4 min read.Updated: 01 Apr 2021, 09:22 PM ISTSohini Sen
Mint editors curate the Top 10 news and views around the world that you can savour at the start of the day
The Canadian province of Ontario will return to a lockdown on Saturday, placing additional restrictions on stores and closing gyms and hair salons for 28 days in an effort to get covid-19 under control, CBC News reported, citing multiple officials. Meanwhile, India recorded its highest daily rise in covid-19 cases this year with 72,330 new infections being reported in a span of 24 hours, taking the total tally of cases to 1.22 million. India has exported more vaccines, 64 million doses, than it has administered its own population at 62 million doses, official data showed.
US President Joe Biden laid out what he called a “bold" plan to rebuild the US infrastructure, but now needs an equally ambitious effort to wrangle it through Congress in the face of Republican opposition and criticism from within his Democratic Party. Biden, in a speech on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, invoked the great public investments of the past—the transcontinental railroad, the interstate highway system and the space programme—to sell his idea to spend $2.25 trillion over eight years on a menu of projects, from bolstering the electrical grid to upgrading childcare facilities. But illustrating the challenges Biden’s plan faces getting through Congress, it drew quick criticism from Republicans, who said they wanted no part of the corporate tax hikes he proposes to pay for it. Some progressive Democrats, meanwhile, said it would not spend nearly enough.
Opec+ expected to stay cautious
Oil producing countries grouped together under the Opec+ alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia are expected to agree an extension to their current output cuts at a meeting on Thursday. Their third ministerial meeting of 2021 will be held via videoconference and is scheduled to start at 12:00 GMT. “The producer alliance is virtually guaranteed to extend current oil cuts into May," according to Stephen Brennock of PVM, reflecting a widespread view among analysts. Under its current agreement, the Opec+ group is enforcing drastic cuts in production, meaning seven million barrels that could be shipped to markets every day are being left in the ground. In addition, Saudi Arabia has volunteered to cut its own output by one million barrels per day to help avoid oversupplying a market suffering from a collapse in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US is the biggest source of technology listings in the pipeline in Australia by number and size, Australia’s market operator, ASX Ltd, says. Markets in the UK, Israel, Singapore and Malaysia also have “good engagement", the company said. A year after the launch of the S&P/ASX All Technology Index with 46 members, the gauge has now blossomed to 75, with an index market capitalization of A$160 billion ($120 billion). Over the past 12 months, the index has surged 79%. Of the 75 members, 58 are Australian, with the remainder international including five from New Zealand and five from the US. “The pipeline we have for foreign tech listings at the moment is half a dozen, maybe a few more from the US," ASX’s executive general manager, Max Cunningham said.
Electricity usage falls after 35 years
India’s annual electricity usage fell for the first time in at least 35 years in the fiscal year to March, a Reuters analysis of government data showed. Power generation fell 0.2% during the year 2020/21, compared with the previous year, an analysis of daily load despatch data from federal grid operator POSOCO showed, mainly due to the imposition of lockdowns that resulted in a decline in electricity production for six straight months ending in August. Demand for electricity has picked up since, and generation grew 23.3% in March from a year earlier, the data showed, making it the seventh consecutive monthly increase and the fastest since March 2010. Power generation in March grew much faster than the average increase in the last six months, mainly because India had imposed an intense nationwide lockdown in the last week of March 2020, resulting in a dramatic fall in power usage.
Scotland makes pre-election plans
The Scottish government is exploring raising funds on capital markets for the first time, ahead of elections that could trigger a renewed standoff with the UK over independence. The devolved administration in Edinburgh has had the ability to issue debt—to be nicknamed “kilts" as a play on the UK’s “gilts"— since 2015 under British rules to spread power. So far it’s refrained from doing so, with internal documents seen by Bloomberg showing officials concluded selling bonds didn’t make sense from a financial perspective. Yet the idea is now being taken more seriously by the ruling Scottish National Party, as it eyes the potential for another referendum on leaving the UK if it can gain a pro-independence majority in May’s parliamentary elections. The nation will work closely with investors on a range of options including government-backed bonds to finance its net-zero emissions targets.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen