FirstFT: Today's top stories - Financial Times

The Biden administration has proposed a new model for taxing multinational corporations, calling for the world’s biggest businesses to pay levies to national governments based on their sales in each country as part of a deal on a global minimum tax.


In documents sent to the 135 countries negotiating international taxation at the OECD in Paris and obtained by the Financial Times on Wednesday, the US Treasury laid out a plan that would apply to the global profits of the largest companies, including big US technology groups, regardless of their physical presence in a given country.


The goal of the plan is to catalyse negotiations at the OECD, the international organisation of wealthy countries, with the promise of a more stable international tax system that would stop the proliferation of national digital taxes and break the mould of tax avoidance and profit-shifting by many multinationals. 

At home, Biden said he was open to compromise on his $2tn infrastructure plan after a backlash from businesses over a proposed $2.5tn increase in corporate taxes to fund it. (FT)


Coronavirus digest



  • The UK changed its guidance over the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, recommending that people aged 18-29 be offered alternative jabs. The move comes as the European Medicines Agency announced a link between rare blood clots in the brain and the AstraZeneca shot. (FT)




  • Spain has banned the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people under 60, and Italy appears set to follow suit.




  • The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, will resume exports of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in June but only if domestic coronavirus cases decline.




  • The G20 has extended its offer of temporary debt relief to low-income countries in the latest effort to ward off a pandemic-induced debt crisis in the developing world.




  • The IMF has proposed a “solidarity tax” on high earners and companies that prospered in the coronavirus crisis to help reduce the social inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. (FT)



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In the news


UK jobs rebound The UK labour market is starting to thaw, with recruiters reporting the strongest rebound in permanent hiring for six years in March as businesses prepared for the lifting of lockdown measures. A monthly survey pointed to the first upturn in permanent staff appointments since December. (FT)


A London store worker prepares a shop window for next week’s reopening as lockdown rules easeA London store worker prepares a shop window for next week’s reopening as lockdown rules ease © Andy Rain/EPA/Shutterstock

Fed officials say inflation risks are ‘broadly balanced’ Federal Reserve officials said the danger of unexpectedly high inflation was roughly equal to that of unexpectedly sluggish inflation, shrugging off fears of a rapidly overheating economy after Joe Biden’s $1.9tn fiscal stimulus. The rise in US government spending will boost the world’s largest economy over at least the next two years, said the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase. (FT)

Myanmar ambassador locked out of London embassy Kyaw Zwar Minn, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK, has been shut out of the country’s embassy in London. The ambassador has spoken out against a military coup in Myanmar and has called for the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (BBC, Reuters)


Myanmar's ambassador to the UK, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said a Yangon military-linked figure had “occupied" the embassy in London © AFP via Getty Images

India’s ShareChat valued at $2bn in wake of TikTok ban Indian social media group ShareChat has raised more than half a billion dollars to grow its popular short-video app Moj, just months after the Indian government banned ByteDance-owned rival TikTok from the country. (FT)


King of Jordan says attempt at sedition contained King Abdullah said on Wednesday that he had quashed an attempt at sedition. The feud within one of the Arab world’s most respected royal families has been years in the making. (FT)


US seeks to restore aid to Palestinians The Biden administration plans to restart aid to the Palestinians, rolling back a 2018 Trump suspension in a move set to trigger new tensions with Israel, a close US ally. The state department said on Wednesday that it was seeking to “restart US economic, development and humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people”. (FT)


The day ahead


Holocaust Remembrance Day At a Holocaust ceremony on the eve of the April 8 day of commemoration, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a nuclear deal with Iran that “threatens our destruction, will not obligate us”. (Haartez)


ECB meeting minutes released Minutes of the last European Central Bank Governing Council meeting are set to be released on Thursday. At the meeting on March 11 the central bank promised to accelerate its bond-buying programme. (FT)


What else we’re reading


The case for the next generation of batteries Solid-state batteries are safer and use fewer raw materials than lithium-ion batteries that drive the modern world. Are they the answer to technology’s power problem and a threat to Tesla’s dominance? (FT)


Biden should reverse course on China The US administration is making a strategic mistake in carrying on with Donald Trump’s hardline policies towards China, writes Kishore Mahbubani, distinguished fellow at the National University of Singapore. A fear of being seen as “soft” on China stands in the way of economic and diplomatic progress. (FT)


Burnout: the next health crisis? Both the coronavirus pandemic and arduous work hours are taking their toll. This series provides analysis of one of the biggest problems facing businesses and their employees and includes personal stories and tips on how to avoid it. (FT)


How Ken Griffin rebuilt Citadel’s ramparts In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Citadel was on the brink of collapse. Today, after navigating the market fallout from the pandemic, the Chicago-based hedge fund has cemented its reputation as one of the industry’s titans. (FT)


Ken Griffin © FT montage; ReutersKen Griffin © FT montage; Reuters

The world’s wealthiest Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person for the fourth year running, according to Forbes’ annual billionaires list. Four people on the list top $100bn or more in net worth. Explore the list here. (Forbes)


Covid has upended the out-of-office email. Hooray! Unusual out-of-office messages Pilita Clark has seen over the past 12 fraught months tell a story of a year of working life that no one expected to start, and which sometimes seems as if it will never end. The humble auto-reply has come into its own now that time off really has to mean time off. (FT)


Video of the day


How Covid has strained the world’s ports The FT’s Trade Secrets editor Claire Jones says few places of business have faced the pressures of the pandemic quite as much as the world's ports. (FT)





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