AstraZeneca in US, China’s oil refineries, #BookTok

Safe enough?

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

US trials confirmed the AstraZeneca vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The next step for regulators could be emergency authorization.

But the EU and UK are fighting over the vaccine’s supplies. British prime minister Boris Johnson is lobbying key European counterparts to avoid a threatened export ban.

The world has a new most profitable company. Apple now wears the crown, but Saudi Aramco still earned $49 billion for the year and looks committed to paying its dividend.

Beijing began a secret trial of Michael Kovrig. The former Canadian diplomat faces espionage charges in a case widely seen as revenge for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Japan charged two Americans over the Carlos Ghosn escape. Michael and Peter Taylor, who are father and son, are accused of helping the former Nissan boss flee the country in Dec. 2019.

The Tokyo Olympics won’t have overseas spectators. The decision was expected, and is now official.

What to watch for

GameStop is reporting fourth-quarter and fiscal 2020 results after the close of US markets on March 23. It will be the video-game retailer’s first earnings release since a short squeeze rattled the markets.

It’s not just Wall Street analysts and Redditors who will be watching the results closely, says John Detrixhe. The GameStop saga ushered in a wave of retail brokerage account signups—not just in the US, where GameStop is based and where retail stock trading is practically a national pastime, but all around the world.

Image for article titled AstraZeneca in US, China’s oil refineries, #BookTok

GameStop fever seems to be cooling, if more recent trends in trading-app downloads are any indication. But retail brokerages are stocked up with a fresh batch of traders who could keep buying and selling even as that story fades.

Charting China’s oil refinery surge

The US, home to more oil refineries than any other country, has lost its title to China as the world’s largest refiner of raw crude oil, writes Tim McDonnell.

Image for article titled AstraZeneca in US, China’s oil refineries, #BookTok

China began refining more crude oil into gasoline and other products for the first time in 2020 and has largely remained in the lead, according to new data from the US Energy Information Administration.

With fewer customers, low prices, and much less crude as US producers curbed drilling in the pandemic, American refiners have had little reason to operate. But Chinese oil refiners were primed to respond in the opposite way to oil price fluctuations: When oil prices fall, the government pays Chinese refiners to increase production.

A billion-dollar question

What will happen when Tesla sets up shop in India?

Image for article titled AstraZeneca in US, China’s oil refineries, #BookTok
Image: Simone Noronha for Quartz

EVs represent less than 1% of car sales in India, but the industry’s proponents are hoping that will change after Tesla arrives. It’s not yet clear when that will be. But Tesla registered its first Indian subsidiary this January, and there are signs the company is preparing to set up factories in India.

When Tesla does truly break into the Indian market, it will face numerous challenges to gain a foothold, from homegrown competition to affordable pricing. But if it can overcome them, Tesla can further extend its global industry dominance by opening itself up to millions of new customers—plus, experts suspect, kickstart the growth of electric vehicles in India itself.

Read more.

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Surprising discoveries

TikTok is influencing the book industry. #BookTok videos of users openly sobbing are driving unheard-of sales.

Volkswagen is trouncing Tesla in the stock market. Investors appear to be buying into legacy makers’ EV plans.

The Hoff is still big in Germany. David Hasselhoff will host a German-language CBS show called “Ze Network,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

A volcano in Iceland erupted after 6,000 years of dormancy. The only major disruption to nearby residents are noxious gases—but people can just stay indoors.

Climate change threatens to clip winters, springs, and autumns by 2100. The northern hemisphere would have six months of summer instead of a balanced four seasons.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, automotive silicone, and unruly vacationers to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our iOS app and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was brought to you by Hasit Shah, Mary Hui, Tripti Lahiri, Katherine Foley, Nicolás Rivero, and Heather Landy.