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

    Whatever Happened To The Liquidity Hole?

    This podcast from Bridgewater discusses the way in which the US Treasury has been issuing debt.

    Eoin's personal portfolio: commodity trading and investment positions closed

    AI and the automation of work

    This article from Benedict Evans may be of interest. Here is a section:

    Indeed, while one could suggest that LLMs will subsume many apps on one axis, I think it’s equally likely that they will enable a whole new wave of unbundling on other axes, as startups peel off dozens more use cases from Word, Salesforce and SAP, and build a whole bunch more big companies by solving problems that no-one had realised were problems until LLMs let you solve them. That’s the process that explains why big companies already have 400 SaaS apps today, after all.

    More fundamental, of course, there is the error rate. ChatGPT can try to answer ‘anything’ but the answer might be wrong. People call this hallucinations, making things up, lying or bullshitting - it’s the ‘overconfident undergraduate’ problem. I think these are all unhelpful framings: I think the best way to understand this is that when you type something into a prompt, you’re not actually asking it to answer a question at all. Rather, you’re asking it “what sort of answers would people be likely to produce to questions that look like this?” You’re asking it to match a pattern.

    Hence, if I ask ChatGPT4 to write a biography of myself, and then ask it again, it gives different answers. It suggests I went to Cambridge, Oxford or the LSE; my first job was in equity research, consulting or financial journalism. These are always the right pattern: it’s the right kind of university and the right kind of job (it never says MIT and then catering management). It is giving 100% correct answers to the question “what kinds of degrees and jobs are people like Benedict likely to have done?” It’s not doing a database lookup: it’s making a pattern.

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    China Halts Youth Jobs Data, Stoking Transparency Concerns

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:

    The move is the latest example of how President Xi Jinping’s government is limiting access to information in order to more closely guard data it deems sensitive and manage the narrative about the weakening economy.

    China has over the past year limited access to corporate data, court documents, academic journals and raided expert networks serving businesses, hampering investors’ ability to assess the economy. Officials have also been downplaying economic risks like deflation, with some Chinese-based analysts saying they were instructed by regulators and their companies not to discuss the matter publicly.

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    UK Shock Wage Surge Puts to Rest Talk of BOE Pause

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:  

    Whole-economy regular wage growth accelerated to 7.8% in the three months to June, from 7.5% previously. That was well above our estimate for 7.5% and consensus expectations for 7.4%. The surprise, relative to our forecasts, was almost fully accounted for by revisions to the data rather than news about the monthly pace of growth in June.

    Whole-economy wage gains including bonuses ticked up faster, to 8.2% in June from 7.2% previously, largely due to one-off payments made to National Health Service workers on that month.

    More important for the BOE is regular pay growth in the private sector, which climbed to 8.2% in the three months to June, from 7.9% in May. We expected it to rise to 7.8%, while the BOE was projecting it to come in at 7.6% in its August forecast. One thing to note is that the reading is still affected by April’s near-10% rise in the national minimum wage.

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    US Retail Sales Top Forecasts, Showcasing Consumer Resilience

    This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:

    The latest data illustrate how American households — supported by a strong labor market and rising wages — are so far buttressing the economy against recession in the face of high interest rates. Too much strength, however, could force the Federal Reserve to pursue more aggressive policy should inflationary pressures prove sticky. 

    “This will boost optimism that because of the resilience of the consumer we can achieve that soft landing,” Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Financial Corp., said on Bloomberg Television. At the same time, “this simply means the Fed will have to be more aggressive raising rates higher and keeping rates higher for longer,” she said.

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    Eoin's personal portfolio: two investment positions opened August 1st 2023