Apr. 30, 2021

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

  • US Senate overwhelmingly passed a $35 billion water infrastructure bill to upgrade the country’s drinking and wastewater systems in a show of bipartisan support.
  • GM is partnering with major electrical vehicle charging networks (Blink Charging, ChargePoint and EV Connect) to build 60,000 EV charging points across Canada and the US.
  • GM is investing $1 billion to build electric vehicles in Mexico.
  • Audi expects electric cars will occupy half the global market by 2030.
  • Harley Davidson is selling fully electric motorcycles at $29,799 USD (almost 3x the price of a gas-powered version).
  • Daimler and Volvo are joining forces on a joint venture for hydrogen-powered fuel cell stacks for trucks.
  • China issued $8.87 billion in subsidies for local water conservation development in 2021 up 3.1% Y/Y.
  • Denmark is spending 60% (vs 37% required condition) of EU Crisis Funds on climate measures.

UNITED STATES

  • Biden administration is pushing congress to pass a law requiring that the US grid get 80% of power from emission free sources by 2030.
    • US Energy Department is offering up to $825 billion in loans for companies to boost the power grid
  • President Biden signed an executive order increasing the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15/hour from the current $10.95 effective March 2022 with future increases tied to inflation.
    • Will impact hundreds of thousands of workers from cleaning and maintenance to food service, labourers, recreational services, and shuttle bus drivers
  • Previously owned US homes are now more expensive than new ones for the first time in 15 years.
    • Median price for a previously owned single-family home is $334,500
    • New properties have a median price of $330,800
  • US Pentagon is planning on spending almost $18 billion to develop, produce and support its new interceptor to stop incoming nuclear missiles from North Korea or Iran.

COVID UPDATE…WHAT’S NEW

  • Global spending on COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots is projected to reach $157 billion by 2025 ($54 billion in 2020) according to US health data company IQVIA Holdings Inc.
  • UK and France are turning their health apps into digital vaccine passports to help travelers prove they have been either vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.
  • EU is suing AstraZeneca for not respecting its contract for COVID-19 vaccines and for not having a “reliable” plan to ensure timely deliveries. (even though they suspended use of the vaccine)
  • 7 million Americans age 55+ are contemplating retirement years earlier than they’d imagined because of the pandemic.

TIDBITS

  • Canadian farmers are increasing their acreage in canola, barley and soy because of high global demand, while planting less wheat and peas.
  • Mastercard and digital currency exchange Gemini are launching a ‘crypto rewards card’
    • Will be the first credit card that gives users digital currency ‘rewards’ on purchases
  • Russia has reduced the share of exports sold using USD to less than 50% for the first time ever, switching more contracts to the Euro.
  • Global military spending rose 2.6% to $1.98 trillion in 2020 despite the pandemic.
    • Big 5 spenders (62%) were US, China, India, Russian and Britain in that order