China’s import surge cheers markets; UK house price growth at 15-year high – business live
by Graeme Wearden on December 7, 2021 at 8:06 am
Rolling coverage of the latest economic and financial news
- China’s imports surge 32% y/y in November
- Scramble to restock depleted commodities like coal.
- Average UK property price hits a new record high of £272,992
- Quarterly house price inflation highest since late 2006
- UK travel firms call for state help after Omicron hits turnover
- ‘Not great news’: US boss fires 900 employees on a Zoom call
The 1% jump in house prices in November suggests the market shrugged off the end of the stamp duty holiday in September.
But a rise in borrowing costs, perhaps this month or in February 2022, could cool demand.
“First-time buyers looking to access the property market may get their Christmas wish early as the ridiculous rise in house prices finally starts to fade. We have already seen buyers’ interest tailing off now that thoughts are moving to festivities and plans for 2022, although the sparse availability of stock continues to support prices.
The proof will be in the December pudding when the Bank of England meets to decide whether to increase interest rates or not. With widespread predictions of an imminent increase to curb rising inflation, December will set the tone for how the property market enters 2022.”Continue reading...
The explosion of Covid PTSD cases is a mental health crisis in the making | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett on December 7, 2021 at 8:00 am
Early intervention in this treatable trauma response is crucial – but in the UK, that isn’t happening
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, people working in the trauma field knew the psychological toll would be colossal. In the spring of 2020, I began interviewing professionals about the mental health fallout of the pandemic, specifically its impact on frontline medical staff. During the first wave, two in every five intensive care staff in England reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
That work continued for almost a year, during which time a second wave hit and the initial traumas were exacerbated. But it wasn’t only frontline workers who were experiencing trauma symptoms: Covid has posed perhaps the biggest threat to mental health in England since the second world war. Now, at the tail end of 2021, the pandemic is still not over. The NHS forecasts that nationally, there will be 230,000 new cases of PTSD as a result of Covid-19.
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnistContinue reading...
As many as 6 million eligible Britons may not have had a Covid jab. Who are they?
by Niamh McIntyre and Tobi Thomas on December 7, 2021 at 8:00 am
The Omicron variant has refocused attention on vaccination rates as data shows disparities in uptake across age, region and ethnicity
Hundreds of cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant have now been confirmed in the UK and experts have called for a renewed focus on vaccination rates.
As of 4 December, just over eight in 10 people aged 12 or older UK-wide had received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine, according to data from the UK Health Security Agency, while 89% had received a first dose. This means about 6 million eligible people may still be unvaccinated, based on ONS population figures as opposed to counts of GP records. So who are they?Continue reading...
Covid news live: Omicron likely to become dominant variant, UK and US experts say
by Martin Belam (now) and Samantha Lock (earlier) on December 7, 2021 at 7:58 am
The Omicron Covid variant is likely to ‘outcompete Delta’ in many, if not all, regions, a Harvard researcher says; patchy monitoring and a time lag in the data is thought to be underreporting cases in the UK
- How fast is the Omicron variant spreading?
- Moderna or Novavax after AstraZeneca jab confers high immunity: study
- New York City sets Covid vaccine mandate for all private employers
- Omicron: what do we know about the new Covid variant?
- See all our coronavirus coverage
All international arrivals to the UK are now required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test to tackle the new Omicron variant.
The tightened requirements have just come into force from 4am (GMT) on Tuesday 7 December.Continue reading...
China attacks US diplomatic boycott of Winter Games as ‘travesty’ of Olympic spirit
by Helen Davidson on December 7, 2021 at 7:34 am
Beijing dismisses no-show and says American officials had not been invited in the first place, as other countries consider their positions
China has reacted angrily to the US government’s diplomatic boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics, as more countries said they would consider joining the protest over Beijing’s human rights record and New Zealand announced it would not send representatives to the Games.
Chinese officials dismissed Washington’s boycott as a “posturing and political manipulation” and tried to discredit the decision by claiming that US diplomats had not even been invited to Beijing in the first place.Continue reading...
China unveils package to boost economy as Evergrande teeters
by Martin Farrer on December 7, 2021 at 7:20 am
Beijing to increase business lending and build more affordable housing, but reports say property giant has missed a key bond repayment
China’s politburo has signalled measures to kickstart the faltering economy as the crisis gripping the country’s debt-laden property sector continued to blight prospects for growth.
President Xi Jinping’s senior leadership committee rubber-stamped a plan from the central bank on Monday for more targeted lending to businesses and outlined support for the housing market.Continue reading...
‘Vague and weak’ policies mean Scotland could miss emission targets
by Severin Carrell Scotland editor on December 7, 2021 at 7:01 am
Climate Change Committee says Holyrood administration cannot show how it will cut CO2 by 75%
There is an “acute risk” that Scotland will miss its targets to heavily cut carbon emissions because government policies are too vague and weak, an influential advisory body has warned.
The Climate Change Committee, which advises all the UK’s governments on climate policies, said the Scottish government was currently unable to prove how it would hit its ambitious promise to cut CO2 emissions by 75% by the end of the decade.Continue reading...
Leuven: the small Flemish town with a big (bang) history
by Ben Lerwill on December 7, 2021 at 7:00 am
With its cosmic roots and being the home of Stella Artois, the compact gothic town is a hip destination that has remained Belgium’s best-kept secret
The barman at Fiere Margriet places a bottle of strong, dark ale in front of me. “Gouden Carolus,” he says. “Brewed 15 miles away”. A cold night has fallen over the city outside, but the low-lit pub is warm and woozy. Hops are strung along the walls; a stuffed fox looks out from the window. “This pub,” continues the barman, stroking his beard, “has been here since fourteen-hundred-and …” he pauses for a while “… something.”
History is elastic in the small Flemish city of Leuven, which is currently hosting BANG!, a citywide festival dedicated to the big bang. Back in the soupiest mists of time – or, strictly, before time was time – a convulsion of baffling quantum forces resulted in the birth of the galaxy. About 13.8 billion years later, in 1931, a cheery Belgian in specs and dog collar came up with a concept to explain it. Albert Einstein initially dismissed the idea, then later backtracked. The Belgian in question was Georges Lemaître – Catholic priest, father of the big bang theory, and resident of Leuven.Continue reading...