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Strebler's Perspective

October, 2016 Archives

Challenges Confront Globalization

By Jon S. Strebler

 

Among other news on Friday was the disturbing revelation that companies such as Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, and Spotify had been hit by “waves of cyber attacks” earlier in the day, followed by further attacks throughout the day. The US Department of Homeland Security was unaware of who was responsible for the attacks at the time, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to create a list of suspects. And we may well know the winner by the time you read this. 

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Turning Points?

by Jon S. Strebler

 

The US dollar has been the world's leading reserve currency since the mid-1940s. At the Bretton Woods meetings in 1944 , most countries agreed to set or fix their currencies' value in terms of the dollar, e.g. the dollar was equal to 8 Mexican pesos (or conversely, one peso was equal to 12 and a half US cents). The dollar, in turn, was fixed in terms of how much gold it was worth.

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Daily Recap

In a relatively quiet day, US stocks struggled to gain back some of yesterday’s declines. Asian and European markets finished lower, with the STOXX 600 down 0.5% and the Global Dow losing a mere 0.1%. 

 

In the U.S., the main features were lower oil prices (crude down 1%) and further evidence of a Fed hike by December. Just released minutes of the Fed’s September meeting leads traders to give such a rate increase by year end a 70% probability, in line with the current thinking and thus, no surprise. 

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Surges

By Jon S. Strebler

 

Hurricane Matthew inflicted horrible damage on the Southeast United States, but much more on places that can least afford to deal with a massive hurricane’s wrath.  In the U.S., at least 21 are dead, with property damage estimated at $5 billion.  That’s perhaps close to the total property value in all of impoverished Haiti, where more than 1000 people are already confirmed dead and many more will surely follow.  There, damage and death came mostly in the form of rainfall and high winds, with diseases such as cholera certain to boost death tolls in the weeks ahead.

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Inflation AND Deflation?

By Jon S. Strebler

 

On our recent cruise down the Best Coast, we met a nice couple from Vancouver, where the journey started. Well, they soon explained, they weren’t from Vancouver proper, but from a nearby community. It turns out that average folk can’t afford to live in the city itself, at least not in the decent parts of town. These good people threw around phrases like “$2 million for a nice 4-bedroom,” “nothing decent under $1 million,” etc. We were shocked!

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