Electric Vehicles and concerns about battery power feature in this epsiode. We also take a look at supermarket retailing in the United Kingdom. How discounters are winning market share. Gas prices are rising in Europe and Gazprom is seeking approval to open its pipeline from Russia through Europe. China has announced the removal of subsidies for New Energy Vehicles (NEV's).
Gazprom is the largest supplier gas world-wide. It is Russian owned. It is currently negotiating with the European Union to allow it to run its Nord Stream 2 pipeline through central Europe bypassing Ukraine and passing through Germany. Germany said it would give permission back in July 2021 but the EU has to agree. Germany suspended its approval in November 2021 because Nord Strum is registered in Switzerland and not Germany. This will be far more efficient for distribution than loading many ships. However, relations are not as good as they could be and the EU is likely to take time until about mid-year to reach a decision. Gazprom is currently highly profitable with demand for gas up and supply in short measure. As the largest supplier of Gas with a quasi-monopoly position it can virtually write its own profit figure. Wholesale gas prices have increased fourfold in the past year. Consumers in Britain will likely be paying about £700 more per household in 2022. The EU gets about 40% of its gas from Russia. UK supply is much lower (5%) but as wholesale prices increase in the market the UK will pay higher prices too even though much of its supply comes from Norway.
How has the UK’s departure impacted the EU? Since the 1st January 2022 there are further delayed bureaucratic checks at borders and there is little understanding of this in Europe. This is likely to cause further disruptions in the first part of the year. Listen to the special edition of the podcast on Tariffs, Trade and Policy.
Have you ever wondered why discount retailers might be doing better in the current economic climate? Listen to what is happening in the UK retail market.
Governments are pushing for people to make the switch to electric cars sooner than later. Listen to the snippet about some of the problems that need to be resolved before this can happen. Battery technology is something that needs further innovation and there needs to be better coverage of charging points. Battery capacity, charging speed, vehicle characteristics and range are all part of the equation.
Finally, listen to the report of withdrawal of subsidies for new electric vehicles in China.