June 2014: Echoes of June 1914?

This week marks the centenary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – the key trigger for WWI leading to a conflict between European powers soon enough. A hundred years later, the world has similar echoes of the early 20th century with a major shift in global power once again occurring.

The power has shifted from the global North to the South with Asian countries such as China being primary beneficiaries, as opposed to Germany and Russia. The geo-political tensions are once again challenging key elements of the U.S-led international order. This is partly driven by rising economic power resurrecting nationalism and claims for resources shown by disputes between China, and neighboring countries.

It is in Asia where the most tension and insecurity lies in terms of potential for a great power war: there is focus on the Syrian conflict and rise of Islamic extremist group ISIS in Iraq. China’s rise is then unsettling the region and the world with dangers of miscalculation growing because of military build-ups. Even the Japanese Prime Minister has drawn parallels in the geopolitical landscape in Asia today and Europe in the eve of war in 1914. Philippine President compared Beijing’s track record of belligerent behavior with Germany expansionism in 20th century by questioning which point is actually the stopping point.

In Asia, the tensions between Japan and China, as well as between Taiwan and China, are potential triggers of conflict.

However, there exist differences making the war impossible. The memories of the two wars linger quite strongly; the emergence of Communism in Russia, and seeds of Nazis leading to WWII. The presence of nuclear power is a great brake on major power conflict. Both revisionist nations, China and Russia, and status-quo powers all possess nuclear power. Post war international institution presence, like the United Nations, is another determinant to stopping any major war from occurring. Lastly, there is a difference in the gap of power in the leading powers today which again has a great role to play.

Since WWI, when United States emerged as a super power, the country has gone through decline. purchasing power parity has shown that China is to become the biggest economy of the World. There are indications that U.S power will remain resilient for decades to come buoyed by factors such as the energy revolution which has far reaching consequences.

Overall, while another major war can not be ruled out, the prospect of this for the foreseeable future is not as high as it was 100 years ago.

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Mobile-Only Bank Osper Raises $10M To Aim At UK Youth Market

Osper, a new UK startup, has come up with an innovative way to create a banking service than can be used by children, combining prepaid debit cards and smartphone apps controlled by both them and their parents. The approach could potentially reach a market underserved by most banks, but which may also be embraced by parents keen to educate their children early on about how to manage money.

The startup has also announced it’s closed a $10m (£6m) funding round, led by London’sIndex Ventures (which has backed SoundCloud and Etsy among others). Previously Osper had raised a seed round of £800,000 in June last year as an alumni of the Techstars Londonaccelerator. The cash will be used by founder Alick Varma to launch the service out of beta, roll out in the UK and eventually expand abroad. It’s also enrolled the backing of major UK TV celebrity, Davina Mccall.

Other investors include Horizons Ventures (Li Ka-Shing’s venture capital arm – investor in Spotify, Facebook and Skype); Peter Jackson (CEO of Travelex), and Darren Shapland (ex-Chairman of Sainsbury’s Bank); as well as the entrepreneurs behind businesses including Streetcar, Lastminute.com, Jawbone, SoundCloud, Skyscanner and Funding Circle.

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Digital identity cards

THE founders of the internet were academics who took users’ identities on trust. When only research co-operation was at stake, this was reasonable. But the lack of secure identification is now hampering the development of e-commerce and the provision of public services online. In day-to-day life, from banking to dating, if you don’t know who you are dealing with, you are vulnerable to fraud or deceit, or will have to submit to cumbersome procedures such as scanning and uploading documents to prove who you are.

Much work has gone into making systems that can recognise and verify digital IDs. A standard called OpenID Connect, organised by an international non-profit foundation, was launched this year. Mobile-phone operators have started a complementary service, Mobile Connect, which allows identities of all kinds to be authenticated from smartphones.

But providing a digital ID that will be widely used and trusted is far harder. Businesses can check their employees rigorously, and issue credentials for gaining access to buildings, computers and the like. But what about outside the workplace? Facebook, Google and Twitter are all trying to make their accounts a form of ID. But these are issued without verification, so pseudonyms are rife and impersonation easy.

http://www.economist.com/

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    This is a story about ARM Holdings (ARMH), the mobile technology company. But before it gets going, here are a few things you need to know: 1. ARM is a company made up mostly of chip engineers. They design parts of chips—such as graphics and communication bits—and they design entire…
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BIG MARKET NEWS WEEK 30 June – 06 July 2014

New Zealand Monday, June 30, 2014 03:00  
 

NZD ANZ Business Confidence (Jun)
 

European Monetary Union

 

Monday, June 30, 2014 11:00

 

 
EUR Consumer Price Index (YoY) (Jun)Preliminar

European Monetary Union

 

 

Monday, June 30, 2014

11:00

 

 
 
EUR Consumer Price Index – Core (YoY) (Jun)Preliminar
 Canada

 

Monday, June 30, 2014 14:30

 

 
CAD Gross Domestic Product (MoM) (Apr)
United States

 

Monday, June 30,  2014 16:00

 

 
 
USD Pending Home Sales (MoM) (May)

 

 

  China Tuesday, July 01, 2014 03:00

 

 
CNY NBS Manufacturing PMI (Jun)
 

China

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 03:45

 

 
CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Jun)
 Australia Tuesday, July 01, 2014 06:30

 

 
AUD RBA Interest Rate Decision
 Australia Tuesday, July 01, 2014 06:30

 

 
AUD RBA Rate Statement
 United Kingdom Tuesday, July 01, 2014  10:30

 

 
GBP Markit Manufacturing PMI (Jun)
United States Thursday, May 29, 2014

 

16:00  
USD ISM Manufacturing PMI (Jun)
Australia Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 

03:30    

AUD Trade Balance (May)
 United Kingdom Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 

10:30  
GBP PMI Construction (Jun)
  European Monetary Union  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 

11:00  
EUR Gross Domestic Product s.a. (YoY) (Q1)
United States Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 

14:15    

USD ADP Employment Change (Jun)
 United States Wednesday, July 2, 2014

 

17:00    

USD Fed’s Yellen Speech
 China Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

03:00  
CNY Non-manufacturing PMI (Jun)
 Australia Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

 03:30    

 AUD Building Permits (MoM) (May)
 
 Australia Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

03:30  
AUD Retail Sales s.a. (MoM) (May)
 United Kingdom Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

 10:30  
GBP Markit Services PMI (Jun)
European Monetary Union Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

13:45  
EUR ECB Interest Rate Decision (Jul 3)
Canada Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

14:30  
CAD International Merchandise Trade (May)
European Monetary Union Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

14:30  
EUR     ECB Monetary policy statement and press conference
United States Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

14:30  
USD Initial Jobless Claims (Jun 27)
United States Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

14:30  
USD Nonfarm Payrolls (Jun)
United States Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

14:30  
USD Unemployment Rate (Jun)
United States Thursday, July 3, 2014

 

16:00  
USD ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (Jun)

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How a US decision to allow oil exports could change the world’s energy balance

America has allowed its oil companies to export oil as announced in private letters to oil companies. This will, for sure, cause a stir in the global oil markets and lead to lower prices. Global oil prices previously soared due to the fall in the supply of oil- stoppage of oil exports by Libya, and broad turbulence in Nigeria. About 3.5 million barrels, out of the total 90 million barrels of oil consumed daily, were taken off the market. The US decision to allow the export of condensate (an extremely light oil) by two Texas companies, could have a dramatic impact if the Commerce Department provides a broader definition of what is condensate for export purposes. The type of crude oil being produced in US is too light for American refineries to process. If all of this light oil is exported, it would surpass the exports of Iraq seriously undermining oil prices. 

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The Feds revised their interest rate forecasts

The Feds revised their interest rate forecasts late last month hoping to normalize them faster than many market watchers would have anticipated. The new forecasts are higher, the projections having being raised for 2015-2016. This is a good move for extremely low rates can negatively affect the job hunt and the economic growth of U.S.

With low interest rates, old workers delay their retirement holding onto their job as the investment income from fixed income products is too meager to sustain them, this, in turn, crowds out the youth from employment opportunities.

Even companies are reducing their investment in the economy for they can not comprehend the true level of economic growth in the country i.e, growth in the absence of an extraordinary macroeconomic policy. People are also taking up heavy debts to buy back their stocks or to pay dividends due to the low cost of financing. While this improves the price-earnings ratio, it can stunt growth oriented capital projects.

With the labor supply demand mismatch, there is an increasing wage inflation: those employed are earning more, while those unemployed aren’t getting jobs. In the medium term this can lead to higher levels of inflation as can also be seen by the CPI indications.

Finally, unconventional monetary policy of recent years has encouraged significant bouts of capital misallocation, resulting in crowded trades, correlated risks and the overly stretched valuations seen in markets today.

These in turn, are increasing systemic risk, raising the potential for a violent capital unwinding.

Thus, fiscal initiatives, at this point, would perhaps be more beneficial to the economy than the current policy of zero-interest rate.

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Is the Market Efficient? Cliff Asness Says Yes, and No

At Morningstar, AQR Capital’s leader presents Fama and Shiller’s arguments and says he’s ‘learned to live with my schizophrenia’

“I’m not a super-hardcore efficient marketer,” says Cliff Asness of AQR Capital.“I’m not a super-hardcore efficient marketer,” says Cliff Asness of AQR Capital.

Cliff Asness created a “watershed moment in the hedge fund industry” when he brought his sophisticated hedge fund strategies into the mutual fund space in 2011, said Scott Burns of Morningstar in introducing Asness last week.

Asness created a similar moment in his morning keynote speech at the Morningstar Investment Conference on Friday, exploring whether the markets are efficient in his trademarked sophisticated manner, bolstered through the display of high-end research and peppered with humor. He began by apologizing for “talking about theory at 8:00 a.m.” to a receptive audience before presenting his take on why the Nobel prize committee was correct in awarding its economics prize last year to two men who sit on opposite ends of the efficient market theory: Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago and Robert Shiller of Yale (Asness also made sure to honor the sometimes overlooked third winner of the prize last year: Lars Hansen, also of Chicago.).

“Gene and Bob are on opposite sides of the efficient market hypothesis,” Asness said, before disclosing that he’s “not exactly unbiased,” since he not only was a student of Fama’s at Chicago but his teaching assistant as well for two years, and that “along with Jack Bogle he’s one of my investing heroes.” But his bias, he said, was “at least in both directions.” He also noted that his Ph.D dissertation at Chicago for Fama argued in favor of the price momentum strategy — “that it worked” — but that Fama was gracious and supportive despite their differing beliefs.

http://www.thinkadvisor.com/

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Important week for Euro

The European Central Bank announced some measures to ease monetary policy two weeks ago. The euro had been on a downtrend since May and by these measures the ECB increased its support to the economy.

The result?

Two weeks later, EUR/USD stabilized just above 1.35.

This week’s Eurozone economic calendar will be an important test for the euro because investors will be watching to the data in order to give confirmation on the need for additional easing.

Economists are not expecting major changes in economic activity but after the plunge in investor confidence (ZEW survey), the risk is a big disadvantage of these reports.

The rate of the EUR/USD will depend mostly on Eurozone data because the U.S. economic calendar is busy with Tier 2 economic reports. The Fed needs will probably start talking about normalizing monetary policy in September, when the central bank updates its forecasts and Janet Yellen gives a press conference.

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BIG MARKET NEWS WEEK 23-29 JUNE 2014

China Monday, June 23, 2014 03:45  
 

CNY HSBC Manufacturing PMI (Jun)Preliminar
Japan Monday, June 23, 2014 08:00  
JPY Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda Speech
France  

Monday, June 23, 2014

 

09:00  
 
EUR Markit Manufacturing PMI (Jun)Preliminar
Germany

 

Monday, June 23, 2014 09:30

 

 
EUR Markit Manufacturing PMI (Jun)Preliminar
 

United States

 

Monday, June 23, 2014 16:00

 

 
 
USD   Existing Home Sales (MoM) (May)

 

 

 

Germany

Tuesday, June 24,    2014 10:00

 

 
 

EUR IFO – Business Climate (Jun)
United Kingdom Tuesday, June 24,    2014 10:30    

GBP Inflation Report Hearings
United States Tuesday, June 24,    2014 16:00  
USD Consumer Confidence (Jun)
 

United States

Tuesday, June 24,    2014

 

16:00

 

 
USD New Home Sales Change (MoM) (May)
United States Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

14:30  
USD Durable Goods Orders (May)
United States Wednesday, June 25, 2014

 

14:30  
USD Gross Domestic Product Annualized (Q1)
United Kingdom Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:30  
GBP BOE’s Governor Carney speech
United States Thursday, June 26, 2014 14:30  
USD Continuing Jobless Claims (Jun 13)
New Zealand Thursday, June 26, 2014 00:45  
NZD Trade Balance (MoM) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
JPY National Consumer Price Index (YoY) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
JPY National CPI Ex Food, Energy (YoY) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
JPY National CPI Ex-Fresh Food (YoY) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
JPY Tokyo Consumer Price Index (YoY) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
  JPY Tokyo CPI ex Food, Energy (YoY) (May)
Japan Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
JPY Tokyo CPI ex Fresh Food (YoY) (May)
United Kingdom Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
GBP Current Account (Q1)
United Kingdom Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
GBP Gross Domestic Product (YoY) (Q1)
United Kingdom Friday, June 27 2014 01:30  
GBP Gross Domestic Product (QoQ) (Q1)

 

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Stenbeck transforms Swedish family firm into major online investor

Swedish-American heiress Cristina Stenbeck’s bet on the red-hot e-commerce business has caught the eye of investors, although doubters question the future of her Kinnevik group in a sector where new players emerge almost every day.

Shares in Kinnevik, which Stenbeck inherited at 24 on the sudden death of her father Jan, have more than doubled in half a dozen years and outstripped some of Sweden’s other renowned family investment firms under her leadership.

Yet some critics regard Kinnevik’s investment shift into online retailing where entry barriers are low as foolhardy. They question the team Stenbeck has built, saying that while it is strong on banking and financial experience, it lacks the operational ability to build long-lasting web businesses.

In its nearly 80-year history, Kinnevik has made a habit of leaping from one growth sector to the next.

http://www.reuters.com/

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    Tags: business, day, management
  • 47
    Five months ago, the student town of Manipal went abuzz when they realized that one of their own was the leading contender in the race for the top job at Microsoft Corp. For the next five months, it looked like their prayers would easily lead to fruition. But late last…
    Tags: management
  • 46
    The plunge in emerging markets is taking a bite out of the performance of funds managed by some of the biggest names on Wall Street, including BlackRock, Brevan Howard and T. Rowe Price. Some mutual funds are already down 10 percent so far this year, thanks to declining stocks and…
    Tags: year, investors, http://www.reuters.com, management
  • 44
    Bill Gross, founder of Pimco, and its chief investment officer for the past 40 or so years, resigned last week. Rumor has it that he was but two steps ahead of a mutinous gang, swords out, planning to make him walk the plank. Gross was too quick and before the…
    Tags: investment, years, management