US Politics: Polls tighten ahead of Democratic primaries – For a time the momentum was clearly behind Elizabeth Warren winning the Democratic presidential nomination, with her surging in the opinion polls in September and October, having steadily gained popularity through the year. Her fortunes have since turned almost as sharply, seemingly on the back of her ‘Medicare for all’ policy – from a peak of c.27% in the opinion polls (RealClearPolitics average) as of early October, she has now fallen back to third place behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders at 16.7%, while the probability of her winning has fallen to just 18% from 52% previously (according to the PredictIt betting market). The entry of Michael Bloomberg into the contest this week has further complicated predictions; while he still ranks fairly low in opinion polls at just 2.4%, his probability of winning the contest is not much behind rivals at 11%. The nominees will face one another again in a debate on 19 December (the sixth so far), with the first serious test of their candidacy coming at the Iowa caucus on 3 February. Thereafter, a succession of state primaries and caucuses – peaking on ‘Super Tuesday’ on 3 March, and continuing until June – will determine who Democrats nominate as their candidate to face President Trump in the November 2020 election. (Bill Diviney)
EUR IG Corporate Credit: It’s getting windier – Recent studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, wind speeds across the global have been picking up over the past decade. The traditional school of thought was that urbanisation and vegetation growth negatively affect windspeed over land, but a research paper led by a team at Princeton University calculated that a typical wind turbine would have produced roughly 17% more energy in 2017 compared to 2010, based on global average wind speeds. The researchers ascribe this trend to large-scale ocean-atmospheric oscillations over the past years caused by uneven heating of the earth’s surface. While the link to ocean wind speed was well-known, the study showed the that these oscillations also tend to positively affect land wind speed.
These findings could be a boon for the windfarm value chain, especially since the researchers expect a further rise in windspeeds from these effects. Using climate indices, the researchers predict an increase in wind generation on a typical turbine of up to 37% by 2024. Perhaps this might explain the strong demand we have seen in the hybrid debt issued today by Danish utility company Orsted, which managed to price a green perpetual bond which cannot be called before 2027 at a yield of 2%. This will become the richest hybrid in this maturity space, looking at a basket of hybrids by well-known utility issuers such as Enel and Vattenfall. These peers also have significant ambitions to expand in wind energy. (Shanzawaz Bhimji)