1) Online grocery shopping continues to reach higher numbers, as Americans show little inclination to return to the stores. Grocery sales hit a record $7.2 billion dollars in June, up 9% from May. There are now 45.6 million households using online grocery pickup and delivery services for a larger portion of their grocery needs. The coronavirus crisis has cause drastic increases in grocery shopping online. People are now using online for buying a few items instead of just for their major shopping trips.
2) Seattle has passed a payroll tax which targets large businesses, called the JumpStart Tax. This tax is a tiered system of taxation with the highest tax levels for companies with annual payroll expenses of more than $1 billion dollars. The tax also is grated for individual income levels starting at amounts over $150,000. The prime target for the tax is Amazon, who is expected to accelerate its move to secure office space outside of Seattle. Amazon has an expansive Seattle footprint, but in recent years has moved to establish a presence in areas outside of the city. There are fears that the tax will pin Seattle’s economic future on local businesses remaining strong.
3) New York City plans to invest $157 million dollars to expand high speed internet service to low income residents as part of its plan to offer universal broadband service to New Yorkers. To pay for the expansion, the internet service providers would be charged for using the city’s infrastructure. The financially strapped city would fund the expansion by diverting $87 million from the police budget, which is being cut. But for the long run, the city is seeking state legislation to require internet service companies to pay for the use of the infrastructure they used to do business.
4) Stock market closings for – 7 JUL 20:
Dow 25,890.18 down 396.85 Nasdaq 10,343.89 down 89.76 S&P 500 3,145.32 down 34.40
1) The numbers are in for the weekly jobless claims, with another 3.84 million people losing their jobs. This brings the total to over 30 million in the past six weeks. Expectations were for about 3 million, so the news was not upsetting. The claims peaked at 6.87 million so officials feel the worst is over with declines each week since, but still this has been the worst employment crisis in U.S. history. While some states are starting to bring their economies back on line, much of the key American infrastructure remains on lockdown. Predictions are for the second quarter to decline worse than anything America has ever seen. The unemployment rate is anticipated to be about 15.1%.
2) The crash of the oil market continues across the globe, with the American shale or fracking oil industry being hit the hardest. The shale oil industry had been fueled by lots of easy money, almost unlimited borrowing allowing companies to dramatically ramp up production, despite what the market demand was. Many companies had been in trouble before the coronavirus hit, and that combined with the Russian and Saudi Arabia oil dispute, oil prices have dropped by three-quarters since early January. There is $43 billion dollars of energy junk bond defaults coming in 2020 with hundreds of oil companies facing bankruptcy. The problem isn’t just American, with Shell Oil Co. announcing a cut in their dividends for the first time since World War II. Finally, the pandemic appears to be making fundamental changes to the oil market and consumption so the oil market may never fully recover.
3) The virus pandemic has adversely affected more than just traditional businesses, large and small. Dirty money from the illegal drug business is piling up in Los Angeles because the money laundering systems has also been put on hold by ‘closing orders’ of non-essential businesses. The businesses used by the drug trade to launder their money have been forced to close up, thereby ceasing operations leaving the drug dealers with growing stacks of cash that cant be used until cleaned.
4) Stock market closings for – 30 APR 20:
Dow 24,345.72 down 288.14 Nasdaq 8,889.55 down 25.16 S&P 500 2,912.43 down 27.08
1) To aid in economic recovery, President Trump is calling for a $2 trillion dollar spending plan to update the country’s infrastructure. Monies would be used to update the country’s roads, bridges and other parts of the physical infrastructure. This would be part of Phase 4 response to the coronavirus crisis. The President said that with interest rates at zero, this is the ideal time to address our declining infrastructure.
2) There are growing fears of the devastation that the coronavirus has and continues to wrought on America’s economy. Layoffs are coming faster than unemployment offices can accommodate, increasing fears about making mortgage and loan payments, malls and shopping centers devoid of people with only the essential commerce. Economist are now forecasting a real GDP growth of negative 9% for the first quarter and minus 34% for the second. There is expected to be 4.5 million filings for jobless benefits this week, which will be the highest in history. While there are hopes for a quick turn around, the damage may be too great to quickly return to the economic boom prior to the virus.
3) Founders of the European Union (EU) have always feared that Italy’s proliferate borrowing would ultimately become the EU’s problem. Now with Italy’s coronavirus problems, the country is having to borrow again to care for its people, in turn pushing up its debt to dangerous levels which the EU will have to cover. This is made doubly critical with other EU member’s economies shaken by the shutdowns from the virus. Presently, Italy’s debt level is approaching 150% of its gross domestic product and may well surpass that.
4) Stock market closings for – 31 MAR 20:
Dow 21,917.16 down 410.32 Nasdaq 7,700.10 down 74.05 S&P 500 2,584.59 down 42.06
1) Chinese economic growth has slowed to its lowest level in twenty-seven years, a result of the prolong trade war. Additionally, global growth has slowed, coupled with external uncertainties increasing. China is reporting a fall in both exports and imports for the first six months of this year. The Chinese are working on more stimulus measures to stabilize growth such as boosting infrastructure spending and interest rates cut, while also seeking loans from abroad.
2) Just like all youth, the millennials and generation-Z, have aspirations for their lives and the direction they want to go. Presently, these two groups comprise 40% of the American population, but like previous generations they disdain much about the older generation’s lives such as cars, big houses and material wealth. They want careers that make a difference even if not paying much, where they can provide some greater good to society. The fly in the ointment is their exploding student loan debt coupled with the growing obsolescence of American workers, in particular the younger ones.
3) Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant recently in the news so much, plans hundreds of layoffs in the near future. These layoffs are expected to be in Huawei’s U.S. development subsidiary Futurewei, a technology development center, which employs 850 people across several states. Blacklisted by the American government because of security risk issues, the company expects to lose $30 billion dollars in sales over the next two years.
4) Stock market closings for – 15 JUL 19: All three markets set new record highs.
Dow 27,359.16 up 27.13 Nasdaq 8,258.18 up 14.04 S&P 500 3,014.30 up 0.53
It looks as if Google will be investing in NYC for the long term. The search engine giant, is closing in on a lucrative $2.4 billion dollar real estate building, as an addition to its New York City portfolio.
Axios the online web publication reports that the deal seems to be “the priciest single handed real estate transaction on a building, in the history of New York City”. The building happens to be across the street from Google’s current campus facility, in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.
Google is not the only online mega company who has its sights on New York City, in early fall September 2017 specifically, Amazon indicated a long term economic contract with NYC, and NYS, to lease properties in the west end of Manhattan, and the borough of Staten Island, for the creation and hiring of 2,000 plus new Amazon employees. -SB
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board along with Ontario Teachers Pension Plan have teamed up in investing capital in IDEAL, a Latin American infrastructure/building conglomerate. The partnership combined exceeds 1.35 billion. It said to be one of the biggest projects in Mexico as far as infrastructure and road development. Billionaire investor Carlos Slim own a major stake in the company.
The partnership seems to be beneficial for both parties as IDEAL was seeking funding and the pension funds were seeking to invest their funds in projects that would have logistical impact in Latin America and in Canada. IDEAL trades on the Mexican stock market, and has offices all over Latin America as expands its business and structural model in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. -SB
Dangote Cement will be adding another cement refinery in Ethiopia. The refinery that is being constructed to be valued at around $500 million. The refinery plant will be stationed in Mugher, Ethiopia. The plant is expected to produce somewhere around 7,000 jobs in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is going through a construction and infrastructure development boom currently. Infrastructure is widely being constructed in cities around Ethiopia. These investments have allowed Dangote to invest in cement plants in the country, because cement is needed in the infrastructure developments. Dangote Cement has positioned its self to be the manufacture supplier to builders and developers within Ethiopia as they construct more. -SB
Ethiopia’s industrial infrastructure is becoming very well known lately. They have been working closely with the Chinese private sector and government to be asserted as the “Chinese Industrial Revolution” of Africa. Ethiopia has become one of Africa’s diverse economies and it has the second largest population behind Nigeria, at approx 90-95 million people.
Ethiopia is leading the way in infrastructure and in industrial resources; such as the building of roadways, railroads, dams, tunnels, and bridges. They are leading the way into the 21 st Century, by focusing on industrial resources. It has been very clear that investing in industrial resources and infrastructure is a necessity for Africa to sustain it’s growth, with out infrastructure Africa is limited in it’s GDP outreach.
One major project that Ethiopia is currently on path to finish is a $475 milion dollar railway system in conjunction with the Chinese private sector.. This project has been on going but seems to be on the path to be finished soon. Projects such as the railway system, headed by the Chinese Railway Engineering Corp is a big plus for Ethiopia and Sub Sahara Africa, because it transcends the continent to be more dynamic in the 21 st century, as it pushes forward in the development of sustainable infrastructure..
China has just pledged to invest $250 billion in Latin America, keying in on infrastructure, energy and in natural resources. China recently held a two day summit inviting 33 Latin American countries to discuss economic and financial bilateral relations with the far east and the Americas.
China has been interested in the region for decades to date, focusing on the natural and organic resources that Central and South America has to offer. Obviously; China being a major player is positioning themselves to compete in the region against the United States. This bilateral deal between all parties allows China’s presence to be known in the region, but as far as the lasting impact that will occur; only time will tell for sure.