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Article | 03 September 2021 | Investments
President Biden has signed an order for 50% of all US new car sales to be electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. The aim is to slash emissions from transport, the major contributor at almost 30% of the US total. It is perhaps a tall order, as the current EV market share is only 2%, the majority being high end Teslas. That contrasts to China at 6% and France and Germany at over 10%. Mainstream US carmakers are gearing up to produce more EVs, with General Motors targeting production of its final petrol car as early as 2035.
Hydrocarbon hot potato
BHP, the world’s biggest mining company, is selling its oil and gas division, following shareholder pressure to decarbonise its activities. Oddly, as the acquisition will be paid for in shares, BHP will still own these activities, only indirectly. So are these disposals by major energy and natural resource companies all about the optics? There are concerns that smaller, perhaps less accountable, operators might be tempted to run these assets into the ground, risking greater environmental damage. Activists believe the major players would do better to manage the winding down of these operations themselves.
China clamps down
Chinese authorities have taken steps to boost their oversight of key areas of the economy. First hints were seen last year when the $37 billion US IPO of Ant Financial was pulled. Then Didi Chuxing, the ride hailing giant, was forbidden from operating in China only days after its US listing. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon index of New York listed Chinese companies has fallen over 50% since February. Now profits have been banned for home tutoring companies and attention has turned to prescription drugs and alcohol. China’s equity markets could require courage and a long view.