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First Move with Julia Chatterley
The U.K. Tries to Boost Confidence in AstraZeneca Vaccine after Clot Concerns; Brazil's President Defies Calls for a Lockdown Despite the Rising Death Toll; Plans for a Global Minimum Tax Rate Gathering Pace. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 08, 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: Live from New York, I'm Julia Chatterley. This is FIRST MOVE and here is your need to know.
AstraZeneca assurances. The U.K. tries to boost confidence in the vaccine after clot concerns.
Bolsonaro's belligerence. Brazil's President defies calls for a lockdown despite the rising death toll.
And tackling taxes. Plans for a global minimum rate gathering pace.
It's Thursday. Let's make a move.
A warm welcome once again to FIRST MOVE. Great to have you with us this Thursday. Another day where we measure how far we've come in the battle
against COVID and how far we still need to go, some 700 million vaccines have now been administered worldwide, almost 25 percent of that happening
in the United States where more than a third of the population have had at least one dose.
In the E.U., meanwhile, more than 80 million doses have been given after a start that the World Health Organization called unacceptably slow.
We will be joined by E.U. vaccine czar, Thierry Breton who argues Europe is finally getting it right. Critical, of course, as Europe deals with fresh
waves of the virus. That's the case across many nations in Asia, too, as we will discuss, including Pakistan, a large nation already struggling to meet
the conditions of an I.M.F. rescue program. Its Central Bank Governor joins us later to discuss their unique support efforts.
In the meantime, here's a look at the global stock picture. U.S. majors range bound over the last couple of days, but tech is now catching a bid in
Europe and Asia as you can see, relatively mixed.
Fed Chair, Jay Powell speaking at the I.M.F. spring meetings today, expect continuing patience as Central Banks buy time for economic recovery around
Here in the United States, jobless claims rose by another 744,000 last week, and a further 151,000 for pandemic related assistance. These remain
stubbornly high even as other employment indicators improve. I think it is fresh evidence that it will be years before the U.S. jobs market fully
heals. Never mind anywhere else.
Let's get to the drivers now. The U.K. Government moving to reassure Britons on the vaccine safety after another setback for AstraZeneca.
European and British medicine regulators confirmed Wednesday that there is a quote, "possible link" between the company's vaccine and rare cases of
blood clots. The U.K. now recommending alternative vaccines for those under 30.
Salma Abdelaziz joins us now with all the details. Salma, I think if you're a person that's received an AstraZeneca vaccine or you're thinking about
getting one or hoping to have a vaccine, you're very confused at this moment. Explain and help us understand what we need to know.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: It is a bit of back and forth, isn't it, Julia? Right now, what we know is that these very rare cases of blood
clotting will be listed as a side effect of the Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine.
But yesterday you had dual press conferences, one held by E.U. officials and one held here in London by U.K. health officials. They both seem to
agree that the benefits of this vaccine still outweigh the risks. Both sides said that there was no specific risk categories, but they took
On the E.U. side, they said there's no recommendations in terms of groups that should take or shouldn't take the vaccine. Here in Britain, of course,
U.K. health officials now saying adults under the age of 30 should be given a different vaccine.
And although the guidance has changed, health officials here say this shows the system works that the authorities, the procedures that are behind these
vaccines were able to detect these very rare cases, and that's a good thing.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock out today, reassuring the public that this will not delay the vaccine rollout. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT HANCOCK, BRITISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HEALTH: We have seen this incredible level of uptake of the vaccine in this country, and what we've
learned in the last 24 hours is the rollout of the vaccine is working.
We've seen that the safety system is working because the regulators can spot even extremely rare event, four in a million, and take necessary
action to ensure that the rollout is as safe as it possibly can be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: Now what both sides, what all experts seem to agree on is that more scientific work needs to be done, Julia, to understand this link
between the vaccine and these very rare cases of blood clotting.
But this can be really difficult to study. These are very, very rare cases, out of over 20 million people that got the vaccine, only 79 exhibited the
cases and while experts and scientists try to dig into this, you still have these concerns around vaccine hesitancy around who takes the vaccine.
ABDELAZIZ: Yesterday in that press conference, there was this moment where they were saying, well, how did you come up with the age 30? What if I'm
31? What if I'm 32? What if my grandparents had a history of blood clotting? So you can see all the questions that arise here, Julia, at a
very critical time.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you make so many great points there, Salma. And I think the other thing we have to understand is the sheer size of the numbers here
of blood clots versus the numbers of people that are getting the vaccine.
And to your exact point, there was a great graphic that the U.K. regulators put forth to show why they decided to choose that cut off. This is in terms
of numbers for every hundred thousand people in the population, and you can see on that line for the 20 to 29-year-olds.
That's the only point where when you're trying to prevent admissions to intensive care units due to COVID, the probability there of a blood clot is
higher than the prevention of visiting a hospital. At every other level, it improves the admission to hospital numbers versus the blood clot risk, and
that's why they made the decision. So, I think even providing this information is vitally important.
Salma, it's going to be a mission, I think, as far as regaining confidence, but then people will try.
Salma Abdelaziz, thank you for that.
For more on vaccines and AstraZeneca, stay with FIRST MOVE. We speak to the European Union's vaccine czar later this hour.
In Asia, South Korea sees its biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases this year for the second day in a row. Seven hundred new cases reported today.
It is just one of many countries in the region struggling to keep the virus under control as Blake Essig reports.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a part of the world which is first to bear the brunt of COVID-19, pandemic fatigue,
virus variants and vaccine rollout seemingly moving at a snail pace are three factors that Dr. Jerome Kim, the head of the U.N. organization
promoting vaccination and its development, says will likely continue to cause problems across Asia-Pacific.
DR. JEROME KIM, DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL VACCINE INSTITUTE: If you can't control the pandemic, and you don't have access to vaccine, you're
not going to be -- you're going to be in a situation we were in in the spring of 2020, with hospitals being full, with people being denied
admission and people dying at home.
ESSIG (voice over): It's a grim reality that many countries in the region could face in the days and weeks to come. The Philippines, Bangladesh,
Pakistan, most of Japan, and South Korea are all seeing their daily case counts moving in the wrong direction.
As for India, well over 100,000 new infections have been reported daily.
VINOD KUMAR PAUL, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR TRANSFORMING INDIA: Last couple of weeks, the situation is coming bad to worse, and a serious cause for
ESSIG (voice over): In the Philippines, the President spokesperson said the spread of more infectious coronavirus variants came as a surprise.
More than 24 million people in and around Manila had been living under lockdown for more than a week, as cases continue to surge. Infections have
been on the rise almost daily since mid-February, the result, many hospitals are overwhelmed, nonessential workers fear for what an extended
lockdown might mean.
EDDIE ABRASALDO, JEEPNEY DRIVER (through translator): It will be more difficult when we don't have jobs, because we don't have the money to feed
ESSIG (voice over): While case counts are on the rise in several countries throughout Asia-Pacific, vaccines are not as readily available as in
countries like the U.K. and U.S.
Dr. Kim explains why.
KIM: I think countries were a little late to enter the queue for vaccine purchases. I mean, to some extent, in Korea and Japan, it was because there
weren't as many cases and they wanted to perhaps to know that the vaccines were working or which vaccines are safe.
ESSIG (voice over): Japan has fully vaccinated about two-tenths of a percent of its population. The Philippines and South Korea, even less than
In India, the vaccine factory of the world, is still at less than one percent.
But it's not all bad news across the Asia-Pacific region. In Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam, the new average daily case count has
remained extremely low.
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER OF NEW ZEALAND: While keeping their countries --
ESSIG: And in New Zealand and Australia, the count is low enough that they will resume operating in a quarantine-free travel corridor between the two
countries, later this month.
Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.
CHATTERLEY: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is playing down an alarming new surge of coronavirus cases, rejecting lockdowns and saying in his
words, quote, "We're not going to cry over spilt milk." This week, Brazil had its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, over 4,000 deaths in 24
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are not going to accept this policy of staying at home, of closing everything down. This
virus will not go. This virus like others is here to stay and will remain for a lifetime.
It is practically impossible to eradicate it. What are we going to do until then?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Shasta Darlington joins us now. Shasta, but you can do more, and the spilt milk in this case, 336,000 lives lost. What are the people
there making of his response and just talk us through what you're seeing?
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, it's obviously a dire situation. As you were mentioning, we just got through the
deadliest month since the pandemic began here in Brazil, that was March and yet since then, the numbers have continued to rise. Tuesday saw the
deadliest day in terms of the number of deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time, more than 4,000 people died in a single day and expectations
are that unfortunately, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
There's a dangerous, more contagious variant that is spreading quickly in 18 out of 26 states here in Brazil, the health systems are nearing collapse
with more than 90 percent of beds in intensive care units occupied.
The respected Fiocruz Foundation, one of the main biomedical institutes here says that Brazil would need at least two weeks of a nationwide
lockdown to begin to slow the spread of the virus. But as you mentioned, and as we heard him say, the President, Jair Bolsonaro, is adamantly
opposed to that and thinks basically that it would hurt the economy more than the virus is affecting the population.
So this is a situation that is going to play out very slowly and very painfully -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: And I read that Brazil had also confirmed its first case of the variant that was first identified from South Africa as well, in
addition to the P1 virus there as well. What about vaccines, Shasta? What progress on vaccine supplies?
DARLINGTON: That's a great question. It's been a really rough rollout with a lot of delays. On the one hand, Brazil has slowly set up to produce two
vaccines here, so that's great news, the CoronaVac, which was developed by Chinese scientists and AstraZeneca, but we just found out that Brazil's
main supplier of vaccines, the Butantan Institute, which produces CoronaVac has temporarily suspended production That's according to our affiliate CNN
Brazil, which talked to sources saying that until they get new deliveries of the raw materials needed to produce it from China, they are going to
Hopefully, that will come next week. But right now, only 8.5 percent of the population in Brazil has received at least one dose of the vaccine. This is
a huge country, over 210 million people. So we need millions and millions of vaccines to get those two doses in arms and this is going extremely
slowly -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, more speed required. Shasta, stay safe, and thank you for that update there. Shasta Darlington.
All right, let's move on. Taxing times. The push to overhaul global corporate tax rates is gathering momentum. CNN has confirmed reports the
United States is proposing a new plan, calling for multinational companies to pay taxes to governments based on this sales in each country.
Clare Sebastian joins us with more. Clare, I think there's broad acknowledgement now that there's been a global race to the bottom as far as
corporate tax rates is concerned. But this idea of taxing where the sales are made is an interesting one, particularly for tech companies, I think.
Talk us through this potential plan.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this would represent a major shift, Julia, a major concession from the U.S. side. Don't forget,
the O.E.C.D., which is trying to come up with a unified plan on global taxation has been at this for really the best part of a decade, and they've
never seen this kind of concession from the U.S. before.
A source familiar with the matter confirming to me this morning that a meeting at the O.E.C.D. is happening today where this plan is under
discussion. What's going on is that the Americans, as was first reported by "The Financial Times" have put forward a plan whereby there would be a
mechanism that they would come up with to redistribute somehow the taxes of these big multinational companies, most notably, of course, the tech
You know, there's been a big backlash among companies in Europe and U.K. that the taxes of these companies are based on where their profits are, not
where their sales are. They've imposed digital sales taxes. The U.S. has threatened sanctions. This has led to a big international dispute.
This could represent a resolution to that. We don't know what the exact details are, as of yet. They will be the subject of discussion at the
O.E.C.D., which aims to come up with some kind of plan later this year. But ultimately, this would mean that the taxes of big companies, the likes of
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, could go to some -- could be redistributed. This is something the U.S. has long fought.
They have believed that the taxation of these companies, their biggest companies should be the business of the U.S. alone, but crucially, the
reason why we see this concession from the Biden administration is because they want something else from the O.E.C.D. They want this global minimum
tax which would disincentivize companies from offshoring their profits.
And this of course, comes as the Biden administration is trying to raise the corporate tax rate here in the U.S. -- Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Absolutely. If you're raising taxes at home, then suddenly having everybody on board for a global minimum tax makes far more sense to
cushion the blow that you're about to strike. It's a great point.
CHATTERLEY: The key here, though, for me, as well, given as I mentioned this race to the bottom of the corporate tax rate, how would you agree on
what that minimum tax rates actually going to be?
SEBASTIAN: Yes, I think that will be a challenge for sure. The U.S. number that they put forward is 21 percent. I think a lot of people are skeptical
that they would get to something that high.
There's a broad range, of course of corporate tax rates, even if you look at Europe, you've got 12.5 percent in Ireland, which has made them a very
attractive destination for a lot of these Big Tech companies, to up to 32 percent in France, so a big range. So that's going to be one of the
technical aspects of the discussion.
Notably, Julia, the O.E.C.D., when it modeled this idea of a global minimum tax, they set that number at 12.5 percent. So that is interesting, a big
gap there from the U.S. plan of 21 percent. But of course, the U.S. is trying to get close to the 28 percent that it wants to raise its own
corporate tax to.
So, it's a -- that definitely will be a challenge and that will be part of the ongoing discussions, which are happening, you know, pretty much as we
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And progress could happen really quickly, which is quite fascinating, too. Clare Sebastian, that's not normal. Thank you very much
All right, still to come on FIRST MOVE, vaccine vow after a stuttering start in Europe promising now herd immunity by July. The E.U.'s vaccine
chief joins us next.
And Pakistan battling to protect its economy while fighting a third COVID wave. We speak to the country's Central Bank Chief. He is about to get
creative. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. U.S. tech picking up some momentum premarket as we await Fed Chair Jerome Powell's appearance at the I.M.F.
spring meetings today.
Growth stocks like Tesla and Baidu that have underperformed in recent sessions look set for a bounce, too. Uber, also higher in the session.
Reports say the company is desperately trying to lure back drivers as car service demand bounces back.
CHATTERLEY: In the meantime, Chinese social media and gaming giant, Tencent falling in Hong Kong trade. Its biggest shareholder selling almost
$15 billion worth of stock, one of the biggest global block trades ever.
Okay, the European Union's vaccine chief says the E.U. could achieve herd immunity by mid-July. He say his vaccine manufacturing capacity across the
union will grow to over three billion doses a year by the end of 2021. It's a big push to speed things up after criticism from the World Health
Organization that said the E.U.'s vaccine rollout had been "unacceptably slow," quote.
Joining us now is to Thierry Breton. He is European Commissioner for the Internal Market and E.U. Vaccine Chief.
Commissioner, fantastic to have you on the show once again. I think by your own admission, it was probably a rocky start, but herd immunity by mid-July
would be phenomenal. Is it really possible?
THIERRY BRETON, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR THE INTERNAL MARKET AND E.U. VACCINE CHIEF COMMISSIONER: No, you're right, Julia. It will be a very,
very good news for all of us, believe me, and we're working extremely hard here to make this happen.
Yes, it is possible, it is feasible, and I strongly believe that we will achieve it because when I see again, what we have now ready to go, we
increased drastically the production in the E.U. We have now 53 factories working seven days a week, 24/24. And, yes, I could tell you today that we
will deliver the number of doses which will be necessary to achieve 70 percent of the adult population being vaccinated by mid-July.
In other words, it will be now in the hands of member states to make sure that in every single country of the E.U., the vaccination campaign will
CHATTERLEY: Are they prepared for it, Commissioner? Because to your point, having the supplies is not the same as getting them in people's arms.
BRETON: You're absolutely right. And that's -- we have now two, let's phases ahead of us. Now that the production is going on, of course,
organizing the vaccination campaign all over the continent. That's a huge task. This is in the hands of the member states. It is not in the hands of
But I am in direct contact with every single member state. I am confident they're doing the right things. But it is huge, that's right. And then of
course, like everyone including in the U.S., we need to convince our fellow citizens that the solution is to accept to be vaccinated, because this is
how we will get through this pandemic.
CHATTERLEY: A part of the challenge there is the concerns about AstraZeneca's vaccine. You wrote a blog talking about Europe's response and
you place the blame squarely on supplies from AstraZeneca, saying you were given less than 25 percent of what was initially promised. Then came the
sporadic response to safety concerns.
Commissioner, what is your feeling today? And what do you want people to understand about AstraZeneca and about AstraZeneca's vaccine?
BRETON: No, you know, it's absolutely true that I would like to tell you that we a difficult start in Q1, mainly because AstraZeneca delivered only
25 percent of what was planned. And it's true that we had to cope with this.
But the good news, if I may say so, is that we are the continent today, which is the largest number or variety of different vaccines.
We have now four vaccines to be approved by our health facility agency. And soon fifth -- five vaccines.
And of course, our factories are working in order to make sure that the delivery will be on time. So we will be able to cope with this situation.
But it's true that in Q1, we had difficulties definitely with AstraZeneca.
So now, they are reduced drastically their forecast for us in Q2. So we are confident that we'll be able to deliver what is achievable. It is true also
that you have, let's say, discussion in certain member states on the vaccines.
But yesterday, our health authorities in Europe reassured that it was good vaccines and the benefits was really much, much better than some problems
we may have here or there. So it will be in the hands of the doctors to decide at which category you could inoculate, but we strongly believe that
it would be part of course of our strategy. Thank you.
CHATTERLEY: Do you acknowledge the confidence though in that vaccine has been damaged?
BRETON: Well, you know -- you mean, Astra Zeneca?
BRETON: No, I mean -- I mean, it's true that we had again a discussion on it. But as I said, the good thing is that we have a very large variety of
vaccines, and I think it's extremely important that all our fellow citizens understand that in Europe, we are extremely cautious like in the U.S., by
the way, with the F.D.A., we are extremely cautious and when our regulatory agency give its greenlight, we can go.
CHATTERLEY: You've also said that there's no need to use the Russian vaccine, even if it had approval. But if it did get approval in the E.U.,
is supply of that a problem?
BRETON: No, first, as you probably know, so-called Sputnik V applied to get an approval by health safety agency, it takes time because this is a
very serious process, weeks or months, so we are just at the beginning of it.
And I was always extremely clear on that. We have respect for all scientists on the planet working on this subject, because at the end of the
day, this is a subject, which is considering everybody on the planet.
But for us today, the key is definitely to add the doses. You know, our fellow citizens' beliefs may be at the beginning that you order and you get
the following day the vaccine. No, it doesn't happen like this.
You need at least 10 to 12 months to transform a factory, to adapt to a new vaccine. So when it will be approved, you will need another maybe 10
months. And of course, it will be too late for this pandemic.
Where we have to focus again, our efforts is to make sure that everything we have in the pipeline, if I may say so, will be delivered on time and
this will happen within the next four to five months.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, we keep our fingers crossed on that. Let's talk about vaccine passports. The hope was that that program, or the green
certificates would be up and running by mid-June. Are we still on track for that? And can summer be saved in Europe? That's the big question.
BRETON: Oh, yes, very much so. As you know, this is something in our democratic systems that has to be approved by our co-legislators,
especially in Parliament. But we are confident that this will be approved very soon to make sure that everything will be on track by mid-June.
In other words, of course, at that time, we will be close, hopefully to the immunity we were talking about a few minutes ago and it will be very
important to start again, I may say to live normally, and of course, to start also, again, a normal season.
But again, it's important also to understand that we will need to continue even if we are able and we will be able to reach this herd immunity to be
careful, to be cautious, and the green certificate will give an indication that you have been immune and you are not a danger for others, which is
extremely important to reopen, let's say our way to live together.
CHATTERLEY: And just very quickly, for European nation states that have used the Russian vaccine that will also qualify for entry on that green
BRETON: No, it's not planned today.
CHATTERLEY: Okay. We shall see going forward. Sir, fantastic to have you on the show. Fingers crossed that everything goes ahead as planned and we
get that herd immunity by mid-July.
Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Markets and E.U. vaccine chief.
BRETON: Thank you very much.
CHATTERLEY: Great to have you, sir, once again.
All right after the break, Pakistan walks a narrow path to recovery with pandemic stimulus on the one side, spending limits from the government on
The Governor of the State Bank tells me how they're going about it and he is next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. The S&P 500 inching further into record territory. The NASDAQ high, too, as continued U.S. economic optimism
outweighs concerns about frighteningly high COVID rates still in many parts of the globe.
JPMorgan CEO, Jamie Dimon predictions of a strong U.S. growth into 2023 still reverberating on Wall Street, but of course uncertainty too over
historic moves to overhaul the global tax system for multinationals.
GameStop also a big gainer today. The Reddit army favorite higher on word that Board Member and Chewy cofounder Ryan Cohen will be nominated
Chairman. Cohen's push to revamp GameStop was a catalyst for the company's parabolic moves earlier this year.
To Pakistan now currently battling a third wave of COVID-19, tightening restrictions on its population of 217 million people, while also trying to
protect the economy. It was already a challenging time for the nation forced to enter a multibillion dollar rescue program with the I.M.F. back
in 2019 that then curtailed the government's ability to spend in response to the pandemic.
Well, that put Pakistan's Central Bank to get creative with all sorts of measures to help.
And joining us now is Dr. Reza Baqir. He is Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. Sir, fantastic to have you on the show. As I mentioned there, you
had to get creative because, of course, there were limitations on what the government could do in terms of spending. Just give us a sense of the
challenges you face and how you responded.
DR. REZA BAQIR, GOVERNOR, STATE BANK OF PAKISTAN: Thank you, Julia, for having me on your show. COVID has been terrible for any country. But for
Pakistan, it's particularly challenging. One, Pakistan being the world's fifth largest country, home to more poor people than say, the entire
population of Spain. And second, we have just started an I.M.F. program and the economy was already slowing down due to the stabilization policies we
have to implement.
So when COVID came, we had to be very quick on our feet. And I will tell you on the public health dimension, the government gave a quick response.
And currently, even right now as we are in the midst of the third wave, Pakistan has about 18 cases per million that still compares favorably to
about 187 million cases -- 187 cases per million in the U.S.
So first with the public health dimension. On the Central Bank side, we had to be aggressive, Julia. We had to be flexible, and we had to be targeted.
Aggressive in that, in total, we gave support of about five percent of GDP to the businesses that needed it. Flexible in that we had to revise the
policies in response to feedback that we got from the business community and target it in that you could only get these facilities if you satisfied
So for instance, our concessional facility for employment, companies could only get matching financing if they committed to not lay off workers for
six months. Another targeted facility was purely for financing of import of ventilators, and construction of health facilities to fight COVID.
And lastly, a targeted facility for cheap financing for purchase of machinery. You could only get that if you showed a letter of credit
demonstrating that the money was going to be used to purchase machinery.
So for the Central Bank, it was aggressive. It was flexible, and it was targeted.
CHATTERLEY: I mean, to your point as well about the direct support for the first time for businesses saying, look, you have to keep on your workers,
otherwise, you don't get access to these cheap loans. And you and I have discussed, off air, that you believe you saved around one and a half
million jobs at a time when every job counts, quite frankly.
What you've also seen is a near halving of interest rates since the pandemic began. A lot of people looking at the situation now and the rise
in inflation, as many nations are facing and saying are you at some point going to have to raise interest rates -- which of course, is the last thing
you want to be doing given the challenges in the economy.
Governor, can you get around raising rates if inflation indeed becomes a problem, because I'm sure there are many in your nation that want
assurances on that if you can give it?
BAQIR: Julia, currently our estimate is that of the roughly three percentage point rise in inflation over the past three months, about half
of that is due to factors that are not in control of monetary policy. This is increase in electricity supplies -- electricity prices, and because of
the increase in food prices, primarily commodities.
Interest rates cannot control either of these two factors.
BAQIR: Central Banks that have credibility have to look through temporary increases in inflation. That is what we are trying to do with clear
communication and keeping a close eye on inflation expectations. One, through survey that show the inflation expectations are broadly still
anchored. And second, Julia, by keeping an eye also on the exchange rate, because for emerging markets with flexible exchange rates, one key test of
the credibility of a Central Bank is its currency.
For us, that's not been a source of concern. Yet today, the Pakistani rupee is the world's second most strongest exchange rate to date. So, so far, we
feel we are able to maintain the current accommodative stance of monetary policy.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and it's an ongoing battle as well, to your point, the fact that you've managed to maintain market access. I know you recently
issued a 30-year debt as well as some Euro bonds as well. So it's that balance between adhering to an I.M.F. program, but trying to support your
economy and maintain market confidence.
One of the ways that I know you personally feel very passionately about is trying to capture some of the benefits of digitization for the proportion
of your population, and it's a significant one that remain unbanked as part of a broader, healthier recovery.
Talk to me about RAST and what that's achieving, I believe in Urdu, it means direct way. I like the name.
BAQIR: Yes, Julia, we are very excited about RAST. It is a faster payment system of the sort in U.K., in Singapore. Just to put it in perspective,
the U.S. plans to introduce such a system in about three years, we are introducing it today.
It is going to allow people to get payments done within seconds and get a confirmation on their phone that a payment has taken place. With that kind
of a system, we hope that we will make an increase, some progress on the level of financial inclusion.
It's a big challenge for us right now, let me illustrate. Right now, only one in two men in Pakistan is considered to have a bank account. And only
one in five adult women are considered to have a bank account. These numbers are low. They are low compared to the region. They are low compared
to other emerging markets.
But our region is that with RAST, with the ability that if you have a phone, you have a bank account, we're going to have a rapid increase in
You correctly pointed out an additional message you want to give through RAST is to avoid the use of cash because often corruption comes with cash
and that's why RAST meaning direct, meaning the correct way to make payments.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and also, a lot of people, the majority of people have mobile phones and you don't need a smartphone in order to be able to use
this system as well because I was looking at the details which is important.
It's so important for equality, too, which I know is another huge focus of yours to the point that you made though, which is a fascinating one about
trying to get away from cash and perhaps tackling corruption, informal parts of the economy as well that you dislike. What are your views on a
Central Bank digital coin in Pakistan? China is clearly making huge advances on this. Where does Pakistan stand?
BAQIR: We are studying that very carefully. We think that some countries like China are already showing the way. The benefit of that to us is
twofold. Not only does it give another boost to our efforts for financial inclusion, but second, because if a Central Bank issued digital currency,
it allows us to make further progress in our fight towards anti-money laundering, towards countering terrorism financing.
So we are at a stage, Julia, where we are starting it. We hope to be able to make some announcements on that in the coming months. For now, we have
allowed a framework for digital banks to begin operating in Pakistan banks, which don't have brick and mortar presence, but banks which are purely
digital, like challenger banks or neo banks, so we're starting it.
CHATTERLEY: I saw the world's biggest Fintech, Stripe, was eyeing the opportunity in Pakistan as well. Are they welcome?
BAQIR: Stripe is very welcome. Others such international payment providers are very welcome. Pakistan is a market home to the fifth largest
concentration of people. It's a market where people are generally tech savvy, and it's a market that's waiting to burst as far as digitization is
Julia, during COVID, we did one thing which is to eliminate fees on interbank transfers. And the impact of that was phenomenal for the quarter
that ended in December. We had growth of about 150 to 200 percent compared to a year ago on mobile banking transactions. For internet banking
transaction, that number is around 100 to 150 percent growth.
So it is a market you know, 225 million people, approximately, a very young market and a very tech savvy market that is very, very fertile for such
So we are very open and we embrace any global mobile payment operator that wants to come to Pakistan.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, you're redefining the role of a Central Bank, I think and we wish you well and your people well. Sir, great to chat with you, the
Governor of the Central Bank there, the State Bank of Pakistan. We will speak soon, please.
All right, after the break, more on AstraZeneca's vaccine. How a series of missteps have tarnished its reputation.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to FIRST MOVE. Hailed as the vaccine that would save the world from coronavirus, AstraZeneca's vaccine has certainly been
hit by a series of missteps. Anna Stewart is in London with a look.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER (voice over): It felt a little like an Academy Award acceptance speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to say that it's been really a great pleasure and a privilege.
STEWART (voice over): AstraZeneca, with its Oxford partner developed one of the first COVID-19 vaccines deemed safe and effective by regulators
around the world. It's cheaper than the vaccine developed by Pfizer- BioNTech and it can be stored safely at higher temperatures.
Yet, in many ways, this vaccine has been a drag on AstraZeneca's reputation. First, there were questions on its trial data.
Unusually, the initial Phase 3 results suggested a half dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose weeks apart was more effective in preventing
disease than two full doses.
Days later, the company admitted the half dose had been administered by error and was later dropped from the trial altogether.
DR. PAUL HUNTER, NORWICH MEDICAL SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA: I not believe this half dose-full dose story. It didn't ring right to me.
Subsequent papers from Oxford-AstraZeneca Group have shown the gap that was making the difference and not the half dose which everybody was getting,
the Oxford Group was getting very excited about.
STEWART (voice over): There were also questions about whether the vaccine should be used for older age groups. French President Emmanuel Macron
described the vaccine as quasi ineffective in a press briefing, but hours later --
EMER COOKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY: It's a real pleasure to be here and to announce the third positive opinion for the
authorization of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
STEWART (voice over): Europe's medicines regulator, the EMA approved its use. However, some damage was done to public trust.
FEDERICO SANTI, SENIOR ANALYST, EURASIA GROUP: More skepticism of that particular vaccine has been fostered in the public, which could make it
more difficult for European countries to ramp up vaccinations to the extent that they need to catch up with the U.K.
STEWART (voice over): The race was on to see how quickly the vaccine could be made and delivered.
In January, AstraZeneca announced that its supply to the E.U. would be lower than forecast at least initially. It sparked anger amongst some E.U.
leaders who claimed AstraZeneca was wrongly prioritizing supplies to other countries and delaying fulfillment of E.U. contracts that led the E.U. to
implement strict vaccine export controls.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Companies have to honor their contract to the European Union before they export to other
regions in the world.
STEWART (voice over): More recently, there have been concerns over the vaccine's safety following reports of some people developing rare blood
clots after at least one dose, leaving some countries to restrict the vaccine, at least for now to older groups only.
A causal link is possible according to new guidance from the E.U. and the U.K. medicines regulators. Both said the benefits of taking the vaccine
outweigh the risks. Although in the U.K., those under the age of 30 will be offered an alternative vaccine, given their risk from COVID is lower.
There's the added factor that there are other vaccines on the market, which haven't had as many negative headlines to their name.
STEWART (on camera): Well, you have multiple companies producing very similar products or trying to, is this partly at least just the case of
winners and losers?
MARK RITSON, COLUMNIST, MARKETING WEEK: The game of branding is always relative. You're always compared to the other alternatives in the market
and that means unfortunately that there will be those perceived to be better and those perceived to be weaker, winners and losers.
STEWART (voice over): Currently, AstraZeneca appears to be on a losing streak.
Anna Stewart, CNN, London.
CHATTERLEY: All right, still to come, two years after the fire that brought down its famous spire, rare access to the restoration of the Notre
Dame Cathedral. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: To think it was almost two years since the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Now, rebuilding it could take many more
years, and much of the focus has been on restoring the church's spire, so far, which famously collapsed during the blaze.
CNN's Melissa Bell takes a look at progress.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Its vaulted ceilings, stained glass windows and elaborate columns, as you can see on these images
shot by CNN, so much of what makes Notre Dame one of the world's most exquisitely Gothic wonders stands tall, almost miraculously.
The construction of the Cathedral may have taken 182 years from when it began in 1163. It took the fire of 2019 a matter of hours to compromise its
The work of the last two years has been all about ensuring that the Cathedral stayed upright.
JEAN-LOUIS GEORGELIN, NOTRE DAME RECONSTRUCTION CHIEF: You want to be sure, but the structure is solid. So I take a lot of measures to
consolidate. We don't want to make a reconstruction without being reassured.
BELL (on camera): Here, you can see the iconic north tower that at one point had been threatened by the flames on the night of the fire. In the
end, they were put out before it could collapse. But this was where the most devastating part of the fire took place. It was here that the famous
Notre Dame spire once stood.
BELL (voice over): As the world watched the spire which had been under renovation collapsed, breaking through the vaulted ceiling, which then
crashed into the nave.
The scaffolding that had surrounded it, 40,000 tubes of metal now twisted into the structure, then had to be carefully picked through and removed.
General Jean-Louis Georgelin who is in charge of the renovations gave CNN a rare tour.
GEORGELIN: It is a place where the fire collapsed. You know, this is the center of the drama.
BELL (voice over): The General then shows us the exact spot where the spire first came crashing through. Here the vaulted ceiling is held up by
wooden pillars, each weighing a ton and a half.
"They ensure," explains the project manager, "That if the stones give way for whatever reason, bad weather, a tremor, a shock, well the wooden
support beams will keep the structure standing."
Now, that the scaffolding for the renovations is ready, General Georgelin says that the work of rebuilding Notre Dame's vaulted ceiling and its spire
will begin before the end of the year.
BELL (on camera): This is the central part of the nave where the great majority of the reconstruction is going to take place, since it's here that
the spire collapsed bringing down the stone structure with it.
Elsewhere, what's really remarkable is how intact the structure is. These stones that had stood for more than eight centuries, almost exactly as they
BELL (voice over): Outside too, the Cathedral's iconic Gothic facade stands as a testament to a construction that has proven as sturdy as it is
Cathedral officials say that almost a billion dollars have been raised through donations from 150 countries so far, a reminder of the place that
Notre Dame has not just in the history of France, but in the heart of so many all around the world.
Melissa bell. CNN, Paris.
CHATTERLEY: So beautiful. All right, that's it for the show.
If you've missed any of our interviews today, they will be on my Twitter and Instagram pages. You can search for @jchatterleyCNN, as always.
And in the meantime, stay safe, and we'll see you tomorrow.
"Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.