1) Denmark has announced it will stop offering new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea and will phase out oil production all together in 2050 as part of the country’s goal to become fossil free. The Social Democrat government reached a deal with a majority in parliament to drop Denmark’s 8th licensing round plus any future exploration plans. Conditions for the oil and gas companies currently operating in Danish waters will remain unchanged until production stops in 2050. The decision will cost the country about $2.1 billion dollars a year. Production for 2020 is 83,000 barrels of oil plus natural gas equivalent of 21,000 barrels. With Denmark being the European Union’s largest oil producer, this decision will resonate around the world.
2) Reports are that a $908 billion dollar stimulus plan has gained the support of top congressional Democrats and several senior senate Republicans, that combines many of the central priorities of congressional leaders of each party, as well as those of President-elect Joe Biden. There is funding for health officials to help with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine, as well as aid for hospitals, the hungry, and the U.S. Postal Service. The most expensive item in the bipartisan plan is $288 billion in assistance for U.S. businesses, with lawmakers insisting that funding is geared primarily toward assisting small firms, including continuation of the Paycheck Protection Plan. There is also a range of funding for smaller measures aimed at meeting other critical needs facing the country such as schools and education funding, transportation systems, agriculture, housing and rental assistance, the vaccine program, and the U.S. Postal Service.
3) Employment picture is darkening, with the U.S. economy adding in November the fewest workers in six months, hindered by a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases that, together with a lack of more government relief money, threatens the recovery from the pandemic recession. The Labor Department reported the addition of 245,000 jobs in November, much less than the 440,000 expected, and far less than the 610,000 in October. The unemployment rate slipped from 6.9% down to 6.7%, but that was because fewer people were looking for work. With bipartisan consensus, there is hope of the $908 billion dollar aid package passing before Congress breaks for the holidays.
4) Stock market closings for – 4 DEC 20:
Dow 30,218.26 up by 248.74
Nasdaq 12,464.23 up by 87.05
S&P 500 3,699.12 up by 32.40
10 Year Yield: up at 0.97%
Oil: up at $46.09