Chinese thermal coal prices have hit a record high. Flooding in the country’s northern Shanxi province, a major coal producer, sent prices on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange to ¥1,408 (£161) a tonne on Monday, says Laura He for CNN. That was an all-time high and more than double where they started the year. “Energy shortages have spread to 20 Chinese provinces in recent weeks, forcing the government to ration electricity during peak hours”.
In Europe gas prices have retreated from record highs set earlier this month, but Dutch wholesale prices are still up more than fivefold compared with a year ago. The gas crisis has revealed Europe’s dependence on imported gas, says David Sheppard in the Financial Times. Gas demand is concentrated in the winter months: “About 40% of total gas consumption in the UK goes directly to heating homes, largely condensed into a period of five [or] six months”. Europe has historically relied on Russian imports and liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments to top it up during winter. But LNG from the likes of Qatar is now heading east as Asian demand for gas has gone up 50% over the past decade.
Moscow has suggested that swift German regulatory approval of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline could ease Europe’s energy woes, says The Observer. The pipeline is still not expected to come online for months. There are claims that the Kremlin has been playing politics with gas, but Russia has little interest in “undermining its finances” and “speeding up Europe’s decarbonisation” by withholding supplies. In any case, Nord Stream 2 is not the solution to the current crisis: even if the pipeline is swiftly approved it won’t be able to deliver significant amounts of gas before the new year.
Stocks and shares ISAs beat cash ISAs despite rising interest rates
Exclusive analysis for MoneyWeek shows that the stock market beat cash ISAs last year - and when inflation is factored in, cash savers actually made a loss. We run through the figures.
By Ruth Emery Published
Waspi women: could they get £10,000 compensation under new bill?
Many women born in the 1950s got a raw deal due to the rising state pension age. The “Waspi” campaign group has been lobbying for compensation for years - we outline the journey so far, and whether they might finally receive some money.
By Ruth Emery Published
Three high-quality global companies for growth
James Harries, a senior fund manager at STS Global Income & Growth Trust highlights three favourites.
By James Harries Published
Four high-quality stocks set for decades of dividend and earnings growth
Charles Luke, an investment manager for Murray Income Trust, highlights four favourite high-quality stocks.
By Charles Luke Published
Humana sees healthy growth in US healthcare
Humana is a major player in the American market and the stock’s valuation looks reasonable.
By Stephen Connolly Published
The nobbling of Britain’s nuclear energy sector
The UK once led the world in atomic power, but now it’s a has-been. The malaise is due to the left’s opposition to the sector and decisions taken by the Blair government.
By Max King Published
Five fantasy deals to hope for this year
From Amazon buying John Lewis to Warren Buffet taking on Unilever, these fantasy deals, mergers and acquisitions would improve the companies involved.
By Matthew Lynn Published
Stay safe: A financial crisis could still be around the corner
Investors were cheered by rate cuts, but Bill Bonner says don't get too excited…
By Bill Bonner Published
Why Laurent-Perrier could be a good buy
The market is overlooking Laurent-Perrier’s status as a top Champagne producer.
By Rupert Hargreaves Published
How fintech has gone mainstream
Once a niche sector, fintech went mainstream in 2023.
By David C. Stevenson Published