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Asia markets bounce as countries in region sign giant trade deal; Australia halts trading – CNBC

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SINGAPORE — Asia markets bounced on Monday morning as 15 economies in the region signed a deal that formed the world’s largest trade alliance. Australia, meanwhile, halted trading shortly after markets opened.

The trade deal, signed on Sunday, aims to gradually reduce tariffs across many areas, according to Reuters. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is now the world’s largest trade bloc, a deal that excludes the U.S. It marks the first time that East Asian powers China, Japan and South Korea are in a single trade agreement.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 1.59%, while the Topix was up 1.37%.

Japan’s economy rebounded sharply, growing an annualized 21.4% in the third quarter, data showed on Monday. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew 5%, better than forecasts of 4.4%, according to Reuters, and a sign that the country was recovering from the damage caused by the pandemic.

In South Korea, the Kospi rose 1.52%.

Mainland Chinese stocks were mixed in early trade. The Shanghai composite rose 0.36%, while the Shenzhen component was down 0.48%. In China, a set of economic data is due to be released, including industrial production and retail sales.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.43% in early trade. Casino and finance stocks listed in the city were going strong. Standard Chartered was up 3%, while HSBC bounced 2.8%.

Over in Australia, the Australian Securities Exchange halted stock trading shortly after the open, citing “market data issues.” The exchange said it is “working to rectify the issue as soon as possible.”

The S&P/ASX 200 had made gains in early trading, last jumping 1.23%.

Indian markets are closed due to a holiday. Overall, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.88%.

In a note on Monday morning, Mizuho Bank had called the giant trade agreement a “much-(needed) and overdue life-line for global trade.”

“The reach and ambitions of the RCEP, looking to abolish some 92% of traded goods tariffs, would be critical in deepening supply-chain linkages,” it said.

Autos, tech stocks soar

Japan’s exporters made major gains in the morning on the back of the trade deal news.

Autos in Japan mainly benefited, with Nissan rising 2.79%, and Mazda soaring 6%. Mitsubishi jumped more than 4%, and Honda gained 3.77%.

Tech stocks in the country also gained. Tokyo Electron jumped 5.45%, while Panasonic soared 5.25%. Softbank Group was up more than 1%.

Tech stocks listed in South Korea also jumped. Samsung Electronics was up 3.64% and SK Hynix rocketed more than 6%.

Vaccine, virus remain in focus in the U.S.

Over in the U.S., stock futures rose on Sunday night after the S&P 500 posted a record closing high on Friday and notched a one-week gain of 2.2%. The Dow rallied more than 4% last week and briefly hit an intraday record. The Nasdaq Composite lagged, however, sliding 0.6%.

Coronavirus cases stateside are surging again, with the U.S. reporting a record-high number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 on Friday. More states are rolling out fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the virus ahead of the holiday season.

“In the US virus cases and vaccine news remain front and centre together with any development on the likelihood of a fiscal stimulus package during the lame duck Congressional session,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at the National Australia Bank wrote in a Monday note. “Vaccine news will also be watched closely with Moderna expected to report Phase 3 results and Pfizer/BioNTech potentially applying for an emergency use authorisation by the end of the week.”

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was a touch weaker at 92.623 after declining from levels above 92.9 late last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.61 per dollar, after strengthening from levels above 105 late last week. The Australian dollar was relatively unchanged, trading at 0.7291 against the dollar.

After dropping more than 2% on Friday, oil prices edged higher in the morning of Asia trading hours. International benchmark Brent crude futures were up 0.65% to $43.06 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 1% to $40.53 per barrel.

What’s on tap (all times in HK/SIN):

11:00 a.m.: South Korea’s exports, imports

Subscribe to CNBC PRO to access live PRO Talks live, including our Dec. 2 discussion on opportunities and risks in international markets.

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Pfizer cuts COVID-19 vaccine delivery by half for 2020 due to supply chain issues – Global News

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Pfizer has confirmed to Global News that it will be distributing half the amount of COVID-19 vaccines that it had originally proposed for 2020 due to supply chain issues.

In an emailed statement to Global News, the pharmaceutical company confirmed what was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, that it will be delivering up to 50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 worldwide, down from the 100 million doses previously promised.

Read more:
Canada’s review of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine will be completed ‘soon,’ health minister says

“Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021,” Pfizer said in a statement.

Pfizer said there are two reasons the number of doses expected has changed.

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“For one, scaling up a vaccine at this pace is unprecedented, and we have made significant progress as we have moved forwards in the unknown,” the company said.

“Additionally, scale up of the raw material supply chain took longer than expected.”


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first'



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Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first


Coronavirus: Canadian officials expect Pfizer vaccine ‘likely’ to arrive first

Pfizer also noted that results of its clinical trial were received later than expected.

The company said finished doses are currently being made at a “rapid pace.”

“We are confident in our ability to supply at a pace of approximately 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021,” Pfizer said.

Pfizer had adjusted its supply outlook in 2020 from 100 million to 50 million in November in publicly available statements, but had promised up to 100 million doses as late as September.

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Read more:
Britain approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for use, 1st in world to do so

The vaccine has been found to be 95 per cent effective against COVID-19 in recent tests, and the United Kingdom became the first country to approve the vaccine on Wednesday.

Canada is set to receive up to four million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine between January and March 2021, and will finish its review of the vaccine “soon,” according to Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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11 new COVID cases reported in Nova Scotia Thursday – HalifaxToday.ca

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NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/HEALTH/WELLNESS
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As of today, Dec. 3, Nova Scotia has 119 active cases of COVID-19. Eleven new cases were identified Wednesday, Dec. 2.

Nine of the new cases are in Central Zone. The other two cases are in Northern Zone.

“As we get closer to another weekend under tighter restrictions, I want to remind all Nova Scotians that we need to continue limiting our social contacts and travel so we can contain the virus,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We have the ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our province if we follow all the public health measures.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority’s labs completed 2,047 Nova Scotia tests on Dec. 2.

Yesterday there were 338 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Halifax and 148 tests administered at the rapid-testing pop-up site in Wolfville. There were no positive test results identified at either site.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has completed 71,631 tests. There have been 254 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. No one is currently in hospital. Cases range in age from under 10 to over 70. One hundred and thirty-five cases are now resolved. Cumulative cases may change as data is updated in Panorama.

“It is important to recognize that although our cases numbers are not as high as we expected them to be, we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 every day,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “Now is not the time to let our guard down. Please do your part to slow the spread of this virus by continuing to follow all the public health measures and restrictions.”

Visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/ to do a self-assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had or you are currently experiencing:
— fever (i.e. chills/sweats) or cough (new or worsening)

Or:
Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):
— sore throat
— runny nose/nasal congestion
— headache
— shortness of breath/difficulty breathing

Call 811 if you cannot access the online self-assessment or wish to speak with a nurse about your symptoms.

When a new case of COVID-19 is confirmed, public health works to identify and test people who may have come in close contact with that person. Those individuals who have been confirmed are being directed to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who has travelled outside of Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better.

It remains important for Nova Scotians to strictly adhere to the public health order and directives – practise good hand washing and other hygiene steps, maintain a physical distance when and where required. Wearing a non-medical mask is mandatory in most indoor public places.

Rules concerning interprovincial travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have changed. The premiers of all four Atlantic provinces are cautioning against non-essential travel into neighbouring provinces. Currently, all non-essential travel into Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador requires a 14-day self-isolation. All public health directives of each province must be followed. Under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act order, visitors from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days unless they completed their self-isolation in another Atlantic province.

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus .

Businesses and other organizations can find information to help them safely reopen at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia .

Quick Facts:
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Dec. 13
— online booking for COVID-19 testing appointments is available for Nova Scotians getting a test at all primary assessment centres or at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax

Additional Resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/

The COVID-19 self-assessment is at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/

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Oil could close at highest price since March after OPEC+ news – Al Jazeera English

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OPEC and Russia agreed to a modest output increase of 500,000 barrels per day from January onwards.

Oil prices on Thursday were on track to hit their highest closes since early March after sources said OPEC and Russia agreed to a modest output increase of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from January onwards.

The increase means the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, a group known as OPEC+, would move to cutting production by 7.2 million bpd, or seven percent of global demand from January, compared with current cuts of 7.7 million bpd.

The OPEC+ producers, however, failed to find a compromise on a broader and longer-term policy for the rest of next year.

Brent futures rose 63 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $48.88 a barrel by 1:01pm EST (18:01 EMT). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 49 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $45.77.

That puts both benchmarks on track to close at their highest levels since March 5 – before most countries imposed lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

OPEC+ met on Thursday to work on policies for 2021 after talks earlier in the week reached no conclusion on how to tackle weak oil demand amid a new wave of coronavirus infections.

OPEC+ had been widely expected to roll over oil cuts of 7.7 million bpd, or eight percent of global supplies, at least until March 2021.

But after hopes for the speedy approval of COVID-19 vaccines spurred a rally in oil prices at the end of November – Brent futures gained 27 percent in November – some producers questioned the need to tighten oil policy.

Those higher prices in November prompted US producers to boost output for a third week in a row last week for the first time since June 2019, reaching 11.1 million bpd, according to government data.

“With US oil output on the rise, OPEC+ couldn’t allow the Americans to win market share at their expense,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA in New York.

The premiums of front-month Brent and WTI over the same month in 2022, meanwhile, reached their highest since February 2020, signalling future price uncertainty.

Four OPEC+ sources said the group would now gather every month to decide on output policies beyond January and monthly increases are unlikely to exceed 500,000 bpd.

Monthly meetings by OPEC+ will make price moves more volatile and complicate hedging by US oil producers.

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