The World Bank to finance extra COVID-19 vaccines for low-income nations

On Monday, the World Bank introduced a new channel to allow developing countries to purchase COVID-19 vaccines collectively through the Covax facility. The Covax facility was set up to ensure access to vaccines for 92 developing territories with the cost covered by donors.

Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Gavi vaccine alliance, and the coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The Gavi chief executive Seth Berkley said in a statement that the financial mechanism will allow Covax to unlock additional doses for a subsidized rate and the middle-income countries.

The staggering imbalance in the global distribution of covid-19 vaccine doses has raged WHO. According to an AFP count, approximately 3.9 billion doses of Covid-19 are injected around the world in around 216 territories. Developed territories have administered 95.4 doses per 100 inhabitants. The figure stands at 1.5 doses per 100 people in 29 low-income countries.

The facility says they will make advanced purchases from vaccine manufacturers based on aggregated demand across countries while using money from the World Bank and other development banks. The Covax financial mechanism agreement aims to provide 430 million additional doses to fully vaccinate 250 million people. 92 countries will receive these doses between late 2021 to mid-2022.

Israel to cut 85% of emission by mid-century

Israel government reports that they will cut the emission of carbon by 85% from 2015 levels by 2050. Israelian prime minister said the decision will be helpful in gradually shifting to a low carbon economy. They signed the Paris climate deal and set themselves an interim goal of cutting emissions by 27% by 2030.

The plan is to target emissions from the transport sector, electricity sector, and municipal waste. However, critics aim for more ambitious targets for renewable energy and bigger economic incentives for change. Since the industrial era has begun, the world has warmed up by about 1.2C, and if there are no proper measures taken it will keep on rising. Governments around the world need to take necessary measures to steep cut the emission.

In line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement, Israel was targeting to legally bind with an international treaty on climate change which is already adopted by 200 countries. Prime minister Naftali Bennett said the move will lead to a clean and efficient and competitive economy. He further added that this will put Israel at the forefront of the battle against climate change. The target is to keep global temperature below 2.0C above pre-industrial times. If things are favorable they even plan to reduce it to 1.5C above pre-industrial time.

Oil producing nations come together to control prices

Nations producing oil have agreed to increase their outputs and reduce the prices for the same. It aims to ease the pressure on the world economy. From August the OPEC and the partners such as Russia focus on boosting the supply for oil after the price hike for two-and-half-year highs during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The increase in Brent crude oil for this year is up by 43% which is almost $74 a barrel. Due to the pandemic, last year OPEC decided to cut the production by a record of 10 million barrels per year (BPB). However, after the economies reopened this year the price of oil surged which led to inflation and threatened to put the brakes on the global recovery.

The conflicts between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regarding tariffs were among one of the reasons for the hike in price. The proposal by Riyadh and Moscow to extend the output curb to 2022 was blocked by Abu Dhabi. They rejected the demand to produce more oil.
OPEC and partners have finally agreed upon increasing its supply by two million barrels per day in the new deal. The change in supply will commence from August until December 2021. From May 2022, high quotas have also been agreed upon for many members including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Pacific Rim leaders discuss Economic Strategies against pandemic

Pacific Rim leaders will gather virtually to discuss the strategies for helping the economies rebound from the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic. The Pacific Rim includes world leaders such as the U.S. President Joe Biden, China’s Xi Jinping, Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, and Vladimir Putin of Russia.

On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will chair the special leader’s meeting. The meeting includes a 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. White House stated that there was a telephonic conversation between Biden and Ardern ahead of the leader’s retreat to discuss U.S. interest in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. A premium has been laid down intending to relations with allies in the Pacific by the Biden administration.

The forum member disagrees with the issue of pandemic and vaccine diplomacy and states it to be more inclined towards sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

The virtual meeting of the Rim will straddle 11 time zones which are being chaired from New Zealand’s capital Wellington. The prime minister said that leading a regional response to the pandemic was one of their highest priority when they took over APEC’s chair from Malaysia in an annual rotation among the 21 members.

Ardern added that APEC leaders will work together to get through the pandemic and promote a sustainable and inclusive recovery as she believes nobody is safe unless everyone is safe.

Sweeping climate change plan unveiled by the European Union

The European Union is all set in becoming carbon neutral by unveiling its most ambitious plan towards climate change. By this decade the EU aims to tackle climate change by turning green goals into concrete action.

The EU’s executive body sets out a sedulous study on how the bloc’s 27 member states can meet their collective goal and reduce greenhouse gas emission by 55%. This plan is yet to be approved.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said: “By acting now we can do things another way and choose a better, healthier, and more prosperous way for the future.”

The master plan to slash the emission within a decade includes taxing on jet fuel and slowly banning the sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars in the coming decade, as per the sources of Asia One News. A carbon border tariff to be included which will require manufacturers from outside the EU to pay more on imports on products like steel and concrete. It even plans to expand more renewable energy around the bloc and to quickly renovate the buildings which are rated low on energy efficiency. They have committed to achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2050. Scientists believe this figure is very important to avoid catastrophic climate change. From 1990 to 2019 there is a visible decrease of 24% and plans to slash CO2 by another 31% in the next 9 years.

China’s economic growth halves in the second quarter

There is a steep fall seen in China’s economic market as compared to the first three months of the current year. This growth has halved in this quarter. The recovery momentum was highly affected by the slow manufacturing, higher costs of the raw materials and new      COVID-19 outbreaks. It was expected to rise by 8.1% in a Reuters poll of economists.

After the COVID-19 crisis, the world’s second-largest economy bounced strongly but experts suggest some loss to be momentum. Quarterly Gross domestic product (GDP) in the April-June period expanded to 7.9%, the National Bureau of Statistics said it just beat the 1.2% rise in the Reuters poll.

The investors of the central bank are waiting for an easier policy stance after the People’s Bank of China announced a move regarding the cut in the amount of cash that the bank will be holding as reserves. The amount of about 1 trillion yuan ($154.64 billion) in long-term liquidity to bolster the recovery. The Reuters poll expects a further cut in the bank reserve requirement ratio (RRR) in the fourth quarter. The growth significantly slowed from a record 18.3% in the first period of January-March. The senior economist for Asia states that it is because demand for the U.S. inventories is at its peak.

The United States vows to work with Australia to oppose China’s ‘unfair’ trade practices

The Biden administration vowed that they have “Australia’s back” to push back against China’s “unfair” trade practices. The Morrison government seeks international support on Australian wine to fight against Beijing’s tariffs.  Australia is yet to receive the request to join the consultation on the more recently launched challenge against China’s tariffs on Australian wine.

European Union is also set to join the third party if the dispute between Australia and China moves to another level at the World Trade Organization. Australia has larger trade litigation specialists according to the trade experts. The dispute seems to be more complicated than just the tariff fight. If this case remains, Australia stands to gain an advantage from the involvement of the European Union and the United States Of America.

For imposing hefty tariffs on Australian barley the EU, US, United Kingdom and Japan have already joined the WTO case as the third parties. Beijing’s relationship with Australia deteriorated last year as a series of trade actions were taken by them. China’s claims were denied by the Australian government about the “dumping” of products at low cost on the Chinese market and propping up the sectors with unfair subsidies.

G7 Leaders Sign Carbis Bay Declaration

G7 nations Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US have decided to sign the ‘Carbis Bay Declaration’, a historic statement setting out a series of concrete commitments to prevent any repeat of the human and economic devastation wreaked by coronavirus. G7 leaders are going to commit to using all their resources to prevent a global pandemic from ever happening again. The presidency for G7 Leaders’ Summit 2021 is held by the UK and has invited India, along with Australia, South Korea and South Africa, as guest countries.

The agenda of this declaration is for global action to end the pandemic and prepare for the future by intensifying efforts to vaccinate more number of people, reinvigorate the economies by providing necessary support, securing the future, protection of planet, strengthening partnerships with others around the world and embracing values as a foundation for harnessing the power of democracy, freedom, equality and respect for human rights.

Under the periphery of Carbis Bay Declaration, the United Kingdom will establish a new centre to develop vaccines to prevent zoonotic diseases spreading from animals to humans. The leaders agreed that in the event of a future outbreak, G7 nations would act rapidly, with the aim of making vaccines, tests and treatments available within 100 days. Recommendations for this 100 days plan were given by the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, & Melinda French Gates.

Asean Initiative On Myanmar

An emergency summit in Jakarta was attended by the team member states of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASSEAN) including Myanmar addressed the ongoing crisis in Myanmar since February 2021 coup by its military. Since the coup, the junta has taken over the country’s governance, over 700 people had lost their lives, thousands of civilians have been arrested, & the country has been trying to disintegrate the civil conflict. Consensus reached by the participating countries in the emergency summit is for 5 key points. It is an important way forward for dealing with the fallout of military coup.

Firstly, the initiative calls for immediate cease of violence in the country. Secondly, a discourse among the stakeholders is required for the peaceful solution of the crisis through constructive dialogue. Third, appointment of special envoy by ASEAN Chair to mediate in the country’s crisis. Forth, the ASEAN organization will offer humanitarian assistance to the country & last, the special envoy & a delegation will be allowed to travel to meet all the stakeholders in the crisis.

Are pushed-up oil prices the result of Gulf Rivalry?

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are in a bitter public rift over the oil production quotas this week that has pushed oil prices to a six-year high. These two countries are the biggest oil-producing nations in the world which left the energy markets in oblivion over the oil prices.

For the past eighteen months Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Opec+ which comprises 23 nations is trying to cope up with the global economic crisis caused due to novel coronavirus. Saudi Arabia and Russia had to extend their output curbs for another eight months after the UAE rejected a proposal by Opec+ leaders. This is where the problem began as UAE wanted to renegotiate its current baseline. According to AsiaOne Magazine News sources, baseline comprises the level where production cuts or increments are calculated which gives them the freedom to pump out more oil from the fields. This renegotiation is not going down well with Saudi Arabia which is bringing up the years-old rift between the two princes. 

Both countries want to reduce their dependence on hydrocarbon exports and diversify their economy which is a result of much bigger disagreements in the past.