1) Amid rising doubts, both with the Republicans and Democrats, of passing President Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package, some economists call the bill a good step that will help America’s struggling economy and warning that if not passed, then the nation would likely reverted to a recession in early 2021. The $1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus proposal is designed to jump-start the nation’s sputtering economy as well as accelerate vaccine distribution to control the deadly pandemic. Presently, the plan calls for a one-time $1,400 direct payment to eligible Americans, which would be in addition to the $600 check sent out this month, making a total payment of $2,000. Additionally, there is a supplemental unemployment benefit of $400 a week, up from the present $300 a week.
2) It’s considered that President Biden’s early actions in office will have effects on oil’s outlook, both short and long term. The first actions were revoking approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and rejoined the Paris climate agreement. Biden administration’s aim is to reduce long-term oil demand as the move away from fossil fuels accelerates. But if all the promises made by the President this first year are kept, oil demand in 2021 is expected to get a 350,000 barrel-per-day boost. The cancelling of the Keystone pipeline is likely to be muted as other world markets take up the production, because Iran and Venezuela have removed about three million barrels per day production from the current market, with other middle east producers are also cutting back on their production.
3) As the demand for fossil fuels is being limited, people are wondering if the electric car’s moment has arrived at last? While rapid advancement in electric cars and batteries is evident, a shortage of electric car chargers is one of the hurdles EVs face to displace the gas-powered vehicles. Presently, transportation accounts for more than a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the popularity of EVs and hybrid vehicles is already surging. Yet, despite an avalanche of promising news, the shift away from gas-fueled cars remains stubbornly marginal with green vehicles being just 2 percent of the cars sold in the United States. There are electric Hummers, an electric Mustang, and an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle, with car manufacturers planning to triple the number of non-gas-powered models by 2024 to 203. Ford Motor Co. plans an electric version of its popular F150 pickup. Still roughly 1.5 billion gas-powered cars and trucks are still in operation.
4) Stock market closings for – 25 JAN 21:
Dow 30,960.00 down by 36.98
Nasdaq 13,635.99 up by 92.93
S&P 500 3,855.36 up by 13.89
10 Year Yield: down at 1.04%
Oil: up at $52.88
1) President Biden is asking Congress for $1,400 stimulus checks, but economists advise caution before spending, because economists who have looked at what happens when people have time to mull over a financial windfall, found that they spend less of the money, rather they save more of it. With less spending, there is less stimulus to the economy, therefor the stimulus fails to do the intended purpose. For the first stimulus checks in April people generally spent between one-quarter and one-third of the check in the first 10 days. Bottom line, the longer payment delays make it more likely that households will save their stimulus checks, which undermines the goal of stimulating the economy by boosting consumption.
2) The Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen will be part of the Senate Finance Committee process of vetting President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief plan. She will say that low borrowing costs means it’s time to act big. The new package includes a minimum-wage hike and substantial expansion in family and medical leave, social safety-network of programs that have already triggered Republican opposition. There are still almost 11 million unemployed Americans in an economy still being battered by the pandemic. Declines in both payrolls and retail sales in December left the nation’s economy limping into the new year. Additionally, more than 17 million people say they have little to no confidence in their ability to pay their rent next month. However, Yellen will also be asked what the safe debt limit is, since it is already on the verge of surpassing 100% of the GDP. There is also the question of the pros and cons of strengthening the dollar among fears that a stronger dollar will weaken the U.S. economy.
3) The U.S. government has approved routes for a system of pipelines that will move carbon dioxide across Wyoming for disposal. The greenhouse gas is captured from coal-fired power plants, to keep it out of the atmosphere where it causes global warming. The captured CO2 is then pumped underground to add pressure to and boost production of oil fields. The pipeline is about 1,100 miles of federal land through the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative. This project is a way to boost the state’s struggling coal mining industry.
4) Stock market closings for – 21 JAN 21:
Dow 31,176.01 down by 12.37
Nasdaq 13,530.92 up by 73.67
S&P 500 3,853.07 up by 1.22
10 Year Yield: up at 1.11%
Oil: up at $53.03
1) More automation is entering the American economy in an unexpected segment of business- the recycling sorting of trash . . . a dirty, low-paying, mind-numbing job that is hard to fill simply because so few people are willing to do that kind of work. The 300-pound robot sorts through an unending line of trash. It uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to detect recyclables, and is able to pluck a hunk of plastic off a conveyor belt, then place those bits into sorting bins using a vacuum gripper. The robot sorts glass, plastic and paper into the appropriate bins, leaving metal on a conveyor. It is designed and built by AMP Robotics. There are 600-plus recycling facilities in America, which process some 67 million tons of waste, which is a labor intensive, and therefore costly endeavor, but the $300,000 robot, which can work 24/7, will lower cost by eliminating the human sorters. The Louisville, Colorado based company has sold or leased a100 of its robots since 2017 to more than 40 recycling facilities in North America, Europe and Japan.
2) The civilian space transportation company, SpaceX has purchased two floating deepwater oil rigs to convert into floating launchpads for its Starship rocket. Each were purchased for just $3.5 million dollars. These two rigs have been renamed Deimos and Phobos, presumably in homage to the Martian moons. The Starship is the enormous rocket that SpaceX is developing to meet the goal of launching cargo and as many as 100 people at a time on missions to the moon and Mars. SpaceX has been publicly hiring for offshore operations positions since last year, when the company posted that it was building a team of engineers and technicians to design and build an operational offshore rocket launch facility.
3) The Israeli company StoreDot has announced a new design for an electric-car battery that can be charged as fast as filling up your gas tank. This faster-charging capability will make EVs more accessible to the general public. The new battery is a lithium-ion battery that will be manufactured by Eve Energy in China. The company has produced 1,000 sample batteries compliant with Li-ion battery certifications. Current electric-car batteries can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge, with a typical EV taking about 8 hours to charge from empty to full.
4) Stock market closings for – 20 JAN 21:
Dow 31,188.38 up by 257.86
Nasdaq 13,457.25 up by 260.07
S&P 500 3,851.85 up by 52.94
10 Year Yield: down at 1.09%
Oil: down at $52.96
1) There are growing fears of another stimulus package as the national debt grows. One measure of unemployment suggests Biden’s $1.9 trillion dollar stimulus plan may do more harm than good. The U-6 unemployment rate, a less popular reading than the commonly cited U-3, suggests additional fiscal support could be unnecessary. The gauge (which includes those only partially participating in the labor force) currently is at 11.7%. Five of the past six recessions saw higher readings. The coronavirus pandemic initially pushed the U-6 rate to a record-high of 22.9% in April, but easy monetary conditions and the $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus package brought the rate down in a matter of months. Still, there are serious questions about the long term stability of the world economics as nations struggle to pay off these huge national debts.
2) A new Covid-19 variant has been discovered in Brazil adding to the two newly emerged variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa. Brazil is one of the worst affected countries by the virus, where more people have died of the virus than anywhere else outside the United States. An urgent COVID warning says the worst months are still ahead, and is expected to get more people sicker faster. Infections and deaths are expected to continue increasing.
3) President-elect Joe Biden has an ambitious environmental agenda, with a principle goal of transitioning away from using fossil fuels. There are many questions just how this climate plan could affect the oil and gas industry in America. The new requirements include disclosure of climate risks from public companies, a commitment to end new drilling permits for federal lands, and to eliminate tax subsidies for the oil and gas industry. Tougher methane regulations to give incentives for Americans to buy cars that do not run on gasoline. It’s not just the big oil companies which can be hurt, for there are thousands and thousands of small companies making up the supply chain businesses, as well as the small independent wildcatters who are producing oil. But while oil is slowly recovering with prices above $50 a barrel, it is all in jeopardy if these proposals go into effect. Biden’s proposals could face stiff challenges from Texas officials and the oil and gas industry itself.
4) Stock market closings for – 19 JAN 21:
Dow 30,930.52 up by 116.26
Nasdaq 13,197.18 up by 198.68
S&P 500 3,798.91 up by 30.66
10 Year Yield: down at 1.09%
Oil: up at $53.17
1) President Trump and several of his key aids are preparing to move en masse to Florida this Wednesday just prior to the swearing in of Joe Biden as President. Trump plans to make his resident at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Staff members moving with the President are said to be White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and White House legislative aide Cassidy Hutchinson. Other aides who may work for Trump include Nick Luna, the director of Oval Office Operations and Molly Michael, a deputy assistant to Trump. Additionally, Luna’s wife, Cassidy Luna, a deputy assistant to the president, may work for the President’s son in law, Mr. Kushner.
2) There are fears that more than 90,000 Americans could die of Covid-19 in the next three weeks, with more than 38,000 Americans having died in the first two weeks of the new year from the pandemic. Presently, more than 130,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, with hospitals across the nation at or near the maximum capacity of their intensive care abilities. The US has added more than three million new infections since the start of the month. Mass vaccination centers are being opened. More than 30.6 million vaccine doses have been distributed, but only 11.1 million Americans have received their first dose, leading to out of date vaccine having to be thrown away. There are plans to press the large pharmacies chains into service to also give vaccinations.
3) Major labor unions are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and incoming Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer to provide $1 trillion dollars in emergency funding for states, cities, towns and schools. All of these entities have heavy union representation whose members stand to benefit from the increased monies. It is unclear how spending of this money is suppose to stimulate the economy.
4) Stock market closings for – 18 JAN 21:
Dow 30,814.26 down by 177.26
Nasdaq 12,998.50 down by 114.14
S&P 500 3,768.25 down by 27.29
10 Year Yield: down at 1.10%
Oil: up at $52.19
1) One Chinese province, Heilongjiang, with more than 37 million, has declared an emergency state to snuff out a handful of Covid-19 cases, as China moves decisively to contain infections. China had largely brought the coronavirus under control since its emergence in Wuhan late in 2019, however in recent weeks China has seen smatterings of cases, prompting localize lock downs, immediate travel restrictions and widespread testing of tens of millions of people. China is trying to squash the virus ahead of next month’s Lunar New Year festival, when hundreds of millions of people are due to travel across the country. Those highly anticipated annual journeys are often the only time for many migrant workers to see their families.
2) Biden has promised to extend the pause on student loan payments during his first day in office. Here are other steps the new administration could take for student debt relief. Forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt for each person, but it’s unclear of the time frame to do so. Also, it is unclear on whether Biden can use executive powers to cancel student debt or if only the Congress can do it. On day one Biden will direct the Department of Education to extend the student loan forbearance program, the first promise the president-elect has made in combating the $1.6 trillion student debt crisis. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is pushing for $50,000 to be forgiven.
3) Scientist warns that civilization is on the precipice of a ‘ghastly future’ that humanity has gravely underestimated the effects of biodiversity decline, climate change, and pollution. A review of over 150 studies finds the central problems we face are economic and political systems centered around unsustainable human consumption and population growth at the expense of all else. Biodiversity loss started some 11,000 years with the start of agriculture, which has vastly accelerated in recent centuries due to ever-worsening pressures placed on natural ecosystems. With a world population of 7.5 billion, which is expected to peak at 10 billion, that is worsening existing food insecurity, soil degradation, biodiversity decline, pollution, social inequality, and regional conflicts. Food production is sustained with the increasing use of fossil fuels and petrochemicals. Humanity is running an ecological Ponzi scheme in which society robs nature and future generations to pay for boosting incomes in the short term, all supported with petrochemicals. Half the large mammals in the world are humans, the other half are the domestic animals providing humanity with subsistence. All the other large mammals fit into just a 5% sliver.
4) Stock market closings for – 15 JAN 21:
Dow 30,814.26 down by 177.26
Nasdaq 12,998.50 down by 114.14
S&P 500 3,768.25 down by 27.29
10 Year Yield: down at 1.10%
Oil: down at $52.04
1) Bitcoin, the digital currency, hit an all time high of $41,000 per coin, but Bitcoin as well as the other cryptocurrencies, has a history of volatility and is unregulated. After hitting a record high in December of 2017, Bitcoin plunged 50% the first month of 2018. There are now warnings that Bitcoin is a massive bubble waiting to collapse in the near future. There are upsides to cryptocurrencies, such as the need to not deal with a bank, but it also makes the currency’s future uncertain. The biggest risk to owning Bitcoin is the possibility of being banned, and this has already been done with other cryptocurrencies. The IRS considers Bitcoin property, not currency, which means there are tax consequences. If you hold the bitcoin for a year or less, any trading profits are taxed as short-term gains, at the same rates as ordinary income. But if you hold it for more than a year, your profits are taxed as long-term capital gains, at rates of 0% to 20% in 2021 depending on your income level. The IRS has more recently been going after cryptocurrency holders who aren’t reporting their digital currencies.
2) Fears of a Bitcoin bubble bursting increased as Bitcoin fell with $170 billion dollars wiped out in 24 hours as Bitcoin pulls back by over 11% from a day earlier to $35,828.06. The sell off of cryptocurrencies comes after a huge rally and perhaps signaling some profit-taking from investors. The $40,000 mark could have been a trigger for profit-taking.
3) Americans are asking what really happens when there’s a 50-50 split in the senate? With the vice president a democrat, the democrats hold the narrowest possible majority which leaves some major obstacles and mine fields for the party. The senate cloture rule requires 60 members to end debate and vote on most topics, which in practice will allow the republican to filibuster much of the democrats’ legislative agenda. This is how the 50-50 split is likely to work in real life, the first hurdle is the organizing resolution, which determines everything from committee membership and staff budgets, to who gets the best office space. But in these hyper-partisan times, agreeing on even the rules of the road may be tricky. In theory, senate democrats could change the cloture rule and abandon the need for 60 votes, which would kill the filibuster. There will be further problems when the votes are not along party lines, and senators vote their minds.
4) Stock market closings for – 13 JAN 21:
Dow 31,060.47 down by 8.22
Nasdaq 13,128.95 up by 56.52
S&P 500 3,809.84 up by 8.65
10 Year Yield: down at 1.09%
Oil: down at $52.87