18th January 2021
Fiscal turbo replaces lame duck Trump
As we wrote last week, there is a broad consensus that this year will see a strong economic rebound as mass vaccinations finally put an end to the pandemic – even if we have to wait until the second half of the year to see it. Ahead of Wednesday’s inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, there is also a widespread expectation that the new administration will usher in a more sustained recovery than the faltering US growth displayed over the last quarter of 2020. The hope is that Biden will be able to deliver on his campaign promises of substantial but also structurally beneficial fiscal stimulus. If he can, it would amount to a rebuilding of US crumbling infrastructure towards a better, greener future. Some even see this as the opportunity for a re-run of Franklin D Roosevelt’s New Deal, credited with having put an end to the crippling depression of the 1930s.
Tesla: Tech, green investment, carmaker or just another bubble?
While Donald Trump won the title of America’s most impeached President, the prize for strangest news story of the week went to his eldest son. Donald Trump Jr took to Instagram (well, it couldn’t be Twitter, could it) to make a plea to billionaire Elon Musk: set up a Trump-friendly social media platform to “blow Twitter away”. The sight of Trump the younger asking the world’s richest man to help him make a website is certainly extraordinary, but then ‘extraordinary’ is how Musk has made his name – and his fortune.
Bull in a chip shop
With most of the developed world stuck at home, it has been a good year for chipmakers (no, not those kind of chips). Developers and manufacturers of semiconductors saw a massive bump in demand in 2020, buoyed by the “stay at home” orders issued by governments and the consequent increased computer usage. TSMC, the world’s biggest supplier of computer chips, saw its profits climb 23% in the last three months of the year, up to $5.1 billion.