy showed further signs of a slowdown because of tight property controls and fresh virus outbreaks, reports Bloomberg.

The People’s Bank of China will provide 300 billion yuan (R666 billion) of low-cost funding to banks so they can lend to small and medium-sized companies. Other measures include interest subsidies to firms hit hard by the pandemic and a bigger role for local special bonds in driving investment.

Britney and father continue contentious conservatorship court battle
The father of US pop star Britney Spears should step down immediately and without conditions from his role as conservator of her estate, the singer's lawyer has said in court documents.

Jamie Spears said for the first time earlier this month that he would relinquish control of his daughter’s $60 million (R860 million) estate but said he first wanted to get the latest bills for work by his attorneys approved by the court. Under conservatorship rules, Britney Spears pays for all costs incurred by her and others, reports Reuters.

The next court hearing in the increasingly contentious case is set for 29 September.

Ford cuts production as chips shortage bites
Ford Motor is again cutting production of highly profitable vehicles due to the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips.

“Our teams are making the most of our available semiconductor allocation, finding unique solutions to provide as many high-quality vehicles as possible to our dealers and customers,” Ford vice president of manufacturing and labour affairs John Savona said in an internal memo to employees obtained by CNBC.