Dow Jones Newswires: China’s central bank cuts two key rates to support slowing economy

China's central bank on Monday cut two key interest rates that would likely translate into lower benchmark lending rates, in a bid to provide more support for the slowing economy......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatch21 hr. 14 min. ago Related News

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump

China Unexpectedly Cuts Key Rate, Adds Liquidity As Economic Growth Slowed, Retail Sales Slump A busy night started with weakness in US equity futures (Nasdaq down 0.5%) and an unexpected cut in a key China policy rate and a modest addition of liquidity. This was then followed by a mixed bag of China macro with a GDP beat (but slowing growth) but ugly retail sales disappointment. All of which sent the Yuan lower... As Bloomberg reports, China lowered a key interest rate for the first time since the peak of the pandemic in 2020 as a property-market slump and repeated virus outbreaks dampened the nation’s growth outlook. The People’s Bank of China cut the rate on its one-year policy loans by 10 basis points to 2.85%. That’s the first reduction since April 2020. It also slashed the rate on the seven-day reverse repurchase agreements by the same magnitude to 2.1%. The central bank made the move while offering 700 billion yuan ($110 billion) via the medium-term lending facility, exceeding the 500 billion yuan coming due. It added 100 billion yuan with seven-day reverse repos. “The PBOC has accelerated its pace of policy easing in order to guide borrowing costs lower and to encourage credit supply,” said Yewei Yang, an analyst at Guosheng Securities Co. “The move suggests China’s economic is weak and it will trigger a significant slide in borrowing costs.” The cut to policy rates indicates the PBOC is taking easier stance to deal with economic downward pressures which were reflected somewhat in a mixed set of data from China that showed growth slowing (albeit better than expected) and retail sales notably disappointing. China 4Q GDP Grows 4% Y/Y; Est. 3.3%, but notably below Q3's +4.9% China Dec. Industrial Output Rises 4.3% Y/Y; Est. 3.7% China Jan.-Dec. Fixed Investment Rises 4.9% Y/Y; Est. 4.8% China Jan.-Dec. GDP Grows 8.1% Y/Y; Est. 8% China End-Dec. Survey Jobless Rate Rises to 5.1% vs 5.0% Prior China Dec. Retail Sales Rise 1.7% Y/Y; Est. 3.8% As is clear in the chart below, all of the key macro measures worsened... As Bloomberg's Enda Curran notes, the retail sales weakness looks broad based. There was a big decline in sales of household electronics and automobiles and also contraction for restaurant/catering, clothing, jewelry and furniture. Given the news through January regarding the virus outbreaks, one wonders if that can turn around materially in the near term. The annual new years holiday would be an obvious boost in other years, but less clear how it plays out this year. On a seasonally adjusted month/month basis, China’s retail sales rose in just four months last year. Even during 2020’s pandemic impacts, there were five months of such sales growth. On top of the big miss for retail sales, online shopping shows more worrying signs for the country’s weakening consumer demand. Online retail sales grew 14.1% in 2021, the slowest annual pace since 2014. Chang Shu and David Qu, economists at Bloomberg Economics, say the bigger-than-expected cut to the one-year MLF rate shows it’s serious about supporting the economy. We give the final words to Peiqian Liu, an economist at NatWest Markets: This is a decisive dovish tilt as the policymakers acknowledged the importance to stabilize short term growth. The rate cut may translate into a broad-based 10bps lower in 1Y and 5Y LPR on Thursday. In terms of our outlook for monetary policy in 2022, we think the PBOC will unlikely resort to “flood-style stimulus” of consecutive and aggressive rate cuts. Instead, we see room for moderate easing with another 20bps rate cut and 100bps RRR cut for the rest of this year. US equity futures extended their losses despite the MLF rate cut... One last thing of note, China’s stats folks say the country’s population was about 500,000 people more at year’s end than a year earlier (albeit a rounding error), but it signals that China hasn’t gotten to peak population just yet apparently. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 21:28.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt21 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

Local execs to share outlook on 2022 economy

The Business Review, in partnership with TD Bank, will reveal the results of a research survey of local executives about their outlook for the 2022 economy. An in-depth panel discussion featuring local executives will follow......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournals22 hr. 58 min. ago Related News

India’s Inward Turn Could Stymie Its Rise

Modi is hoping the country’s consumers will constitute a big enough market to power the economy. That could be a major miscalculation......»»

Category: topSource: washpostJan 16th, 2022Related News

"We Are Going To Take Back America": Trump Holds First Rally Of 2022 In Arizona

"We Are Going To Take Back America": Trump Holds First Rally Of 2022 In Arizona Authored by Mimi Nguyen Ly via The Epoch Times, Former President Donald Trump painted a positive future for Republicans late Saturday at his first rally of 2022, held in Arizona. “A great red wave is going to begin here in Arizona and is going to sweep across this country and it’s going to wash hundreds and thousands of Democrat socialists out of office with an unstoppable surge of Republican patriots, and they’re going to be doing it, you’re going to be heading to the polls,” Trump said at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds, in Florence, a Republican stronghold about 70 miles southeast of Phoenix. “This is the year we are going to take back the House, we are going to take back the Senate, and we are going to take back America. This is so important,” he told the crowd that responded in loud cheers. “This is maybe the most important election we’ve ever had. I do believe that 2024 will be even more important … In 2024, we are going to take back the White House!” he added. Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) Thousands of supporters gathered at Trump’s rally, his second in Arizona since he left office. The former president described the crowd as a “sea of people” that stretched “as far as the eyes can see,” and urged media members present to turn their cameras around. Trump used the crowd size to question the results of the 2020 election. “I ran twice, and we won twice, and we did better the second time … This crowd is a massive symbol of what took place because the people are hungry for the truth, they want their country back,” the former president asserted. Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) “A person that comes here and has crowds that go further than any eye can see … and has cars that stretch out for 25 miles—that’s not somebody that lost an election,” he later said. “And now because of it, our country is being destroyed.” Trump deplored the current state of the nation but expressed hope the situation will change, outlining agendas that include to eliminate COVID-19 mandates, investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021, and combat illegal immigration. During his speech, Trump endorsed Kari Lake for Arizona governor while calling incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, a “terrible representative” of the state. Lake, a former journalist, promised to eliminate mandates if she becomes governor. She also promised she would help to ensure election integrity and address illegal immigration, including to finish building the border wall. Former President Donald Trump and Kari Lake, whom Trump is supporting in the Arizona’s gubernatorial race, speak during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) COVID-19 Mandates The former president lobbied heavy criticism against the Biden administration’s mandates, which he said are “absolutely decimating our economy.” Trump urged Americans to “tell Joe Biden the Americans’ health choices are none of his business, we can make our own choices.” “With these decisions they’re making, they’re wrecking and devastating people’s lives; firing Americans from their jobs, forcing innocent children to grow up in masks, closing their schools—destroying education, crushing their development, demolishing their futures—[and] locking people in their homes,” Trump said. “They’re truly hurting the American people … they’ve taken away their dignity, they’ve taken away their liberties. And I say enough is enough and we are not going to take it anymore.” “This is the moment the Americans must take their lives and their future back,” he added. “We have to do it. We have to be strong. It’s time for the radical Democrats to leave our families alone, leave our elderly alone, leave our children alone with their strong immune system.” Supporters gather at a rally by former President Donald Trump at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) “Big Pharma is making a fortune. Democrats are putting corporate profits over the rights of the American people. These corrupt, power-hungry lunatics need to hear us loud and clear—we are done having our lives controlled by politicians and Washington bureaucrats. We’re done with the mandates, including the mandates for frontline health care workers.” Trump said he had “fiercely resisted mandates, and always will.” Jan. 6 Probe The former president said that if Republicans regain control of congress, they will start an investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, the day when the U.S. Capitol was breached. “We will immediately begin our own investigations into what happened—what really happened, because this is being totally whitewashed,” Trump said, while denouncing the current Democrat-led House committee investigation of Jan. 6. “January 6 has become the Democrat Party’s excuse to justify an unprecedented assault on Americans’ civil rights and liberties,” Trump said. A supporter wears a large button reading “Fighting for President Trump, January 6 We’re Coming” on his hat as he attends the first rally of the year by former President Donald Trump at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, on Jan. 15, 2022. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images) He criticized the treatment of people who have been detained in the Jan. 6 investigation. “Appalling persecution of political prisoners. What’s happening to those people in those jails … the blatant abuse of power to harass their political opponents is disgraceful, it’s never happened to this extent,” Trump said. “When it comes to January 6 defendants, most of whom were charged with non-violent offenses, partisan Democrats have celebrated their indefinite detention without trial,” he said. “These people are living in hell. Let them fight, let them see their lawyers, let them go out … These people are being persecuted.” Trump also denounced the shooting of Ashli Babbitt and the man who shot her. “Let’s see how he could do without the protections that he got,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace the way he shot Ashli.” “The American people deserve answers,” he said. “The Jan. 6 rally was a protest against a crooked election carried out by unhinged Democrats, Big Tech, working with the fake news media, all working together to defeat Republicans, and your favorite president—me.” Illegal Immigration Trump said that one of Republicans’ top priorities if they regain control of Congress will be to “stop the illegal flood of aliens across our southern border,” which includes human trafficking. Trump said Republicans plan to increase the number of ICE and Border Patrol officers to detain and deport illegal aliens. “We should also pass a law that says that sanctuary city officials who knowingly release criminals will be charged as accessories in any future crimes.” The border situation changed from “best” to “worst” in the span of one year, he said. “Over 2 million illegal aliens have trespassed across our borders—but that’s also a fake number given by the press and others,” Trump said, adding that he believes the number could be “10 times that amount.” “I think we’re talking about tens of millions of people are pouring into this country,” he suggested. “We see certain people and we sort of lock it down, well that’s the number, but it’s not. I think that it’s tens of millions of people, and these are not necessarily people we want in our country.” Trump noted a “record number” of undocumented migrant children arriving across the border. He accused Democrats of pushing “very cruel policies are pushing vulnerable youths into the arms of child smugglers, human traffickers, and very vicious criminal cartels.” “What the criminal cartels are doing to women and children—unbelievable. The trafficking is mostly in women, [and] what they’re doing to women is horrible. Yet despite all of this … the radical left are still hellbent on passing mass amnesty for illegal aliens,” Trump said. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 12:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Photos: a record-breaking number of ships sailed through the Suez Canal in 2021, including the redemptive return of the "Ever Given"

Massive ships that made it through the Suez Canal this year, including Ever Given and its even larger sibling, Ever Ace. Zhang Jingang/VCG via Getty Images More ships sailed through The Suez Canal this year than ever before. The record number comes amid supply-chain chaos, the coronavirus pandemic, and the Ever Given's 6-day grounding.  See the massive ships that made it through, including the Ever Given's larger sibling, "Ever Ace." A total of 20,694 ships traveled through The Suez Canal this year, the SCA's chairman announced on Sunday.Container ships sail in Suez Canal, during the 150th anniversary of the Suez Canal.Gehad Hamdy/picture alliance via Getty ImagesSource: BloombergThe record-breaking feat defies a year riddled with supply-chain chaos, the pandemic, and of course, the Ever Given's dramatic 6-day blocking of the canal.Touring the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAmong the tens of thousands of ships that made it through the Suez Canal this year was the recently repaired Ever Given and its even-larger sibling, Ever Ace.Yu Fangping / Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesIn a tale of redemption, the Ever Given successfully journeyed through the canal four months after it blocked the global waterway in March 2021.A view shows the container ship Ever Given, one of the world's largest container ships, after it was partially refloated, in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021Suez Canal Authority via ReutersSource: InsiderThe successful voyage was fantastic news for the global shipping industry — the Ever Given saga cost the global economy an estimated $400 million per hour.Container ship Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal, Egypt on March 27, 2021.Kristin Carringer/MaxarSource: InsiderIn October, it was spotted in Qingdao, China, as its underwent repairs.Yu Fangping / Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderPhotos revealed how six days stuck inside the canal destroyed the ship's famous red "bulbous bow."The Ever Given container ship which blocked the Suez Canal for nearly a week in March arrived in Qingdao on Monday for repair.Li Ziheng/Xinhua via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderMore than 1 million cubic feet of sand and mud had to be removed from around the ship as workers worked round-the-clock to dislodge both the bow and stern.Suez Canal Authority via APIn November, photos showed the repaired bow with a fresh coat of paint at a shipyard in China's Shandong Province.Yu Fangping / Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesSoon, the Ever Given reappeared on shipping schedules and began transporting freight between Europe and Asia once again — just in time for holiday shipping surges.Containers loaded onto the recently repaired Ever Given ship.Zhang Jingang/VCG via Getty ImagesThe "mega" container ship is larger than the Titanic and longer than the Empire State Building is high, but its new sibling is even bigger.Container ships are getting larger every year — the Ever Given is longer than three football fields.Zhang Jingang/VCG via Getty ImagesMeet Ever Ace: the world's largest container ship. According to American Bureau of Shipping records, the two ships are the same length, but the Ever Ace is wider and deeper.The Ever Ace has room on board for 23,992 boxes and 200,000 tonnes of cargo.Georg Wendt/picture alliance via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderThe Ever Ace is an Evergreen A-class, which can hold up to 23,992 cargo units. This is up from the 20,124 cargo units that the Ever Given, which is an Evergreen G-class ship, can carry.The "Ever Ace", one of the largest container ships in the world, is guided by tugs on the Elbe into the Port of Hamburg to moor at the Burchardkai container terminal.Georg Wendt/picture alliance via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderThe Ever Ace made its maiden voyage this summer, sailing through The Suez Canal for the first time on August 28, 2021.People gather as ship Ever Given is seen in Suez Canal, Egypt March 29, 2021.REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El GhanyEleven other mega container ships are being built in the make of the Ever Ace, three of which could become operational this year.A dockworker directs container ship CSCL GLOBE.Yu Fangping/VCG/Getty Images"Mega" container ships like these have more than doubled in size over the past decade to keep up with global trade demand.Associated PressThe vessels' larger-than-life size is contributing to the supply-chain crisis that's caused record-breaking backlogs at US ports, Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, told Insider.Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty ImagesEgypt's Suez Canal Authority announced plans to widen and deepen the waterway in May to help prevent future container ships from getting stuck.Stranded ships waiting in the queue to cross the Suez Canal on March 27, 202, as it's blocked by the Ever Given ship.MAHMOUD KHALED/AFP via Getty Images/InsiderThe deepening project will likely be complete in July 2023, Bloomberg reported.The Ever Given is accompanied by Suez Canal tugboats as it moves in the Suez Canal, Egypt, Monday, March 29, 2021.Suez Canal Authority via APSource: BloombergSCA Chairman Osama Rabie said even more ships are expected to pass through the canal next year due to increased ship production, according to the outlet.Seafarers on a ship waiting for their vaccinations.Sina Schuldt/DPA/Getty ImagesSource: BloombergRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Trump claims he couldn"t have lost the 2020 presidential election because his Arizona rally boasted thousands of attendees and "had cars that stretch out for 25 miles"

"There's nobody that can see the end of this crowd," Trump told his supporters at a Saturday rally. "That's not somebody that lost an election." Former President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd prior to speaking at a "Save America" rally in Florence, Ariz., on January 15, 2022.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin Former President Trump on Saturday continued to raise doubt on his election loss to President Biden. During an Arizona rally, Trump pointed to the crowd size and heavy traffic to justify his opinion. Trump often uses rally figures to guage electoral success, despite them having no clear connection. Former President Donald Trump on Saturday bragged about the crowd size of an Arizona rally and pointed to heavy traffic leading into the event venue as evidence that he — and not President Joe Biden — won the 2020 election.Nearly a year after Trump departed the White House after losing his reelection bid to Biden, the former president continues to maintain that the election was fraudulent despite there being no evidence of mass irregularities and after repeated court losses by his campaign legal team.During his "Save America" rally in Florence — the first large-scale Trump-helmed public gathering of 2022 — the former commander-in-chief once again called the election "fake" before equating the breadth of his in-person rallies to the presidential election results."A person that comes here ... and has crowds that go further than any eye can see ... there's nobody that can see the end of this crowd," Trump told thousands of cheering supporters.He continued: "And has cars that stretch out for 25 miles. That's not somebody that lost an election, and now because of it, our country is being destroyed."While Trump sported his trademark "Make America Great Again" hat and spoke to roughly 15,000 supporters, per an Arizona Republic estimate, the former president went down a laundry list of grievances with the 2020 election and Biden's presidency, especially as it pertained to the state of the economy and the US-Mexico border.—Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) January 16, 2022The Republic also reported that traffic for the Florence rally "was backed up for more than an hour," with attendees waiting in lines that traversed from the front of the venue to a dirt parking lot.Trump has long equated crowd sizes to electoral support and frequently blasted Biden's scaled-down events during the presidential campaign, linking it to a lack of support for the then-Democratic nominee. Meanwhile, Biden — who had sought to adhere to social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic — generally stuck with hosting outdoor events like drive-in rallies.Trump has teased a 2024 presidential run for almost a year, notably at the multiple rallies that he held in support of Republican candidates last year, and during the Saturday event.During a Fox News interview last November, Trump said that a final decision was still up in the air."I am certainly thinking about it and we'll see," he told the outlet at the time. "I think a lot of people will be very happy, frankly, with the decision, and probably will announce that after the midterms."Arizona was one of the hardest-fought states of the 2020 presidential election — and the longtime conservative stronghold will be hotly contested again in 2024 as well. Last year, Biden became the first Democratic presidential nominee since Bill Clinton in 1996 to win the state's electoral votes, edging out Trump by 10,457 votes out of nearly 3.4 million ballots cast.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

I tried the bus startup using luxury coaches with motion-canceling seats on a trip from NYC to DC and it was one of the most comfortable travel experience I"ve had

The plush seating, free snacks and booze, attentive attendant, and fast WiFi made traveling on the Jet an absolute joy. The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/Insider I tried the Jet, a luxury bus startup that travels between New York City and Washington DC. Tickets start at $99, which is more expensive than a comparable Amtrak ticket or a ride on a budget bus service.  The snacks, drinks, kind attendant, and comfortable motion-canceling seating made my carsickness worth it. I took a luxury bus service from New York City to Washington DC for $99, and it was one of the plushest travel experiences I've ever had.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderI've never had a pleasant intercity bus experience (until now), but the complimentary snacks and beverages, fast WiFi, and motion-canceling seats made the ride enjoyable and comfortable.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThat is until I got carsick. But more on that later.The seats at the front of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderI, like many other travelers in the US, do not have fond memories of sitting in intercity buses like Greyhound or Megabus.A Greyhound bus in Texas in 2021.Jose Luis Gonzalez/ReutersEnter the Jet, a luxury bus startup looking to provide another option different from those sometimes-uncomfortable budget bus experiences.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderUnlike the classic Flixbus or Greyhound, the Jet has comfortable seats, in-ride treats, and fast Wifi, among other bonuses. It's more expensive, but the company is betting riders who can afford to will pay for the luxury and exclusivity.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderChad Scarborough, the Jet's founder and CEO, predicts the company's passengers are the top one to 2% of bus riders, or "people who want a nicer option" but don't want to pay for an Amtrak, he said the first time I toured one of its buses in late 2021.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe startup isn't a new concept: Luxury coaches like Vonlane have fared well in other markets, Scarborough noted.The back of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut unlike Vonlane, which operates primarily in Texas, the Jet targets two cities with low car ownership: New York and Washington, DC.A view out the windows while we were still in Manhattan.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: Titlemax Tripperbus, which also calls itself a "first-class bus service," runs a similar route from Arlington, Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland to New York City.Rachel Mendelson/InsiderSource: Tripperbus But the Jet drops off and picks up its passengers right in the heart of DC at Metro Center, about a 10-minute walk to the White House.The White House south facade, in Washington, D.C.Raymond Boyd/Getty ImagesOn January 7, the morning after New York's first snow in the new year, I decided to take a ride on the Jet for a roughly five-hour ride from New York City to Washington, DC to test its offering.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Jet only has two departure times from New York: 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. I booked the former hoping to get some work done on my Friday afternoon ride.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Jet departs from Hudson Yards. This outdoor departure away from any terminal means I didn't have to navigate the large, often busy corridors of an indoor station. It also means passengers board from the curb, just like discount carrier Megabus.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe 45-foot-long black coach with "THE JET" embossed on side told me I was in the right place. I arrived earlier, so I had plenty of time to pick up breakfast before checking in with the bus attendant, who operates like a flight attendant.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderI already reserved my spot on the 14-seat bus so there was no need to rush onto the vehicle in hopes of getting a prime seat or space in the luggage compartment.My messy seat.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd the rows of seats are six feet apart as per COVID-19 protocols, providing ample legroom and space for my bags.The back of the bus.Brittany Chang/Insider"We've had some people tell us [this] feels safer than taking a train or a plane because there's so few people," Scarborough said in 2021.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd I agree. Besides me, there were only nine other people on the bus including the driver and attendant. Everyone was required to mask up unless they were eating or drinking.Snacks on the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere's also a UV filtration system that sanitizes the air every 10 minutes, according to the company.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderOther than the person sitting next to me (who I live with) everyone felt distanced from my seat, making the Jet feel safer than any plane ride I've been on during COVID-19. And unlike planes, the Jet is also now enforcing a vaccine mandate.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe pre-booked seats, ample spacing, and warm attendant made for one of the safest-seeming and most relaxing boarding experiences I've ever had on any mode of transportation.Inside the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderAll I had to do was get on the bus, throw my bags on the floor in front of me, confirm my seat with the friendly attendant, and I was all good to go.My messy seat.Brittany Chang/InsiderThroughout the bus ride, the attendant checked on the passengers and offered us a selection of complimentary snacks, water, wine, beer, coffee, and soda. And at the end of the bus ride, she collected our trash.Snacks on the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderI don't drink soda, and I passed on the free booze (I was, after all, still working), but just having these options made the Jet feel more luxurious than an economy seat on a plane.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderWe were offered The Jet-branded blankets to use during the bus ride, but I was already bundled in a thick sweater, so I passed.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere's also a bathroom at the rear of the bus next to the attendant's galley. The clean bathroom — although smaller than Amtrak's — had the basics: a toilet, sink, mirror, and hand sanitizer.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut because it was freezing the night before, the bathroom pipes were frozen, putting the porcelain throne out of commission for the first half of the ride.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderLuckily our driver scheduled a quick bathroom stop halfway through the journey, which was perfect for a quick stretch.The Jet on a cold January morning during out bathroom stop.Brittany Chang/InsiderSnacks and a clean bathroom are great, but the Jet has an even stronger standout feature that sets it apart from any other luxury bus competitor or mode of travel: the motion-canceling "hoverseats."Inside the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: Insider These seats are the Jet's pièce de résistance and its biggest draw.A reclined seat.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe seats use a suspension technology developed by Bose to block 90% of the bus ride's uncomfortable bumps and movements.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe tech can be more commonly found in the long-haul truck industry, making the Jet the "world's first" bus with motion-canceling seats, according to the company.Buttons to adjust the seating.Brittany Chang/InsiderSource: The Jet These seats made road traveling feel more like flying, but better.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe gel and memory foam seats are 22-inches wide and plusher than my couch at home.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderWhen my seat was fully reclined 45-degrees, I could have comfortably fallen asleep.A reclined seat.Brittany Chang/InsiderAnd because there's six feet between each row, I didn't have to worry about reclining too far.The seats at the front of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderLuckily, the seats' armrests have a built-in tray table, allowing me to lay back while tapping away on my laptop.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut unfortunately, I had to work, and couldn't take the nap I so longed for.Working on the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe coaches are equipped with the same WiFi used on Google and Facebook's employee shuttles, Scarborough previously explained.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe WiFi was no joke. It was reliable and the fastest I've ever used on a mode of transportation.The galley.Brittany Chang/InsiderAlmost every passenger was pattering away on their laptops during the bus ride, but I never encountered disruptions with the network, even when I was streaming music and videos.Inside the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe seats also have outlets that kept my laptop running throughout the entire journey.Working on the Jet.Brittany Chang/InsiderSo far so good, until around two hours into the ride. That's when I hit my first metaphorical bump in the road.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe motion-canceling seats did a great job of blocking the smaller bumps, but I could still feel the rocking motion of the bus. This was expected and would have otherwise been fine if I hadn't been staring at my laptop.The seats.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe longer I stared at the screen, the harder it became to read smaller blocks of text, a side effect that brought me back to my concussion four months ago.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe longer I worked, the worse my carsickness-induced nausea — a familiar feeling from stop-and-go traffic but never from long bus rides — became.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe headache, woozy uneasiness, and churning stomach made the remaining almost two hours more difficult to kill.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut when I looked around, most other passengers were still on their laptops and phones, a sign that nobody else was feeling as sick as I was.A view out the windows while we were still in Manhattan.Brittany Chang/InsiderFinally, after about five hours on the road, we arrived in DC at around 4 p.m. I quickly gathered my belongings, said my thank yous, and ran out to get some fresh air.The seats at the front of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut honestly, despite my carsickness, the Jet was the most comfortable intercity travel experience I've ever had (noting that I've never used a luxury bus service before).The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderBoarding and departing the bus in an uncrowded outdoor area was an underrated luxury.The Jet on a cold January morning.Brittany Chang/InsiderIt seems like I'm not alone in enjoying the Jet.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderIn December, the startup averaged at above 70% ridership, peaking at 86% during the week of Thanksgiving, Scarborough told Insider in a statement.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderJanuary has been "slower" at around 40% ridership ahead of a mid-month weekend, but this is still above the company's initial projections.The bathroom.Brittany Chang/InsiderScarborough believes the Jet is "well-positioned" for the spring and summer travel boom.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Jet ranges from almost $100 to up to almost $150. As of January 14, tickets for an 11 a.m. departure on Friday, January 28 start at $99.The galley at the rear of the bus.Brittany Chang/InsiderA business class ticket for Amtrak's Acela departing at 11 a.m. starts at $90, while a coach ticket for the 11:35 a.m. Northeast Regional sits at almost $50. It's also worth noting that an Amtrak on the same route is about one-and-a-half to two hours faster and won't have to stop for traffic or bathroom breaks.An Amtrak train pulls out of Union Station on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesSource: Amtrak Meanwhile, the cheapest 11:00 a.m. bus ticket (Flixbus) on the same day is a mere $18, making it about one-fifth as costly as a ticket for The Jet.A FlixBus at Nice International Airport in 2019.Eric Gaillard/ReutersSource: Wanderu If you're looking for luxury, the Jet may be your best choice. Though it's slower and more expensive, there's no arguing it's the most comfortable option.The galley.Brittany Chang/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must?

Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme. Moving is a difficult decision, so we hesitate. But when the window to do so closes, it's too late. We always think we have all the time in the world to ponder, calculate and explore, and then things change and the options we once had are gone for good. Moving to a new locale is difficult for those of us who are well-established in the place we call home. Add in a house we love, jobs/work, kids in school, a parent living with us and all the emotional attachments to friends, extended family, colleagues and favorite haunts, and for many (and likely most) people, moving is out of the question. Many of us have fond memories of moving when we were in our late teens or early 20s--everything we owned fit in the backseat and trunk of a beaten up old car, and off we went. Once you put down roots in a home, work/enterprise, schools, neighborhood and networks, it's a herculean task to move. Moving to another state or province isn't just a matter of the physical movement of possessions and buying / renting a new dwelling, itself an arduous process; the transfer of medical and auto insurance, finding new dentists and doctors, opening local bank/credit union accounts, obtaining local business licenses and a staggering list of institutions and enterprises that require an address change is complicated and time-consuming. Knowing this, I don't ask this question lightly: Should You Move While You Can, Or When You Must? The question is consequential because the window in which we still have options can slam shut with little warning. The origin of the question will be visible to those who have read my blog posts in 2021 on systemic fragility, our dependence on long, brittle supply chains, the vulnerabilities created by these dependencies and my polite (I hope) suggestions to fashion not just a Plan B for temporary disruptions but a Plan C for permanent disruptions. My new book Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States is a result of realities few are willing to face: the extreme inequality we now have in the U.S. leads to social collapse. That's the lesson of history. So to believe as if collapse is impossible is to ignore the evidence that social collapse is inevitable when inequality reaches extremes. Human and nature dynamics (HANDY): Modeling inequality and use of resources in the collapse or sustainability of societies. Social collapse has consequences, and so we have to ask: where do we want to be in the vast human herd when social order unravels? My new book also addresses the transition that's obvious but easily denied: we've transitioned from an era of abundance to an era of scarcity. There are many historical examples of what happens as scarcity diminishes living standards and puts increasing stress on individuals, families, communities and nations. There are ways to adapt to scarcity (that's the point of my book) but nation-states and the elites who run them are optimized for abundance, not scarcity, so they lack the means to adapt to scarcity. Their default setting to is keep pursuing a return to higher consumption ("growth") by increasingly extreme means--for example, printing trillions of dollars and giving it to wealthy elites and corporations, and printing additional trillions to give away as bread and circuses (stimulus) to the masses. There is no historical evidence that this vast, endless creation of currency is consequence-free or successful. This delusional pursuit of endless "growth" that is no longer possible due to resource depletion and soaring costs of extraction, transport, etc. also leads to collapse. This is the modern-day equivalent of squandering the last resources available on ever-more elaborate (and completely unproductive) temples in the hopes of appeasing the gods of "growth." As I also detail in the book, the status quo is fantastically wasteful and ineffective. It now takes 20-25 years to build a single bridge or tunnel, and each project is billions of dollars over budget, yet we're assured that the entire nation will seamlessly and painlessly transition away from hydrocarbon fuels to alternative energy in 20-25 years. Never mind that this would require building a new nuclear plant or equivalent every month for the next 20 years; skeptics are just naysayers. While a successful transition to a degrowth economy and society is certainly physically possible, the current status quo lacks the will, structure, leadership or desire to manage such a transition. While no one is entirely independent of long supply chains and energy-intensive industrial economies, the lower one's dependency and one's exposure to the risks of social disorder, the better off one will be. Put another way, the greater one's self-reliance and independence from global supply chains, the lower the impact should things break down. The closer one is to local sources of energy, fresh water, food, etc., the lower the likelihood of losing all access to these essentials. The wealthiest few hedge their risks by having one or more homes they can escape to if urban life breaks down. When risks rise, the wealthy start buying rural homes sight unseen for double the price locals paid a few months earlier. Here's the problem: roughly 81% of Americans live in urban zones (270 million people), and around 19% (60 million people) live in rural areas. About 31% of urban residents live in dense urban cores, about 25% live in suburban counties and the remaining 24% live in urban clusters and metropolitan areas--smaller cities, etc. Rural regions have plenty of land but relatively few dwellings due to the low population density. Much of the land is owned by government agencies, corporations or large landowners, so a relatively small percentage is available for housing. Many rural economies have stagnated for decades, so the housing stock has not grown by much and older homes have deteriorated due to being abandoned or poorly maintained. Few building contractors survived the stagnation and so finding crews to build a new home is also non-trivial. So when the wealthiest few rush out to buy second or third homes in desirable rural areas in Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, North Carolina, etc., they find a very restricted supply of homes available. This generates a bidding war for the relatively few homes considered acceptable and prices skyrocket, pricing out locals who soon resent the wealthy newcomers' financial power and fear the inevitable rise of the political and commercial power their wealth can buy. (Cough, billgates, cough.) At present, few anticipate urban America becoming a dicey place to live and own a home. But inequality and the hollowing out of the economy by globalization and financialization has left cities entirely dependent on diesel fueled trucks to deliver virtually everything. This is also true of rural communities, of course, but some rural areas still produce energy and food, and given the lower population density, these communities are less dependent on global supply chains and are therefore more self-sufficient. Rural households have more opportunities to raise animals, grow vegetables, etc., and more opportunities to have supportive relationships with neighbors who actually produce something tangible and essential. Dependence is a matter of scale: if you can get by on 5 gallons of gasoline a month, you're much more likely to put your hands on enough fuel to get by than if you need a minimum of 50 gallons of fuel to survive. The same is true of food, fresh water and other essentials: the less you need, the more you supply yourself, the lower your vulnerability to supply disruptions. Lower population densities lend themselves to greater self-sufficiency / resilience and to community cohesion. Roving mobs are less likely to form simply because the low density makes such mobs difficult to assemble. As I explain in my book, social cohesion is a combination of civic virtue, shared purpose, agency (having a stake in the local economy and a say in decisions which affect everyone) and moral legitimacy, i.e. a community that isn't divided into a self-serving elite that owns the vast majority of the wealth, capital and political power and a relatively powerless majority (i.e. debt-serfs and tax donkeys). In my analysis, social cohesion in most urban zones has already eroded to the point of no return. The tattered remnants will crumble with one swift kick. The conventional view is the urban populace will continue to grow at the expense of rural regions, a trend that's been in place for hundreds of years. But this trend exactly parallels the rise of hydrocarbon energy. Large cities existed long before hydrocarbon energy, but these cities arose and fell depending on the availability of essential resources within reach. Imperial Rome, for example, likely had 1 million residents at the apex of its power, residents who were largely dependent on grain grown in North African colonies and shipped across the Mediterranean to Rome's port of Ostia. Once those wheat-exporting colonies were lost, Rome's population fell precipitously, reaching a nadir of perhaps 10,000 residents living amidst the ruins of a once great metropolis. More recently, economic and social shifts hollowed out many city cores in the 1970s as residents and jobs moved to the suburbs. A reversal of this trend in favor of small cities/towns and rural areas may already be gathering momentum under the radar. All this is abstract until the attractions of city living fade and economic vitality declines to the point of civic and financial bankruptcy. Cities have cycles of expansion, decay and decline just like societies and economies, and it behooves us to monitor the fragility, dependency and risk of the place we inhabit. At nadirs, homes and buildings that were once worth a fortune are abandoned, or their value drops to a fraction of its former value. Putting these dynamics together, the problem boils down to a systemic scarcity of housing in attractive, productive rural towns and regions and a massive oversupply of urban residents who may decide to move once urban zones unravel. Let's assume that a mere 5% of urban residents decamp for rural regions. Given that there are about 130 million households in the U.S. and 81% of that total is 105 million households, 5% is 5.25 million households. Given that the number of rural communities that have all the desirable characteristics is not that large, we can estimate that it might be difficult for even 500,000 urban households to relocate to their first choice, never mind 5 million. This gives an extreme advantage to those few who move first, long before they must. The financial advantage for first movers is equally extreme, as they can still sell their urban homes for a great deal more money than they will fetch once conditions deteriorate. (The value of homes can drop to zero, as Detroit has shown.) Those few who decide to join the early movers even though the difficulties are many have all the advantages. Those who wait until conditions slip off a cliff may find their once valuable home has lost most or all of its value and the communities they would have chosen are out of reach financially. Most people reckon they have plenty of time to act--decades, or at least many years. The problem with systemic fragility was aptly described by Seneca: "Increases are of sluggish growth but the way to ruin is rapid." My own expectation is a self-reinforcing unraveling that gathers momentum to breaking points by 2024-25, only a few years away. Rather than fix the systemic problems of inequality and scarcity, the status quo's expedient fixes (printing trillions out of thin air and hoping there will be no adverse consequences from distributing free money to financiers and bread and circuses) will only accelerate the unraveling. There may not be as much time as we think. New readers pondering these dynamics may find value in one of the more widely read of my essays, The Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States (June 27, 2008) which discusses the importance of being a helpful and productive member of a tight-knit community and the futility of having an isolated "bug-out" cabin as Plan C. The vista of solid ground stretching endlessly to the horizon may turn out to be a mirage, and the cliff edge is closer than we imagine. *  *  * This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and free website.. My new book is now available at a 20% discount this month: Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $8.95, print $20). If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 11:31.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Labor Shortage And Surging Shipping Costs Are Biggest Drivers Of US Food Inflation

Labor Shortage And Surging Shipping Costs Are Biggest Drivers Of US Food Inflation Setting aside the ever-present issue of the global supply chain crunch presently gestating in the PROC, where factories and ports are struggling with the most restrictive lockdown measures since the (Fauci-funded) "China virus" first burst forth out of Wuhan, the US is still facing serious shortages of workers and critical goods like foodstuffs and medicine. The US labor market disappointed once again in December, while November's similarly disappointing number was revised up only slightly. Meanwhile, those who are working are struggling with the fact that inflationary price pressures are hammering real wages. And regardless of what the Fed does next, it appears kinks in the economy created by COVID and the federal government's response to COVID will continue to push food prices higher for the foreseeable future, as Reuters reports. Citing three critical factors, high demand for groceries, soaring freight costs and "omicron-related" labor shortages, Reuters projects that prices for "food and fresh produce" will continue to climb for the foreseeable future. Already, growers across the West and Midwest are paying 3x the freight costs from before the pandemic - all to guarantee shipment of perishables like berries and lettuce before they spoil. Some companies are even holding back on shipping certain goods (like long-lasting onions) to see if shipping costs might ease. Shay Myers, CEO of Owyhee Produce, which grows onions, watermelons and asparagus along the border of Idaho and Oregon, said he has been holding off shipping onions to retail distributors until freight costs go down. Myers said transportation disruptions in the last three weeks, caused by a lack of truck drivers and recent highway-blocking storms, have led to a doubling of freight costs for fruit and vegetable producers, on top of already-elevated pandemic prices. "We typically will ship, East Coast to West Coast – we used to do it for about $7,000," he said. "Today it’s somewhere between $18,000 and $22,000." One CongAgra subsidiary blamed labor shortages for the bulk of their troubles. Birds Eye frozen vegetables maker Conagra Brands' CEO Sean Connolly told investors last week that supplies from its U.S. plants could be constrained for at least the next month due to Omicron-related absences. Earlier this week, Albertsons CEO Vivek Sankaran said he expects the supermarket chain to confront more supply chain challenges over the next four to six weeks as Omicron has put a dent in its efforts to plug supply chain gaps. The packaged goods industry is missing more than 100K workers. Participants filled measly 1,500 jobs last month, according to the BLS data. The situation is not expected to abate for at least a few more weeks, Katie Denis, vice president of communications and research at the Consumer Brands Association said, blaming the shortages on a scarcity of labor. The consumer-packaged goods industry is missing around 120,000 workers out of which only 1,500 jobs were added last month, she said, while the National Grocer’s Association said that many of its grocery store members were operating with less than 50% of their workforce capacity. Of course, labor shortages aren't the only issue. Demand for groceries remains sky high as millions of Americans remain hunkered down, too scared to eat at a restaurant - or too tapped out from their financial difficulties to justify dining at one. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 08:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

A former top Obama economist throws cold water on the Biden administration"s favorite inflation argument: "Corporate greed is a bad theory"

Jason Furman also pushed back on Joe Manchin's case that Biden's big bill would worsen inflation, calling it "a bad reason" to oppose the measure. President Joe Biden.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images Jason Furman is among the economists who aren't buying the Biden administration's inflation argument. Biden has asserted that big companies have been making inflation worse by excessively raising prices. Republicans are hitting Biden for rising inflation, posing a fresh political problem for Biden. President Joe Biden has grappled for months soaring inflation under his watch. And as 2022 kicks off, it hasn't fallen as quickly as the administration hoped. White House officials long contended that the spike in consumer prices would be short-lived as the economy rebounded last year, but it hasn't played out like that. A federal report issued Wednesday showed prices rose a still-elevated 7% in December compared to a year ago, the fastest pace in nearly four decades.Supply chains are still broken with consumer demand surging for all types of goods like used cars and groceries. The Biden administration is pinning the blame for rising prices on corporations like meat processors for profiting off the pandemic. But many economists, including one that served in the Obama administration, aren't buying it."Corporate greed is a bad theory of inflation," Jason Furman, a former top economist for President Barack Obama, said in an interview, adding, "I think almost everything other than the Federal Reserve is a sideshow when it comes to the dynamics of inflation."Furman noted that demand outstripping supply is a far more important driver of inflation. "The main reason prices go up is companies are trying to make as much as they can, they just can't make enough to satisfy everything that people want," Furman, now a Harvard University professor, said. "When that happens, prices go up. If they didn't go up, we'd have worse shortages right now."Republicans are hammering Biden for rising prices, which poses a fresh political obstacle as Democrats try to safeguard their narrow Congressional majorities in this year's midterms. A Quinnipiac Poll University poll released Wednesday found that 54% of Americans believe the economy is getting worse."This crushing report shows Democrats' spending has pushed Bidenflation to achieve the highest prices in 40 years, killing family budgets and wiping out three years of wage gains," Rep. Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the tax-writing House Ways and Means panel, said in a Wednesday statement after the latest inflation data. The GOP has blamed the $1.9 trillion stimulus law for stoking inflation. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco published in October suggested its effects would be modest and brief. Other indicators like a falling unemployment rate and rising wages reflect an economy that's rebounding.The White House and many Democrats on Capitol Hill have touted the $2 trillion Build Back Better plan as a key measure to hold down everyday costs for Americans, including establishing new prescription drug price controls and new childcare subsidies.But Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia put a dagger into the package last month. Without him, Democrats can't muscle the plan through over unanimous GOP opposition in the 50-50 Senate.Manchin has signaled he won't revisit his position in the near future and has often cited inflation as a reason to pump the brakes on the social and climate spending bill. "Inflation is a concern for every American, especially in West Virginia," Manchin told Insider on Wednesday. "It's hitting us very hard."Furman pushed back against Manchin's argument. "I think inflation is a bad reason to not want to pass Build back Better," Furman said. "It's mostly paid for. It's a medium and long-term agenda and would have a negligible impact on inflation."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Why a 30-year-old financial planner dropped $20,000 on a trip to Antarctica instead of buying a home

Jake Northrup delayed buying a home to take the trip of a lifetime. He and his wife care more about experiencing life than maximizing their net worth. Kay and Jake Northrup prioritized the trip of a lifetime over buying a home.Jake Northrup A financial planner delayed buying a home so he could go on a $20,000 trip to Antarctica. He said he and his wife find experiencing life more important than maximizing their net worth. They also didn't want economic conditions like housing prices to affect their decision. If you had $20,000, would you spend it on an adventure or a down payment on a home?Common financial wisdom often advises investing in real estate to maximize your net worth over the long term, but one certified financial planner has gone against the grain. CFP Jake Northrup, 30, and his wife Kay, 27, decided to push back their homebuying plans so they could take a trip to Antarctica.The couple always aims to have a minimum safety net of $40,000 in cash saved up, Northrup told Insider. Come January 2021,  they had $60,000 and they mulled over how to best use the the extra $20,000: Continue saving to meet their goal of buying a home in 2022 or 2023, or spend it and postpone their home purchase timeline to 2023 or 2024. Northrup said their decision ultimately boiled down to their values, the most important of which is travel."It's something that strengthens our marriage, broadens our perspective of the world, and provides us the most happiness," he explained. "Rather than our goal to be maximizing our net worth, our goal is to live our life according to our values and experience the most we can in a financially responsible way."The Northrups in Antarctica.Jake NorthrupOf course, not every millennial has $20,000 in cash saved. Millennials have a median balance of $24,929 in non-mortgage debt. Of those who do have extra cash, priorities on how to spend it might vary — a previous survey by Insider and Morning Consult found most millennials would spend an extra $1,000 on paying off debt or saving, although some would spend it on travel and shopping. Northrup's mentality is emblematic of how millennials have been redefining the American Dream, preferring to live a life on their own terms. The post-World War II narrative of the American Dream — which placed a house in the suburbs and all the consumerist trappings that came with it on a pedestal — splintered in the 2020s economy as a housing crisis, pandemic, and newfound outlook for life prompted Americans to re-evaluate how to live their best life. For many millennials, that means prioritizing pursuing their passions over making the life decisions tradition says they "should" make. Northrup's version of that may seem like a bold one in today's economy. His generation has juggled two recessions before the age 40, staggering student loan debt, soaring living costs, and one housing crisis after another. Intentionally opting out of homebuying right now is a sharp contrast to the aspiring first-time homeowners who have been clamoring to get their hands on a home in a cutthroat market. But Northrup said they didn't want external variables like housing prices and mortgage rates to drive their decisions. Instead they wanted to do what felt right to them, which included hanging out with the penguins and whales in the Antarctic.Saving up for the AntarcticNorthrup and his wife hadn't contributed to any investment accounts since 2018. He admits it "sounds crazy coming from a financial planner," but they each planned to start their own businesses (financial planning and wedding planning, respectively) in the short-term. So, they kept their savings in an Ally high-yield savings account."Having this cash on hand enabled us to invest into ourselves and our lifestyle by putting us in the best possible position to start our businesses, which improved our lives in a way that investing in an index fund could never do," he said.He added that kicking off their businesses and watching their incomes increase made them confident in deciding they could afford a $20,000 trip to Antarctica.They first heavily researched the trip's costs. This process helped them identify when to take the trip — December 2021 — and how much they needed to save for it. He said this thought process should apply to anyone planning a big trip to fully weigh the opportunity costs. Without examining which choice would result in a greater loss or gain for you personally, he added, it's a blind financial decision. Then they put the $20,000 in a separate high-yield savings account. He described earmarking money for a specific purpose as creating a "money bucket." It allowed them to "mentally think of the money as 'spent' so we were able to manage other financial decisions with the 'true' amount of cash available," he said.Better than buying a homeThe Northrups' decision wasn't just about money. They also took into account other future goals, such as their hope to start a family in the next few years, which he said left them with a "short window of opportunity."Juggling big life goals is something Northrup thinks a lot of people deal with, who are trying to prioritize something like taking a sabbatical, starting a business, or planning a trip before more traditional milestones like having a family or buying a home. "Of course, the two aren't mutually exclusive, but doing both at the same time is more difficult," he said.After all, it's hard to hike through Patagonia with a toddler in tow.Economic conditions and societal expectations don't help. Northrup believes the ideal of homeownership and the current state of the housing market, in which real estate prices have skyrocketed and mortgage rates have hit near historic lows, has put undue pressure on millennials to buy a home before they're ready out of fear prices and rates will climb.Northrup with some penguins.Jake NorthrupHe added that he's never liked the argument that renting is "throwing money away" compared to buying a home for two reasons. One, he said, it underestimates the cost of homeownership by not factoring in things like home maintenance and real estate tax. And two, it assumes that building equity is the measure of success. "This makes sense that owning a home used to be the primary measure of success," he said. "But most millennials, value experiences over things, so this measure of success doesn't really apply anymore."Sticking to his priorities led Northrup to his "once-in-a-lifetime" two week trip that covered Buenos Aires, Ushuaia in the Patagonia region, and Antarctica itself as well as the travel it took to get there and back, which he said involved 30-foot waves and 70 mile per hour winds. But the peril was worth kayaking among the icebergs through Antarctica's glassy glacial waters."Ten years from now, we won't remember buying a home in 2022 instead of 2023," he said. "We'll remember the trip that we had."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Europe"s Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps

Europe's Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps Authored by Alasdair Macleod via, A Euro Catastrophe Could Collapse It This article looks at the situation in the euro system in the context of rising interest rates. Central to the problem is role of the ECB, which through monetary inflation embarked on a policy of transferring wealth from fiscally responsible member states to the spendthrift PIGS and France. The consequences of these policies are that the spendthrifts are now ensnared in irreversible debt traps. Even in a Keynesian context, the ECB’s monetary policy is no longer to stimulate the economy but to keep the spendthrifts afloat. The situation has deteriorated so that Eurozone commercial banks appear to have credit restricted in New York, evidenced by the reluctance of the US banks to enter into repo transactions with them, leading to the market failure in September 2019 when the Fed had to intervene. An examination of the numbers strongly suggests that even Eurozone banks, insurance companies and pension funds are no longer net buyers of Eurozone government debt. It could be because the terms are unattractive. But if that is the case it is an indictment of the ECB’s asset purchase programmes deliberately suppressing rates to the point where they are unattractive, even to normally compliant investors. Consequently, without any savings offsets, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein, and is following similar inflationary policies to those that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and starved its labourers and the elderly in 1920-1923. That the German people are tolerating such an obvious destruction of their currency for the third time in a hundred years is simply astounding. Institutionalised Madoff Schemes to pilfer from people without their knowledge always end in disaster for the perpetrators. Central banks using their currency seigniorage are no exception. But instead of covering it up like an institutionalised Madoff they use questionable science to justify their openly fraudulent behaviour. The paradox of thrift is such an example, where penalising savers by suppressing interest rates supposedly for the wider economic benefit conveniently ignores the theft involved. If you can change the way people perceive reality, you can get away with an awful lot. The mass discovery by the people of the fraud perpetrated on the people by those supposedly representing the people is always the reason behind a cycle of crises and wars. It can take a long period of suffering before an otherwise supine population refuses to continue submitting unquestionably to authority. But the longer the condition exists, the more oppressive the methods that the state uses to defer the inevitable crisis become. Until something finally gives. In the case of the euro, we have seen the system give savers no interest since 2012, while the quantity of money and credit in circulation has debased it by 63% (measured by M3 euro money supply). Furthermore, prices can be rigged to create an illusion of price stability. The US Fed increased its buying of inflation-linked Treasury bonds (TIPS) since March 2020 at a faster pace than they were issued by the US Treasury, artificially pushing TIPS prices up and creating an illusion that the market is unconcerned about price inflation. But that is not all. Government statisticians are not above fiddling the figures or presenting figures out of context. We believe the CPI inflation figures are a true reflection of the cost of living, despite the changes over time in the way prices are input. We believe that GDP is economic growth — a questionable concept — and not growth in the quantity of money. We even believe that monetary inflation has nothing to do with prices. Statistics are designed to deceive. As Lord Canning said 200 years ago, “I can prove anything with statistics but the truth”. And that was before computers, which have facilitated an explosion in the quantity of questionable statistics. Can’t work something out? Just look at the stats. A further difference between Madoff and the state is that the state forces everyone to submit to its monetary frauds by law. And since as law-abiding citizens we respect the law, we even despise those with the temerity to question it. But in the process, we hand enormous power to the monetary authorities, so should not be surprised when that power is abused, as is the case with interest rates and the dilution of the state’s currency. And it follows that the deeper the currency fraud, when something gives, the greater is the ensuing crisis. The best measure of market distortions from deliberate actions of the monetary authorities we have is the difference between actual bond yields and an estimate of what they should be. In other words, assessments of the height of negative real yields. But any such assessment is inherently subjective, with markets and statistics either distorted, rigged, or unable to provide the relevant yardstick. But it makes sense to assume that the price impact, that is the adjustment to bond prices as markets normalise, is greatest for those where nominal bond yields are negative. This means our focus should be directed accordingly. And the major jurisdictions where this applies is Japan and the Eurozone. The eurozone’s banking instability A critique of Japan’s monetary policy must be reserved for a later date, in order to concentrate on monetary and economic conditions in the Eurozone. The ECB first reduced its deposit rate to 0% in July 2012. That was followed by its initial introduction of negative deposit rates of -0.1% in June 2014, followed by -0.2% later that year, -0.3% in 2014, -0.4% in 2016 and finally -0.5% in September 2019. The last move coincided with the repo market blow-up in New York, the day that the transfer of Deutsche Bank’s prime dealership to the Paris based BNP was completed. We can assume with reasonable certainty that the coincidence of these events showed a reluctance of major US banks to take on either of these banks as repo counterparties, as hedge and money funds with accounts at Deutsche decided to move their accounts elsewhere, which would have blown substantial holes in Deutsche’s and possibly BNP’s balance sheets as well, thereby requiring repo cover. The reluctance of American banks to get involved would have been a strong signal of their reluctance to increasing their counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks. We cannot know this for sure, but it is the logical explanation for what happened. In which case, the repo crisis in New York was an important advance warning of the fragility of the Eurozone’s monetary and banking system. A look at the condition of the major Eurozone global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) in Table A, explains why. Balance sheet gearing for these banks is roughly double that of the major US banks, and except for Ing Group, deep price-to-book discounts indicate a market assessment of these banks’ credit risk as exceptionally high. Other Eurozone banks with international counterparty business deemed not significant enough to be labelled as G-SIBs but still capable of transmitting systemic risk could be even more highly geared. The reasons for US banks to limit their exposure to the Eurozone banking system on these grounds alone are compelling. And the persistence of price inflation today is a subsequent development, likely to expose these banks as being riskier still because of higher interest rates on their exposure to Eurozone government and commercial bonds, and defaulting borrowers. The euro credit cycle has been suspended When banks buy government paper, it is usually because they see it as the risk-free alternative to expanding credit to non-financial private sector actors. In the normal course of an economic cycle, it is inherently cyclical. Both Basel and national regulations enhance the concept that government debt is risk-free, giving it a safe-haven status in times of heightened risk. In a normal bank credit cycle, banks will tend to hold government bills and bonds with less than one year’s maturity and depending on the yield curve will venture out along the curve to five years at most. These positions are subsequently wound down when the banks become more confident of lending conditions to non-financial borrowers when the economy improves. But when economic conditions become stagnant and the credit cycle is suspended due to lack of recovery, banks can accumulate positions with longer maturities. Other than the lack of alternative uses of bank credit, this is for a variety of reasons. Trading desks increasingly seek the greater price volatility in longer maturities, central banks encourage increased commercial bank participation in government bond markets, and yield curve permitting, generally longer maturities offer better yields. The more time that elapses between investing in government paper and favouring credit expansion in favour of private sector borrowers, the greater this mission creep becomes. As we have seen above, the ECB introduced zero deposit rates nearly 10 years ago, and private sector conditions have not generated much in the way of bank credit funding. Lending from all sources including securitisations and bank credit to a) households and b) non-financial corporations since 2008 are shown in Figure 1. Before the Covid pandemic, total lending to households had declined from $9 trillion equivalent in 2008 to $7.4 trillion in 2019 Q4. And for non-financial corporations, total lending declined marginally over the same period as well. Admittedly, this period included a credit slump and recovery, but on a net basis lending conditions stagnated. But bank credit for these two sectors will have contracted, allowing for net bond issuance of collateralised consumer debt and by corporations securing cheap finance by issuing corporate bonds at near zero interest rates, which are contained in Figure 1. Following the start of the pandemic, lending conditions expanded under government direction and borrowing by both sectors increased substantially. Meanwhile, over the same period bond issuance to governments increased, particularly since the pandemic started, illustrated in Figure 2. The charts in Figures 1 and 2 support the thesis that credit expansion and bond finance had, until recently, disadvantaged the non-financial private sector. The expansion of government borrowing has been entirely through bonds bought by the ECB, as will be demonstrated when we look at the euro system balance sheet. They confirm that zero and negative rates have not stimulated the Eurozone’s economies as Keynesians theorised. And the increased credit during the pandemic reflects financial support and not a renewed attempt at Keynesian stimulation. The purpose of debt expansion is important because the moment the supposed stimulus wears off or interest rates rise, we will see bank credit for households and businesses begin to contract again. Only this time, there will be a heightened risk for banks of collateral failure. And higher interest rates will also undermine mark-to-market values for government and corporate bonds on their balance sheets, which could rapidly erode the capital of Eurozone banks, given their exceptionally high gearing shown in Table A above. Figure 3 charts the euro system’s combined balance sheet since August 2008, the month Lehman failed, when it stood at €1.43 trillion. Greece’s financial crisis ran from 2012-2014, during which time the balance sheet expanded to €3.09 trillion, before partially normalising to €2.01 trillion. In January 2015, the ECB launched its expanded asset purchase programme (APP — otherwise referred to as quantitative easing) to prevent price inflation remaining too low for a prolonged period. The fear was Keynesian deflation, with the HICP measure of price inflation falling to -0.5% at that time, despite the ECB’s deposit rate having been already reduced to -0.2% the previous September. Between March 2015 and September 2016, the combined purchases by the ECB of public and private sector securities amounted to €1.14 trillion, corresponding to 11.3% of euro area nominal GDP. The APP was “recalibrated” in December 2015, extended to March 2017 and beyond, if necessary, at €60bn monthly. And the deposit rate was lowered to -0.3%. Not even that was enough, with a further recalibration to €80bn monthly in March 2016, with it intended to be extended to the end of the year when it would be resumed at the previous rate of €60bn per month. The expansion of the ECB’s balance sheet led to the rate of price inflation recovering to 1% in 2017, as one would expect. With the expansion of credit for the non-financial private sector going nowhere (Figures 1 and 2 above), the Keynesian stimulus simply failed in this objective. But when in March 2020 the US Fed reduced its funds rate to 0% and announced QE of $120bn monthly, the ECB did what it had learned to do when in a monetary hole: continue digging even faster. March 2020 saw the ECB increase purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) and adopt a new programme, the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP). These measures are the reason why the volumes of the Eurosystem’s monthly monetary policy net purchases are higher than ever before, driving its balance sheet total to over €8.5 trillion today. The ECB’s bond purchases closely matched the funding requirements of national central banks, both being €4 trillion between January 2015 and June 2021. The counterpart to these purchases is an increase in the amount of circulating cash. In other words, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein. There is no difference in the ECB’s objectives compared with those of Havenstein when he was President of the Reichsbank following the First World War; a monetary policy that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and pushed the labouring class and elderly into starvation by collapsing the paper-mark. Except that today, German society is paying through the destruction of its savings for the spendthrift behaviour of its Eurozone partners rather than that of its own government. The ECB now has an additional problem with price inflation picking up globally. Producer input prices in Europe are rising strongly with the overall Eurozone HICP rate for November at 4.9% annualised, and doubtless with more rises to come. Oil prices have risen over 50% in a year, and natural gas over 60%, the latter even more on European markets due to a supply crisis of its governments’ own making. Increasingly, the policy purpose of the ECB is no longer to stimulate the economy, but to ensure that spendthrift member state deficits are financed as cheaply as possible. But how can it do that when on the back of soaring consumer prices, interest rates are now going to rise? Clearly, the higher interest rates go, the faster the ECB will increase its balance sheet because it is committed to not just covering every Eurozone member state’s budget deficit but the interest on their borrowings as well. But there’s more. In a speech on 12 October, Christine Lagarde, the President of the ECB indicated that it stands ready to contribute to financing the transition to carbon neutral. And in a joint letter to the FT, the President of France and Italy’s Prime Minister called for a relaxation of the EU’s fiscal rules so that they could spend more on key investments. This is a flavour of what they said: "Just as the rules could not be allowed to stand in the way of our response to the pandemic, so they should not prevent us from making all necessary investments," the two leaders wrote, while noting that "debt raised to finance such investments, which undeniably benefit the welfare of future generations and long-term growth, should be favoured by the fiscal rules, given that public spending of this sort actually contributes to debt sustainability over the long run." The rules under the Stability and Growth Pact have in fact been suspended, and are planned to be reapplied in 2023, But clearly, these two high spenders feel boxed in. The Stability and Growth Pact will almost certainly be eased — being a charade, rather like the US’s debt ceiling. The trouble is Eurozone governments are too accustomed to inflationary finance to abandon it. If the ECB could inflate the currency without the consequences being apparent, there would be no problem. But with prices soaring above the mandated 2% target that is no longer true. Up to now, the ECB has been in denial, claiming that price pressures will subside. But we know, or should know, that a rise in the general level of prices is due to monetary expansion, the excessive plucking of leaves from the magic money tree, particularly at an enhanced rate since March 2020 which is yet to be reflected fully at the consumer level. And in its duty to fund the PIGS government deficits, the ECB’s balance sheet expansion through bond purchases is sure to continue. Furthermore, if bond yields do rise, it will threaten to undermine the balance sheets of the highly geared commercial banks. The commercial banks position With the economies of Eurozone member states stifled by the ECB’s management of monetary affairs since the Lehman crisis in 2008 and by more recent covid lockdowns, the accumulation of bad debts at the commercial banks is a growing threat to the entire financial system. Table A above, of the Eurozone G-SIBs’ operational gearing and their share ratings, gives testament to the problem. So far, bad debts in Italian and other PIGS banks have been reduced, not by their being resolved, but by them being used as collateral for loans from national central banks. Local bank regulators deem non-performing loans to be performing so they can be hidden from sight in the ECB’s TARGET2 settlement system. Together with the ECB’s asset purchases conducted through national central banks, these probably account for most of the imbalances in the TARGET2 cross-border settlement system, which in theory should not exist. The position to last October is shown in Figure 4. Liabilities owed to the Bundesbank are increasing again at record levels, while the amounts owed by the Italian and Spanish central banks are also increasing. These balances were before global pressures for rising interest rates materialised. Given the sharp increase in bank lending to households and non-financial corporations since March last year (see Figure 1), bad debts seem certain to accumulate at the banks in the coming months. This is likely to undermine collateral values in Europe’s repo markets, which are mostly conducted in euros and almost certainly exceed €10 trillion, having been recorded at €8.3 trillion at end-2019.[vi] The extent to which national central banks have taken in repo collateral themselves will then become a major problem. It is against the background of negative Euribor rates that the repo market has grown. It is not clear what role negative rates plays in this growth. While one can see a reason for a bank to borrow at sub-zero rates, it is harder to justify lending at them. And in a repo, the collateral is returned on a pre-agreed basis, so it’s removal from a bank’s books is temporary. Nonetheless, this market has grown to be an integral part of daily transactions between European banks. The variations in collateral quality are shown in Figure 5. This differs materially from repo markets in the US, which is almost exclusively for short-term liquidity purposes and uses high quality collateral only (US Treasury bills and bonds and agency debt). Bonds rated BBB and worse made up 27.7% of the total collateral in December 2019. In Europe and particularly the Eurozone rising interest rates can be expected to undermine collateral ratings, which with increasing Euribor rates will almost certainly contract the size of the market. This heightens the risk of a liquidity-driven systemic failure, as repo liquidity is withdrawn from banks that depend upon it. Government finances are out of control The first column in Table B shows government debt to GDP, which is the conventional yardstick of government debt measurement relative to the economy. The second column shows the proportion of government spending in the total economy relative to GDP, enabling us to derive the third column. The base for government revenue upon which paying down its debt ultimately rests is the private sector, and the third column shows the extent to which and where this true burden lies. It exposes the impossible position of countries such as Greece, Italy, France, and Belgium, Portugal and Spain, where, besides their own private sector debt burdens, citizens earning their livings without being paid by their governments are assumed by markets to be responsible for underwriting their governments’ debts. The hope that these countries can grow their way out of their debt is demolished in the context of the actual tax base. It is now widely recognised that will already high levels of taxation further tax increases will undermine these economies. We can dismiss as hogwash the alterative, the vain hope that yet more stimulus in the form of a further increase in deficits will generate economic recovery, and that higher tax revenues will follow to normalise public finances. It is a populist argument amongst some free marketeers today, citing Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s successful economic policies. But in those times, the US and UK governments were not nearly so indebted and their economies were able to respond positively to lower taxes. Furthermore, price inflation was declining then while it is increasing today. And as a paper by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff pointed out, a nation whose government debt exceeds 90% of GDP has great difficulty growing its way out of it.[vii]Seven of the Eurozone nations already exceed this 90% Rubicon, and their debts are still growing considerably faster than their GDP. At 111% the entire Euro area itself is well above it. Taking account of the smaller proportion of private sector activity relative to those of their governments highlights the difference between the current situation and that of nations that managed to pay down even higher debt levels after the Second World War by gently inflating their way out of a debt trap while their economies progressed in the post-war environment. Additionally, we should bear in mind future government liabilities, whose net present values are considerably greater than their current debt. Over time, these must be financed. And with rising price inflation, hard costs such as healthcare escalate them even further. The position gets progressively worse as these mandated costs become realised. There is a solution to it, and that is to cut government spending so that its budget always balances. But for socialising politicians, slashing departmental budgets is the equivalent of eating their own children. It is a reversal of everything they stand for. And it requires welfare legislation to be rescinded to stop the accumulation of future welfare costs. There is no democratic mandate for that. Conclusion Rising interest rates globally will affect all major currencies, and for some of them expose systemic risks. An examination of the existing situation and how higher interest rates will affect it points to the Eurozone as being the most likely global weak spot. The Eurozone’s debt position pitches the entire global financial and economic system further towards a debt crisis than generally realised. Particularly for Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain in that order of indebtedness, the problem is most acute. They only survive because the ECB ensures they can pay their bills by funding them totally through inflation of the quantity of euros in circulation. The ECB’s entire purpose has become to transfer wealth from the more fiscally prudent member states to the spendthrifts by debasing the currency. In the process, based on figures provided by the Bank for International Settlements the banking system is contracting credit to the private sector, and it is not even accumulating government bonds, which is a surprise.  Much like banks in the US, Eurozone banks have become increasingly distracted into financial activities and speculation. The difference is the high level of operational gearing, up to thirty times in the case of one major French bank, while most of the US’s G-SIBs are geared about 11 times on average. This article points to these disparities between US and EU banking risks having been a factor in the US repo market failure in September 2019. And we can assume that the Americans remain wary of counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks to this day. That the ECB is funding net government borrowing in its entirety indicates that even investing institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies, along with the banks are sitting on their hands with respect to government debt. It means that savings are not offsetting the inflationary effects of government bond issues. It represents a vote to stay out of what has become a highly troubling and inflationary situation. The question arises as to how long this extraordinary situation can continue. It must come to an end some time, and by destabilising a highly leveraged banking system the end will be a crisis. With its GDP being similar in size to China’s (which is seeing a more traditional property crisis unfolding at the same time) a banking crisis in the Eurozone could be the trigger for dominoes falling everywhere. As for the euro’s future, it seems unlikely that the ECB has the capability of dealing with the crisis that will unfold. It has cheated the northern states, particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg to the benefit of spendthrifts, particularly the political heavyweights of France, Italy and Spain. It is a rift likely to end the euro system and the ECB itself. The deconstruction of this shabby arrangement should prove the end of the euro and possibly of the European Union itself. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

Why Argentina, IMF Are Wrestling Over Bad Debt, Again

The fact that Argentina is in talks with the International Monetary Fund for emergency aid to stave off default might not sound surprising -- if agreed, this would be the 22nd IMF loan for South America’s second largest economy in seven decades. What’s unusual is the size of the IMF package being renegotiated, the speed at which it went sour and the complications posed by the pandemic, which hammered an already staggering economy. More familiar is the clash between a left-leaning government that wants more freedom to spend and IMF officials pushing for budget cuts. The stakes are high for Argentina, as its foreign reserves dwindle and a March deadline for a repayment approaches. They’re also high for the IMF, which has sunk a bigger share of its resources into a single country than ever before.  .....»»

Category: topSource: washpostJan 16th, 2022Related News

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart

Visualizing The $94 Trillion World Economy In One Chart Just four countries - the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany - make up over half of the world’s economic output by gross domestic product (GDP) in nominal terms. In fact, as Visual Capitalist's Dorothy Neufeld notes, the GDP of the U.S. alone is greater than the combined GDP of 170 countries. How do the different economies of the world compare? In this visualization we look at GDP by country in 2021, using data and estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). An Overview of GDP GDP serves as a broad indicator for a country’s economic output. It measures the total market value of final goods and services produced in a country in a specific timeframe, such as a quarter or year. In addition, GDP also takes into consideration the output of services provided by the government, such as money spent on defense, healthcare, or education. Generally speaking, when GDP is increasing in a country, it is a sign of greater economic activity that benefits workers and businesses (while the reverse is true for a decline). The World Economy: Top 50 Countries Who are the biggest contributors to the global economy? Here is the ranking of the 50 largest countries by GDP in 2021: *2020 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. At $22.9 trillion, the U.S. GDP accounts for roughly 25% of the global economy, a share that has actually changed significantly over the last 60 years. The finance, insurance, and real estate ($4.7 trillion) industries add the most to the country’s economy, followed by professional and business services ($2.7 trillion) and government ($2.6 trillion). China’s economy is second in nominal terms, hovering at near $17 trillion in GDP. It remains the largest manufacturer worldwide based on output with extensive production of steel, electronics, and robotics, among others. The largest economy in Europe is Germany, which exports roughly 20% of the world’s motor vehicles. In 2019, overall trade equaled nearly 90% of the country’s GDP. The World Economy: 50 Smallest Countries On the other end of the spectrum are the world’s smallest economies by GDP, primarily developing and island nations. With a GDP of $70 million, Tuvalu is the smallest economy in the world. Situated between Hawaii and Australia, the largest industry of this volcanic archipelago relies on territorial fishing rights. In addition, the country earns significant revenue from its “.tv” web domain. Between 2011 and 2019, it earned $5 million annually from companies—including Amazon-owned Twitch to license the domain name—equivalent to roughly 7% of the country’s GDP. *2019 GDP (latest available) used where IMF estimates for 2021 were unavailable. Like Tuvalu, many of the world’s smallest economies are in Oceania, including Nauru, Palau, and Kiribati. Additionally, several countries above rely on the tourism industry for over one-third of their employment. The Fastest Growing Economies in the World in 2021 With 123% projected GDP growth, Libya’s economy is estimated to have the sharpest rise. Oil is propelling its growth, with 1.2 million barrels being pumped in the country daily. Along with this, exports and a depressed currency are among the primary factors behind its recovery. Ireland’s economy, with a projected 13% real GDP growth, is being supported by the largest multinational corporations in the world. Facebook, TikTok, Google, Apple, and Pfizer all have their European headquarters in the country, which has a 12.5% corporate tax rate—or about half the global average. But these rates are set to change soon, as Ireland joined the OECD 15% minimum corporate tax rate agreement which was finalized in October 2021. Macao’s economy bounced back after COVID-19 restrictions began to lift, but more storm clouds are on the horizon for the Chinese district. The CCP’s anti-corruption campaign and recent arrests could signal a more strained relationship between Mainland China and the world’s largest gambling hub. Looking Ahead at the World’s GDP The global GDP figure of $94 trillion may seem massive to us today, but such a total might seem much more modest in the future. In 1970, the world economy was only about $3 trillion in GDP—or 30 times smaller than it is today. Over the next thirty years, the global economy is expected to more or less double again. By 2050, global GDP could total close to $180 trillion. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022Related News

The Lab Leak: The Plots & Schemes Of Jeremy Farrar, Anthony Fauci, And Francis Collins

The Lab Leak: The Plots & Schemes Of Jeremy Farrar, Anthony Fauci, And Francis Collins Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, Jeremy Farrar is a former professor at Oxford University and the head of the Wellcome Trust, an extremely influential non-government funder of medical research in the UK and a big investor in vaccine companies.  Some people regard Farrar as the UK’s Anthony Fauci. He had much to do with the pandemic response, including the lockdowns and mandates in the UK. For the entire pandemic ordeal, he has been in touch with his colleagues around the world. He has written a book (it appeared July 2021 but was probably written in the Spring) on his experience with the pandemic.  I reviewed already.  In general, the book is chaotic, strongly backing lockdowns without ever presenting a clear rationale for why, much less a road map for how to get out of lockdowns. I swear you could read this book carefully front to back and not know anything more about pandemics and their course than you had at the beginning. In this sense, the book is an abysmal failure, which probably explains why it is so little talked about.  That said, the book is revealing in other ways, some of which I did not cover in my review. He carefully presents the scene at the beginning of the pandemic, including the great fear that he, Fauci, and others had that the virus was not of natural origin. It might have been created in a lab and leaked, accidentally or deliberately. This awesome prospect is behind some of the strangest sentences in the book, which I quote here: By the second week of January, I was beginning to realise the scale of what was happening. I was also getting the uncomfortable feeling that some of the information needed by scientists all around the world to detect and fight this new disease was not being disclosed as fast as it could be. I did not know it then, but a fraught few weeks lay ahead. In those weeks, I became exhausted and scared. I felt as if I was living a different person’s life. During that period, I would do things I had never done before: acquire a burner phone, hold clandestine meetings, keep difficult secrets. I would have surreal conversations with my wife, Christiane, who persuaded me we should let the people closest to us know what was going on. I phoned my brother and best friend to give them my temporary number. In hushed conversations, I sketched out the possibility of a looming global health crisis that had the potential to be read as bioterrorism. ‘If anything happens to me in the next few weeks,’ I told them nervously, ‘this is what you need to know.’ Sounds like a thriller movie! A burner phone? Clandestine meetings? What the heck is going on here? If there really was a virus on the loose and a looming crisis of public health, why would your first impulse be, as a famous guy and so on, to write about it, tell the public everything you know, inform every public health official, open up and prepare people, and get to work finding therapeutics that can save lives? Why would you not immediately investigate the demographics of risk and inform people and institutions of the best-possible response? What the heck is all this cloak-and-dagger about? Seems like a bad start for a responsible public policy.  The next chapter reveals some of the background to all this high dudgeon: In the last week of January 2020, I saw email chatter from scientists in the US suggesting the virus looked almost engineered to infect human cells. These were credible scientists proposing an incredible, and terrifying, possibility of either an accidental leak from a laboratory or a deliberate release…. It seemed a huge coincidence for a coronavirus to crop up in Wuhan, a city with a superlab. Could the novel corona-virus be anything to do with ‘gain of function’ (GOF) studies? These are studies in which viruses are deliberately genetically engineered to become more contagious and then used to infect mammals like ferrets, to track how the modified virus spreads. They are carried out in top-grade containment labs like the one in Wuhan. Viruses that infect ferrets can also infect humans, precisely the reason ferrets are a good model for studying human infection in the first place. But GOF studies always carry a tiny risk of something going wrong: the virus leaking out of the lab, or a virus infecting a lab researcher who then goes home and spreads it…. The novel coronavirus might not even be that novel at all. It might have been engineered years ago, put in a freezer, and then taken out more recently by someone who decided to work on it again. And then, maybe, there was … an accident? Labs can function for decades and often store samples for just as long. In 2014, six old vials of freeze-dried variola virus, which causes smallpox, were uncovered in a lab in Maryland, US; though the samples dated back to the 1950s, they still tested positive for variola DNA. Some viruses and microbes are disturbingly resilient. It sounded crazy but once you get into a mindset it becomes easy to connect things that are unrelated. You begin to see a pattern that is only there because of your own starting bias. And my starting bias was that it was odd for a spillover event, from animals to humans, to take off in people so immediately and spectacularly – in a city with a biolab. One standout molecular feature of the virus was a region in the genome sequence called a furin cleavage site, which enhances infectivity. This novel virus, spreading like wildfire, seemed almost designed to infect human cells…. The idea that an unnatural, highly contagious pathogen could have been unleashed, either by accident or design, catapulted me into a world that I had barely navigated before. This issue needed urgent attention from scientists – but it was also the territory of the security and intelligence services…. When I told Eliza about the suspicions over the origins of the new coronavirus, she advised that everyone involved in the delicate conversations should raise our guard, security-wise. We should use different phones; avoid putting things in emails; and ditch our normal email addresses and phone contacts. Keep in mind, we are talking here about the last week of January. The top experts in the world were living in fear that this was actually a lab leak and perhaps a deliberate one. This consumed them completely, knowing full well that if this were true, we could see something close to a world war developing. And then the question comes up concerning responsibility.  Let’s move to the next chapter: The next day, I contacted Tony Fauci about the rumours over the origins of the virus and asked him to speak with Kristian Andersen at Scripps. We agreed that a bunch of specialists needed to urgently look into it. We needed to know if this virus came from nature or was a product of deliberate nurture, followed by either accidental or intentional release from the BSL-4 lab based at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  Depending on what the experts thought, Tony added, the FBI and MI5 would need to be told. I remember becoming a little nervous about my own personal safety around this time. I don’t really know what I was scared of. But extreme stress is not conducive to thinking rationally or behaving logically. I was exhausted from living in two parallel universes – my day-to-day life at Wellcome in London, and then going back home to Oxford and having these clandestine conversations at night with people on opposite sides of the world.  Eddie in Sydney would be working when Kristian in California was asleep, and vice versa. I didn’t just feel as if I was working a 24-hour day – I really was. On top of that, we were getting phonecalls through the night from all over the world. Christiane was loosely keeping a diary and recorded 17 calls in one night. It’s hard to come off nocturnal calls about the possibility of a lab leak and go back to bed.  I’d never had trouble sleeping before, something that comes from spending a career working as a doctor in critical care and medicine. But the situation with this new virus and the dark question marks over its origins felt emotionally overwhelming. None of us knew what was going to happen but things had already escalated into an international emergency. On top of that, just a few of us – Eddie, Kristian, Tony and I – were now privy to sensitive information that, if proved to be true, might set off a whole series of events that would be far bigger than any of us. It felt as if a storm was gathering, of forces beyond anything I had experienced and over which none of us had any control. Well, there we go. Was there ever a doubt that Fauci and so on were consumed by fear that this was a lab leak from their own colleagues and friends in Wuhan? Has he denied this? I’m not sure but this account from Farrar is pretty extraordinary proof that discovering the virus’s origins was the major concern from these official and influential scientists for the last part of January through February. Rather than thinking about things such as “How can we help doctors deal with patients?” and “Who is vulnerable to this virus and what should we say about that?”, they were consumed by discovering the origin of the virus and hiding from the public what they were doing.  Again, I am not interpreting things here. I’m only quoting what Farrar says in his own book. He reports that the experts he consulted were 80% sure it had come from a lab. They all scheduled an online meeting for February 1, 2020.  Patrick Vallance informed the intelligence agencies of the suspicions; Eddie did the same in Australia. Tony Fauci copied in Francis Collins, who heads the US National Institutes of Health (the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, which Tony heads, is part of the NIH). Tony and Francis understood the extreme sensitivity of what was being suggested,… The next day I gathered everyone’s thoughts, including people like Michael Farzan, and emailed Tony and Francis: “On a spectrum if 0 is nature and 100 is release – I am honestly at 50! My guess is that this will remain grey, unless there is access to the Wuhan lab – and I suspect that is unlikely!” These discussions and investigations continue for the whole month of February. This explains so much about why health officials in so many countries were entering into panic mode rather than calmly addressing an emerging problem in public health. They spent all their energies on discerning the origin of the virus. Were they worried that they would be implicated due to financial ties? I don’t really know and Farrar doesn’t go into that.  Regardless, it took them a full month before this small group finally came out with what appeared to be a definitive paper appearing in Nature: The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2. The date it appeared was March 17, 2020. That was the day following the announcement of lockdowns in the US. We now know that the paper was written as early as February 4, and went through many drafts over the coming weeks, including edits by Anthony Fauci himself. That paper has since been debated very extensively. It was hardly the last word.  What strikes me most in retrospect concerning the idea of the lab leak is the following. During the most critical weeks leading up to the obvious spread of the virus all over the Northeast of the U.S., leading to incredible carnage in nursing homes due to egregious policies that failed to protect the vulnerable and even deliberately infected them, public health officials in the US and UK were consumed not with a proper health response but with fear of dealing with the probability that this virus was man-made in China.  They deliberated in secret. They used burner phones. They spoke only to their trusted colleagues. This went on for more than a month from late January 2020 to early March. Whether this virus originated as a lab leak or not in this case is not so much the issue; there is no question that Farrar, Collins, Fauci, and company all believed that it was likely and even probable, and they spent their time and energies plotting the spin. This fear consumed them entirely at the very moment when their job was to be thinking of the best public-health response.  Maybe their time should have been about telling the truth as they knew it? Explaining how to deal rationally with the coming virus? Helping people who are vulnerable protect themselves while explaining to everyone else that there is no point in panicking?  Instead, in the midst of the panic they both felt and then projected to the public, they urged and got lockdowns of the world’s economy, a policy response never before attempted on this scale in response to a virus. The virus did what the virus does, and all we are left with are the breathtaking results of the pandemic response: economic carnage, cultural destruction, large amounts of unnecessary death, and an incredible paper trail of incompetence, fear, secrecy, plotting, and neglect of genuine health concerns.  Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News

A Former SAC PM"s Advice To Traders: "Sit Tight, Be Right"

A Former SAC PM's Advice To Traders: "Sit Tight, Be Right" By Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research Today’s story is about patience. Whether you are trading or investing, 2022 will require more calm thoughtfulness than any year in recent memory. History shows that as crises fade into the rearview mirror, market volatility (and the opportunities it brings) declines. Also, there is a real tug of war now between fundamentals and Fed policy. Lastly, the best places to make money in stocks (cyclicals, in our view) are volatile and rarely well-structured industries or companies. Bottom line: 2022 is a “measure twice, cut one” sort of year. * * * Strange as it may sound, I learned most of what I know today on this topic while working for Steve Cohen at the old SAC Capital. Yes, it was a (very) fast money trading shop. And yes, Steve’s trading process demanded absolute adherence to a specific set of rules and mindset. Price action, not opinion or emotion, defined right and wrong. But SAC is also where I learned the old trader’s saying, “Sit tight, be right”. If your process is sound, from idea generation to risk management and exit discipline, then patience determines profitability. Simply put, big trades often take time to work. Everyone at SAC had their own approach to cultivating patience, which in the context of the firm’s trading bent often meant simply distracting themselves rather than staring at their daily P&L. Steve might invite his family to lunch and actually take an hour off the desk with them if he was worried about being shaken out of a large position intraday. Other traders occupied their time by planning where to go for lunch or dinner (traders think about food a lot). As for me, I would spend hours on a forward calendar of catalysts that might offer new trading ideas (analysts think about data a lot). Many years after leaving SAC, a hedge fund performance analytics firm showed me some research that put the importance of patience into even starker relief. Hedge funds, as a whole, are good at finding winning ideas. Their performance would often be better, however, if they held those ideas longer. Academic work on institutional investor (long only and hedge funds) behavior shows that the problem is structural. So much of money management marketing is pitching new ideas to gather assets that “old ideas” (those currently in the portfolio) get crowded out too early in order to take stakes in new names. I bring all this up because 2022 feels very much like a year where patience will be the defining factor when it comes to outperformance. Whether you are bullish or bearish on a market, sector, investment theme or individual idea, it will take longer to get paid for your point of view than the last several years. Three reasons I think that’s true: 1: US equity market volatility historically declines in the years after a shock. The chart below shows the CBOE VIX Index back to 1990. As highlighted, there have been 4 notable VIX spikes since then. In each case volatility declined for several (3-9) years thereafter. In March 2022 we will be 2 full years into the post-pandemic market recovery. Volatility has already been declining. The VIX today is only 20, for example, even with the selloff and January’s choppy action. 2: There are times when fundamentals (i.e., corporate earnings) matter and then there are times when changes in macro conditions matter more. At the bottom in March 2020, macro mattered; fiscal and monetary policy supported the US economy during the Pandemic Crisis. From Q2 2020 to Q4 2021, US corporate earnings took over the market narrative. The S&P 500 earned 23 percent more in 2021 than it had pre-pandemic. Wall Street analysts were slow to acknowledge that fact, which allowed for a long series of earnings beats. We are now entering a period where the Federal Reserve will engage in a never-before-seen experiment: raising interest rates off zero and reducing the size of its balance sheet in the same year. All this sets up 2022 as a tug of war between the relative certainty of strong corporate earnings and the absolute unknown effect of novel Fed policy. As we outlined earlier this week, the setup here reminds us a lot of 1994. Back then, the Fed embarked on a surprise series of aggressive rate hikes and investors simply had no idea what that would do to the US economy. Now, Fed communication may be better - they have telegraphed liftoff and runoff quite clearly – but the market is still left wondering what results will come from their decisions. 3: The sectors that have been working – and we still like – are not what one would call easy stories to love. Large cap Financials (+6 pct YTD) are cheap but face structural challenges from venture capital funded FinTech disruptors. Large cap Energy (+14 pct YTD) is an ESG nightmare, and you have to believe (as we do) that traditional carbon-based energy has several years of new demand highs ahead of it. Airlines (+7 pct YTD), which Jessica just highlighted earlier this week, are no one’s idea of a stable or well-structured industry. As much as we like cyclical sectors, we know there will be sudden and violent rotations out of them through 2022. They have a tailwind but owning them in 2022 is not the same as holding Big Tech in 2020 – 2021. If nothing else, their competitive positions are not as strong. In trading parlance, you are “renting” these names rather than buying a forever home for capital. Summing up: 2022 is set to bring us lower average US equity volatility, a see-saw dynamic between fundamentals and Fed policy, and rotation into cyclical (and often volatile) sectors with little to offer besides earnings leverage. It will be a year for patience and, just importantly, discipline. Sit tight, be right. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News

Rising prices put American families in deeper debt

After a year of strong retail sales, consumers are starting to feel the impact of inflation and real income as it materializes across the economy......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsJan 15th, 2022Related News

Glenn Youngkin sworn in as Virginia"s 74th governor, reinvigorating Republicans after years of statewide losses

The governor — a political newcomer — led a successful statewide GOP ticket that includes Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares. Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives his inaugural speech at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on January 15, 2022.AP Photo/Julio Cortez Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia's 74th governor on Saturday. Youngkin, a former private-equity executive, defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in November. The governor will face divided government, with a GOP-led House and a Democratic-controlled Senate. Glenn Youngkin was inaugurated as Virginia's 74th governor on Saturday, becoming the first Republican to occupy the Executive Mansion since 2014 and reinvigorating a state GOP that had suffered years of statewide losses.Youngkin — a 55-year-old former private-equity executive and first-time political candidate — took the oath of office on the south Portico of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond after defeating former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe last November."No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor," Youngkin said during his speech, where he reaffirmed his commitment to eliminate the grocery tax and empower parents of public school students, issues that he ran on heavily during his campaign.He succeeded former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who was term-limited and ineligible to run for reelection.The newly-installed governor led a sweep of Republican statewide offices — with Winsome Sears becoming the Commonwealth's first Black female lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares as the first Latino attorney general in Virginia history — in a state that in recent years has leaned toward the Democratic Party.Before the 2021 fall elections, Republicans had not won a statewide election in the Commonwealth since 2009, when former state attorney general and then-gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell led the party to landslide victories up and down the ballot.Last year, the GOP faced a much different political landscape.The party ceded its majority in the House of Delegates in 2019 as Democrats reaffirmed their ascendancy in the state's suburban areas, which had long helped the GOP maintain power in the state legislature.In the 2020 election, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden easily defeated then-President Donald Trump by a 10-point margin (54%-44%) in Virginia, fueled by the Republican commander-in-chief's massive unpopularity in the Commonwealth's fast-growing suburban areas.Spectators watch the gubernatorial swearing-in of Glenn Youngkin at the State Capitol in Richmond.AP Photo/Julio CortezWhile many observers expected McAuliffe to cruise to victory against a Trumpian challenger last year, Republicans chose to nominate Youngkin — a relative unknown in most state political circles — in a ranked-choice voting system.Realizing that a full embrace of Trump's brand of politics was not politically tenable in blue-trending Virginia, Youngkin ran a race focused on education and the economy in an effort to to peel off swing voters who had fueled Democratic gains in the state. It worked.His strategy involved running against the teaching of critical race theory to students, despite the discipline not being instructed to children in the Commonwealth's K-12 public schools.Critical race theorists have examined how America's history of racism continue to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today, and Republicans — energized by Youngkin's new administration — are planning to employ it as a wedge issue in the 2022 midterm elections.Despite Republican exuberance about their newfound power in the state, they will face divided government. While Republicans were able to recapture the House of Delegates last fall, they control the chamber by a narrow 52-48 edge — and Democrats still control the state Senate, albeit by a slender 21-19 margin.And while Youngkin has named several prominent Virginians to his administration, tapping former US Office of Personnel Management director and ex-Heritage Foundation president Kay Coles James as the next secretary of the commonwealth, along with former state attorney general Richard Cullen as his counselor, the governor hit a speedbump with legislative Democrats in naming former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler as the Commonwealth's secretary of natural resources.Wheeler, who led the EPA under Trump, has received a torrent of criticism from Democrats for his environmental policies, including the repeal of water protections that were implemented during the administration of former President Barack Obama.However, in a recent interview with Central Virginia-based VPM, Youngkin continued to back Wheeler, who will need to be confirmed by both houses of the Virginia legislature."Andrew is going to be on the Glenn Youngkin team," the governor said. "He is incredibly qualified."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News

Euro Challenges USDollar As Global Currency

Euro Challenges USDollar As Global Currency Goldman Sachs this week predicted that the Eurozone would grow at a faster pace than the U.S. in 2022, projecting a growth rate of 4.4 percent for EU and only 3.5 percent for U.S. GDP. The latest World Bank forecast, also from January, still sees the U.S. ahead, if only by a paper-thin margin of 0.1 percent, while the new IMF outlook is yet to be released. While the jury is still out on who will trump who for economic growth this year, Statista's Katharina Buchholz notes that there are other indicators that already show the Eurozone’s growing economic prowess and international importance. The value of global payment transactions in Euro has been inching up to that of the U.S. dollar, data from the Swift international payment network shows, hinting at increased activity around the currency. In October 2020, Euro transaction value even slid ahead of the U.S. dollar, and while that didn’t last long, the gap between the two currencies on the world stage has become considerable smaller since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Potential reasons for this include the EU’s coordinated efforts to prop up its economy in the current crisis and its continued zero-interest fiscal policy. Faith in the U.S. economy and its growth is meanwhile shaky, according to CNBC, as uncertainty around President Joe Biden’s “Built Back Better” economic package continues. You will find more infographics at Statista Looking strictly at payments between two actors from different currency zones – thereby excluding international payments between different Eurozone countries – the U.S. dollar still retains more of an edge as a global trade currency. The gap to the Euro stood at around 3 percent of transaction value in November 2021. Yet, economists have shown surprise at the Euro’s general international success as a strong second player since the U.S. dollar was long seen as the singular international trade currency. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 08:45.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 15th, 2022Related News