• The Exchange Oct 25

    Kelly Evans: Can the World Afford Populism?

    We’ve talked before about whether policymakers have overstimulated U.S. demand relative to our capacity to supply. What if it’s happening at a global scale?   Goldman’s Jeff Currie recently spoke about the reasons why commodity prices have spiked even higher this year than expected on the rebound in demand. One of the biggest factors, he said, is that populist “redistribution” policies have...

  • The Exchange Oct 21

    Kelly Evans: The Right Kind of Carbon Tax

    In my humble opinion, if lawmakers seriously want to pass a carbon tax right now, they better start calling it the “Carbon Rebate Plan” and highlight that this is the only deal on the table right now to help low-income families cope with soaring energy costs.  Senator Ron Wyden (a Democrat from Oregon) told The New York Times he’s had a...

  • The Exchange Oct 18

    Kelly Evans: The Lure of Tesla

    As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the energy and EV transition lately since it suddenly seems to be happening at an accelerating pace. “Time to write about something different,” I told myself over the weekend.   Then we took a little field trip to the local farmer’s market yesterday morning, like we often do. (It’s somehow...

  • The Exchange Oct 15

    Kelly Evans: The Wrong Kind of Stimulus

    Economists spent the past three decades perfecting the art of Keynesian stimulus. Then Covid hit.  As the months drag on, it’s increasingly clear that Covid is more of a supply shock than a demand shock to the U.S. economy. Do you remember the endless stories about supply chain problems after the 2007-08 financial crisis? Nope. Neither do I. Because...

  • The Exchange Oct 6

    Kelly Evans: Nat Gas Is the New Oil

    If the 20th century was the era of oil, is natural gas the key fuel of the 21st?   One reason why nat gas prices continue their parabolic spike right now is that it’s the easiest replacement for coal as countries are under pressure to reduce emissions and, in China’s case, deliver on their promise of “blue skies.” Which is...

  • The Exchange Sep 30

    Kelly Evans: We Got the Carbon Tax, But Without the Rebates

    The defeat of the Waxman-Markey bill in 2010 wasn’t the end of the U.S. clean energy push, after all. We ended up with piecemeal regulation that has more or less amounted to raising the cost of carbon anyhow, but without the key offset to households–the rebates to cover their higher energy bills.   This season is not going to be...

  • The Exchange Sep 27

    Kelly Evans: The Everything Shortage

    A few BP stations couldn’t get fuel because of a lack of truck drivers, and next thing you know half of Britain is out of gas, thanks to panic buying. Now, an isolated problem has become a national nightmare.  This is how the pandemic is still leaving deep marks on society, unleashing one lollapalooza event after another after another. Everything is...

  • The Exchange Sep 23

    Kelly Evans: The Trouble With Fuel Cells

    So far, the Elon Musk version of the world is winning. Even as sales of EVs are starting to take off, fuel cell-powered vehicles remain a tiny market niche. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells may have advantages to battery-powered EVs, but they’re expensive, lack charging infrastructure, and have never had a Tesla-esque breakthrough with the public. Musk famously called them “fool...

  • The Exchange Sep 21

    Kelly Evans: The Energy Profiteers

    Back when the oil price spiked to nearly $150 a barrel, in 2008, it kicked off a huge controversy about the degree to which “financial speculators” were to blame (here’s a great retrospective). In fact, none other than Gary Gensler–who became chair of the CFTC, and is now chair of the SEC–said at the time he believed speculation “was partly...

  • The Exchange Sep 13

    Kelly Evans: They Bitcoined Carbon

    The price of fossil fuels keeps surging. The situation in Europe is getting worse. Natural gas prices are spiking through the roof–even worse than they were last week. Even oil is higher today as Goldman says $80 for U.S. crude could be next, up from about $70 where it’s trading today. Why? Because there is “growing scarcity across physical...

  • The Exchange Sep 7

    Kelly Evans: Are Energy Bills About to Spike?

    Don’t look now, but the price of natural gas is soaring, and it’s already creating major headaches over in Europe.  The surge–which started with a cold winter last year, but has been accelerated by a mysterious drying up of supplies from Russia, and Europe’s drive to phase out fossil fuels–means prices are now up fivefold from 2019. And there’s...

  • The Exchange Sep 3

    Kelly Evans: Why Did Hiring Stop?

    The most notable thing about this morning’s big jobs report miss was the sudden stop in hiring in the leisure and hospitality sectors.   Literally, those sectors had “unchanged,” i.e., zero, net jobs added after adding 350,000 per month on average in the six months prior. There are still 1.7 million “missing” jobs if you compare total employment in those sectors…

  • The Exchange Sep 1

    Kelly Evans: Power Outages

    I wasn’t joking about fossil fuels not being able to compete. In fact, none other than the Iraqi finance minister is issuing the same warning to fellow OPEC members today–just as the cartel holds its latest meeting.   Writing in The Guardian, Ali Allawi and IEA coauthor Fatih Birol note that the expected plunge in oil demand by 2050 would...

  • The Exchange Aug 31

    Kelly Evans: Home Prices Are…Just Getting Started?

    These numbers are insane. The Case-Shiller index just posted an 18.6% year-on-year gain for June. Home prices are now 41% higher than their last peak in 2006, during the housing bubble.   And it’s not because Case-Shiller is a “big-city” index. For starters, the broader 20-city composite was up 19% in June, outperforming the core 10-city index. What’s more, the separate…

  • Amazon.com Inc. Aug 25

    Kelly Evans: Who Needs Prime?

    I am not saying I don’t need Amazon. But do I still need Amazon Prime?   I’ve apparently been a member since 2005–which is basically when it started. I think back then it was $79 a year. Now it’s up to $119. Not horrible; that’s basically 2.5% inflation each year, more or less the broader rate.   But in 2005, I was...

  • The Exchange Aug 20

    Kelly Evans: Long Live Austrian Economics

    For anyone (hello, FinTwit) watching the long, drawn-out debate between Austrian and Keynesian economics, it would have easily seemed that despite the brief ascent of post-crisis movements like the Tea Party, the Keynesians had won this battle for the “right” way to do macro years ago, and that was that.   Ah, but not so fast. The Keynesians might firmly hold…

  • The Exchange Aug 19

    Kelly Evans: What's Wrong With the Retail Sales Report

    Let’s think back to July for a moment. I remember it well–the Fourth was my son’s birthday. Covid was receding, summer was in full swing, and so we excitedly sent out invitations for a backyard birthday party. “Ohhhh…we’ll be at the Cape! Sorry!” Read one reply. “Out of town–hate to miss it!” Read another. And another. And another.   We still had a...

  • The Exchange Aug 17

    Kelly Evans: Time to Taper the Taper?

    Let’s consider the following cluster of events:   (1) The Fed has just signaled it’ll announce a taper next month, but  (2) The economic data have started rolling over, and  (3) Powell and two other key Fed officials are up for reappointment in the months ahead.   This is what has Jefferies strategist David Zervos warning that the Fed is on the…

  • The Exchange Aug 16

    Kelly Evans: Leaving Afghanistan

    Afghanistan. Who hasn’t seen the videos yet of locals clinging to the departing planes, desperate to get out as the Taliban completes its takeover?  As for the global response, here’s how one overseas trader, Bill Blain, put it this morning:  “The credibility of Biden’s foreign policy and his presidency went down in tatters over a shockingly fast timeframe–and that’s...

  • The Exchange Jul 29

    Kelly Evans: The Big Deal About This “Big Deal”

    I don’t love following all the machinations in D.C. So when it seems like Big Things Are Happening, I turn to my political guru, CNBC producer Jackson Burke, for the real story.   I asked him about The Infrastructure Deal that seems to be coming together. Is it really, and what’s the real story? Here are his super-condensed thoughts:  “The...

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