19 March 2021

1) American military officials are warning that, in the next few years, China could invade Taiwan. The island nation has long been a sore subject of U.S.-China relations. China’s rapid military build-up, are recent indications that Taiwan could unilaterally declare its independence from the mainland. An invasion could throw the whole region into chaos and potentially culminate in a shooting war between China and the United States, who is treaty bound to help Taiwan defend itself against Beijing. The Chinese army’s capabilities have matured to such a degree that this is no longer a dilemma we can afford to brush off. The Biden administration must signal its willingness to ‘go to the mat’ for Taiwan and help ensure the island can defend itself, but without further spooking Beijing. China has commissioned 25 advanced new ships, including cruisers, destroyers and ballistic missile submarines, with capabilities designed to keep America and its allies, who might interfere on Taiwan’s behalf, at bay. Meanwhile, China is integrating its new equipment into an increasingly sophisticated force

2) Production at U.S. manufacturers unexpectedly declined in February, representing a pause in recent momentum as factories were beset by severe winter weather and supply-chain challenges. The 3.1% decrease in output was the first since April, following an upwardly revised 1.2% gain in January. Total industrial output reflected a 7.4% surge at utilities, that was the largest advance since March 2017, also driven by increased demand for heating. Manufacturers continue to battle supply shortages and shipping challenges, but lean business inventories, steady demand from consumers and solid capital spending should push manufacturing back up.

3) A Tesla Model Y electric car, with its Autopilot engaged, crashed into a Michigan police car that had pulled over with its lights on. The driver was using Tesla’s Autopilot system when he crashed into the police vehicle, but there were no injuries, according to police. The 22-year-old driver was issued citations for failure to move over and driving with a suspended license. Tesla’s Autopilot system allows the car to brake, accelerate, and steer automatically. The electric car maker also sells its full self-driving software as a $10,000 one-off add-on and plans to release it as a subscription model this summer.

4) Stock market closings for – 18 MAR 21:

Dow 32,862.30 down by 153.07
Nasdaq 13,116.17 down by 409.03
S&P 500 3,915.46 down by 58.66

10 Year Yield: 1.73%

Oil: down at $59.53

15 March 2021

1) Canoo of Los Angeles is offering a battery-powered truck, with a skateboard-style EV platform, having a highly modular, cab-forward, for a blisteringly quick utility vehicle. Similar to Ford’s F-150, it comes in about the height and two inches narrower, and with a wheelbase 10 inches shorter. Without a conventional drive train, its extended cab is far forward, thus giving it a larger bed than the Ford. With its battery and electric motor, it can generate 600 horsepower and 550 foot-pound of torque even down at zero rpm. These should make the Canoo a respectable tow rig, not to mention a capable crawler, what with its short wheelbase, skid plates front and rear, and integral tow hooks.

2) America has now administered over 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine (101.1 million). That equates to more than 35 million Americans fully vaccinated or 10.5% of the total U.S. population. Nearly 66 million, or almost 20% of the total population, have gotten at least one dose, while one-third of Americans age 65 and older are fully vaccinated. The first shot was given on December 14, and more doses have been administered in the U.S. than any other country in the world, although several smaller nations have vaccinated a higher proportion of their populations. The U.S. should have enough COVID-19 vaccine to immunize the nation’s entire adult population by this summer, with enough left over for some 172 million more people. The nationwide pace of vaccinations has quickened to an average of over 2 million doses a day. The majority of states have already vaccinated many of their front line essential workers and residents over 75 years old.

3) Rare earth elements are produced in various parts of the world, but primarily in China, who has been holding the U.S. and some other countries hostage under threat of a trade war by using these ‘must have’ minerals. But that is about to change with Noranda Alumina of Gramercy, Louisiana, who is proposing developing an $800-million dollar high tech refining center for extracting rare earth minerals from over 35-million tons of residual bauxite stored in Louisiana. Investing nearly a billion dollars on the new plant, it will create 2,000 construction jobs. Once in operation, the facility will employ 200 full time high paying jobs along with nearly 600 indirect jobs. This opportunity enables America to domestically produce these rare earth elements that go into a lot of green earth technologies, plus by recycling the residual bauxite, the extraction plant will be carbon neutral.

4) Stock market closings for – 12 MAR 21:

Dow 32,778.64 up by 293.05
Nasdaq 13,319.86 down by 78.81
S&P 500 3,943.34 up by 4.00

10 Year Yield: up at 1.64%

Oil: down at $65.56

26 January 2021

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

20 January 2021

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

15 January 2021

1) As Joe Biden approaches taking office, the question of a third stimulus check is already open, but one point is the amount, either $2,000 or $1,400. With $600 checks already being dispersed, the question expands to having the second and third payments combined to total of up to $2,600. In turn , Biden may propose a third stimulus check for $1,400 per eligible adult, for a total of $2,000 between the two payments. But America isn’t the only nation amassing huge national debts with cash back programs to its citizens. From small third world nations to the most advance western nations, a large number of nations have stimulus payments in an attempt to salvage their economies, several paying more per person than America. There has been little to no concern of how these national debts will be paid back, leaving a growing instability of the world economic system. If one of these indebted nations should start collapsing, the other economies could then be pulled down and collapse too. Like a gaggle of standing dominos, one falls, knocks down more, who in turn knocks down more until the whole comes tumbling down resulting in disaster.

2) Even with majorities in the house and senate, the new president Biden faces a hard time getting his Covid relief bill passed. This could further be hindered if the Senate becomes embroiled in an impeachment trial of President Trump and the confirmation of Biden’s Cabinet in the early days of his administration. Typically, a new president has his first hundred days, the honeymoon time, when the Congress is most willing to support and pass the legislation the new president proposes. But continuing actions and debates against Trump will eat into that honeymoon, plus distracting by the press away from the president, leaving Biden ‘holding the bag – possibly empty’.

3) China joins the rush to driverless cars, with the Chinese startup company WeRide raising $310 million dollars in funding as the race to robot cars heats up. This funding and new investors will give the company the strategic resources to commercialize self-driving technology. The company says it will launch trial operations for their Mini Robobuses immediately. WeRide valuation is estimated to top $5 billion. Other companies including search giant Baidu, start-up AutoX and ride-hailing firm Didi, who are competing in the same space.

4) Stock market closings for – 14 JAN 21:
Dow 30,991.52 down by 68.95
Nasdaq 13,112.64 down by 16.31
S&P 500 3,795.54 down by 14.30
10 Year Yield: up at 1.13%
Oil: up at $53.80

6 January 2021

1) With the ravages of the new coronavirus, Los Angeles County has been so overwhelmed it is running out of oxygen. Arizona now has the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations. In the Atlanta area, nearly every major hospital is almost full, prompting state officials to reopen a field hospital for the third time. This last week, new deaths and cases have increased by more than 20 percent, for a total of more than 355,000 fatalities and 21 million infections. But the toll on hospitals is more critical. Southern California is running low on ICU beds, ventilators and morgue space. But the greatest shortage is oxygen. The sheer number of patients has placed such a strain on oxygen systems that some hospitals are struggling to provide adequate air pressure and flow into patients’ lungs. But expanding the oxygen supply doesn’t solve the problems, because of the volume being pumped, some of the pipes start to freeze up. Also you start running out of oxygen tanks that patients need to be discharged and sent home. As cases increase ICU beds get full, ER gets backed up, ambulances have nowhere to take patients. There’s severe, chronic staffing shortages, while elective surgeries get canceled so the ability to care simply degrades.

2) It is being reported that President Trump privately admits his defeat, but he wants to continue brawling for attention, so Trump has kept up a flurry of activities to pressure other Republicans to aid his effort to block Biden’s presidency. But one factor political pundits are overlooking is the state of the economy that Biden will inherit. Many are expecting the economy to make a strong quick recovery, but with the whole western economies going into massive deep debt, the likelihood of sever economic problems, that are worst than the 2008 downturn, looms large. The chances of Bidens new administration turning things around for America are very, very slim. And when there are economic problems, the President gets blamed even if it’s not his fault, so the new President will soon be in trouble with the people turning against him. Whether by design or accident, the charges of election fraud will most likely become an ‘albatross’ tied around Biden’s neck. For while the people now want to ignored the questions of voter fraud and corruption, as public opinion diminishes, that ‘albatross’ will hang heavy pulling his presidency down.

3) Communist China continues its backslide into a repressive totalitarian regime with the arrest of dozens of Hong Kong democracy activists and opposition politicians for violating the city’s controversial national security law, in what appears to be the largest roundup yet under the China imposed legislation. The Chinese justify the law which bands subversion, terrorism, secession and collusion with foreign forces, but the law has mainly been used against non-violent political opponents and dissidents.

4) Stock market closings for – 5 JAN 21

Dow 30,391.60 up by 167.71
Nasdaq 12,818.96 up by 120.51
S&P 500 3,726.86 up by 26.21

10 Year Yield: up at 0.96%

Oil: up at $49.81

9 September 2020

1) General Chuck Yeager, died at age 97, was remembered Monday as America’s greatest Pilot in a tweet attributed to his wife, Victoria Scott D’Angelo. After breaking the sound barrier, Yeager continued to break records and returned to combat. He was a double ace with 11.5 aircraft shot down and became an ‘ace in a day’ by shooting down 5 or more aircraft in a single day. After World War II, in 1947, he became the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound by flying the Bell X-1. In 1953 he flew more than 1,600 mph in the Bell X-1A. He also flew combat missions in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. Chuck Yeager had flown 361 different types of aircraft and flew 10,131.6 hours during his career, retiring from the Air Force in 1975.

2) With just 24 days to make a deal, the Brexit negotiators are finding the situation very gloomy for a trade deal, with talks now on a ‘knife’s edge’ again. The British and European teams are struggling to craft a free-trade agreement so the two sides can continue the orderly movement of goods and services across the English Channel. Otherwise, Britain and Europe will enforce new customs duties, tariffs, border checks, and quotas on goods, therefore increasing prices and fully ending the era of the free and frictionless trade. The major obstacle is the European access to fish in British waters, despite the fisheries accounting for just a small fraction of Britain’s gross domestic product. The Europeans are also pressing to maintain a “level playing field,” to keep Britain from undercutting worker protections or granting large state subsidies to British businesses, thus giving the U.K. firms unfair advantages.

3) Oil prices fell from a 9-month high while the dollar strengthened. Consumption in Asia remains robust, while other markets are soft or declining. Crude oil prices now look to be heavily dependent on how quickly Covid-19 vaccines can be rolled out. OPEC+ is facing more potential supply challenges, with Libya continuing to ramp up production while Iran prepares to raise oil exports with expectations that America will ease some sanctions under a Joe Biden presidency.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 DEC 20:

Dow 30,173.88 up by 104.09
Nasdaq 12,582.77 up by 62.83
S&P 500 3,702.25 up by 10.29

10 Year Yield: down at 0.91%

Oil: down at $45.60

2 November 2020

1) America’s economy is expanding at a record pace after a historic decline from the Covid-19 crisis. The economy grew at an unprecedented 7.4% pace from the second to the third quarter, which on an annualized basis, would be a growth rate of 33.1%. This would be the highest annualized growth rate on record. While this is undoubtedly positive, it comes with lots of caveats, for the U.S. economy is still in a deep hole with the gross domestic product still about 3.5% below the level recorded in the fourth quarter of 2019. Second, the economy is slowing. Third, there are about 11 million fewer people on payrolls than before the pandemic hit, plus layoffs persist. Finally, the report is a political football with politicians framing the numbers to best serve their individual’s objectives.

2) Cruise ships can begin a phased return to operations starting Nov. 1 under new health protocols. There has been 74 recommendations made for a potential safe return to cruising, including a new focus on “air management”, lower ship capacities, shorter sailing times, required testing and masks, and enhanced cleaning and medical staff on voyages. There are four phases to return to cruising, beginning with cruise ships establishing coronavirus testing of all crew. Phase 2 will be simulated voyages to test the ability to mitigate Covid-19 on cruise ships. Phase 3 is certification by the CDC, and the final phase is a return to passenger voyages.

3) One question this fall is America’s energy future of whether, and to what extent, we should transition from reliable fossil fuels, such as oil and natural gas, to more intermittent sources of energy such as wind and solar power. But arbitrarily halting oil and natural gas development would do serious harm to our economy, and thereby jeopardize post-pandemic recovery. Businesses need reliable, low-cost energy to reopen and return to normal operations, and presently fossil fuels currently accounts for 80 percent of overall American energy production. At the start of this year, the oil and gas industry was responsible for 12.3 million American jobs, while also generating $1.6 trillion dollars in federal and state tax revenue. So if the oil and gas revenue dries up, major public services will be reduced or even cut. The simple fact is that the United States cannot continue on the path of recovery without a thriving oil and natural gas industry because it supports jobs, lowers energy costs for families and businesses, and strengthens our energy and national security.

4) Stock market closings for – 30 OCT 20:

Dow 26,659.11 up 139.16
Nasdaq 11,185.59 up 180.73
S&P 500 3,310.11 up 39.08

10 Year Yield: up at 0.84%

Oil: unchanged at $36.10

9 October 2020

1) The airlines around the world are expected to lose $77 billion dollars in the second half of 2020 as Covid-19 continues to crush air travel demand. There are desperate efforts to cut cost by cutting jobs, grounding aircraft and consolidating work, but all their efforts are not enough. The first half of 2020 has been brutal for airline business and the rest of the year isn’t looking much better despite modest increase in air travel. This translates into losing $13 billion dollars a month or $300,000 a minute. At the start, U.S. airlines were burning about $100 million per day, which they reduced to about $30 to $40 million at the end of the third quarter. The airlines hope to reach zero ‘cash burn’ by year’s end using workforce reductions and operational consolidation. Air travel in America is down roughly 70% from 2019.

2) As another hurricane is approaching through the Gulf of Mexico, oil workers are evacuating oil rigs in the gulf ahead of Hurricane Delta, in turn causing oil prices to rise in anticipation of lower available oil. Oil prices had been falling Wednesday, but started rising as the storm came into the Gulf and the off shore evacuations began. So far, 183 offshore oil facilities have been evacuated which has halted nearly 1.5 million barrels per day of oil output. In July, the Gulf of Mexico produced oil at 1.65 million barrels per day, which is 17% of U.S. crude oil output. The demand for oil at refineries is 13.2% lower than a year earlier, a result of the virus crisis.

3) Electric car maker Elon Musk is pushing his company to boost production to build half a million cars in one year. That means producing 170,000 cars in the fourth quarter, a 17% increase from the third quarter. A half a million cars would be a milestone for Musk’s company, a first in the history of Tesla. So far, Tesla has produced 330,000 cars while also posting profits for its fourth consecutive quarter. Additionally, Tesla is pushing production numbers up by adding more production capacity.

4) Stock market closings for – 8 OCT 20:

Dow 28,425.51 up 122.05
Nasdaq 11,420.98 up 56.38
S&P 500 3,446.83 up 27.38

10 Year Yield: down at 0.76%

Oil: up at $41.27

7 October 2020

1) Ikea, the big Swedish world wide modular furniture manufacture, has experienced a surge in sales from the pandemic as people turned homes into offices and schools. Their online sales are up 45% over the last 12 months to August, with 4 billion visits to their website. Outdoor furniture is the fastest growing category, followed by office furniture. While many of their stores were forced to close from the virus, their online sales remain high even as stores reopen. The furniture retailer has added 6,000 new employees world wide to make a total work force of 217,000. Online sales account for about one fifth of total sales.

2) Job openings in America fell in August for the first time in four months, indicating a moderation in hiring as the crisis continues. Available positions slipped down to 6.49 million from July’s 6.7 million. These numbers do not include recalls from layoffs or positions that are offered only internally. However, layoffs and discharges are at a low for August, although there are still 13.6 million Americans unemployed, which means there are about 2 unemployed competing for each job opening. There are fewer vacancies in construction, retail and health care industries, while vacancies increased for manufacturing, food service and government.

3) Federal reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says America is on the long road to economic recovery from the pandemic induced recession, but still there are other problems on the horizon. There are fears of the economy shifting into reverse once again, especially if a resurgence of the virus comes with cold weather . . . the flue season. Such a resurgence could significantly limit economic activity leaving many unemployed stranded with no jobs for many more months. Powell is calling for the passing of the second stimulus bill presently being debated in the Congress. He considers the risk of pouring too much money into the economy far lower than the risk of not spending enough, despite the already sky high federal budget. While he considers the debt is on an unsustainable path, and has been for some time, but this is not the time to address it.

4) Stock market closings for – 6 OCT 20:

Dow 27,772.76 down 375.88
Nasdaq 11,154.60 down 177.88
S&P 500 3,360.95 down 47.68

10 Year Yield: down at 0.74%

Oil: up at $39.83