Nothing Changes Until Everything Changes
“The percentage of U.S. women in their 30s and 40s who are childless is rising, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau show…47.6% of U.S. women aged 15 to 44 were without children last year, up from 46.5% in 2012…The number of women aged 40 to 44 who had only one child roughly doubled between 1976 and 2014…These trends have helped push America’s fertility rate to record lows, though it should be noted that U.S. fertility still ranks relatively high compared with Europe and Japan.” Meanwhile, the IMF says the financial crisis has done lasting, significant damage to global growth: “lower potential growth in advanced economies has been driven in roughly equal measure by slower capital accumulation and labor growth — due primarily to adverse demographics…demographic factors are likely to act as a brake on growth in many advanced and emerging market economies, as populations age and workers retire.” However, “there is still room for optimism — the future trajectory of potential output is not set in stone.” Meanwhile, global investment in renewable energy “rebounded in 2014 to a near all-time high of $270 billion.” And thanks to the rapidly decreasing costs of solar and battery technology, “renewable energy capacity added in 2014 was easily an all-time high…Renewables went from 8.5 percent to 9.1 percent of global electricity generation just in 2014…The takeoff of solar-plus-batteries has only begun to ramp up the exponential curve, and market shares are still small. But it has begun, and it doesn’t look like we’re going back.” Meanwhile, a team of engineers at Caltech have “developed a very tiny, very powerful 3D imager that can easily fit in a mobile device…the imager may soon allow consumers to snap a photo of just about anything, and then, with a good enough 3D printer, use it to create a real-life replica ‘accurate to within microns of the original object.’”
100 Year 4.5% Euro-Denominated Mexican Sovereign Debt
“Europe’s plunging borrowing costs marked two new milestones on Wednesday, with Switzerland becoming the first country ever to issue 10-year debt that gives investors a yield under 0%, and Mexico lining up a rare deal to borrow euros that it will repay a century from now…Mexico’s deal, which is set to wrap up later Wednesday, is expected to give investors a yield of about 4.5%.” Meanwhile, “about 65 percent of the record 60 billion euros of investment-grade bonds sold in March came from overseas companies…and a lot of those sellers are based in the U.S….Debt is so cheap in Europe that U.S. companies are saving money even if they buy currency hedges that have gotten expensive as the dollar’s soared versus the euro…even if the Fed does hike interest rates this year, it may not matter too much to U.S. corporate borrowers. They’ve found, courtesy of Draghi, a new source of financing that is plenty cheap.”
Snapping Up Bargains
“A huge jump in equities purchases by Chinese investors (alt) has produced record trading volumes in Hong Kong, a signal that the prolonged stock rally on the mainland is finally spilling into global markets…On Wednesday, southbound turnover — purchases and sales — through the Stock Connect leapt to HK$21bn ($2.7bn), more than three times the previous daily record set on April 2…Wednesday’s moves took the average premium of domestic listing, known as A shares, over Hong Kong-listed H shares down from 35 per cent to 28 per cent…’We think retail investors from across the border will soon be snapping up bargains on the Hong Kong stock market. With the A share market still rising in spite of weak economic data and poor corporate earnings in China, we believe Hong Kong H shares are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative.’” Meanwhile, Chinese tech stocks are now trading at “an average 220 times reported profits…higher than those in the U.S. at the height of the dot-com bubble.”
“The deal, if approved by shareholders and regulators, would make Shell the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas…would enable the two European energy giants to eliminate overlapping costs to help offset the impact of weaker prices.” Meanwhile, here’s the U.S. oil story in seven charts.