Global shares advance…US asked to ease export curbs
TOKYO (AP) – Global shares advanced today after China reported its economy expanded at an 18% annual pace in the first quarter of the year. In early trading, France’s CAC 40 added 0.2%, while Germany’s DAX gained 0.6%. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.4%. In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei closed 0.1% higher. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6% and the Shanghai Composite gained 0.8%. U.S. shares are set for a slow start, with Dow futures up less than 0.1% and S&P 500 futures down 0.1%.
NEW DELHI (AP) – The chief executive of Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines and a critical supplier of the U.N.-backed COVAX facility, has asked President Joe Biden on Twitter to lift the U.S. embargo on exporting raw materials needed to make the jabs. Vaccine makers and experts in India have been concerned that the use of the Defense Production Act by the U.S. to boost their own vaccine production was resulting in exports of critical raw materials being stopped. This was hobbling vaccine production in other parts of the world. Serum Institute of India has paused exports to COVAX after a devastating surge of infections in India resulted in increased domestic demand.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey’s central bank is banning the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in payments for goods and services. The decision published in the Official Gazette comes as many in Turkey have turned to cryptocurrencies to shield their savings from rising inflation and the Turkish currency’s slump. The bank says transactions carried out through the use of cryptocurrencies present “irrevocable” risks and are not subjected to regulation or supervision. It also cites their use in “illegal actions due to their anonymous structures,” and their possible use “illegally without the authorization of their holders.” The bank says the restriction would come into effect on April 30.
BRUSSELS (AP) – Top European Union and British officials have failed to get a breakthrough at talks on Northern Ireland trade rules and say that contact would continue over the coming weeks. The dinner meeting late Thursday between European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and U.K. Brexit minister David Frost took place a month after the EU started legal action against its former member country, arguing that it had not respected the conditions of their Brexit agreement and violated international law. A British statement says that “a number of difficult issues remained and it was important to continue to discuss them.”
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Police in Indianapolis say eight people were shot and killed at a FedEx facility. The shooter then killed himself. A police spokesperson says several other people were wounded in the Thursday night shooting. Five were hospitalized, including one person with critical injuries. Another two people were treated and released at the scene. The shooter has not been identified. It was the latest in a recent string of mass shootings across the U.S. Family members have gathered at a hotel to await word on loved ones. The facility is near the Indianapolis International Airport.