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FirstFT: Today’s top stories


Global stocks rallied on Tuesday, pushing the Dow above 30,000 for the first time on optimism for a smooth transition of power in the US and measures soon to bolster the world’s biggest economy.

Donald Trump said his administration would begin co-operating with Joe Biden’s transition team, bowing to Republican pressure to start the transfer of power even as the president vowed to continue contesting his election loss. His statement, however, stopped short of a formal concession.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign has distanced itself from conservative lawyer Sidney Powell after she made incorrect and unsubstantiated claims about a fraudulent election process.

Mr Biden on Tuesday said America was “back, ready to lead the world” at an event to unveil his new foreign policy team that marked a clear break from the “America first” Trump administration.

Janet Yellen, Mr Biden’s reported pick for Treasury secretary, would take the helm as the recovery from the initial impact of coronavirus is showing significant signs of slowing amid fading fiscal support from Congress as new infections surge in many states.

Even though a vaccine is on the horizon, many economists fear lasting damage to businesses and the labour market that could weigh on the performance of the economy for years. And Mr Biden will face America’s biggest health project: vaccinating the nation. (FT, Guardian)

Coronavirus digest

AstraZeneca's vaccine has hopes for low-income countries

Remdesivir once drew praise from the White House and a rush for orders. How did the first antiviral to treat Covid-19 fall from grace? Follow our live blog for the latest developments.

In the news

Renminbi on course for record six-month run China’s currency is set to record its best six months against the dollar on record as the country’s containment of coronavirus and economic recovery provide a competitive advantage investors expect will last well into 2021. Meanwhile, a string of defaults is testing the safety net for Chinese bonds. (FT)

Thai protesters take aim at big businesses The company that runs one of Thailand’s most-watched news channels has softened the tone of its coverage of pro-democracy mass protests after being targeted by a consumer boycott. (FT)

Protesters have called for reform of Thailand’s political institutions and monarchy, as well as the business interests that have supported them © Sakchai Lalit/AP

India bans 43 more Chinese apps including AliExpress India’s Electronics and Information Technology ministry said in an order on Tuesday that the apps, which include Alibaba’s online shopping site AliExpress, were blocked for “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India”. (FT)

Tesla S&P debut set to electrify Wall Street Tesla’s market value has soared to $500bn in the latest leg of a rally sparked by a jolt of buying ahead of the electric automaker’s upcoming debut on the blue-chip S&P 500 stock index. “Tesla shares have been one of the remarkable stories of 2020,” said David Kostin, Goldman Sachs chief US equity strategist. (FT)

In a first, Pope says China’s Uighurs are ‘persecuted’ In his new book, Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future, Pope Francis for the first time referred to the Uighur population as a “persecuted people”, something human rights activists have been urging him to do for years. (Reuters)

Pope Francis looks on as he celebrates a mass as part of World Youth Day earlier this week. © REUTERS

City of London makes late scramble to limit Brexit disruption Companies and City regulators are making last-minute arrangements to avoid disruption when the UK leaves the EU’s single market next month, with Paris gaining a new trading hub for Goldman Sachs and a dual listing for FTSE 100 stalwart Segro. (FT)

As the Brexit deadline approaches, what questions do you have about the UK leaving the EU? Tell us at firstft@ft.com or in the comments and our Brexit editor may weigh in.

French MPs approve contentious security law France’s lower house of parliament approved a new security law on Tuesday designed to strengthen the powers of the police and restrict the way in which images identifying individual police officers can be used online, on air and in print. (FT)

The day ahead

UK spending review British chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce the government’s spending plan on Wednesday, which will cover initiatives to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the UK’s economy and protect jobs. Mr Sunak has paved the way for big tax rises in the spring. (FT)

Fed minutes The US Federal Reserve will publish the minutes from this month’s monetary policy meeting on Wednesday, giving investors a glimpse into how seriously the US central bank is considering providing further stimulus in light of the surge in coronavirus cases worldwide. (FT)

What else we’re reading

Japan’s high-income problem Japanification should be used as shorthand for failure to respond adequately to financial fragility, and being too timid with macroeconomic stimulus. The term certainly fits the Japan of the 1990s, and for that matter, the eurozone of 2010s, writes Adam Posen, in the latest in our lessons from Japan series. (FT)

Column chart of Average annual growth in real GDP per capita (%) showing Japan's economic experience after 2002 was in line with its peers

What the world can learn from the pandemic Lessons are already emerging to help us manage the impact of such diseases better in future, writes Martin Wolf. One being that Covid-19 has demonstrated a social and economic vulnerability far greater than experts imagined. Nepal, now open to travellers, is trying to unfreeze the Everest economy. (FT, Bloomberg)

Bitcoin finds a rationale in doomsday scenarios For those who believe that the world is slipping toward authoritarianism and that civil liberties cannot be taken for granted, bitcoin’s anonymous security acts as a hedge, writes Izabella Kaminska. What does the future hold for coins as more people go cashless. (FT, NYT)

Cloudy with a chance of migraine Japan’s Weather Pain Forecast aims to show how atmospheric conditions provoke headaches and joint pain. In order to be more useful, runs the argument, weather forecasting should attempt to incorporate the likelihood of physical pain in the daily outlook the way it already does with pollen counts for allergies. (FT)

© Pate

Lessons from Ant Group’s halted IPO The intervention by Beijing might spur entrepreneurs to take a lower profile, writes Henny Sender. The moment when being seen as rich was glorious is over — at least for private entrepreneurs. (FT)

US democracy could emerge stronger Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, represents proof that American government institutions are still alive and functioning, writes US managing editor Peter Spiegel. Patti Waldmeir says Americans are lamenting a holiday this year that mostly won’t happen. (FT)

Corruption is rotting Europe Focusing exclusively on Hungary and Poland’s resistance to the EU over rule of law underplays the scope of the EU’s problems, says Gideon Rachman. The conflict is creating fissures among the bloc. Ludovic Orban, Romania’s prime minister, has chastised the two nations for blocking the EU’s Covid-19 recovery budget. (FT)

London lockdown tips from readers Last week, FT staff shared their London discoveries that helped get them through the capital city’s lockdown. This week readers picked their favourite places to eat, exercise and be entertained. (FT)

Podcast of the day

Moving in together How can cohabiting couples structure a financial arrangement in a way that will be fair to both of them if they later split up? Claer Barrett delves deeper with Michael Gouriet, a partner in a family law team, and Angela Marson, a chartered financial planner. (FT)

Illustration of the day

Banx: Three weeks on from losing US election, Trump still claims he won

Thank you for reading. Send your recommendations and feedback to firstft@ft.com



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