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Countries Rush to Secure Vaccines. – Top 10 Global News

1. Global Stocks Advance, Dollar Weakens

Global stocks rallied, with confidence among investors building on the back of stronger German factory data, the vaccine rollout and the prospect for more U.S. stimulus. Markets were green across the board. The Stoxx 600 Index rose 0.9%, notching a third day of gains, and the DAX Index outperformed. In the U.S., S&P 500 futures were higher and the dollar weakened as investors waited for details from the Federal Reserve’s recent meeting. Economists say the Fed may deliver fresh guidance on its asset purchases and progress in meeting its goals of full employment and 2% inflation.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.3% as of early morning London time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.8%.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.8%.

The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.8%.

2. Fishing Rights Are Now Major Last Hurdle, EU Says: Brexit Update

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said fishing rights are now the last major hurdle to a post-Brexit trade deal, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the U.K. has a “natural right” to control its own waters. With negotiations continuing in Brussels, von der Leyen told the European Parliament that a deal is possible but difficult. “As things stand, I can’t tell you if there will be a deal or not,” she said. Optimism has grown after the two sides agreed to continue discussions past their self-imposed Sunday deadline and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said he saw a “narrow path” to a deal this week if differences can be bridged.

3. China Secures 100 Million Doses of BioNTech Vaccine

A Chinese drugmaker has secured 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine co-developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as the country seeks overseas shots in addition to home-made ones to ensure immunization for the world’s most populous nation. Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co., which in March made an agreement with BioNTech to develop and market the mRNA shot in China, will make an advance payment of $300 million for an initial 50 million doses. The German vaccine maker will supply no fewer than 100 million doses for China by the end of 2021, Fosun said in a statement filed with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

4. New York Is on a Path Toward a Second Full Shutdown

New York is headed toward a second full shutdown if Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continue at their current pace, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “If we do not change the trajectory, we could very well be headed to shut down” all non-essential businesses, Cuomo said Monday at a virus briefing. The state reported 5,712 hospitalizations, an increase of more than 1,000 in the past week. If that pace continues, it will be at 11,000 in a month, and some regions may be overwhelmed, Cuomo said. The increase is of particular concern in dense regions like New York City, the governor said. Cuomo shut down the city’s indoor dining on Monday, even as he cited statistics showing that three-fourths of new cases come from private gatherings.

5. Cathay Still Mired in Covid Trouble With Traffic Down 99%

Cathay Pacific Airways carried just 37,815 passengers in November, down 98.6% from a year earlier, and warned that its second-half losses will be significantly worse than the $1.3 billion haemorrhages in the first six months. Average passenger capacity in the second half is only likely to be 8.4% of pre-pandemic levels, compared with 34.3% in the first half, the Hong Kong-based carrier said Wednesday. Restructuring and impairment costs will add to the pressure on earnings as demand remains elusive. Cathay’s passenger traffic has been down around 99% every month since April as Covid-19 and related travel restrictions decimated demand. November revenue passenger kilometres fell 97.9% from a year earlier, while passenger load factor was just 18.5%.

6. Hong Kong’s Lalamove Seeks Funds at $8 Billion Valuation

Hong Kong’s on-demand logistics and delivery firm Lalamove is seeking new funding round at an $8 billion valuation. The company, also known as Huolala in China, is looking to raise at least $500 million. The startup could raise more depending on investor demand. Founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate and former professional poker player Chow Shing-yuk, Lalamove provides van-hailing and courier services on demand. It operates in 24 markets across Asia, Latin America and the U.S. with a pool of more than 700,000 driver-partners. Lalamove’s business is anchored in China. Transportation and logistics companies have seen a surge in demand globally amid a boom in e-commerce, one of the beneficiaries of coronavirus-driven lockdowns this year.

7. FDA Clears First At-Home, Over-the-Counter Covid-19 Test

The first Covid-19 test that can be performed entirely at home was cleared by U.S. regulators on Tuesday, and it can be acquired without a prescription. While availability will be limited initially, the new test and others in development could make virus screenings as accessible as over-the-counter pregnancy tests in the U.S. for the first time. The advance follows months of criticism that the Food and Drug Administration has been too slow to approve rapid home tests for the virus. Manufactured by East Brisbane, Australia-based Ellume, the self-administered, single-use nasal swab test is small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand. It detects proteins on the virus’s surface in 15 minutes and delivers results to an app.

8. Boris Johnson Urges ‘Extreme Caution’ in U.K. Over Christmas

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to exercise “extreme caution” over Christmas, despite pressing ahead with plans to ease coronavirus restrictions over the holidays. “We can celebrate it sensibly, but we have to be extremely cautious in the way we behave,” Johnson told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Wednesday. As many as three households will be able to gather together for five days between Dec. 23 and 27 in England. Ministers have faced growing demands to rethink the approach after a surge in Covid-19 infections in recent days.

9. German Virus Deaths at Record: Virus Updates

Germany recorded the biggest increase in Covid-19 deaths since the pandemic began as Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that a hard shutdown that takes effect Wednesday will remain in force beyond January. Tokyo cases rose to an all-time high, while South Korea also reported record infections. China secured 100 million doses of the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. In the U.K., almost 140,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Across the U.S., cases are surging. New York City’s mayor told residents to prepare for a shutdown of all but essential businesses soon after Christmas. California is stockpiling body bags, recruiting medical workers and considering whether to request a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

10. Saudis Stop Disclosing Oil Revenue Following Aramco’s Listing

Saudi Arabia has stopped disclosing projected revenue from oil following the listing of Aramco, as doing so could give clues about the state energy giant’s dividend plans. The kingdom is relying on payouts from Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, to help plug its budget deficit and bolster an economy that’s been hammered this year by coronavirus lockdowns and the crash in crude prices. The Dhahran-based firm sold shares for the first time in December 2019, though the government still owns around 98% of them.