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Futures Rebound On Report Biden To Roll Back Chinese Tariffs Soon

Futures Rebound On Report Biden To Roll Back Chinese Tariffs Soon

After Friday’s torrid surge, which some speculated was due to pension funds…



Futures Rebound On Report Biden To Roll Back Chinese Tariffs Soon

After Friday's torrid surge, which some speculated was due to pension funds tactically delaying their month-end buying until the start of the next month coupled with another major squeeze as recession fears overflowed and the market priced in a whopping 15bps of rate cuts in Q1 2023 due to the start of the Biden recession (because bad news is again good news), futures initially dipped before recovering most of their losses after the WSJ reported that Biden is "expected to roll back some tariffs on Chinese imports soon, a decision constrained by competing policy aims: addressing inflation and maintaining economic pressure on Beijing." Maybe, but all the decision which also weakened the dollar, will show is that as expected all along, the president - or rather his son - was in China's pocket from the very beginning.

In any case, after dropping below 3,800, S&P futures bounced and were trading near session highs, if still down 0.2% from Friday's high, when US stocks capped their 11th decline in 13 weeks (Let's go, Brandon). Today's illiquid session, which sees US cash markets closed due to the July 4 holiday, has also seen Nasdaq futures down 0.4% while Dow futs were down -0.1%.

After a catastrophic first half and the first bear market since Covid, stocks remain in the grip of the worst selloff in at least three decades as increasing chances of a global recession are spooking investors. At the same time, sticky inflation has left little room for the Federal Reserve to apply brakes on monetary tightening. This toxic combination presents markets a trading challenge not seen since the late 1970s, and only a massive recession, one which eliminates the risk of inflation and ushers in aggressive Fed easing can help save the day.

The MSCI All-Country World Index plunged 21% in the first half, the worst YTD losses since at least 1988. Similarly, the 14% loss in the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index of investment-grade debt was its worst performance since 1990, the earliest date for which records are available.

"The market has begun to worry more about economic growth than just liquidity withdrawal and inflation,” Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management, wrote in a note. “Unlike previous downturns, inflation is much higher and unemployment is much lower. These dynamics delay any potential dovish central-bank pivot despite the rapid shift in front-end rate expectations over the past week."

Across the Atlantic, European stocks rose 0.9% for the first time in four days as dip-buyers emerged, and returned to best levels after a choppy start. Euro Stoxx 50 rose as much as 0.75%, with CAC outperforming. Energy, healthcare and telecoms are the strongest Stoxx 600 sectors. Banks that are most sensitive to economic conditions, including Spanish and Italians lenders as well as Germany’s Commerzbank, underperformed on Monday as investors remain concerned about an economic slowdown and high inflation. Among the worst performers are Sabadell -3.1%, Intesa -2.9%, Banco BPM. Italian bonds tumbled with investors watching domestic political tensions. Here are the biggest European movers:

  • AO World shares slump as much as 18%, to the lowest since March 2020, after the Sunday Times reported that credit insurer Atradius has reduced cover for suppliers to AO World.
  • Shop Apotheke falls 13%, the sharpest intraday decline since May 10, after Oddo downgrades the stock to neutral from outperform.
  • Grafton shares drop as much as 8.8%, the most in more than two years, after the building and home products supplier announces that CEO Gavin Slark is stepping down.
  • Ashmore shares drop as much as 4.7% after Numis cut its recommendation on the emerging-market fund manager to hold from add, saying the investment outlook is poor and performance is weak.
  • Maisons du Monde shares drop as much as 7.5% to the lowest level since May 2020 after being downgraded to reduce from hold at Kepler Cheuvreux, in a note called “Between a rock and a hard place.”
  • SBB falls as much as 8.2% Monday, giving up some of Friday’s 10% gain, having announced the sale of 25% of its shares in Solon Eiendom Holding AS to OBOS.
  • Polish banks fall after Poland’s ruling party leader threatened lenders with additional tax on their profits if they don’t increase interest on household deposits.
  • Alior Bank falls 4.9%, Bank Handlowy -4.5%, Millennium -4.1%
  • Waberer’s gains as much as 27%, the biggest intraday jump on record, after owners that together control a majority of the Hungarian hauler filed a buyout offer at HUF2,336 per share.

Earlier in the session, Asian equities edged higher amid optimism the region’s earnings will prove resilient as the reporting season gets underway. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.8%, buoyed by consumer discretionary shares as most sectors advanced. Benchmarks in Australia and Japan were among the best performers in the region. Bucking the trend, Indonesia’s stock gauge slumped more than 2% as a decline in commodity prices caused traders to book profits on Asia’s top-performing market this year.  While recession concerns have been weighing on global stock markets, falling commodity prices may ease inflationary pressure in Asia. China’s progress toward economic reopening may also help Asian stocks recover from their worst first half in three decades. “We are less threatened by inflation in the region, so a lot of corporations in Asia are going to see a better time in terms of earnings” as valuations have fallen, Vicki Chi, a fund manager at Robeco, told Bloomberg Television. China’s shares closed modestly higher as the nation races to quash a new virus flareup that risks spilling over into one of its most economically significant regions.

In China, officials were trying to repel a Covid flareup that could buffet an economically significant region. That’s another test of Beijing’s strategy of trying to eliminate the pathogen with mass testing and disruptive lockdowns. Separately, developer Shimao Group Holdings Ltd. said it didn’t pay a $1 billion dollar note that matured Sunday, among the biggest dollar payment failures so far this year in China.

In FX, the dollar dipped after the WSJ report that Biden may announce a decision to cut Chinese tariffs this week; at the same time the USD/CNH dropped 0.2% near 6.68, and EMFX caught a small bid with ZAR outperforming.

 Bitcoin hovered above the $19,000 level.

Fixed income traded heavy with curves bear flattening. Short end of the German curve underperforms, cheapening ~11bps in 2s and 5s. Gilts outperform bunds by ~2bps.  Italian bonds slid before a meeting between Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Five Star leader Giuseppe Conte to settle weeks of political tensions. The nation’s 10-year yield jumped 12 basis points to 3.21%, widening its spread over German bunds to 1.90 percentage points. Cash Treasuries are closed for Independence Day, T-note futures are range-bound.

In commodities, crude futures extended their rebound from the recent hammering, rising over $15 to trade $109.44 while Brent rose to $113.3. Most base metals trade in the green; LME nickel rises 3.7%, outperforming peers. LME lead lags, dropping 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $6 to trade near $1,806/oz.

* * *

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Happy Independence Day to all of our US readers. It's nice that we can be friends again after 246 years. Although I hope relations haven't been strained by me publishing the chart over recent weeks that US 10yr treasuries (and earlier proxies) have seen their worst H1 for 244 years and just after the divorce.

Having said that the week ended with a monster rally in bonds, and although it'll likely be on the quieter side in markets today, we won't be able to escape the near-term recession risks for very long. The Atlanta Fed Q2 tracker is now at -2.08% after slumping into negative territory at the end of last week, and if this is close to the mark that would mean two negative quarters and a technical recession. The official definition is owned by the NBER and they will likely need more evidence before they would declare it as they look at a broader range of indicators than just headline growth. However we'll likely know we're in it before it's declared so it'll be crucial to work out if this is the start to a descent into bigger problems or if that's still some months away. Note it continues to be "when not if".

A big swing factor here could be employment and this week is jam packed with US labour data. Payrolls (Friday) will be the headliner but JOLTS (Wednesday), ADP and claims (Thursday) will also be very important. Labour markets remain strong around the world and although this is a generally a lagging indicator, we think some kind of turn should occur before we can declare what is absolutely the inevitable dive into recession.

Our economists expect payrolls to slow (+225k forecast vs. +390k previously) but with unemployment falling a tenth to 3.5%. In many ways JOLTS (Wednesday) is our favoured employment measure but it has the disadvantage of being a month behind so we'll only get May's data this week. In the report, job openings have remained roughly 4.5mn above where they were prior to the pandemic so unless this dips there will still be a lot of demand for labour and the tightness will continue, thus leaving the Fed with a huge dilemma as growth slows. June's US services ISM on Wednesday will be watched for the headline growth implications and also the employment component which has been 'only' hovering around 50 in recent months.

Ironically the increased growth pessimism towards the end of last week stabilised equities as a big rally in bonds and a more dovish repricing of the Fed kicked in. 10yr Treasuries rallied -25.0bps last week (-13.3bps Friday), their largest weekly decline since March 2020, and although the S&P 500 finished -2.21% lower, it did rally +1.06% on Friday on lower yields as Fed expectations kicked in.

Back to the week ahead and we'll see how central banks were thinking about this weak growth vs labour tightness dilemma in the minutes from the Fed's (Wednesday) and ECB's (Thursday) June meetings but this will be slightly dated in light of how rapidly the macro is evolving.

Elsewhere, trade and industrial data will be due from key economies globally. May trade data will be out for the US (Thursday), Germany (today), Japan and France (Friday). For the US, May factory orders will be released tomorrow, followed by June's ISM services index on Wednesday. In Europe, the Eurozone's PPI for May is due today, followed by May industrial production for Germany (Thursday) and France, June PMIs for Italy (Tuesday), and Germany's May factory orders (Wednesday).

In Asia, the highlight will perhaps be the Caixin services and composite PMIs for China and the RBA meeting taking place tomorrow. Our economists expect the central bank to hike by +50bp. The full week ahead is in the day by day calendar at the end as usual.

This morning in Asia, markets are quiet with the Nikkei (+0.58%) leading the pack and with the Shanghai Composite (+0.14%) and CSI (+0.16%) swinging between gains and losses in early trade. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng (-0.63%) is lagging as the market resumes trading after a holiday on Friday. Meanwhile, the Kospi (-0.58%) is struggling a bit after paring its early morning gains. Over the weekend there has been some chattter of Covid-19 cases in China continuing to climb as new Coronavirus clusters emerged in eastern cities. So one to watch over the next few days.

Recapping last week now, and it marked the end of an ignominious first half for markets, which is an understatement if anything. See our H1, Q2 and June performance review here but in short, the S&P 500 had its worst start to the year in six decades, falling in return terms for consecutive quarters for the first time since the GFC, while 10yr Treasuries returned their worst first half since 1788.

Zooming in on the week in isolation, a nasty cocktail of underwhelming production, spending, and confidence figures, mixed with still stubbornly high inflation led to a risk sell-off but with a rare recent flight to quality into bonds.

Starting in Europe, ECB President Lagarde noted she did not believe we would return to the low environment world that defined the years running up to the pandemic, which, along with other ECB speakers throughout the week, continued to lay the groundwork for the hiking cycle to begin in July. Indeed, Eurozone CPI increased to 8.6% YoY, edging expectations of 8.5% even if German inflation temporarily eased. The STOXX 600 tumbled -1.40% (-0.02% Friday), which saw banks fall even more (-5.00%, -0.40% Friday).

10yr bund yields fell -21.0bps (-10.4bps Friday) while the 2yr rallied -29.7bps (-13.3bps Friday), bringing their decline to -57.8bps over the last two weeks, the largest two week decline since August 2011, on the prospect of a global growth slowdown that would stymie the ECB’s hiking cycle. In a sign of how volatile things have been, the weekly decline in 2yr yields was topped just back in March this year. On the periphery, 10yr BTPs kept pace, falling -37.2bps (-17.3bps Friday). Indeed, President Lagarde emphasised the ECB could use flexibility in reinvesting PEPP redemptions to support implementation starting this month.

In the US, consumer confidence sagged while inflation expectations climbed. Meanwhile, every regional Fed manufacturing index is now in contractionary territory, though PMIs and ISM Manufacturing figures remain in expansion, printing at 52.7 and 53.0, respectively on Friday. Piling on to the poor near-term outlook, however, ISM New Orders fell into contraction zone at 49.2 versus 52.0 expectations. Meanwhile, core PCE managed to still print at 6.3% YoY. That mix is driving grave comments from Fed officials. Chair Powell re-emphasised that this hiking cycle would cause some pain, while SF Fed President Daly noted a Fed-induced recession was now in her outlook - a rare comment from a Fed official.

It seems it’s also the market’s outlook. 10yr Treasuries rallied -25.0bps (-13.3bps Friday), their largest weekly decline since March 2020 when the pandemic first gripped global markets. That corresponded with a modest flattening in the 2s10s yield curve, but the shock lower was more or less parallel, as markets reduced the amount of tightening they believed the Fed would impart this cycle, with 2yr yields down -23.0bps (-12.0bps Friday), also the largest decline since March 2020.

With that mix, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the S&P 500 gave up ground over the week, closing -2.21% lower (+1.06% Friday). Utilities outperformed given the terrible risk sentiment, gaining +4.11% (+2.48% Friday), while mega-cap FANG+ (-5.42%, +0.92% Friday) and tech-heavy NASDAQ (-4.13%, +0.90% Friday) had a rougher time.

Brent futures fell -1.48% (-2.93% Friday) in light of the slowing global growth narrative, registering their first monthly decline (-6.54%) since November when Omicron drove slowing global demand fears. In Europe, natural gas prices climbed +15.0% (+2.26 Friday), as supply constraints look set to grip markets, between a failing compressor in Norway and fears that Russia's planned maintenance period (July 11-21) for the Nordstream pipeline will be opportunistically used to restrict supply thereafter.

Tyler Durden Mon, 07/04/2022 - 09:04

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This Hack Makes Flying Spirit Better Than JetBlue Or Southwest

It’s possible to make the no-frills, low-cost carrier as nice as flying much more expensive airlines (for less money).



It may seem impossible that the low-cost, no-frills air carrier could be an improvement over Southwest Airlines or its would-be merger partner JetBlue, but it’s possible.

Before the covid pandemic, I flew Southwest Airlines fairly religiously in order to maintain my A-List status. You need 25 one-way flights each year (or 35,000 miles) to keep that status and I flew just enough to keep eking out my renewal each year.

A-List has some meaningful perks for Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Free Report passengers. You get same-day standby for free, which was very convenient when I was flying for work and a meeting got canceled allowing me to leave earlier. In addition, A-List members can change their flights with no fees or penalties, and most importantly, they get priority boarding status.

Southwest boards based on its A, B, and C boarding groups with 60 slots in each group. A-List members got checked in early and were guaranteed that if they don’t get an “A” spot, they could check in between the A and B groups. They can also do that if they fly standby and missed the check-in window altogether.

Every year, I tried really hard to keep those perks, but in 2022, it simply was not possible. I didn’t travel anywhere close to the amount I did before covid and had to let my A-List status expire as the year ended.

I was not super happy about it, but as my travel ramped up, I was being forced to fly like a regular person with no status. That changed, however, when Spirit Airlines ran a quick promotion where people with top-tier status at a number of major airlines and hotels could buy Spirit’s top-tier Gold loyalty status for $100.

It’s the best $100 I have ever spent because it elevates the experience on the no-frills airline.

Spirit is a low-cost carrier.

Image source: Shutterstock

Why Spirit Airlines Gold Status Is So Valuable

A low-cost carrier, Spirit charges for everything. Your basic fare gives you the right to get on the plane with a personal item (think a purse or a small backpack). Fares are very low because you pay for everything from checked bags to a full-size carry-on to getting an actual seat assignment. Spirit passengers even pay for water and soda, and they can opt to pay for snacks and perks like being able to get through airport security faster.

As a Gold member, I pay the basic fare price and then get bags and a premium seat assignment for free. On the three Spirit flights I have booked, I was able to get an exit row seat, with much more legroom for no extra charge. I also got access to a priority security line at the airport and got to board in the first group.

In addition, I also got one flight change (for each leg of my trip) free (which I did not need to use on this trip).

What It’s Like Flying As a Spirit Gold Member

Spirit tends to fly out of the least convenient terminal at every airport (at least that has been my experience). That was true of my Fort Lauderdale flight where the airline flies from Terminal 4, which has a small parking lot that never seems to have any spaces. That forces you to park in a garage that’s farther away, but it’s well marked and walkable or there’s a tram if you are willing to wait.

My flight was a 9:30 p.m. non-stop to Las Vegas on a Saturday night. There were very few people in the security line and while I had access to a priority Spirit line, I’m also a Clear member and opted to go with that experience instead.

Once I cleared security, I made my way to my gate passing a few shops and some restaurants. I stopped to buy some snacks, as my first boss drilled the idea of never getting onto a plane without an emergency snack into my head before my first business trip 30 years ago (I was 19).

The gate had plenty of seats and we were scheduled to board at 8:45. When boarding was called, at roughly 8:47, the woman at the desk called for people needing extra assistance, families flying with kids under two, and active military members. There were none of those, so she then called for Group 1 and since I was standing near the gate, I was literally the first person on the plane.

In my multiple years of being Southwest A-List, I had never had fewer than 20 people board before me. I found my seat and while the actual seat was hard and not all that comfortable (Spirit skimps on the padding to save on fuel) the exit row legroom was impressive. In fact, the distance between my seat and the seat in front of me was so great that I actually had to lean forward to type on my laptop given the very narrow fold-down tray.

My flight was not without problems. It did not have WiFi, which the airline did not announce until we were in the air (so I could not text my wife to let her know I would be out of touch for five hours). Aside from that, however, my Gold status also got me a free soda, water, coffee, or juice, as well as a choice of snacks.

So, for my very lucky $100 purchase of Gold status, I had a roomier seat than I have ever had on Southwest. I was also paying a price that was less than half what I would have paid on Southwest or JetBlue, neither of which offered a comparable direct flight.

Spirit may be no-frills for infrequent flyers, but for its elite passengers, the airline offers value and meaningful perks. It also offers 10X points for Gold members, so even with the cheap fares I’m paying, the first two Spirit flights I have booked will earn enough points to allow me to keep my status for another year.

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Who Can You Trust?

Who Can You Trust?

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

“I’m sick and tired of hearing Democrats whining about Joe Biden’s…



Who Can You Trust?

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,

“I’m sick and tired of hearing Democrats whining about Joe Biden’s age. The man knows how to govern. Just shut up and vote to save Democracy.”

- Rob Reiner, Hollywood savant

Perhaps you’re aware that the World Health Organization (WHO) is cooking up a plan to impose its will over all the sovereign nations on this planet in the event of future pandemics.

That means, for instance, that the WHO would issue orders to the USA about lockdowns, vaccines, and vaccine passports and we US citizens supposedly would be compelled to follow them.

Why the “Joe Biden” regime would go along with this globalist fuckery is one of the abiding mysteries of our time - except that they go along with everything else that the cabal of Geneva cooks up, such as attacks on farmers, and on oil production, and on relations between men and women, and on personal privacy, and on economic liberty throughout Western Civ, as if they’re working overtime to kill it off. And all of us with it.

I think they are working overtime at that because the sore-beset citizens of Western Civ are onto their game, and getting restless about it. So, the Geneva cabal is in a race against time before the center pole of their circus tent collapses and the nations of the world are compelled to follow the zeitgeist in the direction of de-centralizing, foiling all their grand plans.

The “Joe Biden” regime is pretending to ignore the reality that this WHO deal is actually a treaty that would require ratification by a two-thirds vote in the senate, an unlikely outcome. In any case, handing over authority to the WHO — in effect, to its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — to push around American citizens like a giant herd of cattle would be patently unlawful.

That center pole of the circus tent is the wobbling global economy. It’s barely holding up the canvas over the three rings of the circus. In the center ring, the death-defying spectacle of the Biden Family crime case is playing out before a huge audience (us). This week, a gun went off at the FBI and smoke is curling out of the barrel. FBI Director Christopher Wray was forced to verify that he’s been sitting on an incriminating document for three years from a “trusted” confidential human source, i.e., an informant, stating that the Biden Family received a $5-million bribe from a foreign entity when “JB” was vice-president.

That’s only one bribe of many others, of course, as documented in the Hunter Biden laptop, and it must be obvious it represents treasonous behavior that will demand resignation or impeachment. As this spools out in the weeks and months ahead, do you think Americans will be in the mood to accept further insults such as “Joe Biden” surrendering our national sovereignty to the WHO?

Anyway, you must ask yourself: why on earth should I trust the WHO about anything? Did they not participate in laying a trip on the world with Covid-19? How did those lockdowns work out? Do you think they destroyed enough businesses and ruined enough households? How’s the vaccination program doing? Effective? Safe? Yeah, maybe not so much. Maybe killing a lot of people, wrecking immune systems, sterilizing reproductive organs, causing gross disabilities, shattering lives.

Of course, in over three years neither the WHO nor the US medical authorities showed the slightest interest in helping to figure out how the Covid-19 virus was made in a lab, and exactly how it got loose in the world. Lately, Dr. Ghebreyesus has warned the world about much worse future pandemics supposedly coming down at us. Oh? Really? What does he know that we don’t? That possibly new efforts to concoct chimeric diseases are ongoing in labs around the world? (You know that dozens of such labs were discovered in Ukraine as the war got underway there in 2022.) What’s Dr. Ghebreyesus doing to stop that?

If US orgs and citizens are involved in this “research,” why doesn’t the WHO alert our government leaders so they can stop it? (Would they? I’m not so sure.) And, who is behind it this time? The Eco-Health Alliance again, like with Covid-19? By the way, that outfit got another whopping grant last fall from the NIH to “study” bat viruses — right after the NIH terminated a previous grant on account of The Eco-Health Alliance failing to turn over notebooks and other records.

No, you cannot trust the WHO about anything. The “trust horizon” (a concept introduced by the great Nicole Foss, late of The Automatic Earth dot com) is shrinking. You can no longer trust any distant authorities. You also cannot trust the US federal government (especially the executive branch behind “Joe Biden”). And notice: the trust horizon is shrinking just as the world is de-centralizing. This, you see, is the main contradiction behind all the Globalists’ twisted ambitions to control everything, including you. They are working against the current tide of human history which is pushing everything toward down-scaling, re-localization, and re-assertion of the sovereign individual person.

That trend will become increasingly evident as things organized at the giant scale start to implode — giant retail chains, medical behemoths, hedge funds, big banks, you name it. The world no longer has the mojo for globalism. There’s reason to wonder these days whether the USA has the mojo to remain a unified national polity of states. Our federal government is not only financially bankrupt beyond any coherent reckoning, it is also morally bankrupt, and it has decided to make war against its own people. None of this is satisfactory and none of this is working. It’s time to figure out who and what you can trust and act accordingly.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/04/2023 - 09:20

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Removing antimicrobial resistance from the WHO’s ‘pandemic treaty’ will leave humanity extremely vulnerable to future pandemics

Drug-resistant microbes are a serious threat for future pandemics, but the new draft of the WHO’s international pandemic agreement may not include provisions…




Antimicrobial resistance is now a leading cause of death worldwide due to drug-resistant infections, including drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, pneumonia and Staph infections like the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus shown here. (NIAID, cropped from original), CC BY

In late May, the latest version of the draft Pandemic Instrument, also referred to as the “pandemic treaty,” was shared with Member States at the World Health Assembly. The text was made available online via Health Policy Watch and it quickly became apparent that all mentions of addressing antimicrobial resistance in the Pandemic Instrument were at risk of removal.

Work on the Pandemic Instrument began in December 2021 after the World Health Assembly agreed to a global process to draft and negotiate an international instrument — under the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) — to protect nations and communities from future pandemic emergencies.

Read more: Drug-resistant superbugs: A global threat intensified by the fight against coronavirus

Since the beginning of negotiations on the Pandemic Instrument, there have been calls from civil society and leading experts, including the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, to include the so-called “silent” pandemic of antimicrobial resistance in the instrument.

Just three years after the onset of a global pandemic, it is understandable why Member States negotiating the Pandemic Instrument have focused on preventing pandemics that resemble COVID-19. But not all pandemics in the past have been caused by viruses and not all pandemics in the future will be caused by viruses. Devastating past pandemics of bacterial diseases have included plague and cholera. The next pandemic could be caused by bacteria or other microbes.

Antimicrobial resistance

Yellow particles on purple spikes
Microscopic view of Yersinia pestis, the bacteria that cause bubonic plague, on a flea. Plague is an example of previous devastating pandemics of bacterial disease. (NIAID), CC BY

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the process by which infections caused by microbes become resistant to the medicines developed to treat them. Microbes include bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Bacterial infections alone cause one in eight deaths globally.

AMR is fueling the rise of drug-resistant infections, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, drug-resistant pneumonia and drug-resistant Staph infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These infections are killing and debilitating millions of people annually, and AMR is now a leading cause of death worldwide.

Without knowing what the next pandemic will be, the “pandemic treaty” must plan, prepare and develop effective tools to respond to a wider range of pandemic threats, not solely viruses.

Even if the world faces another viral pandemic, secondary bacterial infections will be a serious issue. During the COVID-19 pandemic for instance, large percentages of those hospitalized with COVID-19 required treatment for secondary bacterial infections.

New research from Northwestern University suggests that many of the deaths among hospitalized COVID-19 patients were associated with pneumonia — a secondary bacterial infection that must be treated with antibiotics.

An illustrative diagram that shows the difference between a drug resistant bacteria and a non-resistant bacteria.
Antimicrobial resistance means infections that were once treatable are much more difficult to treat. (NIAID), CC BY

Treating these bacterial infections requires effective antibiotics, and with AMR increasing, effective antibiotics are becoming a scarce resource. Essentially, safeguarding the remaining effective antibiotics we have is critical to responding to any pandemic.

That’s why the potential removal of measures that would help mitigate AMR and better safeguard antimicrobial effectiveness is so concerning. Sections of the text which may be removed include measures to prevent infections (caused by bacteria, viruses and other microbes), such as:

  • better access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene;
  • higher standards of infection prevention and control;
  • integrated surveillance of infectious disease threats from human, animals and the environment; and
  • strengthening antimicrobial stewardship efforts to optimize how antimicrobial drugs are used and prevent the development of AMR.

The exclusion of these measures would hinder efforts to protect people from future pandemics, and appears to be part of a broader shift to water-down the language in the Pandemic Instrument, making it easier for countries to opt-out of taking recommended actions to prevent future pandemics.

Making the ‘pandemic treaty’ more robust

Measures to address AMR could be easily included and addressed in the “pandemic treaty.”

In September 2022, I was part of a group of civil society and research organizations that specialize in mitigating AMR who were invited the WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to provide an analysis on how AMR should be addressed, within the then-draft text.

They outlined that including bacterial pathogens in the definition of “pandemics” was critical. They also identified specific provisions that should be tweaked to track and address both viral and bacterial threats. These included AMR and recommended harmonizing national AMR stewardship rules.

In March 2023, I joined other leading academic researchers and experts from various fields in publishing a special edition of the Journal of Medicine, Law and Ethics, outlining why the Pandemic Instrument must address AMR.

The researchers of this special issue argued that the Pandemic Instrument was overly focused on viral threats and ignored AMR and bacterial threats, including the need to manage antibiotics as a common-pool resource and revitalize research and development of novel antimicrobial drugs.

Next steps

While earlier drafts of the Pandemic Instrument drew on guidance from AMR policy researchers and civil society organizations, after the first round of closed-door negotiations by Member States, all of these insertions, are now at risk for removal.

The Pandemic Instrument is the best option to mitigate AMR and safeguard lifesaving antimicrobials to treat secondary infections in pandemics. AMR exceeds the capacity of any single country or sector to solve. Global political action is needed to ensure the international community works together to collectively mitigate AMR and support the conservation, development and equitable distribution of safe and effective antimicrobials.

By missing this opportunity to address AMR and safeguard antimicrobials in the Pandemic Instrument, we severely undermine the broader goals of the instrument: to protect nations and communities from future pandemic emergencies.

It is important going forward that Member States recognize the core infrastructural role that antimicrobials play in pandemic response and strengthen, rather than weaken, measures meant to safeguard antimicrobials.

Antimicrobials are an essential resource for responding to pandemic emergencies that must be protected. If governments are serious about pandemic preparedness, they must support bold measures to conserve the effectiveness of antimicrobials within the Pandemic Instrument.

Susan Rogers Van Katwyk is a member of the WHO Collaborating Centre on Global Governance of Antimicrobial Resistance at York University. She receives funding from the Wellcome Trust and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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