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Posts Tagged ‘WSJ’

Tesla Shakes Up Market for Lithium, Other Metals

Posted by hkarner - 7. Mai 2016

Date: 06-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

‘In order to produce half a million cars a year…we would basically need to absorb the entire world’s lithium-ion production,’ Elon Musk said in March

Lithium mine ccAn aerial view shows the lithium mine in Alabama.

Tesla Motors Inc., shaking up the auto industry with its battery-operated cars, is now reshaping metals markets, too.

Tesla and other electric-vehicle makers are swallowing up lithium, a lightweight material that some call “white petroleum” for its use in lithium-ion batteries that power electric cars.

Lithium carbonate prices rose 47% in the first quarter compared with the average price in 2015, according to the most recent available data from data provider Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. In 2015, when most other metals and commodities still were in the doldrums, lithium prices rose 28%, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Bill Gross: What to Do After the Robots Take Our Jobs

Posted by hkarner - 6. Mai 2016

Date: 04-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Get ready for driverless trucks, universal basic income, and less independent central banks

Gross CCTechnology is changing the world, but it is also destroying a lot of jobs, causing upheaval, and may even change the very nature of what is considered work, Janus Capital Bill Gross said in his latest investment outlook. This will have profound political implications, he said, but the current crop of national leaders is hopelessly behind this curve, leaving it to central bankers to try and mop up the mess.

It’s a thought-provoking note from the former bond king, and is a departure from his recent missives, which have almost uniformly critiqued central-bank policies. Now, he seems to be accepting them as the end result of a wider, society-level change. They are not the optimal end result, mind you, but he argues it’s the only one open in a world where most people simply don’t understand what is happening. This leaves central banks stuck in a mop-up role, trying to keep their economies afloat amid all this friction.

In other words, embrace the helicopter money. It may be the only money you get. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Eurozone Recovery Belies Euroskeptic Myths

Posted by hkarner - 6. Mai 2016

Date: 05-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Recent data suggest recovery in the common-currency area is possible

Euroskeptics have long complained that the British economy is “shackled to a corpse”—that being part of a European Union with the dysfunctional eurozone is a major drag on the U.K.’s fortunes.

For the last six years, this charge was hard to refute: The eurozone has been mired in seemingly permanent crisis, its multiyear recession a drag on the global economy.

Yet last week, with just over 50 days to go before Britons vote on whether to quit the EU, Eurostat published preliminary estimates of first quarter gross domestic product that showed the eurozone economy grew by 0.6%, an annualized rate of 2.2%. That is faster than the U.S. at 0.1% or the U.K. at 0.4%. The corpse may not be dead after all.

This follows a string of recent data that suggest the eurozone has shrugged off what now appears to have been largely a liquidity-driven panic at the start of the year to continue its modest recovery, buoyed by low oil prices, falling borrowing costs, a weak currency and a modest fiscal stimulus. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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U.K. Banks Brace for ‘Brexit’ Ahead of EU Poll

Posted by hkarner - 5. Mai 2016

Date: 04-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Several banks are dusting off contingency plans they prepared ahead of Scotland’s independence vote

LONDON—As a U.K. referendum over whether to quit the European Union nears, British banks have battened down the hatches.

In the event of a “Brexit”—or a U.K. exit from the EU—bankers say frozen capital markets and sharp currency swings could make it harder for banks to fund their businesses.

To inoculate themselves ahead of the June 23 vote, British banks are maintaining extra stocks of assets that can easily be sold to fund their activities, tapping markets for funding earlier than planned and holding off issuing certain types of securities.

Lloyds Banking Group PLC has raised roughly £7 billion ($10.2 billion), or about half of its annual funding requirement in the first part of the year, according to a person familiar with the matter. “We went earlier than we were proposing to do,” George Culmer, Lloyds’s chief financial officer, said recently. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Volkswagen: Why Digital Could Be Harder than Diesel

Posted by hkarner - 2. Mai 2016

Date: 01-05-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

German car maker needs a change in skills to make the best-sellers of tomorrow

Volkswagen will, sooner or later, get over the diesel emissions scandal. But a more existential question for the German car maker remains: Will it reinvent itself as a digital car maker? The signs aren’t promising.

The group’s delayed annual news conference Thursday marked a valiant attempt by new Chief Executive Matthias Müller to shift the debate. “Volkswagen is far more than a crisis,” he declared before launching into a presentation packed with tech buzzwords: car-sharing, e-mobility, smart data. The company promises a full strategy update this summer.

But hastening change at Volkswagen comes with unique challenges: a tainted brand in the U.S. and inflexible governance. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Saudi Arabia Approves Economic Reform Program

Posted by hkarner - 27. April 2016

Date: 26-04-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Reduction of government subsidies and other reforms aimed at reducing the kingdom’s reliance on oil

Mohammed bin salmanKing Salman’s 30-year-old son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,  will lead the country’s most extensive economic shake-up in decades.

RIYADH—Saudi Arabia unveiled plans to free the kingdom from its dependence on oil revenues, in part by selling a stake in its state-owned oil company and creating the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund.

The move represents an ambitious attempt to lay out a new economic trajectory for the country in an era of cheap oil. It is the brainchild of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old son of King Salman, who was entrusted by his father to oversee what are likely to be jarring changes in the kingdom.

By 2020, we’ll be able to live without oil, Prince Mohammed told Saudi-owned news channel Al Arabiya in an interview aired Monday. A detailed package of reforms included in the plan is expected to be released in six weeks.

Analysts said it could take Saudi Arabia many years to implement such far-reaching changes and fundamentally transform the economy.

Prince Mohammed on Monday presented a broad overview of what has been billed as the country’s most extensive economic shake-up in decades. Speaking to reporters, he said the project—dubbed “Saudi Vision 2030”—includes plans to sell less than 5% of state-owned oil giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, and transfer ownership of the company to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, so it can build a war chest for non-oil investments abroad. The country will also implement reforms aimed at boosting revenue from non-oil sources, such as tourism and mining. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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I Hate This Market, I Love This Market

Posted by hkarner - 26. April 2016

Date: 26-04-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

The plunge and then surge of commodity prices this year shows investors have spent more time watching each other than watching the fundamentals

In markets, as in life, a sudden fright can quickly be replaced by embarrassed laughter. The fear evident earlier this year has already been superceded by nervous giggling in Western equity markets, while in some areas of commodities, where the shock was deepest, it seems to have turned into full-on hysterics.

Anyone who bought back into commodities at their bottom in late January has been laughing all the way to the bank. By the end of last week, global mining shares had rebounded 75%, the strongest over a similar period since at least 1994, when data for the FTSE World Mining index starts. If that sounds like a lot, consider the frenzied trading in the previously obscure futures contract for steel reinforcing bars, or rebar, in Shanghai last week, where turnover was higher than on the entire stock market. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Offshore Investment Clampdown Finds Fresh Support

Posted by hkarner - 25. April 2016

Date: 23-04-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Regulators want to identify and pursue tax evaders, money launderers and ‘aggressive’ tax avoiders

Gibraltar CCThe Rock of Gibraltar with Spain in background. Gibraltar is among more than 20 countries that have agreed to exchange details about offshore accounts.

LONDON—The U.K. Treasury said on Friday that more than 20 countries have signed up to a European-led initiative to exchange details about the owners of offshore companies and trusts, part of a global effort to clamp down on tax-dodging.

The initiative comes as authorities world-wide are struggling to contain the fallout from the leak of thousands of private documents from a Panamanian law firm that specialized in offshore tax deals for wealthy international clients.

The treasury said the list includes Gibraltar on the southern tip of Spain as well as the Isle of Man, two of Britain’s more than a dozen overseas territories. These administrations have sizeable offshore financial sectors that critics say help companies and individuals avoid paying tax. The territories say their activities are legal and legitimate. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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War of Words Over ECB Policy Reflects German (and others) Savers’ Anger With Low Interest

Posted by hkarner - 24. April 2016

Date: 23-04-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Some call for Draghi’s resignation over bank’s unconventional attempts to spur growth, inflation

BERLIN—Accused of impoverishing millions and stoking populism in Germany, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi finally snapped this week. Politicians, he said, should mind their own business.

Such a war of words wasn’t supposed to happen in Germany, the country that did more than any other to establish central-bank independence as a condition for any successful monetary policy.

Far from sticking to their respective turfs, however, Mr. Draghi and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble have been sparring in public for days over the direction of monetary policy in the eurozone. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Why Investors Should Beware the Gulf Between Stocks and Bonds

Posted by hkarner - 16. April 2016

Date: 15-04-2016
Source: The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks and Treasurys are both in positive territory; that looks disconcerting

The relationship between bonds and stocks in a world distorted by central-bank policy is a complicated one. Nevertheless, the performance of the two asset classes this year is beginning to raise some questions.

For the first six weeks of the year, stocks fell and bonds rallied as risk aversion mounted, fears over the global economy built and investors were probably wrongly positioned. By Feb. 11, the S&P 500 was down 10.5%, while U.S. Treasurys were up 3.7%; long-dated U.S. bonds maturing in 25 years or more were up a whopping 10.75%, according to Barclays indexes.

But that marked the low for stocks. The S&P 500 has gained 13.9% since then, and is back in positive territory for the year. Yet bonds are still close to their highs: Treasurys as a whole are up 3.3% while long-dated bonds are still up 9.1%. Ten-year Treasury yields are a 0.5 percentage point lower than at the start of the year. The disconnect is clear. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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