While metal and agricultural commodities have recouped their losses from the COVID-19 pandemic and are expected to make modest gains in 2021, energy prices, despite some recovery, are expected to stabilize below pre-pandemic levels next year, the World Bank said.
Oil prices fell dramatically in the early stages of COVID-19 and have only partially regained pre-pandemic price levels, while metal prices declined relatively modestly and have returned to levels that preceded the shock, according to the semi-annual Commodity Markets Outlook report. Agriculture prices were relatively unaffected by the pandemic, but the number of people at risk of food insecurity has risen as a result of the broader effects of the global recession.
“The impact of COVID-19 on commodities has been uneven, and could have lasting effects for energy markets,” said Ayhan Kose, World Bank Group Acting Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance & Institutions and Director for the Prospects Group. “When declines in commodity prices are short-lived, policy stimulus can buffer their impact. However, when prices remain depressed for an extended period, policy makers need to find solutions so their economies can adjust smoothly to a new normal. Because of COVID-19, the new normal for oil-exporting emerging and developing economies arrived earlier. In the post-COVID world, these countries need to be more aggressive in implementing policies to reduce their reliance on oil revenues.”
Oil prices are expected to average $44 per barrel in 2021, up from an estimated $41 per barrel in 2020. Demand is expected to rise only slowly as tourism and travel continue to be held back by health concerns and as global economic activity is anticipated to return to pre-pandemic levels only in the year after next. Supply restraint is expected to be eased steadily. Energy prices overall —which also include natural gas and coal—are expected to rebound sizably in 2021, following large declines in 2020, an upward revision from April’s forecast. A resurgence of a second wave of the pandemic that results in more lockdowns and less consumption, and delays in vaccine development and distribution, could lead to lower energy prices than forecast.
Metal prices are expected to post modest increases in 2021 after falling in 2020, supported by the ongoing recovery in the global economy and continued stimulus from China. A prolonged period of weak global growth would lead to lower prices than forecast.
Agriculture prices are expected to rise slightly in 2021, following an estimated 3% increase in 2020 following some shortfall in edible oil production. Concerns about food insecurity remain relevant in several emerging market and developing economies. These concerns are prompted by hits to incomes from the global recession, bottlenecks in food availability at the local level, and border restrictions that have constrained labor supply. Food price inflation has spiked in several countries.
The pandemic is only the latest in a long history of shocks to commodity markets. A Special Focus looks at the nature of commodity price shocks on 27 commodities during 1970-2019. It finds that highly persistent (“permanent”) and short-lived (“transitory”) shocks have contributed almost equally to commodity price variation, although with wide variety across commodities. Permanent shocks account for most of agricultural commodity price variability while transitory shocks are more relevant in industrial commodity prices. The varied duration of such shocks points to a need for policy flexibility.
A transitory commodity price shock may call for stimulative fiscal policy to smooth consumption; countries that depend on exports of commodities subject to cyclical price swings may want to build fiscal buffers during the boom phase and use them in the bust period to support economic activity. In countries that rely heavily on commodities that are subject to permanent shocks, structural policies such as economic diversification and broadening the tax base may be needed to facilitate adjustments to new economic environments.
Policy Measures to Advance Jordan’s Transition to Renewables
A new report published today by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has identified a series of policy measures that can help advance the energy transition towards renewable energy in Jordan.
The “Renewables Readiness Assessment: The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” – developed in co-operation with Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, suggests opportunities exist to deepen private sector engagement in national efforts to reach a 31 per cent share of renewables in total power by 2030.
“The recommendations of this report comply with the newly issued Energy strategy 2020-2030 and its action plan,” said H.E. Engineer Hala Zawati, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jordan. “We are fully aware that to achieve all these ambitious targets, a strong partnership between the public and private sectors is needed. We are also eager to work with international friends and partners to make renewable energy a main pillar of the Jordan energy sector.”
The report presents policy action areas to increase energy security and boost supply diversity through the accelerated uptake of renewables and includes ideas to boost end-use electrification and increase the availability of energy transition investments from domestic institutions.
Jordan’s share of electricity from renewables grew from almost zero in 2014 to around 20 per cent in 2020 thanks to enabling frameworks and policies that have supported the deployment of renewable energy technologies, including solar photovoltaic (PV) and onshore wind.
“Jordan boasts significant renewable energy resource potential that if realised will reduce consumer energy costs, improve national energy security, create jobs and stimulate sustainable growth – boosting post COVID-19 economic recovery efforts,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “This report highlights a series of policy and regulatory measures that will allow Jordan to build on its energy transition progress to date and align it with 2030 national decarbonisation goals.”
Capacity building in local financing institutions and project developers can drive their engagement in the energy transition, the report says, while helping the country to meet its needs in important areas such as the build-out of electric charging infrastructure for the transport system.
Challenges associated with integrating higher shares of renewables in Jordan can be addressed by building and upgrading transmission and distribution infrastructure, deploying storage, promoting demand-side management and incentivising electrification of heating, cooling and transportation.
Renewables Readiness Assessment: Jordan lists concrete recommendations around the following seven action areas:
- Provide the conditions for renewables to grow in the power sector
- Foster continued growth of renewable power generation
- Plan for the integration of higher shares of renewable power
- Incentivise the use of renewables for heating and cooling
- Support renewable options for transport and mobility
- Catalyse renewable energy investment
- Strengthen local industries and create jobs in renewables
World Bank Supports Angolan’s Electrification with $250 Million
The World Bank approved $250 million to improve the operational performance of the electricity sector utilities and increase electricity access in selected cities of Angola.
The Electricity Sector Improvement and Access Project will finance electrification investments in the provinces of Luanda, Benguela, Huila, and Huambo, delivering 196,500 new electricity connections that will benefit close to one million people and 93,857 public lights.
The project will focus on electricity access expansion and improvement of revenue collection, electricity service improvement, capacity improvement of the public electricity producer (PRODEL, Empresa Pública de Produção de Electricidade), and strengthening sustainable management of generation plants. The project also aims to increase the commercial performance of the national electricity distribution company (Empresa Nacional de Distribuição de Electricidade, ENDE) as well as provide financing to the national transport network Rede Nacional de Transporte, RNT) for targeted interventions to improve and optimize the dispatch of electricity supply and the overall management of the national transmission network. Furthermore, the Project will also finance immediate measures to raise the operational, commercial and technical capacity of the three national power utilities, leading to significant electricity service improvement.
“Investment in infrastructure, especially in energy, is key to economic development ”, said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director to Angola “Quality access to electricity services will have a spillover effect in many other sectors, including agribusiness, health, education, just to name a few.”
Angola’s power generation capacity, largely based on hydropower, has developed at a fast pace with the national installed generation capacity quadrupling in just one decade, but transport, distribution and cost recovery remain very challenging. Less than 40 percent of Angolans have access to electricity, with inadequate electricity services impacting poverty, productivity and regional disparities. Therefore, the project aims to deliver the most critical actions needed to help expand electricity access, improve the operational and commercial performance of utilities, and ultimately boost their creditworthiness. This, in turn, will contribute to reducing extreme poverty, improving the resilience of communities to impacts arising from COVID-19, and increasing shared prosperity.
The total project cost is $417 million, financed with a $250 million loan from the World Bank and a credit of $167 million from Agence Française de Développement.
IEA and SICA to collaborate on clean energy transitions in Central America
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Central American Integration System (SICA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote clean energy transitions in Central America. Under the MoU, the two organisations will expand their cooperation on energy data and statistics, energy efficiency and climate resilience of electricity systems. These have all been identified as key areas for energy transitions and climate change mitigation in the region under SICA’s Central American 2030 Sustainable Energy Strategy.
“The IEA is pleased to team up with SICA to expand our work in Central America, a dynamic region that is home to over 55 million people and has excellent clean energy potential with distinctive transition opportunities and challenges,” said IEA Deputy Executive Director David Turk.
Under its Clean Energy Transitions Programme, the IEA has been expanding its collaboration in Latin America. This is taking place both bilaterally with key partner countries – including the two largest economies, Brazil and Mexico – and on a regional level through cooperation with leading regional organisations, including the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE) and the Inter-American Development Bank. The signing of the IEA-SICA Memorandum of Understanding is a new milestone for the IEA’s engagement with the region.
“Today’s signing ceremony marks an important step for SICA’s work on clean energy transitions – an important priority for our member countries, which can now benefit from the IEA’s leading analysis and expertise,” said Vinicio Cerezo, SICA Secretary General.
The Central American Integration System (Sistema de Integración Centroamericana, or SICA) is an economic and political organisation composed of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá and the Dominican Republic, that works to foster closer ties and integration across Central America and the Dominican Republic to promote peace, liberty, democracy and development in the region.
A little acknowledged clause may be main obstacle to revival of Iran nuclear accord
A little acknowledged provision of the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program explains jockeying by the United States...
Climate politics and the future of carbon emissions
Climate change is no longer a far-off problem, it is happening here, it is happening now and if it is...
Ancestral Lineage of Hazaras: from Afghanistan to Pakistan
While the origins of Hazaras are much debated, opinions differ when it comes to the ancestral lineage of Hazara community....
U.S. Climate Policy Could Break the Ice with Russia
“In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity” — Albert Einstein Within the climate crisis lies strategic opportunity for the United...
Brighter Future Waits Ahead
Our footprints on the sands of time are about to be washed up by the next wave. We need to...
Will the New Interim Government Lead Libya Out Of A Long-Standing Crisis?
Last week, February 17, Libyans celebrated the 10th anniversary of the revolution that ousted the long time leader Colonel Muammar...
Kickstarting the U.S. Economy: A Rebound or Further Inequity?
The global economy has seen its fair share of peculiarity in recent years; much attributed to the developing economies rather...
Americas2 days ago
Secretly, Biden’s Foreign Policies Are Trump’s Foreign Policies
Energy3 days ago
Jordan, Israel, and Palestine in Quest of Solving the Energy Conundrum
Eastern Europe3 days ago
As Georgians Fight Each Other, Russia Gleefully Looks On
Development3 days ago
Lao PDR: New Project to Protect Landscapes and Enhance Livelihoods
Reports3 days ago
Sea transport is primary route for counterfeiters
Environment2 days ago
Public-private partnerships could play key role in combatting deforestation
Southeast Asia2 days ago
Myanmar: Exploiting lessons learnt in the Middle East
Human Rights3 days ago
‘No place’ for coups in today’s world