Overseas Headlines- December 23, 2019

December 23, 2019

United States:

America’s Utilities Are On a Record Borrowing Spree This Year

“U.S. utilities are on a record borrowing spree this year, selling more than $90 billion in bonds for the first time ever. The surge in debt from NextEra Energy Inc., Duke Energy Inc. and other power giants comes as interest rates are at historic lows, leaving investors hungry for the safe and relatively strong returns offered by utility bonds. The trend has implications that reach far beyond bond markets and company balance sheets. Utilities are in the midst of a sweeping transformation to modernize grids and slash emissions by replacing coal plants with wind, solar and cleaner-burning natural-gas generators. The flood of cheap cash from bonds is making that possible.”




U.K. Productivity Malaise Named as ‘Statistic of the Decade’:

“The U.K.’s dismal productivity performance since the financial crisis has been named the country’s “statistics of the decade” by the Royal Statistical Society. The society chose “0.3%” — the estimated average annual increase in productivity in the past 10 years. That compares with the 2% average increase in hourly output in the years before 2008. The performance, the worst since the 1800s, has lagged other major nations and been one of the biggest problems facing Britain’s economy, with implications for wages, wealth and living standards.”




China’s Meat Imports Surge to Record to Meet Holiday Demand

“China’s meat imports surged to a record in November, with buyers in the world’s top pork consumer stepping up purchases ahead of traditional holidays to boost supplies that were hurt by African swine fever. Pork imports jumped 151% from a year earlier to 229,707 tons last month, customs data showed. Shipments in the first 11 months increased almost 58% to 1.7 million tons. Beef purchases were 186,984 tons last month, up nearly 80% from a year earlier. Shipments rose 57% to 1.5 million tons in the January-November period.”


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