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October 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Pound Gets Boost From Thaw in Parliament Tensions

This note by Charlotte Ryan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

The pound rose to its highest level in over a week, with the currency getting a boost as Boris Johnson appeared to win the backing of Conservatives on both sides of the Brexit debate, according to strategists.

Sterling gains as much as 0.7% to $1.2388, after earlier dropping as much as 0.3%

“Sterling is as happy as Parliament seems calm today,” said CIBC head of G-10 currency strategy Jeremy Stretch. “On the basis of the talk in Parliament if the EU were to agree to the latest proposals that of course is more than a big if, then it would appear that Parliament would vote in favor”

Speaking with market participants, it seems “they sense the red lines are shifting,” said Neil Jones, head of currency sales for financial institutions at Mizuho Bank. “It’s a more upbeat tone from Boris Johnson and the EU added to some reference the ERG may agree whatever Johnson comes back with,” he added, referring to the group of Conservative euroskeptics

Eoin Treacy's view -

The UK’s parliament has voted repeatedly that they will not allow the government to push through a no deal Brexit. The only deal on the table is the one negotiated by Theresa May. Regardless of the fact that it represents membership of the EU in all but name, it still represents the most likely solution that has a chance of passing a vote in Parliament. If Boris Johnson can secure a deal of the Irish border it is likely to pass a vote in Parliament.



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October 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

October 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stocks Tumble, Bonds Climb as Slowdown Fears Mount

This article by Randall Jensen and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The hiring numbers pushed the 10-year Treasury yield lower for a fifth straight day as it pushed below 1.6%. The yen rose versus the dollar and gold spiked above $1,500. The equity rout spread to Europe, where the Stoxx 600 saw its biggest slide in 10 months and the FTSE 100 dropped the most since 2016. Oil fell below $53 a barrel after a report showed U.S. crude inventories increased.

The disappointing data out of the U.S. and Europe, as well as weak earnings reports from automakers this week, is forcing investors to reconsider their strategies. The most recent economic numbers are driving concerns that a slowdown, which had been mostly confined to manufacturing, may be spreading to the consumer amid the U.S.-China trade war. Those fears also increased bets that the Federal Reserve will cut rates this month. Focus now turns to services PMI data on Thursday and the nonfarm payrolls data on Friday.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The fear many people have is the debt issue which macro investors have been talking about over the last 18 months is eventually going to result in a problem where investors revolt at paltry yields relative to the risk.

The failure of bond auctions in Germany, Japan and US over the last couple of months, while glossed over the in press, suggest there is liquidity risk in the bond market. The spiking of repo rates and the requirement for the Fed to introduce, what is effectively, a standing repo facility also highlights illiquidity.



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October 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

German Fiscal Stimulus Already Creeping In, Whatever Merkel Says

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

The government considers it’s still not clear whether Germany will plunge into a full-blown recession and, as a result, the full array of remedies may not need to be deployed.

Germany’s five leading research institutes slashed their forecasts for economic growth this year and next, citing trade tensions and Brexit weighing on German industry. GDP is to grow 1.1% in 2020 from a previous forecast of 1.8%, and 0.5% this year from an earlier prediction of 0.8%.

Traditionally, Germany shifts to high alert whenever the global economy looks to be slowing -- the country’s dependence on exports means that it tends to head south with the rest of the world. But with the domestic market still relatively robust and the ECB renewing monetary stimulus, Merkel’s economic team judges that this time the path toward recession is less certain.

On the down side, a prolonged trade war could eventually lead to a much bigger fallout than expected, according to another scenario being considered. That spurred the government to gradually increase investments and bolster the labor market as a preemptive and precautionary measure.

Finance Minister Scholz told ARD TV on Wednesday that economic forecasts are pointing toward a recovery and that there is currently no need for a stimulus program.

“We are well prepared because we have good financial resources and can react, should it really come to an economic crisis but so far it’s just slower growth,” Scholz said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The bond market has been signallng for a while that all is not well in the global economy. The fact that just about all of Germany’s sovereign debt is trading with a negative yield is as much about the outlook for global growth as it is about the ECB’s negative interest rate policy. The Eurozone has been relying on the strength of the export sector to pull growth higher but the slowdown is exposing the absence of a clear domestic demand story to offset the slowdown in demand.

While clear signalling for the end of the austerity program remains unlikely, there is evidence of fiscal laxity creeping in all over the continent. Italy, France and Spain are already engaged in fiscal stimulus and it is only a matter of time before Germany deploys its balance sheet to support the economy.



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October 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Seven-Year Auto Loan: America's Middle Class Can't Afford Its Cars

This article by Ben Eisen and Adrienne Roberts for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Just 18% of U.S. households had enough liquid assets to cover the cost of a new car, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of 2016 data from the Fed’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances, a proportion that hasn’t changed much in recent years.

Even a conservative car loan often won’t do it. The median-income U.S. household with a four-year loan, 20% down and a payment under 10% of gross income—a standard budget—could afford a car worth $18,390, excluding taxes, according to an analysis by personal-finance website Bankrate.com.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Tesla is likely to introduce a car with a battery capable of lasting for one million miles of driving. Having a car for long enough to come close to even a fraction of that distance could justify taking out a seven-year loan to fund the purchase but that misses the point. The aim is for those batteries to go into autonomous vehicles.



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October 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

2019: The 50th year of The Chart Seminar

Eoin Treacy's view -

The London Philharmonic Orchestra is holding a concert in David’s memory on October 5th October at the Royal Festival Hall. There is a reception between 5.30 and 6.45 in the Foyle Pavilion, Level 3, Green Side and subscribers are well to join David’s family there for light refreshments. Following the reception, we will move to the Beecham Bar, Blue Side, Level 5 for a short talk by Tim Walker, Chairman of the LPO. 

If you wish to attend the concert as well, which includes a performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto by the Young Musician of the Year, it begins at 7.30 and you may book tickets (£67) by telephone on 020 7840 4242 quoting the code Fuller Concert.

Since this is the 50th year of The Chart Seminar we will be conducting the event on October 3rd and 4th to coincide with the memorial on the Saturday.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, would like to attend, or have a suggestion for another venue please feel to reach out to Sarah at sarah@fullertreacymoney.com.  

The full rate for The Chart Seminar is £1799 + VAT. (Please note US, Australian and Asian delegates, as non-EU residents are not liable for VAT). Annual subscribers are offered a discounted rate of £850. Anyone booking more than one place can also avail of the £850 rate for the second and subsequent delegates.



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October 01 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 1st 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area.

Some of the topics covered include: Renminbi weakens, US factory data disappoints but that increases potential for additional stimulus, Dollar eases, gold rebounds, oil weakens further, DAX downside key reversal, Brexit disillusionment potentially leads to opportunity 



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October 01 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Xi Says China's Rise Unstoppable in Face of Protests, Trade War

This article by Annie Lee, Peter Martin and James Mayger for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

President Xi Jinping declared that no force could stop China’s rise, exuding confidence during a key
anniversary as he faced unprecedented challenges from protesters in Hong Kong and Donald Trump’s trade war.

Speaking at the start of grand parade marking 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic, Xi called for stability in Hong Kong, unity among Chinese ethnic groups, and the “complete unification” of the country. Xi delivered the remarks at the site where late Communist Party patriarch Mao Zedong proclaimed the nation’s founding on Oct. 1, 1949.

“Today, a socialist China is standing in the east of the world and there is no force that can shake the foundation of this great nation,” Xi told a crowd of carefully vetted guests under smoggy skies in the center of the capital. “No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation forging ahead.”
Xi’s rallying cry came before an hours-long pageant showcasing China’s industrial and scientific achievements, including sophisticated weaponry such as DF-17 ballistic missiles believed capable of circumventing U.S. defense systems.

The closely scripted proceedings sought to reinforce the strength of a party facing multiple threats, from the slowest economic growth in decades to violent unrest in one of Asia’s top financial hubs.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Sometimes I feel like a broken record always repeating the same point about China, but governance is everything. The ranks of apologists for tyranny continue to advocate strongly for China despite its record on human rights, the environment, intellectual property, corruption, censorship and a host of additional factors.

The one thing China has going for it, is its economic expansion. Investors will be willing to give it the benefit of the doubt provided the expansion persists. It will an entirely different narrative if China has a recession.



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October 01 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Australia Cuts Key Rate as Global Threats, Unemployment Rise

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

“Forward-looking indicators of labor demand indicate that employment growth is likely to slow from its recent fast rate,” Lowe said. “The economy still has spare capacity and lower interest rates will help make inroads into that.”

Meanwhile, the clouds gathering offshore are increasingly menacing: Global growth is slowing, dragged down by the protracted U.S.-China trade conflict; financial hub Hong Kong is racked by protests; key trading partners Japan and South Korea are locked in confrontation; Brexit is looming; and to cap it all, President Donald Trump could face impeachment proceedings.

Against that backdrop, Lowe wants to stoke the local economy hard to try to ensure its resilience. At 0.75%, the cash rate is close to the lower bound that he and Deputy Governor Guy Debelle estimate is around 0.25%-0.5%. Both have previously said they don’t expect to have to turn to bond buying and other alternative measures, as they wait and gauge the success of existing stimulus.

“The Reserve Bank is likely to cut again early next year,” said Callam Pickering, economist at global jobs site Indeed. “Bank officials are reluctant to discuss quantitative easing but it becomes a real possibility the closer we come to a cash rate of 0%.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Australian government is one of the only AAA rated sovereigns left and that financial firepower is quite likely to be utilised in further fiscal and monetary stimulus to blunt the effects of global tensions on the domestic economy. The challenge of high consumer debt and elevated property prices compounds the issue.



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October 01 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bunging the EU billions of pounds for free shows the toxic ineptitude at the heart of May's Brexit deal

This article by Robert Rowland (MEP for the Brexit Party) for the Telegraph may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

If you owned 16.1pc of the European Investment Bank (EIB) would you give it away free to the other wealthy members as you leave the EU? 

That’s what Philip Hammond, the former chancellor and his team of civil servants have done.
Hidden in Theresa May’s discredited Withdrawal Treaty, ex-Chancellor Philip Hammond (then also on the Board of Governors of the EIB) gifted it €7.5bn of taxpayer's money for no concessions.  He then accepted a 12-year repayment of €3.5bn with no interest, from a bank making €5bn profits in just the last two years.

The ultra-Remain ex-chancellor was prepared to leave the UK credit card open over a decade to ensure the EIB can continue to lend on non-commercial terms to the EU 27 at UK taxpayer risk.

The UK is also treaty-bound for another €36bn of “callable capital”.  This is money we will pay to underpin the EIB if the eurozone collapses. Additional toxic risk exposure comes through the EU Budget which guarantees €500bn of EIB loan note risk that we would be exposed to during any “transition”. It is a truly toxic trick, conjured up by Hammond and his team. 

But how did this happen?
Under May’s Withdrawal Treaty, the UK’s initial EIB capital contributions, mostly given in 1973, of €3.5bn – in today’s money roughly €35bn – can be repaid in 12 instalments of around €300m a year. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

This article provides a good example of the reasons why a substantial number of people believe the deal negotiated by Theresa May’s government is untenable. It gives up all of the UK’s primary negotiating points without demonstrating what concessions, if any were won in return.



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September 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

DRAM Production Growth Could Be Less Than Previously Forecast

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

When asked about the factors driving Micron's hiking of its calendar 2019 outlook for NAND demand growth -- Micron now expects industry-wide NAND bit demand to grow by a low-to-mid 40s percentage, up from prior guidance for mid-30s growth -- Zinser was quick to note the impact of rising smartphone storage capacities in the wake of healthy price declines.

And in line with earnings call comments made by CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, Zinser noted that lower NAND prices are lifting solid-state drive capacities and (in what's a negative for hard drive suppliers) attach rates. He indicated the data center is an area where price elasticity is especially boosting NAND demand.

In addition to hiking its NAND demand guidance, Micron cut its NAND industry supply (output) guidance amid ongoing capital spending cuts, forecasting NAND bit supply will only grow by about 30% this year. For 2020, Micron is guiding for NAND bit demand to grow by a high-20s to low-30s percentage, and for supply growth to be "somewhat below" demand growth.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The disappointing guidance Micron gave at its earnings call resulted in a sharp retracement of its overextension relative to the trend mean. However, that decline is occurring against the background of underperformance this year which has seen the share recoup less than half of last year’s decline.



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September 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The good news is the same as the bad news: This market looks just like 1998

Thanks to a subscriber for this article from MarketWatch which may be of interest. Here is a section:

A yield curve inversion? International weakness triggering a broad manufacturing slowdown? A potentially overconfident consumer and a Federal Reserve caught up in a brief interest-rate cutting cycle, regardless of steady GDP growth? And, of course, an impeachment inquiry.

Does this sound like a recipe for a strong fourth-quarter rally?

Well, in 1998, it sure was, says BTIG strategist Julian Emanuel, who points out the similarities between then and now are “too striking” to ignore.

In our call of the day, he suggests the pent-up caution that’s “bordering on pessimism” due to mounting political tensions at home and abroad could lead to an end-of-year run should outcomes prove more positive than expected.

“Similar to 1998, where stocks rallied for 18 months (advancing 68%) from the cyclical low to the point of maximum public bullishness, the 3/2000 ‘Tech Bubble Top,’” Emanuel explained in a note, “we expect the current four-month S&P 500 trading range to resolve with new all-time highs as the prospect of higher interest rates... results in fund flows to stocks and the public’s eventual embracing of the ‘most hated bull market of all-time.’”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The central banks of the world are sufficiently scared of a recession that they are willing to do whatever is necessary to sustain the current expansion. We already have a bubble in sovereign bonds and it is quite likely this cycle will eventually climax with a bubble in equities as well.



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September 30 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gold Slumps to an Eight-Week Low as Dollar, U.S. Stocks Rall

This article by Yvonne Yue Li for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

A strengthening dollar and the rally in equities is spoiling the party for gold bulls. Gold futures tumbled to the lowest in almost eight weeks after the Trump administration partially refuted a report that it would target Chinese capital market. Speculation is mounting that Washington issued the statement to encourage Beijing to move closer to signing a deal with Washington, a strategist at R.J. O’Brien & Associates said.

Monday’s slump trimmed the precious metal’s fourth straight quarterly gain, the longest winning streak in eight years. Bulls are retreating after taking their net-long position in gold to the highest in government data going back to 2006.

The strength in the greenback “is the biggest headwind for gold right now,” Phil Streible of RJO said by phone from Chicago.
 

Eoin Treacy's view -

The point I find most interesting about the move we are seeing in gold is how similar it is in magnitude to what occurred in the early 2000s. The initial spike occurred in 1999 but it took about two and half years for the price to breakout to new highs. It subsequently rallied 18% from the breakout point and retraced the whole move, to test the upper side of the base, before trending higher in an impressive manner for the next nine years.



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September 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Japan's Topix Set to Beat S&P 500 for First Time in Two Years

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

“Japanese stocks underperformed for a long time and their valuations were left as very cheap,” Hiroshi Matsumoto, head of Japan investment at Pictet Asset Management Ltd. in Tokyo. “A correction in cheaper valuation stocks have occurred globally and Japanese stocks are the most prominent example for that.”

September has been good to the Topix, which is set for its best month since October 2015. Up until late August, the gauge was one of this year’s worst-performers among the 24 developed markets tracked by Bloomberg.

Norihiro Fujito, the chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. in Tokyo, says Japan’s market is enjoying a “a typical return reversal.” Foreign investors may be taking profit on U.S. equities, while covering short positions on Japanese shares, he said.

Foreigners net bought 937 billion yen ($8.7 billion) of cash equities and futures in the week ended Sept. 13, according to Japan Exchange Group data. That was the fourth consecutive week of net buying.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Topix Index (2.43%) currently yields more than the S&P500 (1.93%) which is both reflective of the compression in US yields but also the relatively high historical payout by Japanese firms.



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September 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

White House Weighs Limits on U.S. Portfolio Flows Into China

This article by Jenny Leonard and Shawn Donnan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The arguments for action inside the Trump team vary from simply enforcing U.S. transparency laws and creating a level of reciprocity, to raising national-security concerns with some of the Chinese companies that American pension funds are exposed to, according to people familiar with the conversations.

Some of those companies are firms that the U.S. government has identified as bad actors or has imposed sanctions against. The argument continues that Americans would unlikely want to invest in those companies if they had the choice.

The market capitalization of the 156 Chinese companies, including at least 11 state-owned firms, listed on the three-largest U.S. exchanges — the NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange and NYSE American — stood at a collective $1.2 trillion as of late February, according to a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

China earlier this month removed a $300 billion cap on overseas purchases of Chinese stocks and bonds meaning global funds no longer need to apply to purchase quotas to buy the assets. The move is designed to lure more foreign capital into Chinese markets.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The removal of the cap on QFII investments was largely moot since only about a third of the allocation was being used anyway. The point I have been making for years is the only incentive China has to open up its financial sector is to diversify its risk. Today’s most of the risk resides domestically. The only way China can expect to receive assistance from the rest of the world during a crisis is if that risk is shared. That is the only reason for opening up to the financial sector to overseas investment. Risk pooling is the most basic factor in insurance planning and that is what China is doing. It therefore makes logical sense to question whether it is wise to buy what they are now so desperate to sell?



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September 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

13.5 tons of gold found in Chinese Ex Mayor's Basement

This article from crimerussia.com may be of interest to subscribers.

Police of the PRC searched the house of Zhang Qi, 57, the former mayor of Danzhou and found a large amount of cash, as well as 13.5 tons of gold in ingots in a secret basement of his home, reported local media.

In addition to the mayor’s post, the official held others, such as the Secretary of the Communist Party. According to unofficial reports, in addition to the gold, cash worth 268 billion yuan was discovered.

Luxurious real estate with a total area of ​​several thousand square meters, which the former city manager had been hiding for a long time, became the cherry on the cake for the Chinese Anti-Corruption Committee.

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most memorable quotes I’ve heard in China was back in 2011 when the communist official from a small town a couple of hours north of Beijing said to me “I’m only a small guy so I’m only a little corrupt”. His boss was the county head and the gift to attend his daughter’s wedding was a stack of CNY100 notes six inches tall. They were counting the money in cubic metres. Then think about the head of the head of a province like Hainan which is being developed as “China’s Hawaii”. From that perspective the monopoly money sums are still huge but do help to highlight just how engrained corruption is.



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September 27 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 26th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: Wall Street steady, Dollar Index at new closing high, Euro weak, Treasuries steady, Peloton IPO flops, Saudi Aramco IPO in less than a month, China weak and commodity currencies extend downtrends, India steady, oil steady.



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September 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Chinese Tech Companies Turn to Financial Services

This article by Stella Yigan Xie for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Hao Jianyu, 26, who works at Google in Beijing and owns a Xiaomi phone, says he holds credit cards from China’s four biggest banks but prefers taking out loans from Xiaomi Finance to fund his daily spending. He says daily interest on what he borrows is 0.065%, an annualized rate of 23.4%. That’s higher than the interest rate on his credit cards, Mr. Hao says, but he has been able to increase his credit limit much faster with Xiaomi. The more often he uses Xiaomi’s short-term loans and repays on time, the bigger his credit line, which now exceeds the limits on his credit cards. He says his credit limit from Xiaomi has increased to 60,000 yuan from a few thousand yuan over two years.

In a stock-exchange filing last year before Xiaomi went public, the Beijing-headquartered company said its finance business had a “highly advanced and customized credit assessment and risk management approach” that was built on its big database of users. The company said its proprietary risk-assessment model is used to preapprove individuals for certain amounts of credit. Xiaomi said in reporting its results for the second quarter of this year that revenue from its fintech business grew 63% from a year earlier to 792 million yuan ($112 million) in the three months through June.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China is attempting to implement countercyclical monetary policy. There is a bubble in the housing market and 50 million homes are vacant. Their consumer sector, particularly younger upwardly mobile generations have taken to credit like just about all new consumers in other countries before them.



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September 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Navy Says Those UFO Videos Are Real

This article by Kyle Mizokami for popular Mechanics may be of interest. Here is a section:

That terminology is important. "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena" provides "the basic descriptor for the sightings/observations of unauthorized/unidentified aircraft/objects that have been observed entering/operating in the airspace of various military-controlled training ranges," Gradisher told The Black Vault.

In other words, the Pentagon says the aerial objects in the videos are simply unidentified, and for now, unexplained. The Navy is pointedly not saying the objects are flying saucers or otherwise controlled by aliens.

Earlier this year, the Department of Defense told The Black Vault that the videos were unclassified, but never cleared for public release, and that there had been no review process within the Pentagon for releasing them.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is either a big piece of technological news or one of the best pieces of counter intelligence in recent times.



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September 26 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Peloton Deepens IPO Slump in 3rd-Worst Unicorn Debut Since '08

This article by Crystal Tse and Hailey Waller for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Peloton Interactive Inc. fell as much as 9.5% Thursday after raising $1.16 billion in its U.S. initial public offering, becoming the latest unprofitable startup to fail to win over investors in its trading debut.

Peloton’s shares opened at $27 and were down 7.2% to $26.90 at 12:38 p.m. in New York trading, giving the company a value $7.5 billion. The fitness startup sold 40 million shares for $29 each on Wednesday, after marketing them for $26 to $29.

It marks the third-worst trading debut in 10 years in the U.S. for companies that have raised at least $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The IPO also comes as investors have been rattled by the sudden disintegration of WeWork’s plan to go public in September.

Peloton Chief Executive Officer John Foley said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he had “some disappointment” about the reception but was confident in his company’s prospects.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The one point that seemed to get very little commentary in the lead up to this IPO was just how fad-prone the fitness industry is. Soul Cycle and spinning are all the rage at the moment. I personally go to at least two, if not three, hybrid cycling and toning classes a week. After 18 months of these classes I am starting to find them monotonous and that is a big challenge for a company that is trying to sell a range of workouts via phone or its enormously overpriced pieces of equipment. I just can’t see why someone would pay $40 to Peloton for online classes when they can pay the same or less at an LAFitness without the capital expense and space requirement of the exercise equipment.



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September 25 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 25 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Machine Learning's "Amazing" Ability to Predict Chaos

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

“This is really very good,” Holger Kantz, a chaos theorist at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany, said of the eight-Lyapunov-time prediction. “The machine-learning technique is almost as good as knowing the truth, so to say.”

The algorithm knows nothing about the Kuramoto-Sivashinsky equation itself; it only sees data recorded about the evolving solution to the equation. This makes the machine-learning approach powerful; in many cases, the equations describing a chaotic system aren’t known, crippling dynamicists’ efforts to model and predict them. Ott and company’s results suggest you don’t need the equations — only data. “This paper suggests that one day we might be able perhaps to predict weather by machine-learning algorithms and not by sophisticated models of the atmosphere,” Kantz said.

Besides weather forecasting, experts say the machine-learning technique could help with monitoring cardiac arrhythmias for signs of impending heart attacks and monitoring neuronal firing patterns in the brain for signs of neuron spikes. More speculatively, it might also help with predicting rogue waves, which endanger ships, and possibly even earthquakes.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The trajectory of human development has largely been focused on the occasional appearance of a particularly gifted individual. Someone theorises what will be achievable in future and develops a mathematical formula which will take time to prove with physical experiments. The intervening period between the theory and reality has often been counted in centuries.

The advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence greatly accelerated that intellectual evolution. It represents a wonderful example of an enabling technology which will create productivity gains and new technology sectors out of nowhere.   



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September 25 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Blitzscale and Hope: Unicorns, IPOs and the Fear of Repeating the Late 1990s

Thanks to a subscriber for this report Epoch Investment Management Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

I share some sympathy with the view that there are some private companies that have the majority of their growth in their future and not in the past. There is a rational argument that most successful companies in the stock market today was a private company once upon a time so there are obviously going to be some successes.

However, what I find particularly interesting is the agonising over the lack of covenants in the debt markets and the surge in leveraged loans, yet there is has been precious little commentary on the growth in dual class shares and the diminution of minority shareholder interests.  



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September 25 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The History and Future of Debt

This report by Jim Reid for Deutsche Bank may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Germany failed to sell a 2 billion zero coupon bond in August which was a precursor to the reversionary move seen in bond prices. However, the economy is recession and there is no prospect of the ECB raising rates. Instead quantitative easing will further increase the ECB’s holdings of regional sovereigns.

Richard Russell used to say “print or die” and that is exactly what the central banks of the world are going to do. What I find particularly interesting is the comparison with debt levels only being approximating current levels during wartime. That must mean we are in a war but this time it is with ourselves and the contention is about the ability to pay unfunded liabilities.



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September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 24th 2019

September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How are the original leaders in this cycle doing?

Eoin Treacy's view -

Abundant, almost free capital, means there is money for just about every speculative venture. There have been a number of companies that would not ordinarily have been able to raise capital for their ideas but were able to do so because there was so much available capital. The companies that IPOed early are now some of the largest in the world while those that are still private are having difficulty going public.



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September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Eoin's personal portfolio update

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most commonly asked questions by subscribers is how to find details of my open traders. In an effort to make it easier I will simply repost the latest summary daily until there is a change. I'll change the title to the date of publication of new details so you will know when the information was provided. 



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September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Financial Services Exports

I found this graphic from howmuch.net to be particularly interesting. The obvious point is the UK’s financial services is a major component of the global sector; second only to the USA.

September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How We Should Bust an Investing Myth

This article by Jason Zweig for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

According to PitchBook Data, 66 companies valued at $1 billion or more have done initial public offerings from 2011 through mid-September 2019. A third of those IPOs came at prices below the value set in the companies’ last round of private funding. Bloom Energy Corp. , Cloudera Inc., Domo Inc., Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Zynga Inc. all launched IPOs priced at least 40% lower than the valuation in their final private-funding round, according to PitchBook.

Perhaps that’s because conventional valuation methods may overstate what private funds’ venture holdings are worth. Often, several share classes are valued equally even though they aren’t all entitled to the same payoffs.

Or perhaps the brilliance of the private market is overstated. Consider a recent survey of nearly 900 venture capitalists.

Asked whether they “often make a gut decision to invest” in a fledgling company rather than relying on analysis, 44% of venture-fund executives said yes.

Which financial metrics do they use to analyze investments? “None,” admitted 9% of respondents. Only 11% quantitatively analyze past investment performance. A similar survey of private-equity executives found that they “do not frequently use” the methods that are standard among public investors for discounting the future cash their holdings might generate.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The “vision thing” as Bill Clinton was wont to say is not a topic that submits readily to discounted cashflows. That is particularly true of angel investing where one is taking bets on companies with no earnings not to mind profits. However, an investor that is investing in a company with billions in earnings and still running billion-dollar losses has to know they are not in the same game as an angel investor. After the first or second round of funding, the only rationale for investing is the wish to sell to a bigger fool later unless one is luck enough to latch onto a lottery scale winner.



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September 24 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Gives New Waivers for Tariff-Free U.S. Soybean Purchases

This article from Bloomberg News may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

The Chinese government has given new waivers to several domestic state and private companies to buy U.S. soybeans without being subject to retaliatory tariffs, according to people familiar with the situation.

The companies received tariff waivers for between 2 million to 3 million tons of American soy, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Some firms have already bought at least 20 cargoes, or about 1.2 million tons, of the commodity from the U.S. Pacific North West on Monday, the people said.

Among the companies are state-owned buyers Cofco and Sinograin as well as five other crushers, the people said. China’s commerce ministry didn’t respond to a fax seeking comment.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China has a food price inflation problem which is not easily fixable because the plagues and pestilence which affected the tillage and animal husbandry sectors are chronic in nature. There have been efforts to try and source soybeans in particular from Brazil but there are just not enough to go around. As predicted in last night’s subscriber’s audio this action to buy more American agricultural exports was inevitable.



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September 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 23rd 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: India cuts corporate taxes which boosts stocks, China imposes Communist officials in its companies which has the opposite effect, Germany heading to recession which increases fiscal stimulus potential, Silver surges, platinum and gold rally. oil and bonds steady, 



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September 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

As Gold Prices Heat Up, Miners Play It Cool

This article by Alistair McDonald for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Despite that optimism, gold miners say they aren’t planning the same sort of megaprojects and acquisition sprees that characterized the last ramp up in prices in the years ahead of 2011. Instead, wary of volatile prices, they plan to pay down debt and return money to shareholders.

Many companies, including the world’s largest gold miner, Newmont Goldcorp Corp., say they will only approve new projects if they can make money with gold at $1,200, about 20% below where the metal currently trades. Gold prices also have spent the majority of the eight years since 2011’s bust trading above that level, underscoring how conservative companies have become.

“We won’t push ahead with investments that would struggle to sustain themselves if the gold price trades lower,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, chief executive of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. “This was a common mistake for many gold producers in the previous upcycle.” The South African miner, whose share price has risen 62% in the year to date, is among the companies sticking by the $1,200 threshold for new projects.

Eoin Treacy's view -

In the early part of a mining investment cycle, miners have been so scarred by the depth of the bear market that they run tight ships and eschew debt. However, the higher prices rise and the more pressure they come under to replace reserves and increase supply, the lure of debt, mergers and exploration increases leverage ratios.



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September 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Indian Stocks Jump for Second Day on Corporate Tax Cut Boost

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

Indian stocks rose for a second day on expectations that the government’s surprise $20 billion company tax cut will revive economic growth and boost company earnings. The S&P BSE Sensex jumped 2.8% to 39,909.03 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 2.9%. Both gauges surged 5.3% on Friday, marking their biggest gain since May 2009, after the corporate tax rate was lowered to 22% from 30%.

Analysts increased earnings estimates for both measures by as much as 10% to factor in the lower tax burden. The government’s move follows a series of other measures unveiled over the past month aimed at boosting consumer demand and attracting investment.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Investors buy stocks rather than countries and a significant cut to corporate taxes is likely to provide the same boost to Indian shares as it did for US shares. The move brings India’s corporate tax rate into line with the Asian average rate and represents a clear fiscal stimulus for the wider economy.



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September 23 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China to place government officials inside 100 private companies, including Alibaba

Thanks to a subscriber for this article by Chloe Taylor for CNBC may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

State media reported over the weekend that the Hangzhou Municipal Government would transfer 100 representatives to “key enterprises such as Alibaba, Geely Holdings and Wahaha.”

A full list of the 100 companies included in the initiative was not released.

The directive, which media said was part of the Hangzhou government’s “New Manufacturing Plan,” is reportedly an attempt to boost manufacturing and bolster the local economy in the eastern province of Zhejiang.

It is the latest strategy signalling the Chinese government’s efforts to transform the country’s economy. Its core strategy, Made in China 2025, aims to catch China up with its economic rivals in high-value industries such as robotics and aerospace.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is not exactly new news. The trend of overt government involvement in the management and strategic thinking of the Chinese private sector has been underway for at least the couple of years.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Round numbers and indecision

Eoin Treacy's view -

One would be forgiven for concluding that algorithms have been programed with round numbers in mind. Roundophobia has been a topic of conversation at The Chart Seminar for decades but it is particularly relevant now because so many instruments have paused in the region of big round numbers. I’m greatly looking forward to the next event which will be in London on October 3rd and 4th.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Design Options for an o/n Repo Facility

This note by Zolltan Pozsar for Credit Suisse may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The Credit Suisse short-term interest rates (STIR) team have been way out in front of the Fed’s dilemma in needing to support the repo market while also being reluctant to expend its balance sheet. The clear risk is the Fed will have to settle for lower quality assets in order to control the size of its balance sheet.



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September 20 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Your Parents' Financial Advice Is (Kind Of) Wrong

This article by Julia Carpenter for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The typical U.S. home now sells for more than four times the median U.S. income, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Between 1980 and 1999, home prices were closer to three times household income.

• Given the savings rates of the millennial generation born between 1981 and 1996, rental-listing company Apartment List estimates that two-thirds of millennial renters would require at least two decades to save enough for a 20% down payment on a median-priced condo in their market. Just 11% would be able to amass a 20% down payment within the next five years.

• The upshot: Millennial households had an average net worth of about $92,000 in 2016, nearly 40% less than Gen X households (people born between 1965 and 1980) had in 2001, adjusted for inflation, and about 20% less than baby boomer households (born from 1946 to 1964) had in 1989, according to data from the Federal Reserve.

So it’s time to kill the idea that student-loan debt is always “good debt,” to admit that buying a house isn’t always the right move, and to refashion these old expectations. It’s time for a new playbook.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Student debt and the promise of progressive candidates to cancel it are potential election winners as the millennial demographic becomes more influential in US elections.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 19th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics covered included: Brexit resolution increases chances of UK valuation arbitrage closing. Nikkei eases with Yen strength, Wall Street steady, Australian Dollar eases but market steady, Hong Kong weak, gold stable, 



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

EU's Juncker Thinks Brexit Deal Can Be Reached by Oct. 31

This note by Nathan Crooks for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thinks a Brexit deal can be reached by Oct. 31, Sky News reported, citing an interview to be broadcast on Sunday.

Juncker warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for Britain and the EU

“I’m doing everything to have a deal, because I don’t like the idea no deal,” he said, declining to specify if the chance of reaching a deal was above or below 50%

“If the objectives are met, all of them, then we don’t need the backstop”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The only way to get close to what you want in a negotiation is to make your counterparty believe you are willing to walk away. It is still uncertain whether Boris Johnson has achieved that goal but the odds are looking up.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bank of Japan Hints at Possible Action in October

This article by Megumi Fujikawa for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

“If I am asked if I feel more favorably about additional easing compared with the previous meeting [in July], my answer is yes,” Mr. Kuroda said at a news conference. “There is no sign of recovery in overseas economies.”

He added, “Even if we consider additional easing, I don’t think it’s necessary to change the current framework” of monetary policy, which includes setting a target yield for 10-year government bonds—currently zero—and buying riskier assets such as stocks.

Inflation has been running below 1% recently, short of the BOJ’s 2% target. The BOJ said in its policy statement that it needs to pay closer attention to “the possibility that momentum toward achieving the price stability target will be lost.”

“It is sort of a notice that the bank is going to take additional easing action,” said Hiroshi Ugai, an economist at JPMorgan in Tokyo and a former BOJ official.

Mr. Ugai said the BOJ would likely move next month, but might hold off if markets are calm or if it is having trouble assessing the impact of an Oct. 1 increase in the national sales tax to 10% from 8%.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Yen has been weakening since hitting a new rally high in August but today’s announcement and the subsequent market reaction suggests some disappointment at the tepid response of the Bank of Japan. Investors remain of the opinion that the Japanese economy needs a weaker currency to drive competitiveness and are unlikely to support a short Yen/long equity play until they have clear evidence of how large a central bank assistance program will be.



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September 19 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Examining Inequality: How Geography And Gender Stack The Deck For (Or Against) You

This report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section on India:

There is yet another way that policies designed around the JAM trinity are empowering the poor—by making government more accountable. For example, with the new cooking gas subsidy, government officials in 640 Indian districts receive daily progress reports on PAHAL, including enrollment, cash transfer, and error rates, so they can identify and address problems as soon as they arise.

Various states are also experimenting with ways to proactively solicit citizens’ input whenever they interact with government. In one state, for example, beneficiaries receive an automated call soliciting feedback on the quality of the service: Was the customer treated courteously? Did she receive the benefits she expected? Did she receive them without having to pay a bribe? Negative responses roll over into a human system to generate formal complaints.

On its own, the JAM trinity doesn’t do much. It needs to be paired with smart, pro-poor policies and services built around digital technology. Even then, digitally powered policies and services by themselves won’t end poverty and gender inequality. They need to be accompanied by analog reforms like changing discriminatory laws and policies. When all these pieces come together, though, the status quo can change fast.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Inequality is likely to be the defining debate of the next decade. For one group the discussion is about equality of opportunity and allowing each individual the freedom to pursue their creativity to further human development.

For another group it is about protecting the rights of the downtrodden from the overzealous oppressive protectionism of the elite. For this group the only answer is redistribution of rewards so everyone can start at a similar level.  



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 18th 2019

September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Traders Still See Another Quarter-Point Fed Rate Cut by Year-End

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

Futures traders still see about another quarter-point of easing from the Federal Reserve this year, after the central bank cut rates on Wednesday and said it will “act as appropriate” to sustain the economic expansion.

The rate on the January 2020 fed funds futures contract was about 1.63% after the central bank’s announcement. The dot plot accompanying the statement shows policy makers’ median projections are for interest rates to remain on hold this year and next, but the balance of views has shifted more dovishly.

Judging by this level, traders still expect one more cut in either of the Fed’s two remaining decisions this year -- on Oct. 30 and Dec. 11. This estimate of the market’s pricing assumes that the effective funds rate moves toward the middle of the Fed’s new target range of 1.75% to 2%.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Fed’s balance sheet is belatedly started to expand once more as the liquidity demands of the economy and Treasury market pressure the central bank to provide the funds necessary to ensure an orderly market. That is the most basic requirement for central banks, but the requirement has been exaggerated by the shrinking of investment and commercial bank balance sheets over the last decade. That suggests even without quantitative easing there is a clear need for the Fed to expand its balance sheet.
 



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Ethereum, XRP, and Litecoin Lead Alt Season 2.0

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

But as the saying goes, this time may be different. Altcoins are bouncing from long-term support, and the rallies are showing exceptional strength, and are even continuing to rally while Bitcoin struggles with overhead resistance – something not seen for much of 2019.

Ethereum has been leading the charge, with as much as 20% growth. XRP , one of the worst-performing crypto assets of 2019, has also gained around 20% even as sentiment surrounding the altcoin hits an all-time low.  EOS and Dash are also up by a similar margin.

Litecoin, Cardano, Tron, Tezos and IOTA, and others from the top 20 crypto assets by market cap are also up by about 10% or more. Stellar, which has plummeted further and further throughout the bear market spiked by 40%.

The boom in altcoins is due to extremely oversold conditions, and a breakdown in Bitcoin dominance – a metric that weights the king of crypto against the rest of the market. But depending on the type of formation that BTC dominance is in, it could spike back up, wiping out any gains altcoins have seen during this rally.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Historically, when silver rallied it was a good lead indicator for what one might expect from gold. That did not prove the case on this occasion not least because there was such widespread disillusionment with the precious metals sector. Gold rallied first and silver played catchup. In the cryptocurrency markets bitcoin has tended to be the go-to market. When it rallies impressively, speculation on which alt-coin will play catchup tends to stoke demand for the smaller markets. The opposite appears to be happening on this occasion.



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September 18 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

FedEx Plunges After Slashing Forecast on Trade War, Slowdown

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

“In reality, FedEx’s release is largely the result of many management missteps over the years, including overspending on aircraft despite weaker returns in Express over the long-term, and acquisition debacles,” he said in note to investors.

Trade-War Impact
The U.S.-China trade war has weighed on manufacturers, disrupting a key market for FedEx. A surge in industrial jobs seen in the first two years of Trump’s presidency has reversed in parts of the country, and there’s evidence that some corners of the U.S. economy are sliding toward recession. Companies have slowed business investment and capital expenditures as uncertainty over trade policies has clouded the outlook for future growth.

For FedEx, the weaker outlook underscored the hurdles as the company introduces costly changes to its ground network to handle surging e-commerce deliveries while contending with rising competition from Amazon.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Amazon is now a larger shipper of items than either UPS or Fedex within the US market, from a standing start a couple of year ago. UPS still ships items for Amazon but that business is declining while Fedex is attempting to forge relationships with upstarts in the warehousing sector like Deliverr and Shopify. If the share price is any guide that latter strategy is in its infancy at best. Meanwhile it has been my experience that Fedex is successfully. competing on price for international bulk shipping business to Amazon’s European warehouses.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 17th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discusesd include: Fed had to intervene to provide liquidity in the report market, expansion of the balance sheet is no longer a choice, stock markets steady, oil pulls back, precious metals steady gold shares rally, China weak, Europe steady, UK mid caps break out, Pound firm, Dollar eases. 



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Unhinged Money Markets Trigger Fed Action to Alleviate Stress

This article by Liz Capo McCormick and Alexandra Harris Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“There’s been a sea change in markets, and it’s one the Fed needed to respond to,” said Lou Crandall of Wrightson ICAP. “In the current market environment, there is just not enough elasticity in the repo market to handle the big seasonal swings of the banking system. The Fed needed to come in now and alleviate the immediate problem, while it is also working on long-term solutions.”

The Fed has considered introducing a new tool, an overnight repo facility, that could be utilized when needed to reduce pressure on key money market rates, but no decisions have been announced.

The New York Fed declined to comment on the events of this week.

Actions like the Fed took Tuesday were once commonplace, but stopped being so when the central bank expanded its balance sheet and started using a range of rates to implement its policy in the aftermath of Lehman Brothers’ 2008 collapse.

Securities eligible for collateral in the Fed operation include Treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities. In an overnight system repo, the Fed lends cash to primary dealers against Treasury securities or other collateral.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Bank balance sheets are not what they used to be. One of the primary results of the heavier regulations imposed on the sector since the financial crisis has been to cut the primary investment banks out of risk taking. That is impeding their ability to provide liquidity when the market needs it and is likely to result in the Federal Reserve intervening more often to assist.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Wall Street May Get $40 Billion Reprieve From Trump Regulators

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

The margin demand, implemented in 2015, has tied up $39.4 billion, according to industry estimates. That’s prompted major swap dealers, such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc., to make the rule’s elimination a lobbying priority.

It would likely be months before regulators scrap the margin requirement. That’s because once the FDIC and other agencies issue their proposals, the public will have an opportunity to submit comments before a final rule could be put in place.

Republican lawmakers have supported banks on the issue. Some House Democrats have also backed the change, telling regulators in a June letter that they should allow lenders to free up the “large and increasing amount of unusable, locked-up collateral.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

In the aftermath of a crisis, regulations are tightening because of the vindictive wish to punish wrong doing but also to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated. However, the result is less risk taking. That does not have much of an effect in the early stages of a recovery because opportunities are plentiful. However, as an expansion matures it depends on the availability of ever more capital and credit to sustain itself. That leads to quite reasonable requests to relax strictures that are now deemed to be overly onerous. Leverage therefore increases, greater risks are taken and the trend persists for a while longer.



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September 17 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Stocks Fall, Yuan Weakens as Central Bank Holds Loan Rate

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

China’s central bank drained funds from the financial system and kept the one-year rate on medium-term loans steady on Tuesday morning, a move analysts said shows it’s sticking with its prudent approach to stimulus. That’s even after data Monday signaled the economy slowed in August, with industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset investment rising less than anticipated.

“Investors now realize the central bank won’t ease its monetary policy as aggressively,” Zhang Gang, a strategist with Central China Securities Co. “The market was due for a pullback after the Shanghai index climbed above 3,000-point level. Turnover failed to keep up.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

China’s government is more worried about a property bubble than a growth slowdown. it would be tempting to think they have reached the conclusion that massive money printing only helps to inflate asset prices and does not deliver quality growth which is capable of sustaining the economy during tough times. On the other hand perhaps they have an inflationary problem and don't want to exacerbate it. 



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 16th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discussed include: fallout from the Saudi Oil refinery attack, Crude oil jumps, oil services and producers rally, defense sector rallies, cyclicals remain on a recovery trajectory, Treasuries stable, Wall Street quiet, Dollar firm, Japan steady, China steady



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Aramco Said to Face Weeks Without Majority of Abqaiq Output

This article by Anthony DiPaola, Will Kennedy and Javier Blas for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

Saudi Aramco faces weeks or months before the majority of supply from the giant Abqaiq plant is restored after this weekend’s devastating aerial attack, according to people familiar with matter.

Aramco is still assessing the state of the plant and the scope of repairs, but the state oil company currently believes less than half of the the plant’s capacity can be restored quickly, the people said, asking not to be identified before an official announcement. It’s a more pessimistic outlook than Aramco had immediately after the incident, they said.

All eyes are on how fast the kingdom can recover from the weekend’s devastating strike, which knocked out roughly 5% of global supply and triggered a record surge in oil prices. The loss of Abqaiq, which handles 5.7 million barrels of oil a day, or about half of Saudi production, is the single worst sudden disruption to the oil market.

Aramco, the world’s largest exporter, is currently supplying customers from its stockpiles, but is asking some buyers to accept different grades. President Trump has said he’s ready to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ensure ample supply.

Saudi Arabia is also starting idle offshore fields to replace some of the lost production.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Let’s lay out the questions. The first is just how much geopolitical risk is present and has that been under appreciated by markets? The second is the Khurais field is about equidistant from the border with Iraq and Yemen so how did these drones penetrate air space without being intercepted. The third is what is likely to do well as a result of these events?



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's Economy Slows Again, Adding Pressure for Policy Action

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

Industrial output rose 4.4% from a year earlier in August, the lowest for a single month since 2002, while retail sales came in below expectations. Fixed-asset investment slowed to 5.5% in the first eight months, with the private sector lagging state investment for the 6th month.

The data add support to the argument that policy makers’ efforts to brake the slowing economy aren’t sufficient as the nation grapples with structural downward pressure at home, the risk of yet-higher tariffs on exports to the U.S. and now surging oil prices. Nomura International Ltd. said this all raises the likelihood that the People’s Bank of China will cut its medium-term lending rate on Tuesday.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China’s monetary and fiscal policy arms are walking a tight wire between overstimulating the property market, which already has bubbly characteristics, versus trying to support flagging growth in the industrial sector which is hurting from the global slowdown and the trade war. The devaluation of the Renminbi is a partial solution but there is a clear need for more conclusive action to support the economy not least because a weaker currency stokes inflation for such a large commodity importer.



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September 16 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Fast Strike Against GM Breaks Years of UAW Negotiating Tradition

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

“I think that they were just very impatient in this round of negotiations,” said Marick Masters, a management professor and the director of Wayne State University’s labor studies program.

But there’s a flurry of complicating factors in ongoing negotiations. Union leadership is under increased scrutiny as federal prosecutors continue to unravel a sprawling culture of corruption among former UAW leaders and negotiators.

There also was a strong sense inside and outside the union that a strike was likely, Masters said. Such an outlook could have contributed to the speed with which the strike was called, according to the professor.

“It’s hard to say how far apart they are,” Masters said of the UAW and GM. “But I get the feeling that they are pretty far apart. So you hope that they come to their senses pretty soon. But it certainly has the makings to go on for a very long time with the caveat that when reality sets in, they’re probably going to want to sit down and see what they can do to bring things back together.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Workers are increasingly agitating for a bigger piece of the pie as stocks close in on all-time new highs and the cost of living increases. That is contributing to the potential for inflationary pressures to reappear despite the widespread fear of deflation that has pervaded sovereign bond markets this year.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Crops Surge as China Moves to Increase U.S. Farm Purchases

This article by Millie Munshi and Michael Hirtzer for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribes. Here is a section:

China is encouraging companies to buy U.S. farm products, and will exclude them from added tariffs. Many crop prices are heading for their best week since at least June on optimism that Beijing and Washington are inching toward a deal. The year-long trade spat has undercut farmer profits and boosted debt levels in the U.S. as Chinese demand fell off.

There was evidence of fresh Chinese buying Friday as the U.S. government reported 204,000 tons of soybeans sold to the Asian nation, the first such announcement in more than two
months.

“We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions,” said David Herring, a North Carolina hog farmer and president of trade group National Pork Producers Council.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The balance of the trade war hangs in how much domestic damage can be tolerated versus damage inflicted on an adversary. Food price inflation for China may be of a more urgent dilemma than the trade war at present. China is nowhere near being self sufficient in soy and the scourge of African swine flu has destroyed the domestic pig industry. Since pork is the staple protein for a significant proportion of the population that represents an issue not least as prices surge.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sturdy Sales, Confidence Show U.S. Consumer Holds Up as Pillar

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

Spurred by a resilient labor market and income gains, the consumer remains the chief source of firepower for economic growth that’s slowed amid fragile global demand, uncertainty surrounding trade policy and lackluster factory output. The report suggests another solid quarter of household consumption, which grew in the April-June period at the fastest pace since 2014.

“At a time when recession risk dominates most economic discussions, the strength of the U.S. consumer is among the more compelling examples of an economy that is still firing on all cylinders,” Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, said in a report.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The consumer has been largely shielded from the inflationary pressures of the trade war by the lack of duties on imported apparel and some other manufactured goods. That is now changing with new tariffs on these goods being implemented and the wholly domestic factor of rising health insurance costs pushing inflation higher.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

It's A Fish-Eat-Fish World Scientists Want To Change That

This article by Jon Emont for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“If we take any more fish out of the ocean—what we call wild-caught—then literally the ecosystem could collapse,” said Alan Shaw, the chief executive of Calysta, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup that is among the first companies to use bacteria to convert natural gas into protein that can be used as an alternative fish feed. Calysta operates a factory in northeast England where its bacteria feed on methane producing single-cell proteins that are dried and packaged into pellets it calls FeedKind.

The company announced a $30 million investment from BP in June, which gave the British energy giant the right of first refusal to supply natural gas to Calysta’s future factories. It already had a partnership with Thai Union, an Asian seafood giant, which says trial shrimp grown on Calysta’s bacterial protein taste the same as those fed traditional diets that include fish.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Fish farming remains a growth business with leverage to both the growth of the global consumer and the need to substitute global fish stocks with additional supply in order to feed all those people. Additionally, the desire to consume more protein and more “heart healthy” fats is on a growth trajectory.



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September 13 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 12th 2019

September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Draghi Faced Unprecedented ECB Revolt as Core Europe Resisted QE

This article by Jana Randow for Bloomberg may be of interest subscribers. Here is a section:

The unprecedented revolt took place during a fractious meeting where Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau joined more traditional hawks including his Dutch colleague Klaas Knot and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann in pressing against an immediate resumption of bond purchases, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity, because such discussions are confidential.

Those three governors alone represent roughly half of the euro region as measured by economic output and population. Other dissenters included, but weren’t limited, to their colleagues from Austria and Estonia, as well as members on the ECB’s Executive Board including Sabine Lautenschlaeger and the markets chief, Benoit Coeure, the officials said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The competition to influence the replacement of Mario Draghi as head of the ECB is heating up. Verbal opposition to the policies announced today came from a number of the countries who were contenders in the race for the top job. Proving your verbal commitment to monetary prudence is almost a pre-requisite in some countries, regardless of the reality once in office. 



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Trump Advisers Considering Interim China Deal to Delay Tariffs

This article by Jenny Leonard and Shawn Donnan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The proposal also would be an interim deal, which would freeze the conflict, rather than bring a final resolution to a trade war that has cast a shadow over the global economy. U.S. stocks advanced on the news.

The plan reflects concerns within the White House over the recent escalation in tariffs and their economic impact on the U.S. going into an election year. Polls show the trade war is not popular with many voters and farmers are increasingly angry over depressed commodity prices.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The one thing any politician wants is to win re-election to prove that the first victory was not a mistake and to cement their legacy as a winner. If the USA enters a recession ahead of the election that greatly endangers President Trump’s re-election chances. The market has already reached that conclusion which is one of the primary reasons stocks have remained within striking distance of all-time highs over the summer.



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A new study tracks the surge in Chinese loans to poor countries

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

Loan talks with Belarus; funding for bridges in Liberia; a possible gas project in Timor-Leste; accusations of exploitation in Tanzania; a corporate dispute in India; pledges to support the Rwandan private sector. And that was just the past few weeks. Such is the frenetic pace of China’s overseas lending that its outstanding loans have risen from almost nothing in 2000 to more than $700bn today. It is the world’s largest official creditor, more than twice as big as the World Bank and IMF combined. Yet tracking the money is hard because of limited transparency in its disclosures.

A new study by Sebastian Horn and Christoph Trebesch of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Carmen Reinhart of Harvard University offers the most comprehensive picture yet of China’s official credit flows (including state-owned banks). It adds to concern about whether China has sowed the seeds for debt problems abroad. They find that nearly half of China’s lending to developing countries is “hidden”, in that neither the World Bank nor the IMF has data on it.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Ken Griffin is still swooping on trophy properties. investors are bidding up the value of private assets to unimaginable levels but that has been less successful recently following the WeWork haircut and dismal performance of Uber and Lyft.  Classic car auctions were hitting all-time highs earlier this year but the latest total for the Monterey auctions was down 34% on last year.



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September 12 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Jeffrey Gundlach Says U.S. on Pre-Election 'Recession Watch''

This article by Suzy Waite and John Gittelsohn for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here it is in full:

The likelihood of U.S. recession before the 2020 election has grown, based on changes in the Treasury yield curve, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, the billionaire money manager and chief executive officer of DoubleLine Capital.

“We should be on recession watch before the 2020 election,” Gundlach said Thursday in London. “We’re getting closer but we’re not there yet.”

The odds of a U.S. recession before the election are 75%, said Gundlach, whose Los Angeles-based firm oversees more than $140 billion, reiterating a prediction he made in August.

The best signal of a recession is not an inverted yield curve, the money manager said. “It’s the inversion occurring and then going away.”

Yields on 2-year Treasuries exceeded those on 10-years in August, forming an inversion, before flipping back this month.

In other comments, Gundlach said:

* He’s turned “neutral” on gold, one of his previously recommended investments. “It’s had a big run.”

* The U.S. and China are unlikely to reach a long-term trade pact before the presidential election.

* It’s a “terrible time” to bet on U.S. housing and homebuilder stocks because of high inventory and weak demand.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The US yield curve spread inverted in August and is now mildly positive. The peculiarity of the spread is it is a reliable lead indicator for US recessions, but the corresponding spread does not provide a reliable lead indicator for other markets even though the rationale for why it should lead is the same.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 11th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subsccriber's Area. 

Some of the topics covered include: bonds continue to decline from deep overbought conditions,Wall Street firms, led by technology and other cyclicals, gold steadies, oil encounters resistance in the region of the trend mean. Euro weakens and Dollar Index rebounds impressively from intraday lows. ECB rate decision tomorrow.  



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

As the Ice Age turns bond yields deeply negative, what happens next?

Thanks to a subscriber for this report by albert Edwards for SocGen which may be of interest. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report and a section from it are posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

The Federal Reserve in particular has stated it is aware of the risks to the economic expansion and is willing to do what is necessary to ensure it persists. This is quite different from what Alan Greenspan was saying in 1998 when he made his irrational exuberance speech.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Factors or Fundamentals, Quant Tremor Is Field Day for the Geeks

This article by Sarah Ponczek and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

You wouldn’t know it from benchmarks, but beneath a tranquil surface violent swings are lashing traders along obscure fault lines. Companies like real-estate firms that rose the most in 2019 are plunging, and some that have trailed are being pushed out front. It’s been a mild reckoning for hedge funds and others who have bet on the status quo persisting.

Amid all the churn has been a renewed focus on a quantitative concept known as factor investing, which groups companies not by industry but traits such as how fast their prices move or profits rise. A question gaining currency in the past few days is whether these categories are just handy descriptions of twists in the market -- or are at some level guiding them.

“It seems very mechanical right now,” said John Swarr, investment specialist at Penn Mutual Asset Management, which has $27 billion under management. “If you look within some of these stocks that are being hit the hardest, some are in much better shape than others and yet they’re all being affected similarly,” he said. “It does feel like it’s a rules-based rotation.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The total of negative yields bonds was at $17 trillion for a brief time at the end of August and has since contracted to $14.3 trillion. That’s a big more in a little less than two weeks.

The failure of the German government to sell a full allocation of bonds and failed auctions at the US Treasury in August were probably the catalysts for sapping investor demand for bonds globally. The unwinding of leveraged long positions now has the scope for meaningfully move bond yields higher with clear upward dynamics evident across multiple markets.



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September 11 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

On Target September 9th 2019

Thanks to Martin Spring for this edition of his ever- interesting letter. Here is a section:

America Is Losing Mideast Allies
Mainstream media are strangely reluctant to report the major changes in the Mideast that are strengthening Iran’s negotiating position relative to its enemies.

According to Yossef Bodansky of GIS/Defense & Foreign, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are engulfed in a major crisis in their relations with the US.

Arab leaders urged America to strike Iran hard in retaliation for shooting down the Global Hawk drone. Trump refused to do that. Both the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (“MBS”) and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed (“MBZ”), considered the last-minute cancellation of the retaliatory strike a personal affront and humiliation.

Both have for a long time suspected that the US has been hiding major matters from them. That got confirmed last month when the US ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tuellier, publicly admitted: “We have direct communication channels with Tehran.” Bodansky says “both Riyadh and Doha were stunned and humiliated, because the Trump White House did not bother to inform them of the Baghdad back-channel… while pressuring them to avoid all contacts and negotiations with Iran.”

However the deterioration in relations between the US and its anti-Iran allies goes far beyond the current tiff.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The USA was the biggest consumer and importer of oil so it made sense to have a strong relationship with the countries where it was buying oil. Perhaps more correctly it was important to have solid relationships with the biggest producers, so the global market for oil had some stability because oil price spikes cause recessions. That created both a ready market for US debt instruments but also clear rationale for a globally present military force to protect sea lanes.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 10th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscribers Area. 

Some of the topics covered include: Commoditiies beginning to show evidence of finding support. Gold remains under pressure as the total bonds with negaitve yields contracts. that is also pressuring bond proxies, stock markets steady ahead of the ECB meeting on Thursday, Brexit machinations intensify.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

"The Fed is Clueless"

Thanks to a subscriber for this interview of Bob Rodriguez who has exhibits a thorough understanding of the market environment. It appears in Advisor Perspectives and may be of interest. Here is a section:

Negative yielding debt is a concept that could only be considered rational by an academic. Given 4,000 years of human history, I’ll bet this is as faulty an idea as there ever has been and that it will be proven to be 100% hokum. Negative yields distort the entire capital asset pricing model. They undermine financial company profit models, pension fund liability assumptions, and seriously work to reduce the attractiveness of lending money and financial liquidity by eliminating the ability to do repo finance. But don’t worry, since the central banks will save the day by buying corporate debt. Isn’t that what the Japan’s central bank did, as well as the ECB? And what have these policies achieved in terms of real economic growth? Very little! And now we have members of the Fed actually discussing and agreeing that a negative rate can be effective and appropriate. In other words, penetrating the zero-rate boundary will broaden their policy options. Again, the Fed is clueless and is working with inadequate and ineffectual sets of econometric models.

Negative rate policies distort the economic and financial market systems. The unintended consequences from these policies will be significant and harmful. To deploy capital successfully, the potential list of companies is most likely very limited. At the very minimum, potential target companies should have extremely strong balance sheets to weather the oncoming economic and financial market tsunami. They should also have strong market positions. My guess few companies, with this limited set of criteria, would be attractively priced. Thus, a high level of liquidity is necessary. Finally, escaping to long-term bonds is similar to investing in equites, since their effective durations have volatility characteristics like those of equities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Stock markets are waiting with baited breath to hear what the ECB has planned on Thursday. The bond markets have priced in a flotilla of policy easing tools such as negative short-term interest rates, deeper negative deposit rates, a tiered deposit rate to aid the banking sector and a fresh round of quantitative easing. The strong momentum push in bonds to a record total of negative yields priced in all of these initiatives.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Why 47,000 grocery workers in California may go on strike

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

He makes $21 an hour, but his wages have not risen in five years. He hopes a new contract will help him and his co-workers keep pace with California's cost of living increases. Prices in California are rising nearly twice as fast as the rest of the country, according to the Labor Department.

"We're on the front lines. We work in the stores. We're pulling in the money," Escarcega said. "We're not being taken care of so that's why we're here."

Escarcega said that going on a strike would be a "last resort" for employees, but that "everybody wants to speak up and get what we deserve."

Grocery workers often have more leverage in negotiations with employers than other retail workers because groceries are perishable and companies can ill-afford work slowdowns, experts say.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Minimum wages in California were $10 in 2016 and have risen increments over the last few years. They are due to hit $15 an hour in July next year. The predictable result of those increases is to cause people who were previously making above minimum wage to demand more money for the same job. It comes down to basic human psychology. No one wants to think of themselves as a minimum wage worker so when the lowest rate rises everyone wants to sustain their buffer to enhance their own feeling of self-worth. That might be considered the push side of the argument.



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September 10 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Northern Ireland-Only Backstop Mooted as Way to Pass Brexit Deal

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

Johnson, who will meet DUP leaders in London on Tuesday, no longer has a working majority after 21 Tory MPs were expelled over their support for the legislation blocking a no-deal Brexit. He’ll have to rely on Labour votes to get a deal passed, even if he can convince the DUP to come back on board.

“The Tory Party has been entirely in hock to the DUP ever since they lost their majority,” Boles said at the launch of the group on Tuesday, referring to the disastrous 2017 general election. The party “is no longer dependent on the DUP for a majority because it doesn’t have a majority because it fired its majority last week.”

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Theresa May hamstrung the UK’s negotiating position by being forced to go into coalition with the DUP following her failed grab for power in calling an early election. The clearest answer to the backstop argument is to draw the border down the middle of the Irish Sea instead of between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 9th 2019

September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China Says Growth Is Fine. Private Data Show a Sharper Slowdown

This article by Mike Bird and Lucy Craymer for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

SpaceKnow tracks about 6,000 industrial locations in China and analyzes data on night-light luminosity and infrared bands—indicators of heat produced by electricity or factories—from about half those sites roughly every two weeks. It produces a proprietary index that has become a leading Chinese PMI indicator used by hedge funds, central banks and policy makers, said CEO Jeremy Fand.

“You can see factories suddenly go quiet, giant subdivisions, huge construction projects just get halted,” said Mr. Fand. In August, SpaceKnow’s index pointed to a slight expansion, coming close to official figures that analysts said reflected a pickup in production before more U.S. tariffs came into effect.

Mr. Fand said the company is also working on a project for a U.S. government agency that is trying to analyze the impact of U.S. tariffs on China’s economy and certain industries.

Last December, U.S. exchange operator Nasdaq Inc. bought an alternative-data business called Quandl Inc. Bill Dague, a data scientist leading alternative research at Quandl, has traveled to China in recent months to hunt for new data sets for clients.

“Because it is so hard to get data out of China, demand has surpassed supply,” he said, adding that escalating U.S.-China tensions have made domestic data vendors less willing to share information with U.S. companies.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Nothing is ever as it seems in China. Investors were willing to look past that fact while the economy was posting world-beating growth. With the expansion slowing investors now have a clear incentive to do whatever is necessary to find accurate data on both the quality and quantity of the economic expansion.



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A Wide Range of Testing Results on an Excellent Lithium-Ion Cell Chemistry to be used as Benchmarks for New Battery Technologies

Thanks to a subscriber for this report which may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section from the introduction:

We present a wide range of testing results on an excellent moderate-energy-density lithium-ion pouch cell chemistry to serve as benchmarks for academics and companies developing advanced lithium-ion and other “beyond lithium-ion” cell chemistries to (hopefully)exceed. These results are far superior to those that have been used by researchers modelling cell failure mechanisms and as such, these results are more representative of modern Li-ion cells and should be adopted by modellers. Up to three years of testing has been completed for some of the tests. Tests include long-term charge-discharge cycling at 20,40 and 55°C, long-term storage at 20,40 and 55°C, and high precision coulometry at 40°C.Several different electrolytes are considered in this LiNi0.5Mn0.3Co0.2O2/graphite chemistry, including those that can promote fast charging. The reasons for cell performance degradation and impedance growth are examined using several methods. We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage. The authors acknowledge that other cell format-dependent loss, if any, (e.g. cylindrical vs. pouch) may not be captured in these experiments.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The potential electric vehicles with modern battery chemistries to run for upwards of 1,000,000 miles range is a serious gamechanger. That is particularly true for the haulage sector where diesel’s longevity and fuel efficiency have been unchallenged for decades.  



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September 09 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

ECB Needs a Bazooka to Validate Richness of Bund Valuations

This note by Tanvir Sandhu for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Concerns about ECB underdelivering keeps the pressure on bunds. A wide range of possible outcomes from Thursday’s meeting slants towards near-term profit taking of very rich valuations.

ECB speakers have been trying to dial back the extreme easing expectations priced by markets to give Draghi some room to surprise, but the hurdle still remains high

Policy makers will need to be aggressive on rates and keep the future path suppressed otherwise a modest depo rate cut risks seeing EUR rates continue to sell off in the near-term given the impact of the lower bound on the curve

From a macro valuation perspective there is room to sell off (with fair value of -0.43%)

Setting the path to go deeply negative on rates and lifting the buying limits on any QE announcement to make it scalable is key to seeing bunds extend the rally in the short term; however, positioning for a disappointment via options is still worth looking at given the difficulty for Draghi to engineer a dovish surprise

Eoin Treacy's view -

The ECB has quite a dilemma in front of it. The short end of the yield curve is sporting negative yields for just about all sovereigns. However, when we look at the shape of the yield curve for individual countries, compared to the Eurozone as a whole, we get two very different pictures.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

U.S. Stocks Rise After Jobs Report, Before Powell: Markets Wrap

This article by Randall Jensen and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

U.S. stocks edged higher, and Treasuries inched lower after a mixed jobs report fueled bets the Federal Reserve will cut rates in two weeks. The dollar declined.

The S&P 500 headed for its second weekly gain as investors keyed on underlying strength in the report that signaled a solid labor market that isn’t too strong to deter further central bank easing. Megacap technology stocks weighed on benchmarks after New York opened an antitrust probe into Facebook Inc.

The 10-year Treasury yield erased most of its earlier gains, while the dollar headed for its fourth straight fall following the payroll numbers. Chairman Jerome Powell is set to make public remarks Friday. Crude sank toward $55 a barrel in New York.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The bond market has already priced in at least a 25-basis point cut so the soft jobs report confirms the need for additional easier policy. China also cut its bank reserve requirements today in an effort to extend credit. The ECB is expected to announce some form of easing when it meets next week and the region’s bond markets have been busy pricing in a negative short-term interest rate. All of these measures contribute to stimulative measures.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Diversity of real Assets: Portfolio construction for Institutional Investors

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from PGIM which may be of interest. Here is a section on gold:

We treat gold as a separate real asset type due to its well-accepted role as a store of value. Gold enjoyed more than a 10-fold price increase from the 1970s through its peak reflecting a period of rapid inflation. During periods of inflation uncertainty, investors seek gold as an inflation hedge.41 Similarly, gold may be a good recession hedge. In 2007-2008, while the S&P 500 was down -18.5% gold was up 16.6%, and in 2001-2002, while the S&P 500 was down -17.2% gold was up 12.1%. Investors can invest in physical gold but that incurs storage and insurance costs. Investors can also invest in COMEX gold futures (which trades the gold equivalent of 27m ounces per day). The roll yield on gold futures has been only slightly negative (-0.2% from 1996 to 2017). Investors may also invest in gold mining stocks and can enter into gold royalty agreements. Although gold is an under-owned institutional asset, some institutional investors such as government pension funds have target allocations to gold-related assets (including derivatives).

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to the full report is posted in the Subcsriber's Area.

Gold is a hedge against uncertainty but perhaps most importantly against the worst inclinations of governments to debase their currencies. While there is a clear trend towards that latter point moving into overdrive all over the world, the gold market is notoriously volatile and we still do have a clear idea of what the consistency characteristics of the evolving medium-term trend are going to be.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Samsung's take on the world of 2069

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

Despite this, such exercises can be both entertaining and useful for looking at how to meet the challenges of tomorrow, so they're anything but a waste of time. For the Samsung KX50 report, which was released to coincide with the opening of the new Samsung KX exhibition at Coal Drops Yard, London, the company called on President of techUK, Jacqueline de Rojas; Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Rhys Morgan; food futurologist, Morgaine Gale; digital health futurist, Maneesh Juneja; Specialist Advisor to Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art, Dale Russel; and leading futurist, Matthew Griffin to pen essays on their take on the world 50 years from today.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is a good chance that by 2069 we will familiar with fusion technology, artificial intelligence predicting out every move and catering to our needs and a global population that is well past its peak expansion.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Killer Superbugs Show No Mercy for Cancer Victims

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

Doctors in India are sounding the alarm over a threat to cancer patients that’s proving deadlier than tumors: untreatable infections from superbugs impervious to existing medications.

Patients undergoing chemotherapy in the country are at the front line of the worldwide spread of bacteria that the most potent antibiotics can’t fight. Bloodstream infections caused by these superbugs have become the leading cause of illness and death in leukemia patients, doctors from India’s top-ranked medical college reported last year.

That frightening reality has forced patients to weigh fighting their deadly malignancies with treatments against the probability of dying sooner from an incurable infection. In India, some 1.7 million receive a cancer diagnosis every year, often leading to chemotherapy that makes them especially vulnerable. Worldwide, at least 700,000 people die annually from drug-resistant infections. That number will balloon to 10 million a year by 2050 and will cost more than $100 trillion in lost economic output without corrective actions, according to a U.K. government study, which estimates that by midcentury more people will die from superbug infections than from cancer and diabetes combined.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing relentlessly which makes the drive to come up with effective treatments all the more urgent. Strides are being made in understanding how to combat the threat but everyone knows of someone who has contracted an infection in hospital at this stage. The problem is likely to get worse before it gets better.



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September 06 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

WeWork Is Said to Target IPO Valuation Far Below Last Round

This article by Michelle F. Davis, Giles Turner and Gillian Tan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The outlook for the public debut of WeWork, which has racked up billions of dollars in losses in recent years as the company funds grand ambitions, is cooling after the disappointments of other major IPOs this year such as Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. That could put pressure on WeWork, which has a mammoth credit line tied to the success of the IPO, as well as SoftBank Group Corp., which invested at a $47 billion valuation earlier this year.

“They would probably price this thing at the more conservative end, maybe in the $20 billion range, given that the company is trying to raise more money,” said Phil Haslett, co-founder of EquityZen, a marketplace for private stock sales.

Potential terms for the share sale are still being discussed, and the eventual valuation could change depending on investor demand, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A representative for WeWork, whose parent is The We Co., declined to comment.

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most memorable moments from a Marcus Evans conference I attended earlier this year was the conversation I had with one of the other delegates at dinner. He was a long/short equity manager at Pimco, but had been recruited by one of his clients to run a venture fund which would be seeded with about $200 million. He was at the conference to make contacts because he hadn’t the foggiest idea how to invest in private companies. His client was being attracted by stories of instant wealth and almost risk-free returns in what has the “no brainer” investment of the last decade.



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September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Apple Leads Corporate Bond Bonanza

This article by Matt Wirz and Nina Trentmann for the Wall Street Journal many of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Apple Inc. on Wednesday joined U.S. companies including Deere & Co. and Walt Disney Co. in a recent sprint to issue new bonds, taking advantage of the steep decline in benchmark interest rates and a surge in investor demand.

Apple launched its first bond deal since 2017, selling $7 billion of debt. All three companies issued 30-year bonds with yields below 3%, a first for the corporate debt market.

Twenty-one companies with investment-grade credit ratings issued bonds totaling about $27 billion on Tuesday, said Andrew Karp, head of investment-grade capital markets at Bank of America Corp. “That’s equivalent to a busy week for us—in one day,” he said. About 20 more companies were expected to issue investment-grade bonds Wednesday.

The issuance boom is one consequence of a rally in debt that has driven down Treasury yields, which fall as bond prices rise, to near-record lows. Spurred by concerns that slowing growth and a mounting trade conflict will end the decadelong global economic expansion, investors have swept up government bonds around the world, pulling yields in many countries into negative territory. Bonds issued by name-brand corporations give investors a relatively safe alternative that still pays more than government bonds.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Anyone with any sense is either refinancing or issuing debt at these levels. There is a cacophony of people talking about the US following Europe and Japan into negative rates. That is a possibility but the bigger question is when? It does not look likely before the end of the year and in the meantime, there is a wave of corporate and sovereign bond issuance for the market to digest.



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September 05 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Unlikely Chinese Cities Where House Prices Rival London

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

 

London, Seattle, Manchester and, um, Xiamen. Some of the world’s priciest housing markets aren’t where you might think. A four-year property boom in China has elevated a collection of little-known cities and turned them into real estate gold.

While that’s been great news for speculators, it’s raising concern about whether China’s educated middle-class is quickly being priced out of these so-called second-tier cities, undermining Beijing’s goal of making them home to the millions moving from rural areas. Another risk is increasingly stretched family budgets: The average household debt-to-income ratio in China soared to a record 92% last year from just 30% a decade ago.

“A property bubble is foaming up in many places in China,” said Chen Gong, the chief researcher at independent strategic think tank Anbound Consulting. “Prices are starting to look
abnormal when compared to residents’ income.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

When something sounds crazy, that’s usually because it is. Xiamen is a smallish city, by Chinese standards, in Fujian. It’s a long way from any of the other coastal metropolis’ stature so its rise as one of the most expensive places in the world to buy property is further evidence of another bubble inflating in financial assets, this time in China.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 4th 2019

September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stocks Advance as Risks Recede; Greenback Slides

This article by Randall Jensen and Vildana Hajric for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Stocks in Hong Kong leaped the most since 2018 after embattled leader Carrie Lam said she formally withdrew legislation to allow extraditions to China, the detonator for three months of often-violent protests. In the U.K., the pound surged after Parliament took a crucial first step to block a no-deal Brexit. The euro advanced after purchasing managers indexes for the region beat expectations, while the onshore Chinese yuan gained following another stronger-than-forecast currency fixing.

“The main news is geopolitical, with less risk in Hong Kong, and Italy and the U.K. Investors are reacting positively to the lower geopolitical risks even though there’s still concerns over trade tensions as well as slower economic growth,” said Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones. “Overall, it’s a positive day. It’s about offsetting the worries of yesterday which really focused, I think, on geopolitical risks.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Italy has a new government, at least for a while, the Hong Kong protestors got what they originally asked for but their demands have swollen considerably since then, the UK may be heading for an election, but could still end up with a hung parliament and factory figures are not quite as disastrous as many people were worried about. I think it is safe to say that these are modest improvements. Perhaps it would be better to look elsewhere for the reason behind the bounce in equities today.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Why Peak gold is Fake News

This article by Mickey Fulp for Kitco.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

However, the following chart illustrates the severe decline in production, i.e., peak gold, by the six largest gold miners. This particular group of companies has gone steadily downhill from an all-time high of 955 tonnes, or over 40% of world production in 2006, to a multi-decade low of 705 tonnes, or 22.5% of world production in 2017.

So not only are majors declining in the numbers of ounces (-26% over 12 years), they have also lost a significant share of the world gold mining market (-18%):

We have shown that the current narrative promulgated for peak gold applies to the major gold miners only and not for the gold mining industry as a whole. That said, the data presented above cover a relatively short time frame of 19 years: the end of a bear market for gold (2000-2002); a long bull market cycle (2003-2012); a relatively short but deep bear market (2013-2015); and a lower, range-bound gold price over the past three years (2016-2018).

To fully assess the idea of peak gold, I submit we must take a much longer-term view and determine what factors drive mining of the yellow metal.

According to the USGS, world gold production increased from 386 tonnes in 1900 to 3150 tonnes in 2017. That is an eight times increase and an average gain of 1.8% per year:

Eoin Treacy's view -

Mines are wasting assets by definition and the only way to continue to increase production is to spend more money on digging deeper. If that cost can be contained by technological advances then the mine can make a profit, otherwise they are wholly dependent on the price of the commodity rising to justify the expenditure. Therefore, secular bull markets in commodities are defined by a rise in marginal cost of production to a sufficiently high level which encourages new supply into the market.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The great deficit gamble

This article by Robert J. Samuelson for the Washington Post may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The irony is that both Republicans and Democrats are partially right. Presidents and Congresses of both parties have delayed for so long in addressing these problems that there is no gentle way to push the budget back toward balance without inflicting real pain: deep spending cuts and higher taxes. In the 1990s and early 2000s, a less disruptive approach might have been possible. There were many warnings and almost no action.

The best we could have expected is that the president and Congress wouldn’t make the problems worse. But they are. The implicit hope of present policy is that the world’s demand for “safe assets” — mainly U.S. Treasury securities — means that we can spend more than we tax, with the shortfall being made up by perpetual borrowing.

This is a high-stakes gamble. The possible ways in which a world sated with dollar securities could trigger a financial or economic crisis are many. The consequences of a run on the dollar — the currency most held by multinational firms, international banks, investors and traders — would clearly destabilize the world economy. A prudent society would recognize this and take preventive steps.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Fed’s balance sheet run-off which began in earnest at the beginning of 2018 is still underway with the total hitting a new reaction low last week despite Fed claims to the contrary. Maturing mortgages and early prepayments, in part driven by low interest rates are the most likely reason, with a disparity between redemptions and the quantity reinvested in Treasuries. That suggests a shortage of Dollars internationally.



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September 04 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Eoin's personal portfolio: crypto long increased July 15th 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the most commonly asked questions by subscribers is how to find details of my open traders. In an effort to make it easier I will simply repost the latest summary daily until there is a change. I'll change the title to the date of publication of new details so you will know when the information was provided. 



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 3rd 2019

Eoin Treacy's view -

A link to today's video commentary is posted in the Subscriber's Area. 

Some of the topics discusseded include: Xi Jinping's speech and support for the stock market, gold and silver resurgent, bonds look overstretched, Euro and Pound steady from their lows, Japan steady, Wall Street closes off its lows. 



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Is an inflation resurgence credible?

Eoin Treacy's view -

At the end of last year, a return of inflation was assumed to be inevitable with the 10-year Treasury yield trading comfortably above 3%, commodity prices recovering, wages marching higher, full employment and high capacity utilisation. The perspective could not be more different today.

Interminable deflation has been priced in to Treasury yields as they test the lows of the last eight years. Commodity prices are under pressure, the trade war has resulted in a number of export dependent nations flirting with recessions, purchasing managers indices suggest contracting manufacturing activity and an inverted yield curve has started the clock on the next recession. Meanwhile gold has exploded on the upside to complete a six-year base formation.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

What Is a Tech Company?

I found this a thoughtful article from the Stratechery blog discussing what should qualify as a technology company. Here is a section on Netflix:

The question of whether companies are tech companies, then, depends on how much of their business is governed by software’s unique characteristics, and how much is limited by real world factors. Consider Netflix, a company that both competes with traditional television and movie companies yet is also considered a tech company:

There is no real software-created ecosystem.
Netflix shows are delivered at zero marginal costs without the need to pay distributors (although bandwidth bills are significant).
Netflix’s product improves over time.
Netflix is able to serve the entire world because of software, giving them far more leverage than much of their competition.
Netflix can transact with anyone with a self-serve model.

Netflix checks four of the five boxes.

Eoin Treacy's view -

TV shows and movies are delivered at no additional marginal cost once produced. That is true but they do not have the same residual value as software because unless the show is particularly good the vast majority of people will never watch it again.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India May Have Entered 'Quasi-Recession' as Growth Plummets

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

Official data on Friday showed that gross domestic product in Asia’s No. 3 economy grew 5% in April-June from a year earlier, below the weakest estimate of 39 economists polled by Bloomberg and the slowest pace in six years. The five straight quarters of slowing growth mark the longest slump since 2012.
 
Under the hood, the numbers offer more cause for concern on whether output – once adjusted for inflation -- will increase fast enough to ensure borrowers cover their interest payments. A Bloomberg gauge of high-frequency indicators suggests that economic activity continued to weaken in July, with investment and consumption both falling. Economists at Nirmal Bang expect GDP growth to bottom out in the quarter ending September but believe that “a counter-cyclical government spending boost is required.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The consolidation of the state-owned banking sector announced last week is a positive. India is a fast-growing economy with strong potential to become a future manufacturing powerhouse not least because factories are seeking a new home as they exit China.



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September 03 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on podcasts and videos

I this a new feature?  I hope so. Never noticed it before, it's fab. All really interesting, please make it permanent! Hope you're well.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for the feedback. I believe Fullermoney was among the first services anywhere to offer the kind of audio commentaries which are now referred to as podcasts. The first was on March 2nd 2004 and they have been a daily feature of the service for over 15 years. The first video version of the Subscriber’s Audio I recorded was on October 4th 2016. In the past three years many more services, particularly asset managers, have chosen to use both audio and video media to convey their messages because of the popularity of the medium. I’m increasingly coming into contact with these reports and I will post those I believe are of interest to the Collective on Fridays.



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September 02 2019

Commentary by Eoin Treacy