Australian Economy

Latest on worldwide spread of coronavirus

ASIA-PACIFIC

* Senior officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan on Wednesday urged North Korea to return to dialogue and accept help to tackle COVID-19, saying the country’s recent missile tests are “serious, unlawful” provocations.

* North Korea on Wednesday reported more than 54,610 new people showing fever symptoms amid the reclusive nation’s first reported COVID-19 outbreak, state media KCNA said.

* Shanghai officials are seeking to revive confidence among multinational companies bruised and frustrated by the city’s COVID lockdown by holding multiple meetings with foreign companies and easing a key border requirement for overseas workers.

EUROPE

* Workers at France’s main Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris will strike on Thursday to demand better pay and working conditions, pointing to rising inflation, and working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, the CGT trade union said. European airports are struggling to deal with a sudden increase in travellers.

AMERICAS

* The Chilean economy will expand between 1.5 per cent and 2.25 per cent this year, after last year’s solid recovery from the pandemic, the country’s central bank said on Wednesday.

MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS

* An international agreement on waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines is within reach ahead of a global trade meeting next week, the head of the World Trade Organization said.

* Moderna said a new version of its coronavirus vaccine produced a better immune response against Omicron than the original shot.

* Shares of Novavax surged nearly 20 per cent on Wednesday after advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration overwhelmingly backed the use of its COVID-19 vaccine.

ECONOMIC IMPACT

* Emerging market stocks returned to gains on Wednesday, boosted by China blue-chip shares, on hopes of recovery in demand following easing COVID-19 curbs.

* Retail car sales in China jumped 30 per cent in May from April, preliminary data published by an industry body showed, as authorities rolled out stimulus to revive the market depressed by measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.

* The Bank of Japan will consider downgrading its assessment on factory output at this month’s policy meeting, sources said, as supply disruptions caused by China’s strict lockdowns take a heavy toll on the economy.

* Japan’s economy shrank slightly less than initially reported in the first quarter, as private consumption remained resilient in the face of resurgent COVID-19 infections and companies rebuilt their stock, offsetting a drop in business spending.

GLOBAL

DEATHS: 6,324,784

CASES: 536,995,931

RECOVERED: 507,975,061

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