Good morning,

An impressive covid statistic to start the day:  Only 32 people that have had the vaccine have ended up in hospital to be treated for Covid, according to the Telegraph.  The number, if accurate, represents an incredible step forward but invariably brings questions over why the government A isn’t releasing this data themselves and B why we’re not being released from lockdown sooner.  As of Monday the UK had administered 33million first doses and 10.4million had received their second doses.

Not all vaccines are created equal though and Chile is warning that the Chinese made Sinovac offers “very weak” protection until after the second dose has been received.  The country has seen a surge in cases despite having an incredibly fast rollout of the vaccination and a close study of the data there shows that this vaccine is just 16% effective after dose one, rising to 67% efficacy after the second dose.  Another curve ball for Chile to deal with was the spread of the Brazilian P1 variant, which is said to be 2.5 times more contagious than the OG virus.

France has started preparing for the Brazilian variant, which they think is likely to be in circulation there by the summer.  They’re stocking up on Moderna vaccine and the pharma company is already modifying their vaccine to better target the strain.  France’s ICUs are now the fullest that they’ve been all year, with just under 6,000 people currently being treated.  It does seem that their recent restrictions are flattening the daily case numbers, which are on average around 30,000 per week.

The US vaccination success story is starting to dent the fortunes of the tech companies that we’ve been so reliant on in the last year. Yesterday Netflix missed an already watered-down expectation for subscriber additions and subsequently saw 13% taken off their share price.  They’re still up more than 30% on where they were in February 2020 though, so it’s not all bad.

Joe Biden will be following Boris Johnson this week in making a significant climate change pledge: He’s set to announce that emissions will be cut at least in half by the end of this decade, ahead of a virtual summit of global leaders.  The pledge will see them nearly double the commitments made under the 2015 Paris climate agreement and with this, much like the UK, the money is going to have to flow in epic proportion to make it possible.

Yesterday was 4/20, the day in which seemingly everyone gathers to get stoned in support of legalizing marijuana (or at least that’s what it looked like in Hyde Park) coincidently, or not, this is also the day that the House of Representatives passed a bill that aims to prevent legal and legitimate businesses in this space being prevented from accessing banking and financial services – something that has been widely seen as a brake on the booming US industry. New York become the 15th US state to legalise recreational use of the drug at the end of last month, so this is now in Wall Street’s back yard and this will be key for developing regulatory and legal controls that are favourable to an emerging market that will be worth billions of dollars.

Xi Jinping gave a speech yesterday and without naming names he called on America and the rest of the world to accept China’s growing position and that global governance should reflect the evolving political and economic landscape – basically, give them a more influential seat at the table.  He also gave a mention to wanting more global integration and warned of the dangers of decoupling economies, whilst saying that China will work with the world on climate change initiatives, such as energy, infrastructure and finance – which is a nod to the new US administration.  The conversation has a good long read on this.

Looking to today:  UK inflation numbers have already been released, with prices up 0.7% in the 12 months to March, an increase from last month’s 0.4% print.  This is being put on higher fuel costs and also the rise in clothing prices in March following February’s continued discounting. Forecasts are that inflation will get to 2% by the end of the year, as rising energy costs put upward pressure on household bills. The rest of the day is reasonably quiet save for some Bank of England speakers and some US energy inventories.

Be well.


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