Sunday, December 31, 2017

WHAT is in store for economies and markets in 2018?

Of all sound of all bells ... most solemn and touching is the peal at chez Vicki & George which rings out the Old Year.
— Charles Lamb, who died  in 1834 (quote from the Wylie's Baths)

Pennsylvania woman gets $284bn electricity bill BBC

By Ross Gittins - Keynes or Keynesian isn't a dirty word

BHP's Andrew Mackenzie joins 'stramash' over Western values 
"The international world order is under a lot of threat right now," BHP's chief executive warned in a sweeping pre-Christmas interview with AFR Weekend. "China has a degree of self confidence, some of which is good and, you know, good for us. The drive they have to build their economy, the dynamism ...

24/7 Wall St:  “…The typical CEO of such a company earns $11 million a year — nearly 200 times the $57,617 the typical American household earns a year. The stark difference in compensation only appears to be growing wider. CEO pay increased by 6% in 2016, compared to a 3% increase in earnings for the typical American household. While many working Americans might receive an annual cost of living salary bump, CEOs are used to far bigger raises…24/7 Wall St. reviewed CEO compensation for the 200 largest publicly traded U.S. companies by revenue to identify the highest paid chief executive officers. Compensation figures, which include salaries, bonuses, incentives, and stock options, came from Equilar, an executive compensation data firm…”

Another Imrich family member makes it big in 2017 as Gina Rinehart adds $3.5bn to fortune in a year: Bloomberg Billionaires Index

The richest people on earth became $1 trillion richer in 2017, more than four times last year’s gain, as stock markets shrugged off economic, social and political divisions to reach record highs. The 23 percent increase on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 500 richest people, compares with an almost 20 percent increase for both the MSCI World Index and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.”

O, Brave Old World! Conquering age through curiosity 

Happy forecasting 2018: you couldn’t ask for better conditions to make money SCMP

The Bonfire of the Vanities,’ 30 Years Later

Why Dylan Matters by Richard F Thomas review – Virgil, Homer, Ovid… Dylan? | Books | The Guardian

 Academics have picked over Dylan’s songs in the past, most notably the Cambridge don Christopher Ricks, who made heavy work of the myriad allusions therein in his grandly titled Dylan’s Visions of Sin. In the wake of the Nobel prize in literature controversy, Thomas’s timely book goes further by attempting, though not always convincingly, to recast Dylan as an heir to Virgil and Homer. “He is part of that classical stream,” asserts Thomas, “whose spring starts out in Greece and Rome and flows on down though the years...”

Eating kale and other leafy greens could keep your brain young

How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere.

What have you LEARNED from 2017?

No doubt you have worked hard. You have challenged your creativity, stretched every penny, and exhausted every option. Good job! So, in these last two weeks of this year, how about taking a moment to ... read more

 Australian cryptocurrency traders are running into problems depositing money, with at least one local exchange freezing “all forms of AUD deposits” until 2018.

Hundreds of traders have taken to social media and Reddit since Christmas to raise concerns about the apparent freezes, which one Twitter user linked to actions by Australia’s big four banks.
However, there is uncertainty over the extent of any crackdown by banks on cryptocurrency trading.
The problems coincided with ongoing high levels of interest in cryptocurrency trading as well as a sharp drop in the value of Bitcoin.
Australian crypto exchange CoinSpot announced a “temporary restriction” on AUD deposits before Christmas, and has now indicated the restrictions “will remain in effect until at least the first week of the new year.”
The exchange attributed the issue to its “banking partner”.
“We assure you we are just as unhappy with the situation as you but unfortunately Australian banks have been so far unwilling to work with the digital currency industry which leads to frequent account closures and strict limits on accounts whilst they remain operational, in effect debanking our industry,” CoinSpot said in a statement.
“We will continue to work on establishing a relationship with a banking partner so we can resume accepting AUD deposits as soon as possible.”
Fellow Australian exchange BTC Markets shut AUD deposits via Australian payments gateway POLi on December 22, noting later the deposit method was being “reviewed”.
It advised users to deposit funds via BPAY instead.
POLi has run into problems with banks before. As recently as November,ANZ warned against using the service.
There were also some issues reported with BPAY transactions, however they appeared to be the result of Australian public holidays and large volumes.
One iTnews reader said he had been notified that EFT for AUD was no longer possible on his chosen service due to “new restrictions imposed by certain US intermediary banks that have decided to stop providing their support to trades related to cryptocurrencies”.
The issue with intermediary banks refusing to process transactions to crypto exchanges was common throughout 2017, and may be unrelated to this current batch of AUD processing problems.

   WHAT is in store for economies and markets in 2018? Around this time of year, a large number of analysts and fund managers are giving their views. Among the most interesting and thoughtful approaches can be found at Absolute Strategy Research (ASR), an independent group founded by David Bowers and Ian Harnett.

ASR adds extra depth to its analysis by contrasting its own views with those of the consensus. To do so, the group polled 229 asset allocators, managing around $6trn of assets, for their views on the outlook for economies and markets. They found a groundswell of optimism; the probability of equities being higher by the end of 2018 was 61%, and that shares will beat bonds is 70%. The allocators think there is only a 27% chance of a global recession. And they are not worried about the prospect of the Federal Reserve pushing up interest rates.
There are some disconnects within the consensus view. The first is that investors expect volatility (as measured by the Vix) to rise next year. Usually, equities struggle in such...WHAT is in store for economies and markets in 2018?

2018: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? When we thought the world couldn’t get crazier after 2016, 2017 blew it out of the water. Chances are good we’re in for more.

2018 Politics May Look a Little Different