1. Record Equity Rally Eases while Treasuries Advance

The global stocks rally eased on Friday as investors assess valuations following a record rise in equities this month and the enduring pandemic in parts of Europe and the U.S. Oil retreated amid rising tensions among OPEC+ members. Futures on the S&P 500 edged higher amid lower-than-average market volumes with reduced trading hours for U.S. stocks and bonds. Treasuries advanced and the dollar headed for a second weekly decline.

S&P 500 futures climbed 0.3% by early morning New York time.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was little changed.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2%.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was little changed.

2. U.S., Taiwan to Push an Alternative to China’s Belt and Road

An informal U.S.-led alliance to provide an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative will provide greater transparency to countries seeking funding to develop their infrastructure. Taiwan and the U.S. are moving ahead with a plan to finance infrastructure and energy projects in Asia and Latin America, using capital raised from the private sector to ensure greater transparency. The plan, initiated with the signing of an agreement between the U.S. and Taiwan in September, aims to raise funds through bonds aimed at Taiwanese banks, insurers and other private capital. It is an opportunity for both Washington and Taipei to counter China’s global infrastructure spree amid concerns about Beijing’s commitment to international projects and worsening finances among developing countries.

3. OPEC+ Calls Last-Minute Talks Ahead of Decision on Oil Cuts

Saudi Arabia and Russia summoned the OPEC+ alliance for last-minute talks on Saturday, just before it’s due to decide whether to delay January’s output increase. A clear majority of OPEC+ watchers expect the group to maintain their supply curbs at current levels for a few months longer due to lingering uncertainty about the strength of demand. However, the decision is by no means certain amid public complaints from Iraq and Nigeria, and private discord with the United Arab Emirates. The 23-nation network known as OPEC+ made vast production cuts during the depths of the pandemic to offset a historic collapse in fuel demand. The alliance had planned to ease some of the curbs at the start of 2021 in anticipation of a global economic recovery

4. India Enters Recession as Virus Pummels No. 3 Asian Economy

India entered an unprecedented recession with the economy contracting in the three months through September due to the lingering effects of lockdowns to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. Gross domestic product declined 7.5% last quarter from a year ago, a marked improvement from a record 24% contraction the previous quarter. Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in March, sapping demand for non-essential goods and services. Despite the measures to stem the pandemic, the country is now home to the second-highest Covid-19 infections after the U.S. at 93 lakh cases. The second straight quarterly decline in GDP pushes Asia’s third-largest economy into its first technical recession. Financial and real estate services — among the biggest components of India’s dominant services sector — shrank 8.1% last quarter from a year ago, while trade, hotels, transport and communication declined 15.6%. Manufacturing gained 0.6%, electricity and gas expanded 4.4% and agriculture grew by 3.4%.

5. Bitcoin Edges Lower to Extend Biggest Slump Since Pandemic Hit

Bitcoin and many of its major peers edged lower on Friday in the wake of some of the biggest declines since the onset of the pandemic, a sell-off that has stirred fresh doubt about this year’s craze for cryptocurrencies. The most-traded digital coin slipped as much as 2.6% before paring the decline.  The sell-off was kicked off by worries over the prospect of tighter crypto rules in the U.S. and profit-taking after a big rally. Even with the slump, Bitcoin has more than doubled this year — an advance that has split opinion. Crypto believers tout a broadening investor base and the search for a hedge against dollar weakness as reasons for a durable boom. Critics point to a history of big swings, including a spectacular boom and bust three years ago.

6. Pfizer Vaccine Goes to Malaysia: Covid-19 Updates

Malaysia agreed to use Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for 20% of its population, while Russia hopes to start supplying its shots next month to Hungary. Ireland, the first western European country to reimpose a lockdown, will order an easing of coronavirus curbs on Friday. Germany’s patients in intensive care rose to record levels. AstraZeneca’s vaccine looks like it’s headed for an additional global trial as the drugmaker tries to clear up uncertainty around favourable results in its current study. Tokyo posted a record 570 cases just one day before a request for bars and restaurants to close early takes effect. New York’s new infections reached a seven-month high, while hospitalizations rose to their highest level since June.

7. Qatar Inks Deal for Minority Stake in Turkish Stock Exchange

Qatar announced a series of high-profile investments in Turkey, its biggest ally in a years-long rift with Gulf heavyweights Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including the purchase of a stake in the country’s main bourse. Doha-based sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with its Turkish counterpart known as TWF to purchase a 10% stake in Borsa Istanbul AS. The agreement for a minority stake in the company that runs the main Turkish stock exchange, for an undisclosed amount, was unveiled at a ceremony at the presidential palace in Turkey’s capital Ankara. Qatar also signed another preliminary deal to invest in a multibillion-dollar port project in Istanbul and finalized an earlier agreement to buy a stake in Istinye Park, one of Istanbul’s largest shopping malls that’s popular among tourists from the Middle East.

8. Brexit Britain’s Food Supply Is Imperiled by Christmas and Covid

A scarcity of warehouse space because of Christmas demand and the pandemic is putting the U.K. at risk of shortages of some food products as it prepares to leave the European Union’s single market. With five weeks to go before the end of the Brexit transition period, large manufacturers and industry groups are warning that the capacity of the food supply chain is at its peak and can’t withstand any further shocks. There have been numerous warnings about potential Brexit disruption from companies and even U.K. ministers, such as lines of trucks on the highway regardless of whether there’s a trade deal or not. The trouble is that the latest contingency planning couldn’t come at a worse time as Christmas goods take up storage space.

9. Euro-Area Economic Confidence Slumps Amid New Virus Restrictions

Economic confidence in the euro area fell sharply in November, the first deterioration in seven months after governments imposed new restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus. A European Commission sentiment index dropped to 87.6 from 91.1 the previous month, with retailers, services providers and consumers particularly pessimistic. An indicator for employment expectations declined for a second month. Many governments took new steps to curb economic activity in November, threatening to pitch the currency bloc back into a slump in the final quarter. Germany extended its partial lockdown until at least Dec. 20, while France is planning to keep restaurants closed until a month after that.

10. China Targets Australian Wine, Says Ties Have Taken ‘Nosedive’

China is set to impose anti-dumping duties of more than 100% on Australian wine from this weekend, adding to a series of sweeping trade reprisals this year and further escalating tensions with Canberra. The anti-dumping deposits will take effect Nov. 28 and range from 107.1% to 212.1%, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said. Australia responded by warning Beijing that its actions could create a perception among businesses and countries around the world that trade with China is risky.

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