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Like On The Titanic… The Band Plays On

Like On The Titanic… The Band Plays On

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

It is said the dance band on the Titanic played on as the ship went down. This was all done as a grand effort to reassure the passengers and ease the..

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Like On The Titanic... The Band Plays On

Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog,

It is said the dance band on the Titanic played on as the ship went down. This was all done as a grand effort to reassure the passengers and ease the panic in their hearts. Consider the possibility that behind all the noise we hear today a similar effort is being made to comfort us and take your attention off the hopeless feeling that comes when things sink away beneath your feet. For the last several months I have come to feel a similar story is playing out here. The Biden-Yellen-Powell economy is less than inspiring. 

As The Ship Goes Down The Band Plays On

Looking back, it is clear the Fed's policies have hurt savers, It has caused savers to flee towards riskier investment in search of higher yields, driven speculation, increased equality, add added to inflation. Rather than using the bully pulpit and warnings of higher interest rates to keep government spending in check, the Fad has acted as an enabler to the crowd in Congress that loves nothing better than to sending taxpayer money back home calming it is a gift and proof they are "working hard for their district."

With historically low-interest rates, rising inflation, and many consumers struggling to make ends meet. The economy is at a place where there is not much capability to increase consumption without throwing money from a helicopter and massively increasing the national debt. The problem with that is such stimulus programs are poorly focused. As we look about in this post-pandemic covid-lite era we see supply chains crumbling, stagflation mounting, and jobs being lost to automation. These are all immense problems even in the best of times.

With this in mind, the president has thrown his weight behind a huge infrastructure bill at the worst possible time. These type of bills coming out when employers are already having difficulty filling jobs because many workers have lost their motivation to work will only add to the labor shortage and cause inflation to soar. While he mumbles phrases such as "the buck stops here," and "I take full responsibility," Biden has a way of resorting to finger-pointing and leaping into the blame game at a second's notice. 

President Biden on Monday blasted Republican lawmakers’ approach to raising the federal borrowing limit and warned about the dangers of failing to do so. “A meteor is headed to crash into our economy,” Biden said during a White House speech. “Democrats are willing to do all the work stopping it. Republicans just have to let us do our job — just get out of the way.”

Money Supply Growth Indicates A Problem

It appears that Biden simply doesn't get it. Rather than aligning himself with the American worker, he is part of a larger coalition made up of the poor, the deep state, and the globalist elites. All these groups have one thing in common, and that is they are willing to sacrifice our future for more money and power today.

This is evident in a number of policies rubber-stamped by this coalition that constantly favor big businesses such as Amazon over the far smaller companies that made American famous. Giving people money to stay at home and order online is devastating the brick and mortar stores that line the streets of our communities. These are the companies that pay taxes and provide jobs for our friends and families. The major labor shortage and a fall in productivity will have long lasting implications and become evident in the form of stagflation.

Amazon is the poster child of a failing America. In an ever changing economic environment, the government has aided Amazon in destroying America. Things like the USPS slating the company for special services and pricing. Approving Amazon to participate in delivering home grocery delivery on the SNAP program, and locking people in their homes while forcing many small businesses to close during the pandemic have all played to Amazon's advantage.

Not only have small companies lost sales, but they also cannot afford to automate and replace workers with robots like their giant competitor Amazon. Small companies don't have access to the cheap money flowing from Wall Street. This means small companies cannot compete and often cannot pay the same wages as large companies. Instead, small companies across America are forced to cut hours or even close at times because they cannot get employees. When customers find them closed they tend to develop the habit of looking somewhere else to buy things.

Adding to the woes of many smaller businesses are the expensive and ever-changing mandates being placed upon them by those in power. After the ship goes down, do not expect things to be pretty. Already, statistics show that 1-in-4 Americans primarily live on government support. The idea of simply giving these people more money in the hope it will boost consumption is unsustainable because the numbers don't work. 

As the band plays on and water laps at our feet, most Americans ignore the signs we are in real trouble. Do not be surprised when we enter what will likely be a more protracted, deeper, and more damaging recession than what we saw in 2008. We would already be there if it were not for the crazy deficit spending going on in Washington. In fact, expect a depression, defaults and bankruptcies are only in the very early stages. The Fed has added a tremendous amount of liquidity to the system in order to repair credit spreads and mask over the flaws in the financial system but this will only delay the ugliness ahead.

Because so much is going on, current events have been drowning out reality making it hard to stay focused on the crux of financial and economic issues. That music coming from the dance band is a distraction that is difficult to ignore. There is no playbook for what is about to unfold when the ship goes down or anyone to turn to that has all the answers. Each of us must be aware of the risk and manage our finances accordingly. 

The one thing we do know is that in such a situation, the poor have little to lose, the rich often have ways to skirt much of the pain or, a reservation in the lifeboat. It is the so-called middle class that will be cast into the cold icy water to die when reality finally hits. An economy based on consumption and huge deficits is unsustainable. We need an economy where people produce and that appears to be slipping away.  

Tyler Durden Sun, 10/10/2021 - 09:20

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International

Visualizing The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Visualizing The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Identifying real estate bubbles is a tricky business. After all, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley notes, even though many of us “know a bubble when we see it”, we don’t…

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Visualizing The World's Biggest Real Estate Bubbles In 2021

Identifying real estate bubbles is a tricky business. After all, as Visual Capitalist's Nick Routley notes, even though many of us “know a bubble when we see it”, we don’t have tangible proof of a bubble until it actually bursts.

And by then, it’s too late.

The map above, based on data from the Real Estate Bubble Index by UBS, serves as an early warning system, evaluating 25 global cities and scoring them based on their bubble risk.

Reading the Signs

Bubbles are hard to distinguish in real-time as investors must judge whether a market’s pricing accurately reflects what will happen in the future. Even so, there are some signs to watch out for.

As one example, a decoupling of prices from local incomes and rents is a common red flag. As well, imbalances in the real economy, such as excessive construction activity and lending can signal a bubble in the making.

With this in mind, which global markets are exhibiting the most bubble risk?

The Geography of Real Estate Bubbles

Europe is home to a number of cities that have extreme bubble risk, with Frankfurt topping the list this year. Germany’s financial hub has seen real home prices rise by 10% per year on average since 2016—the highest rate of all cities evaluated.

Two Canadian cities also find themselves in bubble territory: Toronto and Vancouver. In the former, nearly 30% of purchases in 2021 went to buyers with multiple properties, showing that real estate investment is alive and well. Despite efforts to cool down these hot urban markets, Canadian markets have rebounded and continued their march upward. In fact, over the past three decades, residential home prices in Canada grew at the fastest rates in the G7.

Despite civil unrest and unease over new policies, Hong Kong still has the second highest score in this index. Meanwhile, Dubai is listed as “undervalued” and is the only city in the index with a negative score. Residential prices have trended down for the past six years and are now down nearly 40% from 2014 levels.

Note: The Real Estate Bubble Index does not currently include cities in Mainland China.

Trending Ever Upward

Overheated markets are nothing new, though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamic of real estate markets.

For years, house price appreciation in city centers was all but guaranteed as construction boomed and people were eager to live an urban lifestyle. Remote work options and office downsizing is changing the value equation for many, and as a result, housing prices in non-urban areas increased faster than in cities for the first time since the 1990s.

Even so, these changing priorities haven’t deflated the real estate market in the world’s global cities. Below are growth rates for 2021 so far, and how that compares to the last five years.

Overall, prices have been trending upward almost everywhere. All but four of the cities above—Milan, Paris, New York, and San Francisco—have had positive growth year-on-year.

Even as real estate bubbles continue to grow, there is an element of uncertainty. Debt-to-income ratios continue to rise, and lending standards, which were relaxed during the pandemic, are tightening once again. Add in the societal shifts occurring right now, and predicting the future of these markets becomes more difficult.

In the short term, we may see what UBS calls “the era of urban outperformance” come to an end.

Tyler Durden Sat, 10/23/2021 - 22:00

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Government

The return of text is inevitable

Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh human-first take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here. On Equity this week, we discussed the value of the written word. You can imagine that the resulting argument is inheren

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Welcome to Startups Weekly, a fresh human-first take on this week’s startup news and trends. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

On Equity this week, we discussed the value of the written word. You can imagine that the resulting argument is inherently biased, considering we are three journalists who have bet our livelihoods on ink; but, I promise, there’s more nuance here beyond how important a lede is.

We recently published a recent deep dive on Automattic, the commercial media company behind the WordPress publishing platform. Founded in 2005, Automattic is one of the few companies that has been able to evolve and expand its way through a graveyard of media sites. Valued at $7.5 billion, it has also convinced investors of the financial promise of its vision.

I was most struck by how text has shaped Automattic’s hiring process: The company offers a purely written interview, where potential new hires never need to reveal their face or voice to anyone through the recruitment funnel. It takes away the inherent bias that comes with a Zoom interview, which, at its core, is just a digital version of a face-to-face interview. Monica Ohara, chief marketing officer of WordPress.com, explained more about her thinking:

“You normally think you’ve got to talk to them; see them on video. With text only, you remove all this bias and focus on the content of what they’re saying, and also test for a style of communication that’s really important in a distributed team.

“In Silicon Valley, everyone is competing for the same people that would add diversity to your pool. Which is great for those people, but what about all the others who don’t have those opportunities because of where they were born or live? For me, I was born in the Philippines and if I hadn’t had the luck to move here, I’d be living a different life.”

Rethinking the value of text, the same way we rethink how many synchronous meetings should be on our calendar, feels like the natural next step for companies figuring out how to scale distributed work. Even in a world seemingly ruled by short-form video, words — and sound — seem to matter in a way that other formats never will.

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about PayPal’s reported new friend, the Chinese venture capital market and not at all about Facebook’s impending new rebrand. 

PayPal picks Pinterest

Image Credits: TechCrunch

We rushed to Twitter Spaces this week after rumors came out that PayPal may be buying Pinterest for a reported $45 billion. The fintech giant has been on an acquisition spree of sorts, but scooping up a social, photo-sharing platform may signal its hungry to own the content — not just the customer.

Here’s what to know: This feels nostalgic. PayPal potentially joining forces with a more content-focused e-commerce business comes more than a half-decade after it divorced from eBay. But, as Finix Chief Growth Officer Jareau Wadé pointed out, Pinterest is not a shopping destination like eBay — it’s a place where shopping begins for nearly 450 million users.

In a Substack post, Wadé makes the following argument to describe why PayPal may buy Pinterest:

At its core, Pinterest is more like Google than eBay. It’s a search engine that conducts over 5 billion searches per month for fuzzy, hard-to-describe ideas where pictures, rather than words, are often the best place to start. It also has a growing ads business that produced $613 million last quarter, up 125% YoY. With Pinterest, PayPal would be buying the top of the funnel — the awareness and interest stages — for millions of websites on the internet. PayPal would provide Pinterest with the bottom of the funnel, allowing them to see the purchases that result from shopping that began on Pinterest.

Imagine if PayPal could use their core product and the commerce assets they’ve acquired over the past five years to build a deconstructed sales funnel, not just for one website, but for the whole internet.

Put a pin in it:

China is thriving

Flag of China with pile of bitcoin

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Data from CB Insights shows us that, aside from a single outsized 2018 round, China’s third quarter of 2021 was the best three-month period for Chinese startups ever — both in deal value and deal count.

Here’s what to know: We’re surprised, too. On Equity, we discussed how the growth of China’s venture capital market contrasts in sentiment with the region’s government restrictions. It seems that regulatory impact hasn’t stopped all companies from raising, and growing, their businesses there.

Internationally speaking:

Around TC

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 is next week! My colleagues have put together an amazing show about the sector that seemingly can’t stop attracting millions from investors. We’ll see what stopped eating the world, how hunger is turning into innovation and definitely hit a few SaaSy notes through panels with experts.

Check out the event agenda, buy your pass and come hang with us on October 27.

Across the week

Seen on TechCrunch

A massive ‘stalkerware’ leak puts the phone data of thousands at risk

What do people want in a co-founder? YC has some answers

Station F adds an online program to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs

Trump to launch his own social media platform, calling it TRUTH Social

Seen on TechCrunch+

Mission-driven ventures are growing fast during the pandemic

Dear Sophie: Any suggestions for recruiting international tech talent?

Lessons from founders raising their first round in a bull market

Udemy targets valuation of $4B in major edtech IPO

Talk soon,

N 

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Economics

DAX index forecast ahead of the ECB meeting

European stocks rose on Friday on a surge in technology stocks; still, rising inflation became a concern for investors. European inflation was confirmed at 3.4% YoY in September, and concerns grew that the European Central Bank could change its monetary..

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European stocks rose on Friday on a surge in technology stocks; still, rising inflation became a concern for investors. European inflation was confirmed at 3.4% YoY in September, and concerns grew that the European Central Bank could change its monetary policy.

European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said that ECB would maintain its accommodative policy for as long as necessary, but this could change soon. Germany’s DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, but it is still trading below its recent highs.

Germany’s recovery from the pandemic has been strong so far, and the country will release the preliminary estimates of its October Inflation data and its Q3 GDP next week.

Results from many big companies provided a strong start to third-quarter earnings, and investors’ focus will remain on the third-quarter earnings season because many companies have yet to publish their reports.

Next week, Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen,  Linde, MTU Aero Engines, and Daimler are among the companies scheduled to report quarterly results.

According to the German Economic Ministry, the outlook for the industry remains positive, but the world’s supply chains crisis represents a serious problem for Germany because of its dependence on exports.

The German economy is particularly vulnerable to shortages of key parts and raw materials, and more than 40% of companies reported they had lost sales because of supply problems.

Many big companies scaled back production of some of their most profitable models, while Opel announced last month that it would shut down a factory in Eisenach until the beginning of 2022.

It is important to say that nearly half of Germany’s economic output depends on exports of cars, machine tools, and other goods, while the semiconductor shortage throttling global car production suggests more pain for the automotive industry.

Despite this, the German Economic Ministry reported that it expected this effect to be temporary while the German central bank expects that the German economy could grow 3.7% this year. The German Economic Ministry added:

Healthy order books give us reason to expect strong recovery impulses from industry, and thanks to that strong overall economic growth

The European Central Bank recently reported that exports from Eurozone would have been at least 7% higher in the first half of the year if not for supply bottlenecks. The European Central Bank will announce its decision on monetary policy next Thursday, which could significantly influence on DAX index in the near term.

15,000 points represent support

Data source: tradingview.com

DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, and if the price jumps above 15,800 points, the next target could be at 16,000 points.

On the other side, if the price falls below strong support that stands at 15,000 points, it would be a strong “sell” signal, and the next target could be around 14,500 points.

Summary

The European Central Bank will announce its decision on monetary policy next Thursday, which could significantly influence on DAX index in the near term. DAX index has advanced again above 15,500 points, and if the price jumps above 15,800 points, the next target could be at 16,000 points.

The post DAX index forecast ahead of the ECB meeting appeared first on Invezz.

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