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

    Retail Industry Meltdown Hits Women Hard; Men Remain Unscathed

    This article by Laura Colby for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

    As embattled U.S. retailers shed jobs over the past year, women have borne the brunt of the losses. Men, on the other hand, have made steady gains in the retail workforce.

    Women lost 129,000 retail positions in the last year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Men gained 106,000 positions.

    The report found that general-merchandise stores -- mainly department stores -- accounted for the largest share of both jobs lost and jobs gained. Women at those retailers lost 161,000 positions while men gained 87,800 from October 2016 to October 2017.

    At other types of retailers, including auto dealers, garden supply stores and furniture stores, women and men both gained a comparatively small number of jobs.

    Retail employment for both men and women had been growing since 2007, IWPR said. But about a year ago, the trend for women reversed. It’s not clear exactly why, said Heidi Hartmann, president of the IWPR. Women could be moving to higher-paying jobs, or men could be doing better because they tend to sell big-ticket durable goods such as cars and appliances, where sales are strengthening.

    The uneven distribution of job losses could have repercussions for the U.S. economy as a whole, because the vast majority of American families rely on women’s earnings, Hartmann said.

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    Platinum Outshines Palladium on Prospect of Europe Diesel Demand

    This article by Luzi Ann Javier for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    “Car sales are one of the strongest indicators of consumption of raw materials,” said Peter Thomas, a senior vice president at Zaner Group in Chicago, citing the one to two ounces of platinum or palladium that goes into each vehicle.

    “You’ve also got a lot of window dressing going on,” with traders selling palladium to book their gains for the year, and buying platinum, he said.

    Palladium, used mostly in pollution-control devices for gasoline engines, has led gains in precious metals this year by climbing 48 percent. It surpassed the price of platinum in September for the first time since 2001. Gold has gained 9.9 percent in 2017, while silver increased 1.4 percent.

    Supply of platinum will trail consumption by 275,000 ounces in 2018, after being largely balanced this year, the World Platinum Investment Council forecast in November. Mine closures in the second half of this year will have a larger impact on production next year, it said.

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    Semiconductors: Technology and Market Primer 10.0

    Thanks to a subscriber for this educational 253-page report from Oppenheimer which may be of interest. Here is a section:

    Brexit Marathon Passes First Milestone With Hard Yards Ahead

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

    Despite disbelief in Europe, May and her team still publicly insist they can complete all the trade negotiations before Brexit day and have a new trading relationship ready to sign into law the moment the country leaves the bloc. Brexit Secretary David Davis has admitted that he’ll be in a weak position trying to negotiate a trade deal when the U.K. is already outside the bloc.

    In order to meet the March 2019 deadline, the framework of the future relationship needs to be done ideally by October, to allow the European Parliament and the increasingly assertive U.K. lawmakers to have time to ratify the agreement. That leaves seven months to finalize the outline of an ambitious pact.

    A senior EU official, speaking on Friday on condition of anonymity, said the full trade agreement will take years. The U.K. government underestimates the complexity of the trade discussions, the official said. He said that alongside the withdrawal agreement the two sides will issue a joint declaration outlining the principles of the future relationship to be worked on when the U.K. is no longer a member state.

    One major obstacle is that neither side yet knows what it wants the future relationship to look like. May has not even discussed the matter in any depth with her own cabinet ministers. She’ll call them to a meeting next Tuesday to hear their views on the end state, according to her office. It’s unlikely to be the last time they talk about it.

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    Email of the day on why bitcoin can only go up

    I think it's easy to lose sight that Bitcoin was never intended as an investment vehicle but rather a digital currency. Hard money advocates should appreciate the cap on the total number. Certainly, until there is a much wider acceptance as a currency and more people own it, there will continue to be extremely high volatility. However, since there is a limit on the total number of bitcoin and more people will want to own some, isn't it natural for it to rise in price? The pace has been astonishing but maybe we are really only in the early stages. By nature, it must go higher IF it is to be an alternative currency whose supply can't be increased (like fiat currencies are)

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    This is how much copper, nickel, cobalt an electric vehicle world needs

    This article by Frik Els for Mining.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

    The London-based research company modelled metal requirements across the supply chain – from generation and grid infrastructure through to storage, charging and vehicles – based on relatively modest penetration of EVs in the total global vehicle market out to 2030.

    According to the study as early as 2020, when EVs would still make up only 2% of new vehicle sales, related metal demand already becomes significant, requiring an additional 390,000 tonnes of copper, 85,000 tonnes of nickel and 24,000 tonnes of cobalt.

    Based on an EV market share of less than 32% in 2030, forecast metal requirements are roughly 4.1m tonnes of additional copper (18% of 2016 supply). The move away from gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles would need 56% more nickel production or 1.1m tonnes compared to 2016 and 314,000 tonnes of cobalt, a fourfold increase from 2016 supply.

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    Draghi Says ECB Will Still Undershoot Inflation Goal in 2020

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

    Rather than hitting a single number, it is more important that inflation converges to the target in a self-sustained and durable manner, he said. Improving conditions in the labor market should increase pressure on nominal wages, which are a key driver of underlying price pressures.

    The ECB chief’s caution comes amid a spate of central-bank decisions in the past 24 hours that signaled tighter global monetary policies ahead. The U.S. Federal Reserve announced its third interest-rate increase of the year, China unexpectedly edged borrowing costs higher, and Norway’s central bank signaled that it may start raising interest rates earlier than previously.

    The Swiss National Bank predicted inflation will exceed its mandate in late 2020, though said it won’t rush to raise rates. The Bank of England, which increased rates last month for the first time in a decade, kept policy on hold in London.

    Bolstered by ECB stimulus and a global economic recovery, the euro area has recorded 18 straight quarters of expansion since coming out of a double-dip recession, and sentiment surveys point to accelerating momentum. Upside growth surprises are possible, while downside risks are mostly related global factors, Draghi said.

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