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America’s Fatal Dependency

America’s Fatal Dependency

Authored by David Goldman via,

America’s increasing reliance on foreigners to lend us money could…



America's Fatal Dependency

Authored by David Goldman via,

America's increasing reliance on foreigners to lend us money could crater the dollar...

The United States has borrowed $18 trillion from foreigners since the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, a staggering sum that is nearly equal to America’s annual Gross Domestic Product. The notion that the dollar’s dominance in world finance might come to an end was a fringe view only five years ago, when America’s net foreign investment position was a mere negative $8 trillion. Notably, the net international investment position fell by $6 trillion between 2019 and 2022, roughly the amount of federal stimulus spent in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a December 2021 report for the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life, I warned about the likely consequences of mounting U.S. deficits:

The United States stock market now trades at nearly thirty times earnings, a multiple not seen since 2000, before a long and painful correction. The lofty valuation of the U.S. equity market is driven by the longest period of negative real interest rates in U.S. history. If the dollar’s reserve status is compromised, the United States will no longer be able to borrow at negative real rates, and rising bond yields will put pressure on equity markets, depressing the value of the U.S. stock market and reducing the value of pension and retirement funds.

Dollar Dominance

One used to read about the demise of dollar dominance in the newsletters of coin dealers and monetary cranks; now we read such forecasts in research reports by Credit Suisse. The research department of Goldman Sachs, possibly the most conventional of all commentators, warns that the dollar will go the way of the British pound, as “unsustainable current account deficits” lead to “high U.S. inflation” and “substitution into other reserve currencies.” Economists Cristina Tessari and Zach Pandl wrote on March 30:

The Dollar today faces many of the same challenges as the British Pound in the early 20th century: a small share of global trade volumes relative to the currency’s dominance in international payments, a deteriorating net foreign asset position, and potentially adverse geopolitical developments. At the same time, there are important differences—especially less-severe domestic economic conditions in the U.S. today than in the UK in the aftermath of WWII. If foreign investors were to become more reluctant to hold U.S. liabilities—e.g. because of structural changes in world commodity trade—the result could be Dollar depreciation and/or higher real interest rates in order to prevent or slow Dollar depreciation. Alternatively, U.S. policymakers could take other steps to stabilize net foreign liabilities, including tightening fiscal policy. The bottom line is that whether the dollar retains its dominant reserve currency status depends, first and foremost, on U.S.’s own policies. Policies that allow unsustainable current account deficits to persist, lead to the accumulation of large external debts, and/or result in high U.S. inflation, could contribute to substitution into other reserve currencies.

Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar wrote on March 7:

We are witnessing the birth of Bretton Woods III – a new world (monetary) order centered around commodity-based currencies in the East that will likely weaken the Eurodollar system and also contribute to inflationary forces in the West. A crisis is unfolding. A crisis of commodities. Commodities are collateral, and collateral is money, and this crisis is about the rising allure of outside money over inside money. Bretton Woods II was built on inside money, and its foundations crumbled a week ago when the G7 seized Russia’s FX reserves…

Washington’s seizure of Russian foreign exchange reserves seems risky given America’s enormous and accelerating dependency on foreign borrowing. Paradoxically, America’s strength lies in its weakness: A sudden end to the dollar’s leading role in world finance would have devastating consequences for the U.S. economy, as well as the economies of its trading partners.

In addition to the $18 trillion of net foreign investment in the U.S., foreigners keep about $16 trillion in U.S.D in overseas bank deposits to finance international transactions. That’s $34 trillion of foreign financing against a U.S. GDP of not quite $23 trillion. Foreigners also have enormous exposure to the U.S. stock and real estate markets.

No one—least of all China with its $3 trillion in reserves—wants a run against the dollar and dollar assets. But the world’s central banks are reducing dollar exposure, cautiously but steadily. The trickle of diversification out of dollars could turn into a flood. What the International Monetary Fund March 22 called “the stealth erosion of dollar dominance” presages a not-so-stealthy exit from the dollar. Unlike Nebuchadnezzars’ handwriting on the wall, the king’s soothsayers can read the message as plain as day.

New Solutions

Notably, Russia’s central bank cut the share of U.S. dollar in its reserves from 21 percent a year ago to just 11 percent in January, while increasing its holdings in Chinese remimbi to 17 percent from 13 percent a year ago. Russia’s central bank has also bought more gold than any other institution in recent years.

With just 8 percent of world export volume vs. China’s 15 percent, the reserve role of the U.S. dollar no longer reflects American economic strength. It derives, perversely, from the rest of the world’s desire to save. The people of the world’s high-income countries are aging rapidly. In 2001, 28 percent of their population was aged 50 years or older; by 2040 the proportion will reach 2045 percent. Aging populations save for retirement. The Germans and Japanese save nearly 30 percent of GDP, and the Chinese save 44 percent; America saves just 18 percent of GDP.

For the past fifteen years, American consumers have bought roughly a trillion dollars more of goods each year than America exports. The import-led consumption boom, and the availability of cheap electronics from China and other Asian exporters, fed a digital entertainment boom that inflated the stock prices of Apple, Microsoft, Google, Meta and other U.S. software companies. Foreigners then invested their earnings from exports in U.S. tech stocks, as well as government bonds, real estate, and other assets. The tech boom harmed the U.S. economy far more than it helped it, turning American teenagers into risk-averse recluses addicted to smartphones and social media, while generating stock market valuations never before seen outside of classic economic histories of bubbles.

The increase in American imports from China is shocking. Seasonally adjusted, Chinese exports to the U.S., as reported by China’s Statistics Bureau, have risen from an annual rate of about $409 billion in August 2019, when the U.S. imposed tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods, to $674 billion in March 2022. The Chinese data are more reliable than U.S. import data, according to a study by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, because the U.S. data fail to distinguish between direct Chinese exports to the U.S. and exports “washed” through third countries to evade tariffs

Big, Big Bubble

The result is the biggest bubble in world financial history. When the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to collapse the bubble, the U.S. government added $6 trillion in stimulus to the economy. That shot of adrenaline reinflated the tech bubble, which explains why the U.S. net foreign investment position fell by another $6 trillion between 2019 and 2022, to today’s negative $18 trillion level.

Overall, net imports of manufactured goods rose from about $60 billion a month prior to the COVID pandemic, to $100 billion a month as of February 2022.

The bubble is so enormous that the entire world has a stake in it, and none of the world’s major economies can extract themselves from it without significant damage. China finds itself suffering from punitive American tariffs and sanctions on technology imports, while shipping more than $600 billion of manufactured goods to the U.S. each year—nearly a third more than it did before the Trump Administration imposed tariffs in 2019. China’s leaders want to encourage more domestic consumption and less net savings, but can’t persuade the Chinese to consume. China therefore continues to export to the U.S. and bank the proceeds.

The world can easily get along without the dollar to finance trade. India and Russia can settle trade in their own currencies, with their respective central banks providing rupees and rubles as required through swap lines. Russia’s surplus with India will be invested in the Indian corporate bond market, according to news reports. India reportedly is gearing up to increase exports to Russia by $2 billion a year, a 50 percent increase from current levels.

China meanwhile is paying for oil imports both from Russia and Saudi Arabia in its own currency. The RMB has appreciated against the U.S. dollar by more than 12 percent since September 2019, and continues to offer higher real yields than the dollar, as well as a range of investment opportunities, despite China’s exchange controls.

Nothing prevents the 76 percent of the world’s population whose governments refused to join the sanctions regime against Russia from financing trade in local currency. Asian countries now have $380 billion of swap lines in place, more than enough to accommodate the whole of intra-Asian trade.

All That Glitters

To the extent that long-term imbalances emerge in trade, central banks can settle up by transferring gold. Several misleading media reports have claimed that the U.S. can prevent Russia from using its gold reserves. That is inaccurate; the U.S. can keep Russia out of public gold markets, but it can’t step Russia from trading gold with the central banks of India or China.

By no coincidence, the same central banks who are bypassing the dollar financing system have bought the most gold over the past twenty years, according to the World Gold Council’s data. China and Russia were the biggest buyers of gold, followed by Turkey, India and Kazakhstan.

Gold’s value relative to competing U.S. dollar assets stands at an all-time record high. In normal times investors get the same sort of protection from inflation-indexed U.S. government bonds, or Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) as they do from gold. In case of a sudden fall in the value of the dollar and a corresponding rise in the U.S. price level, TIPS will pay a bonus to investors in proportion to the rise in the U.S. Consumer Price Index. During the past 15 years, the co-movement of gold and TIPS yields has been remarkably steady 85 percent.

But TIPS and gold diverged on three occasions. The first was the Lehman bankruptcy of 2008, which touched off the global financial crisis. The second was the near bankruptcy of Italy in 2011. And the third, and most extreme, occurred in the aftermath of the Ukraine war.

At about $1970 an ounce, gold is now $437 “rich” to TIPS, as the above chart shows. The sharp rise in U.S. yields during the past two months would have toppled the gold price under normal circumstances. But the seizure of central bank assets by executive fiat is far from normal. Gold is trading right around its all-time high point despite the rise in interest rates.

Another way to view the same data is in the form of a scatter chart of gold vs the 5-year TIPS yield. Today’s gold price, as noted, is $437 above the regression line.

Gold’s premium against TIPS reflects a wide variety of risks. One risk is that the U.S. government’s measure of inflation may not keep up with actual inflation. For example, the rent component of the Consumer Price Index rose by 4.5 percent during the year through March 31, 2022, while the private-sector Zillow Index of rents rose by 17 percent. Another risk is that the dollar may depreciate against other currencies faster than the payout in TIPS. And for some investors, the threat of confiscation, as in the case of Russian Central Bank reserves and the personal assets of wealthy Russians, is a discouragement.

Gold also represents an option on “Bretton Woods III,” a local-currency regime of trade financing in which some imbalances may be settled in gold. The value of the nearly 32,000 tonnes of gold now held by central banks is a bit over U.S.$2 trillion at the April 13, 2022 price of $1,980 an ounce. That represents about one-sixth of world central bank reserves of $12 trillion. If gold were to substitute for the dollar as a reserve instrument, the proportion of gold in central bank reserves would have to increase, which in turn implies a substantial increase in the gold price. Persistently high inflation in the U.S. and the Euozone, moreover, would lead to an increase in the gold price as well.

If the United States finds itself unable to run large current account deficits financed by sales of assets, the outcome will be a sharp decrease in consumption. The indicated solution is aggressive preemptive action to restore U.S. manufacturing capacity and reduce America’s crippling dependency on imports. Unfortunately, current economic policies have led the U.S. into greater dependency. Without a policy change, this will not end well for the United States.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/21/2022 - 22:20

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Russia’s energy war: Putin’s unpredictable actions and looming sanctions could further disrupt oil and gas markets

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not hesitated to use energy as a weapon. An expert on global energy markets analyzes what could come next.




The new Baltic Pipe natural gas pipeline connects Norwegian natural gas fields in the North Sea with Denmark and Poland, offering an alternative to Russian gas. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Russia’s effort to conscript 300,000 reservists to counter Ukraine’s military advances in Kharkiv has drawn a lot of attention from military and political analysts. But there’s also a potential energy angle. Energy conflicts between Russia and Europe are escalating and likely could worsen as winter approaches.

One might assume that energy workers, who provide fuel and export revenue that Russia desperately needs, are too valuable to the war effort to be conscripted. So far, banking and information technology workers have received an official nod to stay in their jobs.

The situation for oil and gas workers is murkier, including swirling bits of Russian media disinformation about whether the sector will or won’t be targeted for mobilization. Either way, I expect Russia’s oil and gas operations to be destabilized by the next phase of the war.

The explosions in September 2022 that damaged the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines from Russia to Europe, and that may have been sabotage, are just the latest developments in this complex and unstable arena. As an analyst of global energy policy, I expect that more energy cutoffs could be in the cards – either directly ordered by the Kremlin to escalate economic pressure on European governments or as a result of new sabotage, or even because shortages of specialized equipment and trained Russian manpower lead to accidents or stoppages.

Dwindling natural gas flows

Russia has significantly reduced natural gas shipments to Europe in an effort to pressure European nations who are siding with Ukraine. In May 2022, the state-owned energy company Gazprom closed a key pipeline that runs through Belarus and Poland.

In June, the company reduced shipments to Germany via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which has a capacity of 170 million cubic meters per day, to only 40 million cubic meters per day. A few months later, Gazprom announced that Nord Stream 1 needed repairs and shut it down completely. Now U.S. and European leaders charge that Russia deliberately damaged the pipeline to further disrupt European energy supplies. The timing of the pipeline explosion coincided with the start up of a major new natural gas pipeline from Norway to Poland.

Russia has very limited alternative export infrastructure that can move Siberian natural gas to other customers, like China, so most of the gas it would normally be selling to Europe cannot be shifted to other markets. Natural gas wells in Siberia may need to be taken out of production, or shut in, in energy-speak, which could free up workers for conscription.

European dependence on Russian oil and gas evolved over decades. Now, reducing it is posing hard choices for EU countries.

Restricting Russian oil profits

Russia’s call-up of reservists also includes workers from companies specifically focused on oil. This has led some seasoned analysts to question whether supply disruptions might spread to oil, either by accident or on purpose.

One potential trigger is the Dec. 5, 2022, deadline for the start of phase six of European Union energy sanctions against Russia. Confusion about the package of restrictions and how they will relate to a cap on what buyers will pay for Russian crude oil has muted market volatility so far. But when the measures go into effect, they could initiate a new spike in oil prices.

Under this sanctions package, Europe will completely stop buying seaborne Russian crude oil. This step isn’t as damaging as it sounds, since many buyers in Europe have already shifted to alternative oil sources.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, it exported roughly 1.4 million barrels per day of crude oil to Europe by sea, divided between Black Sea and Baltic routes. In recent months, European purchases have fallen below 1 million barrels per day. But Russia has actually been able to increase total flows from Black Sea and Baltic ports by redirecting crude oil exports to China, India and Turkey.

Russia has limited access to tankers, insurance and other services associated with moving oil by ship. Until recently, it acquired such services mainly from Europe. The change means that customers like China, India and Turkey have to transfer some of their purchases of Russian oil at sea from Russian-owned or chartered ships to ships sailing under other nations’ flags, whose services might not be covered by the European bans. This process is common and not always illegal, but often is used to evade sanctions by obscuring where shipments from Russia are ending up.

To compensate for this costly process, Russia is discounting its exports by US$40 per barrel. Observers generally assume that whatever Russian crude oil European buyers relinquish this winter will gradually find alternative outlets.

Where is Russian oil going?

The U.S. and its European allies aim to discourage this increased outflow of Russian crude by further limiting Moscow’s access to maritime services, such as tanker chartering, insurance and pilots licensed and trained to handle oil tankers, for any crude oil exports to third parties outside of the G-7 who pay rates above the U.S.-EU price cap. In my view, it will be relatively easy to game this policy and obscure how much Russia’s customers are paying.

On Sept. 9, 2022, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued new guidance for the Dec. 5 sanctions regime. The policy aims to limit the revenue Russia can earn from its oil while keeping it flowing. It requires that unless buyers of Russian oil can certify that oil cargoes were bought for reduced prices, they will be barred from obtaining European maritime services.

However, this new strategy seems to be failing even before it begins. Denmark is still making Danish pilots available to move tankers through its precarious straits, which are a vital conduit for shipments of Russian crude and refined products. Russia has also found oil tankers that aren’t subject to European oversight to move over a third of the volume that it needs transported, and it will likely obtain more.

Traders have been getting around these sorts of oil sanctions for decades. Tricks of the trade include blending banned oil into other kinds of oil, turning off ship transponders to avoid detection of ship-to-ship transfers, falsifying documentation and delivering oil into and then later out of major storage hubs in remote parts of the globe. This explains why markets have been sanguine about the looming European sanctions deadline.

One fuel at a time

But Russian President Vladimir Putin may have other ideas. Putin has already threatened a larger oil cutoff if the G-7 tries to impose its price cap, warning that Europe will be “as frozen as a wolf’s tail,” referencing a Russian fairy tale.

U.S. officials are counting on the idea that Russia won’t want to damage its oil fields by turning off the taps, which in some cases might create long-term field pressurization problems. In my view, this is poor logic for multiple reasons, including Putin’s proclivity to sacrifice Russia’s economic future for geopolitical goals.

A woman walks past a billboard reading: Stop buying fossil fuels. End the war.
Stand With Ukraine campaign coordinator Svitlana Romanko demonstrates in front of the European Parliament on Sept. 27, 2022. Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Russia managed to easily throttle back oil production when the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed world oil demand temporarily in 2020, and cutoffs of Russian natural gas exports to Europe have already greatly compromised Gazprom’s commercial future. Such actions show that commercial considerations are not a high priority in the Kremlin’s calculus.

How much oil would come off the market if Putin escalates his energy war? It’s an open question. Global oil demand has fallen sharply in recent months amid high prices and recessionary pressures. The potential loss of 1 million barrels per day of Russian crude oil shipments to Europe is unlikely to jack the price of oil back up the way it did initially in February 2022, when demand was still robust.

Speculators are betting that Putin will want to keep oil flowing to everyone else. China’s Russian crude imports surged as high as 2 million barrels per day following the Ukraine invasion, and India and Turkey are buying significant quantities.

Refined products like diesel fuel are due for further EU sanctions in February 2023. Russia supplies close to 40% of Europe’s diesel fuel at present, so that remains a significant economic lever.

The EU appears to know it must kick dependence on Russian energy completely, but its protected, one-product-at-a-time approach keeps Putin potentially in the driver’s seat. In the U.S., local diesel fuel prices are highly influenced by competition for seaborne cargoes from European buyers. So U.S. East Coast importers could also be in for a bumpy winter.

This article has been updated to reflect conflicting reports about the draft status of Russian oil and gas workers.

Amy Myers Jaffe does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Three reasons a weak pound is bad news for the environment

Financial turmoil will make it harder to invest in climate action on a massive scale.




Dragon Claws / shutterstock

The day before new UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget plan for economic growth, a pound would buy you about $1.13. After financial markets rejected the plan, the pound suddenly sunk to around $1.07. Though it has since rallied thanks to major intervention from the Bank of England, the currency remains volatile and far below its value earlier this year.

A lot has been written about how this will affect people’s incomes, the housing market or overall political and economic conditions. But we want to look at why the weak pound is bad news for the UK’s natural environment and its ability to hit climate targets.

1. The low-carbon economy just became a lot more expensive

The fall in sterling’s value partly signals a loss in confidence in the value of UK assets following the unfunded tax commitments contained in the mini-budget. The government’s aim to achieve net zero by 2050 requires substantial public and private investment in energy technologies such as solar and wind as well as carbon storage, insulation and electric cars.

But the loss in investor confidence threatens to derail these investments, because firms may be unwilling to commit the substantial budgets required in an uncertain economic environment. The cost of these investments may also rise as a result of the falling pound because many of the materials and inputs needed for these technologies, such as batteries, are imported and a falling pound increases their prices.

Aerial view of wind farm with forest and fields in background
UK wind power relies on lots of imported parts. Richard Whitcombe / shutterstock

2. High interest rates may rule out large investment

To support the pound and to control inflation, interest rates are expected to rise further. The UK is already experiencing record levels of inflation, fuelled by pandemic-related spending and Russia’s war on Ukraine. Rising consumer prices developed into a full-blown cost of living crisis, with fuel and food poverty, financial hardship and the collapse of businesses looming large on this winter’s horizon.

While the anticipated increase in interest rates might ease the cost of living crisis, it also increases the cost of government borrowing at a time when we rapidly need to increase low-carbon investment for net zero by 2050. The government’s official climate change advisory committee estimates that an additional £4 billion to £6 billion of annual public spending will be needed by 2030.

Some of this money should be raised through carbon taxes. But in reality, at least for as long as the cost of living crisis is ongoing, if the government is serious about green investment it will have to borrow.

Rising interest rates will push up the cost of borrowing relentlessly and present a tough political choice that seemingly pits the environment against economic recovery. As any future incoming government will inherit these same rates, a falling pound threatens to make it much harder to take large-scale, rapid environmental action.

3. Imports will become pricier

In addition to increased supply prices for firms and rising borrowing costs, it will lead to a significant rise in import prices for consumers. Given the UK’s reliance on imports, this is likely to affect prices for food, clothing and manufactured goods.

At the consumer level, this will immediately impact marginal spending as necessary expenditures (housing, energy, basic food and so on) lower the budget available for products such as eco-friendly cleaning products, organic foods or ethically made clothes. Buying “greener” products typically cost a family of four around £2,000 a year.

Instead, people may have to rely on cheaper goods that also come with larger greenhouse gas footprints and wider impacts on the environment through pollution and increased waste. See this calculator for direct comparisons.

Of course, some spending changes will be positive for the environment, for example if people use their cars less or take fewer holidays abroad. However, high-income individuals who will benefit the most from the mini-budget tax cuts will be less affected by the falling pound and they tend to fly more, buy more things, and have multiple cars and bigger homes to heat.

This raises profound questions about inequality and injustice in UK society. Alongside increased fuel poverty and foodbank use, we will see an uptick in the purchasing power of the wealthiest.

What’s next

Interest rate rises increase the cost of servicing government debt as well as the cost of new borrowing. One estimate says that the combined cost to government of the new tax cuts and higher cost of borrowing is around £250 billion. This substantial loss in government income reduces the budget available for climate change mitigation and improvements to infrastructure.

The government’s growth plan also seems to be based on an increased use of fossil fuels through technologies such as fracking. Given the scant evidence for absolutely decoupling economic growth from resource use, the opposition’s “green growth” proposal is also unlikely to decarbonise at the rate required to get to net zero by 2050 and avert catastrophic climate change.

Therefore, rather than increasing the energy and materials going into the economy for the sake of GDP growth, we would argue the UK needs an economic reorientation that questions the need of growth for its own sake and orients it instead towards social equality and ecological sustainability.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Covid-19 roundup: Swiss biotech halts in-patient PhII study; Houston-based vaccine and Chinese mRNA shot nab EUAs in Indonesia

Another Covid-19 study is hitting the breaks as a Swiss biotech is pausing its Phase II trial in patients hospitalized with Covid-19.
Kinarus Therapeutics…



Another Covid-19 study is hitting the breaks as a Swiss biotech is pausing its Phase II trial in patients hospitalized with Covid-19.

Kinarus Therapeutics announced on Friday that the Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has reviewed the company’s Phase II study for its candidate KIN001 and has recommended that the study be stopped.

According to Kinarus, the DSMB stated that there was a low probability to show statistically significant results as the number of Covid-19 patients that are in the hospital is lower than at other points in the pandemic.

Thierry Fumeaux

“As many of our peers have learned since the beginning of the pandemic, it has become challenging to show the impact of therapeutic intervention at the current pandemic stage, given the disease characteristics in Covid-19 patients with severe disease. Moreover, there are also now relatively smaller numbers of patients that meet enrollment criteria, since fewer patients require hospitalization, in contrast to the situation earlier in the pandemic,” said Thierry Fumeaux, Kinarus CMO, in a statement.

Fumeaux continued to state that the drug will still be investigated in ambulatory Covid-19 patients who are not hospitalized, with the goal of reducing recovery time and the severity of the virus.

The KIN001 candidate is a combination of the small molecule inhibitor pamapimod and pioglitazone, which is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes.

The news has put a dampener on the company’s stock price $KNRS.SW, which is down 22% since opening on Friday.

Houston-developed vaccine and Chinese mRNA shot win EUAs in Indonesia

While Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA shots to counter Covid-19 have dominated supplies worldwide, a Chinese-based mRNA developer and IndoVac, a recombinant protein-based vaccine, was created and engineered in Houston, Texas by the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development  vaccine is finally ready to head to another nation.

Walvax and Suzhou Abogen’s mRNA vaccine, dubbed AWcorna, has been approved for emergency use for adults 18 and over by the Indonesian Food and Drug Authority.

Li Yunchun

“This is the first step, and we are hoping to see more families across the country and the rest of the globe protected, which is a shared goal for us all,” said Walvax Chairman Li Yunchun, in a statement.

According to Walvax, the vaccine is 83% effective against the “wild-type” of SARS-CoV-2 infection with the strength against the Omicron variants standing at around 71%. The shots are also not required to be stored in deep freeze conditions and can be put in storage at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Walvax and Abogen have been making progress on their mRNA vaccine for a while. Last year, Abogen received a massive amount of funding as it was moving the candidate forward.

However, while the candidate is moving forward overseas, it’s still finding itself stuck in regulatory approval in China. According to a report from BNN Bloomberg, China has not approved any mRNA vaccines for domestic usage.

Meanwhile, PT Bio Farma, the holding company for state-owned pharma companies in Indonesia, is prepping to make 20 million doses of the IndoVac COVID-19 vaccine this year and 100 million doses by 2024.

IndoVac’s primary series vaccines include nearly 80% of locally sourced content. Indonesia is seeking Halal Certification for the vaccine since no animal cells or products were used in the production of the vaccine. IndoVac successfully completed an audit from the Indonesian Ulema Council Food and Drug Analysis Agency, and the Halal Certification Agency of the Religious Affairs Ministry is expected to grant their approval soon.

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