IMF Lifts World, U.S. and China Economy Forecasts

Posted on 04/06/2021 7:43 AM

Senate Dems can pass Biden infrastructure package on party-line basis

 


In Today’s Digital Newspaper


 

Market Focus:
• IMF projects more upbeat world, U.S. and China economic outlook
• Fed’s Mester: jobs report ‘great’ but Fed patient
• Yellen calls for a global minimum rate to deter tax avoidance

• Electricity bills rose nearly 4% during pandemic
• In crypto markets: Ether rallying strongly
• Ag demand update

Cordonnier sticks with his U.S. corn and soybean acreage projections
• No changes to consultant’s South American crop forecasts
• CCI rating improves from last fall for HRW crop, declines for SRW
• EU’s rapeseed supplies expected to remain tight
• Beef prices continue to soar
• Pork prices dip and movement was lackluster to start the week

Policy Focus:
• Senate parliamentarian makes it easier to push through infrastructure plan
• What is infrastructure, really?
• Dems still need moderate members of party on coming infrastructure vote
• Democrats offer alternative to Biden’s tax plan
• USDA reopened CFAP signup April 5
• Estate tax touches few farm families.

 

Biden Administration Personnel

• Biden likely to name Evercore’s Bianchi as trade deputy: Bloomberg
• Biden taps Smith as virus coordinator

 

China Update:
• China asks banks to curtail credit for rest of year
• China services sector improved in March
• China creates its own digital currency
• Demand for wheat at Chinese auctions perks up vs. last week’s poor showing
• Use of cotton from Xinjiang carries a cost
• Taiwan takes action on African Swine Fever (ASF) after hog washes ashore

 

Energy & Climate Change:

• John Kerry to push India on net zero target ahead of global meeting


Food & Beverage Industry Update:
• Ketchup can’t catch up


Coronavirus Update:
• Over past five days alone, more than 5% of Americans have received vaccine shot
• Biden to announce all U.S. adults eligible for coronavirus vaccine by April 19

 

Politics & Elections:
• Justice Democrats back first 2022 house primary challenger


Other Items of Note:
• Google prevails over Oracle at the Supreme Court
• Nuclear talks between Iran, world powers begin
• Economist Mundell dies
• MLB to relocate All-Star Game to Denver from Atlanta

 


MARKET FOCUS


 

Equities today: U.S. stock futures edged lower following record highs on Monday. The International Monetary Fund today is expected to raise its forecasts for this year’s global growth in response to U.S. fiscal stimulus and vaccinations. In January, the IMF projected that the world economy would expand by 5.5% in 2021, following an estimated 3.5% contraction in 2020. In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.3% by the close and the Shanghai Composite Index ended the day relatively flat. European equities traded slightly better with the Stoxx Europe 600 index erasing pandemic losses.

 

     U.S. equities yesterday: The Dow and S&P 500 both set new record finishes to open the week after being closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. The Dow gained 373.98 points, 1.13%, at 33,527.19. The Nasdaq gained 222.49 points, 1.67%, at 13,705.59. The S&P 500 advanced 58.04 points, 1.44%, at 4,077.91. While the Dow and S&P continue to notch new records, the Nasdaq is still about 3% below its February high, as the recent spike in bond yields made growth stocks less attractive. Bond yields continued to ease. The 10-year Treasury yield fell slightly to 1.71% on Monday.

     Equity prices

On tap today:

 

     • International Monetary Fund releases its World Economic Outlook at 8:30 a.m. ET. The IMF is expected to upgrade its forecast for global growth. See related item below for update.
     • U.S. job openings and labor turnover survey for February is out at 10 a.m. ET.
     • Chicago Fed President Charles Evans speaks at a High School Fed Challenge at 4:05 p.m. ET.
     • Purdue University issues monthly Ag Economy Barometer, which provides a sense of the agricultural economy’s health.

 

IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021 to 6%. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised its projections for global economic growth for this year and next, citing aggressive stimulus spending by the U.S. and other rich nations and the accelerating rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. The IMF said today it now expects the world economy to grow 6% this year, compared with the 5.5% expansion forecast in January. The upgrade comes after the pandemic cut global output by an estimated 3.3% in 2020, the worst peacetime outcome since the Great Depression. For 2022, the growth is projected to slow to 4.4%, up from the IMF’s January forecast for a 4.2% expansion.

 

     The U.S. and China, the world’s biggest economies, are driving the recovery. The U.S. economy is projected to expand 6.4% this year and regain its pre-pandemic size after an estimated contraction of 3.5% last year. The IMF earlier projected 5.1% growth in 2021. China’s economy is projected to expand 8.4% this year, up from an earlier forecast of 8.1%.

     IMF one

     IMF 2
     IMF 3

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said the better-than-expected March payroll report was “great” but that a lot more progress is needed to get the economy to where it was before the pandemic. “It was a great report, it’s nice to see those numbers. We’re still almost 8.5 million jobs below where we were before the pandemic, so we need more of those kinds of jobs reports coming out,” she said Monday in an interview on CNBC. It was the first public reaction from a Fed official to the jobs data, which was released on Friday. Employers added 916,000 jobs last month, blowing past economists’ projections of a 660,000 increase. More widespread vaccinations, pent-up consumer demand and support from fiscal and monetary policy helped boost activity, Mester said. But the rosier outlook doesn’t mean the Fed should begin tightening policy anytime soon, she added. “I think we need to be very deliberately patient in our approach to monetary policy and really focus in on hitting those goals that we have for monetary policy,” Mester said. “I’m thinking that we’ll see a very strong second half of the year but we’re still far from our policy goals.” Mester is not a voter this year on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

 

     Mester is not troubled by the recent run-up in Treasury yields, which she said were orderly. “I’m not concerned at this point in the rise in yields. I don’t think there’s anything for the Fed to react to,” she said.

 

Democrats push for higher taxes on global firms. On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen threw her support behind an international effort to create a global minimum tax that would apply to multinational corporations, regardless of where they locate their headquarters. Such a global tax, she said, could help prevent a “race to the bottom” in which countries cut their tax rates in order to entice companies to move headquarters and profits across borders. “Together, we can use a global minimum tax to make sure the global economy thrives based on a more level playing field in the taxation of multinational corporations,” she said. The effort is aimed at “making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government.” Sen. Pat Toomey(R-Pa.) said Yellen’s call for a global minimum tax was an admission that President Biden’s plan to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% would make American companies less competitive. Biden dismissed that view on Monday, saying American companies could afford to pay a higher tax rate given many paid no taxes over the past several years. “You have 51 or 52 corporations of the Fortune 500 that haven’t paid a single penny in taxes for three years,” he said. “Come on, man. Let’s get real.”

 

     Bottom line: The Biden plan would impose a 21% minimum tax on U.S. companies’ foreign income, remove an export incentive and raise taxes on some foreign companies’ U.S. operations. If the U.S. raises its tax rates and imposes higher burdens on U.S. companies’ foreign profits, a global minimum tax would help prevent companies based in other countries from having a significant potential advantage. That coordination and the ensuing tax revenue — not necessarily the aims of U.S.-based companies — rank high among the administration’s priorities. Questions being asked: Will nations (or Congress) agree to the tax? What will the level be? And will it include enforcement mechanisms or be effective enough to eliminate tax havens or low tax jurisdictions?

 

     Corporate tax

 

Electricity bills rose nearly 4% during pandemic. The average U.S. household monthly electricity bill was 3.9% higher from April through December of last year amid the pandemic lockdowns, with Americans spending in total $7.5 billion more on electricity during those months last year than the year prior, according to a report this morning from the home value data firm Ownerly. The firm compared Energy Information Administration data from April through December of 2020 and 2019. Ownerly found that overall, residential electricity usage during the pandemic was 44-billion-kilowatt hours higher (roughly the annual output of 19 million wind turbines) in those months last year than in 2019.

 

     California, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona, and Michigan saw the highest increases percentagewise in their electricity bills from the year prior, Ownerly found. Bills didn’t go up everywhere, however. Several states, including South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee, saw their average electricity bills decrease compared to 2019.

 

Market perspectives:

 

     • Outside markets: The U.S. dollar index is firmer. Nymex crude oil prices are higher and trading around $59.70 a barrel, after getting hammered lower Monday due to energy demand worries. Meantime, the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note is presently fetching around 1.707%. Gold and silver futures are moving higher, with gold trading around $1,737 per troy ounce and silver around $25 per troy ounce.

 

     • Crude is higher with solid gains. U.S. crude is trading around $59.60 per barrel while Brent is trading above $63.05 per barrel. Futures were higher in Asian trading after sharp losses Monday to open the week. U.S. crude was up 69 cents at $59.34 per barrel while Brent crude was up 56 cents at $62.71 per barrel.

 

     • In crypto markets: Ether has been rallying strongly, up another 3% overnight to $2,112. The coin powers the Ethereum blockchain, a platform that is touted for its so-called decentralized finance, or DeFi, applications. The growing excitement saw the value of the entire crypto market top $2 trillion for the first time on Monday, just two months after it surpassed $1 trillion, as retail and institutional investors continue to pile into the space.

 

     • Ag demand: Ethiopia issued an international tender to buy around 30,000 MT of milling wheat. It also issued a separate tender to buy 400,000 MT of wheat. Thailand has the lowest offer in Iraq’s tender to buy at least 30,000 MT of rice. South Korea purchased around 12,000 MT of GMO-free soybeans in an international tender. The Taiwan Flour Millers’ Association has issued an international tender to buy around 96,485 MT of grade 1 milling wheat to be sourced from the United States. Japan’s state grains buyer delayed its international tender to buy 120,000 MT of animal feed barley.

 

Items in Pro Farmer's First Thing Today include (Link to subscribe to FTT):

     • Cordonnier sticks with his U.S. corn and soybean acreage projections
     • No changes to consultant’s South American crop forecasts
     • CCI rating improves from last fall for HRW crop, declines for SRW
     • EU’s rapeseed supplies expected to remain tight
     • Beef prices continue to soar
     • Pork prices dip and movement was lackluster to start the week

 


POLICY FOCUS


 

— Senate parliamentarian allows reconciliation strategy for infrastructure effort. The Senate’s nonpartisan parliamentarian Monday ruled in favor of a Democratic effort to pass legislation through a process called reconciliation, according to a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), allowing Democrats to approve more fiscal measures along party lines in the Senate this year. Democrats previously used reconciliation this year to pass the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, and lawmakers had expected to be limited to using it only one more time this year. With the parliamentarian’s new advice to lawmakers, Democrats could now possibly use it a third time to skirt the 60-vote threshold necessary for most legislation to pass in the Senate. “This confirms the leader’s interpretation of the Budget Act and allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues,” the spokesman for Schumer said. Schumer hasn’t decided whether to move forward with using reconciliation again and that “some parameters still need to be worked out” around its use, the spokesman added.

 

     Background: Under the reconciliation process, lawmakers pass a budget resolution that then provides committees with instructions to craft legislation meeting the budget’s target. Because budget resolutions are tied to the fiscal year, lawmakers had been limited to using reconciliation once per fiscal year. But the parliamentarian advised lawmakers that they can edit the underlying budget resolution, giving committees additional instructions for meeting the new target. It is unclear if there will be a limit on the number of times lawmakers can edit a budget resolution each fiscal year. While reconciliation enables lawmakers to avoid the filibuster in the Senate and pass legislation along party lines, it limits what measures lawmakers can approve. Provisions passed through reconciliation must relate directly to the budget, barring many policy plans from consideration. Spending and tax measures are generally eligible to be included in reconciliation. Some elements of President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal may face restrictions.

 

     Bottom line: The ruling will give Democrats more room to maneuver to pass President Biden’s agenda, including his recently announced $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. The White House is expected to roll out another large package in the coming weeks, this time focused on child-care and antipoverty efforts — the so-called “social infrastructure” package.

 

— Democrats still need moderate members of party on coming infrastructure vote. In a radio interview with @HoppyKercheval, Sen. Manchin signals there are circumstances under which he won’t vote to get onto the infrastructure bill. ‘As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,’ Manchin says. … Manchin says more revenue needs to be collected from high income earners, but he says the corporate tax rate should be at 25%. He says he would not support raising the corporate tax to 28%.”

 

     Manchin said he would be in favor of closing tax “loopholes” that benefit the wealthy and could support an increase in the corporate rate to 25%, which he said is the global average. In 2017, Manchin proposed a 25% corporate rate as an amendment to the Republican tax law. “As the bill exists today it needs to be changed,” Manchin said on WVMetroNews radio’s “Talkline” Monday. “This bill will not be in the same form you’ve seen it introduced or see people talking about it.”

 

     Democrats will need Manchin’s vote and that of every other Democrat and independent to reach the 51 votes needed to use a special budget process to pass any tax increases. “If I don’t vote to get on it, it is not going anywhere,” Manchin said. “It’s more than just me. There are six or seven other Democrats that feel strongly about this. We have to be competitive, and we are not going throw caution to the wind… “This whole thing has got to change,” he said.

 

     Manchin said the bill may be broken up into three different bills in order to pass. Some Republicans have said they could support a smaller infrastructure-focused measure. He plans to continue working with a group of Democratic and Republican senators to craft a bipartisan bill, Manchin said.

 

     Meanwhile, the New York Times (link) takes on the question: What is infrastructure, really?

 

— Democrats offer alternative to Biden’s tax plan. Three top Senate Democrats released a proposal to overhaul the U.S. international tax system that could impact the strategy the White House is pursuing to fund infrastructure spending. The new outline, released by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), calls for higher levies on offshore profits and stronger penalties for companies that move income outside the country to avoid paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. The plan stops short of calling for any specific rate levels and seeks feedback on the ideas as lawmakers work to draft legislation. “This system needs significant reforms to ensure big corporations pay their fair share, while helping to spur investment in the U.S., not in foreign countries,” the outline said.

 

     The plan could serve as an alternative or a supplement to the corporate and international tax overhaul that Biden released last week to help fund $2.25 trillion in infrastructure spending. While proposing to boost the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21%, the White House plan also calls for a complete revamp of how U.S. companies pay taxes on foreign profits. Unlike the Biden proposal, which largely calls for a repeal of the international tax changes Republicans implemented in their 2017 tax law, Senate Democrats are proposing revisions to the current system. The lawmakers said that the companies should pay more taxes on their offshore profits — what is known as global intangible low-taxed income, or GILTI.

 

— USDA reopened CFAP signup April 5. USDA announced that with updates to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), signup for CFAP 2 restarted April 5 and will run at least 60 days (link for details). CFAP updates include an increase in CFAP 1 payments for cattle which will total more than $1.1 billion for over 410,000 producers. An additional CFAP 2 payment of $20 per acre for producers of eligible flat-rate or price-triggered crops will total more than $4.5 billion to over 560,000 producers. USDA said it will also process eligible payments for CFAP Additional Assistance (CFAP-AA) and will finalize routine decisions and minor formula adjustment on applications and begin processing payments for certain applications filed for the program. USDA also said it would earmark at least $6 billion for new programs using funding from the Consolidated Appropriations Act approved in December. However, the agency did not detail yet what form the assistance will take beyond a broad list of commodities and other areas the program will address — Pandemic Assistance for Producers. The assistance is also expected to come for biofuel producers who have so far not been deemed eligible for any USDA assistance. USDA is currently accepting proposals for cooperative agreements to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. 

 

— Estate tax touches few farm families. Only a comparative handful of farm households are obliged to file a federal estate-tax return and most of them will not pay the government any money, said USDA economists (link). Large tax exemptions — $11.58 million per person in 2020 — shield most estates from tax liability. Also, heirs face a smaller potential liability for capital gains taxes due to the use of stepped-up basis in calculating property values. Property is assessed at its value at the time of inheritance, rather than when it was purchased. The difference is significant if land stayed in the family for decades. “Research suggests much of the appreciation in the value of assets in the estate has never been taxed — either as income or capital gains — and thus will escape taxation completely,” said USDA’s Economic Research Service in a report (link).

 

     USDA estimated that 31,394 farm estates “would be created out of principal farm operator households, and out of those, 0.6% — or 198 estates — would be required to file an estate tax return.” Only 0.16% of estates — roughly 50 estates — would have an estate tax liability, said ERS. “Total aggregate Federal estate tax liabilities from principal operator farm estates in 2020 are forecast to be $130.2 million.”

 

     The 2017 Trump tax cuts doubled the individual exemption from the previous $5.49 million. On Jan. 1, 2026, the exemption reverts to $5 million but will continue to be indexed for inflation. Stepped-up basis also would be available.

 

     But Democratic senators last week announced a discussion draft to eliminate stepped-up basis. “The stepped-up basis loophole is one of the biggest tax breaks on the books, providing an unfair advantage to the wealthy heirs every year,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). A congressional committee estimated the provision was worth $41.9 billion this year.

 

     Estate tax

    


BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PERSONNEL


 

— Biden likely to name Evercore’s Bianchi as trade deputy: Bloomberg. President Joe Biden is likely to name longtime aide and Obama administration veteran Sarah Bianchi as deputy U.S. trade representative, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Bianchi is a senior managing director at Evercore ISI International and has previously worked for BlackRock Inc. and Airbnb Inc. She is also chair on the advisory board of the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware. A decision isn’t final and Bianchi is still being vetted, the people said. During the second term of the Obama administration, Bianchi served as deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and director of policy for then-Vice President Biden.

 

— Biden taps Smith as virus coordinator. The Biden Administration tapped Gayle Smith, the president and CEO of The ONE Campaign and a former administrator of USAID, to be coordinator for Global Covid Response & Health Security at the State Department. Smith said the goal is to slow the speed of the virus. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is “exploring options to share” more of the vaccine internationally, adding that it will do so without demanding political favors.
 


CHINA UPDATE


 

China’s central bank asked the nation’s major lenders to curtail loan growth for the rest of this year after a surge in the first two months stoked bubble risks, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.

 

— China services sector improved in March. The Caixin/Markit services PMI reached 54.3 in March, up from 51.5 in February and the highest reading since December. Increased activity and sales were reported by firms even as new export business contracted. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing PMI reached 53.1 in March, up from 51.7 in February. The readings continue to point to an improving Chinese and global economy, but questions remain with some areas putting new Covid-related restrictions in place.

 

— China creates its own digital currency. A thousand years ago, when money meant coins, China invented paper currency. Now the Chinese government is minting cash digitally, in a re-imagination of money that could shake a pillar of American power, the Wall Street Journal reports (link). A cyber yuan stands to give Beijing power to track spending in real time, plus money that isn’t linked to the global financial system, where the U.S. dollar has been king since World War II. China is embracing digitization in many forms, including money, in a bid to gain more centralized control while getting a head start on technologies of the future that it regards as up for grabs. “Digitized money could reorder the fundamentals of finance the way Amazon.com disrupted retailing and Uber Technologies rattled taxi systems. That an authoritarian state and U.S. rival has taken the lead to introduce a national digital currency is propelling what was once a wonky topic for cryptocurrency theorists into a point of anxiety in Washington,” the article concludes.

 

   China digital currency

 

— Demand for wheat at Chinese auctions perks up vs. last week’s poor showing. At an auction of state reserves March 30-31, China sold 1.588 MMT of wheat, representing 39.5% of the total available. That was an improvement from sales of just 1.030 MMT the week prior that represented 25.8% of the total. The average sales price also climbed 9 yuan to 2,363 yuan ($360.66) per metric ton. Demand for wheat at these auctions has faded since the start of the year when nearly all of the wheat offered was moving.


— Use of cotton from Xinjiang carries a cost, the New York Times reports in an article (link) on the topic. “International clothing brands relying on Chinese materials and factories now face a dilemma: If they fail to purge Xinjiang cotton from their supply chains, the apparel companies invite legal enforcement from Washington under an American ban on imports. Labor activists will charge them with complicity in the grotesque repression of the Uyghurs. But forsaking Xinjiang cotton entails its own troubles — the wrath of Chinese consumers who denounce the attention on the Uyghurs as a Western plot to sabotage China’s development. The global brands can protect their sales in North America and Europe or preserve their markets in China. It is increasingly difficult to see how they can do both.” Xinjiang is not only the source of 85% of China’s cotton, but synonymous with a form of repression that the U.S. government has officially termed genocide. Both the Trump and Biden administrations have sought to prevent Americans from buying clothing produced with the region’s cotton.

 

     China exports unprocessed cotton to 14 countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and yarn to 190 countries, according to the International Cotton Advisory Committee, an international trade association in Washington. China is the source of nearly half of all cotton fabric exported around the world. Most of that material includes cotton harvested in Xinjiang.

 

     Meanwhile, China’s latest effort to blunt criticism of its treatment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region is … a musical. Link to NYT article.

 

— Taiwan takes action on African Swine Fever (ASF) after hog washes ashore. Taiwan has launched testing of hog herds and putting movement controls in place in areas near where a dead pig with African Swine Fever (ASF) washed ashore over the weekend, the government said. Tuesday. Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung said a dead pig washed ashore in northern Taiwan on Sunday and was on Monday confirmed to have the virus, which he said was a perfect match for the strain circulating in China. Restrictions were put in place on 11 operations within 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of where the dead pig was found and the hogs on those operations were being tested. Plus, the country is stepping up pre- and post-mortem inspections at slaughter facilities. The government also called on their coast guard to step up patrols to prevent dead pigs from floating across to Taiwan.

 


ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE


 

John Kerry to push India on net zero target ahead of global meeting. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is in New Delhi this week to push Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to boost its climate ambitions as it considers announcing a net zero target ahead of a virtual summit later this month. The visit comes ahead of a meeting of leaders from 40 nations organized by Biden that will run from April 22-23 aimed at galvanizing efforts to commit to more ambitious climate change mitigation targets, at a time of rising pressure on nations to consider net-zero greenhouse gas emissions targets after China announced its plan last year.

 

     Kerry met in India today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss climate issues, a person familiar with the talks told Bloomberg. The brief talks in New Delhi came as the U.S. is seeking the participation of the leaders of Russia and China, along with dozens of others, in the global summit on climate change later this month. So far, the Kremlin hasn’t said whether President Vladimir Putin will attend.

 


FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY


 

— Ketchup can’t catch up. Restaurants are beginning a halting return to business with a problem in the condiment bin. After enduring a year of closures, employee safety fears and start-stop openings, American restaurants are now facing a nationwide ketchup shortage, the Wall Street Journal reports (link), as local taverns and even fast-food giants plead for packets and scrounge from secondary suppliers. It’s the latest in a series of shortages across consumer markets since the pandemic began and threw the usual flow of goods off-kilter. In this case, restaurants’ moves toward takeout triggered a run on individual ketchup packets, and prices for the familiar single-serve items have surged 13% this year. “Some 300,000 tons of ketchup were sold to food-service providers last year and condiment king Kraft Heinz hasn’t been able to keep up with the demand, leaving some eateries to swap in alternatives and apologize to the brand’s crestfallen faithful,” the WSJ observes.

 

     Ketchup

 


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE


 

 Summary: Global cases of Covid-19 are at 131,869,262 with 2,862,248 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. case count is at 30,785,412 with 555,615 deaths. The Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center said that there have been 167,187,795 doses administered, 58,215,702 have been fully vaccinated, or 17.8% of the U.S. population.

 

— Over the past five days alone, more than 5% of Americans have received a vaccine shot. In all, nearly one-third of Americans have now received at least one shot. That’s more, on a per-capita basis, than in any other large country other than Britain. Canada and continental Europe are far behind — and Australia, Brazil, China, India and Russia have been even slower.

 

     Does daily


    Dose comparisons

 

— Biden to announce all U.S. adults will be eligible for coronavirus vaccine by April 19. President Biden plans to announce today that he is moving up his target for all American adults to become eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine by almost two weeks to April 19, according to a White House official. Biden is also expected to announce that the United States has administered 150 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, the official confirmed, putting the president on track to meet or exceed his goal of administering 200 million doses in his first 100 days in office. 

 


POLITICS & ELECTIONS


 

— Justice Democrats back first 2022 house primary challenger. The far-left group Justice Democrats has made its first endorsement of the 2022 election cycle, backing Odessa Kelly, a community activist from East Nashville, Tennessee, in her bid to unseat Rep. Jim Cooper. Kelly, the director of Stand Up Nashville, is challenging Cooper, a prominent Blue Dog Democrat with deep political ties to the state and the city who is currently serving his 16th term in the House.
 


OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE     


 

— Google prevails over Oracle at the Supreme Court. Justices ruled that Google did not infringe copyright when it used aspects of the Java programming language in its Android operating system. Software developers praised the decision as preserving their ability to innovate using existing technology.

 

— Nuclear talks between Iran, world powers begin. Iran and world powers began their most serious attempt yet to resurrect a troubled nuclear deal, with negotiators from the U.S. and Islamic Republic gathered at the same venue for the first time since Donald Trump sent the accord into freefall in 2018. Diplomats arrived at Vienna’s Hotel Imperial today for the talks, which may extend through the end of the week if progress is made, Bloomberg reported, citing two officials involved. Iranian and U.S. negotiators aren’t expected to speak directly, reflecting the deep distrust they will have to overcome.

 

— Economist Mundell dies. Robert Mundell’s insights on the global economy earned him a Nobel Prize. But he mostly remembered as the intellectual father of the euro and of what became known as Reaganomics. He died at 88.

 

— MLB to relocate All-Star Game to Denver from Atlanta. Major League Baseball will relocate its All-Star Game to Coors Field in Denver after saying it would not hold the event in Atlanta due to recently passed legislation tightening voting rules in Georgia, the Associated Press reported, citing an unidentified person.

 


 

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