• IMF lifts 2021 global growth forecasts from 5.2% to 5.5%
• EU to require firms to register their vaccine exports
• UK unemployment rises from 4.9% to 5%
• Sweden halts payments to Pfizer in disagreement over doses
• California lifts restrictions
• The EU has warned it will tighten exports of Covid-19 vaccines produced in the bloc after AstraZeneca told the EU it was falling behind on its supply target because of production problems.
• Unemployment in the UK rose from 4.9% to 5%. In the three months to November, those aged 25-34 had a redundancy rate of 16.2 per 1,000, a five-fold increase on the same period a year earlier. Some 1.72m were jobless, 418,000 more than in the same period the previous year, the biggest increase since late 2009.
• Rioters in the Netherlands have clashed for a third night with police in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Amersfoort and Geleen over coronavirus restrictions.
• California has eased strict stay-at-home orders, allowing restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and greater social mixing.
• Moderna believes its coronavirus vaccine protects against the British and South African variants, although it will test a new booster shot aimed at the South Africa variant after concluding the antibody response could be diminished.
• New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has said her country’s borders will remain closed to foreign nationals until Kiwis are “vaccinated and protected”. Vaccination of the general New Zealand population is not slated to begin until at least the middle of 2021.
• Sweden has stopped vaccine payments to Pfizer amid a disagreement over the number of doses of vaccine in each vial delivered by the drug company.
• California has reached an agreement to extend the state’s eviction moratorium through the end of June, preventing landlords from evicting tenants who could not pay their rent between March and August because of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have been able to pay at least 25% of their rent.
• The IMF now predicts global growth of 5.5% in 2021, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the October forecast, citing expectations of a vaccine-powered uptick later in the year and added policy support in the United States, Japan and a few other large economies.
• Europe’s cultural and creative sector was hit harder by the coronavirus crisis than every other industry except aviation. According to the report by the EC, revenue in the sector – which includes TV, cinema, radio, music, publishing, video games, the performing and visual arts – fell by 31.2% last year compared with 2019. Tourism lost 27% of its income and the aviation industry lost 31.4%.