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Material posted: Publication date: 15-11-2021
How metals can become the "new oil", what cryptocurrencies do not have for the status of money, how to warn about economic crises with the help of space satellites and why government incentives sometimes bring the opposite effect: the most interesting of economic blogs.

In a zero-emission scenario, metals can become the "new oil": technology with a low level of greenhouse gas emissions require more metals than their counterparts based on fossil fuel, prices of copper, Nickel, cobalt and lithium can reach the historical peaks, and the total cost of their production in 2021-2040 he be comparable to the cost of crude oil, calculated by IMF economists, Federal reserve Bank of Dallas and the German Institute for economic research (DIW Berlin) in their new study. The "net zero" scenario of the International Energy Agency - achieving zero net emissions by 2050 - assumes a sharp increase in demand for metals over the next two decades, for example for lithium - by 6 times. According to the authors of the study, this means that metal prices, adjusted for inflation, will increase by several hundred percent to the level of 2020 (on the contrary, in the scenario of slow energy transition, in which climate goals are not achieved, real metal prices remain approximately at the level of 2020). And by 2040, due to the boom in demand, the cost of production of the four main "energy transition metals" will equal the cost of oil production over the same two decades in the "net zero" scenario, amounting to about $13 trillion.

Can cryptocurrencies become money? History shows that new money can appear periodically, but there are several insurmountable obstacles on the way of cryptocurrencies to become real money, lists a professor of economics at the City University of Denver (MSU Denver) in the Econlib blog Nicolas Kacanoski. The first is the scalability problem, or the number of transactions per second (TPS): Visa has it up to 56,000, Paypal – 115, and Bitcoin – only 7. As users and transactions with bitcoin increase, a bottleneck arises: in order to increase TPS, you will either have to reduce the security of transactions (the faster the transaction is recorded in the block chain, the easier it is to forge it), or abandon decentralization (for example, Visa is a centralized network: only Visa can see transactions that require verification). However, for cryptocurrencies, decentralization is the doctrine on which they are based.

Data on trade volumes can be obtained from space in real time: space satellites can help both businesses and politicians in making economic decisions, especially small states with gaps in official data, IMF experts write in a blog. Their method of "space tracking" trade showed that satellites would have helped identify disruptions in trade and supply chains in the Pacific region long before the World Health Organization announced a global pandemic in March 2020. All countries in this region experienced a sharp decline in imports even at the earliest stages of the pandemic due to supply disruptions related to port restrictions affecting the regional trade network, including Chinese ports. Later, imports declined further due to lockdowns, then recovered in countries that are weakly dependent on tourism, but remained low in tourism-oriented countries.

Tags: science


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