The UK Government is ramping up their vaccine drive, following a well document supply issue. In mid-March we achieved around 845k doses administered in a single day, before a slow down in the supply which impacted the rate in which vaccines were administered, however doses available are starting to increase again, with the UK anticipated to be delivering around a million vaccinations a day, over the summer. The Government are looking to vaccinate every person or child over the age of 12 years old, in order to prevent a third wave overwhelming the NHS. Anyone over the age of 30 years old are now invited to be vaccinated, with approximately three quarters of adults in the UK having already received the first dose, and more than two fifths have received the second.
Germany has moved to second place on the list of the UK’s top import market, according to recent ONS data. They found that over the last three years trade with China had increased by 66%, whilst German imports fell by a quarter. The shift will have been amplified over the last year or so, as billions of Pounds of Chinese PPE was ordered during the pandemic, whilst German car purchases collapsed for more than half of last year. The trend isn’t just short term though and numbers have been reducing as uncertainty over Brexit outcomes sent companies searching for more stable supply chains outside of Europe. The BBC has the story.
In the US, there’s a lot of back and forth between the parties over Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan. So far he’s reduced the size of the plan by $600bn to $1.7tn, which republicans have rejected. They’re set to come back with a counter offer of around a trillion dollars, which likely means we’ll see something around the $1.3-1.5trn mark agreed upon. Taking a trillion dollars off the plan greatly reduces the scope of it, but getting a two party agreement in place has its own value attached to it and so Biden will be keen to avoid railroading through his plans and breaking any chance he has of getting politics back to a more collaborative footing. Collaboration still seems a long way off in the grand scheme of things though, as last week Republicans voted overwhelmingly against investigating the Capitol riots in January, despite a load of them being trapped in the building when it was being attacked!
One area both parties do agree on is China, where both want to take a tough stance on competition, human rights and China’s growing international influence. To that end, a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives called the “Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement” bill (which conveniently spells EAGLE). This bill seeks to increase support for Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as reviewing all US listed Chinese companies to assess whether they have any complicity in human rights violations. The hope is that this bill can make its way through the House quickly and then be combined with other legislation from the Senate that legislates a firm response to China – which probably won’t do anything to brighten the mood between the two countries.
Today we’re quite data light, though central bank speakers from the ECB and Fed are due to make some economic comments, whilst the deputy governor of the Bank of Canada is set to talk about digital currencies, which could be interesting given the stance of other governments to crypto and the emerging reviews on central banks adopting their own digital assets.
The main event arrives at 09:30 this morning when Dominic Cummings will face MP’s, to participate in an inquiry into ‘lessons learnt’ about coronavirus. The capricious Mr Cummings, who has recently become a vehement critic of the Government, will divulge behind the scenes conversations shedding light on the decision making process the Prime Minister and his MP’s underwent during the crisis. Boris Johnson, who seems to have the sword of Damocles hanging above his head, will wait with baited breath as Mr Cummings says ‘secrecy’ had “contributed greatly to the catastrophe.” Dominic Cummings will sit down to face MPs live at 9:30 this morning, in front of a joint session of Parliament’s health and social care and the science and technology select committees.
Since acrimoniously leaving his role with the Government last year, Cummings has gone on to criticise the prime minster and the civil service, with the largest error in his belief, focussed around not imposing tougher measures early enough, which he estimates would have saved countless more lives. There are a number of terrifying quotes which are alleged to have come from the Prime Minster, although one really should consider that Cummings was the closest advisor to the prime minister at the time, who held untold influence. Therefore one of the most interesting elements of this will be how he tries to distance himself from what he’s going to say.
Have a great day