Latest news updates: Mexico’s president withdraws nomination of central bank governor

Mexico’s president withdraws nomination of central bank governor

Mexican Senate majority leader Ricardo Monreal said on Tuesday that the country’s president withdrew his chosen nominee to run the central bank months ago, creating uncertainty over monetary policy at a time of high inflation.

The choice of Arturo Herrera — formerly finance minister under president Andrés Manuel López Obrador — was announced in June and he had been due to start in January pending Senate confirmation.

Monreal told reporters that the government withdrew his nomination in August but that it didn’t say why, adding that Herrera could still be re-nominated.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment and has not made a public statement on the topic since the news broke.

Herrera had been seen by investors as close to the president, but analysts said Tuesday’s news created more uncertainty for the country’s economy at a time when inflation is running at more than 6 per cent.

The news acame hours after the government published a directive to fast track mega projects and amid discussions over a radical overhaul of the energy sector. López Obrador’s critics say the moves threaten the rule of law and independent institutions. 

US jury finds 3 large pharmacy chains liable for opioid epidemic

A Walgreens store in the Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles
A Walgreens store in the Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles © Christopher Lee/Bloomberg

A US federal jury has found that CVS, Walgreens and Walmart contributed to a deadly opioid epidemic in two counties in Ohio, a ruling that could set a precedent for thousands of legal cases pending against pharmacy chains.

Lawyers for Lake and Trumbull counties alleged the chains operated by the three companies did not do enough to prevent sales of addictive pain killer medications to residents, which contributed to hundreds of overdose deaths and cost authorities $1bn.

The landmark case is the first time pharmacy chains have been held liable at the conclusion of a trial for contributing to an opioid epidemic that has killed more than half a million Americans over two decades.

Thousands of similar legal cases are pending in the US, where state and local governments are seeking to recoup tens of billions of dollars in social and healthcare costs linked to the crisis.

In July, US states agreed a $26bn settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three of the biggest drug distributors in the US — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen — to resolve allegations that the companies contributed to the epidemic.

The jury on Tuesday found the pharmacy chains created a public nuisance in the way they dispensed opioids and dismissed arguments that doctors and drug manufacturers were primarily to blame for the crisis.

Read more about the opioid verdict here.

WHO vows to give away Covid-19 antibody test licence to developing nations

The World Health Organization has vowed that a licence for technology that checks for Covid-19 antibodies will be given to poor and middle-income countries.

The agreement, which aims to facilitate the rapid manufacture and commercialisation of a serological coronavirus test worldwide, was signed on Tuesday. The Spanish National Research Council, the Medicines Patent Pool and the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool collaborated to develop the initiative.

“This licence is a testament to what we can achieve when putting people at the centre of our global and multilateral efforts,” said Carlos Alvarado Quesada, president of Costa Rica, the founding country of WHO’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool.

The tests are simple to use and suitable for all settings with a basic laboratory infrastructure, such as those found in rural areas within developing nations, the WHO said.

“This is the kind of open and transparent licence we need to move the needle on access during and after the pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“I urge developers of Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to follow this example and turn the tide on the pandemic and on the devastating global inequity,” he added.

US stocks down for 2nd day running in wake of Powell nomination

Global stocks dropped on Tuesday led by a slide in technology shares, as traders weighed Jay Powell’s nomination for a second term as Federal Reserve chair and the further surge of coronavirus cases across Europe.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite index closed 0.5 per cent lower, while Wall Street’s blue-chip S&P 500 index closed 0.2 per cent higher. The share gauges had ended Monday’s session down 1.3 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively. The FTSE All World index finished lower for a third consecutive day, falling 0.2 per cent.

Since fast-growing tech stocks are often more sensitive to changes in interest rate policy, they have moved dramatically as traders have started to bet on more hawkish policy from the US central bank under Powell.

Fed fund futures — a market for hedging against or betting on future interest rate moves — are pointing to a roughly 75 per cent chance that the central bank lifts US interest rates from historic lows by June next year, up from about 60 per cent a month ago, according to data compiled by CME Group.

The shift was reflected in short-term US government bonds. The yield on the two-year US Treasury note rose to its highest level since March last year early on Tuesday, hitting 0.64 per cent. At the end of the New York day it was hovering slightly below that level at 0.61 per cent.

Read more on the day’s market moves here.

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