Publications

- December 1, 2022: Vol. 9, Number 11

Central banks go for the gold; MasterCard to help banks offer crypto trading

by Mike Consol

Central banks globally have accumulated gold reserves this year at a pace never seen since 1967, when the U.S. dollar was still backed by the precious metal. In the quarter ending September, demand for gold was up 28 percent year-on-year, reaching 1,181 tons. (Quartz, World Gold Council)

MasterCard will help financial institutions offer cryptocurrency trading by acting as a “bridge” between Paxos, a crypto trading platform already used by PayPal, to offer a similar service. (CNBC)

Amazon is getting ready to launch two test satellites for its Project Kuiper satellite internet constellation, built to compete with services like SpaceX Starlink and OneWeb. Amazon says its plan is to “deliver fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.” (The Verge)

A new report from New York-based VC firm Space Capital found $3.4 billion was invested in 79 space companies in the third quarter, representing a 44 percent decline from the same period last year. While total investment declined, early-stage investments increased by 24 percent versus the same period. Total rounds also saw a 26 percent decrease YTD compared with the same quarter last year. (TechCrunch)

Waymo plans to launch a robotaxi service in Los Angeles, another sign the Alphabet subsidiary is accelerating its commercial ramp up. The vast metropolis of 13 million residents is the third largest ride-hailing market in the United States, with an estimated opportunity of $2 billion in 2022. (TechCrunch)

Organizations will spend a collective $188.3 billion on information security and risk management products and services in 2023. The market will balloon in the years following, generating nearly $262 billion in global spending in 2026. (CIODive, Gartner)

United Airlines has a contract to buy electric 30-seat planes from startup Heart Aerospace, which Heart said it plans to introduce in 2028. (CNBC)

In the third quarter alone, Apple bought back $25.2 billion of stock. (Barron’s)

Second-tier cities including Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas and Indianapolis are becoming hot spots for renters in the post-pandemic environment. The smaller cities give residents an inexpensive place to live, play and work in hot industry clusters such as tech, life sciences, media, finance and insurance. Dallas topped all metro areas for the most apartment transactions, $18.2 billion, during Q3 (almost $6 billion more than Houston). Atlanta came in third for Q3 with $11.4 billion in transactions.  (Morgan Properties)

Global demand for fossil fuels could peak starting later this decade, as part of a faster-than-expected shift hastened by the energy crisis stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (The International Energy Agency)

Global capital fled China en masse in the aftermath of Xi Jinping’s quasi-coronation as the sole power in charge of China. (Axios)

Autonomous vehicle companies are exploring the use of a common language — standardized light patterns or sounds — that would help driverless cars communicate their intentions to humans. (Axios)

U.S. adults aged 18-plus anticipate needing $1.25 million to retire comfortably, a 20 percent rise since 2021. At the same time, Americans’ average retirement savings has dropped 11 percent, from $98,800 in 2021 to $86,869 this year, while their expected retirement age has risen to 64, up from 62.6 last year. (Northwestern Mutual)

Nine percent of miles logged by Uber drivers in California were done while driving an electric vehicle. (Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi)

The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program has awarded nearly $1 billion to help almost 400 school districts purchase more than 2,400 buses. About 95 percent of these buses will be electric. (World Resources Institute)

U.S. banks and financial institutions processed roughly $1.2 billion in likely ransomware payments in 2021, a new record and almost triple the amount of the previous year, according to a federal financial crimes watchdog. (CNBC)

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud captured 76 percent of the U.S. cloud market in the three-month period ending Sept. 30. The cloud computing market topped $57 billion, up more than $11 billion year-over-year. (Synergy Research Group)

The energy industry spent $305 billion on oil exploration and production in 2021, significantly below what’s required to meet oil demand until the end of the decade based on the most likely scenarios. (Bloomberg)

Legislation approved by the French Senate requires existing and new car parks with space for at least 80 vehicles to be covered by solar panels. The owners of car parks with between 80 and 400 spaces have five years to comply with the measures, while operators of those with more than 400 will have just three years. At least half of the area of the larger sites must be covered by solar panels. (The Guardian)

Mike Consol (m.consol@irei.com) is senior editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on Twitter (@mikeconsol) and LinkedIn (linkedIn.com/in/mikeconsol) to read his latest postings.

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