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  • 22.02.2020 | 3 Things Under the Radar This Week




    By Yasin Ebrahim and Kim Khan Investing.com - Financial markets found themselves at the mercy of coronavirus headlines once again this week. But digging deeper in some market-moving events, the U.S. dollar saw a swift change of its narrative as weekly trading came to a close. Amusement park icon Six Flags admitted that its thrill-ride business needs a major rethink. And Hong Kong faces not just a dearth of visitors, but pessimistic locals. Here are three things that flew under the radar this week. 1. Dollar Gets a Gut Check The U.S. dollar index surged earlier this week, setting it sights on the 100 handle, a level it has not breached in nearly three years. But its stumble on Friday has many debating whether the greenback's rally is sustainable. For the majority of managers on Wall Street, the greenback's rally is on borrowed time, according to a Bank of America fund manager survey. A net 54% of respondents surveyed in February said the dollar was overvalued, up one percentage point since the last survey and the second-highest reading since 2002, BofA said. Concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on global growth has sparked a bid in the dollar as a safe-haven investment in recent weeks, according to the survey respondents. The rise in the dollar caught Wall Street by surprise. Toward the end of last year, many were betting on the dollar to falter in 2020 on expectations that easing U.S.-China trade tensions would support global growth, sparking a rebound in global economies, some of which sport unattractive negative rates (like the EU). But the spread of the coronavirus and its potential impact on the global economy has undermined those bets. The ratio of the MSCI US Index to the MSCI World Index, excluding the U.S., rose to a record high of 1.6, suggesting yield-starved investors view the U.S., and by extension the dollar, as the only game in town. "Currencies are weakening on incoming bad data that leads to inflows into dollar assets," Ben Emons, global macro strategist at Medley Global Advisors, wrote. Others agree and expect the dollar to continue racking up gains against its rivals, with the euro feared to add to recent losses. "Since data will most likely show the divergence between the eurozone and U.S. economies widening in the coming weeks, further losses are likely," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management. 2. Six Surrender Flags Investors likely saw the big drop in shares of theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX) (and the obligatory accompanying roller-coaster jokes). But given how double-digit percentage moves in stocks are common lately, the scope of the fundamental problems the company is facing might have been overlooked. The company reported earnings on Thursday and the bottom line was a very unpleasant surprise. Six Flags reported a loss of 13 cents per share, compared with expectations for a profit of 15 cents per share, according to analysts forecasts compiled by Investing.com. It also announced it was slashing its dividend by 70% to 25 cents per share and that its chief financial officer was leaving There are big problems with its project to open theme parks in China, as its partner in the country defaulted on payment obligations. There will be no revenue or income from China park developments in 2020, Six Flags said. But even more concerning, its “base business” – the core (ahem, flagship) parks like Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Great Adventure -- is struggling. Attendance, guest spending per capita and revenue were flat in 2019. And this year the company predicts “operating cost headwinds, including higher wages and increased investment in the parks to improve the guest experience.” All this is leading Six Flags to overhaul its strategy, with a new plan to be unveiled at its investor day on May 28. Piling onto the pessimism today, S&P put its current BB credit rating for the company’s debt on review at CreditWatch negative. That could mean a downgrade if S&P isn’t convinced Six Flags can stop erosion in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). But after all that there are already some betting the turnaround will be a success. After Thursday’s plunge, shares closed up 2.3% Friday. 3. Hong Kong Ghost Town? While supply-chain questions abound about mainland China and the effects of Covid-19, Hong Kong is providing an illustration on what can happen to a financial center during a possible pandemic. Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders tweeted this week, illustrating the enormous plunge in daily visits to Hong Kong. Citing a chart from Christophe Barraud, chief economist and strategist at Market Securities, which used preliminary data from the Hong Kong Tourist Board, the island is seeing just 3,000 people visit per day. That’s a “nearly 99% drop from February last year when about (200,000) people visited per day,” Sonders tweeted. That may not be affecting financial market activity as much, with many in the sector living there or able to meet and work remotely. But the impact on the businesses that provide services to financial workers will be huge. Looking at a longer-term picture, Sonders tweeted a chart showing the rise in pessimism about Hong Kong’s economy. The chart from Statista showed that the percentage of people who think the local Hong Kong economy is getting worse jumped to 79% in 2019 from 23% in 2006. Those who think the economy is getting better fell to 12% from 63%. The percentage of those who think it’s about the same dipped slightly to 7% from 9%.   © Reuters.   https://quantsalus.com/...

    By Yasin Ebrahim and Kim Khan

    Investing.com - Financial markets found themselves at the mercy of coronavirus headlines once again this week.

    But digging deeper in some market-moving events, the U.S. dollar saw a swift change of its narrative as weekly trading came to a close.

    Amusement park icon Six Flags admitted that its thrill-ride business needs a major rethink.

    And Hong Kong faces not just a dearth of visitors, but pessimistic locals.

    Here are three things that flew under the radar this week.

    1. Dollar Gets a Gut Check

    The U.S. dollar index surged earlier this week, setting it sights on the 100 handle, a level it has not breached in nearly three years. But its stumble on Friday has many debating whether the greenback's rally is sustainable.

    For the majority of managers on Wall Street, the greenback's rally is on borrowed time, according to a Bank of America fund manager survey.

    A net 54% of respondents surveyed in February said the dollar was overvalued, up one percentage point since the last survey and the second-highest reading since 2002, BofA said.

    Concerns about the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on global growth has sparked a bid in the dollar as a safe-haven investment in recent weeks, according to the survey respondents.

    The rise in the dollar caught Wall Street by surprise.

    Toward the end of last year, many were betting on the dollar to falter in 2020 on expectations that easing U.S.-China trade tensions would support global growth, sparking a rebound in global economies, some of which sport unattractive negative rates (like the EU).

    But the spread of the coronavirus and its potential impact on the global economy has undermined those bets.

    The ratio of the MSCI US Index to the MSCI World Index, excluding the U.S., rose to a record high of 1.6, suggesting yield-starved investors view the U.S., and by extension the dollar, as the only game in town.

    "Currencies are weakening on incoming bad data that leads to inflows into dollar assets," Ben Emons, global macro strategist at Medley Global Advisors, wrote.

    Others agree and expect the dollar to continue racking up gains against its rivals, with the euro feared to add to recent losses.

    "Since data will most likely show the divergence between the eurozone and U.S. economies widening in the coming weeks, further losses are likely," said Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management.

    2. Six Surrender Flags

    Investors likely saw the big drop in shares of theme park operator Six Flags Entertainment (NYSE:SIX) (and the obligatory accompanying roller-coaster jokes). But given how double-digit percentage moves in stocks are common lately, the scope of the fundamental problems the company is facing might have been overlooked.

    The company reported earnings on Thursday and the bottom line was a very unpleasant surprise.

    Six Flags reported a loss of 13 cents per share, compared with expectations for a profit of 15 cents per share, according to analysts forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

    It also announced it was slashing its dividend by 70% to 25 cents per share and that its chief financial officer was leaving

    There are big problems with its project to open theme parks in China, as its partner in the country defaulted on payment obligations. There will be no revenue or income from China park developments in 2020, Six Flags said.

    But even more concerning, its “base business” – the core (ahem, flagship) parks like Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags Great Adventure -- is struggling. Attendance, guest spending per capita and revenue were flat in 2019.

    And this year the company predicts “operating cost headwinds, including higher wages and increased investment in the parks to improve the guest experience.”

    All this is leading Six Flags to overhaul its strategy, with a new plan to be unveiled at its investor day on May 28.

    Piling onto the pessimism today, S&P put its current BB credit rating for the company’s debt on review at CreditWatch negative. That could mean a downgrade if S&P isn’t convinced Six Flags can stop erosion in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

    But after all that there are already some betting the turnaround will be a success.

    After Thursday’s plunge, shares closed up 2.3% Friday.

    3. Hong Kong Ghost Town?

    While supply-chain questions abound about mainland China and the effects of Covid-19, Hong Kong is providing an illustration on what can happen to a financial center during a possible pandemic.

    Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders tweeted this week, illustrating the enormous plunge in daily visits to Hong Kong.

    Citing a chart from Christophe Barraud, chief economist and strategist at Market Securities, which used preliminary data from the Hong Kong Tourist Board, the island is seeing just 3,000 people visit per day.

    That’s a “nearly 99% drop from February last year when about (200,000) people visited per day,” Sonders tweeted.

    That may not be affecting financial market activity as much, with many in the sector living there or able to meet and work remotely. But the impact on the businesses that provide services to financial workers will be huge.

    Looking at a longer-term picture, Sonders tweeted a chart showing the rise in pessimism about Hong Kong’s economy.

    The chart from Statista showed that the percentage of people who think the local Hong Kong economy is getting worse jumped to 79% in 2019 from 23% in 2006.

    Those who think the economy is getting better fell to 12% from 63%.

    The percentage of those who think it’s about the same dipped slightly to 7% from 9%.

     

    © Reuters.

     

    https://quantsalus.com/


    03.02.2020 | OPEC may deepen production cuts as global oil demand at risk




    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies could reportedly cut their oil output by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to the impact on oil demand from the deadly coronavirus. Sources told CNBC that the cartel considers holding a ministerial meeting on February 14-15, almost a month earlier than scheduled. "I think it is a 'go big or go home' moment for the organization," said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets. "If you are going the route of an extraordinary meeting, you will have to come up with a substantial reduction in order to prevent the market from further tanking," she said, adding that OPEC may potentially cut production in the "1 million (barrel) plus range" this month. Oil has fallen $10 a barrel this year to $56, lower than the level many OPEC countries need to balance their budgets. Benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.3 percent lower on Monday at $55.84 a barrel. It is now at its lowest level since January 2019. US West Texas Intermediate was down almost one percent trading at $51.17 a barrel. It has fallen more than 15 percent since the start of the year. Analysts and traders project the coronavirus outbreak in China could cut oil demand by more than 250,000 bpd in the first quarter. OPEC member Iran said the spread of coronavirus had hit oil demand. "The oil market is under pressure and prices have dropped to under $60 a barrel and efforts must be made to balance it," said Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh. OPEC and other major oil producers, referred to as OPEC+, have been reducing oil supply to support prices. They agreed in December to cut output by 1.7 million bpd until the end of March. The next meeting was scheduled for March 5-6. Russia, which is the biggest non-OPEC producer, said on Friday it was ready to bring forward the OPEC+ meetings to February.   ©  Reuters https://quantsalus.com/about/...

    The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies could reportedly cut their oil output by a further 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to the impact on oil demand from the deadly coronavirus.

    Sources told CNBC that the cartel considers holding a ministerial meeting on February 14-15, almost a month earlier than scheduled.

    "I think it is a 'go big or go home' moment for the organization," said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

    "If you are going the route of an extraordinary meeting, you will have to come up with a substantial reduction in order to prevent the market from further tanking," she said, adding that OPEC may potentially cut production in the "1 million (barrel) plus range" this month.

    Oil has fallen $10 a barrel this year to $56, lower than the level many OPEC countries need to balance their budgets. Benchmark Brent crude was trading 1.3 percent lower on Monday at $55.84 a barrel. It is now at its lowest level since January 2019.

    US West Texas Intermediate was down almost one percent trading at $51.17 a barrel. It has fallen more than 15 percent since the start of the year.

    Analysts and traders project the coronavirus outbreak in China could cut oil demand by more than 250,000 bpd in the first quarter.

    OPEC member Iran said the spread of coronavirus had hit oil demand. "The oil market is under pressure and prices have dropped to under $60 a barrel and efforts must be made to balance it," said Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh.

    OPEC and other major oil producers, referred to as OPEC+, have been reducing oil supply to support prices. They agreed in December to cut output by 1.7 million bpd until the end of March. The next meeting was scheduled for March 5-6. Russia, which is the biggest non-OPEC producer, said on Friday it was ready to bring forward the OPEC+ meetings to February.

     


    29.01.2020 | EU defies US calls to ban Huawei, granting Chinese tech firm limited role in 5G rollout




    The European Commission has issued its guidance on 5G and the role that “high-risk” vendors should play in networks. It followed the UK’s lead in stopping short of recommending a ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei. Member states should agree on the best way to secure their 5G networks by April 30 and report on their progress by June, the EC said. The non-binding recommendations set out by the European Commission call for “relevant restrictions” to be applied at the national and EU-wide level to “high-risk” suppliers without specifying any companies. “Today we are equipping EU member states, telecoms operators and users with the tools to build and protect a European infrastructure with the highest security standards so we all fully benefit from the potential that 5G has to offer,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager added: “We can do great things with 5G. The technology supports personalized medicines, precision agriculture and energy grids that can integrate all kinds of renewable energy.” According to Vestager, “This will make a positive difference. But only if we can make our networks secure. Only then will the digital changes benefit all citizens.”Huawei welcomed the decision, saying in a statement: “This non-biased and fact-based approach towards 5G security allows Europe to have a more secure and faster 5G network.” The EU’s announcement follows the UK’s decision on Tuesday to give the Chinese tech giant a limited role in 5G roll-out. Both the UK and EU ruled in defiance of pressure from Washington to ban Huawei, which the US claims poses a security risk. Huawei has consistently said that it is a private company and is not subject to Chinese state interference.   © Reuters / Dado Ruvic   https://quantsalus.com/rules/...

    The European Commission has issued its guidance on 5G and the role that “high-risk” vendors should play in networks. It followed the UK’s lead in stopping short of recommending a ban on Chinese tech giant Huawei.

    Member states should agree on the best way to secure their 5G networks by April 30 and report on their progress by June, the EC said.

    The non-binding recommendations set out by the European Commission call for “relevant restrictions” to be applied at the national and EU-wide level to “high-risk” suppliers without specifying any companies.

    “Today we are equipping EU member states, telecoms operators and users with the tools to build and protect a European infrastructure with the highest security standards so we all fully benefit from the potential that 5G has to offer,” EU industry chief Thierry Breton said.
    European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager added: “We can do great things with 5G. The technology supports personalized medicines, precision agriculture and energy grids that can integrate all kinds of renewable energy.” According to Vestager, “This will make a positive difference. But only if we can make our networks secure. Only then will the digital changes benefit all citizens.”
    Huawei welcomed the decision, saying in a statement: “This non-biased and fact-based approach towards 5G security allows Europe to have a more secure and faster 5G network.”

    The EU’s announcement follows the UK’s decision on Tuesday to give the Chinese tech giant a limited role in 5G roll-out.

    Both the UK and EU ruled in defiance of pressure from Washington to ban Huawei, which the US claims poses a security risk. Huawei has consistently said that it is a private company and is not subject to Chinese state interference.

     

    © Reuters / Dado Ruvic

     

    https://quantsalus.com/rules/


    26.01.2020 | 'Cash is trash', says billionaire investor Ray Dalio




    Investors shouldn't miss out on the strength of the current stock market, according to the head of one of the world's largest hedge funds Ray Dalio. He advises people to dump cash for a diversified portfolio. "Everybody is missing out, so everybody wants to get in," Dalio told CNBC, referring to people who have been reluctant to put money in stocks. "You have to have balance... and I think you have to have a certain amount of gold in your portfolio," said the founder of Bridgewater Associates. Dalio has been bullish about the yellow metal, advocating for nearly three years that between five and 10 percent of investors' portfolios should be in gold. He has warned that investors should get out of cash, as central banks continue to print money. "Cash is trash. Get out of cash. There's still a lot of money in cash," he said. The billionaire also warned against more speculative investments like bitcoin. "There are two purposes of money, a medium of exchange and a store hold of wealth, and bitcoin is not effective in either of those cases now," he said. Dalio's firm, Bridgewater, manages about $160 billion. He has been repeatedly calling for investors to avoid staying on the sidelines of the stock market and in 2018 declared that those holding cash were "going to feel pretty stupid" for missing the market's run-up. Although the American investor said that he sees a low chance of a recession in 2020, he warned investors to look out further ahead. The risks arise from current monetary policy, which will be less effective when a downturn does come. "At a point in the future, we still are going to think about what's a storeholder of wealth. Because when you get negative-yielding bonds or something, we are approaching a limit that will be a paradigm shift," he said.   © Getty Images / ohmygouche https://quantsalus.com/faq/...

    Investors shouldn't miss out on the strength of the current stock market, according to the head of one of the world's largest hedge funds Ray Dalio. He advises people to dump cash for a diversified portfolio.

    "Everybody is missing out, so everybody wants to get in," Dalio told CNBC, referring to people who have been reluctant to put money in stocks.

    "You have to have balance... and I think you have to have a certain amount of gold in your portfolio," said the founder of Bridgewater Associates.

    Dalio has been bullish about the yellow metal, advocating for nearly three years that between five and 10 percent of investors' portfolios should be in gold.

    He has warned that investors should get out of cash, as central banks continue to print money. "Cash is trash. Get out of cash. There's still a lot of money in cash," he said.

    The billionaire also warned against more speculative investments like bitcoin. "There are two purposes of money, a medium of exchange and a store hold of wealth, and bitcoin is not effective in either of those cases now," he said.

    Dalio's firm, Bridgewater, manages about $160 billion. He has been repeatedly calling for investors to avoid staying on the sidelines of the stock market and in 2018 declared that those holding cash were "going to feel pretty stupid" for missing the market's run-up.

    Although the American investor said that he sees a low chance of a recession in 2020, he warned investors to look out further ahead. The risks arise from current monetary policy, which will be less effective when a downturn does come.

    "At a point in the future, we still are going to think about what's a storeholder of wealth. Because when you get negative-yielding bonds or something, we are approaching a limit that will be a paradigm shift," he said.

     


    22.01.2020 | Can cryptocurrencies protect countries from US sanctions? RTs Boom Bust finds out




    RT’s Boom Bust has sat in with the CEO of cryptocurrency aggregator Bitsian to discuss how nations facing tough US sanctions have been exploring cryptocurrencies in attempt to shield their economies from damage. “These countries are looking at this as a way to avoid sanctions, but also these are countries, where their own sovereign currencies are facing huge amount of devaluation and lack of trust by their own people,” Raakhee Miller told Boom Bust. The CEO said that countries such as Venezuela and Iran face a “flight-to-quality” so bitcoin becomes more trustworthy for people to keep their assets. However, it is still unclear if this will help to fully skirt the economic restrictions. “[If] this is a means to avoid sanctions and to make their banking system more sanction-proof is yet to be seen, because at the end of the day the currencies are backed by the same sovereign currencies which are facing these issues. So, it remains to be seen whether this will be effective in any major cross border transactions,” Miller said.   © Pexels   https://quantsalus.com/news/...

    RT’s Boom Bust has sat in with the CEO of cryptocurrency aggregator Bitsian to discuss how nations facing tough US sanctions have been exploring cryptocurrencies in attempt to shield their economies from damage.

    “These countries are looking at this as a way to avoid sanctions, but also these are countries, where their own sovereign currencies are facing huge amount of devaluation and lack of trust by their own people,” Raakhee Miller told Boom Bust.

    The CEO said that countries such as Venezuela and Iran face a “flight-to-quality” so bitcoin becomes more trustworthy for people to keep their assets. However, it is still unclear if this will help to fully skirt the economic restrictions.

    “[If] this is a means to avoid sanctions and to make their banking system more sanction-proof is yet to be seen, because at the end of the day the currencies are backed by the same sovereign currencies which are facing these issues. So, it remains to be seen whether this will be effective in any major cross border transactions,” Miller said.

     

    © Pexels

     

    https://quantsalus.com/news/


    21.01.2020 | Trump urges Europe to buy American natural gas to ensure their energy security




    European countries should rely on US gas imports to ensure their energy security, US President Donald Trump announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos. “With an abundance of American natural gas now available European allies no longer have to be vulnerable to unfriendly energy suppliers,” Trump told the audience as he boasted that the US had outpaced other countries “by far” in oil and gas production. The statement falls in line with US efforts to boost its energy shipments to Europe, especially imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Meanwhile, many European nations have already stressed that they want to diversify their sources of energy, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia could be one of the ways to achieve this. However, Washington has recently issued an ultimatum to European companies involved in the Russia-led project, threatening to impose harsh sanctions on them unless they ditch it. Fearing the restrictions, the Swiss-Dutch company Allseas stopped all work on the final stages of the project and withdrew its vessels from the construction area in the Baltic Sea in December. The US approach has already been criticized in Europe, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that “sanctions are the wrong way to go.” As she met Russian President Vladimir Putin, she also stressed that Nord Stream 2 is set be finished against all odds by the end of 2020 or early 2021.   FILE PHOTO: LNG vessel © Global Look Press / Michael Weber   https://quantsalus.com/contacts/...

    European countries should rely on US gas imports to ensure their energy security, US President Donald Trump announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    “With an abundance of American natural gas now available European allies no longer have to be vulnerable to unfriendly energy suppliers,” Trump told the audience as he boasted that the US had outpaced other countries “by far” in oil and gas production.

    The statement falls in line with US efforts to boost its energy shipments to Europe, especially imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Meanwhile, many European nations have already stressed that they want to diversify their sources of energy, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia could be one of the ways to achieve this.

    However, Washington has recently issued an ultimatum to European companies involved in the Russia-led project, threatening to impose harsh sanctions on them unless they ditch it. Fearing the restrictions, the Swiss-Dutch company Allseas stopped all work on the final stages of the project and withdrew its vessels from the construction area in the Baltic Sea in December.

    The US approach has already been criticized in Europe, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that “sanctions are the wrong way to go.” As she met Russian President Vladimir Putin, she also stressed that Nord Stream 2 is set be finished against all odds by the end of 2020 or early 2021.

     

    FILE PHOTO: LNG vessel © Global Look Press / Michael Weber

     

    https://quantsalus.com/contacts/


    12.01.2020 | Worlds super-rich are hoarding physical gold in secret bunkers




    The strategic case for owning gold remains strong, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. They point to such factors as political uncertainty, recession fears and other worries among the global elite. Data from Goldman research showed that owning the physical metal seems to be the global elite’s preferred way to hedge against tail events. Physical buying of gold has increased at a rapid pace in the past three years, statistics showed. "Since the end of 2016 the implied build in non-transparent gold investment has been much larger than the build in visible gold ETFs (Exchange-traded funds)," Goldman said in a note sent to clients and seen by Yahoo Finance. That simply means that for those including gold in their luxurious bunkers, demand for which has been growing at a fast pace, owning bullion is a must. "This [data] is consistent with reports that vault demand globally is surging," Goldman said. Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas-based Rising S Company, told CNN that 2016 sales for their custom high-end underground bunkers grew 700 percent compared to 2015, while overall sales have grown 300 percent since the November US presidential election alone. "Political risks, in our view, help explain this, because if an individual is trying to minimize the risks of sanctions or wealth taxes, then buying physical gold bars and storing them in a vault - where it is more difficult for governments to reach them - makes sense.” The investment bank added: "Finally, this build can also reflect hedges by global high net worth individuals against tail economic and political risk scenarios in which they do not want to have any financial entity intermediating their gold positions due to the counter-party credit risk involved."   © Getty Images / Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm   https://quantsalus.com/...

    The strategic case for owning gold remains strong, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs. They point to such factors as political uncertainty, recession fears and other worries among the global elite.

    Data from Goldman research showed that owning the physical metal seems to be the global elite’s preferred way to hedge against tail events. Physical buying of gold has increased at a rapid pace in the past three years, statistics showed.

    "Since the end of 2016 the implied build in non-transparent gold investment has been much larger than the build in visible gold ETFs (Exchange-traded funds)," Goldman said in a note sent to clients and seen by Yahoo Finance.

    That simply means that for those including gold in their luxurious bunkers, demand for which has been growing at a fast pace, owning bullion is a must.

    "This [data] is consistent with reports that vault demand globally is surging," Goldman said.

    Gary Lynch, general manager of Texas-based Rising S Company, told CNN that 2016 sales for their custom high-end underground bunkers grew 700 percent compared to 2015, while overall sales have grown 300 percent since the November US presidential election alone.

    "Political risks, in our view, help explain this, because if an individual is trying to minimize the risks of sanctions or wealth taxes, then buying physical gold bars and storing them in a vault - where it is more difficult for governments to reach them - makes sense.”

    The investment bank added: "Finally, this build can also reflect hedges by global high net worth individuals against tail economic and political risk scenarios in which they do not want to have any financial entity intermediating their gold positions due to the counter-party credit risk involved."

     

    © Getty Images / Jose Luis Stephens / EyeEm

     

    https://quantsalus.com/


    07.01.2020 | UK media uses Christopher Steele (of all people!) to push new conspiracy theory about Cambridge Anal




    y Dr Norman Lewis, writer, speaker and consultant on innovation and technology, was most recently a Director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he set up and led their crowdsourced innovation service. Prior to this he was the Director of Technology Research at Orange. A fresh Cambridge Analytica leak of more than 100,000 documents exposing its work in 68 countries claims to show that global electoral manipulation is now on an ‘industrial scale’ and ‘is totally out of control’. Is it really? 100K documents leaked  Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist for the Observer, the Guardian’s sister paper, whose exposure of Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of 87 million Facebook profiles brought the company down in 2018, is making these claims after a raft of documents from Brittany Kaiser, an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower, began to appear on an anonymous Twitter account on New Year’s Day. The leaks from the now-defunct data firm are supposedly ‘explosive.’ They contain material on elections in Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. Apparently, they expose the inner workings of the data company and lay bare the global infrastructure of voter manipulation. The documents retrieved from Kaiser’s email accounts and hard drives, are only the start of thousands more to come. According to Kaiser, these reveal the true depth of the sinister data firm’s operation that go ‘way beyond what people think they know about ‘the Cambridge Analytica scandal.’  Who needs proof?  Well, if there is one thing we definitely do know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it is that there has not been one piece of evidence to show how the firm used Facebook data to manipulate voters in the Trump election or during the Brexit referendum. To this day, no one can show who was targeted. With what ads? In what locations? There is no clear picture what Cambridge Analytica did for Trump. Or what it did in any of the dozens of elections worldwide it claimed to have worked on. This ‘infrastructure of subversion’ on an industrial scale is a chimera of innuendo, paranoia, and wild assertions with no evidence that it manipulates anyone, that is, apart from the gullible political parties who have paid millions on the very stupid idea that voters could be manipulated to control outcomes.  But who needs facts? Certainly not someone like Christopher Steele, the ex-head of MI6’s Russia desk and the intelligence expert behind the so-called ‘Steele dossier’ into Trump’s relationship with Russia. You remember how well that went? In a rare public intervention to comment on the leaks, he admitted without any sense of self-awareness, that he had not seen the documents and thus did not know what was in them. But he was apparently certain, as reported by Cadwalladr, that ‘these problems are likely to get worse, not better, and with crucial 2020 elections in America and elsewhere approaching, this is a very scary prospect. Something radical needs to be done about it, and fast.’  Something radical needs to be done about what exactly, fast, or not? It is difficult to take anything stated in this dramatic expose seriously. There is no evidence of these having any impact. So-called experts don’t even need to examine any details to pontificate about what is likely to happen in the US elections in 2020. It is simply enough, to ‘prove’ there is content in this by pointing to the fact that both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent any details coming out.  In the weird conspiracy-sphere, facts are unimportant; denial is proof. The more one denies a baseless claim, the more it proves there is something to hide. Case closed.  The truth is much simpler. Facebook are protecting this data precisely because if the truth were to come out – that the millions of dollars political parties spend on their platform during elections do very little to affect the outcome – this would seriously impact their business model. This is business, not politics.  Establishment elite go back to their 2016 conspiracy toolbox  It is remarkable that we start the new decade using the same snake-oil conspiracy theories that dominated the previous one. It seems that Cambridge Analytica is like a zombie. It cannot be slain. Strike it down, and it rises up again, this time primed to impact the US elections and others in 2020.  This could all be laughed off as Clintonesque sour grapes, if not for one thing – the establishment will continue to use these conspiracies to delegitimize genuine popular concerns, and undermine faith in democracy after every election result that doesn’t go its way in the West. That the manipulation myth has so much purchase among the political and media elite is testimony to the failure of their political and moral imagination. Those who are confident in their ideals and arguments, who believe in ideas and visions of the future; are willing to argue for and debate these in public, do not regard citizens as puppets, but as mature adults, capable of making political choices. It is this that will drive a stake through the heart of the attempt to resurrect the Cambridge Analytica zombie. If you like this story, share it with a friend!   © Getty Images / Bill Hinton https://quantsalus.com/news/   ...

    Dr Norman Lewis, writer, speaker and consultant on innovation and technology, was most recently a Director at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he set up and led their crowdsourced innovation service. Prior to this he was the Director of Technology Research at Orange.

    A fresh Cambridge Analytica leak of more than 100,000 documents exposing its work in 68 countries claims to show that global electoral manipulation is now on an ‘industrial scale’ and ‘is totally out of control’. Is it really?

    100K documents leaked 

    Carole Cadwalladr, a journalist for the Observer, the Guardian’s sister paper, whose exposure of Cambridge Analytica’s misappropriation of 87 million Facebook profiles brought the company down in 2018, is making these claims after a raft of documents from Brittany Kaiser, an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee turned whistleblower, began to appear on an anonymous Twitter account on New Year’s Day.

    The leaks from the now-defunct data firm are supposedly ‘explosive.’ They contain material on elections in Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. Apparently, they expose the inner workings of the data company and lay bare the global infrastructure of voter manipulation. The documents retrieved from Kaiser’s email accounts and hard drives, are only the start of thousands more to come. According to Kaiser, these reveal the true depth of the sinister data firm’s operation that go ‘way beyond what people think they know about ‘the Cambridge Analytica scandal.’ 

    Who needs proof? 

    Well, if there is one thing we definitely do know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it is that there has not been one piece of evidence to show how the firm used Facebook data to manipulate voters in the Trump election or during the Brexit referendum. To this day, no one can show who was targeted. With what ads? In what locations? There is no clear picture what Cambridge Analytica did for Trump. Or what it did in any of the dozens of elections worldwide it claimed to have worked on.

    This ‘infrastructure of subversion’ on an industrial scale is a chimera of innuendo, paranoia, and wild assertions with no evidence that it manipulates anyone, that is, apart from the gullible political parties who have paid millions on the very stupid idea that voters could be manipulated to control outcomes. 

    But who needs facts? Certainly not someone like Christopher Steele, the ex-head of MI6’s Russia desk and the intelligence expert behind the so-called ‘Steele dossier’ into Trump’s relationship with Russia. You remember how well that went?

    In a rare public intervention to comment on the leaks, he admitted without any sense of self-awareness, that he had not seen the documents and thus did not know what was in them. But he was apparently certain, as reported by Cadwalladr, that ‘these problems are likely to get worse, not better, and with crucial 2020 elections in America and elsewhere approaching, this is a very scary prospect. Something radical needs to be done about it, and fast.’ 

    Something radical needs to be done about what exactly, fast, or not? It is difficult to take anything stated in this dramatic expose seriously. There is no evidence of these having any impact. So-called experts don’t even need to examine any details to pontificate about what is likely to happen in the US elections in 2020. It is simply enough, to ‘prove’ there is content in this by pointing to the fact that both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent any details coming out. 

    In the weird conspiracy-sphere, facts are unimportant; denial is proof. The more one denies a baseless claim, the more it proves there is something to hide. Case closed. 

    The truth is much simpler. Facebook are protecting this data precisely because if the truth were to come out – that the millions of dollars political parties spend on their platform during elections do very little to affect the outcome – this would seriously impact their business model. This is business, not politics. 

    Establishment elite go back to their 2016 conspiracy toolbox 

    It is remarkable that we start the new decade using the same snake-oil conspiracy theories that dominated the previous one. It seems that Cambridge Analytica is like a zombie. It cannot be slain. Strike it down, and it rises up again, this time primed to impact the US elections and others in 2020. 

    This could all be laughed off as Clintonesque sour grapes, if not for one thing – the establishment will continue to use these conspiracies to delegitimize genuine popular concerns, and undermine faith in democracy after every election result that doesn’t go its way in the West.

    That the manipulation myth has so much purchase among the political and media elite is testimony to the failure of their political and moral imagination. Those who are confident in their ideals and arguments, who believe in ideas and visions of the future; are willing to argue for and debate these in public, do not regard citizens as puppets, but as mature adults, capable of making political choices. It is this that will drive a stake through the heart of the attempt to resurrect the Cambridge Analytica zombie.

    If you like this story, share it with a friend!

     

     


    04.01.2020 | The $20 TRILLION threat that could trigger the next financial meltdown




    A number of recent reports suggest that the financial risk from climate change could be much greater than previously anticipated, and that entire asset classes could come under fire as temperatures continue to rise. Trillions of dollars of market value could go up in smoke due to climate change. The damage hits the global economy in multiple ways. The first is the most obvious. Physical damage from more powerful natural disasters is on the rise. 2017 and 2018 were the costliest back-to-back years for economic losses related to natural disasters, according to risk and reinsurance firm Aon. But the danger grows worse when the physical damage starts to reprice portions of entire asset classes. One glaring example is the real estate market along coastlines, which will see both physical damage and a dramatic repricing as the threat becomes increasingly clear. That happens through a variety of mechanisms – people move away, zoning ordinances restrict building, insurance companies withdraw support, investors withdraw capital, etc. If sea levels rise by 6 feet by 2100, an estimated $900 billion in US homes “would be literally – and in turn financially – underwater,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote in a November report. The end result is the sector becomes worth a fraction of what it once was. And this is just one aspect of climate change affecting just one particular sector. This gets to another aspect of climate risk. Governments are surely going to act – eventually – to address climate change, which could transform what is and isn’t valuable. A new report from Principles for Responsible Investment finds that the inevitable tightening of climate policies will wipe out $2.3 trillion in value from a range of fossil fuel companies. Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI) is a group representing investors with $86 trillion of assets under management. Industry groups always point out that as long as there is demand, they will continue to meet that demand. However, as the impacts of climate change grow worse, the likelihood of a policy backlash grows in corresponding fashion. The world is now on track to warm by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, double the rate that scientists and governments are aiming for. “It’s highly improbable that governments will be allowed to let the world glide to 2.7C without being compelled into forceful action sooner,” Fiona Reynolds, CEO of PRI wrote last month. PRI sees an “inevitable policy response” by 2025, and because the industry has dragged its feet and because governments have delayed action, the policy response will likely be “forceful, abrupt and disorderly.” The energy transition could have been much smoother had action been taken years ago. PRI says that the fossil fuel sector could lose a third of its current value as high-cost coal, oil and gas reserves become stranded assets. According to historian Adam Tooze, there is between $1 and $4 trillion in energy assets that could become stranded, and $20 trillion in the broader industrial sector. But an even larger concern is how the long list of impacts affecting a variety of industries that are all interwoven infects the broader financial system. “Stress at a large, complex, and interconnected financial institution—a firm that is systemically important—or correlated stress across smaller firms all exposed to the same risks could transmit stress throughout the financial system,” CAP wrote.   © Pixabay.com       https://quantsalus.com/news/ ...

    A number of recent reports suggest that the financial risk from climate change could be much greater than previously anticipated, and that entire asset classes could come under fire as temperatures continue to rise.

    Trillions of dollars of market value could go up in smoke due to climate change.

    The damage hits the global economy in multiple ways. The first is the most obvious. Physical damage from more powerful natural disasters is on the rise. 2017 and 2018 were the costliest back-to-back years for economic losses related to natural disasters, according to risk and reinsurance firm Aon.

    But the danger grows worse when the physical damage starts to reprice portions of entire asset classes. One glaring example is the real estate market along coastlines, which will see both physical damage and a dramatic repricing as the threat becomes increasingly clear. That happens through a variety of mechanisms – people move away, zoning ordinances restrict building, insurance companies withdraw support, investors withdraw capital, etc.

    If sea levels rise by 6 feet by 2100, an estimated $900 billion in US homes “would be literally – and in turn financially – underwater,” the Center for American Progress (CAP) wrote in a November report.

    The end result is the sector becomes worth a fraction of what it once was. And this is just one aspect of climate change affecting just one particular sector.

    This gets to another aspect of climate risk. Governments are surely going to act – eventually – to address climate change, which could transform what is and isn’t valuable. A new report from Principles for Responsible Investment finds that the inevitable tightening of climate policies will wipe out $2.3 trillion in value from a range of fossil fuel companies. Principles of Responsible Investing (PRI) is a group representing investors with $86 trillion of assets under management.

    Industry groups always point out that as long as there is demand, they will continue to meet that demand. However, as the impacts of climate change grow worse, the likelihood of a policy backlash grows in corresponding fashion. The world is now on track to warm by 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, double the rate that scientists and governments are aiming for.

    “It’s highly improbable that governments will be allowed to let the world glide to 2.7C without being compelled into forceful action sooner,” Fiona Reynolds, CEO of PRI wrote last month. PRI sees an “inevitable policy response” by 2025, and because the industry has dragged its feet and because governments have delayed action, the policy response will likely be “forceful, abrupt and disorderly.” The energy transition could have been much smoother had action been taken years ago.

    PRI says that the fossil fuel sector could lose a third of its current value as high-cost coal, oil and gas reserves become stranded assets. According to historian Adam Tooze, there is between $1 and $4 trillion in energy assets that could become stranded, and $20 trillion in the broader industrial sector.

    But an even larger concern is how the long list of impacts affecting a variety of industries that are all interwoven infects the broader financial system. “Stress at a large, complex, and interconnected financial institution—a firm that is systemically important—or correlated stress across smaller firms all exposed to the same risks could transmit stress throughout the financial system,” CAP wrote.

     

    © Pixabay.com

     

     

     

    https://quantsalus.com/news/



    03.01.2020 | Deuces wild: Gold on path to reach $2000 per ounce in 2020




    Gold prices can spike further this year, beating the highs they reached in 2019, with market analyst Fawad Razaqzada expecting the precious metal to hit $2,000 an ounce. Bullion prices continued to reach higher during the last trading day of 2019, with gold for February delivery up around 0.5 percent, trading above $1,525. The yellow metal touched its highest level since September, when it stood at around $1,540 an ounce. “I think gold has everything going for it in 2020,” Razaqzada told Kitco News, adding that even if bullion misses the forecast price, it is still set to rise in the new year. “Gold’s technical outlook remains bullish given that breakout in the summer from a 6-year-old consolidation at $1,350 and the subsequent bullish consolidation we have seen in recent months,” he noted. “So long as gold holds the breakout above $1350, the long-term technical bias would remain bullish.” Meanwhile, MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert has predicted that this year gold price is set to rise more than $100 per ounce or 6.9 percent. However, he doubts that it will hit any records given the historical precedents, inflation expectations, and gold-timer sentiment. “Those who are hoping gold will rise in 2020 to new all-time highs will be disappointed by an average year, of course. That’s because gold would have to rise by 30% from current levels to make it to a new all-time high,” he wrote. However, Hulbert notes that the precious metal would still be a smart bet next year. Central banks across the globe have been boosting their gold holdings, by both repatriating and purchasing the metal, in attempt to diversify their national reserves amid geopolitical risks. Russia and China have been one of the champions in this trend, adding 34.9 tons and 21.8 tons to their stockpiles in the third quarter, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).   © Pixabay / Linda Hamilton   https://quantsalus.com/contacts/...

    Gold prices can spike further this year, beating the highs they reached in 2019, with market analyst Fawad Razaqzada expecting the precious metal to hit $2,000 an ounce.

    Bullion prices continued to reach higher during the last trading day of 2019, with gold for February delivery up around 0.5 percent, trading above $1,525. The yellow metal touched its highest level since September, when it stood at around $1,540 an ounce.

    “I think gold has everything going for it in 2020,” Razaqzada told Kitco News, adding that even if bullion misses the forecast price, it is still set to rise in the new year.

    “Gold’s technical outlook remains bullish given that breakout in the summer from a 6-year-old consolidation at $1,350 and the subsequent bullish consolidation we have seen in recent months,” he noted. “So long as gold holds the breakout above $1350, the long-term technical bias would remain bullish.”

    Meanwhile, MarketWatch columnist Mark Hulbert has predicted that this year gold price is set to rise more than $100 per ounce or 6.9 percent. However, he doubts that it will hit any records given the historical precedents, inflation expectations, and gold-timer sentiment.

    “Those who are hoping gold will rise in 2020 to new all-time highs will be disappointed by an average year, of course. That’s because gold would have to rise by 30% from current levels to make it to a new all-time high,” he wrote. However, Hulbert notes that the precious metal would still be a smart bet next year.

    Central banks across the globe have been boosting their gold holdings, by both repatriating and purchasing the metal, in attempt to diversify their national reserves amid geopolitical risks. Russia and China have been one of the champions in this trend, adding 34.9 tons and 21.8 tons to their stockpiles in the third quarter, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

     

    © Pixabay / Linda Hamilton

     

    https://quantsalus.com/contacts/


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