Asian shares mixed as investors await progress on stimulus
TOKYO (AP) – Asian shares are mixed, with Japan’s benchmark rising but others slipping, amid some hopes for a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic with the global rollout of vaccines.
Benchmarks fell in South Korea, Australia and China today but rose in Southeast Asia.
Investors remain focused on the future of global economies badly hit by COVID-19 and when and whether there will be enough stimulus to fix it. But the U.S. $1.9 trillion economic package proposed by President Joe Biden also heralds hope for export-reliant regional economies.
Wall Street ended last week on a down note, with the benchmark S&P 500 losing 0.2%.
China urges US to lift trade restrictions, stop interference
BEIJING (AP) – Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is calling on the U.S. to lift restrictions on trade and people-to-people contacts while ceasing what Beijing considers unwarranted interference in areas such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Wang’s comments at a Foreign Ministry forum on U.S.-China relations come as Beijing is pressing the administration of President Joe Biden to drop many of the confrontational measures adopted by the past administration.
As is usual in Chinese foreign policy, Wang put the onus for improving relations squarely on the shoulders of the U.S. and offered no direct proposals for major breakthroughs, even while encouraging increased dialogue.
Biden has pledged reengagement in U.S. diplomacy but it’s unclear if that will change Washington’s policies toward Beijing. Many China issues, such as Taiwan and Xinjiang, have bipartisan support.
EMERGENCY LANDING-ENGINE FAILURE
FAA orders United to inspect Boeing 777s after emergency
UNDATED (AP) – Federal aviation regulators are ordering United Airlines to step up inspections of all Boeing 777s equipped with the type of engine that suffered a catastrophic failure over Denver Saturday. United says it is temporarily removing those aircraft from service.
The announcements come a day after United Airlines Flight 328 had to make an emergency landing at Denver International Airport after its right engine blew apart just after takeoff.
The plane with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board landed safely, and nobody aboard or on the ground was reported hurt.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson says that inspectors have “concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”
The National Transportation Safety Board said that two of the engine’s fan blades were fractured although the agency did caution that it was too early to draw conclusions about how the incident happened.
Average US price of gas up 14 cents a gallon to $2.64
CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) – The average price of regular-grade gasoline jumped 14 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $2.64.
Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that gas prices will likely continue to rise as crude oil costs remain high.
The price at the pump has climbed 46 cents since Nov. 20. The highest average price in the nation is $3.57 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $2.20 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The average price of diesel went up 10 cents over the same period to $2.85.