Stocks climb…Biden says help is here
UNDATED (AP) – Stocks have climbed in Europe and Asia today after a key measure of inflation in the U.S. came in lower than expected, easing worries that price pressures could push interest rates higher. In early trading, Germany’s DAX edged 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in Paris picked up 0.4% and Britain’s FTSE rose 0.1%. In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 0.6% higher, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.7% and South Korea’s Kospi surged 1.9%. U.S. futures are pointing to a strong start, with S&P futures up 0.7% and Dow futures up 0.4%.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress has sent President Joe Biden the landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. The House approved the bill Wednesday over solid Republican opposition in a vote that gives the new president and Democrats a victory just seven weeks after he took office. Biden tweeted that “help is here” and said he would sign the bill on Friday. Most noticeable to many Americans are provisions providing up to $1,400 direct payments this year to most people and extending $300 weekly emergency unemployment benefits into early September.
AMSTERDAM (AP) – The European Medicines Agency is meeting today to discuss whether Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose coronavirus vaccine should be authorized. If approved, that would give the European Union a fourth licensed vaccine to try to curb the pandemic amid a stalled vaccination drive. The European Union has struggled to quickly roll out shots and immunize its most vulnerable citizens. It ranks far behind Britain, Israel and the U.S. in getting its population vaccinated. The EMA could issue a decision later in the day on whether the J&J shot should be licensed for the 27-nation bloc.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand is pushing for nations around the world to end tariffs on face masks, syringes and other supplies needed to battle the coronavirus pandemic. New Zealand is making the push as this year’s host of APEC, an economic forum of 21 Asia-Pacific countries that includes Japan, China, Canada and the U.S. New Zealand hopes that forum members will quickly agree on a list of products that should have tariffs removed, and that the list will then be used as a template by other nations around the world. Last year, New Zealand removed tariffs from such virus supplies.
BRUSSELS (AP) – European Union figures show that the 27-nation bloc has allowed some 34 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine exports over the past weeks despite shortages at home as it continues to struggle to get its vaccine drive up to speed. Several officials say that more than 9.1 million doses were exported to the United Kingdom at a time when diplomatic tensions rose over vaccine exports and the implementation of the Brexit divorce agreement. One official highlights that the exports were “only for the producers that respect their contract commitments” towards the EU.