Current Affairs – 19 October 2020 - Doo Prime News
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Current Affairs – 19 October 2020

WORLDWIDE : HEADLINES

China regulator approves Ant Group’s Hong Kong IPO: IFR

China’s securities regulator has approved financial tech firm Ant Group’s Hong Kong leg of a planned dual-listing worth up to $30 billion, IFR reported on Monday citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Ant, backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group 9988.HK, BABA.N plans to seek listing approval from Hong Kong’s stock exchange on Monday and the China Securities Regulatory Commission will approve Ant’s Shanghai leg of the listing plan, IFR reported.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Britain and EU to try to rescue post-Brexit trade talks

LONDON/BRUSSELS – Britain and the European Union will on Monday attempt to breathe life into post-Brexit trade talks that appeared all but dead last week, with each side telling the other it needed to fundamentally change course.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday there was no point in continuing talks and it was time to prepare for a ‘no-deal’ exit when transitional arrangements end on Dec. 31.

But Michael Gove, one of his senior ministers, struck a more conciliatory tone on Sunday, saying the door was still ajar to a deal if the bloc was willing to compromise.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier had been due in London for talks with his British counterpart David Frost this week. Instead, they will now speak by telephone on Monday to discuss the structure of future talks, Barnier’s spokesman said.

Negotiations broke down on Thursday when the European Union said Britain needed to give ground.

Issues still to be resolved include fair competition rules, dispute resolution and fisheries.

Full coverage: REUTERS

WORLDWIDE : FINANCE / MARKETS

Asian markets start on firm footing on vaccine, U.S. aid hopes

SYDNEY – Asian markets started higher on Monday, buoyed by hopes of a U.S fiscal package before the U.S. presidential elections next month and expectations of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of this year, though the mood was still cautious as infections jump.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 0.26% for its second straight day of gains.

The index has risen in eight of the last 10 sessions amid a rally in risk assets buoyed by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine and expectations of a so called “blue wave”, which would see the Democrats claim victory in November’s elections.

Boosting overall sentiment, drugmaker Pfizer Inc PFE.N said on Friday it could have a coronavirus vaccine ready in the United States by the end of this year.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 climbed about 1% while South Korea’s KOSPI and Australian shares .AXJO were up 0.7% each.

New Zealand .NZ50 was a tad lower after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term at elections over the weekend, having risen over the week in anticipation of such a result.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Oil prices little changed ahead of China GDP data

SINGAPORE – Oil prices edged up in early Asian trade on Monday ahead of China’s economic growth data, which is expected to show recovery in the top oil importer, offsetting concerns of an impact from the virus’ resurgence on consumption and rising supply.

Brent crude for December LCOc1 inched up 4 cents to $42.97 a barrel by 0018 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 was at $40.90 a barrel, up 2 cents, a day before the November contract expires.

China will release third-quarter GDP data at 0200 GMT; its economy most likely grew 5.2% in July-September from a year earlier, as consumers resurfaced and major trading partners reopened for business, shaking off a record slump seen earlier this year.

However, China’s oil-buying frenzy is expected to slow in the fourth quarter amid high inventories and limited import quotas for independent refiners.

Brent rose 0.2% last week while WTI gained 0.7%, after crude and oil product inventories in the United States, world’s top oil consumer, fell last week.

Full coverage: REUTERS

Dollar clings to gains as traders wait for China growth data

SINGAPORE – The dollar clung to gains on Monday, supported by investor worries about the looming U.S. election and the fading prospects of any fiscal stimulus beforehand, while the Chinese yuan held firm ahead of the release of quarterly growth data.

The dollar index was steady in early trade, following a 0.7% rise last week when a global surge in coronavirus cases and an impasse over the stimulus package stoked caution.

The risk-sensitive Australian and New Zealand dollars edged higher on expectations that data due later on Monday shows strong growth in China, and on faint hopes that Democrats and the White House could agree on a new spending program. [AUD/]

But enthusiasm was tempered by the opposition of Senate Republicans and as investors focused on what the election outcome means for stimulus later, with a Joe Biden victory seen weakening the dollar by boosting sentiment with big spending.

The Antipodean currencies rose about 0.2% each, with no real reaction from the kiwi to the landslide election victory of Jacinda Ardern’s Labour party over the weekend. The euro, yen and sterling were all steady in morning trade in Asia.

“Fiscal remains the buzzword,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone.

Full coverage: REUTERS

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