The U.S. needs minerals for green tech. Will Western mines have enough water?
“There’s still going to be places where you say, yes, there’s lithium in the ground here, but this is a no-go,” Boulanger says. “We’re going to have to make some choices in a world that’s already experiencing the effects of climate change.
“What’s not our drinking water today, in five years we may already be relying on it.”
US Treasury ETF suffers biggest meltdown on record as rates continue to surge
The iShare 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF has declined 45% from its closing high in 2020, and is down a whopping 50% from its intra-day high reached on March 9, 2020. That’s the biggest decline the ETF has suffered since its July 2002 inception. The ETF is now trading at its lowest level since February 2011.
The sharp declines have snowballed since the Federal Reserve began hiking interest rates in 2022 in its ongoing bid to tame inflation. And the declines could get even worse if the Fed moves forward with further interest rate hikes, something Fed President Neel Kashkari believes is more likely than not.
US credit crunch advances
It will be interesting to see what effect the latest round of rising yields does to small banks. Recall that it was bond losses that triggered the small bank crisis. More to come there.
People with student loans regret borrowing too much
Americans are facing a mountain of student loan debt, totaling more than $1.7 trillion, and it’s a serious source of stress for many borrowers. In fact, almost a quarter of people who have student loan debt say borrowing too much is their biggest financial regret, according to a recent Bankrate survey. “I think what this shows is student loan debt can really become a huge inhibitor for Americans to grow their wealth,” said Bankrate’s Sarah Foster. “They say that they haven’t really been able to buy a house because of that debt. Some of them are delaying getting married or having children.”
Central banks across Europe pause for breath after mammoth rate hike run, but face ‘triple dilemma
High inflation continues to plague European households and businesses, and central banks in the region have yet to declare victory on bringing it to target.
But September marked a change in tone in their messaging, as some central banks put the breaks on interest rate hikes after nearly two years, while others appeared to be at the brink of peak rates. This has turned market attention to how long rates will be held at current levels, amid strains on economic growth.
…The recent surge in oil prices poses an additional headache, he added, potentially fuelling inflation while dragging on economic growth — and making future interest rate decisions even more difficult to call.
What ‘peak oil’ will mean for China
China’s energy mix will shift towards coal and renewables
China has been the engine of global oil demand since its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. About half of the global increase in oil demand since 2000 has come from China, which has trebled its consumption over that period, according to estimates by BP.
[It’s talking about peak oil supply – not peak oil demand. Ha ha!]
Coal makes a quiet resurgence in the clean energy era
A new report by the International Energy Agency found that global coal demand hit an all-time high in 2022 amid the energy crisis, eclipsing the previous record set in 2013.
While the IEA believes that coal consumption may soon hit its peak, along with demand for oil and gas, trends so far this year tell a different story. United States thermal coal exports reached their highest levels since 2018 in the first eight months of 2023, according to new data. Exports soared by 20% over the same period last year as Asian countries increased their demand for coal.
The green transition in US manufacturing also presents a bit of a paradox. For example, Panasonic built a new electric vehicle plant in Kansas to aid its transition to clean energy. But the factory’s vast energy needs have led the county where the factory is located to extend the life of a local coal plant.
FEMA delays $2.8 billion in disaster aid to keep from running out of money
The agency has paused aid for long-term disaster recovery in nearly every U.S. state and territory while scrambling to conserve cash in case a government shutdown collides with hurricane season
…it has also disrupted longer-term recovery projects in communities hit by past calamities, from flooding in rural Washington state to hurricane damage in Puerto Rico.
Saudi Arabia announces crucial step forward in its nascent nuclear power plans
Saudi Arabia announced its commitment to building a nuclear energy program, as well as a pledge to allow greater oversight for atomic energy inspectors, at a time when the kingdom is pushing ahead with its drive to become a more powerful player on the international stage.
Muscle, wood, coal, oil: what earlier energy transitions tell us about renewables
In 2022, the burning of fossil fuels provided 82% of the world’s energy. In 2000, it was 87%. Even as renewables have undergone tremendous growth, they’ve been offset by increased demand for energy.
That’s why the United Nations earlier this month released a global stocktake – an assessment on how the world is going in weaning itself off these energy-dense but dangerously polluting fuels. Short answer: progress, but nowhere near enough, soon enough.
‘Rental recession’: London office vacancies hit 30-year high
Jeffries analysts estimated there had been a 20% contraction in London office usage as working from home and hybrid working, as well as a move toward green offices, continue to be a priority.
As migrants clash near high-volume shelters, neighbors and businesses grow alarmed: ‘We don’t feel safe’
Over the weekend, a fight broke out near the 1,163-resident migrant shelter at the former Standard Club, 320 S. Plymouth Court, just the latest brawl to be caught on camera outside one of the high-population shelters downtown.
With the city buckling under the growing number of migrants — 12 buses carrying 560 more asylum hopefuls arrived this weekend — and no sign of the influx slowing down, tensions among migrants, residents and business owners are reaching a boiling point. The neighbors say they’ve witnessed frequent fights, loitering and other misconduct.
(Volunteers say buses of migrants arriving in Chicago at increased rate)
While most told the Tribune they fully support efforts to aid the migrants, they have grown weary of the city’s solution to cram thousands of people into highly trafficked shelters, and they’re concerned about safety — not only for themselves, but for migrants, too.
On N.Y.’s Staten Island, anti-immigration protests intensify as migrants stream in
Fossella says the city’s budget can’t handle taking care of so many migrants and Staten Island shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences. In fact, Fossella is one of several Staten Island leaders who has supported secession.
Global trade falls at fastest pace since pandemic
Demand for goods exports weakens on the back of higher inflation, rate rises and spending on services
World trade volumes fell at their fastest annual pace for almost three years in July, according to closely watched figures that signal rising interest rates are beginning to impact global demand for goods.
You can read the previous “Economy” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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