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   Strategies & Market TrendsThe Financial Collapse of 2001 Unwinding


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From: elmatador5/16/2024 5:00:08 AM
   of 12823
 
Data centres have turned Big Tech into big spenders

Companies need AI services revenues, not cost savings, to fuel data centre boom Data centres are expensive to construct and maintain

In their rush to fill rural America with vast, windowless data centres, US tech companies are taking a capital intensive bet on artificial intelligence. If that does not pay off, the rise in investment could drag on profit margins for years.

Excitement around generative AI means post-pandemic cost-cutting programmes have given way to investor-sanctioned spending plans. At the start of the year, Meta announced a new $800mn data centre in Indiana. Alphabet is planning a $3bn project to set up a data centre campus in Indiana and expand capacity in Virginia. Microsoft plans to create a $3.3bn “hub for AI” in Wisconsin. International projects include Amazon’s multibillion-dollar plans in Germany and Singapore. Data centres, like custom chips, are intended to act as a moat around cloud computing and AI services.

The result is an increase in capital expenditure, much of it directed towards plant, property and equipment. Between the end of 2019 and 2023 fiscal years, gross PPE at Meta and Microsoft more than doubled. It almost doubled at Amazon and Alphabet.

Apple is one outlier, with PPE up less than a third between 2019 and 2023. The company has yet to choose its generative AI strategy and has been punished in markets accordingly. It is possible that spending will rise when Apple opts to release AI services to customers.

Data centres, which can be the size of multiple football pitches, are expensive to construct and maintain. Power consumption for US data centres will more than double between 2022 and 2030, according to McKinsey. Hardware needs to be replaced and upgraded over time.



Capex forecasts show that spending plans are still accelerating and will show up in rising depreciation expenses. Alphabet has suggested that the annual investment tally this year could be close to $50bn. So has Microsoft. In both cases, this would be about a 50 per cent increase on 2023. Amazon, which cut spending last year, says $14bn in capex for the first quarter could be on the low end for the year. That suggests annual capex could rise at least a tenth, though it has yet to return to pandemic-era highs.

For now, profit margins are holding up. Positive year-over-year earnings growth was supported by cost-cutting elsewhere and aided by companies extending the expected life of their equipment. Last year, for example, Alphabet and Meta increased the estimated lifespan of their servers from four to five and six years respectively. But the boost this provided to net income is not something that can be repeated. Companies need AI services revenues, not cost savings, to fuel the data centre boom.

elaine.moore@ft.com

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From: Elroy Jetson5/16/2024 12:18:55 PM
1 Recommendation   of 12823
 
Gina Rinehart requests the removal of her portrait from the National Gallery exhibition of the work of indigenous artist Vincent Namatjira



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To: Elroy Jetson who wrote (12718)5/21/2024 3:28:40 AM
From: elmatador
1 Recommendation   of 12823
 
Imagine if it was not tightening :-)
* America Rescue Plan - $1.9T
senate.gov

* Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan - $1.2T
senate.gov

* Inflation Reduction Act - $739B
senate.gov

* CHIPS Act - $280B
senate.gov

* Omnibus Spending Bill - $1.7T
senate.gov

* Further Consolidated Appropriations Act - $1.2T (***118th*** congress)
senate.gov

USG Bottom line: $7.019T

Well, if Biden is re-elected you at least know how much it cost

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From: elmatador5/21/2024 8:28:42 AM
   of 12823
 
Yellen will gang up with Europe to push back against China’s excess industrial capacity, warning that a wave of cheap Chinese exports represents a grave threat to the global economy.

China says the US wants to halt China’s development using overcapacity as an excuse for trade protectionism,”

U.S. Seeks to Join Forces With Europe to Combat Excess Chinese Goods
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen warned that China’s industrial strategy posed a global threat that requires a united response.

By Alan Rappeport and Liz Alderman

Alan Rappeport is traveling with Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen in Germany and Italy this week. Liz Alderman is the chief European business correspondent.

May 21, 2024, 5:08 a.m. ET

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Tuesday that the United States and Europe needed to work together to push back against China’s excess industrial capacity, warning that a wave of cheap Chinese exports represents a grave threat to the global economy.

Ms. Yellen’s remarks, delivered during a speech in Germany, highlighted what is expected to be a central topic of discussion when the Group of 7 finance ministers meet in Italy this week.

“China’s industrial policy may seem remote as we sit here in this room, but if we do not respond strategically and in a united way, the viability of businesses in both our countries and around the world could be at risk,” Ms. Yellen said at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, where she received an honorary doctoral degree.

China’s excessive production of green energy technology has become a pressing trans-Atlantic concern in recent months. Officials in President Biden’s administration have grown increasingly worried that his efforts to finance domestic manufacturing of clean energy and other next-generation technologies will be undercut by China, which is churning out steel, electric cars and solar panels at a rapid clip.

The Biden administration is now looking to Europe to help the developed world prevent the kind of China shock of the early 2000s, which helped decimate manufacturing in exchange for cheap goods. Last week, Mr. Biden increased tariffs on some Chinese imports, including levying a 100 percent tax on electric vehicles. He also formally left in place levies on more than $300 billion worth of Chinese goods that President Donald J. Trump had imposed.

The United States hopes that a united front will convince China that its largest trading partners are prepared to erect trade barriers that will prevent Chinese electric vehicles, batteries and panels from dominating Western markets.

Ms. Yellen emphasized on Tuesday that the United States was not trying to carry out an anti-China policy, but said China’s actions posed a threat to the global economy that warranted a coordinated response.

She pointed to China’s push to dominate clean energy technology and other sectors, saying that ambition “could also prevent countries around the world, including emerging markets, from building the industries that could power their growth.”

The trend toward protectionist policies is likely to become another point of contention between China and the world’s most advanced economies. Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, derided Mr. Biden’s decision to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods last week as a “political maneuver.”

We hope the U.S. can take a positive view of China’s development and stop using overcapacity as an excuse for trade protectionism,” Mr. Liu said.

The new U.S. tariffs could put additional pressure on Europe to erect trade barriers of its own to prevent China from redirecting more of its exports there. Europe’s officials are already considering additional levies on Chinese cars, which pose a particular threat to Germany.

A BMW factory in Munich. The European Union could impose preliminary duties on Chinese electric vehicle imports as soon as July.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

About 37 percent of all electric vehicle imports to Europe are produced in China, including Chinese brands and ones made by Tesla and German automakers with plants there. Europe is the world’s second-biggest E.V. market, and imports there skyrocketed last year to $11.5 billion, from $1.6 billion in 2020.

The European Commission is investigating whether Chinese state subsidies intended to help the country’s companies make cheap cars are damaging Europe’s auto industry. The sector provides nearly 14 million direct and indirect jobs in Europe, and the six million cars that it exported last year generated a trade surplus of more than 100 billion euros.

Europe’s investigation could result in preliminary duties on Chinese electric vehicle imports as soon as July, though any tariffs are likely to be far lower than the 100 percent imposed by the Biden administration. But unlike Europe, which is already importing cars from China, the United States has erected several barriers to prevent Chinese E.V.s from coming to its shores.

Europe’s investigation into China’s subsidies and whether they merit tariffs has aggravated a political divide. Some countries, such as Germany, which is Europe’s biggest maker of electric cars, have been against an investigation. German officials are wary of pressing penalties that might incite Beijing to shut out German carmakers such as BMW and Volkswagen.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a speech in Stockholm last week, “We should not forget: European manufacturers, and also some American ones, are successful on the Chinese market and also sell a lot of vehicles that are produced in Europe to China.” He added that at least half of electric vehicles imported to Europe from China were Western brands.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, has been pushing for “de-risking” Europe’s relationship with China. Her approach is backed by President Emmanuel Macron of France, who hosted his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, this month and has urged Brussels to step up protection against what his administration sees as unfair Chinese competition.

The Brussels investigation has focused less on whether China is dumping large numbers of cars into Europe and more on how subsidies have allowed E.V.s made by BYD, Geely and SAIC, the three biggest Chinese E.V. makers, to offer cut-rate prices. The Chinese government has criticized the European Union for not investigating Western brands with factories in China — including Tesla, which exports more E.V.s from China to the European Union than any other producer.

The Rhodium Group, an independent think tank that focuses on China, said that to compensate for Chinese state subsidies, the European Commission would have to impose duties of up to 50 percent on Chinese E.V.s. But the group suggested that such a move would be unlikely in Europe unless officials took a more “drastic” review of World Trade Organization rules, and suggested that tariff rates of 15 to 30 percent were more realistic.

In the meantime, Chinese electric vehicle makers, including BYD and Great Wall Motor, are setting up factories in Hungary to build cars that would be viewed as European-made products, which could raise trade issues eventually with the United States.

The Biden administration is watching with similar concern as Chinese car companies invest in factories in Mexico, which could potentially be used to enter the U.S. market.

The approach by the United States and Europe to work together to confront China does pose the risk of retaliation, inflaming trade tensions that could weigh on the world economy. Chinese officials said last week that they would respond to the new trade measures imposed by the United States.

In an interview with The New York Times this week, Ms. Yellen argued that the new U.S. tariffs were targeted and that she did not believe that China wanted to escalate tensions.

“I anticipate some response on China’s part, but my hope is that it’s moderate and proportional,” Ms. Yellen said.

Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. More about Alan Rappeport

Liz Alderman is the chief European business correspondent, writing about economic, social and policy developments around Europe. More about Liz Alderman

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To: elmatador who wrote (12720)5/21/2024 11:52:41 AM
From: robert b furman
   of 12823
 
Time to quit favoring China as an emerging market within the WTO.

Once they have to play fair or get fined, they'll either rein in their inevitable over production of what the CCP declares, of we'll have us a WWIII.

That will require blowing them into a perpetual third world economy, where they belong!

JMHO

Bob

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To: robert b furman who wrote (12721)5/21/2024 12:25:32 PM
From: E_K_S
   of 12823
 
Who will buy Our Treasury Bills if that happens? lol

China & the other BRICK Countries have a role to play, I think the US has to look in the mirror and work on things here at home.

The US could be the best manufacturer, producer in the World if we just got out of it's way (ie regulations).

Not sure if we really need all those tariffs but I like that approach as along as we limit them with some sort of time period, so US could build supper efficient, smart (AI robot) manufacturing plants. Problem Solved!

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From: Elroy Jetson5/22/2024 12:03:14 AM
   of 12823
 
Political analyst Jon Delano at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, today asked Donald Trump if he supports restrictions on a person's right to contraception.
.

"We’re looking at that and I'm going to have a policy on that very shortly and I think it’s something you’ll find interesting," Trump said. "I think it’s a smart decision. We’ll be releasing it very soon."

Asked if that means he supports some restrictions on birth control, Trump said, "You know also, things really do have a lot to do with the states and some states are going to have different policy than others."
.

Later today, someone used Donald Trump's account on his Truth Social website to type,

"I have never, and will never advocate imposing restrictions on birth control.
I DO NOT SUPPORT A BAN ON BIRTH CONTROL AND NEITHER WITH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY."

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To: Elroy Jetson who wrote (12718)5/22/2024 12:36:10 AM
From: elmatador
   of 12823
 
The state of Maryland wants to develop the former Alcoa aluminum plant in Buckseyetown into a data center park. Aluminum is called solid electricity as its cost is 70% electricity.

"Eastalco closed Buckseyetown's major operations on December 19, 2005 when its contract with a regional energy company expired and rates for their electricity would have tripled. Alcoa was unable to find what they deemed to be a cost-efficient source of power."

Now the Maryland government wants to implement an energy-intensive data center on the site. If there was no electricity to run the Alcoa aluminum plant, where would they get electricity to run data centers?

Led by former Terremark and CyrusOne executive Josh Snowhorn, Quantum Loophole has partnered with TPG Real Estate Partners (TREP) and is developing a 2,100-acre, gigawatt-scale data center park in Maryland’s Frederick County.

"An effort to reopen the Eastalco Alcoa Works stalled in 2007 after plans to build a dedicated power plant at the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center in Charles County, MD, fell through. Alan Brody writes, "The approximately $1 billion plant would have created up to 200 permanent jobs, along with a stable energy supply and additional corporate tax revenues to Charles County." Alcoa decided that the cost was too great."

Looks like the place refuses to be revived.

Northern Virginia is home to almost 300 data centers, the highest concentration of these facilities in the world. But Maryland is looking to get in on the action, and the push to make the state a major hub for data centers is a top priority of Gov. Wes Moore (D) and will be part of his legislative package in the upcoming General Assembly session.

These are the types of plans governments are using to keep data centers piling up in the United States.

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To: robert b furman who wrote (12721)5/22/2024 12:47:05 AM
From: elmatador
1 Recommendation   of 12823
 
Hi Bob, The Chinese communist Party moved the capital from real estate and put it into manufacturing.

As they chose EVs, it struck right into the major exports of the Europeans. Cars and fuels. They panicked.

It might be the same case for the US as carmaking and fuels' industries would be decimated by cheap Chinese EVs' imports.

But those who want EVs and internal combustion engines banned are the Westerners. The Chinese just jumped at the opportunity.


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From: elmatador5/22/2024 3:10:48 AM
   of 12823
 
The widening battle over Exxon's shareholder lawsuit



State of play: CalPERS,the nation's biggest public pension fund, on Monday said it will oppose all Exxon board members and CEO Darren Woods at the company's annual meeting next week.

Why it matters: The fund's public announcement is a high-profile response to Exxon's ongoing case against Arjuna Capital and Follow This over a climate resolution they have since withdrawn.

Friction point: CalPERS said the lawsuit's repercussions could be "devastating."

  • "If ExxonMobil succeeds in silencing voices and upending the rules of shareholder democracy, what other subjects will the leaders of any company make off limits? Worker safety? Excessive executive compensation?" they wrote.
The other side: The oil giant filed suit in January over the resolution that sought far more expansive climate targets. It alleges an "extreme agenda" that would force it to "change the nature of its ordinary business or to go out of business."

  • Exxon has said it's pressing the case because the current SEC process fails to exclude resolutions that would hurt companies, instead of boosting shareholder value.
  • "Far from having a chilling effect on shareholder proposals, our efforts are intended to get clarity on the rules to foster an environment for open and meaningful shareholder dialogue," Exxon said following CalPERS' move.
Catch up quick: Powerful business groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable — joined the lawsuit on Exxon's side in February.

The bottom line: CalPERS move is highly unlikely to upend Exxon's ranks, but the vote tally will help gauge shareholders' views of the case.

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