Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Friday’s are for optimism

Written by Maria Julia Pieraccioni, associate 
Edited by Katie Stanton, associate partner
5 March 2021

Good morning,

Necessity is the mother of invention, but don’t take my word for it – or Plato’s for that matter. Instead, take the word of CNN’s chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour. 
 
Earlier this week, on the award-winning global affairs programme, Amanpour, she revealed that Cuba is on the verge of a Covid-19 vaccine breakthrough. News of a lung cancer vaccine out of Cuba has been circulating for the last five years and, happily, it turns out that Cuban immunologists have been able to engineer its technology to apply to coronavirus. The novel Cuban Covid-19 vaccine works similarly to its lung cancer vaccine cousin: it targets the viral growth factor and latches it onto a very unique protein a mix that is then inoculated. 
 
This breakthrough comes despite Cuba’s aged medical infrastructure, its weak foreign investment and years of lacklustre economic performance, as Amanpour points out. However, her guest, Candace Johnson, chief executive of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre, is quick to remark: “Cuba was sort of forced into this because […] they didn’t have access to the drugs that you might get in western countries [so] they developed the technologies to vaccinate their own people”. 
 
Where there is need, there is a way. Necessity is an incredible motivator of ingenuity and invention.   
 
And the race to develop a vaccine over the past 12 months has been an emblem of Plato’s proverb: global immunologists were still uncertain of the structure and behaviour of the Covid virus when they were developing a vaccine. This is remarkable, given what we conventionally know about inoculation and how it has worked for decades. Needing a solution, despite many unknowns, forced scientists to redirect the scope of the vaccine not to the pathogen itself but to the human immune system’s response. That’s where genius lies: mRNA technology used to make the Moderna vaccineteaches cells how to make a viral protein to trigger an immune response, without having to inoculate the pathogen.
 
And what if this complex, yet generic design had the power to tackle viruses such as HIV? Michael Barbaro, host of The New York Times podcast The Daily, recently sat down with Megan Twohey, a Times investigative reporter, to ask: “can Bill Gates vaccinate the world?” Her answer? Yes – and the foundation’s vaccine department already knows which horse to bet on: Covax. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was one of the early investors in mRNA vaccine technology and it’s now being reported that its attention – and sizable investments – are being redirected to HIV. In fact, Moderna recently revealed to its investors that it will be conducting early-stage research for an HIV vaccine, given the success of its Covid-19 vaccine. 
 
So, while the past year has been a uniquely difficult one for so many, it has also enabled great strides in medical research and innovation – progress that would have been unthinkable under normal circumstances. We have unlocked doors and made discoveries which may go on to save lives in the future, be they from HIV or an unknown virus still waiting to be discovered. And we have done it at a pace unmatched in human history. 
 
That, I pose, is something to feel optimistic about. 

News

The Italian government has blocked exports of 250,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia. The EU’s recent regulations allows exports to be stopped if the company providing vaccines fails to meet its obligations to the EU. Thus far, AstraZeneca has guaranteed only 40% of the agreed supply to member states, crippling the Italian government’s efforts to reach its target vaccination rates. Italy is the first member state to exercise the EU’s new regulations. Australia has this morning asked the European Commission to review Italy’s decision, emphasising that, while frustrating, the incident will not affect the country’s vaccine rollout.
 
Despite speculation that corporate tax increases might hit Conservative popularity, a recent survey from YouPoll suggests that the Tories have established a 13-point lead over Labour. Most respondents (over 55%) described the budget as “fair”, which, combined with the government’s successful rate of vaccinations and easing of lockdown restrictions, indicate that Tories will lead in the May local elections. (£)
 
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to give the NHS’s ‘Covid heroes’ a bigger pay rise. This comes as it emerged the government is recommending a one per cent increase for NHS staff in England next year. Health unions have called the suggested rise a “kick in the teeth” for staff. 

Business and economy

China’s premier Li Keqiang announced this morning that the country is targeting at least six per cent growth this year, reflecting continued confidence following its successful handling of the coronavirus pandemic and swift return to growth. China’s GDP grew by 2.3% in 2020 while most countries’ economies contracted, and this target puts China on track to double its GDP by 2035. 
 
Documents from the Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility reveal that officials are concerned that the rise in corporation tax announced in Wednesday’s budget will lead companies to leave the UK. Although the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, was quick to reaffirm that the corporation tax rise will generate the £45bn necessary to help public finances, economists predict a mass exodus of corporate revenue to lower-tax regimes. (£)
 
Deliveroo is taking advantage of the 2021 budget’s new stock market rules designed to support start-up technology firms, with plans to list its shares at the London Stock Exchange. The move will reportedly value the delivery giant at £5bn, and follows other tech start-ups, such as Moonpig, that have decided to list in London. 

Columns of note

Writing in the Financial Times, Victor Mallet argues that the centuries-long French tradition of secularism has become a weapon to galvanise the electorate ahead of next year’s presidential elections. Macron will try for his second term at the Elysée, with a very specific voter in mind; one he has been talking to from the start of the pandemic, a constituent who is neither right nor left, and who believes him or herself to be progressive and steadfast in their commitment to secularism. (£)
 
In the New Yorker, Peter Slevin visits the American deep south to understand the schism in the Republican Partyfollowing four years of Trumpism. In his piece, he picks up the scattered pieces of a deeply divided Republican party, and demonstrates how the division in the party was always there, but like dormant gunpowder, it needed a fuse to reveal its extent. (£)

Cartoon source: The Economist

Markets

What happened yesterday?

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 equity index ended the day down 0.4%, with the FTSE 100 closing down 0.37%. Brent crude gained five per cent, at just under $67 a barrel, with Opec refraining to make large increases to its production. 
 
In the US, the dollar rose 0.7% against a basket of half a dozen international currencies due to the rise in Treasury yields, which climbed up 1.53%, an increase of 0.05% from Wednesday. The S&P 500 closed down 1.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite ended the day 2.1% lower, turning negative largely due to higher yields on the US Treasury Bonds. 

What’s happening today?

Finals
Aib Group
ConvaTec
Global Ports S
Pearson

AGMs
Jupiter Emerg.

GMs
Argo Blockchain

Annual Reports
Aib Group
Keras Res

Final Dividend Payment Date
Baronsmead 2Vt
Baronsmead Vt
Gulf
Oxford metrics
Renew Holdings

Interim ex-dividend date
Blackstone Loand
Br.small Co.2
Cc Japan 
Dwf Group
Foreshight Solar
Gcp Asset Bckd
Ncc
Residential Sec
Secure Income Reit
Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Fund
Starwood Eur

Quarterly ex-dividend date
Gen. Electric 

Quarterly payment date
Icg Ent Trst 
Jpmorgan Clav 
Octopus Renew

UK economic announcements
(08:30) Halifax House Price Index

Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER)
(13:30) Non-Farm Payrolls (US)
(13:30) Unemployment Rate (US)
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In the UK, ice cream vans are not allowed to play their jingles if they are within sight of another operational ice cream van. 

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including topical questions)
Church Commissioners and House of Commons Commission and Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body and Public Accounts Commission and Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission
 
Business Statement
Business Questions to the Leader of the House – Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg

Ministerial statement
Counter-Daesh update – Dominic Raab
Debate
Continuation of the Budget Debate

Adjournment
British Council and the Integrated Review – Mr John Baron

Welsh Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: Renewable energy in Wales

Public Accounts Committee
Oral evidence: The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

Defence Sub-Committee
Oral evidence: Women in the Armed Forces: From Recruitment to Civilian Life

Environmental Audit Committee 
Oral evidence: Biodiversity and Ecosystems

Health and Social Care Committee
Private Meeting

Scottish Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: Scotland and the Shared Prosperity Fund

Welsh Affairs Committee
Oral evidence: One-off session with the First Minister of Wales

Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill
Oral evidence: Armed Forces Bill 2019-21

Women and Equalities Committee
Oral evidence: Take up of the COVID-19 vaccines in BAME communities and women

Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission
Private Meeting

House of Lords 

Oral questions
Use of British Board of Film Classifications ratings for user generated content on video sharing platforms – Lord Grade of Yarmouth
Reflecting the views of the children consulted as part of the Review of Representative Action Provisions, Section 189 Data Protection Act 2018 – Baroness Kidron
Government discussions with UK fishing industry representatives during UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement negotiations – Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon
Government review of the potential role of COVID-19 vaccine certification – Lord Harris of Haringey

Statement
Covid-19 Update – Lord Bethell

Orders and regulations
Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order 2021 – Lord True
Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Coronavirus, Nomination of Candidates) (Amendment) Order 2021 – Lord True
Northamptonshire (Structural Changes) (Supplementary Provision and amendment) Order 2021
– Lord Greenhalgh

Legislation
Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill – consideration of Commons amendments – Baroness Barran

Grand Committees
Short debate
Promotion of anti-slavery projects throughout the Commonwealth – Lord Chidgey
Numbers of National Health Service staff after the COVID-19 pandemic – Lord Clark of Windermere
Support for hauliers transporting goods internationally – Lord Taylor of Holbeach
Support for the UK space industry – Lord Willetts

Select Committees
EU Services Sub-Committee – Private Meeting
Highgate Cemetery Bill [HL] Committee – Oral evidence

Joint Committees
Parliamentary Works Estimates Commission – Private Meeting

Scottish Parliament 

Parliamentary Business
No meetings today
Committee Business
Committee on the Scottish Government Handling of Harassment Complaints

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email