David Fuller and Eoin Treacy's Comment of the Day
Category - General

    DoubleLine Round Table Prima 1-6-20 - Segment 2: Markets

    This video which is the second in the three-part series highlights some of the differences between economists’ perspective on growth and the forward-looking perspective offered by the stock market. I commend it to subscribers.

    Fiat Chrysler and Foxconn plan Chinese electric vehicle joint venture

    This article from Reuters may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

    Fiat Chrysler and Foxconn plan Chinese electric vehicle joint venture - This article from Reuters may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    FCA last month reached a binding agreement for a $50 billion tie-up with France’s PSA (PEUP.PA) that will create the world’s No. 4 carmaker. FCA said that the proposed cooperation was initially focused on the Chinese market.

    It “would enable the parties to bring together the capabilities of two established global leaders across the spectrum of automobile design, engineering and manufacturing and mobile software technology to focus on the growing battery electric vehicle market,” it said.

    FCA said it was in the process of signing a preliminary agreement with Hon Hai, aiming to reach final binding agreements in the next few months.

    However, it added there was no assurance that final binding agreements would be reached or would be completed in that timeframe.

    Foxconn has been investing heavily in a variety of future transport ventures for several years, including Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride services giant, and Chinese electric vehicle start-ups Byton and Xpeng.

    Foxconn also has invested in Chinese battery giant CATL and a variety of other mostly Chinese transportation tech start-ups.

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    Hydrogen May Start Replacing Natural Gas Before 2050, Snam Says

    This article by Vanessa Dezem for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

     

    “There is already a transition going from coal to gas, which is very beneficial for the environment,” Alvera said. “The next step of the transition is getting away from oil and replacing to gas. After we do that phase one, we can ramp up electrolyzers and have green gas.”

    The executive’s view about hydrogen reflects concern within the gas industry that governments are moving to limit fossil-fuel emissions and will hit gas soon. That raises the risk that the investments they’ve made in pipelines, compressors and storage tanks could become stranded assets.

    In Italy, Snam decided to double the amount of hydrogen it blends into the grid to 10%. Alvera believes hydrogen could supply a quarter of Italy’s energy demand by 2050 and announced in November a new round of investments to boost transition toward clean energy.

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    Boeing Lost Its Way by Going on a Wall Street Detour

    This article by Joe Nocera for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    By the time Boeing decided to cobble together the 737 Max, its engineering culture was completely broken. Here’s how Aboulafia described it to Useem in the Atlantic:

    It was the ability to comfortably interact with an engineer who in turn feels comfortable telling you their reservations, versus calling a manager [more than] 1,500 miles away who you know has a reputation for wanting to take your pension away. It’s a very different dynamic. As a recipe for disempowering engineers in particular, you couldn’t come up with a better format.

    You can see that disempowerment — and its consequences — in the recently released emails. Instead of bringing their fears and complaints to superiors, the engineers grouse to themselves about the problems they see with the plane. They are bitter about management’s unwillingness to slow things down, to build the plane properly, to take the care that’s required to prevent tragedy from striking.

    There is one email in particular from an unidentified Boeing engineer that I can’t get out of my head. It was written in June 2018, about a year after the company had begun shipping the 737 Max to customers:

    Everyone has it in their head that meeting schedule is most important because that’s what Leadership pressures and messages. All the messages are about meeting schedule, not delivering
    quality…

    We put ourselves in this position by picking the lowest cost supplier and signing up to impossible schedules. Why did the lowest ranking and most unproven supplier receive the contract? Solely based on bottom dollar…. Supplier management drives all these decisions — yet we can’t even keep one person doing the same job in SM for more than 6 months to a year. They don’t know this business and those that do don’t have the appropriate level of input… .

    I don’t know how to fix these things … it’s systemic. It’s culture. It’s the fact that we have a senior leadership team that understand very little about the business and yet are driving us to certain objectives. It’s lots of individual groups that aren’t working closely and being accountable …. Sometimes
    you have to let things fail big so that everyone can identify a problem … maybe that’s what needs to happen instead of continuing to just scrape by.

    Of course that’s exactly what happened: the 737 Max failed big — at a cost of 346 lives. Shareholder value has caused much harm in the three decades since it became the core value of American capitalism: diabetics who can’t afford insulin; students ripped off by for-profit universities; patients gouged by hospital chains; and so much else. But none worse than this.
     

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    Germans Rush to Buy Gold as Draft Bill Threatens to Restrict Purchases

    This article from biocoin.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    In a tweet posted Wednesday, precious metals consultant and analyst Dan Popescu shared a picture of a long line of people waiting in front of “Degussa store to buy gold in Köln.” Popescu described, “From Jan. 1, 2020, the limit to buy gold anonymously drops from €10,000 down to €2,000. Only two years ago the limit was €15,000.” One user posted his own photo and replied “This is me line at Degussa in 23rd. The employees said they haven’t seen anything like it before.” To give an idea of the relatively small amount of gold €2,000 (~$2,224) can buy, even a 50g gold bar is currently too expensive.

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    U.S. and China Sign Phase One of Trade Deal

    This article by Shawn Donnan, Josh Wingrove, and Saleha Mohsin for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The U.S. and China signed what they’re billing as the first phase of a broader trade pact on Wednesday amid persistent questions over whether President Donald Trump’s efforts to rewrite the economic relationship with Beijing will ever go any further.

    The deal commits China to do more to crack down on the theft of American technology and corporate secrets by its companies and state entities, while outlining a $200 billion spending spree to try to close its trade imbalance with the U.S. It also binds Beijing to avoiding currency manipulation to gain an advantage and includes an enforcement system to ensure promises are kept.

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