UPDATE 2-Canada Pension Plan Investment Board eyes assets in shift to clean energy

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/cppib-results/update-2-canada-pension-plan-investment-board-eyes-assets-in-shift-to-clean-energy-idUSL2N2N70WU


The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is hunting for investments in the world’s transition to renewable energy as it aspires to be a global leader in sustainability, the head of the company told Reuters on Thursday.


The pension manager last month announced it was creating a new investment group that would generate investment opportunities in renewables, conventional energy and new technology and service solutions.

CPPIB’s exposure to renewable energy producers rose to C$7.7 billion at March 31 2021, from C$6.6 billion at March 31, 2020, according to a spokesman for the firm.

Author(s): Maiya Keidan

Publication Date: 20 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Households including most U.S. children to get monthly stimulus payment

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/households-including-most-us-children-get-monthly-stimulus-payment-2021-05-17


A poverty-fighting measure included in the COVID-19 relief bill passed this year will deliver monthly payments to households including 88% of children in the United States, starting in July, Biden administration officials said on Monday.

The Democratic-backed American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, expanded a tax credit available to most parents.

Those people will get up to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, in 2021, subject to income restrictions. The benefit will reach 39 million households, many automatically and by direct deposit every month, starting on July 15.

Publication Date: 17 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

US birth rate lowest since 1979 as pandemic-led stress rises

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/us/cdc-says-us-recorded-lowest-number-births-last-year-since-1979-2021-05-05/


Birth rate in the United States fell 4% in 2020 to about 3.6 million babies, its sixth straight annual decline and the lowest since 1979, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC did not attribute the overall decline to the pandemic, but experts have predicted that pandemic-led reasons including anxiety will hit the country’s birth rate.

“The recent decline in birth rates reflects both a longer-term downward trend in birth rates that was apparent prior to the pandemic and pandemic-related reduction,” Lorna Thorpe, director of epidemiology at the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, said.

Author(s): Bhargav Acharya

Publication Date: 5 May 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

All eyes on Chile´s Pinera as congress approves a fresh pensions drawdown

Link: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/all-eyes-chiles-pinera-congress-approves-fresh-pensions-drawdown-2021-04-23/


Chile´s Congress on Friday approved by a large majority a move to allow citizens to withdraw a third tranche of their privately held pensions to assuage economic hardship wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lawmakers in the country´s lower house approved the measure with 119 to 17, with 3 abstentions, prompting cheering and applause. Senators greenlighted the move earlier this week.

Previously, Congress approved two withdrawals of 10% from pension pots in July and December, with the help of members of President Sebastian Pinera’s Chile Vamos coalition who defied instructions to vote the initiatives down.

Author(s): Aislinn Laing

Publication Date: 23 April 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Doctors issue warning over rise in French COVID-19 intensive care patients

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-idUSKBN2BK0HK?taid=6060e754bd33910001906bc9


The number of COVID-19 patients in France’s intensive care units has risen to a new high for this year, health ministry data showed on Sunday, as doctors warned a third wave of infections could soon overwhelm hospitals.

There were 4,872 ICU patients being treated for COVID-19, close to a November peak during France’s second wave of the virus, though well below a high of about 7,000 in April last year. The number of new infections fell, however, by around 5,600 to 37,014.

A group of 41 hospital doctors in the Paris region signed an article in the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche warning that they might soon have to start choosing between patients for emergency treatment.

Publication Date: 28 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Australia gets a $156 billion pension merger as new laws spur consolidation

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-pensions/australia-gets-a-156-billion-pension-merger-as-new-laws-spur-consolidation-idUSKBN2B70QC


The mega-merger reflects the rapid consolidation of Australia’s A$3 trillion pension industry after a 2018 inquiry found fees charged by some managers were unjustified and eroded workers’ savings, and that many funds were not putting customers’ interests ahead of their own.

The government has since made it mandatory for funds to put member interests first, triggering a wave of mergers as fund boards determine that scaling up results in a better deal for people’s savings.

“The due diligence process we have undertaken demonstrates a strong business case for merging with achievable efficiencies and savings,” said QSuper Chair Don Luke and Sunsuper Chair Andrew Fraser in a statement.

Author(s): Reuters staff

Publication Date: 15 March 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Pandemic led to U.S. housing boom, reduced credit card debt, New York Fed says

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-report/pandemic-led-to-us-housing-boom-reduced-credit-card-debt-new-york-fed-says-idUSKBN2AH28Z


The coronavirus pandemic changed the way U.S. consumers use credit, as lower interest rates spurred a boom in home buying and refinancing and virus-related shutdowns led to a drop in credit card use and an increase in paying off debt, according to a report released on Wednesday by the New York Federal Reserve.

Total household debt last year increased by $414 billion to $14.56 trillion at the end of December, the New York Fed found in its quarterly household debt and credit report.

Author(s): Jonnelle Marte

Publication Date: 17 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Deal reached to cut Puerto Rico bond debt, pensions a sticking point

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-puertorico-bankruptcy/deal-reached-to-cut-puerto-rico-bond-debt-pensions-a-sticking-point-idUSL1N2KT1WO


Puerto Rico would substantially reduce its core government debt load under a new deal announced on Tuesday, but obstacles remain for the U.S. territory’s exit from bankruptcy. The island’s federally created financial oversight board said its agreement with certain bondholders was a major step toward resolving the bankruptcy, which began in 2017 in an effort to restructure about $120 billion of debt and other liabilities, including unfunded pensions.

“I’m hopeful that people over time will understand this is likely to be the most fair and confirmable resolution to exit bankruptcy,” Natalie Jaresko, the board’s executive director, told reporters.

The deal will be included in a plan of adjustment the board expects to file in March in federal court, with the hope of court approval in the fall.

Author(s): Karen Pierog

Publication Date: 23 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

COVAX delivers its first vaccine shots with shipment to Ghana

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-ghana-vaccines/first-covid-19-vaccine-doses-dispatched-by-covax-arrive-in-ghana-idUSKBN2AO0S2


The delivery comes eight months after the launch of the COVAX initiative, aimed at pooling funds from wealthier countries and non-profits to distribute vaccines equitably around the world.

The shots, part of an initial tranche for low and middle-income countries, will be used by Ghana to start a vaccination drive from March 2 that will prioritise frontline health workers and others at high risk.

“The first segment of the population that will receive the 600,000 doses will be health workers, adults 60 years and over, people with underlying health conditions,” Ghana’s government said on Wednesday.

Author(s): Christian Akorlie

Publication Date: 24 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Municipal bond yields rise, swept up in Treasuries surge

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-municipals-treasuries/muni-bond-yields-rise-swept-up-in-treasuries-surge-idUSL1N2KV2H1


Earlier this year, the $3.9 trillion market where states, cities, schools and other issuers sell debt had been resisting a steep sell off in Treasuries that lifted yields, putting the historically close correlation between the two markets out of whack.

Now, munis are catching up, with the 10-year yield on Municipal Market Data’s (MMD) benchmark triple-A scale, which started 2021 at 0.720%, climbing 45 basis points since Feb. 12. It closed up 5 basis points at 1.14% on Thursday.

The iShares National Municipal Bond exchange-traded fund (ETF) fell on Thursday to its lowest level since November at 115.14. The largest muni ETF, which reached an 11-month high of 117.95 on Feb. 11, was last down 0.43% at 115.30.

Author(s): Karen Pierog

Publication Date: 25 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

U.S. insurers brace for hefty claims from Texas storm once thaw sets in

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-weather-texas-insurance/u-s-insurers-brace-for-hefty-claims-from-texas-storm-once-thaw-sets-in-idUSL1N2KO3AX


U.S. property insurers are bracing for claims for damage from collapsing roofs, bursting pipes and lost business as Texas takes stock of its losses from a winter storm that has crippled its electrical grid.

Insurers’ losses could stretch into billions of dollars, said Moody’s analyst Jasper Cooper.

Insurers in Texas, the second-largest property insurance market among U.S. states, are used to grappling with historic storms, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

But this winter storm is unique because of its grip across the state. It crippled the electric grid and left hundreds of thousands of homes without power for four days.

Author(s): Suzanne Barlyn

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters

Texas storm may cost insurers record first-quarter losses – A.M. Best

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-weather-texas-insurance-idUSKBN2AJ2IS


 Insurers could suffer record first-quarter catastrophe losses after the historic Texas winter storm, which crippled the state’s electrical grid and caused extensive property damage including collapsed roofs and broken pipes, insurer credit rating agency A.M. Best said on Friday.

The storm occurred during a quarter that is typically the most benign for catastrophe losses, and could become the costliest winter weather event in Texas history, A.M. Best said in a report.

The Texas Department of Insurance plans to collect data from property insurers to assess costs stemming from the crippled electrical grid, roofing collapses, broken pipes and other problems, a spokesman said.

Author(s): Suzanne Barlyn

Publication Date: 19 February 2021

Publication Site: Reuters