La Libra, Facebook's digital currency, announced for 2021 in reduced format

The launch of Facebook's digital currency, Libra , could take place in 2021. The project may benefit from favorable factors in the global economy, but regulators will have to be convinced first.  Facebook could launch Libra, its digital currency in 2021, we learn from the British media Financial Times, which quotes people close to the process. The product is expected to arrive in a limited version, after the project has met with great aversion from regulators, including in the United States, the country where the headquarters of the social media management company are located. The stakeholder association behind this digital currency project is now planning to launch a single version of Libra that will itself be pegged to the dollar, at the rate of one unit of US currency for each Facebook digital currency . “The other forms of currencies will be deployed at a later stage,” the FT source added. The exact launch date will depend on when the project

Automobile: the puzzle of a green recovery

Reserve aid for electric vehicles would not have been enough to protect the industry from a wave of bankruptcies. It remains to be seen whether the extension of the bonus will be enough to preserve the market share of battery-powered vehicles, which reached almost 10% in the first four months of 2020.
 
Automobile: the puzzle of a green recovery

NGOs have not failed to step up to the plate on the support plan for the auto sector, which is to be announced this afternoon. "The government must clearly rule out the option of yet another scrapping bonus for thermal vehicles, including the most recent," insisted several of them (Greenpeace, Climate Action Network and Nicolas Hulot Foundation) in a press release common published Monday. "If public aid can encourage the individual purchase of large SUV-type vehicles, even electric or hybrid, it is climate and social nonsense," they continue.

While the health crisis has further increased environmental pressure on the government, supporting both the energy transition and the automotive sector as a whole, however, was a big deal. Stakeholders in the sector have been reminded of this: bankruptcies are already threatening among distributors, who are collapsing with stocks and alone represent 200,000 jobs in France.

Considerable public money

However, according to the data transmitted by the National Center of the automobile professions CNPA), the stocks are made up to 52% of diesel vehicles, to 44% of gasoline vehicles and 4% of vehicles with batteries (100% electric or plug-in hybrids). Not to mention the production lines, which are still largely dimensioned today to manufacture thermal vehicles.

To reserve the premiums for the acquisition with only lithium ion was thus likely not to solve the problem of the sector in very short term. Some are even skeptical of the medium-term effort. "The public money spent on the electric vehicle is considerable, and despite all the buyers remain reluctant: the electric vehicle is still not competitive," said director of the Cetelem automotive observatory, Flavien Neuvy.

Sales nevertheless progressed well at the start of the year. With 29,000 electric cars sold between January and April 2020, to which are added nearly 10,000 plug-in hybrids (80% more than last year), battery vehicles represented 9.6% of the market over the first four months of the year. However, an atypical period: having this year CO2 objectives to meet, manufacturers tended to slow sales at the end of 2019 and to push them at the start of 2020, in particular by building up stocks at dealerships.



Market share close to 10%

The health crisis, which caused a market drop of 90% in France in April, did not change this market share. The coronavirus had already led the executive to postpone from March 31 to June 15 the fall in the purchase bonus, planned for company vehicles (from 6,000 to 3,000 euros). "We strongly campaigned for companies to recover this bonus: they represent more than 50% of sales," said Avere-France general delegate Cécile Goubet.

Will the measures announced on Tuesday by Emmanuel Macron be sufficient to really boost sales? Despite the public effort, the obstacles to buying will not disappear overnight. Even raised to 8,000 euros, the bonus will apply to vehicles billed at least 25,000 euros, which is far from the reach of all budgets. Fears over the autonomy and inadequacy of the charging network, especially in condominiums, remain. In addition, the impact of the health crisis remains uncertain. "The fall in fuel prices will increase the cost gap with thermal vehicles," worries Cécile Goubet. Without public support, the risk of falling sales of battery-powered cars was in any case very real.