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Nu Holdings: This Fintech Stock Is Disrupting the Brazilian Banking Industry

The tech selloff is creating lower entry points for top growth prospects. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from Nu Holdings.
The post Nu Holdings: This Fintech Stock Is Disrupting the Brazilian Banking Industry appeared first on Investment.

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Anytime high-profile investors back a company, investors tend to pay attention. The latest example comes as Nu Holdings (NYSE: NU) made its Wall Street debut in December. The company is attracting a lot of attention as Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.B), led its $750 million funding round in June.

Nu Holdings is a digital banking company based in Brazil with a growing user base. The company is changing the industry by offering its no-fee credit card to a market plagued by high fees.

With this in mind, the fintech company is rapidly expanding its products. So far, Nu Holdings offers financial products for:

  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Spending
  • Borrowing
  • Protecting

Despite its growth, NU Stock is down over 20% from its IPO price with tech stocks selling off recently. IPOs have also underperformed, with investors flocking to safer bets like value stocks.

At the same time, the tech selloff is creating lower entry points for top growth prospects. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from Nu Holdings.

A Growth Story

Since its first product release, the zero-fee credit card, Nu Holdings is seeing massive demand for its services. Until now, the banking sector is seeing little change, which comes at a cost to citizens. In fact, research shows, six banks still control over half of the assets in Brazil.

With little competition, big banks are free to do as they please. As a result, high fees can drain user accounts, leaving them with even less.

Even David Velez, Nu Holdings CEO, had a frustrating banking experience which led him to create the digital platform.

For this reason, Nu Holdings is blowing up in popularity. So far, over 48 million customers are using the digital platform in Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico. In fact, these are the three most populated Latin American countries. In total, they have a population of over 390 million.

Furthermore, Nu Holdings has six tech hubs around the world. The hubs are designed to help spread awareness and expand its market.

But more importantly, the services are helping users. For example, Nubank was just voted the best financial institution in Brazil for the 3rd straight year by Forbes. And on top of this, the company’s fully digital platform is reaching new markets. The older population is even trying the new technology, with +60 customers growing over 20% from last year.

Nu Holdings Stock Analysis

Since Nu Holdings is still new, finding a fair value can be challenging. During its market debut, Nu Holdings stock reached highs of $12.24 per share.

Yet since reaching the highs, Nu stock is trending downwards. Despite a few attempts to push the stock higher, NU is sitting near lows, just over $8.50. Which still gives Nu Holdings a value of over $40 billion. For an unprofitable company, it may seem a bit stretched.

Seeing as the digital bank is still expanding, the company is using extra cash to fuel growth. Thus, NU Holdings could remain unprofitable for years as it continues growing.

With this in mind, the market has been ruthless to unprofitable stocks with high values. Although Nu Holdings is in the banking industry, it’s still considered a growth stock as the startup navigates early-stage growth.

Even more, inflation in Brazil is soaring in the double digits, with severe droughts running prices up. Inflation is expected to affect Latin American countries especially hard. Economists are even forecasting a recession is likely.

And lastly, IPOs are underperforming as private investors look to escape the public markets right now.

A Big Opportunity With Several Risks to Consider

The Latin American financial system is in desperate need of a makeover. If Nu Holdings continues attracting new users it can surprise investors.

The population in Latin America exceeds 662,800,000, ranking it the fourth most populated region. But, more importantly, over half of the population is currently without a bank. With this in mind, Nu Holdings makes it easy for these users to sign up and access financial support.

Additionally, the company has plenty of cross-selling opportunities with several valuable products. For example, a user may sign up for a bank account and see they also offer investing or borrowing options.

Yet if economic conditions worsen in Latin America, it can slow the bank’s growth. A large part of the company’s revenue comes from people borrowing loans. If borrowing slows because of economic worries, it could impact its top line.

Likewise, there is already competition in the space with fintech companies like StoneCo (Nasdaq: STNE).  Even though the company is growing quickly right now, investors may start looking elsewhere if growth slows.

Nu Holdings Stock Forecast – Where Do We Go from Here

Sitting near its lowest price point, it’s tempting to pick up a few shares of Nu Holdings. But, with a value of over 40 billion and no profits to show, it seems tough to justify.

At the same time, growth isn’t the issue. The problem is more to do with the world economy and particularly Latin America. As countries try to calm inflation, rising interest rates are expected.

If interest rates go up, it can discourage borrowing and limit growth. And when this happens, the financial sector feels the pressure. Several economists are predicting that many of the LA countries will fail to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.

That said, Nu Holdings is still growing. Its products give users access to financial services that they wouldn’t have otherwise. With an easy-to-use interface, look for the company to continue attracting large amounts of users.

The big question for the company will be, can they sustain this growth? And if they can, will they be able to turn a profit? Until we see more results from Nu Holdings, the stock will likely remain under pressure.

The post Nu Holdings: This Fintech Stock Is Disrupting the Brazilian Banking Industry appeared first on Investment U.

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Shortage of workers threatens UK recovery – here’s why and what to do about it

The nation has very low unemployment figures, but that masks a complex labour market.

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For the first time since records began, there are more job vacancies in the UK than unemployed people, according to the latest monthly labour market figures. This has been driven mainly by a near-fourfold surge in job vacancies to around 1.3 million since the summer of 2020, when economic activity was allowed to resume at the end of the first COVID lockdown.

Record vacancies might seem like a good thing in terms of maintaining low unemployment. But employers across all sectors of the economy are struggling to fill vacancies, which limits economic recovery. So what explains all these vacancies, and what can be done about them?

First of all, the spectacular rise in job vacancies goes far beyond a pre-pandemic “bounce back”. Although the biggest shortages are in hospitality, there have been substantial rises across most sectors. All are above pre-pandemic levels.

Job vacancies and unemployment (thousands)

Office for National Statistics (2020), Vacancy Survey and Labour Force Survey

Demand for labour (that’s all employment plus vacancies) has recovered to almost exactly its pre-pandemic level. But the data indicates that the increase in vacancies is not due to a surge in demand for labour, but because the labour force is shrinking: it dropped by 1.6% or 561,000 between the first quarters (Jan-March) of 2020 and 2022, which is greater than the increase in job vacancies over the same period (492,000).

Notably, people’s reasons for being economically inactive have changed over the past couple of years. Following the first COVID lockdown, the large drop in labour supply among 16-64s (those of working age) was mainly driven by rises in long-term sickness (139,000) and early retirement (70,000).

Reasons for economic inactivity over time, 16-64 year olds

Chart showing why 16-64s are economically inactive over time
Note: the chart shows quarterly rolling years. Author calculations of ONS Annual Population Survey, accessed via Nomis

The drop in the workforce also masks a considerable churn within it, which may be adding to employers’ difficulties in recruiting staff. During the first lockdown, the number of EU workers fell by some 300,000. This has partially recovered, as you can see in the chart below, but there are still around 100,000 fewer than at the start of the pandemic.

Yet this has been more than offset by continued long-term growth in the number of non-EU foreign-born workers in the UK, increasing by some 170,000 since the start of the pandemic. Brexit, in other words, in tandem with the pandemic, has been a source of churn in the labour market.

Change in non UK-born workforce 2019-21

Chart showing what has happened to non-UK nationals working in UK over time
Note: although likely to be indicative of trends, non-UK residents may be underestimated due to the Annual Population Survey/Labour Force Survey shifting from face-to-face to online data collection during the pandemic. Data is currently subject to review and may be revised. Authors' calculations of ONS (2022) Labour Force Survey

The geographic dimension

Until now, little has been known about where this sharp rise in vacancies has been happening, which is an important question if the government is to be able to address geographical imbalances in the economy through its “levelling up” policy.

To help remedy this, we have been studying comprehensive online job vacancy data obtained under a special research agreement with the Urban Big Data Centre at the University of Glasgow to use data scraped from the Adzuna job vacancy search engine. Our data analysis is not yet published in the academic literature, but it provides an early indication of the overall pattern.

The rise in the rate of job vacancies appears remarkably uneven across local authority districts in Great Britain. The two maps below show the change from before the pandemic in February 2020 (on the left) to July 2021 (on the right), the most recent month for which we have been able to compute data. This is likely to still be indicative of the most recent geographic pattern.

Vacancies growth between February 2020 and July 2021

GB maps showing job vacancies by council district
Authors’ calculations based on Adzuna vacancy data (Adzuna. Economic and Social Research Council. Adzuna Data, 2022 [data collection]. University of Glasgow - Urban Big Data Centre), ONS Business Register and employer survey and ONS local authority boundaries

It shows huge increases in vacancies in relatively few districts, while most others show either modest increases or falls. The highest rates are particularly found in remoter rural areas, particularly in the south-west and north-west of England, and in parts of inner London.

Many of these districts are dependent on foreign labour, particularly for agriculture in rural areas, and hospitality and other sectors in London. Again, this may be a sign of the effect of Brexit and the pandemic choking off the growth in the number of EU workers.

What can’t be denied is that the employment market has been restructured in several major inter-related ways in a relatively short period, not only with Brexit but also thanks to rapid increases in remote online working, disruption to global supply-chains and COVID-related ill health.

It would make sense for these factors to produce “mismatches” between the skills and locations of workers and vacancies. For example, many job seekers have skills in declining occupations, such as skilled manual work. Our own analysis backs this up, since we see more job seekers than vacancies in some former industrial towns, particularly in the West Midlands and northern England – exactly the opposite problem to some inner London boroughs and rural districts.

What should be done

Places across the UK where job vacancies are concentrated are likely to experience sharp economic contractions if they are unable to attract more workers soon. Yet the areas that have experienced drops or weak growth in vacancies compared to before the pandemic are also a concern, as they may have been hit harder by issues like global supply chains and the pandemic and may not have enough jobs to go around.

Policies to combat Britain’s labour shortage must therefore be geographically targeted. Areas in need of more jobs, particularly higher-paying jobs, often require long-term investment in infrastructure and skills.

But to help areas in need of more workers, there will need to be creative solutions such as employers offering attractive packages including training and flexible working, and local and national authorities ensuring adequate local availability of affordable housing.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Global Supply Chain Pressure Index: May 2022 Update

Supply chain disruptions continue to be a major challenge as the world economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, recent developments related…

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Supply chain disruptions continue to be a major challenge as the world economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, recent developments related to geopolitics and the pandemic (particularly in China) could put further strains on global supply chains. In a January post, we first presented the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI), a parsimonious global measure designed to capture supply chain disruptions using a range of indicators. We revisited our index in March, and today we are launching the GSCPI as a standalone product, with new readings to be published each month. In this post, we review GSCPI readings through April 2022 and briefly discuss the drivers of recent moves in the index.

More Stress on Supply Chains

The chart below provides an update of the GSCPI through April; readers can find a link to the updated data series on our new product page. Between December 2021 and March 2022, the index registered an easing of global supply chain pressures, though they remained at very high levels historically. However, the April 2022 reading suggests a worsening of conditions as renewed strains emerge in global supply chains.

April Data Indicate Worsening of Supply Chain Pressures

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Harper Petersen Holding GmbH; Baltic Exchange; IHS Markit; Institute for Supply Management; Haver Analytics; Bloomberg L.P.; authors’ calculations.

Note: Index is scaled by its standard deviation.

Methodology

Before analyzing this recent pickup in supply chain pressures, we remind readers that the GSCPI is based on two sets of data. Global transportation costs are measured by using data on ocean shipping costs, for we which we employ data from the Baltic Dry Index (BDI) and the Harpex index, as well as BLS airfreight cost indices for freight flights between Asia, Europe, and the United States. We also use supply chain-related components  of Purchase Manager Index (PMI) surveys—“delivery times,” “backlogs,” and “purchased stocks”—for manufacturing firms across seven interconnected economies: China, the euro area, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Before combining these data within the GSCPI by means of principal component analysis, we strip out demand effects from the underlying series by projecting the PMI supply chain components on the “new orders” components of the corresponding PMI surveys and, in a similar vein, projecting the global transportation cost measures onto GDP-weighted “new orders” and “inputs purchased” components across the seven PMI surveys.

Sources of Pressure

So, what are the drivers behind recent moves in the GSCPI? The charts below illustrate how each of the underlying variables contributed to the overall change in the GSCPI in the last two months. Each column represents the contribution, in standard deviations, of each component of our index to the overall change in the index during a given period. In the first chart, we examine February-March 2022. We note that the lessening of supply chain pressures over this period was widespread across the various components, which indicated a welcome reduction in global supply chain disruptions. Most of the series in our data set declined over this period; the U.K. “backlog” component worsened and the U.S. “purchased stocks” component increased marginally.

Widespread Improvements Seen across Components in March 2022

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Harper Petersen Holding GmbH; Baltic Exchange; IHS Markit; Institute for Supply Management; Haver Analytics; Bloomberg L.P.; authors’ calculations.

In the chart below, we focus on the contributions of the underlying components of the GSCPI from March to April 2022.

Global Supply Chain Pressures Worsen in April 2022

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Harper Petersen Holding GmbH; Baltic Exchange; IHS Markit; Institute for Supply Management; Haver Analytics; Bloomberg L.P.; authors’ calculations.

As the chart indicates, the worsening of global supply chain pressures in April was predominantly driven by the Chinese “delivery times” component, the increase in airfreight costs from the United States to Asia, and the euro area “delivery times” component, as other components have eased over the month. These developments could be associated with the stringent COVID-19-related lockdown measures adopted in China, as well as the consequences of the Ukraine-Russia conflict for supply chains in Europe.

Finally, as we noted in our previous post and discuss on our product page, recent GSCPI readings are subject to revision. The chart below compares the current GSCPI release with the previous three releases, showing that revisions can have an impact up to a year back in time. The chart indicates that, based on the current vintage of the GSCPI, the decrease in global supply chain pressures through April occurred at a slighter faster pace than previous GSCPI estimates had suggested.

Revised and Realized Data Can Alter Previous Supply Chain Pressure Readings

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Harper Petersen Holding GmbH; Baltic Exchange; IHS Markit; Institute for Supply Management; Haver Analytics; Bloomberg L.P.; authors’ calculations.

Note: Index is scaled by its standard deviation.

Conclusions

In this post, we provide an update of the GSCPI through April 2022. This estimate suggests that the moderation we have observed in recent months has been partially reversed, as lockdown measures in China and geopolitical developments are putting further strains on delivery times and transportation costs in China and the euro area. Forthcoming readings will be particularly interesting as we assess the potential for these developments to further heighten global supply chain pressures.

Chart Data

Gianluca Benigno is the head of International Studies in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Julian di Giovanni is head of Climate Risk Studies in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Jan J.J. Groen is an economic research advisor in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

Adam Noble is a senior research analyst in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this post:
Gianluca Benigno, Julian Di Giovanni, Jan Groen, and Adam Noble, “Global Supply Chain Pressure Index: May 2022 Update,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics, May 18, 2022, https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2022/05/global-supply-chain-pressure-index-may-2022-update/.


Disclaimer
The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

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Public health “detectives” will track potential links between COVID-19 and poor pregnancy outcomes

Did COVID-19 worsen pregnancy outcomes in South Carolina? Did it affect the health of mothers and infants? Two Medical University of South Carolina researchers…

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Did COVID-19 worsen pregnancy outcomes in South Carolina? Did it affect the health of mothers and infants? Two Medical University of South Carolina researchers in the Department of Public Health Sciences will try to answer those questions with more than $1.5 million in grant funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  

Credit: Medical University of South Carolina. Photograph by Sarah Pack.

Did COVID-19 worsen pregnancy outcomes in South Carolina? Did it affect the health of mothers and infants? Two Medical University of South Carolina researchers in the Department of Public Health Sciences will try to answer those questions with more than $1.5 million in grant funding from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.  

Angela Malek, Ph.D., and Kelly Hunt, Ph.D., are epidemiologists – public health “detectives” who look for patterns in disease data and statistics to improve our understanding of threats to human health and how to mitigate them. A unique South Carolina resource of statewide medical claims data will aid them in their investigation into potential links between COVID-19 and pregnancy.

“South Carolina is really unique in that it is able to interlink all of the hospital data on births and discharge diagnosis codes, all of the COVID diagnostic information and even Medicaid data,” said Hunt. “That made it feasible for us to actually look at the state level at what the impact of COVID was on pregnancy.”

“Even before the pandemic, South Carolina had a poor track record on pregnancy and maternal and infant mortality,” said Hunt. Between 2015 and 2019, for every 100,000 live births, South Carolina saw 26.2 mothers die – versus 20.1 nationally in 2019 – and that number jumped to 42.3 for Black women and women of other racial groups. In 2019, for every 1,000 live births in South Carolina, 6.9 infants died – versus 5.6 nationally – with that number climbing to 11.8 for Black women and women of other racial groups.

Poor outcomes were due in part to a high rate of preeclampsia and other cardiovascular complications of pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a complication sometimes occurring in the second half of pregnancy. It can lead to severe high blood pressure and can increase the risk of stroke, seizure and heart or kidney injury in mothers during or immediately after pregnancy. It can also lead to increased cardiovascular risk for mothers for years after pregnancy. Black women are three times more likely than White women to die from preeclampsia and its effects.

The newly funded study will determine whether pandemic-caused disruptions made an already bad situation worse. Malek and Hunt also want to see whether pregnant women of racial and ethnic minority communities were disproportionately affected.

“Early on, the pandemic caused economic volatility, with massive job losses; cancellation and/or suspension of health care and social services; and widespread isolation due to social distancing,” said Hunt. “To date, few studies have examined the relation between the pandemic and adverse maternal or infant outcomes. Not all have been able to compare potential differences by race and ethnicity. That is one of the things that we hope to be able to look at in this study.”

Malek and Hunt also want to study whether infection with the virus causing COVID-19 worsens pregnancy outcomes and maternal health. Early evidence suggests that this could be the case. In a study of Hispanic women with COVID-19, those who were pregnant had a risk of death that was 2.4 times higher than those who were not pregnant. Another study of more than 400,000 women of diverse races found links between COVID-19 infection and poor maternal health during and after pregnancy, including severe illness and poor cardiovascular outcomes. However, more studies are needed to clarify the interplay of race, health care disparities, COVID and pregnancy outcomes.

Likewise, they hope that their study of the South Carolina statewide data will begin to answer some of the pressing questions about COVID-19 and pregnancy. Did pregnant women in racial and ethnic minority communities fare worse than their White counterparts? Does COVID-19 infection make women more likely to develop cardiovascular complications during pregnancy? Will those complications increase the mother’s risk of stroke, diabetes or heart attack in later life? How does exposure to the virus as a fetus affect the development and health of the child, and does it increase his or her risk of developing cardiovascular disease?

Malek and Hunt are passionate about their work because they know answers to such questions are the first step toward improving the lives of pregnant women and their children in South Carolina. Their findings could help to target public health initiatives and funding to improve pregnancy and maternal and infant outcomes.

What do they hope will ultimately come from this research? “If the data show a link between COVID-19 and worse pregnancy outcomes, then that would suggest that a woman who is pregnant and develops COVID-19 should be followed up more closely to help prevent these cardiovascular complications from occurring,” said Malek.

 

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, MUSC is home to the oldest medical school in the South as well as the state’s only integrated academic health sciences center, with a unique charge to serve the state through education, research and patient care. Each year, MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and nearly 800 residents in six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. MUSC brought in more than $327.6 million in biomedical research funds in fiscal year 2021, continuing to lead the state in obtaining federal and National Institutes of Health funding, with more than $220 million. For information on academic programs, visit musc.edu.

As the clinical health system of the Medical University of South Carolina, MUSC Health is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality and safest patient care available while training generations of compassionate, competent health care providers to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond. Patient care is provided at 14 hospitals with approximately 2,500 beds and five additional hospital locations in development, more than 300 telehealth sites and nearly 750 care locations situated in the Lowcountry, Midlands, Pee Dee and Upstate regions of South Carolina. In 2021, for the seventh consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the No. 1 hospital in South Carolina. To learn more about clinical patient services, visit muschealth.org.

MUSC and its affiliates have collective annual budgets of $4.4 billion. The more than 24,000 MUSC team members include world-class faculty, physicians, specialty providers, scientists and care team members who deliver groundbreaking education, research, technology and patient care.


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