Global electric car sales up over 50% in 2017

In China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, sales also grew by about half — but their market share remained small at 2.2 percent. (AFP)
Updated 31 May 2018

Global electric car sales up over 50% in 2017

PARIS: Electric car sales around the world rose by 54 percent in 2017, taking global stock across the three-million threshold, the International Energy Agency said in a report Wednesday.
In China, the world’s biggest market for electric vehicles, sales also grew by about half — but their market share remained small at 2.2 percent.
In Norway, electric vehicles have by far the world’s highest market share, with 39.2 percent, according to the IEA.
The Paris-based agency was optimistic about the sector’s prospects.
“Supportive policies and cost reductions are likely to lead to significant growth in the market uptake of (electric vehicles) in the outlook period to 2030,” the report said.
Should policymakers honor their current commitments to the environment, “the number of electric light-duty vehicles on the road (would reach) 125 million by 2030,” it added.
And should policy ambitions develop further, that number could become as high as 220 million in 2030, it said.
But the IEA said that in order for the cars of the future to overtake their petrol and diesel-powered competitors, governments will have to take the lead.
“The main markets by volume (China) and sales share (Norway) have the strongest policy push,” the IEA said.
“Looking ahead, the strongest current policy signals emanate from electric car mandates in China and California, as well as the European Union’s recent proposal on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for 2030.”
The EU has committed to cutting 40 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, and to boosting its use of renewable energy by at least 27 percent.
France, home to Europe’s second-biggest car industry after Germany, has gone further by announcing a plan to end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, as part of an ambitious plan to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord.
Electric vehicles use batteries instead of petrol or diesel, thereby massively reducing their damage to the environment.
But they are not without controversy.
Key components in the batteries include the mineral cobalt, much of which comes from the unrest-hit Democratic Republic of Congo.
Rights groups have raised concerns about corruption in the cobalt industry and often poor working conditions for the miners in DR Congo.


S&P 500 inches closer to record high

Updated 12 August 2020

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

  • US stock market index returns to levels last seen before the onset of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday closed in on its February record high, returning to levels last seen before the onset of the coronavirus crisis that caused one of Wall Street’s most dramatic crashes in history.

The benchmark index was about half a percent below its peak hit on Feb. 19, when investors started dumping shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest slump in the US economy since the Great Depression.

Ultra-low interest rates, trillions of dollars in stimulus and, more recently, a better-than-feared second quarter earnings season have allowed all three of Wall Street’s main indexes to recover.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has led the charge, boosted by “stay-at-home winners” Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc. The index was down about 0.4 percent.

The blue chip Dow surged 1.2 percent, coming within 5 percent of its February peak.

“You’ve got to admit that this is a market that wants to go up, despite tensions between US-China, despite news of the coronavirus not being particularly encouraging,” said Andrea Cicione, a strategist at TS Lombard.

“We’re facing an emergency from the health, economy and employment point of view — the outlook is a lot less rosy. There’s a disconnect between valuation and the actual outlook even though lower rates to some degree justify high valuation.”

Aiding sentiment, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the approval’s speed has concerned some experts as the vaccine still must complete final trials.

Investors are now hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with US cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Also in focus are Sino-US tensions ahead of high-stakes trade talks in the coming weekend.

“Certainly the rhetoric from Washington has been negative with regards to China ... there’s plenty of things to worry about, but markets are really focused more on the very easy fiscal and monetary policies at this point,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Financials, energy and industrial sectors, that have lagged the benchmark index this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 was set to rise for the eighth straight session, its longest streak of gains since April 2019.

The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.46 percent, at 3,375.86, about 18 points shy of its high of 3,393.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 341.41 points, or 1.23 percent, at 28,132.85, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.37 points, or 0.44 percent, at 10,919.99.

Royal Caribbean Group jumped 4.6 percent after it hinted at new safety measures aimed at getting sailing going again after months of cancellations. Peers Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Carnival Corp. also rose.

US mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. gained 4.1 percent despite posting a disappointing second quarter profit, as its CEO expressed some hope over a recovery in retail as lockdown measures in some regions eased.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 3.44-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.44-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and four new lows.