EVs not a golden bullet?
An electric vehicle’s emissions depend not only on the emissions created in the process of manufacturing it, but on the power used to charge it up. That means the climate impact of an electric car varies substantially from one country to another. For example, a Tesla charged in a country with a low-carbon grid like Sweden or France emits much less than one charged in Poland — where two-thirds of electricity is generated by coal. All this may be a problem for Elon Musk, who’s about to start selling a lot more Teslas in China and India — where the electricity mix is far from green. New operations in China and India will expand the EV pioneer’s carbon footprint. The company should be upfront about it for the sake of customers who care about climate change.
(Adapted from “Elon Mush Should Come Clean: Tesla’s Emissions Are Rising,” by David Fickling, published on Feb 18 2021, by Bloomberg Opinion)
Looking for love online
More Americans are spending more time online looking for love amid the pandemic. Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Hinge recorded a surge in users and time spent online last year. Overall, eight of the largest dating apps in the US saw a 12.6pc year-on-year increase in monthly active users in the final quarter of 2020, the biggest such jump in nearly two years, according to data tracker Apptopia. The growing interest in dating apps is leading to more downloads and more time spent on them. In all, downloads of the eights apps increased 7.4pc over last year in the fourth quarter. Dating apps last spring saw a dent in activity as Covid-19 spread in US, but several apps bounced back later in the year in terms of monthly active users, overall time spent and app downloads.
(Adapted from “Tinder, Bumble and Hinge Show Surge in Americans Looking For Love Online,” by Yan Wu, published on Feb 13, 2021, by The Wall Street Journal)
Govt’s wheat-buying process
Wheat is the only crop where the government directly gets involved in procurement. Before sowing season, a support price is announced in consultation with the federal and provincial food departments. Farmers in Pakistan retain around 60pc of local wheat produce to meet their seed and household consumption. The remaining 40pc of wheat is marketed and is termed as marketable surplus. After harvesting, Pakistan Agricultural Storage & Services Corporation and provincial food departments procure 63.1pc of marketable wheat. The idea is of this commodity management is to ensure sufficient returns to farmers and maintain adequate levels of stocks to stabilise prices if needed.
(Adapted from “Price Stabilisation Mechanism in Pakistan’s Food Market: Exploring Issues and Potential Challenges” by Asma Khalid and Sabahat, published in Feb 2020 as SBP Staff Notes by the State Bank of Pakistan)
The new trade king
China dethroned the US last year to become Europe’s top trading partner for the first time, data from the European statistic office has shown. EU exports to China grew by 2.2pc last year and imports rose by 5.6pc. In comparison, exports to the US dropped by 8.2pc and imports fell by 13.2pc. The latest figures show that China now has an even bigger role in how European economies perform. The reason behind it is clearly the fact that China/Asia in the only region going through a nice V-shaped recovery. As a result, the Chinese economy is performing slightly closer to pre-Covid levels in comparison with other parts of the world, where restrictions are still taking a toll on activity. China is expected to register the second-highest growth rate globally in 2021. Going forward, Europe will have a hard time choosing between trading with China and helping the US on the technology front given the clashes with Beijing over 5G and technology transfers.
(Adapted from “China overtakes US as Europe’s main trading partner for the first time,” by Silvia Amaro, published on Feb 16, 2021, by CNBC)
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, , March 1st, 2021