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Daily Archives: May 3, 2022

Charts: The Reserve Bank of Australia Raised the Cash Rate by 25 bps in the May 2022 Meeting

Larger than the market consensus of 15 bps

Source : Trading Economics

China Promotes Coal in Setback for Efforts to Cut Emissions

Joe Mcdonald wrote . . . . . . . . .

China is promoting coal-fired power as the ruling Communist Party tries to revive a sluggish economy, prompting warnings Beijing is setting back efforts to cut climate-changing carbon emissions from the biggest global source.

Official plans call for boosting coal production capacity by 300 million tons this year, according to news reports. That is equal to 7% of last year’s output of 4.1 billion tons, which was an increase of 5.7% over 2020.

China is one of the biggest investors in wind and solar, but jittery leaders called for more coal-fired power after economic growth plunged last year and shortages caused blackouts and factory shutdowns. Russia’s attack on Ukraine added to anxiety that foreign oil and coal supplies might be disrupted.

“This mentality of ensuring energy security has become dominant, trumping carbon neutrality,” said Li Shuo, a senior global policy adviser for Greenpeace. “We are moving into a relatively unfavorable time period for climate action in China.”

Coal is important for “energy security,” Cabinet officials said at an April 20 meeting that approved plans to expand production capacity, according to Caixin, a business news magazine.

The ruling party also is building power plants to inject money into the economy and revive growth that sank to 4% over a year earlier in the final quarter of 2021, down from the full year’s 8.1% expansion.

Governments have pledged to try to limit warming of the atmosphere to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the level of pre-industrial times. Leaders say what they really want is a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

Scientists say even if the world hits the 2-degree goal in the 2015 Paris climate pact and the 2021 Glasgow follow-up agreement, that still will lead to higher seas, stronger storms, extinctions of plants and animals and more people dying from heat, smog and infectious diseases.

China is the top producer and consumer of coal. Global trends hinge on what Beijing does.

The Communist Party has rejected binding emissions commitments, citing its economic development needs. Beijing has avoided joining governments that promised to phase out use of coal-fired power.

In a 2020 speech to the United Nations, Xi said carbon emissions will peak by 2030, but he announced no target for the amount. Xi said China aims for carbon neutrality, or removing as much from the atmosphere by planting trees and other tactics as is emitted by industry and households, by 2060.

China accounts for 26.1% of global emissions, more than double the U.S. share of 12.8%, according to the World Resources Institute. Rhodium Group, a research firm, says China emits more than all developed economies combined.

Per person, China’s 1.4 billion people on average emit the equivalent of 8.4 tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to WRI. That is less than half the U.S. average of 17.7 tons but more than the European Union’s 7.5 tons.

China has abundant supplies of coal and produced more than 90% of the 4.4 billion tons it burned last year. More than half of its oil and gas is imported and leaders see that as a strategic risk.

China’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2060 appears to be on track, but using more coal “could jeopardize this, or at least slow it down and make it more costly,” Clare Perry of the Environmental Investigations Agency said in an email.

Promoting coal will make emissions “much higher than they need to be” by the 2030 peak year, said Perry.

“This move runs entirely counter to the science,” she said.

Beijing has spent tens of billions of dollars on building solar and wind farms to reduce reliance on imported oil and gas and clean up its smog-choked cities. China accounted for about half of global investment in wind and solar in 2020.

Still, coal is expected to supply 60% of its power in the near future.

Beijing is cutting millions of jobs to shrink its bloated, state-owned coal mining industry, but output and consumption still are rising.

Authorities say they are shrinking carbon emissions per unit of economic output. The government reported a reduction of 3.8% last year, better than 2020′s 1% but down from a 5.1% cut in 2017.

Last year’s total energy use increased 5.2% over 2020 after a revival of global demand for Chinese exports propelled a manufacturing boom, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Stimulus spending also might raise carbon output if it pays for building more bridges, train stations and other public works. That would encourage carbon-intensive steel and cement production.

China’s coal-fired power plants operate at about half their capacity on average, but building more creates jobs and economic activity, said Greenpeace’s Li. He said even if the power isn’t needed now, local leaders face pressure to make them pay for themselves.

“That locks China into a more high-carbon path,” Li said. “It’s very difficult to fix.”


Source : AP

Infographic: How Far Are We From Phasing Out Coal?

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

U.S. Employers Post Record 11.5 million Job Openings in March

Paul Wiseman wrote . . . . . . . . .

Employers posted a record 11.5 million job openings in March, meaning the United States now has an unprecedented two job openings for every person who is unemployed.

The latest data released Tuesday by the the Bureau of Labor Statistics further reveals an extraordinarily tight labor market that has emboldened millions of Americans to seek better paying jobs, while also contributing to the biggest inflation surge in four decades.

A record 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs in March — a sign that they are confident they can find better pay or improved working conditions elsewhere.

Layoffs, which has been running around 1.8 million a month before the pandemic hit the economy in early 2020, ticked up to 1.4 million in March from 1.35 million in February.

The U.S. job market is on a hot streak. Employers have added an average of more than 540,000 jobs a month for the past year. The Labor Department is expected to report Friday that the economy generated another 400,000 new jobs in April, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet. That would mark an unprecedented 12th straight month that hiring has come in at 400,000 or more.

The U.S. economy and job market roared back with unexpected strength from 2020′s brief but devastating coronavirus recession, fueled by massive government spending and super-low interested rates engineered by the Federal Reserve.

Caught off guard by the sudden rebound in consumer demand, companies scrambled to hire workers and stock their shelves. They were forced to raise wages, and factories, ports and freight yards were overwhelmed with traffic. The result has been shipping delays and higher prices.

In March, consumer prices rose 8.5% from a year earlier — the hottest inflation since 1981.

Where things go from here is uncertain. The Fed is raising short-term interest rates to combat inflation. The COVID-19 stimulus from the federal government is gone. And the war in Ukraine has clouded the economic outlook.

Despite strong hiring, the United States is still 1.6 million short of the jobs it had in February 2020, just before the coronavirus hit the economy; and that shortfall does not take into account the additional jobs that should have been added by a growing population.

For now anyway, the job market looks strong.

“Employees have strong job security and confidence in their ability to find new work,″ said Nick Bunker, director of economic research at the Indeed Hiring Lab. “The labor market is still very much a job seeker’s market. Something dramatic will have to happen for this to change anytime soon.″


Source : AP


Source : Bloomberg

Charts: Hong Kong Plunges 68 Places to 148th in the World Press Freedom Index 2022

Charts: Hong Kong Plunges 68 Places to 148th in the World Press Freedom Index 2022

Source : DW


Read more at Hong Kong Free Press

World Press Freedom Day: Hong Kong nosedives in press freedom ranking – below Cambodia, Somalia, Sri Lanka . . . . .