US inflation reached 7.9% in February hitting a new 40-year high. The market reaction was not actually particularly pronounced because the market pretty much knew it was coming. All of these numbers are gathered before the Ukraine invasion. There’s every risk that this massive rise in inflation could start to push down on the economy. The Fed will basically find itself raising interest rates into a slowing economy.
Russia bans export of 200 products. The restrictions cover items previously imported into Russia, from medical equipment and agricultural machinery to railway cars and turbines, the government said on its website. It said the measure is necessary to maintain stability on the Russian market. Key exports like timber have also been suspended. The ban applies until the end of this year. Read more here.
Biden calls for an end to Russia’s ‘most favored nation’ trade status. The European Union and the Group of Seven nations will take the same steps, Biden said. Congress must act for Russia’s trade classification as a member of the World Trade Organization to be revoked. If Russia’s trade status is revoked, the Biden administration and Congress will be able to impose taxes on any goods Russia exports to the U.S.
The U.S. clears the way for truly driverless vehicles. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday issued final rules eliminating the need for highly automated and self-driving vehicles to need such controls. The new rule emphasizes such cars must continue to provide the same high levels of occupant protection as current passenger vehicles. Read more here.
Goldman Sachs will now provide access to Ethereum. According to public filings this week with the SEC, Goldman Sachs plans to offer its largest banking clients access to Ethereum's digital coin Ether (ETH) through a third-party issuance from Galaxy Digital. Goldman will get an undisclosed sum as a finder's fee for accounts it sends to Galaxy that sign up going forward.
A record 8.2 percent of homes were valued at $1 million or more. The figure represents approximately 6 million American homes that hit the $1 million mark in February, a sharp increase from February 2020. Of the top 10 cities with the most million-dollar homes, seven are in California, according to the report, with San Francisco topping the chart with 88.7% of homes worth at least $1 million. San Jose came in at a close second with 85.9%.
Builders, Buyers are favoring townhomes. Rising costs are making townhomes more attractive. Townhome construction has grown over the last year, making up nearly 13% of all single-family starts, an increase of 38% in one year, BUILDER reports. Many builders are turning to this product, as the price point for sale is lower, and it allows them to build more units. Source.
Housing price increases are sustainable, says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. It used to be that about one out of four houses would sell in a bidding war now it's closer to one out of two. It used to be that about one out of three houses would sell in two weeks that is now about one out of two. Even as interest rates have increased and the mortgage payment on a typical house has gone up by about 50 percent people are still lined up to buy houses. Source(1:07:40)
There's a shift from urban living to the suburbs, says Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman. People prefer having a lawn and a pool and they want better schools, safer streets, and they're willing to pay for it. Some of that is about some kind of urban failure where cities like Seattle and San Francisco are really struggling with increased crime. Suburbs are turning out to be safer while also being diverse. Source(1:50:12)
WHAT TO WATCH
Ford and PG&E partner on electric F-150 powering homes. They will evaluate the capabilities of the electric F-150 Lightning to power homes and return energy to the power grid. Ford CEO Jim Farley and PG&E Corp. CEO Patti Poppe announced the plans Thursday night at the CERAWeek energy conference in Texas. The model due out this spring already has the capability to power a home in the event of a power outage.
Panasonic readies the new battery for cheaper Teslas. Elon Musk sees the technology as the key to unlocking $25,000 EVs. Panasonic will start mass production of 4680 batteries in the fiscal year starting April 2023, with plans to establish two additional production lines as well as facilities at its Wakayama factory in western Japan. Ahead of that, the company is setting up a prototype production line for the batteries, also in Japan.
Global food prices could leap 22% more on Ukraine War, UN warns. Ukraine & Russia account for more than a tenth of all calories traded globally. The likely disruptions to agricultural activities of these two major exporters of staple commodities could seriously escalate food insecurity globally. As many as 13.1 million more people worldwide could go undernourished next season in a worst-case scenario. Read more here.
Higher education is embracing Bitcoin and Crypto. Princeton University announced a new initiative focused on bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and decentralization. This effort is being initially funded through a generous donation from four Princeton alumni who have become leaders in the bitcoin and crypto industry. It will convene scholars across disciplines to better understand the potential benefits and pitfalls of the technology. Read more here.
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