The Biden Administration Cancels Debt Ceiling Meeting

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In his podcast addressing the markets today, Louis Navellier offered the following commentary.

Great News For The Domestic Natural Gas Industry

The Biden Administration’s Environment Protection Agency (EPA) introduced a proposed emission rule for utilities designed to lower carbon dioxide emissions.  Interestingly, the EPA exempted natural gas peaker power plants that turn on and off during peak load demand, like during high air conditioning demand. 

Please excuse me, but if natural gas peaker power plants are exempt from the proposed EPA rules, won’t the utility industry just install more peaker power plants to circumvent the EPA’s proposed rules? Frankly, this is great news for the domestic natural gas industry.

Debt Ceiling Meeting Canceled

The Biden Administration canceled a second meeting with congressional leaders on Friday to debate lifting the debt ceiling.  Officially, this delay will allow the White House and congressional staff more time to prepare for negotiations over the budget cuts that the Republican-led House of Representatives is demanding.

If a deal is not reached by June 1st, pension payments for federal retirees can be postponed and provide lawmakers more time to hammer out details.

A partial government shutdown is also possible, which has happened in the past, but that is expected to be the last resort. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in a Bloomberg interview on Friday said “If Congress fails to do that, it really impairs our credit rating.  We have to default on some obligation, whether it’s Treasuries or payments to Social Security recipients.”

Italy’s Pasta Shortage

One of the most interesting news stories this week is about Italy’s pasta shortage.  In April, the cost of pasta in Italy rose 16.5% in the past 12 months, down a bit from a 17.5% annual pace in March.  Industry minister, Adolfo Urso, called an emergency meeting with government officials, pasta producers, distributors and consumer associations, some of which were calling for a price cap.

However, due to falling prices for energy and especially durum wheat as well as semolina, the ministry said “The latest price surveys are already showing the first, albeit weak, signs of price decrease, a sign that the cost of pasta may fall significantly in the coming months.”

My Italian representative was in the pasta business and informed me that in 2021 Italy imported $2.25 billion in wheat and became the sixth-largest importer of wheat in the world.  Italy imports wheat primarily from Canada, France, Hungary, Austria and Australia.

He said the best quality wheat is native to Italy, such as his favorite, the “Senator Cappelli durum wheat” produced in Puglia in small scale. Unfortunately, a long-term drought threatens Italy’s domestic wheat production.

Coffee Beans: Beer To Go

A Minnesota inventor who previously invented a rocket-powered toilet and a jet-powered coffee pot unveiled his latest creation: a beer-powered motorcycle with a 14-gallon keg with a heating coil instead of a gas-powered engine. The inventor said the motorcycle could be adapted to run on almost any beverage. Source: UPI. See the full story here.