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DAILY BRIEFING

The race to recovery

Written by Ralitsa Bobcheva, associate 
Edited by Tom Gillingham, associate partner
7 April 2021

Good morning,

In 1987, the discovery of an alarming hole in earth’s ozone layer prompted “the single most successful international agreement to date”, the Montreal protocol.
 
The protocol was one the first treaties to achieve universal ratification and successfully prevented the production and import of chemicals causing further damage to this vital part of the atmosphere.
 
A remarkable moment of international collaboration, I often return to this story as a rare example of a model that managed to tackle a global problem with global solution.
 
I was reminded of it yesterday after coming across the International Monetary Fund’s latest forecast for the global economy, detailing the growing economic disparities between the world’s advanced and less developed countries.
 
At first glance, the IMF’s report paints a promising picture of the future direction of the global economy. It projects a strong recovery over the next two years, with the Covid-19 recession likely to have less of an impact than the 2008 global financial crisis.
 
Thanks to policy response and vaccination efforts, advanced economies are expected to emerge from the pandemic with limited lasting damage. By 2024, many of these are forecast to produce about 1% less output compared to their pre-pandemic trend path.
 
But as the IMF highlights, the success of economic recovery will be unevenly split between winners and losers across nations, sectors and demographics.
 
The evidence of a two-tier recovery is concerning. With estimates that close to 95 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 and 80 million more are undernourished than before, the report makes one thing abundantly clear: that the losers significantly outweigh the winners.
 
Against the backdrop of worrying examples of vaccine nationalism, it also makes a clear call for stronger international cooperation which is made all the more urgent by the possibility of secondary crises. Here’s hoping world leaders can urgently rediscover the Montreal spirit that delivered us from a previous crisis.

News

A new study has found that one in three people who suffered from severe Covid-19 were subsequently diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of infection. Experts warned that the impact could be felt on health services for many years and that they need to be prepared to deal with a “substantial” number of patients affected by this.
 
The Moderna vaccine rollout has started in the UK today, with first doses of the jab administered at West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen. The UK has ordered 17 million doses of the Moderna jab which would be enough for 8.5 million people.
 
In the meantime, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine trial in British children has been paused while regulators investigate possible links to rare blood clots in adults. This comes after confusion over whether the European Medicines Agency had found a link between the vaccine and the clots, which have been associated with the deaths of seven vaccinated people in Britain.
 
The European Medicines Agency has decided to launch an investigation into whether clinical trials of Russia’s Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine breached ethical and scientific standards. This comes after people familiar with the regulator’s approval process shared concerns that the trials did not meet “good clinical practice”. (£)

Business and economy

The chief executives of British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow airport have called for the US to be put on the UK’s “green list” as soon as next month. In a joint plea to prime minister Boris Johnson, they said the progress of vaccination programmes meant restarting transatlantic flying should be a priority when borders open. (£)
 
MPs have called on the government to step up help and appoint a food security minister to ensure continued progress in helping to feed poverty-hit people. A report from the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee states that progress made during the pandemic should be maintained as restrictions ease and the government should consider enshrining in law a “right to food”.

Columns of note

The prospect of introducing vaccine passports has been subject to a lot of debate in recent days. On the one side of the argument stand those who perceive immunity certificates as a divisive and discriminatory tool while others see them as the only way to resume normal activities in the short to medium term. In this article, the FT editorial board looks at both sides of the argument in order to find a middle ground. (£)
 
In the New Yorker, Mallory Pickett looks at the country which decided not to implement any lockdown restrictions in March 2020 – Sweden. One year later, as Swedes slowly make masks part of their daily pandemic routines, the country still remains divided on its government’s unconventional response to the pandemic. (£)

Cartoon source: The Financial Times

Markets

What happened yesterday?

London stocks finished strongly yesterday, with the FTSE 100 ending the session up 1.28% at 6,823.55, and the FTSE 250 climbing 1.2% to reach 21,994.48.
 
Sterling had a less positive day, last falling 0.36% on the dollar to $1.3850 and decreasing by 0.72% against the euro to €1.1685.
 
In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.29%, to 33,430.24, the S&P 500 dropped 0.10%, to 4,073.94 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.05%, to 13,698.38.
 
In company news:
 
Goldman Sachs bought around £75m of Deliveroo shares to boost the delivery company’s IPO price, according to a report by the Financial Times. (£)
 
Elsewhere, key movers included Cineworld, which was up by 6.43% after analysts pointed to an improving outlook, Carnival was 4.99% higher after unveiling plans to restart cruises from US ports in July, and shopping centre owner Hammerson rose by 5.12% ahead of non-essential shops reopening in England next week.

What’s happening today?

Finals
Hilton Foods
Igas Energy
Pharos Energy

AGMs

Law Debenture

UK economic announcements
(01:01) RICS Housing Market Survey
(09:30) PMI Services

Int. economic announcements
(11:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)
(20:00) Consumer Credit (US)

Source: Financial Times

did you know

In 2019, the French military hired a team of science fiction writers to predict future threats to the French nation. Source: @qikipedia

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

The House of Commons is in recess and will next sit on 13 April

House of Lords 

The House of Lords is in recess and will next sit on 12 April

Scottish Parliament 

The Scottish parliament is in recess ahead of the election on 6 May

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