Mario Draghi Officially accepts post as Italian Prime Minister
After persuading almost all of Italy’s political parties, Mario Draghi, the former head of the European Central Bank, was named Italian Prime Minister in hopes to lead Italy out of the economic recession. President Sergio Mattarella appointed Daniele Franco, former Governor of the Bank of Italy as Finance Minister and Vittorio Colao, former CEO of Vodafone, as Minister of Digital Transition and Technological innovation. These two roles are essencial since the country is recieving €200 Billion in grants and cheap loans from the European Union.
White House Supports Clean Energy
The Biden administration announced that the U.S. Department of Energy will offer $100 million in funding to support low-carbon energy technologies and create a task force to help them grow. This task force will focus on commercializing technologies such as direct air capture and battery storage and will emphasize research to strengthen and build critical clean energy supply chains in the United States.
Cold Weather in Texas Disrupts Oil and Natural Gas Supplies
Rotating power outages were put into action in Texas as the state’s electricity grid operators are overwhelmed with increased demand, with the loss of power being equivalent to 2 million homes. Texas’ oil gathering lines and natural gas lines may freeze and logistical services will be disrupted due to snow and ice. The prices of electricity in the region have reached more than $11.000 per megawatt-hour at one point, according to the ERCOT. Wind and solar power are no help in generating energy in the region since the wind turbines froze and solar panels are covered in snow.
Volkswagen, Ford and GM and other automakers expect chip supplies to remain tight
Global automakers are adjusting assembly lines due to semiconductor shortages, with Ford having to cut production next week at two plants that make the F-150 pickup truck. This shortage could cause Ford’s earnings to drop by as much as $2.5 Billion this year. The story is the same for other automakers: Volkswagen, GM, Toyota and Nissan all had to cut production in some plants for as much as a month, in the case of GM.
Tesla has bought $1.5 Billion in Bitcoin
In a presentation to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it bought bitcoin to “have more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on our cash.” Tesla also said it will begin accepting bitcoin payments in exchange for its products “subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis.” This would make Tesla the first major automaker to do so.
Wall Street banks get closer to adopting bitcoin
Morgan Stanley is considering matching buyers and sellers of bitcoin for clients, but is studying how to integrate the cryptocurrency into its risk management systems due to the high volatility of the asset. The likelihood rises that other major banks decide to join the party. BNY Mellon has stated that it will hold, transfer and issue cryptocurrencies on behalf of its clients. Previous rallies in the cryptocurrency markets have attracted banks to adopt the assets but have failed to materialize until just recently.
Disney Beats Earnings Expectations
Disney reported earnings that beat expectations, the company posted adjusted EPS of $0.32 and revenue of $16.25B, compared to consensus estimates of an adjusted loss per share of $0.38 and revenue of $15.91B. Disney also reported 94.9 million Disney+ subscribers, lauched just 15 months ago. CEO Bob Chapek pointed to more than 21 million new Disney+ streaming customers as a sign that the shift away from traditional media is paying off.
The UK economy had its worst year in three centuries
The United Kindom’s GDP fell by nearly 10% over the course of 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has effectively wiped out all growth in the United Kingdom, returning the economy close to the size it was in 2013. The 9.9% decline in the UK’s GDP surpassed the 9.7% collapse experienced in 1921 after the First World War, making it the worst annual drop since 1709. The disruption in EU-UK trade following the end of the Brexit is also weighing in on the recovery.
Lourenço Cardoso BSc in Finance
Andrés Damián BSc in Economics
Julieta Vega BSc in Economics