Most major European equity indices closed higher, APAC markets
were mixed, and all major US indices closed lower. US and benchmark
European government bonds closed higher. CDX-NA closed wider across
IG and high yield, iTraxx-Europe closed flat, and iTraxx-Xover was
slightly tighter on the day. The US dollar, copper, and silver
closed higher, gold was flat, and oil and natural gas were lower on
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- All major US equity indices where higher most of the day, but
changed course in the afternoon to close lower; DJIA -0.9%, S&P
500 -1.1%, Nasdaq -1.3%, and Russell 2000 -1.9%.
- 10yr US govt bonds closed -6bps/1.81% yield and 30yr bonds
- CDX-NAIG closed +2bps/57bps and CDX-NAHY +6bps/323bps.
- DXY US dollar index closed +0.2%/95.74.
- Gold closed flat/$1,843 per troy oz, silver +2.0%/$24.72 per
troy oz, and copper +2.5%/$4.58 per pound.
- Crude oil closed -0.3%/$85.55 per barrel and natural gas closed
-5.1%/$3.65 per mmbtu.
- The U.S. hospital-staffing shortage exacerbated by the latest
COVID-19 wave is showing signs of easing, but many West Coast and
rural states are still seeing the worst of it. Over the past seven
days, about 16.7% of U.S. hospitals have reported critical staffing
shortages, down from a recent peak of 18.7% on Jan. 9, according to
data from the Department of Health and Human Services. Fewer
facilities are reporting shortages in populous New York, Florida
and Illinois. (Bloomberg)
- Revenue per available room last week, after seasonal
adjustment, was 77.1% of the mid-January 2020 level (estimate based
on weekly data from STR). These data have been volatile in recent
weeks, but the last two weekly readings have been materially below
prior averages. This suggests the current wave of COVID-19
infections is weighing on travel activity (as is also indicated by
a recent weakening of US airport daily passenger traffic from TSA).
(IHS Markit Economists Ben
Herzon and Lawrence Nelson)
- US existing home sales fell 4.6% to a 6.18-million unit annual
rate in December; sales were down in all four regions. December's
update closes the book for the year 2021 and its fourth quarter
(outside of data revisions). Existing home sales totaled 6.12
million in 2021—the highest since 2006 and 8.5% higher than
2020. (IHS Markit Economist Patrick
- The average and median price of a home increased 11.0% and
16.9%, respectively, in 2021. The growth rates of both prices
slowed in the second half. In December, the median price stood
15.8% higher than 12 months earlier, down from the peak in May 2021
of 23.6%; the average price was 9.6% higher than a year earlier,
down from the May peak of 16.9%.
- Sales fell in the first half and picked up in the second,
climbing 4.6% to a 6.33-million rate in the fourth quarter, the
second-highest reading since the fourth quarter of 2006.
- Inventory and the months' supply for homes fell to all-time
lows of 910,000 and 1.8 months in December (data start in January
1999). Inventory of single-family homes and the months' supply also
ended the year at all-time lows of 780,000 units and 1.7 months
(data start in 1982).
- Properties took 19 days to sell in December, up from 18 days in
November and down from 21 days in December 2020; 79% of homes sold
in December were on the market less than a month.
- Freddie Mac's 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has risen to 3.56%,
up from 3.05% four weeks ago. This has yet to dent demand. The
Mortgage Bankers Association's Purchase Index (four-week average)
increased last week and remains at high levels.
- US seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment
insurance jumped by 55,000 to 286,000 in the week ended 15 January,
rising to its highest level since last October. The rising trend in
claims could be indicative of a slowing job market amid the
Omicron-induced surge in cases. (IHS Markit Economist Akshat Goel)
- Seasonally adjusted continuing claims (in regular state
programs) rose by 84,000 to 1,635,000 in the week ended 8 January.
Despite moving higher in the latest reading, the current level of
continuing claims is below the 2019 average (1,700,000). The
insured unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 1.2%.
- There was a total of 255,142 claims under Pandemic Emergency
Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment
Assistance (PUA) in the week ended 11 December—the last week
data are available for. According to the Department of Labor, any
ongoing claims under these programs represent claims for weeks of
unemployment prior to the two programs' expiration on 6 September
- In the week ended 1 January, the unadjusted total of continuing
claims for benefits in all programs rose by 180,114 to
- Customs data shows that US organic fresh produce imports soared
by over 30% to about $1.0 billion in January-November 2021. Main
origins are Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina. Raspberries
commanded the highest import price. (IHS Markit Food and
Agricultural Commodities' Hope Lee)
- In January-November 2021, organic bananas are the most imported
produce, at 512,000 tons, with Ecuador accounting for over 42% of
the volume, followed by Mexico at 25%. The US imports organic
bananas from seven origins; the average import price from Ecuador
was the lowest at $630 per ton compared to Dominican Republic's
$890/ton, the highest point. The average import price was $685/ton,
2.3% down y/y.
- Organic hass avocado imports concentrate on fruits from Mexico,
Peru and Colombia, with a total of 57,000 tons, 31% up y/y,
equivalent to $181 million, 41% up y/y. The average import price
was $3,200/ton, 8% up y/y.
- Total organic apple imports were 32,000 tons (9% up y/y) from
four origins, with Chile contributing 45% of the volume. Fruits
from New Zealand rose 17% by volume, far outpacing Chile (5% up
y/y), at an average price of $2,200/ton, about $500/ton more than
- US organic mango imports amounted to 54,000 tons in
January-November 2021, 56% up y/y, valued at $60 million, up 47%
y/y. Mexico accounted for 85% of the total volume, at an average
price of just over $1,000/ton, 6% down y/y.
- The US recorded a strong demand for organic lemons, with 11,000
tons imported, 32% up y/y, worth $9.5 million, 44% up y/y. The
average import price rose 9% y/y to $890/ton. Mexico dominates the
imports with an 84% volume share while Argentina boosted its
shipments by 460% to 1,400 tons. Argentina's price was about
- The US imports organic pears from Argentina, Chile and Canada
with a total of 13,000 tons imported in January-November 2021.
Argentina held a 97% market share while shipments from Chile surged
to 350 tons from 72 tons in the same period of the previous year.
The average import price was $1,400/ton, 6% down y/y.
- The US imports organic blueberries from five origins, with
Peru, Chile and Mexico accounting for 97% of the volume. Total
import volume (35% up y/y), value (55% up y/y) and prices (14% up
y/y) went up strongly to 37,000 tons, $341 million, $9,160/ton,
respectively. Fruits from Peru surged by 184% y/y to 15,000 tons,
at an average price of $8,900/ton, over $2,000/ton higher than
- GM is taking its zero-emissions business beyond vehicles,
announcing further plans for its Hydrotec fuel-cell technology
business. GM plans to deliver Hydrotec-based mobile and fixed power
systems for a multitude of uses, including charging EVs, powering
work sites, supporting the military, and providing emergency power.
GM's efforts to develop its fuel-cell technology business outside
of the light-vehicle space should enable the company to create a
new revenue source, as well as scale up some technologies. However,
these efforts also entail the company moving out of its core
business, and even outside of transportation, into power storage
and generation. Ultimately, the efforts could prove to be a natural
evolution of its business that helps the company to scale up the
new technology and obtain profitable revenue sources, as well as
make a meaningful mark in the shift to a zero-emissions world.
Alternatively, as with other side projects that automakers have
taken on over the years, the new business might not end up aligning
as well with the core business as the fundamentals indicate. (IHS
Markit AutoIntelligence's Stephanie
- Nikola has announced a collaboration with Proterra for
long-term battery supply; the batteries will be used for
zero-emission Class 8 semi-trucks, including the Nikola Tre battery
electric vehicle (BEV) and Tre fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV). A
statement from Nikola says that the Proterra-powered Nikola
semi-trucks are due to start production in the fourth quarter of
2022, after Proterra delivers prototypes in the second quarter of
2022. Nikola CEO Mark Russell said in the statement, "With the
growing demand for the Nikola Tre BEV and FCEV, we have actively
pursued battery supply through a dual source strategy. We look
forward to collaborating with Proterra, which is expected to bring
industry-leading heavy-duty EV battery solutions to Nikola's
battery-electric and fuel cell electric vehicle platforms." The
announcement did not include any details related to financial
terms, nor did it comment on how many batteries Proterra will
supply. Proterra is growing its business, and already has contracts
with Lightning eMotors and Volta. (IHS Markit AutoIntelligence's Stephanie
- The Chilean National Development Agency (Corfo) selected six
green hydrogen production projects for development in late
December, accelerating the country's effort to become a world
leader in the emerging clean energy. Winning bids would result in
more than 45,000 metric tons (mt)/year of new green hydrogen
capacity, with each of the plants expected to begin operations in
2025 or earlier. Representing commitments by international energy
and chemicals companies of more than $1 billion in investment, the
projects are (IHS Markit Net-Zero Business Daily's Kevin Adler):
- Faro del Sur. Enel Green Power Chile, a subsidiary of the
Italian energy firm Enel, will produce 25,000 mt/year in the
Magallanes Region, using 240 MW of new wind power. "The green
hydrogen is expected to be sold to HIF Chile, a company that will
produce ethanol and e-gasoline for export to Europe," Corfo said.
Chilean industrial firm AME is the lead developer, and it's joined
in a consortium by state-owned oil company Enap, German engineering
firm Siemens, and Enel. Construction has started on this
- HyPro Aconcagua. German chemicals company Linde will produce
3,000 mt/year of green hydrogen in the Valparaiso Region, using 20
MW of power. The output will replace part of the current production
of gray hydrogen that they have installed in the Aconcagua oil
refinery for National Oil Company (ENAP), Corfo said.
- HyEx-Green Hydrogen Production. French utility and oil and gas
producer Engie will produce 3,200 mt/year in the Antofagasta Region
using 26 MW of new power. Chilean mining services firm Enaex will
buy the green hydrogen as a feedstock to produce green ammonia for
- Antofogasta Mining Energy Renewable. French industrial gases
producer Air Liquide will produce 60,000 mt of e-methanol using
green hydrogen, captured CO2, and 80 MW of renewable energy.
- Hydrogen Green Bahia Quintero. GNL Quintero, a Chilean natural
gas and LNG firm, will produce 430 mt/year of green hydrogen from a
plant in the Valparaiso Region, using 10 MW of new power.
- H2V CAP. CAP, a Chilean mining and steel company, plans to
produce 1,550 mt/year of green hydrogen in the Biobio Region, using
20 MW of renewable power.
- Also in December, the H2 Magallanes project was announced, and
it will include 10 GW of wind capacity in southern Chile to power
an 8-GW green hydrogen electrolyzer and an ammonia plant. Total
Eren, the developer subsidiary of French energy giant
TotalEnergies, is the lead developer.
- Most major European equity markets closed higher except UK
-0.1%; Italy/Germany +0.7%, Spain +0.5%, and France +0.3%.
- 10yr European govt bonds closed higher; Italy -4bps, Spain/UK
-3bps, and France/German -2bps.
- iTraxx-Europe closed flat/54bps and iTraxx-Xover
- Brent crude closed -0.1%/$88.38 per barrel.
- UK-based startup Urban-Air Port has reportedly agreed to sell a
minority stake to Hyundai's air taxi arm, Supernal. According to a
report by Bloomberg, Urban-Air Port said that the infused capital
would support the development of 200 facilities for flying taxis
across the world over the next five years. As part of the deal,
Supernal will be given a seat on Urban-Air Port's board, and the
move will allow Hyundai to "shape the broader advanced air mobility
market from the ground up". Hyundai plans to create a platform
dedicated to urban air mobility (UAM) and to introduce passenger
and cargo air vehicles in 2028. It recently formed a new company,
Supernal, which is an evolution of its UAM division. (IHS Markit
Automotive Mobility's Surabhi Rajpal)
- A large swath of seabed has been reserved for offshore wind
farms in Scotland, raising the capacity bar for both fixed and
floating wind. Scotland's land manager this week offered 17
projects the right to reserve specific areas of seabed for a
combined £699.2 million ($949.78 million). Altogether, the projects
have a capacity of 24.8 GW, three times the 8 GW capacity offered
by the UK in February at the UK Crown Estate seabed leasing round.
The capacity exceeds Scotland's 2020 target to build 11 GW of
offshore wind in the next decade. (IHS Markit Net-Zero Business
Daily's Cristina Brooks)
- In July, Crown Estate Scotland opened bids on the round,
attracting developers from abroad with Scotland's strong wind
- The capacity offered is Europe's largest for any single
offshore wind tender or lease round. "It's also the largest space
awarded for floating offshore wind. So, this is a breakthrough for
floating offshore wind," said IHS Markit Senior Research Analyst
Diego Ortiz Garcia.
- But challenges lie ahead for the floating wind projects due to
the high cost and limited supply chain of the emerging technology
involved. This is especially true as subsidies have not been
confirmed, according to Garcia.
- High floating wind project construction costs contrast with
currently plunging costs to build fixed-bottom offshore wind
projects. "The floating wind projects will definitely need some
kind of support, but the fixed projects are today quite competitive
in terms of Levelized Cost of Energy, and can potentially go
without a subsidy," Garcia said.
- IHS Markit forecasts that costs for floating wind projects,
which currently cost 82% more than their fixed counterparts, will
decrease to 50% of those costs by 2030.
- The ECB concluded during its December 2021's ECB policy meeting
that progress on the economic recovery and rising inflation were
consistent with a "step-by-step" reduction in the pace of its net
asset purchases over the coming quarters. However, it judged that
monetary accommodation was still needed for inflation to stabilize
at the 2% target over the medium term. (IHS Markit Economist Ken
- First, the discussions were dominated by differences of opinion
about the prospects for inflation and related risks -
understandably given the unprecedented surge in eurozone inflation
over the past year (see first chart). Some members noted that the
December 2021 projections had contained the largest cumulative
upward revision to the inflation projections in the history of the
exercise. In mitigation, however, it was stressed that almost
two-thirds of the upward revision to inflation for 2022 was due to
developments in volatile energy prices.
- It was also pointed out that core inflation had increased
strongly over recent months, and inflation had become more
broad-based, with barely any of the items in the Harmonised Index
of Consumer Prices (HICP) still exhibiting the low rates of change
prevailing in the pre-pandemic period. This cautioned against
portraying the current high level of inflation as being the result
of just energy price developments and temporary factors.
- There was elevated uncertainty as to where inflation would
settle in the medium term after the current "hump". Models
calibrated on pre-pandemic data might not be well suited to
capturing major structural changes or a potential switch from a
lower to a higher inflation regime. The longer inflation remained
substantially above the target, the more it could become entrenched
in longer-term inflation expectations, which could then spill over
into wage growth and actual inflation.
- Although it was noted that the latest available data for
negotiated wages suggested annual growth of around 1.5% and did not
point to second-round effects so far, it was recalled that
developments in wage growth lagged those in other economic
variables, and such effects should hence not be expected in the
data at this stage.
- Reference was made to the disinflationary impact of the Omicron
wave of the COVID-19 pandemic through lower global commodity
prices. However, the point was also made that the balance between
the disinflationary and inflationary consequences of Omicron was
uncertain. It would most likely affect supply adversely and, in
line with previous experiences during the pandemic, could also
entail significant upside risks to inflation.
- The second key point from the account was the increased
emphasis on financial instability risks. In line with the ECB's new
monetary policy strategy agreed in 2021, the Governing Council
would formally assess the interrelation between monetary policy and
financial stability twice a year. While macroprudential policy was
the first line of defense, the impact of accommodative monetary
policy on property and financial markets warranted close
monitoring, especially since some medium-term vulnerabilities had
- Some Governing Council members refused to support the December
2021 announcements. They retained reservations about various
elements, including the recalibration of Asset Purchase Programme
(APP) purchases, the extension of the minimum Pandemic Emergency
Purchase Programme (PEPP) reinvestment period, and the statement
about flexibility in future asset purchases beyond the confines of
the specific circumstances of the pandemic.
- France's business sentiment index stands at 107 in January,
down from 109 in December 2021. The index has declined for the
second successive month, following four consecutive increases, but
it remains well above its long-term average of 100. The decline in
sentiment has been particularly acute in the service sector, where
the index has fallen from 107 in December to 105 (it had peaked at
114 in November 2021). Service-sector providers have reported
significantly lower expected activity and demand, while the index
measuring expected employment has also declined. (IHS Markit
- The index measuring expected selling prices in the service
sector has reached a level not seen since 1990. The correlation
between this index and service price inflation has been quite
strong since the start of the pandemic, and may point to further
increases in service price inflation during the first quarter of
this year (see chart below).
- Meanwhile, confidence in the manufacturing sector has improved
for the fourth consecutive month as a substantial increase in order
books has helped to offset a decline in personal and general
production expectations. The quarterly manufacturing survey also
suggests that supply difficulties have eased during the three
months to January, with the number of firms reporting being limited
in their production by supply difficulties declining from 49% in
October 2021 to 40% in January 2022 (this is the first fall since
- The confidence indices in the retail trade (105, following 107
in December) and construction (113, following 115) sectors have
declined in January. In both cases, they remain above their
long-term average of 100.
- U.S. chemicals and plastics producer Eastman Chemical Company
plans to build in France the world's largest advanced recycling
facility, the company said this week. This $1 billion facility,
which is expected to be operational by 2025, will use Eastman's
polyester renewal technology, which it calls PRT, to recycle up to
160,000 mt/year of hard-to-recycle plastic waste. These are
currently incinerated because it either cannot be mechanically
recycled, Eastman said. Eastman did not specify the kinds of
polymers it will produce at this facility. (IHS Markit Chemical
Market Advisory Service's Chuan Ong)
- This multi-phase project includes units that would prepare
mixed plastic waste for processing, a methanolysis unit to
depolymerize the waste, and polymer lines to create various
first-quality materials for specialty, packaging, and textile
applications, said Eastman.
- The company will use its molecular recycling technology to
break down this waste into its molecular building blocks, to be
reassembled into virgin-quality material. This enables potentially
infinite reuse of materials by repurposing them after lifecycles,
potentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% versus
- Eastman also plans to operate by 2025 an innovation center for
molecular recycling that would research alternative recycling
methods and applications to curb plastic waste incineration instead
of fossil feedstock.
- The company said that LVMH Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies,
Clarins, Procter & Gamble, L'Oréal and Danone have signed
letters of intent for multiyear supply agreements from this
- Advanced recycling is also known as molecular recycling or
chemical recycling. Solvents, heat, enzymes, and other techniques
are used to purify or transform plastics at the molecular
- According to Eastman, it uses two different types of molecular
recycling technologies, carbon renewal technology and polyester
- The company's PRT takes polyester plastics, such as soft drink
bottles, carpet, or polyester-based clothing, breaking them down to
basic monomers. These monomers are then sent through a
polymerization process to make final products.
- Eastman's carbon renewal technology, which it terms CRT, uses a
broad mixture of plastic waste such as mixed plastics, textiles,
and carpet as source materials. This mixture is converted to small
molecules that are used to make new products.
- According to Eastman, the two main differences between PRT and
CRT are the type of feedstock, and the outputs produced. CRT can
process a broad mix of plastic waste except polyvinyl chloride
(PVC), whereas PRT uses polyester as input.
- The UAE's Rebound Plastic Exchange plans to start recycled
plastic trading by the middle of this year, its parent business
International Holding Company (IHC) said in an exchange filing this
week. Rebound Ltd, IHC's newly formed subsidiary, believes that the
Rebound Plastic Exchange can help efficiently recycle plastic at
scale, reduce the impact of world plastic pollution, and open new
economic opportunities in a global business it estimates is worth
AED 56 billion ($15.25 billion), according to IHC's statement on
the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). (IHS Markit Chemical
Market Advisory Service's Chuan Ong)
- According to IHC, close to 100% of plastic waste can be
recycled, but the global rate of plastic recycling sits at just
15%. There is expected to be a 6 million mt deficit of recycled
content based on the many commitments of global brands, many of
whom are aiming for 20-30% increases by 2025.
- IHC said that Rebound Plastic Exchange is a point of market
entry for the estimated 80% of countries without domestic
capacities to process or consume plastic feedstock, or both. By
2025, it estimates that roughly 5 million mt of recycled plastic
will have been traded via Rebound.
- DHL Global Forwarding will partner IHC, to provide laboratory
tests based on accepted international standards for materials
before being traded, IHC added.
- South Africa's headline inflation rate accelerated by 0.6%
month on month (m/m) to 5.9% during December 2021. This leaves
South Africa's average inflation rate for 2021 at 4.5%, up from the
3.3% recorded in 2020. (IHS Markit Economist Thea
- Transport cost made a 2.3-percentage-point contribution to the
annual inflation rate during December alone following the 40.5%
year-on-year (y/y) rise in average fuel prices during the month.
This was followed by a 1.0-percentage-point contribution from the
food and non-alcoholic beverages category and a
1.0-percentage-point contribution from the housing and utilities
sub-category, which include administrative prices such as water,
electricity, and other services costs. The South Africa Statistical
Services (StatsSA) reported a 14.0% y/y rise in electricity costs
- "Core" inflation, excluding fuel, administrative and food
prices, increased at a slower pace to average 3.4% during December.
Service inflation averaged 3.3% during December, while the steepest
jump in inflation were recorded for non-durable consumer goods,
rising by 10.5% y/y compared to 3.5% y/y for durable goods and 2.1%
for semi-durable goods.
- Major APAC equity indices closed mixed; Hong Kong +3.4%, Japan
+1.1%, South Korea +0.7%, Australia +0.1%, Mainland China -0.1%,
and India -1.1%.
- Mainland China's one-year loan prime rate (LPR) cut will help
boost credit expansion and total social financing in mainland China
in the first quarter of 2022. Further monetary and fiscal easing
policies are still expected over the first half of the year. (IHS
Markit Economist Yating
- The People's Bank of China (PBOC) lowered the benchmark loan
prime rate (LPR) on 20 January, following the medium-term lending
facility (MLF) loan rate cut earlier this week.
- The PBOC lowered the one-year LPR by 10 basis points (bps) from
3.8% to 3.7%, the second consecutive reduction since December 2021.
Meanwhile, the five-year LPR has been reduced by 5 bps, to 4.6%,
marking the first cut to the five-year LPR since April 2020, when
the central bank broadly eased monetary policy to offset COVID-19
- The LPR cut comes largely expected following the MLF loan rate
cut earlier this week and the lower year-on-year (y/y) GDP growth
rate registered in fourth quarter 2021. The PBOC stated at an 18
January briefing that it aims to "open the monetary policy toolbox
wider, maintain stable money supply, and avoid a collapse in
credit". On the same day, China's National Development and Reform
Commission also pledged to introduce upfront policies to support
the economy, including advancing infrastructure investment. These
statements and measures reflect the Chinese authorities' growing
concerns about the economy, and signal a generally positive
attitude toward policy easing to stimulate domestic demand and help
prevent a sharp slowdown in 2022. IHS Markit currently expects
mainland China to register 5.4% y/y GDP growth in 2022.
- Japan's trade balance recorded a deficit of JPY582 billion
(USD5.1 billion) on a non-seasonally adjusted basis in December
2021. The seasonally adjusted trade deficit also narrowed by 8.1%
to JPY435 billion. Export growth weakened to 17.5% year on year
(y/y) following a 20.5% y/y rise in the previous month, while
import growth also softened to 41.1% y/y after a 43.8% y/y rise. In
volume terms, both exports and imports rose modestly, by 2.0% y/y
and 1.0% y/y, respectively. Continued sharp increases in prices of
import goods outpacing prices for export goods combined with the
weak yen (9.5% weaker than the year-earlier level) continued to
keep the trade balance in a negative territory. (IHS Markit
- The softer export growth stems from weaker exports to the
European Union (up 9.7% y/y) and to Asia (up 16.6% y/y), which were
partially offset by the acceleration of exports to the US (up 22.1%
y/y). Major contributors to export growth were exports of autos (up
17.5% y/y), iron and steel (up 75.1% y/y), and semiconductors (up
- Imports of mineral fuels remained the major driver of imports,
contributing 20.1% percentage points of total imports. In
particular, higher prices of crude oil boosted imports of crude oil
to 116.6% y/y, but imports only rose by 7.1% in volume terms.
Beside mineral fuels, imports of semiconductors (up 70.5% y/y) and
non-ferrous metals (up 73.2% y/y) were major contributors to the
overall growth of imports.
- Honda has announced that it has invested in US-based software
company Helm.ai to strengthen its position in the area of
artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision technologies.
According to Honda's press statement, the investment will help the
companies create more value in the field of intelligence in
mobility. Helm.ai was founded in 2016 and is based in California
(United States). The company focuses on developing software that
can train neural networks without relying on simulation and on-road
testing data, which can expedite timelines and reduce the costs of
AI-based projects. The investment will help Honda to achieve its
ambition of establishing itself as a prominent player in the field
of autonomous vehicles and future mobility. (IHS Markit
AutoIntelligence's Nitin Budhiraja)
- Hyundai has partnered with IonQ, a leader in trapped-ion
quantum computing, to use quantum computers to develop more
effective batteries, according to a company statement. The
partnership will create the largest battery chemistry model yet to
be run on a quantum computer, simulating the structure and energy
of lithium oxide. Quantum-powered chemistry simulation is expected
to significantly enhance the quality of next-generation lithium
batteries by improving their charge and discharge cycles, as well
as their durability, capacity and safety, according to the
automaker. "This creative collaboration with IonQ is expected to
provide innovation in the development of basic materials in virtual
space for various parts of the future mobility," said TaeWon Lim,
executive vice-president and head of materials research and
engineering center at Hyundai Motor Group, adding, "We're excited
to step into the upcoming quantum era and take advantage of the
opportunities that await with more effective battery power". (IHS
Markit AutoIntelligence's Jamal Amir)
- Delhi's state government has signed an agreement with
Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL) to set up charging and
battery-swapping stations for two-, three-, and four-wheelers at
its Transport Department's cluster bus depots, reports ET Auto.
According to the report, the charging and battery-swapping stations
will be installed at 14 locations, with six charging points (three
for two- and three-wheelers and three for four-wheelers) at each
location. CESL will procure, install, operate, and maintain the
charging units and related infrastructure, as per the deal. The
company will begin the installation work immediately and plans to
wrap it up in the next four months. (IHS Markit AutoIntelligence's
- The joint venture (JV) between Chinese-based SAIC Motor and
Thai-based Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, SAIC Motor-CP, which
assembles MG-brand vehicles in Thailand, plans to invest THB2.5
billion (USD75.6 million) to build a plant to produce batteries for
battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Thailand, reports the Bangkok
Post. This comes ahead of local BEV production in 2023 for sales
locally and for export. "We already have a battery production
facility for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Chon Buri, but we
want to expand production capacity to produce BEV batteries to
support exports," said Zhang Haibo, president of SAIC Motor-CP Co.
and MG Sales (Thailand), adding "The EV [electric vehicle] industry
is growing faster as new Chinese automakers launch more EVs to meet
global demand." MG is also conducting a feasibility study into a
battery recycling facility as the number of used batteries is
expected to increase in the coming years. SAIC Motor has invested
THB10 billion in Thailand since 2013. It claims to have the highest
investment value of any Chinese company in the Thai automotive
industry, highlights the report. MG aims to sell 50,000 vehicles in
Thailand this year, up from the 32,000 units it sold in 2021. (IHS
Markit AutoIntelligence's Jamal Amir)
- Uber has acquired Australia-based car-sharing platform Car Next
Door for an undisclosed amount, according to a company statement.
The deal is intended to strengthen Uber's ambition of offering
Australians an alternative to private car ownership. Car Next Door
will continue to operate independently following the acquisition,
with its current leadership team focusing on developing and growing
its technology in the domestic market. Will Davies, CEO and
co-founder of Car Next Door, said, "This is an exciting opportunity
for Car Next Door to achieve our mission of 'freeing people and the
planet from the one person one car mentality' years before we
otherwise could have. By working with Uber we can scale up our
ambitions and look to move Australians away from the over-reliance
on the private car which is damaging our planet and making our
cities less liveable." This deal builds on Uber's ongoing
investments in electric vehicles, micromobility, and public
transport to reduce reliance on private vehicle ownership and help
achieve greener and more liveable cities. (IHS Markit
AutoIntelligence's Surabhi Rajpal)
Posted 20 January 2022 by Chris Fenske, Head of Capital Markets Research, Global Markets Group, S&P Global Market Intelligence
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This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.