Asda loses equal pay claim, as garden furniture boom boosts UK retail sales – business live

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1.42pm GMT

Three important bits of news on Covid vaccines/treatments:

The EU will ensure that coronavirus vaccine doses produced by AstraZeneca within the bloc stay there until the company fulfills its delivery commitments, the internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said today. By the end of the year, the EU will have 52 factories able to produce between 2 and 3 billion vaccine doses overall, he said.

12.58pm GMT

US consumer spending fell more than expected in February, when the country was in the grip of a cold snap and the boost from a second round of cheques to middle- and lower-income households faded.

However, the decline in consumer spending is likely to be temporary, as the federal government is sending out cheques of up to $1,400 this month, as part of a massive Covid-19 relief package worth $1.9 trillion signed by president Joe Biden. Moreover, millions of people get vaccinated every day, which is boosting public confidence, and the willingness to go out, spend and travel.

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