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Brock Pierce predicts that Bitcoin will soar to $200K in 2022

Brock Pierce, one of the most affluent people in the crypto space, believes Bitcoin (BTC/USD) will surge past $100,000.00 (£74,195.50) and, perhaps, even notch $200,000.00 (£148,391.00) in 2022. He made this prediction during a recent interview with…

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Brock Pierce, one of the most affluent people in the crypto space, believes Bitcoin (BTC/USD) will surge past $100,000.00 (£74,195.50) and, perhaps, even notch $200,000.00 (£148,391.00) in 2022. He made this prediction during a recent interview with Fox Business. While Pierce believes BTC could tap the above price, he claims it would not maintain this level because it would likely correct downward.

In the interview, Pierce, who is also the Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, spoke about BTC’s performance over the past month, saying people like to speculate, claiming they have answers, but in truth, BTC’s market is volatile. According to him, BTC’s poor performance in December is a result of multiple events.

While many people claim the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is triggered and drove the current bear market, Pierce took a more technical approach, saying BTC’s price is down because the market has more sellers than buyers. He admitted that some investors injecting their funds in other cryptos is one of the reasons behind BTC’s poor performance.  

However, he believes other coins stealing some attention from BTC is vital for the market. Per pierce, altcoins are helping build on the Bitcoin idea. He pointed out that BTC is a digital store of value while Ethereum intends to create programmable contracts. With each project being different, Pierce believes the crypto space is like the internet of 1999.

Although he believes most projects will not survive, Pierce claims the crypto space will have several winners like how Amazon, Google, and eBay secured their places on the internet.

Watchdogs should analyze and understand crypto before regulating the space

Speaking about crypto regulation, Pierce urged regulators and legislators to research the space and get well-acquainted with it before making propositions that might affect the US’ collective future. He said this in response to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s argument that although crypto claims to be a path to financial inclusion, BTC ownership is more concentrated than the dollar’s ownership.

While he believes BTC indeed fosters more financial inclusion, Pierce agreed that BTC ownership is concentrated because early adopters like himself have a lot of BTC wealth. He added that this is a viable concern because it interferes with creating a world in which wealth is broadly distributed.

Unlike other BTC proponents, Pierce agreed that BTC is a risk asset. According to him, BTC is a store of value but not an inflation hedge like gold and real estate. However, it has an interesting return profile than the above assets. Sharing what he believes will drive BTC beyond $100,000.00 (£74,195.50), Pierce said financial uncertainty in the broader financial system.

The post Brock Pierce predicts that Bitcoin will soar to $200K in 2022 appeared first on Invezz.

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Spread & Containment

Diesel Costs Deliver Body Blow To Trucking Industry, Impacting Broader Economy

Diesel Costs Deliver Body Blow To Trucking Industry, Impacting Broader Economy

By Noi Mahoney of Freightwaves

With diesel prices remaining…

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Diesel Costs Deliver Body Blow To Trucking Industry, Impacting Broader Economy

By Noi Mahoney of Freightwaves

With diesel prices remaining elevated — forcing significant costs onto shippers and trucking companies — the impact of fuel costs on inflation could put a dent in consumer spending, according to experts.

Diesel pump prices averaged $5.61 a gallon nationwide, 51% higher than diesel prices across the country in January

Economist Anirban Basu said the elevated price of diesel fuel damages the near-term U.S. economic outlook and “renders the chance of recession in 2023 much greater.”

“These high diesel prices mean that despite the Federal Reserve’s early stage efforts to curb inflationary pressures, for now, inflationary pressures will run rampant through the economy,” Basu, CEO of Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group, told FreightWaves. 

Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve announced a half-percentage-point increase in interest rates, the largest hike in over two decades. The U.S. inflation rate is at 8.3%, near 40-year highs.

Basu said consumer spending remains strong, even with elevated diesel prices, but that could change as shippers and trucking companies eventually must pass higher fuel costs on to the public. 

“One of the things we’ve been seeing in the U.S., particularly on the East Coast, is that diesel fuel inventories have been shrinking, which suggests that despite all this inflationary pressure, there’s still a lot of consumer activity, still lots of trucks on the road and the supply is unable to keep up with demand,” Basu said. “The higher price of diesel fuel will become embedded in the cost of everything consumers purchase.” 

Prices of fresh produce rising

Jordan DeWart, a managing director at RedWood Mexico, based in Laredo, Texas, said the types of consumer goods that could be immediately affected by higher diesel prices include fresh produce. Redwood Mexico is part of Chicago-based Redwood Logistics.

“With produce, that’s typically more in the spot rate business, and any of those smaller trucking companies are going to be heavily impacted by fuel costs,” DeWart said.

The U.S. imported more than $15 billion in fresh produce from Mexico in 2021, including avocados, tomatoes, grapes, bell peppers and strawberries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Everything coming northbound from Mexico through Laredo, the rates have been very sustained, but fuel prices keep going up, presumably with any differences being absorbed by the trucking companies in the spot market,” DeWart said. “When we talk to asset-based truckers, especially the smaller companies, they’re really feeling the pinch.”

It’s not only cross-border operators feeling the pinch. Growers and shippers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley are also suffering because of increased fuel costs, said Dante Galeazzi, president of the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA).

“Our growers, shippers, importers, distributors … basically our entire supply chain has been and continues to be impacted by rising fuel costs,” Galeazzi told FreightWaves. “Between one-third to one-half of the costs for fresh produce is the logistics; you can see how quickly increases in that expense category can impact the base price.”

The Rio Grande Valley is the epicenter of the Lone Star State’s fresh produce industry, stretching across the southeastern tip of Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. More than 35 types of fruits and vegetables are grown in the valley, which contributes more than $1 billion to the state economy annually.

“More concerning is that this wave of fuel increases is in line with the statistic that our industry is paying anywhere from 70% to 150% more year-over-year for OTR shipping,” Galeazzi said. 

TIPA, which is based in Mission, Texas, represents growers, domestic shippers, import shippers, specialty shippers, distributors and material and service providers. 

Right now, Rio Grande Valley growers and shippers are absorbing higher input costs instead of passing them on to consumers, but that could soon change, Galeazzi said.

“While the fresh fruit and vegetable industry continues to experience rising input costs across the board (seed, agrochemicals, labor, fuel, packaging, etc.), we have yet to experience sufficient upstream returns associated with those expense increases,” Galeazzi said. “Our industry is citing an 18% to 22% anecdotal increase to overhead costs. Meanwhile food inflation for fresh produce is hovering around 7%. That means the costs are slowly being felt by consumers, but it’s not yet at a commensurate level with input expenses.”

Diesel fuel prices at all time highs

The cost of diesel continues to soar across the country. Diesel pump prices averaged $5.61 a gallon nationwide, according to weekly data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). That’s 51% higher than diesel prices nationwide in January. 

California averaged the highest fuel prices across the U.S., at $6 per gallon of gas and $6.56 per gallon for diesel, according to AAA. Diesel prices are also at an all-time high of $6.41 in New York.

The higher prices of diesel fuel and gasoline are being caused by a combination of factors, including surging demand and reduced refining capacity, along with the disruption to global markets caused by COVID-19, the current lockdown in China and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, said Rory Johnston, a managing director at Toronto-based research firm Price Street.

“The overarching oil market is feeling much tighter because of the Russian-Ukraine situation,” Johnston, also writer of the newsletter Commodity Context, told FreightWaves. “What we’ve seen is a larger immediate impact from the loss of Russian refined products; in addition to exporting millions and millions of barrels a day of crude oil, Russia also exported a lot of refined products, most notably middle distillates, like gasoline or diesel.”

Several refineries on the East Coast — including facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada — scaled back during the early days of the pandemic, which has hurt diesel capacity, Johnston said.

“There was also a refinery in Philadelphia that exploded just prior to the COVID-19 period starting,” Johnston said. “There’s not enough refining capacity on the global level, and particularly in the West right now and particularly in the northeastern U.S.”

He said he doesn’t foresee any relief from increasing diesel prices over the next few months or more.

“Things are going to be really tight for at least the next year, barring any kind of economic recession and some kind of demand slowdown materially,” Johnston said. 

DeWart said trucking companies that don’t have a fuel surcharge component or contract in place and are depending on spot rates could be in big trouble over the next several months as diesel prices either keep rising or stay higher than average. 

“Their fuel costs keep going up, but they’re really not able to negotiate higher rates right now with a really tight spot market,” DeWart said. “It’s really impacting small trucking companies, anyone that decided to kind of play the spot market, rather than being locked in contracted rates. They’re really feeling the pain right now.”

DeWart said for trucking companies, it’s critical to get some type of fuel reimbursement program in place “just to protect themselves in case the cost of fuel goes even higher.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/18/2022 - 19:25

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Government

Upcoming FDA Decision A Potentially Major De-Risk Event For Revive Therapeutics

It’s been a long and arduous road for Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (CNSX: RVV, OTCMKTS: RVVTF) regarding their Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the…

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It’s been a long and arduous road for Revive Therapeutics Ltd. (CNSX: RVV, OTCMKTS: RVVTF) regarding their Phase 3 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of Bucillamine to treat COVID-19. The trial—fraught by several milestone misses and enrollment delays—could potentially receive a material boost after Revive submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine and agree on reorganizing the current study’s primary efficacy endpoints to a “symptoms” focus versus the current benchmark measuring a reduction of death and hospitalizations. If successful, the trial would undergo a major de-risking event, as clinical outcomes observed over the course of the pandemic have shifted.

The announcement by Revive Therapeutics, disseminated on May 16, reaffirmed what many observers had expected following a changed primary endpoint of Adamis Pharmaceutical’s Tempol trial from a hospitalization to symptoms focus. The company confirmed that it “has submitted a request” to “determine and agree” on potential new primary efficacy endpoints with the FDA. Furthermore, Revive reaffirmed that following the expectations of “obtain(ing) FDA agreement on the potential new primary efficacy endpoints in June 2022”, it will also meet with the study’s Data Safety and Monitoring Board shortly thereafter to determine next steps.

The unusual endpoint change precedent was recently established in the Adamis Pharmaceuticals Tempol trial, which began in September 2021. It was originally designed to enroll 248 patients overall to measure a reduction in hospitalizations versus placebo. Given overall lower hospitalization rates in the general population as the pandemic has progressed, the company requested and was granted endpoint change from hospitalizations to lower-threshold COVID symptom endpoints in April. The new benchmark allows Adamis to evaluate the difference in the rate of sustained clinical resolution of symptoms of COVID-19 at Day 14, as opposed to the rate of hospitalization in Tempol-treated vs. placebo patient population.

The FDA’s midtrial endpoint change allowance is a rare event and signals flexibility by the organization to allow parameter changes in accordance to the shifting symptomatic profile of the pandemic.

Furthermore, Pfizer’s Paxlovid trial was previously designed with a focus towards symptom improvement as a primary endpoint. Although Paxlovid failed to show symptom improvement initially, the study was unblinded and continued. Eventually, Pfizer demonstrated enough efficacy and safety that the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older.

At the present time, Paxlovid is considered the gold-standard frontline oral COVID therapeutic currently available in the marketplace, although there are already signs that real-world efficacy is waning.

Revive Therapeutics is hoping for similar consideration that Adamis received from the FDA regarding symptomatic endpoint change. With much more Phase 3 patient data (715) in its database, it appears to have solid grounds to request similar treatment. In Pfizer’s case, the FDA outright allowed symptoms reduction as a primary endpoint.

Either way, the precedent for COVID symptomatic reduction has long been set. Revive Therapeutics is strategically attempting to use a similar endpoint threshold that has already been established by the FDA. This includes soliciting Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) support for Bucillamine to explore the potential of securing development and commercial scale-up funding.

We’ll find out soon enough whether the FDA amicable supporters of Revive’s endpoint pivot.

What This Could Mean For Revive Therapeutics

The upcoming FDA decision to potentially allow new primary efficacy endpoints is a game-changing event given that deaths and hospitalizations have been declining with subsequent COVID variants—such as Omicron and BA.2—becoming dominant. While there is evidence that Bucillamine has demonstrated outstanding efficacy on a standalone basis in the current trial, it will be difficult to prove statistical significance against the placebo arm if hospitalization rates remain low. Hence, we view the potential lowering of endpoint threshold to a symptoms benchmark as a material de-risking event for the company.

Indeed, declining hospitalization rates have likely prompted Revive to become very selective on patient enrollment. Increased vigilance towards patient selectivity—along with enrollee competitiveness with other pharmaceutical companies conducting COVID trials—has impacted the speed of Revive’s COVID trial. So much so that Revive Therapeutics announced last December that it would fill part of its patient enrollment quota outside of the U.S. in a bid for patient diversification.

Ultimately, the shift to symptoms as a primary endpoint is all about probabilities. With the current endpoints of death and hospitalizations, Revive has a much higher bar to obtain statistical significance against the placebo arm in the trial. This is not an indictment of the efficacy of Bucillamine, but rather an acknowledgement of the reality that most folks do not require hospital visitation upon catching COVID.

The bottom line: FDA endpoint change approval will greatly improve Revive’s odds of favorable clinical trial outcome and possible Emergency Use Authorization approval downstream. Given increasing evidence that frontline oral COVID medications are failing—and plenty of extra-curricular evidence that thiol drugs are effective against SARS-CoV-2 to prevent injury—Revive appears to be sitting in a favorable position for endpoint change assuming the current trial data is sound.

Now, in the less than 30 days, the FDA is poised to deliver a decisive verdict. One that can change both the fortunes of the general population, and Revive investors alike.

The post Upcoming FDA Decision A Potentially Major De-Risk Event For Revive Therapeutics appeared first on The Dales Report.

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Economics

Inflation-related updates to ‘Recession Remedies’

In this analysis we offer inflation-related updates to Chapter 1 of "Recession Remedies: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Economic Policy Response to COVID-19,"…

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By Wendy Edelberg, Mitchell Barnes

In this analysis we offer inflation-related updates to Chapter 1 of “Recession Remedies: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Economic Policy Response to COVID-19,” which addressed the macroeconomic impact of the breadth of economic policy responses from March 2020 through the American Rescue Plan. On the whole, the array of policies implemented since early 2020 to support the economy were largely successful in buffering households and businesses from the worst potential economic outcomes posed by the downturn. However, the unwelcome and persistent rise in inflation that began in 2021 suggests that consumer demand boosted by fiscal support and strong household balance sheets continue to outpace the capacity of businesses and their global supply chains to expand.

The continued pickup in inflation has led to further declines in real wages in aggregate. Initially, the increase in wages outpaced the increase in prices, and real wages rose (Figure 1). Since mid-2021, however, real wages have been below their pre-pandemic level and have been even further below where they would be if they continued along their pre-pandemic trend. That shortfall was 3.3 percent relative to trend at the end of 2021 and 5.0 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2022. Leisure and hospitality and retail trade are the only two broad industry groups where wages have risen in real terms since the end of 2019, growing at annual rates of 1.4 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

Extraordinary price increases in the goods sector were the primary driver of inflation through much of 2021, contributing about two-thirds of the unusual runup in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the year. However, more recently, price increases in services have been the main driver. Inflation in core goods (which exclude food and energy commodities) seems to have peaked on a year-over-year basis in March 2022: inflation in core goods declined from 11.7 percent in March to 9.7 percent in April (Figure 2). On the other hand, prices in the service sector have accelerated in recent months. Food and energy prices have pushed headline CPI inflation well above core CPI inflation (8.2 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, in April), in part reflecting the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine on energy and other commodities. Energy price inflation has hovered between 25 percent and 33 percent since the middle of 2021. Prices for food increased 9 percent through April, the highest rate since 1981.

A chart illustrating year-over-year inflation by type

Fiscal support for an economy with significant unused capacity increases output and employment with little effect on inflation; but if the economy overshoots its sustainable level, additional fiscal support will feed increasingly into inflation. Going forward, the magnitude and timing of fiscal policy responses to recessions could be improved through better targeting and great reliance on automatic stabilizers.

 

 

 

 

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