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October 02 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for October 2nd 2018

October 02 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Beijing axes coal and steel production curbs as economy slows

This article by Emily Feng for the Financial Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

However, experts said that even the lower targets were ambitious because last year’s air pollution levels had already dropped significantly. 

“Both a 3 per cent or 5 per cent reduction from last winter’s PM2.5 levels would be a tough target to reach because levels already fell 25 per cent last winter thanks to very strict policies and very favourable weather conditions,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, a campaigner at Greenpeace, the environmental group. 

The easing may have been prompted by a public outcry. Winter curbs on coal, including on heaters used by many residents in smaller cities and villages, left millions freezing as local governments scrambled to provide gas heating. 

By imposing emissions targets rather than specific production cuts, China shifted responsibility to local rather than central officials which could also weaken enforcement. “Notably, policies and enforcement this year is left largely to local governments, leaving them to choose between the risk of missing pollution targets or disrupting the newest construction splurge,” said Mr Myllyvirta.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Just how committed is China to environmental protection? China does not have the same green lobby we have in the West. Rationing coal without supplying alternatives was a heavy burden for people in Northern China last winter. That makes the point clearly to consumers that if they want clean air it comes with sacrifice. On a day to day basis most people would rather be warm with bad air than freezing.



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October 02 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Italy Contagion Fears Bubbling Beneath Surface of Apparent Calm

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

For others, Italy’s euroskeptic government is just the embodiment of the populist sentiment taking root across Europe, which could threaten the bloc’s future and weigh on the euro for the months or even years to come.

Borghi, head of Italy’s lower house budget committee and a well-known euroskeptic, said in an interview on Radio Anch’io that “Italy, with its own currency, would be able to resolve its problems.”

“The comments about Italy having its own currency have touched a sore point,” said Jane Foley, head of foreign-exchange strategy at Rabobank International. “While the return of the lira would be almost impossible and hugely inflationary even if it could happen, the fact that the remarks can be read as anti-EMU sentiment are worrisome.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The response of the market to the Italian government’s decision to splurge on its budget has been predictable and yields broke out to new recovery highs today. Populist rhetoric has been very vocal in saying they are not afraid of the spread but they have not yet had a taste of what higher borrowing costs will mean for the economy.



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October 02 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Brazil Coffee Supplies Swell After Ships for Exports Dwindle

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

Brazil’s coffee growers just can’t catch a break.

In May, a national strike by truckers stranded beans on the farm, and prices last month tumbled to a 12-year low amid a global glut. Now, a dearth of container ships at Brazil’s top ports is stalling exports of a bumper coffee crop.

For the world’s top exporter, a shift in the global freight market means container ships arrive at ports less frequently, limiting space for less-appealing commodity cargoes including coffee, and warehouses are bulging with bean inventory.

“Shipments have been postponed for days or weeks,” Nelson Carvalhaes, the president of export group CeCafe in Sao Paulo, said in a telephone interview.

Luiz Alberto Azevedo Levy Jr., the superintendent director at Minas Gerais-based Dinamo, one of the largest warehouse operators, said, “If shipments won’t flow faster, we’ll see storage issues escalating in the next 30 days” at terminals scattered across the country, he said. “The harvest has been finished, but most of the beans are still being dried and prepared,” leaving a “huge volume” heading for depots in the coming months, he said in a phone interview.

 

Eoin Treacy's view -

There is no shortage of coffee but bottlenecks in the supply chain from the rising cost of fuel for truckers to the dearth of ships is contributing to a lack of available supply which is finally beginning to pressure shorts.



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October 01 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 1st 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics covered include: Oil extends breakout, Wall Street steady, Biotech pauses, commonality breaking down in semiconductors, Bonds steady, China leverage highest in the world. Indian banks volatile but reasonably steady on aggregate.



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October 01 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Trump Lauds Nafta Successor Accord, Chides Tariff 'Babies'

This article by Shannon Pettypiece and Andrew Mayeda for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The new agreement makes modest revisions to a trade deal Trump once called a “disaster,” easing uncertainty for companies reliant on tariff-free commerce among the three countries. U.S. stocks climbed on Monday toward records, while the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso gained. The S&P 500 Index climbed 0.6 percent by 12:29 p.m. in New York.

Trump cited in particular provisions governing automobiles, raising the portion of their content that must originate within the region to 75 percent, from 62.5 percent, and requiring at least 40 percent of a car to come from workers whose pay averages more than $16 per hour. The president called those rules “the most important thing” for him.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The cosmetic changes to the NAFTA agreement provide some protections for workers but no so much that the fabric of the agreement is going to be fundamentally changed. That’s a significant development of North American markets since the trade they do with each other is at least as significant as what is done with the rest of the world.



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October 01 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India Seizes Control of Indebted Lender in Surprise Move

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

India’s government will immediately seize control of a shadow lender whose defaults have caused widespread upheaval at mutual funds, a rebuke that’s only happened to one
other firm.

Government officials were granted approval to oust Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd.’s board and a new six-member board will meet before Oct. 8, the National Company Law Tribunal said on Monday. India’s richest banker Uday Kotak and ICICI Bank Chairman G.C. Chaturvedi will be part of the proposed board, which will elect a chairperson themselves.

The nation’s corporate affairs ministry has sought to take control of a company on just two prior occasions, and only followed through once, with Satyam Computer Services Ltd. in
2009.

The dramatic move, which unfolded within the span of a hectic day in Mumbai, underscores the government’s concern about IL&FS’s defaults spreading to other lenders in the world’s fastest-growing major economy. Considered systemically important, the group has total debt of $12.6 billion, 61 percent in the form of loans from financial institutions. The ripple effects of its defaults have already seen mutual funds post mark-to-market losses, a slump in corporate bond issuance and a brief but sharp sell-off in equities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Containing the rot from IL&SF’s default is national priority for India considering the extent to which banks, particularly Yes Bank, have pulled back. India has the world’s fastest growing economy right now but valuations are rather elevated, the currency remains weak and the continued uptrend in oil prices is a headwind. Against that background the question of nonperforming loans and how the banking sector can be cleaned up is the primary topic of conversation among international investors.



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October 01 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Australia's Property Downturn Chalks Up One-Year Anniversary

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

Australia’s property slump has reached the one-year mark as the nation’s two major cities have become the biggest drag.

National dwelling values dropped 0.5 percent last month, weighed by declines in Sydney and Melbourne, according to CoreLogic Inc. data released Monday. Prices in the two east coast cities, which make up more than half of the national value of housing, have fallen 6.1 percent and 3.4 percent respectively from a year earlier.

“Sydney and Melbourne are now the primary drag on the national housing market performance,” taking over from regions that were impacted by the mining downturn, CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless said. Values have fallen greatest among the most expensive properties as lenders curb their appetite for high debt to income ratio lending, he said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The RBA has been reticent to raise interest rates because the Australian mortgage market is dominated by floating rate loans. With prices already elevated and private sector debt as a percentage of GDP among the highest of any developed market the fate of the property market is a major arbiter in how well Australia’s economy can be expected to perform.



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September 28 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 28 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Biotech returning to outperformance

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Nasdaq-Biotechnology Index broke out of a long base in 2011 and hit a medium-term peak in 2015. It found a medium-term low in 2016 and has held a choppy uptrend since; with two yearlong ranges one above another. The Index rallied this week to test its recovery high and a clear downward dynamic would be required to check the upward bias.



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September 28 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Italy's government agrees sharply higher public spending plan

This article by Miles Johnson and Davide Ghiglione for the Financial Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Mr Di Maio hailed the agreement as a “historic day”. “We made it!,” he said as he emerged from a balcony at Rome’s Palazzo Chigi, where the meeting took place.

“Today we have changed Italy! . . . For the first time the state is on the side of the citizens,” he said as ministers and members of parliament from his party hugged each other on the square outside.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the hard right League, part of the coalition and deputy prime minister alongside Mr Di Maio, also welcomed the agreement on spending, saying he was “fully satisfied with the objectives achieved”, which would include his party’s pledges for tax cuts and a reversal of unpopular pension reforms dating back to 2011.

Mr Tria, who is not affiliated with either party and was installed only after Italian president Sergio Mattarella rejected the coalition’s first choice for finance minister, had been pressing for a deficit number as low as 1.6 per cent of GDP going into the meeting.

A 2019 deficit of 2.4 per cent of GDP would represent a significant fiscal expansion from the 1.6 per cent target for this year agreed by the last centre-left government, and would be three times the 0.8 per cent number previously planned for next year.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Italy’s debt is BBB, which is still investment grade, but the yield trades like it is rated BB which is not investment grade. The populist administration has stated they are not afraid of the spread but one wonders if they have any conception what a downgrade to junk would do to demand for Italian debt. Large pension funds which have been gobbling up Italian debt to capture the higher yield would be forced to sell in the event of a downgrade. Meanwhile the ECB is winding down its purchase program so there will be a hole in demand for the bonds.



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September 28 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Tax Court of Canada rules in favour of Cameco

This press release from Cameco may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The Tax Court ruled that Cameco's marketing and trading structure involving foreign subsidiaries and the related transfer pricing methodology used for certain intercompany uranium sale and purchase agreements are in full compliance with Canadian laws for the tax years in question.

"We are very pleased with the Tax Court's clear and decisive ruling in our favour," said Tim Gitzel, Cameco's president and CEO. "We followed the rules, yet this dispute has caused significant uncertainty for our investors during a period of prolonged weakness in markets for our products. Now we hope CRA accepts the decision and applies it to other tax years in dispute, so we can focus on managing our business for the benefit of all our stakeholders."

The court has referred the matter back to the Minister of National Revenue in order to issue new reassessments for the 2003, 2005 and 2006 tax years in accordance with the court's decision. The timing for the issuance of the revised reassessments along with refunds plus interest is uncertain.

And

Cameco will be making an application to the court to recover the substantial costs incurred over the course of this case.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The favourable tax judgement Cameco has received has certainly enabled the share to rally but it also helps to throw focus onto the depressed nature of the uranium mining sector which has been struggling since the Fukushima accident resulted in a large numbers of reactor closures and cancelled projects.



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September 28 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Oil on Biggest Tear in Decade as Global Supply Cushion Vanishes

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

Fears are growing that the constriction of Iranian exports by U.S. sanctions and the collapse of Venezuela’s oil industry will leave a deep shortfall in the market. Those worries have only been stoked this week as key producers from Saudi Arabia to Russia and the U.S. signaled their reserves are off limits.

Some of the world’s largest oil producers and traders are warning that triple-digit prices could soon return, with negative consequences for the economy.

“There is concern in the market that the loss of barrels from Iran and Venezuela is not going to be made up for through extra supplies from particularly Saudi Arabia and Russia,” said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy. “Worries about trade relations affecting economic growth have fallen away.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Venezuela is unlikely to reverse supply declines under the current administration. Iran’s export capacity has bene constrained by sanctions. Libya is also struggling to increase supply. Meanwhile we seldom hear that Mexico’s supply has been trending lower for years and shows little sign of improving. The bright spot is Texas supply bottlenecks may be easing with a tightening spread between Midland and Cushing prices.



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September 27 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 27th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Dollar rallies from the MA against the Euro and breaks out against the Yen, Japan pauses, Indian banks remain under pressure, Wall Street steadies and is led higher by megacap tech shares and biotech. High yield spreads remain contained. 



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September 27 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

H&M Soars Despite Record Inventories as CEO Says Worst Is Over

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

H&M’s inventories have been a persistent problem, rising steadily as the Stockholm-based fast-fashion chain failed to keep up with consumers’ tastes and was struck by logistics woes.

The company says it’s working through the excess stocks and will be able to scale back discounting as a result, even as it irons out its supply problems. “We are in a better position now than we were last year,” CEO Karl-Johan Persson said on a conference call Thursday. “We’re buying less and being smarter about our purchases.”

The shares soared as much as 13 percent in Stockholm trading. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets pointed to H&M’s forecast that fourth-quarter markdowns will be about flat with last year’s, as well as a third-quarter gross margin that beat estimates.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Fast fashion has relied on footfall at its stores but faces the twin challenges of discounters like TJMaxx and Ross Stores as well as the evolution of online sales like Amazon’s own brand goods and Stitch Fix. The challenge for the sector is not simply to ensure they are on trend but to contain prices in order to remain competitive. That has represented a painful challenge for companies like H&M and Inditex.



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September 27 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Trump Is Looking for Quick Fix in Japan Talks, Abe Ally Says

This article by Connor Cislo and Emi Urabe for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Abe and Trump agreed to open limited bilateral trade talks. Japan had resisted U.S. efforts at a more comprehensive bilateral trade deal, saying it preferred that the U.S. return to the TPP.

The two leaders agreed to work to increase car production and auto-related jobs in the U.S., and that Japan wouldn’t be pressed to offer better access to its agricultural markets than it did under the original TPP. Trump also agreed not to place tariffs on imports of Japanese cars while the talks are taking place. The talks, limited to trade in goods, are aimed at seeking to "produce early achievements," according to a joint statement released by the White House.

Amari also said Trump’s focus on selling autos in Japan is misplaced, noting that Japan does not levy tariffs on auto imports, unlike the U.S. He said Japanese consumers simply don’t want American cars, making talks on the subject "pointless."

As Trump takes on China’s trade practices, it’s still possible that he brings the U.S. back to the TPP, given that it addresses many of the U.S. concerns -- such intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and state-owned enterprises, Amari said.

"But that’s just my modest hope," he said. "I’d put the odds at less than 50 percent."

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Japanese market has been outperforming its developed market peers over the last couple of weeks as the Nikkei-225 broke upwards from its range between the trend mean and 23000 that persisted between May and September.



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September 27 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

DARPA's New Brain Chip Enables Telepathic Control of Drone Swarms

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

"As of today, signals from the brain can be used to command and control… not just one aircraft but three simultaneous types of aircraft," Justin Sanchez, director of DARPA's biological technology office, said Thursday at the agency's D60 Symposium in National Harbor, Maryland.

"The signals from those aircraft can be delivered directly back to the brain so that the brain of that user [or pilot] can also perceive the environment," Sanchez said at the symposium, which celebrated DARPA's 60th birthday. "It's taken a number of years to try and figure this out."

"We've scaled it to three [aircraft], and have full sensory [signals] coming back. So, you can have those other planes out in the environment and then be detecting something and send that signal back into the brain," he said, according to Defense One.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Reaper drones of today are the face of modern warfare. They have inspired the retail drone market but the final objective of these experiments is to eventually remove pilots from the flight equation entirely.



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September 26 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 26th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics covered include: Fed raises interest rates and inflation will be updated on Friday, Treasuries rally, Dollar steadies, gold weak, industrial metals have steadied, Europe at the first area of potential resistance, Japan remains firm, China and India steady. 



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September 26 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Neutral Fed Funds, Dead Ahead

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

Given the lagged and variable impact of monetary policy on economic conditions -- further complicated in the current cycle by the Fed’s balance-sheet unwind -- policy makers will need to navigate with caution when in the proximity of neutral. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, in his Jackson Hole speech, sounded dual warnings about this: First, he stressed economists’ inability to estimate the neutral level of interest rates in real-time and cautioned against the “mistake of overemphasizing imprecise estimates of the stars”; second, he invoked the Brainard principle, which advocates moving conservatively on policy when the effects of action are unknown.

If growth is moderating toward trend and inflation appears to be centering around policy makers’ objective as the fed funds rate probes neutral territory, a significant portion of the FOMC should be willing to slow -- if not pause -- the pace of interest-rate increases in order to assess economic conditions. Policy makers may not be able to precisely identify the neutral policy rate in real time, but a continual decline in the terminal fed funds rate over the past several tightening cycles (shown below) serves as a cautionary reminder that, as Powell quipped at Jackson Hole, a “smaller dose” of normalization may prove adequate.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The PCE Core inflation gauge, which is the Fed’s preferred measure currently stands at 2%. Chained PCE inflation is at 2.3%. The Fed’s Funds rate is now 2.25% so it is becoming increasingly clear that after 8 rate hikes policy is moving from accommodative to neutral.



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September 26 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sony finally gives into 'Fortnite' PS4 cross-play demands

This article by Swapna Krishna for engadget.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

PlayStation gamers have been frustrated by the lack of cross-platform support for the popular game Fortnite. But now Sony has some good news. Today, the company announced an open beta that will allow for Fortnitecross-platform play between the PlayStation 4 and iOS, Android, the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and Mac.

The aim of the beta is to test the user experience on this kind of cross-platform play, which is the first time Sony Interactive Entertainment has experimented with this feature. The release makes clear that, if this test goes well, the company may be open to cross-platform play on other games in the future.

Part of the appeal of Fortnite has been the ability to play with other gamers, regardless of the platform you are on. PlayStation users were unable to partake in that aspect of the game. To make matters worse, SIE's restrictive policies ensured that players weren't able to sign into an Epic Games account linked to PSN from their Nintendo Switch.

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is a watershed moment for the computer gaming sector because it highlights that games are more important than platforms. For years consumers have had to choose between Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PS4, Nintendo’s Switch, PC or now mobile with each representing a significant outlay in terms of capital investment.

However, if you only had one of these platforms you were restricted in what games you could play. Even when the games had online group-play features participants had to all have the same hardware and software. Fortnite changed that. It has been such a wildly successful game, built exclusively on a Battle Royale/Lord of Flies group play model that companies have been forced to cave to consumer demand for cross platform solutions.



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September 26 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How China Is Losing the World

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

But to the more attentive, a new counternarrative is also starting to emerge, which stands against this tale of an ever more powerful China that can name its terms and act without restraint or pretense. As more and more people start to know far more about the China model, and to see it manifested in their daily lives, doubts start to grow. The sharp treatment of Taiwan, the actions in Xinjiang, the incredible, pervasive growth of the surveillance state in China and its annexation of almost every aspect of life without any institutional or legal restraint – all these register in some form and shape a little resistance.

In the past, issues about China were once disparate; now they are being linked and form the basis of a critical counternarrative. Suddenly, there is more sympathy for Taiwan, for example. More people in Europe and the United States are starting to be uneasy about the ways in which Confucius Institutes are allowed to operate in Western establishments without similar freedoms for Western equivalents in Chinese ones. They wonder why Chinese can buy, invest, and work so freely in their environments while it is so difficult for foreigners to do the same back in China. They wonder why Chinese lobbyists and activists are able to freely express their ideas in London, Sydney, or Washington, and seek to influence outcomes that matter to them there, when there is precious little space for this sort of activity back in China.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The true talent in a kleptocracy is knowing who to bribe. Afterall there is no point spending the money if the person taking the payment is not in a position to effect the result you wish or is subject to dismissal. Something China is finding out is that in a democracy, politicians who are seen to mortgage the future of the country to a foreign power are less than likely to win the next election.



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September 26 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Glencore to double size of $1B share buyback program

This article by Cecilia Jamasmie for Mining.com which may be of interest. Here is a section: 

Glencore’s move falls in line with what an increasing number of top miners have been doing lately, that is, handing money back to shareholders. The trend follows a recovery from the commodity rout of 2015-16 and increasing pressure from investors to not buy assets that may never deliver returns.

Less than a week ago, world’s second largest miner Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) unveiled a $3.2 billion share buyback following an asset-sale spree. Previously, BHP paid out a record dividend and promised it would give its shareholders most of the $10.5 billion it obtained from the sale of its US shale oil and gas assets.

Glencore said it has almost completed its first buyback, acquiring $940 million of its own stock after the shares fell to a 14-month low in September as part of a wider commodity sell off.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The big takeaway from the trend of miners buying back their own shares and increasing dividends is they are spending less on capital investments. That means they are more profitable but also that their ability to rapidly increase supply will be constrained in future should the need arise.



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September 25 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September August 7th 2018

September 25 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Gold Is Cheap. Inflation Is Coming. You Do the Math

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

Compared with stocks and other financial assets, gold looks inexpensive. More important, inflation is starting to pick up in the U.S. and in much of the world as central banks shrink their enormous balance sheets. And gold has represented a good defense against inflation eroding the value of a stock or bond portfolio. Over time, it has held its value against the dollar. Gold was $20.67 an ounce 100 years ago and that bought a good men’s suit. At $1,200 an ounce, the same is true today.

“Gold is rare, and it’s hard to rapidly increase the supply of it,” says Keith Trauner, co-portfolio manager of the GoodHaven (ticker: GOODX) mutual fund, which holds Barrick Gold(ABX), a leading mining company. “People have historically viewed it as a hedge against government depreciation of local currency.”

There are an estimated six billion ounces of gold in the world, worth more than $7 trillion, about 30% of the value of the S&P 500. Annual new mined supply adds less than 2% to the global total.

“Virtually every government in the world is trying to promote inflation partly because there is so much sovereign debt,” Trauner says. When there is so much debt, he contends, governments have three choices: default, restructure, or inflate the currency. “Politicians, when given the chance, will choose the latter.”

Naysayers point to higher interest rates as a negative for gold because it increases the allure of holding cash. But gold had one of its best decades during the inflationary 1970s, when rates soared.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Whereto for precious metals? A big decline has taken gold back to the $1200 level from it’s January peak of $1366 and sentiment is torn between those hungry for bargains and those worried about the trajectory of interest rates and the strength of the Dollar.



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September 25 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Farm to Cradle: Nestle Experiments with Tracking Gerber Baby Food on the Blockchain

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

Food Trust members in the past year or so have tested various segments of the food supply chain, including Walmart’s mango logistics, aiming ultimately for a farm-to-grocery aisle view of how food moves.

Last fall, Nestlé tested the traceability of its Libby canned pumpkin on Food Trust, learning that tracking a single-ingredient food from a limited number of U.S. growers is relatively simple, Mr. Tyas said.

The baby food experiments involve multiple ingredients and some cross-border transactions. In one test, Nestlé is working with farmers and processors of apples, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. In another, the partner is a mango provider in Colombia.

A challenge for Nestlé in adopting the Food Trust blockchain is having to build interfaces to connect its many shipping, trucking, processing and other software systems related to managing its fruits, vegetables and other ingredients to the new technology, Mr. Tyas said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

E coli might as well be uranium when it comes to the damage it can do to the bottom line of food companies. In an era where food companies depend on a complex global supply chains and where antibiotic resistant microbes are proliferating, delivering a clean supply chain record both for consumers and to trace problems is increasingly important. Blockchain’s public ledger is an elegant solution to that particular problem.



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September 25 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Argentine Bonds Back Where They Began After Wild Day for Traders

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

For Argentine bond investors, Tuesday has been a wild day. Luis Caputo, who was a trader himself for years at JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank before running an asset manager in Buenos Aires and heading finances for President Mauricio Macri, was liked and respected by the market. Some even joked about the need to build a statue or rename an avenue after him. The Lionel Messi of the administration, according to others.

So when the “fixer,” who negotiated with hedge fund titan Paul Singer to end a decade-long debt holdout battle, and the guy who convinced emerging-market debt investors to buy into a 100-year bond, resigned as central bank chief, the initial reaction was slight panic.

Bond yields, which had been tightening for days, swung higher in the immediate aftermath of the news. The idea that a vulnerable economy was about to lose one of its leaders didn’t sit well with investors.

At least for a little while. In the end, traders calmed down and decided that the new leadership wasn’t so bad: Guido Sandleris is viewed as a technocrat well versed in the ongoing
talks with the International Monetary Fund.

Yields have ended up not too far from where they started: To be sure, the peso is down more than 3 percent and it still isn’t clear what additional help Argentina can expect from the IMF. But in the words of Economy Minister Nicolas Dujovne, “the deal is imminent” and Sandleris is “brilliant.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

60% interest rates and inflation of 40% is still a real return of 20%. That simple equation has so far helped the Peso to hold the low near ARS40 and it bounced from a retest of that level today. As long as Argentina is willing to abide by the conditions laid down by the IMF it is likely to continue to expect support from the lender.



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September 24 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 24th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Brent crude oil breaks on the upside. palladium firm, sugar weak, Wall Street steady, Euro fails to hold its intrade gain, Indian banks under pressure, Treasuries ease, negative yielding bonds at grave risk from inflationary pressures.



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September 24 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

ECB's Draghi Sees Vigorous Pickup in Core Euro-Area Inflation

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

Mario Draghi said he sees a “relatively vigorous” pickup in underlying euro-area inflation, signaling
that the European Central Bank is well on track to raise interest rates late next year.

In testimony to the European Parliament, the ECB president said while headline consumer-price growth will only average around 1.7 percent a year through 2020, still below the goal of just under 2 percent, that stable outlook “conceals a slowing contribution from the non-core components” such as energy and food prices.

“Underlying inflation is expected to increase further over the coming months as the tightening labor market is pushing up wage growth,” he said in Brussels on Monday. “Domestic price pressures are strengthening and broadening.”

The euro jumped half a cent on the remark, reaching the highest level since June. It traded at $1.1800 at 3:16 p.m. Frankfurt time. Bunds extended losses and the Stoxx 600 index fell to a session low.

The ECB will end its bond-buying program in December and expects to keep interest rates at record lows at least through the summer of 2019. Policy makers have acknowledged market expectations for a hike around the final quarter of next year.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The ECB has taken on a lot of additional responsibilities since the credit crisis but its one core mandate is to target an inflation rate close to 2%. With inflation rising and the ECB’s quantitative easing program ending the big question is whether the European economy will be able to grow quick enough to absorb inflationary pressures or whether stagflation is more likely?



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September 24 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India Needs to Stop the IL&FS Rot From Spreading: Andy Mukherjee

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

Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. is a sprawling nonbank institution that used its highly rated paper to chalk up $12.5 billion of debt, which it funneled into the financing of long-term assets like roads, townships and water-treatment plants. Most of these businesses are owned by IL&FS-linked operating companies.

The opacity masked growing liquidity problems, though only up to a point. Some of the group’s finance companies are now missing repayments on short-term paper, even as the unlisted parent’s owners, including state-run Life Insurance Corp. of India, dawdle over an emergency infusion of funds. 

The task of highlighting the systemic risks fell to equity markets. Dewan Housing Finance Corp. led the carnage on Friday when its shares fell more than 42 percent. (They were down almost 60 percent at one stage.) Most other shadow lenders, which make retail loans but don’t take deposits, also dropped between 12 percent and 17 percent.

The bloodbath was sparked by the money market, where a mutual fund sold Dewan’s notes at a yield of 10.75 percent, compared with 8.6 percent for other corporate debt locally rated as AAA.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Investors have been worried about India’s high valuations and highly leverage banking sector for more than a decade but the more robust attitude of the RBI coupled with the bankruptcy of IL&FS have been catalysts to bring these issues to the fore.



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September 24 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Oil Traders Say $100 Coming as OPEC Strains to Fill Iran Gap

This article by Javier Blas, Heesu Lee, Alfred Cang and Dan Murtaugh for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Major oil trading houses are predicting the return of $100 crude for the first time since 2014 as OPEC and its allies struggle to compensate for U.S. sanctions on Iran’s exports.

With Brent crude already jumping to an almost four-year high on Monday, that’s exactly the kind of price surge President Donald Trump has been seeking to prevent by pressuring the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise production. Yet the cartel and its allies gave mixed signals at a meeting in Algiers on Sunday, ultimately showing little sign they would heed U.S. demands to rapidly push down crude prices.

OPEC’s reticence, combined with signs of accelerating supply losses from Iran, created a bullish mood the annual gathering of the Asian oil industry, traders, refiners and bankers in Singapore on Monday.

“The market does not have the supply response for a potential disappearance of 2 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter,” Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. co-founder Daniel Jaeggi said in a speech at the S&P Global Platts Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference, knows as APPEC. “In my view, that makes it conceivable to see a price spike north of $100 a barrel.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Saudi Arabian official stated only last week that they are comfortable with the idea of oil trading above $80 so it is not so surprising that OPEC is not racing to increase supply not least since its members all rely on high oil prices to balance their budgets.



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September 24 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Fish-Oil Heart Medicine Is Rarest of Drug Successes

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

It’s been easy to doubt Amarin, which has been working on this trial for the better part of a decade. The scientific rationale is there: Omega-3 fatty acids like the one Amarin is testing can reduce high triglycerides, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But many previous fish-oil trials have failed. Vascepa’s purity enables a higher dose without raising cholesterol, as other fish oils can. Amarin bet that focusing on high-risk patients with persistently high triglycerides would
reveal the benefit of that higher dose, and was proven correct.

Insurers already approve coverage of the drug for use by a small group of patients with very high triglicerides, but there is a strong case to be made to expand coverage more broadly. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and heart attacks and strokes are incredibly expensive for the health-care system. Preventing them not only saves lives, it saves money.  

Other drugmakers have tried and failed to make a similar argument with other treatments, most notably so-called PCSK9 inhibitors drugs from Amgen Inc. and Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. These medicines are able to dramatically lower bad cholesterol beyond what older statins can manage, and can significantly reduce cardiovascular events in a high-risk population. But their list price of more than $14,000 at launch has caused insurers to substantially restrict availability.

Amarin said on a Monday morning conference call that it will revisit its pricing, but right now Vascepa’s list price is about $2,400 a year, much lower than those other drugs. That kind of price, combined with the number of people that could benefit and the size and rigor of the trial, will make aggressive restriction difficult. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

When Mrs. Treacy developed pancreatitis in her first pregnancy our doctor referred us to a cardiologist for her second pregnancy. At the time her triglycerides were 10 times the normal amount and labs had to recalibrate their machinery to test the levels of fats in her blood, which was separating like oil and water in the vials. He gave her a strict diet of no saturated fats and high does of cod liver oil daily for the last five months of the pregnancy. That mix of Omega 3 fats did not eliminate the hypolipidemia but it ensure she did not develop pancreatitis again. The big question for consumers is whether the $200 a month for Vascepa is that much better than simply taking fish oil supplements?



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September 21 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Commodities Set for Best Week Since April, Fueled by Copper, Oil

This article by Rupert Rowling and Mark Burton for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

After a months-long rout, commodities are starting to show signs of life.

The Bloomberg Commodities Index has climbed 2.1 percent this week, on track for the best performance since April. Copper, oil, soybeans and silver are all poised set to end the week higher, helped by a combination of tight supplies, speculation that recent losses are overdone and a weaker dollar.

The gains are small, but it’s clear that the selloff that started in May has dissipated and sentiment is turning bullish. Barclays Plc said in a report today that copper has bottomed. Commodity bull Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicted gains in raw materials through the end of the year.

“The two main factors behind commodities rising are the end of the dollar strength, with the dollar seeming to have peaked, and risk appetite rising,” said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank AG.

It’s a shift from earlier this year, when the Bloomberg Commodities Index plunged about 10 percent over three months. Copper entered a bear market in August, and assets like arabica coffee and platinum are still near decade-lows.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Continuous Commodity index has been ranging between 400 and 450 since early 2016. Its failed upside break out in May is a good example of a rule of thumb from The Chart Seminar; when the dynamic of the failure is greater than the dynamic of the breakout, the chances are it will go back down and test the lower side of the range.



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September 21 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India Stock Market Rocked by Sudden Plunge in Financial Shares

This article by Santanu Chakraborty, Abhishek Vishnoi and Nupur Acharya for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers.

Some investors are speculating that the Reserve Bank of India may tighten rules for housing finance firms after a long legacy of shoddy lending that’s resulted in ballooning bad debts. This comes after the central bank said Yes Bank’s chief executive officer will have to step down at the end of January.

“Investors are speculating that more bad loans may come to light as RBI may take stricter action,” said Soumen Chatterjee, head of research at Guiness Securities. The RBI has also taken a tough line with other private-sector bank CEOs in recent months. The central bank refused to extend the tenure of Axis Bank Ltd. chief Shikha Sharma, who said she would step down at the end of 2018 despite support from
shareholders.

The IL&FS downgrade and default may have nudged investors to avoid potential collateral damage in other financial stocks. “Downgrades are a serious possibility” for non-bank financial companies, Aneesh Srivastava of IDBI Federal Life Insurance Co. said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

India’s bad loans have been a rumbling background issue for a long time and there have been announcements over the last year that the RBI was going to take a more robust approach to the problem. That issue may now be coming to the fore with the prospect of defaults rising.



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September 21 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Global Top 100 companies by market capitalisation

This report from PWC was dated March 31st but only crossed my desk this week and I thought it still worth highlighting not least because of the buyback figures for 2016 and 2017 which have been superseded this year. Here is a section:

Apple distributed $31bn to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases in 2017 - an increase from the $29bn distributed in 2016.

A total of $704bn has been distributed to shareholders by the Top 100 companies.

US companies, representing 54 of the Top 100 companies, accounted for $476bn of the total value distribution.

Unchanged from last year, companies in the Financial sector continued to return the highest total amount of $183bn (2016: $153bn) to shareholders, followed by companies in the Technology sector which returned a total of $121bn (2016: $110bn).

Share buybacks boosted the 2.2% dividend yield to an overall of 3.5% by reference to market capitalisation.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The relative attraction of cash with interest rates at 2%, and soon to be 2.25%, is now better than the dividend yield on the S&P500 which is 1.79%. However, since so many companies are buying back their shares it is arguable whether this is a fair comparison. The total return on the stock market compared to a rolled yield on money market funds highlights how much of a spread in return there is between the two asset classes and the premium investors pay for safety outside of crises.



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September 21 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 20 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 20th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Dow Jones Industrials hits new high, S&P 500 surges to new high, Japan and Europe firm and have cheaper valuations, smaller emerging markets have more consistent chart patterns than the large weightings in MSCI Emerging Markets, Dollar weak, Treasuries fall to test the April low, gold unchanged but platinum in the process of breaking its downtrend. 



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September 20 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

S&P, Dow Hit Record Highs as Trade Fears Abate

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

China is said to be planning to cut the average tariff rate it charges on imports from the majority of its trading partners as soon as next month. On Wednesday, Premier Li Keqiang his government wouldn’t devalue the currency in order to boost its exports amid the trade war.

“When we get days where there isn’t trade and tariffs escalation, which is in the news with us every day, market participants can focus more on fundamentals, and fundamental drivers continue to paint a pretty equity picture,” Leo Grohowski, chief investment officer at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, said by phone. “We’re striking a nice balance between good economic news and not becoming concerned yet about inflation.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The Dow Jones Industrials Average hit a new high and the Dow Jones Transportations Average is trading within striking distance of another new high. While Dow Theory does not tend to get a lot of coverage these days it would be hard to argue that we are presented with anything other than at least a short-term bullish environment.



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September 20 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Dollar Tumbles to Lowest Level Since July as Euro Surges

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

The market views a 25 basis point Fed rate hike next week as a near certainty, based on fed fund futures. Contracts on Thursday showed more than 45 basis points of total tightening by the end of 2018. Focus is increasingly shifting to the outlook for next year, with investors moving closer to the central bank’s projected path of three rate hikes for 2019.

That won’t be enough to prop up the greenback, according to Noelle Corum, an Atlanta-based portfolio manager in Invesco Ltd.’s fixed-income group. As global growth improves and market participants start to speculate about policy changes from the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan, the dollar’s support from Fed hikes and trade tensions will wear off, she said.

“Going into year-end, we would expect fundamentals will begin to drive markets again, and this will drive the dollar weaker,’’ said Corum, whose group manages $235 billion. She forecasts the greenback will depreciate to $1.20 per euro and weaken to 104 yen per dollar by year-end.

Eoin Treacy's view -

US Treasury yields popping above 3%, not least because of the dearth of demand following the front loading of pension contributions that ended on September 15th, has been a catalyst for both bond and Dollar weakness this week.



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September 20 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Best Week in Two Years Leaves Japan Stock Bulls Feeling Redeemed

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

A deeply-rooted “misperception” that the Japanese economy will give way to deflation and lead to an eventual collapse of local equities has been a drag, keeping investors blind to positive developments, according to Musha. Most recently, belief that Japan will be crushed in the escalating trade conflict between the U.S. and China has propelled bearish views, he said.

Japan’s economy grew at the fastest pace in more than two years during the second quarter, as companies cranked up capital spending to meet global demand and cope with a severe labor shortage. Growth is expected to slow during the second half but remain steady well into 2019, when a sales-tax increase slated for October will pose a challenge to consumers.

The better than expected 11 percent jump in July core machinery orders helped highlight that robust capital expenditure is Japan’s driving growth, according to Jonathan Allum, a strategist at SMBC Nikko Capital Markets Ltd. In London. This is one factor that stock bears may have been missing and could prove to be a catalyst for a rebound, he said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

There are three points that are worth keeping mind with regard to the Japanese market. The first is the Bank of Japan is still engaged in quantitative easing and is actively buying stocks. The second is the economy is doing well with low unemployment and a high participation rate. The third is valuations are not demanding and compare favourably with both Wall Street and Europe.



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September 19 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 19 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The End of the Incessant U.S. Big?

This article by Kevin Muir at East West Bank may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

According to Bloomberg’s Brian Chappatta, Friday was the last day U.S. corporations could deduct pension contributions at the 2017 corporate tax rate of 35 percent and will now only be eligible for the new 21 percent rate.

There has been considerable debate amongst the fixed-income community regarding the amount of curve flattening that has been the direct result of corporations accelerating their pension contributions. In fact, Brian’s article is named, “The Yield Curve’s Day of Reckoning is Overblown”and is mostly a rebuke of the idea that this factor has been the driving force to the recent flattening.

I don’t agree with all of Brian’s conclusions - but hey - that’s what makes a market!

The U.S. has been flattening at a vicious pace, while most other major bond market curves have been treading water.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The yield curve spread has widened from 20 basis points to 26 over the last week. That is not enough to break the downtrend but it does suggest a moderation in the trend of curve flattening. The transition from being able to write down 35% of pension contributions to 21% is a significant evolution for corporations and it makes sense that they would accelerated contributions to plans ahead of the move. The biggest question is how many people were buying treasuries in sympathy with the view that pension contributions were supporting the market?



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September 19 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

India's Gen Z Voters Have a Simple Message for Politicians

This article by Vrishti Beniwal and Bibhudatta Pradhan for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

India’s Gen Z, a key swing constituency in the 2019 general elections, has a simple message for politicians: more jobs, please.

As many as 130 million first-time voters -- more than the population of Japan -- will go to the polls due by May. A key issue for this electorate is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to deliver on his promise of creating 10 million jobs a year -- a pledge that won him the hearts of India’s youth in the 2014 election.

Yet with barely eight months to go to national polls, voters who believe job creation is Modi’s biggest failure have risen to 29 percent from 22 percent in January 2018, the Mood of the Nation survey by India Today found.

"The youth will certainly be a key demographic,” said Harsh Pant, professor of International Relations at King’s College in London. "While the issue of jobs may hurt Modi in the coming elections, it is also a reality he remains hugely popular with the youth compared to any other politician."

Eoin Treacy's view -

India has the potential for a massive demographic dividend considering half the population of over 1 billion is younger than 25 years old. However, in order to reap that benefit it needs to get busy with infrastructure development and manufacturing.



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September 19 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Bezos Unbound: Exclusive Interview With The Amazon Founder On What He Plans To Conquer Next

This article by Randall Lane for Forbes.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Nevertheless, during the morning he spent with Forbes outlining how he channels innovation and chooses where to expand, a road map for Amazon's future emerged. Given Amazon's size, it moves both vertically and horizontally, each direction portending a lot more disruption. Even five years ago, Bezos seemed content merely to try to sell everything to everybody, becoming the bane mostly of retailers and wholesalers. But this master innovation artist now has the ultimate palette: any industry he chooses.

For this unconstrained era, the most important word at Amazon is yes. Bezos explains, correctly, the traditional corporate hierarchy: "Let's say a junior executive comes up with a new idea that they want to try. They have to convince their boss, their boss's boss, their boss's boss's boss and so on—any 'no' in that chain can kill the whole idea." That's why nimble startups so easily slaughter hidebound dinosaurs: Even if 19 venture capitalists say no, it just takes a 20th to say yes to get a disruptive idea into business.

Accordingly, Bezos has structured Amazon around what he calls "multiple paths to yes," particularly regarding "two-way doors": decisions that are often based on incremental improvements and can be reversed if they prove unwise. Hundreds of executives can green-light an idea, which employees can shop around internally. "He knows and we know that you can't invent or experiment without some failure," says Jeff Wilke, the long-time Bezos lieutenant who runs Amazon's consumer and retail operations. "Those we sort of celebrate. In fact, we want them to occur all over the place. Jeff doesn't need to review those. I don't need to review those."

Eoin Treacy's view -

The bigger Amazon gets and the more industries it disrupts the greater the potential there is for antitrust advocates to gain traction. Amazon currently accounts for about half of all ecommerce traffic in the USA so it is no exaggeration to state that if you are not selling on Amazon you are leaving half the population untapped. That position lends the company enormous power and the EU is currently investigating how much advantage it gets from knowing product segments its third-party sellers are succeeding in. 



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September 18 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 18th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: stock markets rally following tariff announcement, Treasuriy yields break above 3%, gold quiet, platinum firm, oil back testing the upper side of its range, smaller market cap emerging markets turning to outperformance.



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September 18 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 18 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Asia EM Strategy

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from Morgan Stanley. Here is a section on Malaysia:

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Governance is Everything and this is doubly true in emerging markets. The Mahathir administration has made a point of trying to recoup some of the losses due to graft, not least 1MDB, and is taking a more forthright stand against the debt trap infrastructure projects the last government signed with China. These are positive outcomes and suggest standards of governance are improving.



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September 18 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

See Food: Why Robots Are Producing More of What You Eat

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

Food manufacturers have been early adopters of new technologies from canning to bread slicers, and vision automation has been used for many years for tasks such as reading bar codes and sorting packaged products. Leaders now are finding the technology valuable because robot eyes outpace the human eye at certain tasks.

For years, Tyson Foods Inc. used sensors to map chicken fillets so they could be cut to the precise specifications required by restaurant customers that need them to cook uniformly. But exposure to the high pressure, high temperature water there kept causing equipment failures.

Now technical improvements, tougher materials and declining prices mean the company can integrate vision technology in facilities including the new $300 million chicken-processing plant in Humboldt, Tenn., said Doug Foreman, who works in technology development at the Springdale, Ark.-based food company. The technology could help optimize the use of each part of the bird, he added.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Robotics, artificial intelligence and computer vision all need to work seamlessly together in order for computers to fulfil the same tasks as humans. Creating systems that work together in such a manner is a time-consuming process but progress has been underway for decades and the breadth of what is now possible has improved considerably.



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September 18 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Midpoint Danger Line Stops

Eoin Treacy's view -

At The Chart Seminar which is next due to be held in London on November 12th and 13th at the Army & Navy Club in London, one of the topics we cover is how to place stops. The Midpoint Danger Line (MDL) stop is appropriate in a staircase step sequence trend and considering how rhythmic the downtrends have been in the precious metals I thought it would be a good time review it.

In a staircase step sequence downtrend, we observe a series of ranges one below another. That rhythmic movement of distributions followed by a fresh breakdown is deleterious to sentiment. The people making money in such an environment are short sellers who are selling into rallies. When they look at the best opportunities to increase their positions they will observe that prices encounter resistance at the lower side of the overhead range so that is the most opportune time to sell.

In a downtrend most people will have stops just above the most recent lower rally high. If that level is surmounted a sharp rally can ensue on short covering. Therefore, the first signal of a change of trend is when a rally pushed back up into the overhead range. That means the strategy which worked best in the downtrend is no longer working. If the price then moves beyond the midway point of the overhead range, a failed downside break is evident.

A rule of thumb from The Chart Seminar is that in a failed downside break, when the dynamic of the failure is greater the dynamic of the breakdown, the price is likely to rally right back up to the upper side of the range. In a downtrend that is where it is reasonable to assume the majority of stops reside.

Platinum has been trending lower in a staircase sequence fashion. It rallied back up into the overhead range today but has not yet crossed in midpoint of the overhead range which is at approximately $825. A sustained move above that level would enhance potential for at least a reversionary rally back up towards the trend mean.



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September 17 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 17th 2018

September 17 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on Venezuela on the Med:

There is an increasing number of commentators in Italy that have drawn to the conclusion that the current government (still supported by a vast majority of Italians, ~60% according to latest polls) is determined to leave the Euro area and the EU. I am now convinced about this too.

Since there is no legally viable way of achieving this, the path to be followed will be that of an "accident" on the financial markets: the delivery of the promises of universal income and lower taxation, will push the fiscal deficit to "breaking point", while the ECB (unelected enemy of the people #1) will start withdrawing the bond buying program. 

With the spread uncontrollably high and seized credit (banks are also notorious enemies of the people), the only solution left (so the people will be told) will be the reintroduction of the Lira, overnight. The country will default and withdraw from international markets. Most activities nationalised. 

The motivation for doing this for those currently in power is clear: seizing unrestrained power (forget ideology, or patriotic instincts... those are facades). A country with universal income (assuming that functions) ceases to be a democracy anyway. The sponsor for all this comes from the East.

Interesting (Venezuelan) times ahead. 

The conclusion: don't touch Italian domestic names, not even with a barge pole from far away. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your interpretation of a potential outcome to the introduction of a populist coalition in Italy which I think we can both agree is a doomsday prediction for Italy, the ECB and the nations responsible for funding the central bank. Let’s take the argument back to first principles.



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September 17 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How an Aussie miner and American tech company plan to extract lithium quickly in Argentina

This article by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

What sets this partnership apart is that both the miner and the techie claim they can produce lithium carbonate or lithium chloride more rapidly and at a lower cost than others. According to Lilac, this is possible because its system eliminates the need for sprawling evaporation ponds, which are expensive to build, slow to ramp up, and vulnerable to weather fluctuations.

“Even for the world's best lithium reserves in the Atacama desert, conventional evaporation ponds take many years to ramp up and remain vulnerable to weather volatility. Lilac's projects will run at full capacity from year one of commissioning and maintain that output regardless of weather or brine chemistry. We have done benchtop testing in other brines and we saw recoveries over 95% in less than 2 hours versus 9-24 months in evaporation ponds,” the company’s CEO, Dave Snydacker, told MINING.com.

Snydacker explained that the reason why the processes run by his company are so fast is that his engineers have developed ion exchange beads that absorb lithium directly from the brine. Once they do that, the beads are then loaded into ion exchange columns and brine is flowed through such columns. As the brine contacts the beads, the beads absorb the lithium out of the brine. Once the beads are saturated with lithium, the alkali metal is recovered from them as a lithium solution, which is later on processed into battery-grade lithium carbonate or lithium hydroxide using streamlined plant designs.

Eoin Treacy's view -

I described the lithium market as an example of supply inelasticity meets rising demand as early as 2013. What is apparent today, following massive investment in additional supply, is that is no longer true. In fact, as demand for the commodity ramps up technological innovation is contributing to the ability suppliers to more than keep pace.



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September 17 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Shinzo Abe's quiet social revolution

Thanks to a subscriber for this article by Hiroshi Marutani for Nikkei may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

In his second stint as prime minister, Abe seems to have finally understood the secret to the LDP's longevity: an all-engulfing pragmatism. Reality over ideals. This has been clearest in Abe's decision to expand acceptance of foreign workers. Under Abe's administration, the number of foreign workers has almost doubled to 1.3 million. Laborers from China, Vietnam and the Philippines have poured into Japan to fill gaps in the health care, construction "With the economy performing so well, it is becoming apparent that hiring is tight," Abe told Nikkei. "Worker shortages are starting to hamper a variety of fields."

The ills of a shrinking population were hardly noticeable during the country's long deflationary spiral. But after growth returned in 2013, businesses began to shout their concerns about a smaller workforce.

"Nursing facilities, for instance, have a severe lack of hands," said Abe, whose recognition of the issue has been heavily shaped by Yoshihide Suga, his chief cabinet secretary since 2012.

Suga realized the need for more workers in nursing facilities last fall, when local caregivers raised the issue with him and requested foreign staffers. He gathered officials to look into the problem and was told that there was adequate manpower.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The number of foreigners we have encountered in Japan during two trips in the last 18 months was a surprise. The second surprise were the number of women doing jobs that require hard physical labour such as delivering beer kegs or porting luggage. These are just two anecdotal pieces of evidence that highlight how much Japan’s society has changed over the last few years under Abe.



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September 17 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

A Twist in the U.S. Tariff Battle: It's Helping China Be More Competitive

This article by Liza Lin and Dan Strumpf for the Wall Street Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Tony Lee’s Sintai Furniture Co. makes outdoor furniture and other products sold at Costco , Home Depot and other U.S. stores that would be subject to tariffs in the expected $200 billion round. He is moving one-fifth of production to Vietnam for his U.S. exports, and keeping production for European and other markets at his factory in Dongguan.

Mr. Lee said the company will incur higher costs in worker training and material shipment in the short term, but he expects the move will save money in the long run. “The supply chain and capability in Vietnam takes time to build,” he said. “Once it is built up, Vietnam will be cheaper than China.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

China is moving up the value chain in terms of manufacturing and the increasing automation of production lines is a trend which has been underway for a decade. Simultaneously, rising wages have had an impact on apparel and footwear exporters which have migrated to places like Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Ethiopia and Kenya.



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September 14 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 14 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

HNA's Missed Payments Show Deutsche Bank Exit Won't Be Enough

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

Despite HNA Group Co. having sold more than $17 billion in assets this year, one of its units still missed payments on a $44 million loan this week, illustrating how the once-acquisitive Chinese conglomerate will need to unload more properties and shares to overcome its liquidity challenges.

Signs abound that the selloff will continue: It’s planning to get out of Deutsche Bank AG, seeking a buyer for its container-leasing Seaco business, surrendering eight floors of office space in Hong Kong and selling stakes in various Chinese units, people familiar with the matter have said since last week. What’s more, HNA is said to be dangling billions of dollars in real estate in the U.S., London and China to prospective buyers.

All in all, the company that was once at the forefront of China’s massive global buying binge has more than $17 billion in further asset sales planned, according to a tally by Bloomberg, as HNA tries to shrink back to its aviation roots. But as the missed payments show, there’s plenty of turbulence lying ahead for the conglomerate, which is saddled with one of the biggest piles debt in corporate China.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Chinese investment in US commercial property turned negative for the first time in a decade last month not least because HNA Group is a panicky seller. The fate of the group is tied up with the program for international expansion that characterised the first portion of Xi Jinping’s rule and which has now been reversed in response to a debt load which was getting out of control. 



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September 14 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Financial panic and credit disruptions in the 2007-09 crisis

This article by Ben Bernanke for the Brookings Institute may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Although the Balance Sheet factors do not forecast the acute phase of the economic downturn in my setup, that does not mean they were irrelevant. Of course, the bursting of the housing bubble was the spark that ignited the panic in the first place. Moreover, much other evidence (by Mian and Sufi and others) is consistent with the view that household deleveraging contributed both to the initial downturn in spending and to the slowness of the recovery. It may well be that household balance sheets evolve too slowly and smoothly for their effects to be fully accounted for in the type of analysis used in my paper, which tends to emphasize shorter-term fluctuations. But my results do suggest that, in the absence of the panic, the declines in employment, consumption and output in the early stages of the Great Recession would have been significantly less severe.

The panic of 2008 differed from the Great Depression of the 1930s in that the runs on the financial system during the recent episode were on wholesale funding, and occurred electronically, while in the 1930s retail depositors lined up in the streets.  But the overall effect was the same:  A loss of confidence in credit providers caused the supply of credit to plummet, the external finance premium to spike, and the real economy to contract rapidly.  Macroeconomic analysis and forecasting needs to take into account how disruptions to credit markets, in ordinary recessions as well as in financial panics, can damage the real economy.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The lesson policy makers are likely to have learned from the Lehman bankruptcy and the ensuing panic in credit markets is liquidity has to be made available at whatever cost early in order to avoid a worse outcome later.



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September 14 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

More and More, New Drugs Clear the FDA With 'Accelerated Approval'

This article by Abigail Fagan & Mark Kaufman for Undark may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Today, the FDA is increasingly proactive in bringing drugs to market short of full approval and uses accelerated approval to get new drugs to people suffering from devastating diseases. Since 2003, more than 16 percent (66 of 404) of all new drugs were approved through the Accelerated Approval Program, and it seems to be a more popular option. Between 2003 and 2013, about three drugs were approved each year through this expedited route. But during each of the last three years (through 2016), that number has increased to more than seven drugs per year.

The FDA is candid about its commitment to expedited approval programs — in part to speed up what is often characterized as a notoriously drawn-out and bureaucratic approval process. The agency’s former head, Hamburg, wrote about the FDA’s intention of getting new drugs to people as “quickly” as possible, and the FDA’s new leader, doctor and cancer survivor Scott Gottlieb, bemoans the FDA’s slow-moving approval process. While a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in 2012, Gottlieb lamented the “increasingly unreasonable hunger for statistical certainty on the part of the FDA.” And at Gottlieb’s confirmation hearing last May, he rejected the idea that speeding up drug approvals would compromise their safety, calling it a “false dichotomy that it all boils down to a choice between speed and safety.”

But the increasing reliance on accelerated approval and other means of expediting drug approval have many critics worried — particularly given that the interests most readily served by fast-track approvals are those of the pharmaceutical industry. David Gortler, an associate professor of pharmacology at Georgetown University and a former FDA medical officer, is one such critic. He fears that the drive to get drugs out faster with weaker scientific evidence is already taking a toll — not just on consumers who are taking drugs that should never have been approved, but also on the agency’s credibility.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Pharmaceutical companies benefitted from the declining burden of proof required before a drug can be marketed as well as the reduction in political scrutiny under the Trump administration.



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September 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 13th 2018

September 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Lira Surges as Turkish Rate Hike Caps Day of Chaos for Erdogan

This article by Benjamin Harvey and Ercan Ersoy for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“This massive rate hike is going to stabilize the Turkish lira,” said Bernd Berg, a strategist at Woodman Asset Management AG in Zug, Switzerland. “With a central bank that has gained in credibility by showing its independence, Turkish assets are poised to recover in the short-term.”

The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index rebounded, rising as much as 1.8 percent led by Turkiye Garanti Bankasi AS and Akbank TAS, the nation’s largest listed lenders. But the rally offered little comfort to thousands of businesses now struggling to come to grips with the snap restrictions on foreign currencies, which his government has yet to explain.

‘Total Chaos’
Erdogan’s decree makes the lira the only currency that can be used in most contracts concluded between Turkish entities for any kind of product or service. Many of his own government’s largest contracts, including for building motorways and operating turnpikes, bridges and airports, are currently priced in dollars or euros.

Some agreements will be exempt from the new rules under conditions to be specified by ministries, according to the decree, which didn’t elaborate. All others that are either priced in or indexed to foreign currencies will have to be amended within 30 days.

That decree will create “total chaos" and be impossible to implement in the given time frame, said Hulusi Belgu, head of the national organization of shopping malls. His members have about $15 billion in collective debt and price about 70 percent of all their rent contracts in a foreign currency. “How will this debt be repaid if contracts are converted to liras?" Belgu asked by telephone.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Erdogan reiterated his view today that interest rates are a “tool of exploitation”. One is tempted to ask of whom? Of course, when Erdogan makes these statements he is not speaking to the community of international investors to whom Turkey owes hundreds of billions of Dollars and Euro but to the demographic of Islamist leaning people who are leery of usury.



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September 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer

This article from the EIA by Candice Dunn and Tim Hess may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The United States likely surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude oil producer earlier this year, based on preliminary estimates in EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). In February, U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades. In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999.

Although EIA does not publish crude oil production forecasts for Russia and Saudi Arabia in STEO, EIA expects that U.S. crude oil production will continue to exceed Russian and Saudi Arabian crude oil production for the remaining months of 2018 and through 2019.

U.S. crude oil production, particularly from light sweet crude oil grades, has rapidly increased since 2011. Much of the recent growth has occurred in areas such as the Permian region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico, the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico, and the Bakken region in North Dakota and Montana.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The embedded charts in this article tell an important story of renewal in the US onshore domestic supply market versus the relatively stagnant supply growth in both Russia and Saudi Arabia. 



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September 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How Amazon Plans To Use Its E-Commerce Dominance To Transform Healthcare

This report from CBInsights may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

The pharmaceutical supply chain in the US is convoluted, filled with middlemen and confusing business models. For example, more than three entities are involved in bringing a drug from manufacturer to patient, and each party takes a percentage of 2 the profit along the way.

Amazon has the opportunity to simplify the supply chain and improve the experience/cost matters for patients, payers, and manufacturers. The company has made significant headway into the pharmaceutical distribution space with its ~$1B acquisition of mail-order pharmacy PillPack. With this purchase, Amazon gained a $100M revenue runrate business, a built-out pharmacy supply, and pharmacy licenses in all 50 states.

PillPack is a good fit for Amazon. The company is loved by its customers, claiming an NPS score of 80 compared to the pharmacy average of 26. Customer demand also helped the company re-establish its partnership with pharmacy benefits giant Express Scripts after a public falling out.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Amazon’s march through previously ringfenced sectors remains a powerful disruptive influence that has the potential to streamline supply chains and deliver better value to end customers. At the same time this is going to represent a significant challenge for the middlemen that characterise the healthcare, commercial and industrial sectors today.  



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September 13 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The 5G Race: China and U.S. Battle to Control World's Fastest Wireless Internet

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

The new networks are expected to enable the steering of driverless cars and doctors to perform complex surgeries remotely. They could power connected appliances in the so-called Internet of Things, and virtual and augmented reality. Towers would beam high-speed internet to devices, reducing reliance on cables and Wi-Fi.

At the Shenzhen headquarters of Huawei Technologies Co., executives and researchers gathered in July to celebrate one of its technologies being named a critical part of 5G. The man who invented it, Turkish scientist Erdal Arikan, was greeted with thunderous applause. The win meant a stream of future royalties and leverage for the company—and it marked a milestone in China’s quest to dominate the technology.

At a Verizon Communications Inc. lab in Bedminster, N.J., recently, computer screens showed engineers how glare-resistant window coatings can interfere with delivering 5G’s superfast internet into homes. A model of a head known as Mrs. Head tested the audio quality of new wireless devices. Verizon began experimenting with 5G in 11 markets last year.

Nearby, in Murray Hill, N.J., Nokia Corp. engineers are testing a 5G-compatible sleeve that factory workers could wear like an arm brace during their shifts to steer drones or monitor their vital signs. The company began its 5G-related research in 2007.

Eoin Treacy's view -

You might remember a great deal of enthusiasm about the internet of things or the internet of everything a few years ago. Everything has gone quiet on that front of late not least because in order to reach commercial utility the billions of connected devices planned to enter service are going to need to be able to connect to the internet on a constant basis and current networks are incapable of handling the load. That means a whole new architecture is required to enable the next iteration of connected devices and 5G is the answer. 



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September 12 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 12th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: gold steadies, Brent crude tests $80, chipmakers rebound from their lows, Dow Jones doesn't hold its rally, copper steadies, Bonds firm from 3%, ruminations on the relationship between populism and the end of the bond bull market. 



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September 12 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Ray Dalio Spells Out America's Worst Nightmare

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

“We have to sell a lot of Treasury bonds, and we as Americans won’t be able to buy all those Treasury bonds,” Dalio said. That means foreign investors will have to step up. And they probably would, as long as the dollar remains strong.

Otherwise, Treasury’s dollar-denominated interest payments to buyers in China, Europe and Japan will be worth less and less.

But, to Dalio, that’s not going to happen. “The Federal Reserve at that point will have to print more money to make up for the deficit, have to monetize more and that’ll cause a depreciation in the value of the dollar,” he said. Pressed by interviewer Erik Schatzker, he said “you easily could have a 30 percent depreciation in the dollar through that period of time.” For context, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 8.5 percent in 2017, and that was considered massive.

It all leads up to this critique of how the U.S. has gone on a borrowing binge in recent years. Remember, the $15.3 trillion Treasury market was the $4.9 trillion Treasury market a decade ago.

“We have the privileged position of being able to borrow in our own currency because we have the world's leading reserve currency. We are risking that by our finances — in other words, borrowing too much.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Unfunded liabilities are not only a US problem but are something that governments right across the OECD will need to eventually address. Ray Dalio’s view that the rise in populism we are seeing today is a symptom of a wider problem gels with my own. Considering we are seeing this disaffection with the status quo during an economic expansion where unemployment is low, it is likely that the jump to the fringes of the political spectrum will only intensify during a recession.  



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September 12 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Asian Stocks Are Caught in the Longest Sell-off in 16 Years

This article by Ian C Sayson for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

“We see that light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re still kind of in the darkness ourselves,” Citi’s Peng said. Investors need more concrete catalysts before they step in to buy stocks. “So that’s the challenge for money managers.”

“We are looking to be more constructive on Asian equities in the next quarter, if the current correction continues. Valuations will be more attractive and worth a look then,” said Jason Low, senior investment strategist at DBS Bank Holdings Ltd.

“The good news is that valuations are looking more attractive now and technicals are oversold, which suggest that Asian stocks could be poised for a rebound in the next few months,” Jasslyn Yeo global market strategist as JPMorgan Asset Management.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Among the top 18 holdings in the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF, 9 are from China. The addition, first of overseas Chinese companies and Hong Kong listed companies followed by mainland listed shares has represented a significant reweighting of the basket over the last decade. Since so many commodity producers rely on Chinese demand growth for exports the country’s influence is even greater than might initially be apparent.



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September 12 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

FDA Threatens to Pull E-Cigarettes to Fight Rise of Youth Vaping �

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

“There is no question that a lot of the youth use is being driven by Juul,” Gottlieb said.

Produced by San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc., Juul devices resemble a USB thumb drive and have become popular among students. The company has more than two-thirds of the U.S. e- cigarette market, according to Nielsen data. The FDA is currently developing a survey to determine what percentage of youth vapers are using Juul products, Gottlieb said.

A nationwide sting operation from June through August resulted in more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers who sold Juul products and other e-cigarettes to kids.

It was “the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the FDA’s history,” according to the agency.

Gottlieb recently began to ask whether the use of Juul and other similar products by kids is overshadowing any benefit to adult smokers using the devices to help them quit cigarettes. He said in June tobacco companies “better step up and step up soon” but he didn’t divulge what consequences the industry could face -- until now.

In July 2017, the FDA said it was considering lowering nicotine levels in traditional cigarettes. In addition, the agency pushed back until 2022 a deadline for electronic- cigarette companies to submit applications to the FDA. Gottlieb said at the time he was trying to ease the regulatory pathway for products that are potentially less harmful sources of nicotine than smoking. Critics of pushing back the deadline raised concern that more kids would take up vaping.

Congress gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products in 2009. The agency extended that reach to other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in August 2016 and allowed those products that were already on the market to continue sales while preparing an application for FDA clearance.

The FDA is investigating whether some products on the market were introduced after the 2016 date and may need to halt sales, though didn’t name which ones may be violating the law.

Eoin Treacy's view -

I had a discussion with my children about addiction and the cashflow seepage from their savings that would occur were they to take up vaping. We also looked at the cashflow of tobacco companies and talked about how much money they make from addiction. I’ve found it is not much use talking to children about their long-term health because it is no relatable. However, talking to them about not being able to afford a squishy or computer game because of an addiction gets a lot more traction. This conversation resulted from the fact that many of the videos they have encountered on YouTube or iFunny highlight children and young teenagers engaging in vaping.



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September 11 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 11 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

On Target September 11th 2018

Thanks to Martin Spring for this edition of his informative report. Here is a section on India:

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

India is at the beginning of a digital revolution. While analogies between China and India often do not make sense, I believe in this case there are some clear parallels. In December 2013 China introduced 4G and that represented the gateway to the growth of online shopping, delivery systems, online banking, mobile payments, the cashless society, social media apps, gaming etc. Reliance Industries introduced a country wide cheap 4G network at the end of 2015 in India and it is gaining increasing traction with consumers.



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September 11 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

How Should China Respond to Changing U.S. Attitudes?

This article by Fu Ying, vice chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress, and of the Academic Committee of China's Institute of International Strategy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences may be of interest to subscribers not least because it appeared on Bloomberg and appears to speak directly to investors. Here is a section:

In fact, changes in U.S.-China relations may help to push China’s own desired reforms. Some requests raised by U.S. companies, such as increased market access, dovetail with recommendations from China’s leaders. The government is, in fact, opening up: Eight out of the 11 market-opening measures announced by President Xi Jinping in April have been put in place, covering banking, securities, insurance, credit rating, credit investigation and payment, and so on. The government is also working harder to improve the business environment and strengthen intellectual property protections for both Chinese and foreign enterprises. Chinese reformers can turn outside pressure to their advantage, using it to bust through internal
resistance to necessary changes.

But make no mistake: The Chinese people will stand firm against U.S. bullying over trade. There is talk about China’s economy “sliding down” as a result of the trade war. Some expect China to succumb soon. I can tell you that this is wishful thinking.

Yes, China is in the process of deleveraging, which is uncomfortable and painful. But it is a price worth paying for sustaining healthy development. It’s worth remembering that China adopted a stimulus program to help overcome the global recession triggered by the 2008 financial tsunami in the U.S. And it’s worth noting that the trade war may slow the necessary process of deleveraging.

Eoin Treacy's view -

China is now the self-appointed champion of free markets and international trade not least because is has most to lose from any change to the global market equilibrium. The opening up of protected sectors within the Chinese economy are focused on the most heavily overleveraged sectors, where a desire from fresh capital and risk sharing is a priority. There is no sign that the higher growth areas of the economy are suddenly going to become open for foreign investment or that China’s domestic champions are ready for international competition in their home market.



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September 11 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Riverfront The Weekly View

This note by Chris Konstantious may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

The USA has transitioned from monetary to fiscal stimulus which is not something other countries have been willing to do. Additionally, the change to the tax code which favoured companies by lowering tax rates and reducing the penalty to bring cash home has resulted in fresh demand for the Dollar while also reducing demand for other countries’ currencies because of the fall off in corporate debt issuance.



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September 10 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 10th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: continued weakness in Chinese assets, India at risk of a reversion to the mean, Dollar eases, Pound firm, gold quiet, platinum fails to hold its rally, basic resourecs under pressure, Wall Street continues to pause. 



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September 10 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Cotton, Hog Futures Jump as Florence Heads for East Coast

This article by Mario Parker, Megan Durisin and Shruti Date Singh for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Cotton, corn and soybean fields along with massive hog and poultry facilities lie in the projected path for Hurricane Florence.

The storm’s U.S. landfall could come Friday between Charleston, South Carolina and Norfolk, Virginia, the Hurricane Center said. As much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain could flood cotton fields in parts of North Carolina, according to AccuWeather Inc. The state is also home to several pork- processing plants from major producer Smithfield Foods Inc.

Florence will likely bring “wind and flood damage” for corn and soybeans in the region, Commodity Weather Group said in a report Monday.

“Cotton is one of the largest commodities that can be affected by Florence,” Terry Reilly, senior commodity analyst for grain and oilseeds at Futures International in Chicago, said in an email. “Too much rain is never a good thing for any crop, unless it’s rice.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

This has been a very quiet hurricane season particularly compared to last year but that is about to change with Hurricane Florence due to make landfall later this week. This article from NOAA raises some important questions from what we might expect from hurricanes in future. Here is a section: 

Our regional model projects that Atlantic hurricane and tropical storms are substantially reduced in number, for the average 21st century climate change projected by current models, but have higher rainfall rates, particularly near the storm center. The average intensity of the storms that do occur increases by a few percent (Figure 6), in general agreement with previous studies using other relatively high resolution models, as well as with hurricane potential intensity theory (Emanuel 1987).



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September 10 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 10 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sweden Wades Into Unknown Without Clear Path to Viable Coalition

This article by Amanda Billner and Rafaela Lindeberg for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

Sweden’s political establishment contained a nationalist surge. Now it may need to throw away the old rules to form a viable government.

Both of Sweden’s traditional blocs, one led by the Social Democrats and one by the conservative Moderates, claimed victory after Sunday’s election that’s still too close to call. The nationalist Sweden Democrats surged to about 17.6 percent, but fell short of some polls showing it could emerge as the biggest amid a groundswell of anti-immigrant sentiment.

Sweden likely faces days, if not weeks, of tense discussions. Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has refused calls to resign, putting pressure on the opposition Alliance led by Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson. The Alliance is meeting to find common ground, but must also convince the nationalist Sweden Democrats to give it the necessary backing to rule.

At least one bank in Sweden took a look at the tight results and concluded that a failure to bridge differences can’t be ruled out. “A highly protracted government formation process, or even another election, can’t be ruled out,” Anders Bergvall, a senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken, said in a note.

Lofven has tried through the campaign to shave off the two smaller alliance parties, the Center Party and the Liberals, from the center-right coalition. That has so far proved fruitless, but success will be key for him if he wants to survive a potential no confidence vote as soon as Sept. 25.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Back in 2000 Rage Against the Machine released the song Testify to protest at the lack of choice in the US presidential election, highlighting how small the difference was between opposing sides when centrist parties face off against each other in elections.

Photos last week of former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton sitting together at John McCain’s funeral and the absence of President Trump from the same event highlight just how much centrism has given way to the fringes of political views since the Financial Crisis.



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September 10 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Q2 2018 Market Review & Outlook

Thanks to a subscriber for this report from Morgan Creek Capital. Here is a section on blockchain:

With that kind of volatility being the norm in the current Bitcoin environment, we repeat what we wrote in January (and have tweeted very often) that it is important “to remember about Bitcoin is that the daily price is not really important, what is important is gaining ownership of the network as it develops. Think of it like an iPhone; when there was only one, the network had no value; two phones, still no value; a million phones, meaningful value; ten billion phones, huge value. The same applies to the network value of Bitcoin.” Most importantly, as millions of global users continue to buy into the Bitcoin network over time (remember U.S. is only 10% of the activity), the network value will continue to grow toward the logarithmic non-linear regression model target. New technological advances like the Lightning Network could speed adoption rates and raise the slope of the curve, but the Parabolic Growth Model points to network values of “$22k by the end of 2018, $41k by the end of 2019, $75k by the end of 2020 and $100k by the middle of 2021.” Last year we said that we could see Bitcoin reach “Gold Equivalence” (market cap of $8.4 trillion) within a decade and that would take the BTC price to $400k. Reviewing the network value model, we have since revised the forecast a bit and can see $250k by the middle of 2022 and $500k by the end of 2024. We tweeted this timetable in April and there was a little commotion about the shift, but we recently spoke with a crypto writer for the Street.com and they did an article on the entire model and thesis for the price movements that has gone a little viral and was even translated into many languages around the world (my favorite has been seeing it in Polish and knowing that would have made my Grandma Dombroski proud).

One thing to be very clear on here is that we are not making any absolute predictions about Bitcoin and we are definitely not making any promises to do something rash like Mr. McAfee has done (saying he will eat a sensitive body part live on the internet if BTC doesn’t hit $1 million by a certain date), but rather pointing out some very sound mathematics for how a network grows and how the value of that network could rise as user adoption increases.

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

There are three things you can see on a chart. What you want to see, what you think you are going to see and what is there. If we ignore price, then we are setting ourselves up for a fall into ideology or self-delusion, both of which can be deleterious to one’s wealth. The price contains all the information that is important to people right now.



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September 07 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 07 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Wage Growth is breaking out

September 07 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

MIT study sees nuclear power as integral to a low-carbon future

This article by David Szondy for NewAtlas.com may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Much of this is a matter of intense debate, but one big problem is that if the world is to invest in a policy of deep decarbonatization by the year 2050, there is a real chance it can only be done at either massive expense or the price of much less electricity being available at higher costs, lower standards of living in both the developed and developing world, and even a shrinking global economy.

To prevent this from happening, the MIT study says that nuclear power with its zero-carbon emissions must play a much larger role in electricity generation on a global scale. Today, the total share of global nuclear power as a primary energy source is a mere five percent, with very little growth in the West and some countries actually abandoning the technology.

Eoin Treacy's view -

If we wish to cut down on carbon emissions then renewables are certainly a way to do it but they do not get around the questions of sustaining base load when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine. That means we need to have a lot more industrial sized batteries to store energy for the proverbial “rainy day” or we need additional back up conventional generators. Nuclear is carbon neutral but is also prone to massive cost overruns and accidents, however rare, tend to influence public opinion for decades.



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September 07 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Sweden's Far Right Rises in a Campaign Defined by Immigration

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

Today, over a fifth of Sweden’s 10 million people have foreign roots and the migrant community is often poorly integrated.

Unemployment is around 4% among native Swedes but exceeds 16% among the foreign born, and 23% for non-European immigrants, despite generous subsidies for companies that hire migrants, said Tino Sanandaji, an economist who wrote an acclaimed book on immigration policy.

Concerns about immigration have boosted support for the Sweden Democrats and pushed parties that have supported immigration to harden their rhetoric. Ulf Kristersson, leader of the center-right opposition, said its past immigration policy has been “very unsuccessful.”

Eoin Treacy's view -

The revolt against the status quo has been variously described as populist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant and racist. However, the harsh reality is multiculturalism is too often a veil for racist tendencies that contribute to ghettos forming where immigrants have little hope of finding training or employment. That represents an existential challenge for the centrism that has prevailed in most liberal democracies over the last 40 years and it is not going to be corrected any time soon.



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September 07 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 06 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 6th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: FANGs losing commonality, China remains under pressure, Argentine Peso and Turkish Lira pause near lows, Europe remains weak with Germany testing an important area of potential support, gold steady, oil eases, Lumber limit down, 



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September 06 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Italy's Populists Begin Their Big Betrayal

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

The trouble is that Di Maio and Salvini’s comments run against pretty much anything they’ve promised voters. In May, they signed a coalition agreement that earmarked nearly 125 billion euros ($145bn) in tax cuts and new spending commitments, according to an independent estimate. True, they’ve always said this would be done over time. But it’s hard to see how this government will make good on anything but symbolic promises if it really means to stick to restraint.

Of course, the devil’s in the detail. Neither leader has clarified what budget deficit the government will target for 2019. Italy is expected to run a deficit of 0.8 percent next year, but this seems out of the question. Giovanni Tria, the technocratic finance minister, is said to favor staying below 2 percent, while some in Five Star and the League probably have something closer to 3 percent in mind. Expect months of wrangling – within government, and with the European Commission – to decide where exactly the line will be drawn.

Yet the political U-turn is clear. The League promised a “flat tax” throughout its electoral campaign to boost the economy. The coalition deal with Five Star had already watered this down into a tax system with two brackets. Now the budget is expected to deliver only minor tax cuts, most likely for the self-employed.

As for Five Star, it had championed a “citizens’ income” to help the unemployed and poorly paid. This will now probably be an extension of the existing income-support scheme passed by Paolo Gentiloni’s former center-left government. On pensions too, the two parties will have to cut back on earlier proposals to slash the retirement age.

Eoin Treacy's view -

The only possible way to hold onto the animus of a revolutionary movement is to sustain momentum. Whatever about one’s attitude towards Donald Trump he probably understands that basic premise more than any populist leader and is delivering, after a fashion, on his election promises. Combining left-wing and right-wing radicals in Italy appears to have resulted in them cancelling one another out and if they fail to deliver on their promises both parties are likely to be eviscerated at the next election.



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September 06 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Everybody Wants to Take a Bite Out of Big Tech

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

There are also signs that political backlash is contributing to shifting consumer sentiment about at least some of the U.S. internet powers. Pew Research Center in June said the vast majority of survey respondents who identify as Republicans or right-leaning independents believe social networks censor political speech that the companies find objectionable. (A majority of Democrats and left-leaning independents believed this, too.) The dominant belief that the internet powers are politically motivated censors is a dangerous phenomenon for tech companies.

In another worrisome sign, Pew this week released a survey of U.S. Facebook users that found 42 percent had taken a break from the social network for several weeks or more during the last year. Pew said that Republicans and Democrats were equally likely to have restricted their Facebook activity in some fashion. It’s one thing on which a divided nation can agree: Americans want to pull back from Facebook. 

Eoin Treacy's view -

Facebook, Alphabet, Twitter and Apple have volunteered to police their forums not least because they understandably wish to blunt accusations they influenced the result of the US Presidential election or the UK’s Brexit vote. However, the way in which this has been conducted has led to clear signs the companies are looking to curry political favour by silencing who they consider to be rabble rousing polemics.   



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September 06 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China's $29 Trillion Ball of Money Rolls to a Long-Ignored Haven

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

Bank deposits, shunned for years by the nation’s return-hungry masses, are suddenly looking attractive again as higher-yielding investments prove riskier than many had anticipated. China’s household deposits rose in July at the fastest annual rate in a year -- an influx that analysts say may accelerate after the nation’s stock market sank at the quickest pace worldwide, hundreds of peer-to-peer lending platforms shuttered and companies defaulted on their debt at an unprecedented rate.

“People around me are all asking the same question: Where is the safe place to put our hard-earned savings?’’ said Anna Teng, a 30-year-old marketing manager in Shanghai who’s been shifting her assets into deposits after losing about 20 percent on her equity investments since May and falling victim to a fraudulent P2P lending platform.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Chinese banks, particularly the mid-size and regional segment, need deposits so retail investors pulling out of high yield or high leverage instruments is good news on that front. However, the banks will also miss out on the fees they were collecting from those products and will therefore need to figure how to boost revenues somewhere else. Just how they are going to be able to do that when risk appetite is waning is rather a challenge.



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September 05 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 5th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: Wall Street eases back but some overbought conditions look ripe for reversions to the mean, emerging markets remain under pressure. China remains a weak link and Europe is at risk of contagion selling, Dollar eases, commodities steady.



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September 05 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Honey, I shrunk the stock market

This report from Navallier Calculated Investing is a promotional piece but it contains a number of interesting charts and statistics relating to share buybacks. Here is a section:  

Apple had completed $200 billion in share buy-backs since 2012. Apple’s cash hoard is so monstrous that six out of the 10 biggest share buy-backs in U.S. history were done by Apple. The $200 billion they’ve bought since 2012 is enough cash to buy all of Verizon, Coca-Cola, or Boeing. Chew on that for a minute.

Now, contemplate this: U.S. companies announced $201.3 billion in stock buybacks and cash takeovers in May 2018 alone. That’s a record monthly amount. Apple represents nearly half of that! Apple recently said it would buy back $100 billion more of its own stock. They didn’t specify when or how long that would take, but that’s about 10% of the market cap, currently at $1 trillion, the first trillion-dollar stock.

The buy-back announcements keep coming:
Broadcom (AVGO) pledged a $12 billion buy-back.
Micron (MU) pledged a $10 billion buy-back.
Facebook (FB) pledged a $9 billion buy-back.
T-Mobile (TMUS) pledged a $7.5 billion buy-back.
Qualcomm (QCOM) just upped the ante on their previous announcement to buy back $8.8 billion. On July 25th, 2018 QCOM said they would buy back $30 billion, more than 30% of the float!

Eoin Treacy's view -

Social media companies led an early pullback on the Nasdaq today as Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet were grilled in Washington. The questions being asked of these companies with regard to how they police their forums and the nature of the advertising being served to consumers/voters is understandably weighing on their performance. It is also leading to headlines along the lines of “technology stocks collapse” which if we look at the Nasdaq is clearly a case of hyperbole.



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September 05 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

JPMorgan, BlackRock Warn of Contagion Pummeling Emerging Markets

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

Some investors have seen the selloff as an opportunity to buy on the basis of stronger fundamentals, such as easing inflation, trade surpluses and widening growth differentials between emerging and developed markets.

"One of the interesting things contagion sets up is a selloff in the weak and the strong," said Arjun Jayaraman, who helps oversee $4.8 billion at Causeway Capital Management LLC in Los Angeles. "That’s when you have to step up and buy the strong currencies, the exporting, current-account surplus countries."

Stocks from India, South Korea and Taiwan look attractive in this environment, according to Jayaraman. Amoroso said investors will eventually want to step into local debt, while Goldberg said he would prefer hard-currency sovereign debt if trade concerns ease.

That may not be on the horizon yet. Pressure on emerging markets will probably persist for now, with Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and India among the weakest links, Wolfe Research strategists including Chris Senyek wrote in a note to clients. The New York-based firm said default probabilities in Asia, interbank lending markets in Europe and credit-default swap spreads from individual banks show some similarities with the 1997 emerging-market crisis, suggesting broader fragility in the asset class.

"Our EM ‘blow-up’ monitor suggests that weakness is spreading across the most vulnerable EM countries," Senyek said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

One of the reasons emerging markets are popular among global investors is because they hold out the potential to benefit from simultaneous capital and currency market appreciation as well as scope for higher yields to boost total return. However, when emerging market currencies decline they erode profit potential for these markets and foreign investors sell.



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September 05 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

UN holds emergency meeting as swine fever spreads in China

This article by Hudson Lockett for the Financial Times may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

While ASF is not a direct threat to human health it is a highly contagious viral disease that can devastate pig populations in regions where it has never before spread, including Asia. 

China has seen six outbreaks of the disease stretching from the first discovered in the country’s northeast at the beginning of August down to the province of Zhejiang, just south of Shanghai. The FAO said officials in China, which produces half the world’s pigs annually, had culled as many as 40,000 pigs so far in an attempt to control the disease.

“It’s critical that this region be ready for the very real possibility that ASF could jump the border into other countries,” said Wantanee Kalpravidh, regional manager in Asia for the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases. “That’s why this emergency meeting has been convened – to assess where we are now – and to determine how we can work together in a coordinated, regional response”.

Eoin Treacy's view -

In an industry the size of China’s 40,000 pigs is not a large number but the virulence of the disease and the geographic spread of cases suggest that this is a situation that has the potential to represent a significant challenge for animal health authorities, particularly if it continues to spread.



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Video commentary for September 4th 2018

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

Some of the topics discussed include: emerging market currency sell off continues with some evidence of contagion, precious metals fall in sympathy, crude oil hit a peak of near-term significance, Wall Street relative strength remains intact. bonds ease back.



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Musings From The Oil Patch September 4th 2018

We listened to Catherine Wood, founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, LLC, expound to CNBC anchors why her firm was adamantly opposed to Elon Musk’s proposal to take Tesla, Inc. (TSLA-Nasdaq) private.  Her argument was that ARK’s research showed that by 2023 annual electric vehicle (EV) sales would be 17 million units per year worldwide.  Tesla, because of its focus on software, its ability to collect the driving mileage of its vehicle purchasers, and its vision about Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), coupled with its ability to create a fleet of four million EV taxis, would be worth nearly $1 trillion, in less than five years, earning shareholders a 17-fold return from the current share price.  

The day following this interview, Mr. Musk announced he was dropping the idea of taking Tesla private.  He stated that he changed his mind because his shareholders told him that they didn’t want him to make such a move.  Was Ms. Wood one of those shareholders Mr. Musk decided to listen to?  He had spent an incredible amount of time and energy since his tweet about privatizing Tesla in preparing for the move, as well as defending himself from a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation about possible investment fraud.  That inquiry will not go away as easily as merely changing his mind, and we have yet to hear from the plaintiffs’ attorneys.  

Eoin Treacy's view -

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

The emissions cheating scandal and the increasing utility of electric vehicles means established auto manufacturers have to spend very large sums to retool and get electric vehicles to market. Audi announced yesterday it has started production of its electric SUV and Daimler said today that it is going to spend more than €10 billion to develop its electric vehicle fleet.



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Soon, the most beautiful people in the world may no longer be human

This article by Peter Holley for the Washington Post may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

But a British company that launched in April is already marketing itself as an alternative to human models. Irmaz Models calls itself an “Imagined Reality Modeling Agency.” The company’s website says its designers can “make faces to fit” any marketing campaign. Another advantage: Digital models “never argue, need to eat, throw tantrums or get tired,” the company notes.

“Brands can specify the look they’re exactly after, down to the race, gender and hairstyle,” Philip Jay, a former Playboy photographer who founded Irmaz Models with Irma Zucker, told CNN.

Kelvin Boon, the owner of Boon Models, an agency with branches in New York and the District, said he sifts through a daily stream of modeling portfolios in search of “quality models.” Aspiring models don’t always resemble their photos, he said, and those that do often require training before they’re ready for professional work.

If credible-looking digital models emerge, he said, “it’s going to affect the industry a lot.” Why, he asked, would a brand spend thousand of dollars to hire models and photographers for a single photo shoot when you can hire an artist to create images for far less?

Eoin Treacy's view -

This is a very emotive topic and the headline above is what my daughters refer to as clickbait. People love their heroes so brands will always be on the lookout for someone they think can epitomise their image. However, there is a lot of work that is oriented towards the online market where photos are routinely doctored anyway that is ripe for digitisation. 



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on chasing momentum:

“I am following your comments every day with great pleasure, your summaries give me an excellent picture what is going on, thanks. Question: I missed completely all the new technology shares - google, apple etc. frustrating. you highlighted “momentum shares” - would it be too aggressive to start to invest in these tech shares NOW? please advise without responsibility on your side, off course, or what are you doing now with liquidity - I sold real estate here in Switzerland and enjoy liquidity on the account. all the best”

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your successful property transaction. The question of whether to chase momentum at this stage in the cycle is the same as subscribing to the greater fool theory. The other side of that argument is in the latter stages of a bull market there are plenty of fools.



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on the yield curve spread chart

Does the chart library provide a yield curve item? If not, can you please recommend an alternative source? Many thanks

Eoin Treacy's view -

Thank you for this question which comes up from time to time. The most expedient way of creating the yield curve spread in the Chart Library is to save the spread as a Preset template. That way any time you wish to view the spread all you need do is look at the Chart of the US 10yr Treasury yield and click on your yield curve spread template from the Chart: drop down menu. Here is a video explaining how to create the chart.



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September 04 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 03 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

September 03 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

We May Be Facing a Textbook Emerging-Market Crisis

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

Total emerging-market borrowing increased from $21 trillion (or 145 percent of GDP) in 2007 to $63 trillion (210 percent of GDP) in 2017. Borrowings by non-financial corporations and households have jumped. Since 2007, the foreign-currency debt – in dollars, euros and yen – of these countries doubled to around $9 trillion. China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and some Eastern European countries have foreign-currency debt between 20 percent and 50 percent of GDP.

In all, EM borrowers need to repay or refinance around $1.5 trillion in debt in 2019 and again in 2020. Many are not earning enough to meet these commitments.

Turkey and Argentina have twin deficits (combined budget and current-account gaps as a percentage of GDP) of 8.7 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively, that require financing. Pakistan has a twin deficit well above 10 percent. Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Ukraine are at or above 5 percent on that basis. In India, if state governments are included the number approaches double figures. Those gauges are rising in China, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Poland.

Then look at reserve coverage – foreign-exchange holdings divided by 12-month funding needs for the current account, short-term debt maturities and amortization of long-term debt – which measures the capacity to meet immediate foreign-currency obligations. Turkey and Argentina score 0.4 and 0.6 respectively, meaning they can’t cover their needs without new borrowings. Pakistan, Ecuador, Poland, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa have reserve coverage of less than 1. Chile, Hungary, Colombia, Mexico and India have coverage of less than 2. Brazil and China come in at 2.5 and 3.1 times, respectively.

Even where reserve coverage appears adequate, caution is warranted. Long-term debt becomes short term with the passage of time or an acceleration event. Forex holdings may not be readily accessible. Much of China’s $3 trillion of reserves is committed to the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. The ability to turn U.S. Treasury bonds and other foreign assets into cash is limited by liquidity, price and currency effects. Reserve positions are notoriously opaque: In 1997, the Bank of Thailand was found to have grossly overstated available currency holdings.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Capital is both global and mobile. Quantitative easing programs did not just help to inflate asset prices in the regions the funds originated, but globally. When yields drop in region yield hungry investors are forced to look further afield for returns and emerging markets were a logical choice. That looked like a genius move until the Federal Reserve embarked on quantitative tightening which has reduced the supply of Dollars used to repay that debt.  



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September 03 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Italy Leaders Whipsaw Markets With Vows of Defiance, Reassurance

This article by Jerrold Colten and Kevin Costelloe for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

The coalition government’s fiscal plans have been an investor focus all summer, with bond yields pushed higher in response to the coalition government’s expensive election promises. On Friday, Fitch Ratings cited budget concerns as it changed its outlook on Italy to negative from stable -- the overall grade remains two notches above junk.

Salvini said Monday afternoon that the budget would lower taxes and respect “all the rules,” toning down his earlier rhetoric challenging the European Union’s restrictions. The Italian 10-year bond immediately rose, sending yields down about 5 basis points to 3.18 percent. That compares with 2.7 percent on June 1 when the government was sworn in.

Finance Minister Giovanni Tria is fighting to contain public spending and he said in an interview with La Repubblica that bonds will rise further when investors see the details of the 2019 budget.

“Budget stability will be respected,” he said. Tria, an economics professor drafted at a late stage of the coalition negotiations, is trying to rein in the ambitions of Salvini and Luigi Di Maio of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, though he lacks the political muscle of the two populist party leaders. The government is due to set new public- finance and economic-growth targets by Sept. 27 and submit a draft budget to the European Commission by Oct. 15.

Eoin Treacy's view -

I can’t help but think of the exchanges going on in Italy between the leaders of the two populist parties and their finance minister as the equivalent of a British Christmas pantomime. “Oh yes, we will” to which the only riposte is “oh no you won’t.”



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September 03 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Stock Rally in India Faces Hurdles Despite World-Beating Growth

This article by Ravil Shirodkar and Nupur Acharya for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:

About three-fourths of 50 Nifty members reported results that either beat or met earnings estimates in the June quarter, the highest proportion in at least three quarters, according to calculations by Bloomberg Quint. The “upcycle could be quite significant, a contrast to most parts of the world” as the share of corporate profits in India’s GDP is close to all-time lows, according to Morgan Stanley. For now, the rally has outpaced the outlook for profit growth, with UBS saying consensus earnings for Nifty are likely to be cut 7-8 percent.

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While Indian equities have traditionally traded at a premium to Asian peers because of the nation’s potential for faster economic growth, the valuation gap between MSCI India Index and MSCI Emerging Markets Index has widened to the highest in a decade, Citigroup Inc. said in an Aug. 20 note. Global uncertainties and rich valuations before a general election next year are “enough reasons to be cautious in equities,” the bank said.

Eoin Treacy's view -

India is a high growth market with a well-established domestic consumer market and is in the middle of a digital revolution following the rollout of 4G mobile internet. However, that does not mean it is immune from the occasional bout of volatility.



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August 31 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

August 31 2018

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Apple, Oracle Dump Bonds and Create $300 Billion Hole in Market

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

That wave of money, the directional change of fund flows hasn’t really kicked into gear yet,” said Saperstein, who helps manage about $10 billion, most of which is invested in corporate debt maturing in less than three years. “If the flow of money accelerates further and there isn’t enough absorption, spreads will widen.”

The cash-rich tech giants parked an increasing amount of their wealth into corporate debt in recent years as yields on safer investments like Treasuries shriveled -- a byproduct of central banks’ unprecedented efforts to keep rates low after the global financial crisis. Apple alone held more than $150 billion in corporates, exceeding some of the world’s biggest debt funds.

That started changing earlier this year after a Republican- led tax overhaul in the U.S. offered companies a break on the taxes they’d need to pay to repatriate their overseas profits.

Within the first three months, companies had already brought back a record $306 billion of dividends received from abroad, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The total could reach $700 billion by year-end, according to Strategas Securities.

Eoin Treacy's view -

Removing a major source of demand from the market for anything is likely to have a knock-on effect for prices. The short-term corporate bond market is no exception and the repatriation of overseas profits is a significant issue for issuers who had been relying on big tech companies to buy their paper.



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