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Daily Update: March 8, 2021

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The Essential Podcast, Episode 39: Accelerating Black Inclusion in Financial Services — Institutional and Cultural Barriers

Daily Update: March 8, 2021

Subscribe on LinkedIn to be notified of each new Daily Update—a curated selection of essential intelligence on financial markets and the global economy from S&P Global.

The pandemic could permanently erase decades—if not generations—of economic gains for women around the world.

As the professional and personal have collided, the gender gap has widened further, with women disproportionately suffering the worst of the coronavirus crisis’ effects. Across all regions and income groups globally, women have suffered job losses more than men have, with women worldwide accounting for 54% of pandemic-related losses, despite making up less than 40% of the global workforce, according to the International Labor Organization and Harvard Business Review. A recent report by the World Bank showed that even women who have kept their jobs are at risk of losing earnings.

"The urgent need for reform is even more glaring today because the COVID-19 pandemic has widened the long-existing gender pay gap," the World Bank said, calling for governments to center gender equality in their COVID-19 recovery plans and highlighting that a lack of gender equality in policies costs the economy overall.

Experts have warned that the pandemic could negatively impact gender equity progress made by global financial institutions unless banks emphasize such initiatives in their crisis-management strategies. "The real risk in the short term is that diversity and inclusion initiatives are seen as 'nice to have' and fall off everyone's radar," Jessica Clempner, a principal at Oliver Wyman and lead author of the company's "Women in Financial Services 2020" report, told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Prior to the pandemic, research conducted by S&P Global found that increasing women’s labor force participation could have accelerated U.S. GDP growth by 5-10% and added nearly $6 trillion to the global stock market in 10 years. But more than 2.3 million American women have left the workforce since February 2020—sinking their labor force participation rate to the lowest level since 1988, at 57%, according to the National Women’s Law Center. In December alone, women accounted for all of net lost jobs. Research conducted by McKinsey and found that 1 in 4 women are considering exiting the workforce or downshifting their careers.

“Because there is a gender pay gap, so often in a couple situation, the one [parent or family] with the higher-paying job is going to stay working. And it's the women that are going to pull back, go to part-time, or stop working completely,” Natasha Lamb, Managing Partner and Director of Equity Research & Shareholder Engagement at Arjuna Capital, said in recent research conducted by S&P Global and AARP. The pandemic’s effects on efforts to close the gender pay gap and women’s advancement in the workforce, she said, are “going to be a disaster.”

Today is Monday, March 8, 2021, and here is today’s essential intelligence.

The Future of Credit

Default, Transition, and Recovery: The 2021 Global Corporate Default Tally Rises To 17 After Two Emerging Market Defaults

The global corporate default tally has increased to 17 after two issuers defaulted since S&P Global Ratings’ last report. The defaulters are: Argentina-based oil and gas company YPF S.A., and Cayman Islands-incorporated (China-based) real estate developer Sunshine 100 China Holdings Ltd.

—Read the full report from S&P Global Ratings

The U.S. Broadcast Radio Sector's Recovery Is Now Set To Drag Into 2022

The U.S. broadcast radio sector is still recovering from the pandemic's fallout, more slowly than first expected. Radio advertising revenue declined broadly in line with S&P Global Ratings’ previous expectation of negative 23.5% last year. Broadcast radio advertising's recovery will now drag into 2022 given the stalled U.S. economic recovery. Working from home means less commuters listening during peak rush hours, hurting advertising revenues. Broadcast radio companies with large digital footprints will likely recover faster and more fully. Rating outlooks are mostly negative, reflecting ongoing uncertainty around the recovery of broadcast radio advertising.

—Read the full report from S&P Global Ratings

Market Volatility

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) – Part I

SPACs have been raising funds faster than ever before. In 2020, SPACs raised close to USD 100 billion in public offerings, which is more than in the prior 10 years combined; the average IPO size also doubled from 2019.

—Read the full article from S&P Dow Jones Indices

Institutions Showed Little Interest In Shale Gas Stocks In Q4 With 1 Exception

The steady increase in the value of pure-play shale gas stock producers elicited little interest from institutional shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2020 beyond some book-balancing by index and pension managers, an analysis of institutional investor activity showed March 5.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Market Intelligence

China's Steel Prices Could Come Under Near-Term Pressure on Rising Output: Analytics

China's crude steel output rose in late February in line with an improvement in steel margins as post-Lunar New Year domestic construction activity ramped up -- contributing to a build-up of steel inventories that is likely to pressure Chinese hot-rolled coil and rebar prices in March, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

Banking Sector Under Pressure

For UK Institutions, Crypto Is No Longer The 'Wild West' of Finance

With bitcoin prices increasing more than fivefold since March 2020, institutional investors in the U.K. are keen to get a slice of the action. Not only are some investors making peace with the notorious volatility of cryptoassets, they are starting to view them as a vital ingredient for a balanced portfolio.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Market Intelligence

Global I-Banks Post Record Revenues, ROE In 2020

Sector revenues at the 12 leading global investment banks rose to their highest level in more than a decade in 2020, driven by capital market volatility triggered by COVID-19, according to Coalition Greenwich, an S&P Global Inc. research company.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Market Intelligence

ESG in the Time of COVID-19

CERAWEEK: 2021 conference highlights oil's greener turn, pandemic's lasting impact

The 2021 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference, arguably the premier fossil fuels forum, may have been the most unique of its nearly 40-year history and this year highlighted that the march by an "old-economy" industry into the energy transition has revved up and is gaining momentum.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

CERAWEEK: India's Modi Talks Up Role Of Natural Gas In Global Energy Transition

While policies that promote the use of natural gas and renewables in power generation are important to reducing global carbon emissions, it will take a collective change in behavior to reverse the effects of climate change, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said March 5.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

CERAWEEK: Solar Expected To See More Records In 2021 Despite Facing Challenges

The biggest challenges to the utility-scale solar industry are integration, supply chain constraints and a lack of discipline, power industry experts said March 4 at the CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference, held virtually.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

Neptune To Pilot Methane Emissions Measurement Scheme At UK Gas Field

Independent gas-focused producer Neptune Energy said March 5 it would launch in July a new pilot scheme together with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) aimed at measuring methane emissions from offshore oil and gas facilities.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

The Future of Energy & Commodities

Oil, Gas Deal Tracker: Midstream Mergers Drove February M&A

North American pipeline companies drove large-scale oil and gas M&A deal-making in February with several proposed transactions aimed at industry consolidation, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Market Intelligence

Aviation Recovery Limping Due to COVID-19 Hurdles, But Glimmer of Hope Persists

The post-pandemic pathway to aviation's recovery is littered with hurdles and recovery will take several years, with domestic travel likely bouncing back faster than international travel, which largely hinges on a successful vaccination rollout globally, industry experts and sources said at an industry event March 4.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

Libyan Freight Premiums Subside Amid Consistent Output

Freight premiums for Aframax and Suezmax tankers loading from Libya have subsided as the North African producer has once again emerged as the main export hub in the Mediterranean crude market.

—Read the full article from S&P Global Platts

Written and compiled by Molly Mintz.