Member Briefing October 26, 2022

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

IEA’s Birol: World is in its 'First Truly Global Energy Crisis'

Tightening markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide and major oil producers cutting supply have put the world in the middle of "the first truly global energy crisis", the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday. Rising imports of LNG to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis and a potential rebound in Chinese appetite for the fuel will tighten the market as only 20 billion cubic meters of new LNG capacity will come to market next year, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the Singapore International Energy Week. For oil, consumption is expected to grow by 1.7 million bpd in 2023 so the world will still need Russian oil to meet demand, Birol said.

Soaring global prices across a number of energy sources, including oil, natural gas and coal, are hammering consumers at the same time they are already dealing with rising food and services inflation. The high prices and possibility of rationing are potentially hazardous to European consumers as they prepare to enter the Northern Hemisphere winter. Europe may make it through this winter, though somewhat battered, if the weather remains mild, Birol said.

Read more at Reuters

War in Ukraine Headlines

NYS Labor Market – Employment Up, Labor Force Down.

The September 2022 unemployment rate for the Hudson Valley Region is 2.8 percent.  That is down from 3.5 percent in August 2022 and down from 3.9 percent in September 2021.  In September 2022, there were 33,200 unemployed in the region, down from 40,600 in August 2022 and down from 44,000 in September 2021.  The labor force fell by 5,200 or 0.4% in September to 1,171,100 from 1,126,900 in August.  Every County in the region had an unemployment rate below 3% in September.

Statewide the labor force fell by 66,900 or 0.7% to 9,505,700 in August.  Year on Year the labor force grew by 1.1%.  The statewide unemployment rate stands at 3.%.  Every region in the state had an unemployment rate lower than 3.3% with the exception of New York City.  Its rate stood at 5.2 %.

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Empire Center: Nation’s Report Card Paints Bleak Picture for New York

NAEP reading and math exams were last administered in 2019, so the 2022 results provide the best clues yet as to the degree of learning loss that took place across the country due to the pandemic.

In New York, the decline in fourth grade math is particularly acute. Scores dropped by ten points from 2019, a number surpassed only by Delaware, Virginia, and Washington DC and tied by Maryland and New Mexico. Psychometricians assert that ten points is roughly equivalent to one year of learning. The six-point drop in 8th grade math is closer to the national norm of 8 points, but that is cold comfort given the unprecedented decline in math across the country. According to NAEP standards, equal proportions of fourth and eighth graders — 28 percent — are proficient in math.

Read more at Empire Center

US COVID - New York’s Struggle With the New Omicron Variant BQ is Trying to Tell Us Something

As scientists speculate what an autumn COVID wave might look like in the U.S., all eyes are on the Empire State. That’s because it’s considered a “bellwether” when it comes to viral conditions, and what happens there often provides a preview for the rest of the country.

Right now, New York is seeing mounting cases of the extremely transmissible, immune-evasive BQ family of COVID variants, which includes BQ.1 and BQ.1.1. Levels of BQ variants nearly doubled this week in the CDC’s New York region. The BQ family rose from a combined estimated 9% last week to more than 17% this week, according to agency data. BQ variants—along with XBB variants surging in other parts of the world—are believed to be the most immune-evasive strains of COVID yet. The jury is still out on how severe these strains are, but there are early reports that monoclonal antibody treatments, reserved for high-risk patients, can’t stand up to them.

Read more at Fortune

US Chamber’s Vote For Jobs 2022 Toolkit

Inflation and the worker shortage are holding back America’s economic growth. The US Chamber of Commerce has developed a toolkit to help those who favor a prosperous economy support the election of pro-growth leaders who will unlock a brighter future of solutions and opportunities for all Americans.  #VoteForJobs.

If you are one of those voters who support a pro-growth agenda then the Chamber seeks your help in encouraging your networks to vote on behalf of that agenda this fall is critical. The Chamber’s Vote For Jobs Toolkit reminds the public to vote for strong pro-business champions this November—so if you’re unable to campaign or volunteer in-person this election season, you can easily share these helpful messages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Visit the Toolkit at the Chamber website

Hochul and Zeldin Debate on Spectrum News

Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin has for weeks been challenging Gov. Kathy Hochul to a series of debates across the state. Now, it appears their debate Tuesday night on Spectrum News was his one and only chance to face off against Hochul. A recent series of polls shows Zeldin has narrowed the gap against Hochul, magnifying the importance of the debate.

It was at times contentious. The pair clashed on their policy prescriptions to address New Yorkers’ concerns about crime, the economy, abortion, economic development, and democracy. Hochul highlighted her record on abortion rights, gun reform and economic development, while painting Zeldin as an extremist for his anti-abortion views and his close alliance with former President Donald Trump. Zeldin, has made crime the center of his entire campaign, highlighting increases in rapes, robberies, and felony assaults in New York City and beyond. He is also expected to highlight Hochul’s connection with Albany pay to play politics and the State’s sluggish recovery from the pandemic.

Read more at Spectrum News

NYC Reverses COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for Extracurricular Activities, Private Employers

The Department of Health officially reversed two major COVID-19 vaccination requirements affecting children and adults across New York City. City officials voted to remove the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for high-risk extracurricular activities in schools as well as the vaccine mandate for private sector employers. The commissioner's order was announced back in September, but the vote today solidifies that decision.

Children participating in activities such as cheerleading, dancing and other sports teams will be allowed to do so without the COVID-19 vaccine. That order was first put in place at the end of the year in 2021. Health officials offered several reasons for their decision, including the significant decrease in COVID-19 case since July 2022.

Read more at Bronx News12

Earnings Update

3M Co on Tuesday cut its full-year revenue and profit forecasts, expecting to take a hit from rising inflation and shrinking overseas earnings due to a stronger dollar. 3M reported third-quarter revenue of $8.62 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $8.70 billion, according to Refinitiv data. The company now expects full-year revenue to fall between 3.5% and 3%, down from its previous forecast of a 2.5% to 0.5% fall. - Reuters

General Motors on Tuesday said net income soared by 37 percent in the third quarter to $3.3 billion as improved truck production and rising prices helped the automaker generate record revenue. GM's global revenue rose 56 percent to $41.9 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes rose 47 percent to $4.3 billion. The automaker's net margin slid to 7.9 percent from 9 percent a year earlier. – Automotive News

General Electric Co on Tuesday trimmed its full-year profit forecast after reporting a decline in third-quarter earnings, primarily due to higher warranty and related reserves at its renewable energy business. But the company's free cash flow in the quarter through September came in at $1.19 billion, much higher than its previous estimate. Its quarterly revenue also topped Wall Street's estimates. GE said it expects renewable energy losses of about $2 billion this year. It is laying off workers at its onshore wind unit as part of a plan to restructure and resize the business. - YahooFinance

United Parcel Service Inc.’s profit climbed in the third quarter despite a downtick in shipping volumes as higher prices buoyed the business. United Parcel Service Inc.’s profit climbed in the third quarter despite a downtick in shipping volumes as higher prices buoyed the business. While higher than last year, UPS’s quarterly revenue was under analysts’ expectations of $24.31 billion, according to FactSet. Earnings came in at $3.1 billion, up from $2.3 billion a year ago. For the full year, UPS said it affirms expectations that revenue will reach $102 billion and adjusted operating margins at 13.7%, along with reduced capital expenditure by $500 million to $5 billion. - WSJ

Read more at Reuters

China Stocks Plummet as Xi Jinping Consolidates Power

Chinese stocks popular with big fund managers have been hammered by a significant sell-off following confirmation of President Xi Jinping’s third term in power, suggesting billions of dollars of losses for those who stuck by their portfolios.

The Nasdaq Golden Dragon index, which tracks US-listed shares in Chinese companies, shed 14.4 per cent on Monday in its largest one-day fall on record, bringing its decline to about 50 per cent this year. Stocks such as Alibaba, and Pinduoduo all tumbled. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index suffered its biggest single-day drop since November 2008 on Monday. It declined as much as 1.6 per cent in early trading on Tuesday, while China’s CSI 300 fell as much as 1 per cent, before they pared their losses.

Read more at The FT

China’s Strongman is Here to Stay. And Weaker Than He Looks

On Sunday, Xi Jinping walked onto a Beijing stage to confirm his appointment to a third term, followed by a new top leadership team purged of rival factions and packed with loyalists — a procession that telegraphed party cohesion and strength. Yet, for all its reputation as an economic juggernaut, China is struggling. Its economic growth is slowing, due to factors ranging from Xi’s zero-Covid strategy to inflation related to the war in Ukraine, according to the World Bank.

China’s youth joblessness rate stood at about 19 percent in August. That’s dangerously high for a party that trumpets rising living standards as proof of wise governance.  But Xi has refused to renounce his “no limits” partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin and is maintaining zero-Covid despite the costs. In addition, his ideologically driven economic policy prescriptions — which lean toward a strong-armed interventionist approach rather than support for the country’s burgeoning private sector — could stunt growth further.

Read more at Politico

Rishi Sunak Warns of Difficult Decisions Ahead in First Speech as PM

Rishi Sunak has warned of "difficult decisions" ahead as his government grapples with a "profound economic crisis", in his first speech as prime minister. He said he had been elected as Tory leader to "fix" the "mistakes" made by his predecessor, Liz Truss. Following Mr Sunak's speech, opposition parties repeated their demand for an immediate general election and argued Mr Sunak had no mandate from the public.

Mr Sunak promised to deliver the manifesto that won the Conservatives a landslide election victory in 2019. His speech outside No 10 came after he was appointed PM by King Charles. The UK's first British Asian prime minister, Mr Sunak is announcing his cabinet this afternoon, after telling Tory MPs to unify or face electoral oblivion. A large majority of those MPs backed him for the leadership and when his only remaining rival Penny Mordaunt withdrew, there was no need for a ballot of Tory members.

Read more at BBC

Bosch Celebrates The Launch Of Electric Motor Production In South Carolina

As the world’s largest automotive supplier, Bosch produced many of the components and software for those not so clean diesel engines. Like its automaker customers, Bosch has now pivoted heavily toward electrification including at its Charleston, South Carolina factory. So far Bosch has invested more than $6 billion in the global transition to electrification and plans to spend more in the coming years as it continues to shift more production from components and systems for internal combustion and convert facilities.

$260 million of that investment is going into the Charleston plant to retool and reconfigure as well as retrain staff. Over the past year, many of the staff have spent time at Bosch factories in Germany learning new processes and understanding the new equipment. The Charleston plant is Bosch’s largest in North America and in early 2020, the company announced that it would wind down production of diesel components there.

Read more at Forbes

Home Prices Fell in August for Second Straight Month

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, fell 1.1% in August from July, the second straight month-over-month decline. The August decline was also the biggest month-on-month decrease since December 2011. The housing market has slowed abruptly this year due to a rapid increase in mortgage rates, which has raised borrowing costs for home buyers and pushed many prospective buyers out of the market. Existing-home sales fell for eight straight months through September.

The index rose 13% in the year that ended in August, down from a 15.6% annual rate the prior month. On a seasonally adjusted basis, meanwhile, the index posted two straight months of declines for the first time since 2012.

Read more at The Center Square

Let’s Not Circle Back on That: These 10 Corporate Buzzwords are the Most Hated in America

 Business jargon (along with small talk about the weather) is a staple of office discourse. But unlike talking about how it’s abnormally chilly out, no one really likes chatting in overused corporate phrases.  More than one in five workers dislikes corporate buzzwords, according to online learning platform Preply’s survey of more than 1,500 Americans. Yet these phrases remain alive and well, with two in five respondents saying they hear these buzzwords at least once a day and seven in 10 admitting they use business jargon themselves.

Fortune lists top 10 annoying phrases most hated among your coworkers:

Read more at Fortune