Italy has registered 30,550 new coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Wednesday, up from 28,244 on Tuesday. A total of 39,764 people have now died in Italy because of COVID-19, while 790,377 cases of the disease have been registered to date. The northern region of Lombardy, centred on Italy’s financial capital Milan, remained the hardest hit area, reporting 7,758 new cases on Wednesday against 6,804 on Tuesday.
Braid: Moderna boss won't push Canada aside in rush for COVID-19 vaccine – Calgary Herald
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COVID-19 vaccines are a far more complex problem. The feds both purchase and distribute. They must work out timing and systems with each province and territory. Some vaccines require very complex shipping.
And first, federal regulators must also approve the vaccines.
“We will never interfere with the regulators’ work,” Hajdu said.
“They have to be independent so that they can make those decisions free of political influence. That can give Canadians comfort that whatever we approve will be safe.”
The Liberal record on political interference is not exactly stellar, so we will hold her to that.
But Hajdu, who has been pilloried as clueless and incompetent, strikes me as able, well meaning and fully attuned to the enormous challenges she faces.
She says she can’t pinpoint “an exact date” for distribution.
“It’s not all going to happen at once,” she notes. “In every country in the world this planning is going on right now, figuring out who the priority populations are to get these first vaccines.”
Maybe Canada failed to plan early enough to distribute something that did not yet exist. Surely there will be inefficiencies.
But we are in a silent war. As in all times of war, vast systems have to be re-shaped to effectively attack the enemy.
It’s difficult work but Canadians have long since proven we are very good at it.
Although Alberta’s pandemic is escalating daily – a record 1,733 new cases announced Monday – there’s also far more hopeful news than we could have imagined only a month ago.
Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald
The original column has been altered to reflect Nov. 30 case count.
Facebook: Don Braid Politics
Asian shares open higher following stellar month of gains – Reuters
(Corrects to China’s index, not futures, in paragraph 3)
SYDNEY/NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Asian share markets opened slightly higher on Tuesday buoyed by the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine, reversing the previous day’s dips as investors took profits at the end of a record-breaking month.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.26% on Tuesday after closing the month 9% higher, the best November since 2001. Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were each 0.9% higher, while South Korea was up 1.4%.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.72% higher on Tuesday, after data on Monday that pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen clearly a huge wave of liquidity coming to equities in response to the vaccine news and in response to U.S. election news,” said Hamish Tadgell, a portfolio manager at SG Hiscock & Company.
“But there are still risks, and as a result we could see the market pull back, I think, particularly as we come into sort of the Christmas period.”
Wall Street was weaker on Monday, partly driven by a rebalancing of portfolios, as investors cashed in on gains after a strong month punctuated by updates of COVID-19 vaccines progressing and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year.
“There was profit taking around the world so we ended a record month with a whimper not a bang, and you know, taking a little bit of a breather,” said Interactive Brokers Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick.
“I think that markets are pricing in, if not fully pricing a recovery, they are pricing in the vast majority of it (and) it’s very hard to meet these elevated expectations.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was roughly flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.36%, while China’s CSI 300 futures were 0.36% higher.
In the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.91% on Monday while the S&P 500 lost 0.46%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.06%.
Moderna Inc applied for U.S. emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.
“U.S. markets were a little bit lower, that’s what was holding us back a little bit,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone. “People are pretty optimistic for a good 2021.”
The dollar was under pressure on Tuesday, after closing out its worst month since July with a little bounce and as investors reckon on even more U.S. monetary easing.
Oil prices were slightly lower on uncertainty about whether the world’s major oil producers would agree to extend deep output cuts at talks this week.
U.S. crude eased back 11 cents to $45.23 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude futures were largely unchanged at $47.86.
Housing growth, auto loans drive up demand for credit in third quarter: Equifax – Business News – Castanet.net
Consumer demand for credit intensified in the third quarter, driven chiefly by increases in mortgage balances and new auto loans, according to data released Monday by credit reporting agency Equifax.
Mortgage balances and new auto loans were up 6.6 per cent and 11.7 per cent year over year, respectively, according to Equifax. Overall average consumer debt increased 3.3 per cent compared with the third quarter of last year.
Rebecca Oakes, assistant vice-president of advanced analytics at Equifax Canada, said in an interview that growth in mortgages last quarter was especially high, with the largest increase among people under 35. That trend comes even as economic fallout from the pandemic and associated lockdown measures hit young people especially hard.
“In terms of new mortgages, that could be refinancing, or it could be brand-new, first-time homebuyers or it could be people moving house,” Oakes said. “That was actually the highest value that we’ve seen ever.”
The increased demand for auto loans in the third quarter could have been a result of pent-up demand from people who had to wait to buy cars later in the year, Oakes said.
The figures in Equifax’s report are drawn from banks and other lenders that provide data to the credit rating agency.
Equifax pegged total consumer debt at $2.04 trillion, while Statistics Canada reported in June that household debt had reached $2.3 trillion, with $1.77 in debt for every dollar of household disposable income.
More than three million consumers have chosen to use payment deferral programs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Equifax. Since the start of this year, some banks have offered consumers the option to suspend their loan payments for several months, in recognition of the financial strain the pandemic has created for many households.
However, under the payment deferral programs, interest continues to accrue during the months for which payments are suspended.
The percentage of balances where credit users have missed three or more payments was at its lowest level since 2014, with deferral programs likely masking the true delinquency rates, according to Oakes.
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