Charlotte Street Partners

DAILY BRIEFING

DAILY BRIEFING

Vaccination vacation

Written by Charlie Clegg, senior associate
Edited by Tom Gillingham, associate partner
7 January 2021

Good morning,

Let’s take a quick holiday from the American election. By ‘holiday’ I mean a review of European countries’ preparedness to tackle the new strain of Covid-19. Well, you didn’t actually think you’d be going anywhere, did you?
 
Yesterday, the European commission approved the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine. Good news, even if it comes amid accusations from some EU governments that the commission has been too slow to buy and approve vaccines. Individual governments can, however, hardly blame the commission for the massive inconsistencies in roll-out. At the start of week, France reported only 500 vaccinated patients: not a patch on Germany’s 200,000 but far better than the Netherlands, where vaccinations only began yesterday.
 
Poland remains in a strict national lockdown while Italy, which was due to ease restrictions from today, has instead extended them. Unless vaccination rates pick up rapidly, their neighbours may soon have to follow this tough approach.
 
For the beleaguered French president, Emmanuel Macron, his government’s lethargy may not be the only hold-up. In the final week of last year, Ipsos found only 40% of French respondents would accept a vaccine if available: the lowest figure of any of the 15 countries surveyed and behind the UK at 77%. In Germany, the deployment of 2,000 troops to help administer the vaccine has sparked consternation among left-wing local authorities. In 2021, the spirit of ’68 may persist in infections more than insurrections.
 
It’s not all doom and dissent. Although Belgium will not vaccinate key workers until the spring, its government’s action offers hope that tough lockdown measures can work. In October, its case numbers were spiralling. From November, the government moved to consistent, strict measures that now put its case rate at the lower end of EU countries.
 
We are yet to see how well the continent will react to the potential spread of the new strain of Covid-19. I will, though, make one relucant recommendation: don’t book a gîte just yet.

News

Four people have died as a pro-Trump mob has ransacked the US Capitol during a Senate vote to confirm the result of last year’s presidential election. Republican opposition dwindled as senators voted 93 to six against a proposal to overturn Arizona’s electoral votes. The action comes as Georgia returned two Democratic senators, giving the party effective control of the upper house. (£) The BBC is reporting events as they happen.
 
Joe Biden has described the day’s events as “an unprecedented assault” on US democracy. Former Republican president, George W Bush compared the events to a “banana republic” while secretary of state and Trump loyalist, Mike Pompeo has called for the “criminals” involved in the riot to be brought to justice. Donald Trump had several posts blocked from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (£)
 
Boris Johnson has condemned the “disgraceful scenes” in Washington DC and called for ‘a peaceful and orderly transfer of power’. Other UK cabinet ministers – including home secretary, Priti Patel, and foreign secretary, Dominic Raab – have condemned the violence, as have Sir Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, and Ed Davey.
 
The violence has met with condemnation from world leaders, including French president, Emmanuel Macron and NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg. Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, voiced support for Trump while Chinese state media made equivalences between the mob and Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
 
Meanwhile, in the UK, MPs have approved England’s third lockdown by 524 votes to 16. The regulations allow the restrictions to run until 31 March. The prime minister has warned the restrictions will not be lifted with a “bang but he hopes to begin to ease them by mid-February. The vote comes as 1,041 people died of the virus in the UK: the highest daily total since April. (£)

Business and economy

The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, has told negotiators that full access to EU markets will not be worthwhile if the UK is required to take EU rules on financial services. UK and EU officials hope to strike a deal on financial services in April. Markets have been stable since the UK left the EU but daily share trading worth €6 billion moved to the continent this week. (£)
 
Boris Johnson has called for UK businesses to support business and regulatory reform. In a ‘stage-managed’ video call with business leaders, the prime minister stated the UK had an opportunity to develop a regulatory environment that better helps business. The perception that the UK government could diverge from the ‘level playing field’ with EU standards could spark alarm in Brussels. (£)
 
The UK Government has announced a consultation that could liberalise the approval of genetically modified crops. While GM crops are not banned by the EU, they face a stringent approval process, which the National Farmers’ Union has sought to ease post-Brexit. The government’s move was condemned by environmental charities including Greenpeace.
 
Jeremy Grantham, co-founder of US investment group GMO, has warned clients that Wall Street is experiencing an “epic bubble”. Grantham compared the current hike in Tesla stocks to the 2000 tech bubble and the 1929 crash. He did not, however, say when he expected a crash to come.

Columns of note

In the Guardian, Ed Pilkington sets out his view that ‘Trumpism’ caused the Capitol siege. Pilkington looks back on President Trump’s long series of incendiary comments and argues it has led directly to yesterday’s violence in Washington DC.
 
In the Times, David Aaronovitch argues that, while online trolls should be prosecuted, censorship cannot beat anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists. Aaronovitch argues that recent changes in government and social media policy have made the criteria for removing dangerous views online unclear and subjective. (£)

Cartoon source: The Telegraph

Markets

What happened yesterday?

The FTSE closed up 3.47% at 22,961, continuing a run of outperformance against its European equivalents. Many of the key gains were concentrated in big oil and mining stocks and there was speculation that broader trading was boosted by Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey’s comments about wanting banks to be free to set their own dividends.
 
Sterling was weaker against both the dollar by 0.25% at $1.16 and was down against the euro by 0.19% at €1.11. In the US, the benchmark S&P closed up 0.57% at 3,748.14 while the Dow also closed up 1.44% at 30,829.40.
 
In company news:

Greggs is expected to report its first full-year loss since its floatation. While the £15 million loss is less than a quarter of initial projections, company bosses have warned the bakery chain’s profits will not rebound until 2022. Its shares rose by 7.87% yesterday.
 
Sky chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, is stepping down after almost a decade. Darroch will remain as executive chairman until the end of the year to help transition to his replacement, Dana Strong, current head of US consumer cable operations for Sky’s owner, Comcast.

What’s happening today?

AGMs
Cambria Auto
Global Petroleum
Ormonde Mining

GMs
Dp Poland
Value And Inc

UK Economic Announcements
(09:30) PMI Construction

Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Factory Orders (GER) 
(10:00) Industrial Confidence (EU) 
(10:00) Economic Sentiment Indicator (EU) 
(10:00) Retail Sales (EU) 
(10:00) Services Sentiment (EU) 
(10:00) Business Climate Indicator (EU) 
(10:00) Consumer Confidence (EU) 
(13:30) Balance of Trade (US) 
(13:30) Initial Jobless Claims (US) 
(13:30) Continuing Claims (US) 
(15:00) ISM Prices Paid (US)  
(15:00) ISM Services (US) 

Source: Financial Times

did you know

While president of the US, Calvin Coolidge kept over thirty pets, including two lion cubs named Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. 

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Education Committee – Oral evidence 
The committee will take oral evidence from Professor Liz Barnes (Vice Chancellor, Staffordshire University), Chris Millward (Director for Fair Access and Participation, Office for Students), Rae Tooth (Chief Executive, Villiers Park Educational Trust), Dr Graeme Atherton (Director, The National Education Opportunities Network (NEON)), and Karen Spencer MBE (Principal, Harlow College) on left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

Health and Social Care Committee  
The committee will take oral evidence from Rt Hon Matt Hancock (Secretary of State, Department for Health and Social Care) and Clara Swinson (Director General, Global and Public Health, Department for Health and Social Care) on recent developments in coronavirus. 
 
Joint Committee on the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 
The committee will take oral evidence from Baroness Hale and Lord Sumption. 

House of Lords 

Oral questions 
Various 

Statement 
COVID-19 update – Baroness Williams of Trafford 

Orders and regulations 
Lord Bethell has proposed four motions to approve Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. 

Scottish Parliament 

In recess until 12 January 

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