DGI Brief - Nov 30, 2016
- Responding to NORTH KOREA’s continuous pursuit of nuclear weapons in defiance of all diplomatic efforts, the UN Security Council unanimously further tightened the international sanctions on the country. Why it matters: The new sanctions target North Korea’s hard currency revenues by banning & capping exports/imports (coal, metals, statues etc.), limiting access to int’l banking systems, better clarifying the current exemptions that many businesses & Pyongyang exploited and going after illicit schemes. The sanctions also threaten, for the first time, to suspend North Korea’s UN privileges. The issue is whether North Korea is willing to admit the dire consequences. The country is impoverished to the extreme yet Pyongyang keeps diverting (& wasting) precious resources on nuclear programs rather than developing economically & helping its citizens. None of North Korea’s neighbors want to see a failed state... and that seems to be the grappling question. Can the regime survive on this trajectory likely leading to destitution, even famine? Or would the regime survive if it gave up on its nuclear ambitions, sanctions were removed and ‘progress’ flooded in?
- WORLD: OPEC agreed, for the first time since the 2008 market crash, to reduce their oil production by 1.2 million barrels a day in an attempt to push up oil price. Non-OPEC states like Russia, also agreed to reductions. Why it matters: Experiencing serious economic crises (Venezuela, Iraq & even Saudi Arabia), OPEC members finally united for steps that are expected to benefit them financially while reclaiming their influence on global prices of crude. No big hikes can be expected, but the cutbacks are significant & well distributed across all members. Most encouraging is the willingness to agree between Iran & Saudi Arabia, who couldn’t stand further apart on every other issue. The reductions will be valid for 6 months with a possibility of extension. Of course the whole world will watch with held breath whether US President-elect Trump delivers on his promises to free up US oil drilling which would increase global supply & likely drive prices down again.
- Southern INDIA’s Kamuthi unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant with the capacity of 648MW – or powering 150,000 homes - taking the title from 550MW-producing Topaz Solar Farm in California. Why it matters: This impressive project sets India on its way to power 60 million homes by the sun by 2022, part of the ambitious target of producing 40% of India’s power from non-fossil fuels by 2030. It will also help India to become the world’s 3rd largest solar market next year, after China & USA. Above all, environmental groups hope it will help improve air quality, given that pollution levels in the capital New Delhi & surrounding regions reached the worst levels in 17 years! Get your investments ready.
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