Mar. 5, 2021

CHINA

  • China’s legislature approved a 5-year policy blueprint to cut dependence on the West for crucial components like computer chips and also are making large investments in emerging technologies from hydrogen to biotech.
  • China could surpass the US as the world’s largest economy this decade with this $1.4 trillion plan.
  • China filed the most international patents in the world in 2020 for the 2nd consecutive year
    • China filed 68,720 (up 16.1% Y/Y) vs US 59,230 (up 3% Y/Y)
  • US, Japan, India and Australia have launched a “Quad” block to counter China’s rising influence.
    • Biden says if we don’t work together, China will ‘eat our lunch’
  • Inner Mongolia is banning cryptocurrency mining by April to constrain energy consumption growth. (Reminder: Bitcoin mining is energy intensive)
  • China is aiming to vaccinate 40% of its population against COVID-19 before the end of June.
  • China is developing nuclear power as a key tool in its drive to cut carbon emissions.

ENERGY

  • ‘OPEC+’ left production limits virtually the same at this week’s meeting saying that they do not believe higher oil prices will lead to an increase in American shale drilling.
  • Canadian Natural Resources and Suncor Energy are both planning oil sands upgrader maintenance and overhauls in April.
    • Overall, oil sands maintenance is expected to reduce production by 500,000 bbl/day for April

US EMPLOYMENT DATA

  • US added 379,000 jobs in February vs average estimate of 200,000 (estimates ranged from a loss of 35,000 to a gain of 500,000).
    • Unemployment rate unchanged at 6.2%
    • Temporary layoffs declined 517,000 to 2.2 million
    • Long term unemployment (jobless for 27 weeks or more) 4.1 million (41.5% of unemployed)
    • Participation rate little changed 61.4% (record high 67.30% in 2020; record low 58.10% in 1954)

TIDBITS

  • Health Canada approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine today.
  • EU and Italy blocked a shipment of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to Australia because of continued scarcity in Europe and Italy.
  • Microsoft said that an unknown hacking group recently broke into organizations using a flaw in the Microsoft mail server. Microsoft is deploying security patches for many newer versions.
  • Dominican Republic is going to build a border fence to keep Haitians out.
  • Volvo will be electric-only and shift sales online starting in 2030.
  • 6 major US utilities are collaborating to build electric vehicle charging stations to connect major highway systems across the US.
  • Moscow is implementing facial recognition for payment on their metro system by year end.
  • UK government will increase corporate tax rates to 25% in April 2023 from current 19% (first increase since 1974).