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Equities (September 13)

2018/ 09/ 14 by jd in Global News

In the U.S., many dismiss inflation because it’s “only about 3%,” a big mistake. In real life, it’s actually “closer to 10%” as revealed by the Chapwood Index, a real-time inflation monitor. “Most cities are seeing inflation at or above 10% per year!” This “stealth inflation” is overlooked “because nobody really sees it unless they are paying attention… Packages of pretzels and chips and snacks contain less than they used to, yet their prices are rising…. Those 16-oz packages may be only 13-oz. now.”

 

BBC (August 23)

2018/ 08/ 25 by jd in Global News

Brexit is “akin to attempting to remove an egg from an omelette” and if there’s not a deal, it’s likely to become an even bigger mess. “Today’s “no deal” papers reveal the complicated exercise could carry significant costs for consumers and businesses if Britain and the EU fail to agree on a transition period and a subsequent trading agreement.” Failure to reach a deal would “very likely to have a negative impact on the economy and could mean higher prices in the shops as firms pass on the higher costs of doing business.”

 

CNN (July 2)

2018/ 07/ 04 by jd in Global News

“Every US-made car is an import,” which means US automakers could get stung bad by tariffs. According to a measure used by regulators, “the two most ‘American’ cars are both Hondas—the Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup,” each of which boast about 75% of components made in the US or Canada. “The Honda Civic, Acura MDX, Acura TLX and the Mercedes C-class source 70% from the United States and Canada. The highest-ranked car made by a Detroit automaker is the Chevrolet Corvette, which placed seventh” at about 65%. GM has already warned that “tariffs could force the company to cut jobs at US plants due to an expected drop in sales associated with higher prices.”

 

Washington Post (June 8)

2018/ 06/ 10 by jd in Global News

“Trump is waging a trade war in the dumbest way possible.” In the best of times, “trade wars are neither good nor easy to win…. Every side loses, experiencing lost jobs, crippled businesses and higher prices for consumers.” Trumps tariffs are now estimated to result in 16 lost U.S. jobs for every job gained in the aluminum/steel industry: a painful, self-inflicted wound. Moreover, the counterpunches of our trading partners “are likely to draw more blood.” With the “already announced $40 billion worth of retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made products,” Canada, the EU, Mexico, Russia, India, Japan and Turkey have “fine-tuned the art of minimizing their own pain — and maximizing ours.”

 

Reuters (March 27)

2018/ 03/ 30 by jd in Global News

Oil prices are holding firm, “supported by concerns that tensions in the Middle East could lead to supply disruptions, although further rises expected in U.S. crude output loomed over markets.”

 

The Economist (December 10)

2016/ 12/ 12 by jd in Global News

“For the first time since oil prices plunged in 2014, Big Oil is putting its head above the parapet to seek substantial new sources of crude that will tide it through the 2020s.” While this signals renewed confidence, the players remain extremely cost conscious, with the aim of staying lean to maintain profitability even if oil stays stuck around $50 per barrel.

 

Wall Street Journal (September 3)

2016/ 09/ 05 by jd in Global News

“All across American agriculture, production is up and prices are down.” With bumper crops expected, “corn prices have tanked, dropping to about $2.85 a bushel today from $6.50 three crop-seasons ago.” The Department of Agriculture is stepping in to help farmers with some subsidies and other programs, but what farmers really need is for Congress to “approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which would boost demand overseas substantially.

 

Wall Street Journal (February 15)

2016/ 02/ 17 by jd in Global News

“Three years since Mr. Abe took power pledging to end two decades of falling prices and wages, followed by the launch of a massive monetary easing program by the Bank of Japan, headline inflation is still languishing around zero, real wages are falling and the economy has yet to achieve consistent growth.”

 

The Economist (January 16)

2016/ 01/ 18 by jd in Global News

“Since the new year, the price of oil has surprised even the most bearish punters, plunging by 18%.” With prices already dipping below $30 a barrel, few know how low oil will go or when prices will begin to recover. Analysts have placed the bottom as low as $10, with April deliveries calculated at “anything from $25 to $56 a barrel.” The only thing everyone agrees on is that current supply vastly outstrips demand.

 

Wall Street Journal (October 22)

2015/ 10/ 24 by jd in Global News

“Much has changed since Beijing sparked a rare-earths panic in 2010. China was home to 95% of the world’s production, so when it tightened export quotas by 40% and then cut off shipments to Japan over a territorial dispute, buyers world-wide feared scarcity and prices rose tenfold.” Ironically, this spurred innovation, the use of substitutes and the reopening of mines in other countries. “By 2012 the world faced a glut of rare earths. Prices collapsed as much as 80%.” The rare-earths rollercoaster demonstrates “the ability of markets and human ingenuity to adapt to ill-advised attempts to hold natural resources hostage. When they’re allowed to work, markets always defeat mercantilism—a useful lesson for Beijing’s economic reformers.”

 

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