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It's still stuck

Good morning! ScoMo is again showing he really doesn't know how to handle a crisis. Bad luck or poor management? More on that in the Poli Wrap. 👇

But first, the ship that somehow got itself stuck in Egypt's Suez Canal is still there, blocking over 200 other vessels. A Dutch salvage company called in to help said it may take weeks to dislodge. It also turns out that before it got itself jammed it drew a, well, have a look for yourself.

Market Wrap

Two blows to China tech

Daily % change

AUD/USD

75.8

0.0%

ASX200

6,791

0.2%

Brent (bbl)

61.8

-4.1%

Gold (oz)

1,725

-0.5%

Iron ore (t)

155.6

-0.1%

Bitcoin

52,339

-3.2%

Note: Brent oil, gold bullion and iron ore prices are the second futures contract.

Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu shares all fell heavily, for two reasons. First, China's government may soon "oversee all user data harvested by the country's tech companies". That sounds a lot like a nationalisation in the making to us. Second, the US Securities and Exchange Commission said it was working towards forcing foreign companies listed in New York to provide access to financial audits or risk being de-listed after three years of non-compliance. Guess which foreign companies refuse to open their books?

Oil falls back: The destination for most of the oil tankers stuck waiting near the Suez Canal is Europe. European demand for oil is in free-fall, with yet another wave of coronavirus lockdowns looming. So, no worries (and there's always the alternative – longer but cheaper – route around the Cape of Good Hope).

GameStop up 52%: The fun continues for investors in 'meme stocks', with GameStop rallying over 50% yesterday. Other Reddit-favourites such as AMC (+21%) and Koss (+57%) were also strong. Buyer beware.


Poli Wrap

ScoMo and crises don't mix

Another crisis, another disaster for ScoMo.
Another crisis, another disaster for ScoMo. Scott Marsh/The Australian

Poor ScoMo. First it was the ill-timed Hawaiian vacation during the bush fires of 2019-20, now he has somehow managed to become one of the rare global leaders not to have politically profited from the pandemic, all while his cabinet is imploding:

"Mr Morrison is considering a significant reshuffle to move Attorney-General Christian Porter out of the job over a conflict of interest while Mr Porter sues the ABC over its reporting of accusations of rape, which he strongly denies.

The reshuffle could also shift Defence Minister Linda Reynolds to a new job after she took leave over a long-running heart condition, clearing the way for other women to be elevated to positions of influence."

Stepping back: ScoMo has quite the team behind him. A network of male staff who videoed themselves performing sex acts at work in Parliament House. An Attorney-General fighting accusations of rape. A Defence Minister who failed to adequately handle rape allegations made to her by a former staffer. All this while his government fumbles the vaccination rollout, looking on track to miss all of its self-selected targets by a wide margin.

No matter how he rearranges the deckchairs, it's not clear how 'Scotty from Marketing' will dig himself out of this hole in time for the election (to be called on or before 21 May 2022). And no, arbitrarily promoting more women will not be a silver bullet.

The other big loser: Angela Merkel – who won't be on the ballot in Germany's September election – is rapidly costing her party the support of German voters, with the latest mishap the announcement of a five-day hard lockdown over the Easter weekend that she reversed only 33 hours later "after a fierce backlash in public and behind closed doors". Get it together, people.


Corona Wrap

The Vaccine Wars

Europe only has itself to blame.
Europe only has itself to blame. Jillian Deutsch/Politico

Europe is gearing up for war. Not over land but vaccines, with the European Union (EU) moving towards further tightening export controls for coronavirus vaccines. EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said "I mention specifically the UK... [where] some 10 million doses have been exported from the EU to the UK and zero doses have been exported from UK to the EU".

Green with envy: AstraZeneca is British, with two manufacturing plants located on continental Europe. Pfizer is an American company, with its partner, BioNTech, based in Germany (although its plant is in Belgium). Europe has fallen behind because of the incompetence of its leaders – delayed approvals, delayed production and constant flip-flopping between scaremongering and encouragement all contributed to both a lack of vaccines and the unwillingness by many Europeans to accept them.

The war is spreading: The Serum Institute of India, the largest manufacturer of vaccines in the world and the biggest supplier to Covax – which was established to provide vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries – was ordered to halt exports for as long as two to three months by the Indian government.

Elsewhere: A new "double mutant" variant of the coronavirus was detected in India. The double mutation is in the virus' spike protein – used to penetrate human cells – which may help it spread more easily.

Fantastic. 🤦‍♂️ Have a great weekend.


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