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

    The Man Who Inherited Australia's Downturn Just Isn't That Fazed

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

    That’s all put the economy on track for its weakest fiscal year since the last recession in 1991. Even the Reserve Bank, which rarely wades into political territory, is urging more government stimulus after cutting interest rates for the first time in almost three years.

    But whether boxed in by his sunny disposition or pledges to deliver a budget surplus made ahead of the government’s shock re-election last month, Frydenberg appears unfazed. While he’ll push to pass tax cuts when parliament resumes on July 2 and ramp up infrastructure spending, that’s about it, leaving the heavy lifting of stimulus to the central bank.

    “I’ve found the treasurer to be remarkably sanguine,” said Danielle Wood, an economist at the Grattan Institute, an independent think tank in Melbourne. “When you’ve got the central bank governor coming out and talking about perhaps moving to stimulatory fiscal policy as well as the need for more long-term structural reforms, I’d be hoping for a more substantive response.”

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    Internet Trends 2019

    This report from Mary Meeker at Bond includes a large number of graphics which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section from the introduction:

    The rapid rise of gathered / analyzed digital data is often core to the holistic success of the fastest growing & most successful companies of our time around the world. Context-rich data can help businesses provide consumers with increasingly personalized products & services that can often be obtained at lower prices & delivered more efficiently. This, in turn, can drive higher customer satisfaction. Better data-driven tools can improve the ability for consumers to communicate directly & indirectly with businesses & regulators.

    Core constituents (consumers / businesses / regulators) are increasingly drinking from a data firehose & management challenges continue to rise for all parties. Broad awareness of challenges (& related vigorous / heated debates) can be the first step in driving change.

    Consumers are aware of concerns about Internet usage overload & are taking steps to reduce usage – leading USA-based Internet platforms have rolled out tools to help monitor usage & social media usage growth appears to be decelerating following a period of strong growth. Privacy & problematic content concerns are also top-of-mind & are following similar patterns.

    Owing to social media amplification, reveals / actions / reactions about events can occur quickly – resulting in both good & bad outcomes. In markets where online real-time rating systems exist, accountability can be improved vs. offline options as consumers & businesses interact directly while regulators can also benefit.

    Rapidly expanding connectivity has helped amplify voices of good & bad actors. This has brought new focus to an age-old challenge for regulators around the world – finding the most effective ways to amplify good & minimize bad, often resulting in different regional interpretations & strategies.

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    Illinois farmers give up on planting after floods, throw party instead

    This article by Tom Polansek for Reuters may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    Nationwide, farmers are expected to harvest the smallest corn crop in four years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency last week reduced its planting estimate by 3.2% from May and its yield estimate by 5.7%.

    Farmers think more cuts are likely as the late-planted crop could face damage from hot summer weather and an autumn frost.

    “An early frost will turn this world upside down,” Rock Katschnig, a farmer from Prophetstown, Illinois, said at the party.

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    Facebook's Answer to Bitcoin Is a Double Threat

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

    Weekend media leaks suggest that Facebook’s “Libra” project will be a continuation of its past efforts to expand its payments business and keep customers within the walled garden of its social media apps by creating their very own money.

    While Zuckerberg is poised to unveil a team of partners – reportedly including eBay Inc., Farfetch Ltd., Spotify Technology SA, Uber Technologies Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc – so far this feels very much like Facebook’s baby. Tellingly, it’s not one that the big banks or the other Silicon Valley and Seattle giants seem ready to adopt quite yet, unless Zuckerberg surprises us with some bigger names at the launch.

    The target customer base for these new digital tokens looks certain to be the 2.6 billion-strong user base of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

    While Facebook will no doubt assure us that this project is all about making the lives of its customers ever easier, giving them the ability to actually buy stuff in a way that Bitcoin has rarely offered, it’s hard to square it away with the political effort to curb Big Tech’s monopolistic tendencies (regardless of that roster of launch partners and their $10 million participation fees). 

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