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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Joe Biden Says Vaccines will be Available for All Americans by the End of July; Japan Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign; About 105 Million Americans under Winter Storm Alerts. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired February 17, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Let's make a move.
Welcome once again to FIRST MOVE. Fantastic to have you with us as always.
Another day of buzzing bees it seems. President Biden's vaccine pledge at the CNN's Town Hall. Another Bitcoin bounce, too, to record highs and bond
yields bounding to one-year highs also.
The yield, take a look at this, on the U.S. 10-year government bond rising once again, this after data showing a five percent plus jump in U.S. retail
sales last month, and a rise in producer prices, too. Did anyone say the word inflation?
But of course, it is a global theme to give you a sense. The German 10-year government bond yield also sitting at nine-month highs. What's the story
Well, the action in the bond markets reflects hopes of economic recovery and optimism as more and more people get vaccinated, but there are
consequences. Rising yields makes borrowing more expensive, whether you're a consumer or with a credit card or a mortgage or a government borrowing
It also makes the return on bonds slightly more attractive versus stocks, too, and perhaps that is what is giving stock investors pause for thought
We're mostly lower premarket. We are, of course, sitting near record highs. Alicia Levine, a regular guest of BNY Mellon told me yesterday that two
percent on that 10-year U.S. government bond is the line in the sand. So just to be clear, we are a long way away from that.
And she also said, lots of sectors are gaining ground, which doesn't happen when the stock market tops the-everything rally. Not only going on in
stocks it seems, it continues to lift digital assets like Bitcoin, too, currently at a fresh record, over $51,000.00 per Bitcoin.
Others though, Ethereum, like we've discussed in the past on the show also rallying in the session, too. Crypto craziness may rule for some, but the
bread and butter Buffett effect can still move markets, too.
Verizon and Chevron gaining premarket on news that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is buying. He has also eased up on his holdings of
Apple. Buffett, clearly focused it seems on the reflation trade and the return to normalcy. That's a top presidential priority, too.
Let's get to the drivers.
Bold promises with some pretty big caveats. President Biden used last night's CNN Town Hall to talk about getting children back to school,
reforming immigration and this pledge to defeat the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the end of July, we'll have over 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every single American.
As my mother would say, with the grace of God and the goodwill of the neighbors, that by next Christmas, I think we'll be in a very different
circumstance, God-willing, than we are today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: John Harwood joins us now. John, as expected, the underlying theme here was from people, when is life going to go back to normal? But as
I was watching President Biden making some of these promises and these pledges, I couldn't help but think a lot of this depends on other people,
whether it's supply of vaccines, behavior of American citizens, but also, of course, as we push forward here what Congress does as far as further
support is concerned. He relies on a lot of others.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Of course, he relies on a lot of others. He also relies on the course of the pandemic, which has been
It does appear that the part that he can control, which is the selling of this package has gone well so far. It is polling well not just among
Democrats and Independents, but there's a Quinnipiac poll that came out the other day that showed almost half of Republicans in favor of a large COVID
He hopes to move that through the House next week, $1.9 trillion, very large amount of spending, both against the coronavirus and social spending
designed to try to rearrange, rebalance the economy in the view of Democrats so that more benefits flow to people at the bottom end of the
spectrum. All of that appears to be on track.
And what the President was trying to do was take advantage of this early phase of his presidency to try to convey an image of reassurance, of
empathy, of calm in contrast to what Donald Trump had left him, the divisiveness and the bitterness that came out of that impeachment trial. He
is trying to move past that.
So far, with an approval rating around 55 percent, he has been having some success, but it's early and the benchmarks that you mentioned, Julia,
trying to get the coronavirus vaccines for the American people by the end of July, try to get life back to normal by Christmastime, the verdict is
going to be in how well he delivers on that and whether he can meet those objectives or maybe even meet them a little bit faster on the theory that's
better for a politician to under promise and over deliver.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, actions speak louder than words, and we are all desperately hoping he more than succeeds. John Harwood, thank you so much
All right, to Japan now, kicking off its COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the first doses going to frontline healthcare workers. A lot depends on the
vaccine rollout going well.
In a few months' time, of course, Japan still planning to hold that delayed Olympic Games. Selina Wang is live in Tokyo with the latest.
They are one of the latest developed nations, let's be clear, to authorize some of these vaccines so they are getting started relatively late, Selina.
What is the time horizon and the plan here for getting people vaccinated in the country?
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Julia, that's right. Well, actually Japan is the last G-7 nation to start vaccinating its population. It only just
administered those first shots today this morning here in Japan.
The plan is to start with 40,000 doctors and nurses across the country. Then in March, the plan is to vaccinate 3.7 frontline medical healthcare
workers. After that, in April, they hope to vaccinate the elderly population, those with underlying health conditions are in line after that.
There is no timeline, Julia, at this moment for vaccinating the broader population, and some researchers have estimated that Japan will not reach
herd immunity until October, several months after the Summer Olympics.
And in fact, yesterday at a press conference, I asked Taro Kono who is the Minister in charge of the vaccination rollout here in Japan when he expects
Japan to reach that 75 percent inoculation rate that is seen as the benchmark for herd immunity.
Take a listen to what he had to say here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TARO KONO, HEAD OF JAPANESE VACCINATION PROGRAM: I'm not -- I'm not really taking Olympics into my consideration. I need to roll out the vaccine as I
get the supply from Europe.
I need to get a concrete number of supply and then we will come up with our possible target. We're not quite sure what will be the end game of this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WANG: Now, Japan has reached deals with Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca for enough vaccines to cover the entire population, but those supply
shortages as well as restrictions coming from Europe could impact the timeline of the rollout here in Japan.
And Julia, right now, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved. That is because Japan requires additional trials in its local population in order
to approve a vaccine.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, something has got to give there, it seems. All officials around the world are dealing with not only the rollout within their own
nations, but of course, simply reliant on when they get those supplies.
Selina, what does it mean, do you think, if we are talking about herd immunity by the end of the year assuming supplies come as they hope them
to? It's long after they are hoping to hold the delayed Olympic Games.
WANG: Well, Julia, it is a question many here are asking and there is growing skepticism around whether or not Tokyo can feasibly successfully
hold those games. But officials here have said that no matter how the pandemic develops, they are determined to host the Summer Games.
This is even though participants will not be required to get vaccinated, and Julia, we've spoken about this before, but public opposition in Japan
A recent poll from national broadcaster NHK says that about 80 percent of those surveyed think that the Games should be cancelled, they should not be
held this year or they should be further postponed.
Now, in addition to that, when we talk about the vaccine here, another major challenge for the government here is to convince people to take the
vaccine. The vaccine is voluntary and vaccine skepticism is widespread here in Japan.
There is a history of safety scares, as well as concerns about side effects. Now, the Minister Taro Kono in his press conference yesterday also
said that he needs to come up with a strategy to target the younger generation in specific, to convince them and explain to them that it is
important for them to get vaccinated as well.
This is a problem that countries, of course, around the world are dealing with -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, education equally as important as the vaccine itself. Great questions in that press conference itself, Selina. Thank you, Selina
All right, to the United States now where over 100 million people are under winter storm alerts as dangerously low temperatures grip much of the
country. The weather has left at least 26 people dead and led to widespread power outages.
Many of those without power are in Texas, a state not used to extreme cold as Camila Bernal reports.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Arctic temperatures and rolling blackouts hammering Texas, as the country sees record lows
throughout the south and plain states. More than three million homes and businesses without power and heat, including more than one million
residents in the Houston area.
BERNAL (voice over): City officials slamming the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the private company that runs about 90 percent of Texas'
JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: We've been hit hard by nature this week, but we can't deny that some of this is a manmade disaster as
well. And the five million residents of this county and really this region and this state will deserve answers from ERCOT and the state once this is
BERNAL (voice over): ERCOT's CEO saying the company is dealing with more outages because of frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies.
BILL MAGNESS, CEO, THE ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS: I think what has happened here is a response that kept the grid from collapsing, that
kept us from going into a blackout condition, and certainly we need to look at what has happened here, once we get everybody back online, which is the
number one priority.
BERNAL (voice over): Texas Governor Greg Abbott placing the blame squarely on ERCOT and has called for a review of the electricity system in the
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The power generators froze up and their equipment was incapable of generating power, and then on top of that, the natural gas
that flows into those power generators, that has frozen up also.
What ERCOT should have been able to do is to have backup systems in place. They have provided zero explanation why they do not have backup systems in
BERNAL (voice over): The state's water supply is now in jeopardy. In Galveston, Texas, the water supply is critically low and in Houston, the
mayor warning its residents to conserve water.
CHATTERLEY: John Defterios joins me now. John, Texas in a critical, awful state it seems. We make the adjustment here to understand that they're not
used to these extreme weather conditions, clearly, but when you look at the situation, they are the largest consumer of energy, the largest producer of
energy. They have a very unique setup where perhaps you could argue they have too much independence over energy.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: That's a good way of putting it, Julia, but as I say, this is a perfect storm because it pushed
this deregulated market right over the edge.
It is quite extraordinary what we hear in terms of the reporting coming from Texas, but these comparisons in the energy market to the collapse of
the Soviet Union, what happened in Russia in the 1990s. If you have underinvestment in infrastructure, when you have a perfect storm like this,
it does stretch the operations.
And to your point, independence runs very strong in the history of Texas. They are the number one gas producer in the United States, oil as well and
also wind power, which has come online in the last decade.
They have so much energy they didn't think they needed to tie into the national grid, which is extraordinary, or to be able to do so easily and
that is what we're faced with right now.
But what did happen? The thermal power coming from gas, coal and nuclear buckled under the demand. They kind of built peak demand at 67 gigawatts, I
don't want to get too technical, but 30 of came offline.
And a lot of the naysayers are criticizing wind, but it only represents four gigawatts, but the wind turbines as we heard in the report there,
froze, and it was not built for this extreme weather.
So what has happened over the last few years when we talk about climate change, the jet stream has moved down, right, so it is pushing that cold
arctic weather down into Texas.
So this is a system that was built for heat, the humidity and flooding from hurricanes, not for the cold weather. It's going to be forcing a major
rethink in Texas and this whole idea of being independent may go out the door here.
That's why they're saying that this regulator has to scramble the egg here and put this omelet back together.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? We've seen this in other nations around the world as they are diversifying to cleaner energies. When
they need that alternative energy demand, they are accused of having messed up the scheme, but in this case, to your point, it is too small a fraction.
The problem is, they simply weren't anticipating this scale of demand due to cold temperatures.
John, what is the Governor saying about potentially addressing this and changing up the strategy?
DEFTERIOS: Well, the Republican Governor has been there since 2015 and by the way, a big supporter of renewable energy. I was there last year when we
were doing a documentary and it was quite impressive what they have put online so quickly.
The gas production is not going to go away, even though there is the threat of the transition by Joe Biden here to this transition plan of $2 trillion.
They're proud of the gas, there's demand for the gas, but the gas also leaves the state, and this is another thing that came up during this crisis
that they had a gas shortage and the number one producer in the United States.
There's another thing that came up, Julia, in my research for this series we are working on and that is mitigated infrastructure, right, that you
have to prepare your infrastructure for the extremes today, not just the heat that Texas was planning on, but because we have the climate change,
the architecture and the infrastructure you built and spend billions of dollars on is not prepared for what's in store for the next 10 to 20 years,
so that's the number one lesson.
Number two, clearly the Governor has to say, we love being independent as a state, the second biggest state in the country, the second largest
population. It does not work when we have these extremes that we're faced with today.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, two very vital points. John, great to have you with us and your wisdom on this. John Defterios, thank you.
DEFTERIOS: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: All right, still to come on FIRST MOVE, a visa that will get you anywhere, including into the world of cryptocurrencies it seems. We
speak to the CEO of Visa.
And thinking outside the box, the online retailer that is eyeing growth with a move into Malaysia. It's all coming up. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Breaking news into CNN, >>> breaking news into CNN. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to the hospital after
feeling unwell. Buckingham Palace says the move is a precaution on the advice of the Royal doctor. The Palace says the 99-year-old will spend a
few days under observation.
If we get any further news or developments there, we will bring them straight to you.
For now, let's take a look at what we're seeing as we count down to the market open this morning. The U.S. majors look set for a softer open, but
still close to all-time highs. Investors nervously eyeing rising bond yields as we've mentioned already on the show that could pose a challenge
for stock market levels in the future, but with massive liquidity still surging through global markets, Wall Street watchers believe the-everything
rally could continue for now.
The U.S. consumer also getting some of its confidence back and that's a bullish sign for the economy, too. U.S. retail sales up more than five
percent last month, the first positive print in fact in four months, thanks certainly to fresh U.S. cash payments flowing once again to families in
need. Virtually, every retailing category saw double-digit gains.
Now, cash is out, cards are king as we shift our pandemic spending habits. Visa earnings show a sharp rise in tap to pay transactions worldwide. And
while the consumer spending outlook is blunted by the pandemic, Visa is planning to make crypto a safe viable payment method in the future, too.
CHATTERLEY: Often mistaken for a credit card company, Visa brands itself as a payments technology firm, and last year, just to give you a sense, it
processed over 140 billion transactions worth $8.8 trillion in terms of volume, and I'm excited to say, Al Kelly is the CEO of Visa and joins us
Al, fantastic to have you on the show. You have a lot going on, that was just a little flavor. Welcome to the show. As I mentioned there, the
pandemic has accelerated shifts in all sorts of ways, the rise in e- commerce, digital payments. There's also been huge challenges for individuals, too.
Just give us a sense of where we are and what you're seeing as the rest of the year pans out.
ALFRED KELLY, CEO, VISA: Well, Julia, it's fantastic to be with you, thank you. Certainly, this pandemic has been a game-changer on so many fronts and
it has impacted many industries, including ours.
I think the headline is that domestic debit and digital is the story. Domestic volume except for the early days of the pandemic has largely held
up quite well and it has been driven by people using debit cards for various reasons, including the fact that they feel more comfortable in
tough times spending their money versus borrowing money.
Additionally, in countries like the United States where stimulus money was put directly into demand deposit accounts linked to our debit cards, that
certainly drove volume on debit as well.
And probably the biggest story is digital. People who could no longer travel, saw stores shut down, their favorite restaurants no longer allowed
people to sit inside, people went digital and many, many millions of people around the world for the first time activated an e-commerce and we have
seen massive adoption.
And I think, probably, Julia, we've experienced a couple of years' worth of acceleration in digital in the last nine to 11 months driven by the
pandemic and people sitting home.
If we look at the holiday season, particularly in the United States, it was amazing where we certainly continued to see a drop off in people traveling,
but a lot of that volume was made up from people sitting at home looking on their computer and shopping for all kinds of things from everyday items to
more discretionary items.
So I think the key things to watch as we look forward is to what degree and at what pace do the vaccines happen? How comfortable are people going into
things like restaurants and stores that might get a little bit more crowded? What happens in terms of government restrictions relative to the
pandemic? And lastly, how much borders open up?
One of the biggest negative impacts for the consumer has been the fact that people have been very uncomfortable getting on airplanes and flying, and
that trend largely continues today.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, there are so many important points in there and things that we simply don't know and we have to wait and see how the
economy and how the pandemic pans out, literally.
But what we will do is watching this going, what does the rise in particularly digital payments mean for Visa specifically and that's why I
took the time to explain exactly what you do in the introduction because I saw a great stat from you guys that for all the -- and the point I made,
cash is out and debit is king, there was still $18 trillion of money spent in cash and checks.
That's your statistic and I do think we need to remember still in the underlying economy what is going on for all the shift that we're seeing.
KELLY: Absolutely. And $4.5 trillion of that spending on cash and check is in the United States.
The move into digital is very, very powerful for us. The reality is that in any given day in the face-to-face world, about 15 cents of every dollar is
spent on a Visa card.
In the digital world, closer to 43 cents of every dollar is spent on a Visa card or a Visa credential. And that is because cash, which is one of our
biggest competitors in the face-to-face world, is not a competitor in the digital world. I haven't found anybody yet capable of stuffing currency
into an iPhone or to a tablet or to a computer.
So with cash not being and check not being an option, it is an extremely positive trend for a transaction processing company like ours.
CHATTERLEY: The statistic on your point about how digital cash is spent is critically important, I think, for people to understand.
One of the other things that you're doing, and we're talking about this a lot right now, is what is the strategy as far as the crypto space is
concerned? And you can correct me if I'm wrong, but I see sort of two parts in terms of vision here, one is facilitating what I know you're very
passionate about, which is financial inclusion and allowing, facilitating people to invest in crypto or digital assets if they want to accumulate
wealth and think there's a way to do that.
CHATTERLEY: But the other thing is the network effect, so allowing people to transact between cryptocurrencies, let's use Bitcoin as an example,
transact and swap that into fiat currency and then spend it. Are those the two paths?
KELLY: Well, we want to be in the middle of any movement of funds and we don't try to decide what's going to take off or not take off and we don't
pick winners and losers, we just get ready to enable whatever could possibly happen, and I think crypto is an exciting trend.
There are cryptocurrencies which kind of the digital gold. We think of Bitcoin and there, what we're trying to do is create utility. We are, first
of all, allowing and making sure that our Visa cards are used to be able to purchase Bitcoin and then when somebody wants to convert their Bitcoin into
a fiat currency, to use a Visa credential to go shop at our 70 million merchants around the world. So we're trying to create that utility.
In digital currencies, we really see them as a potential player in global commerce going forward, and we're doing a number of things to make sure
that we enable that to happen if in fact that's what consumers want to have happen.
So we're working with 35 of the biggest crypto wallets around the world, making sure that these various digital currencies can be converted into a
fiat currency and that money can then be spent from a Visa card in a wallet, again, at any one of our 70 million merchants around the world.
We're also looking to make sure that we can, and we've been working on our infrastructure for 18 months to make sure that we can enable digital
settlement. Today, we allowed transactions at 160 currencies and we settled in the evening on 25 different currencies.
Over time, I look for us to be able to settle in cryptocurrencies and we're experimenting with that right now with a couple of issuers and over time
And then last week, I think it was, we announced a set of crypto APIs which are basically allowing a bank for their customers to have an on-ramp
through their mobile app or through their website to be able to go buy, trade and custody cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
And our first pilot is with First Boulevard, a company that is focused on the black community in the United States and trying to help them get to a
state where they are more financially included in the mainstream and that's something that's extremely important to us.
The bottom line is that I don't know whether crypto will be adopted and at what pace it will be adopted, but we are ready to go and we are leading the
marketplace by a lot in terms of setting up the on-ramps for people to be able to facilitate using these various digital currencies.
CHATTERLEY: If it is happening, you want to be there. We're talking a lot about what we call decentralized coins, but what about -- because there
will be people looking at this who know something about digital assets like these and saying they are too volatile, you can't spend these. The
transaction costs are too high.
What about paving the way one day and Central Banks are clearly talking about this as being a facilitator of using Central Bank digital money, so a
Fed coin, a Bank of England coin? Can you envisage a future where that becomes perhaps a bigger part of the network than any of these individual
coins that we just mentioned?
KELLY: I certainly can, and we're in conversations with a number of Central Banks around the world about various private-public partnerships
where our -- a network like ours globally can help a Central Bank that tends to focus obviously on their single domestic market.
And we have a network that spans virtually every country and territory in the world and we can help facilitate much wider utility in terms of buying
if these Central Bank digital currencies take off.
And I think there's likelihood that they might and I think that they could be a vehicle that helps uplift some of the 1.7 billion people around the
world who today, Julia, are outside the financial mainstream and that's an objective that we share.
We want all people to be in the financial mainstream and we're going to continue to do everything we can to enable that to happen. It's going to
take a long time, but we're patient and we're in it for the long term to make it happen.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and you have all sorts of programs which I would love you to come back and talk about again, including enabling -- digital enabling
50 million small businesses around the world, and you've got all sorts of programs which are phenomenal.
I have about 30 seconds left so I'm going to ask a question I've been asking all CEOs and Presidents of big companies. Any plans in light of what
Tesla has done with cash on the balance sheet to swap out some of that cash and buy Bitcoin, for example, or digital assets to diversify your balance
KELLY: No, we have no plans to do that, Julia. Our focus at this point is 100 percent on being ready to enable digital currencies, to have utility
and be used in a safe, secure fashion for consumers around the world, if in fact that is what takes off.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you've got enough going on. Fantastic to have you on the show, and please come back and talk to us soon. Great to have you with us,
Al Kelly, the CEO of Visa there.
KELLY: Glad to --
CHATTERLEY: Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: All right, you're watching FIRST MOVE. More to come.
CHATTERLEY: An update once again on breaking news into CNN. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to a hospital after feeling unwell.
Max Foster joins us now from London.
Max, what more do we know?
MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has gone to hospital, but the sources I'm speaking to don't sound too concerned, if I can put it like
that. So he wasn't -- he was driven by car from Windsor to the hospital in London, and it wasn't an emergency admission I'm being told.
He walked into the hospital unaided. All of this happened last night and it's not COVID-related. We've had lots of questions about that, and they
are saying basically the stay in hospital is purely precautionary.
He is a hundred years old this year. He was feeling unwell for a period of time. So I think that they were just -- they just wanted him in a safer
place, it seems.
The Duke's admission, precautionary measure according to the official statement and it was on advice of the Royal household's doctor as well.
So all we know is that he feels unwell, it's not COVID-related. He walked into the hospital, but he will be there for a few days, I imagine, so we'll
obviously keep everyone updated on that.
FOSTER: But they're trying to sort of temper a lot of concern out there because obviously the news of Prince Philip going to hospital initially was
very alarming and now they're saying it's precautionary at least.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, that's great to hear, Max. Great to have you on the show and to get that context from you too, and you don't take any risks with a
99-year-old, going to hospital and hope he feels much better soon.
Max Foster, thank you so much for that.
All right, on to the European Union set to receive hundreds of millions of extra COVID-19 vaccine doses. Moderna and BioNTech have agreed to deliver a
combined 350 million doses to the European Commission, it comes as Mexico is warning about growing vaccine inequality.
The Mexican government is angry at the way vaccines are distributed around the world saying richer countries are faring far better than poorer ones
when it comes to vaccinating their populations.
Matt Rivers joins us now from Mexico City. Matt, it is a subject we've discussed a number of times on the show, the fact that developed nations
have accumulated and bought multiple times their population requirements in terms of supplies and there's a huge cost to that.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. There's no question about that, Julia, and that's why the Mexican government is not
thrilled. They're using a forum today at the United Nations Security Council meeting that's ongoing right now as we speak to bring up this
The government of Mexico says that when it -- the Foreign Minister is scheduled to talk here within the next few minutes and they're going to
issue what they're saying is a formal complaint, basically talking about this very issue, saying that countries that are able to produce these
vaccines end up having much higher vaccination rates than all countries here, than all countries, frankly in Latin America and the Caribbean, and
that of course extends out to basically all of the lower income countries around the world.
Mexico's government is basically saying at a time when everyone around the world needs and deserves a vaccine, you end up seeing this kind of vaccine
nationalism where richer countries are accused of hording vaccine supplies at the expense of other countries because of course, there is only so much
supply of different vaccines around the world at this time.
In terms of this formal complaint that Mexico is lodging, it's not going to do anything formal other than to continue to hammer home this point that
this is continuing to be an issue.
This is something that U.N. leadership is also extremely concerned about. In his prepared remarks, the Secretary General of the United Nations, in
part, talked about just ten countries have administered 75 percent, Julia, of all COVID-19 vaccines so far. Meanwhile according to the Secretary
General, more than 130 countries have not yet received a single dose.
Now, the W.H.O. is trying to ensure more equitable distribution of vaccines through its COVAX facility. Basically that is its program that it wants to
distribute more than two billion doses, more than half of which would go to lesser income countries around the world by the end of this year.
Here in Latin America, though, Julia, consider this. COVAX says by the end of the first half of 2021, they hope to get some 35 million doses
distributed around this region. The W.H.O. also says that more than 500 million people need to be vaccinated fully before this pandemic in this
part of the world alone can get under control, so it just gives you an idea how far we have to go and how the unequal distribution of vaccines remains
such a big deal to so many countries, not only here in Latin America but around the world.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, 35 million versus 500 million people that need it. At this rate, it's going to take years. It is frightening.
Matt, what are the options? Did they even discuss the options? Because as we've discussed this, numerous providers and more that are coming online in
the States. We've got the Chinese vaccine, the Russian vaccine. Is Mexico even talking about what the options are here perhaps if they try not to
wait for COVAX?
RIVERS: Yes, I mean, basically the more vaccines that are produced, the better. That's the obvious answer here. But it's where do these vaccines
And you know, let's say when Johnson & Johnson's vaccine comes online in the United States, how many of those doses are going to stay in the United
States? The U.S. has already administered more vaccine doses than any other country around the world. That disparity is going to continue to grow.
Here in Mexico, we're talking about a few thousand doses being administered every single day. In the U.S., we're nearing two million doses per day so
that just tells you all we need to know about the difference between two countries that share a common border.
But yes, when we're looking forward over the next few months, Julia, that's what they're talking about. When the Mexican government and other
governments of lower income countries, they're saying as these vaccines are going to be produced, they need to be distributed through this COVAX
facility to ensure that we bring the pandemic under control globally and not just in the richer countries which frankly, even though they have been
hit very hard in the United States, for example, or in the United Kingdom, their health systems are already better than the countries like Mexico or
Brazil or Bolivia, for example.
RIVERS: So that's what these countries are saying. As more vaccines are approved, as more doses are produced, they can't just stay in the countries
that are producing them.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, we should have had a global agreement to get the world's healthcare workers vaccinated first, alleviate some of the pressure on the
healthcare system so at least they were protected, but national politics gets in the way.
Matt, great context. Matt Rivers in Mexico City for us there. Thank you so much for shedding a light on this story.
Stay with FIRST MOVE, we're back after this.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. On Wall Street, the U.S. majors have opened lower as anticipated with tech stocks in fact, suffering the
most. We are down some nine-tenths of one percent, all of this, despite a strong five percent bounce in U.S. retail sales numbers last month.
Perhaps as we've discussed, it is concerns over U.S. inflationary pressures that have already triggered a rise in bond yields around the world,
including in the United States.
U.S. Wholesale prices rising 1.2 percent last month. That's the largest monthly rise in over a decade. Something to watch.
Now, online retailer, Boxed been called the Costco for millennials, the most simple bulk shopping at wholesale prices delivered to your door. Well,
the model may be simple, but the technology behind it is pretty sophisticated. Take a look at this.
And now, Boxed is harnessing that software to expand into Asia. It has signed up to provide the Malaysian e-commerce platform for Japan's oldest
Joining us now is Chieh Huang, he is the CEO and co-founder of Boxed. Chieh, fantastic to have you on the show, as always.
CHIEH HUANG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, BOXED: Great to be back.
CHATTERLEY: You know, the pandemic proved that if you aren't in e-commerce as a retailer, you need to do it really quickly. I mean, you've seen
enormous growth just in your grocery business alone. Let's start there and tell us what's been going on.
HUANG: Yes, I mean for years now, friends and family have called me a glorified toilet paper salesperson and I guess there was no better
profession than that in 2020. And so, we definitely saw a huge growth in our consumer business throughout 2020, and it is carrying into 2021.
The data is showing that the customers that came in, some of them are a different demographic, an older cohort, but at the same time they are
stickier in terms of sticking with the service longer than any previous cohort we've seen.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, it's not just about the growth that you've seen, the expansion in terms of who actually is buying, but you've also become a
third-party marketplace. You've also got digital advertising now as well.
Talk to me about what's going on there.
HUANG: Yes, we've always built our own technology. So as much as we love kind of selling potato chips, the business of selling ads for potato chips
is also just as attractive and just as good. In fact, you can probably make a little bit more margin doing so.
And so selling potato chips was where we started, selling ads for potato chips is where we went. And then, today, we're selling the software that
sells the ads that sells the potato chips, so we're getting pretty vertically integrated here.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, it is high margin, but you've got stiff competition. There will be people watching this going, hang on a second,
Amazon has a third-party marketplace. Amazon sells what you sell and Amazon also has digital advertising on its platform, too.
What differentiates you? Why does some small business want to come to you and advertise?
HUANG: That's a really, really good point. And so that is why I think it is so important that we are partnering with Aeon as we go internationally
and partnering with other folks as we go internationally, just because we can leverage some of their scale, their knowledge of the local consumer and
their kind of brand relationship.
So, using our technology, which we think is one of the best in the world and then partnering with one of the largest retailers in the world, I think
will make for a good combination. So we're pretty excited about it.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Be more specific, because this is the key because when you've been on the show before, we've talked about your toilet paper sales
techniques, but we also talked about the underlying technology, the automation and how powerful that was throughout the pandemic, too.
And this is clearly something that Aeon has latched onto and recognized it could be quite powerful for them. I mean, you're doing this in Malaysia,
but they operate in 14 different countries. They have 21,000 different stores. So, do you hope to expand beyond Malaysia if you get this right?
HUANG: Absolutely. I mean, it is one of those things where at least from the U.S., there is not a lot of talk of kind of the Southeastern Asian
markets, but when you take a look at just a few countries, you pair up Indonesia and Vietnam together, you get a population that's larger than the
United States and probably just as digitally savvy, if not more so, especially when it comes to buying things online.
So we're taking kind of what we've talked about on the show previously, like that vertically integrated technology stack of not only front-end
software, warehouse management, even down to the robots that we build ourselves and basically airlifting it to one of the largest and more
storied retailers in Asia. So it's going to be a pretty wild year.
CHATTERLEY: I can tell by your smile you're super excited about this. Something else that has got people excited is the rumors perhaps of an IPO,
of going public, Chieh, can you address some of the rumors?
HUANG: Yes, you know, you're probably wondering and you're tipped off by the fact that I'm wearing a suit this time on the show. But I've had to
upgrade my wardrobe game.
But definitely, as you look at kind of what we do and what's going on in the public markets, you know, you can definitely see that a story like
ours, doing what we do and how we do it, I think we will be pretty well received in the public market.
So keeping all our options open at the moment, but probably see me in a suit more and more these days.
CHATTERLEY: Next time, you can come back in a tie, Chieh, and then I'll really know.
CHATTERLEY: In terms of timing, 2020? 2021? Oh, my goodness. I've blocked out a year. Wow.
HUANG: We hope -- you know, we hope we'll do something here pretty soon when it comes to 2021, because whether it's anything we can do to take
advantage of the fact that what we're doing is so apropos for not only what happened last year, but actually as the world rounds, kind of hopefully the
last bend of COVID.
And as we recover, e-commerce will be here to stay, so we hope to really take advantage of the markets whether private, public or anything on the
corporate side, I think you'll see us doing something hopefully in 2021.
CHATTERLEY: You know, I have about 30 seconds and there is an argument that you could continue to grow and you could stay private. But you are a
business as well that cares about its workers and you've done some incredible things for your workers, Chieh, along the way. What do they
think? Public versus private?
HUANG: A lot of them are watching right now literally on the other side of this window, so they are probably -- I wish, I could turn the camera
around, they are all like cheering.
CHATTERLEY: I'll wave.
HUANG: But I think, they're awfully excited. One of the things that differentiates us, Julia, is we do treat them, I think, with the respect
they deserve so they all have stock options as well.
And so putting -- like depositing into that piggy bank of goodwill really throughout all of these years really paid off during the pandemic. And when
we said, hey, it's safe to come into our facilities, we're doing whatever we can, they showed up in full force and we didn't have any disruption at
all because we trust them and they trust us.
So I think there's some vindication of what we do with our employee base.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. Great work, my friend. Thank you for coming on the show. And exciting times, please come back and talk to us when you're ready to
announce when there's an IPO.
Chieh, great to have you, CEO and co-founder of Boxed there.
All right, coming up after the break, Ford going all electric in the major auto market. Details on their ambitious plans, next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Ford unveiling a new plan for electric vehicles in Europe. The company is investing $1 billion to
modernize a plant in Germany as part of a goal to sell only EVs in Europe by 2030.
Anna Stewart joins us live from London. Anna, always great to have you on these stories because you read the small print. Tell us what the game plan
is from Ford.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: You know, I love a little bit of small print, and Julia, you may feel a little deja vu because I feel like we were having
this exact conversation just two days ago, but we were talking about Jaguar Land Rover.
A really similar announcement today from Ford Europe and this comes after two really tough years for Ford Europe. You'll remember, they cut 12,000
jobs over the last two years. They shut six factories.
Speaking to the President of Ford Europe, now, they are ready for the second half of their transformation plan and that is all about their
So they are planning by 2026 for all of their vehicles to be capable of having zero emissions so that means hybrid, as well as all electric, by
2030, as he said, 100 percent all electric vehicles.
We spoke about lots, and we talked about, Julia, including Bitcoin, which I know you'll love to jump to at some stage, but first of all, I would say
that one of the interesting points about electric vehicles in Europe at least, is we see all of these ambitious targets.
And in many ways, these carmakers being pushed towards these electric futures due to all of the very strict emissions targets. Countries like the
U.K. is saying they will ban diesel and petrol cars by 2030, so really forced into it.
In recent years, we've seen a bit of a lag when it comes to consumer appetite. Does anyone really want to buy these cars? Is the infrastructure
there to make having an electric car easy and worthwhile?
And interestingly, from what the President of Ford Europe was telling me earlier, looking at some data, it is actually finally catching up.
Electric and hybrid car sales in the E.U. tripled last year from the year before, still nearly 50 percent of cars sold in the E.U. are petrol or
diesel, but it's certainly catching up.
So, I think these big investments we're seeing will eventually pay off.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, it is bringing the price down and to your exact point about the infrastructure, it's charging capabilities. There is no point
buying an electric or a hybrid if you can't charge it somewhere if you want to do a long journey. Anna, we can debate that until cows come home.
Bitcoin, you asked him if he was going to have Bitcoin on the balance sheet. What did he say?
STEWART: I promised you that the next time I spoke to a car CEO, I would ask whether they have Bitcoin on the balance sheet, and will they let
customers use Bitcoin to buy cars?
I'm sorry to disappoint you, Julia. I think he did smile behind the facemask he was wearing. It was kind of hard to tell. But he said he is
thankful that is a problem for someone else at Ford, not him.
CHATTERLEY: For now. Anna Stewart, thank you so much.
STEWART: Technical issues. I'm sorry, I could have brought you that interview and his little cackle behind his mask, but next time.
CHATTERLEY: Please. You're doing an awesome job bringing it life yourself. Thank you for that.
All right, that's it for the show. If you've missed any of the interviews today, they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. Over the coming
hours, you can search for @jchatterleyCNN, but for now, that's it from us.
Stay safe as always and "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is next.
I'll see you tomorrow.