Turkish foreign minister says trade deal with UK ‘very close’

Turkey is “very close” to signing a free trade agreement with the UK covering manufactured goods, agriculture and services, Turkey’s foreign minister has said.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Financial Times that in principle there were no differences over the deal, but added that some technical issues needed to be finalised.

“It’s going very well and we are very close to finalising it,” said Mr Cavusoglu, who was in London where he met Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, and his foreign secretary Dominic Raab. “If you look at the volume of our bilateral trade, 95 per cent of it is industrial products, and we agreed on that . . . and 5 per cent is agriculture and services.”

The UK is Turkey’s second-largest trade partner after Germany, and securing an FTA with Britain is deemed critical for Turkish manufacturers, particularly carmakers, textile factories and white goods producers. Total UK-Turkish trade hit

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Asia stocks trade mixed as WHO reports all-time high in coronavirus cases

Stocks in Asia Pacific were mixed in Monday morning trade after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported over the weekend a record high number of coronavirus cases in 24 hours.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.36% in early trade as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group jumped about 1.5% while the Topix index added 0.45%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.58%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia declined, as the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.15%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.05% higher.

Developments surrounding the coronavirus pandemic are likely to continue weighing on investor sentiment. The WHO said Saturday that more than 200,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed over a 24-hour period — a record.

Over in the U.S., the states of Florida and Texas reported daily record spikes in coronavirus cases on Saturday. The recent surge in cases has raised concerns over the possibility of lockdowns being reintroduced to curb the virus’

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Coronavirus, Australia trade data, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to rise at the open on Thursday following positive news overnight around the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

Futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,250 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,200. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,121.73.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia looked set for a positive start as well. The SPI futures contract was at 5,945, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,934.40.

Investors will watch for overnight reaction to a study of a coronavirus candidate being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech that showed the drug created neutralizing antibodies. The results, which were posted online, have yet to be reviewed by a medical journal.

“We are cautious,” Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note. “We

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Barnier rejects UK bid to preserve City of London’s rights via trade deal

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator has rejected British proposals to smooth the City of London’s access to European customers, warning that both sides should prepare for “big changes” from the start of next year. 

Speaking to a gathering of lobbyists for the financial industry, Michel Barnier said Britain had made “unacceptable” proposals to retain EU freedom of movement rights for its financial services professionals and to restrict Brussels’ regulatory room for manoeuvre. 

“It wants to ban residence requirements for senior managers and boards of directors, to ensure that all essential functions remain in London,” Mr Barnier said in a video address. “It wants almost free rein for service suppliers to fly in and out for short-term stays.”

Warning that “the UK cannot keep the benefits of the single market without the obligations”, Mr Barnier said “there is no way” the proposals would be accepted by EU national governments or the

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