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CNA: US Banking Giants Optimistic Amid Nasdaq Drop, Market Resilience in Question

The full episode was posted at It may be removed after a few weeks. This video segment is owned by CNA.

US banking giants express optimism for the year ahead despite warning of potential risks to the economic recovery. Sachs reports a 51% increase in earnings, driven by strong performance in asset and wealth management. However, Morgan Stanley’s net income falls over 30% due to charges, reflecting a mixed performance in the banking sector. The market sell-off is attributed to concerns about the resilience of US markets, potential volatility in the coming months, and uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential election and US fiscal spending.

Additionally, Wall Street is affected by the mixed reports from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley weighing on market sentiment.

The show also discusses the upcoming reports from middle regional banks to gauge the performance of commercial lending, consumer activity, and the overall tone for corporate finance and insurance in the next quarter. Overall, market sentiment remains cautious due to uncertainties surrounding economic indicators, the upcoming election, and fiscal spending in the US.

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US banking giants are finally calling the bottom, signaling a deal making comeback in the coming months. Executives of two major lenders expressed optimism for the year ahead as they reported fourth quarter earnings. But they also warned of risks that could disrupt the economic recovery. And Goldman Sachs stuck the landing after tumultuous year for the bank. Its earnings jumped 51% in the fourth quarter from a year ago. A strong performance from its asset and wealth management business supported the profit boost, offsetting weaker investment banking, and its shares ended up about seven tenths of a percent. Meantime, Morgan Stanley also topped revenue estimates on an investment banking rebound. But the net income fell more than 30% due to one of charges, pushing its shares lower by more than 4% there. Now it is the first scorecard under new CEO Ted pick, who warned of two major downside risks, including concerns around geopolitics and the health of the US economy. Those bank earnings results posing one of the biggest drags on Wall street, pushing all three major indices lower overnight. Now the S&P 500 had been trading near its all time closing peak, reached in 2022 over the past several sessions, but it is now down about 1% from that record high.


Meantime, the tech heavy Nasdaq shed about two tenths of a percent. Boeing was the biggest loser in the Dow, shedding about 8%. The plane maker has yet to regain investor confidence after us aviation regulators extended the grounding of its seven three seven max nine jets indefinitely for new safety checks. Spirit Airlines, though, losing more altitude over a blocked acquisition deal. A federal judge ruled against JetBlue’s nearly $4 billion takeover proposal of spirit airlines over antitrust issues. And as equities tumbled, US treasury yields rose with the dollar amid easing rate cut expectations. Yields on benchmark tenure notes are back above 4%. Again on hawkish remarks from Fed governor Christopher Waller. Tony Nash, founder and CEO at Complete Intelligence, joins us for more now. Tony, we’re looking at Wall Street’s sell off accelerating. We’re hearing at the that, you know, markets may have gotten ahead of themselves regarding how deep and how fast those policy rate cuts could be. Your take on that and how we can expect markets to move?

Tony Nash

Sure, the problem with us markets right now is that they’re priced for perfection. So if anything goes wrong, if the Fed signals an overly hawkish message or an overly dovish message, or say, a government macroeconomic data print comes out that isn’t perfect, or if company earnings don’t come out that aren’t perfect, then we can really see some wobbles in us markets. So I’m not really sure about the resilience of markets here. I think what we’ve been telling our customers is you’re going to see some intramonth volatility for the next few months until investors become confident in the direction of the Fed.


At the same time, this year is a pretty big one. For the US. It is election year. How much of this of lack last step performance is actually due to this? S&P 500 historically performs well in an election year, but it typically sees a slower start first, or is this just part of what is usually happening?

Tony Nash

Yeah, a lot of this really depends on Janet Yellen, the treasury secretary. If she can sell enough bonds to have cash to spend money from the US government, then we can really see markets rally pretty hard. But if Yellen can’t get the authority and can’t sell the bonds necessary to do that, then the US fiscal spending will be problematic. We also have a budget that’s going through in the US and a tentative budget agreement. If the Republicans halt that agreement and make more fiscal spending cut demands, then that could weigh on the US economy as well. Yes, traditionally markets do well in a presidential year, but I think there’s a little bit uncertainty around the election. And people, I think people are a little bit hesitant to spend partly because they’re a little bit loaded up on debt or a lot loaded up on debt. And we’ve seen a really robust 22 and 23. And so really people are wondering how far can we push this in 2024?


Indeed, dampening sentiment there. Big bank earnings. We’ve got Goldman and Morgan did the latest two report appears to be quite a mixed bag, but mostly not so great this quarter. And that’s weighed on Wall street as well. How do you read the latest earnings report? Are we talking bad debt, the lingering effects of high for longer rates? And what does it tell you about the consumer?

Tony Nash

Yeah, I think that what we’re really waiting for is some of these middle regional banks to see how they report because we’ll know how, say, commercial lending is doing and how commercial real estate lending and how consumers are doing. It’ll be much more evident as we see these regional and mid sized banks report. The larger banks, they’ll be fine. They are fine. They know how to manage and trade off the different lines of business that they have. It really is the mid sized banks that we’re waiting on and that will set the tone for a lot of the corporate finance and banking and insurance for the next quarter.


All right, Tony, appreciate time this morning. Tony Nash, founder and CEO at Complete Intelligence.


Global Elections 2024: A Year of Political Significance

This podcast was first and originally published by Peter Lewis’ Money Talk. Find the Substack here:

Topics discussed:

  • The upcoming Taiwan election and its potential impact on Taiwan-China relations, with observations on the evolving stance of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
  • The potential weakening of democratic institutions globally, influenced by factors such as economic success, illiberalism, and the impact of the pandemic.
  • The involvement and engagement of young people in politics are considered, with emphasis on their potential interest in national elections and the impact on their lives.
  • The possibility of a Trump presidency, its potential implications, and the dynamics within the Republican party are also discussed, including the potential influence of the primaries.

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Peter Lewis

I’m joined now by Tony Nash, who is founder of Complete Intelligence over in Texas in the USA. Very good morning, Tony. Happy New year to you.

Tony Nash

Hi, Peter. Happy New year.

Peter Lewis

Thank you. Looking forward to 2024. Lots of things to talk about, but I think one of the things that’s going to be interesting is elections this year is going to be dominated by elections in a way in which we haven’t seen before. Eight of the ten most populous countries in the world are going to hold elections. More than 70 countries, about 2 billion people, half the adult population of the globe, is going to have the chance to vote in 2024. It’s a record for one year. This is going to be pretty important, isn’t it? And we got some pretty significant ones, maybe starting with one in just a few days time in Taiwan.

Tony Nash

Right. Yeah, it’s a really interesting year. And the Taiwan election is also very interesting with the DPPKMT and some other things happening there. I think it’ll be interesting to see if there’s a clear winner and who it is. It’s also interesting to see the mainland’s discussion around the Taiwan election, too, which they do this every election. Right. So here in the US, there’s a lot made about the mainland discussion around Taiwan, but this is something that we see every election cycle.

Peter Lewis

It seems to be, though, the rhetoric seems to be ratcheting up this time, doesn’t it? Because this is going to be now, if the DPP wins, the Democratic Progressive Party, it’s going to be their third victory in a row, really broke the stranglehold that the KMT used to have on elections in Taiwan. So it feels like this one in particular is going to be very significant and is going to have some implications for markets as well, as. Well, of course, as relations between Taiwan and China. Mainland China.

Tony Nash

Yeah, it could be significant. I don’t necessarily get the sense that the DPP is as kind of polar opposite of, say, KMT nationalism as they have been in the past. I think the DPP’s moderated just a little bit. Of course, they don’t want unification, but they’ve moderated just a little bit. I think they’ve come a little bit more to the center. And so I think that’s why they’re appealing, and that’s why it’s possible that they have a third term. I think it makes the mainland a little bit uncomfortable. But again, I think this is not something that is completely unique, although it’s ratcheting up. The other thing to remember, and I know your listeners in Asia will know this. But Taiwan has really only had direct elections since the 1990s. And so we hear a lot about kind of the democracy in Taiwan versus the mainland, but there really hasn’t been direct elections for more than 30 years. So it’s really interesting to see how Taiwan has really gravitated to that and how they do elections incredibly well.

Peter Lewis

I mean, these are proper democratic elections, aren’t they? Unlike maybe in some of the countries that are going to hold elections this year where it’s either already a foregone conclusion or do you get the feeling, though, that maybe there is a bit of a recession going on in democracies around the world, that maybe there’s this spreading sort of illiberalism and a weakening of democracy around the world?

Tony Nash

Well, I think a couple of factors have played into that. I think the economic success that we’ve seen in the mainland over the last 30 years has really contributed to, say, I would say maybe an academic and maybe media and other, say, political institutional view that maybe a less liberal approach. And we could even look at Singapore, where people look at a potentially less liberal approach as one that maybe gets more economic success. At least that’s some of the perception. I don’t necessarily think that democracy is weakening, but I do think that those ideas. Does less liberal governance allow more, say, success or economic success or I think a central government strategy? People complain a lot here in the US about the US not having a strategy. I think illiberalism lends itself to having a central strategy. I think one of the other contributing factors is the pandemic, quite frankly. I mean, I think a lot of social liberties were taken away from people for a period of time. And I think it’s driven a lot of maybe thought and or paranoia about growing illiberalism.

Peter Lewis

I mean, I’m thinking maybe one example this year is going to be India, obviously, elections coming up in India as well. That seems to be one country where there does seem to be a weakening of sort of democratic institutions despite the fact that this is still the biggest democracy in the world.

Tony Nash

Yeah, it is a big democracy. The BJP is very, very popular. And it’ll be very interesting to see what happens in India because we do have a very vocal media in India. We have a very vocal population. And so I think as there are or if there are issues around the elections, I think we’ll hear about them. And I don’t think people will be quiet about it.

Peter Lewis

And then, of course, we have some other key elections going on around the world as well. I mean, one of the things that I’m wondering is about young people. I mean, they’re a key voting group in many of these elections, probably in all of these elections that are going on, do you get the feeling that maybe young people are becoming more disengaged? They just don’t feel that democracy is working for them, that elections are making any big difference for them, which is why we’re seeing maybe some of these sort of radical leaders win, populist leaders win in places such as Argentina.

Tony Nash

Well, I don’t know. So here in the US, we have the boomers, Gen X, millennials, and then Gen Z. I have three kids that are Gen Z, and I find them, the discussions that they have about politics are pretty informed. I wouldn’t say very informed, but pretty informed. Their friends who talk about politics, they’re pretty informed. Again, they’re getting a lot from social media, but I think they do have the opportunity to dig into issues. And so I think there’s always an observation from older generations that kind of younger people don’t care as much about politics, but the fact is they’re not paying as much in taxes. They may or may not own property. They may or may not have kids attending a school. So they just may not be as interested in particularly some of those local issues. Right. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re seeing, I would say more extreme candidates because of, say, the Gen Z population. I think it’s a balance of, say, here in the US, it’s a balance of baby boomers. And when we look at the disposable income that people can put toward campaigns here in the US, it’s really overwhelmingly the baby boomers who lend to campaigns that then become extreme.

Tony Nash

So I don’t know what it looks like in other countries, but I know that the level of disposable income and the giving to campaigns here in the US is largely done by baby boomers.

Peter Lewis

And when your kids discuss elections, do they feel that the outcome is likely to make any difference to them personally, to their livelihoods, to their chances of getting a better job or a higher paying job?

Tony Nash

I think potentially, yes, I think they do. One of the things here in the US, obviously, we have local elections and then we have state elections, and then we have national elections. The national elections are what gets most of the attention. But the things that have the most, the races that have the most to do with them getting jobs really are the local and state elections. Is a state more appealing economically? Is there a regulation locally? These sorts of things, but they’re paying more attention to the national elections, of course, because that’s what’s in media. But I think they find the local elections pretty boring, quite frankly. And so they are paying attention to the national elections. And I think they do see that as an opportunity for them. Again, they’re not incredibly well informed, but I think they do see the national elections in terms of social policy and economic policy as something that will impact their lives.

Peter Lewis

And, of course, we’ve got to mention the US election coming up in November. Do we have any sense of what a potential Trump presidency is going to look like?

Tony Nash

That’s a big assumption, Peter. I don’t know. I think there is more of a competition on the republican side than we’re led to believe. I don’t know. It’s probably going to be Trump, but I think it’s possible that there is a different candidate. I don’t know exactly who would be, but I think there’s more of a competition on the republican side than some of the polls today are showing because what we’re seeing are a lot of national polls, and we don’t necessarily vote nationally in the US. We vote at a state level, which awards representatives who vote proportionally to the number of representatives that we have in the. So I think it’ll be more of a contest than we’re led to believe. Now, if Trump is know, I’m not really sure because the last time around, he was not a great administrator. He definitely speaks from the bully pulpit, but he’s not a great administrator. And I think many people who are, say, middle aged or younger in the US look at the current president Biden, and they look at Trump as a potential candidate, and they’re both 80 years old, give or take. And I think the concern from a lot of voters is they want a president who has to live with the consequences of their own policies.

Tony Nash

So I think Americans are looking at these older candidates who are at the extreme end of electable and saying, look, these guys, I’m not really sure that they should govern because they’re really too old to live with the consequences of their policies. So that’s why I think we may see more of a contest on the republican side than we’re being led to believe right now.

Peter Lewis

Mean, on the Republicans. I mean, there are candidates, aren’t there, who are quite considerably younger than Trump who could present an alternative? I’m thinking of people like Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis. They’re all sort of candidates who would have to live with the consequences of their decisions.

Tony Nash

That’s right. And so until we start seeing some of the primaries come in with Iowa, New Hampshire, and some of these early primaries, I don’t know that we’ll necessarily understand what people on the ground are thinking. And let’s say, for example, Trump doesn’t win Iowa. Well, we’ll hear, well, Iowa is not really important. And then if he doesn’t win New Hampshire, we’ll hear him say that, well, New Hampshire is not really important, these sorts of things. But I do believe that as we start to see some of these early primaries come in, other Americans will get a view of what those early voters are thinking, because these candidates have spent a lot of time on the ground in Iowa, in New Hampshire and other places. And so they’re really reflective or starting to reflect what some of these people on the ground are hearing and seeing.

Peter Lewis

And if Trump were to win, I mean, the way he’s talking at the moment, it sounds like his presidency is going to be quite a vindictive one. It’s going to be about taking revenge on all the people he feels have slighted him over the last sort of four years or so.

Tony Nash

Yeah, I think it’s really interesting to see the mood in 2016 was very different from what it is now. And the mood in 2016 was that people just wanted to see some sort of change. They felt like their voice wasn’t heard. At least this is on the republican side. Right? They really wanted to see change. I think Trump today is an angrier candidate and a more vindictive candidate than he was in 2016. In 2016, he came across as frustrated but constructive. He now comes across as vindictive and angry. And I don’t know how many people that’s going to appeal to. I know there are a lot of frustrated voters, but I’m not really sure that having that angry of a message can really attract the voters that he needs.

Peter Lewis

And he’s also coming across as being fairly illiberal as well. He’s going to tear down some democratic institutions that have been around for a long time and doesn’t seem to respect some of those institutions.

Tony Nash

Well, we’ll see. I mean, does he have the power to do see a lot? We’ve seen a lot of, say, directive government from the executive office. We saw it under Obama, we saw it under Trump. We see it under Biden, where these things are then taken to the federal courts and they’re struck down. So can he actually disassemble some of those institutions? I think it would be really hard.

Peter Lewis

Well, look, Tony, it’s going to be a fascinating year. Look forward to talking to you more about some of these issues as the year develops. As we said, Taiwan’s elections coming up in just a few days time. So thank you very much for your contribution this morning. Have a happy new year. Look forward to speaking to you.

Tony Nash

Thank you, Peter. Happy New Year.

Peter Lewis

That’s Tony Nash, who is the founder of Complete Intelligence.

Week Ahead

Systemic Risks: The Week Ahead – 10 Oct 2022

Learn more about CI Futures here:

In this episode, we’re joined by our special guest, Simon Mikailovich from the Bullion Reserve, along with regular guests Tracy Shuchart and Albert Marko.

First, we looked at systemic risk in the case for hard assets with Simon. When we look at recent events like the BOE intervention in the long-term gilt market, where does he think the next systemic risks could come from? Is it developed more market (European) debt?

Also, Simon discussed how we should be looking at the gold market now. Why is there a divergence between physical gold at the retail level and institutional demand for gold derivatives?

Next, we went into a little bit on OPEC cuts with Tracy. OPEC cut supply by 2m BPD. Everyone has talked about this. We’ve spoken in earlier episodes about a price spike in oil later in Q4, partly owing to SPR releases stopping or slowing. Is this even likelier now? Some US legislators are pushing a bill to break up OPEC. Is that even remotely possible?

And then finally, we took our first look at US midterms. Democrats now control both House and Senate. That’s a huge advantage for Joe Biden. For many reasons – inflation, crime, etc – Democrats are in trouble for November’s midterms, but will they lose control of both the House and the Senate? Albert discussed that in this episode. We’ll cover more of this in the coming weeks, but we want to have a starter conversation here.

Key themes:
1. Systemic risks and the case for hard assets (Gold)
2. OPEC cuts = Q4 Crude price whipsaw?
3. US Midterms
4. The Week Ahead

This is the 37th episode of The Week Ahead, where experts talk about the week that just happened and what will most likely happen in the coming week.

Follow The Week Ahead panel on Twitter:

Listen to this episode on Spotify:


Tony Nash: Hi, everyone, and welcome to The Week ahead. I’m Tony Nash. This week we’re joined by our special guest, Simon Mikailovich from the Bullion Reserve. Simon, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. We’re also joined by Tracy Shuchart and Albert Marko.

We’ve got a lot to dig into this week. The first we’re looking at is systemic risk. And the case for hard assets? We’ll dig into that quite a bit with Simon.

Next, we’ll go into a little bit on OPEC cuts with Tracy. You’ve all heard about it, there’s no secrets there, but what do we expect for crude prices in Q4?

And then finally we’ll take our first look at US midterms. I think we’ve got a lot to talk with Albert about over the next few weeks before US midterms, but we’ll just do a quick dive in this week.

So before we get started, please take a look at our product, CI Futures. It’s a forecast subscription product. It’s $99 a month. We cover a few thousand assets over a twelve month horizon, economics, currencies, commodities, equity indices. So please take a look at that. The URL is on the screen. Thanks a lot for that.

So, Simon, welcome and thanks for taking the time on a Friday. I know there’s a lot going on in markets, so it’s a huge compliment for you to be here. I want to ask about systemic risks, something you tweet about quite a lot. And we put a tweet, one of your tweets on screen.

You talk about the BoE commits to ensure unicorn in every pot. And this happened a couple of weeks ago, the Bank of England. And I’m really curious, when we look at events like the BoE intervention in the long term guild market, where do you think the next systemic risks could come from? And I guess, more specifically, do you expect those risks to come from developed, more developed markets or emerging markets or does it matter?

Simon Michailovich: First of all, it’s a very difficult subject because obviously you can spend hours and hours talking about it. It’s like the existential problems of our time. And I know we’re also going to talk about gold and systemic risk. What I think I’d like to do is I’d like to have a little parable that kind of explains, I think, or illuminates the situation that we’re in generally. And the dichotomy that may exist, I think exists between markets and life out there. 

And terrible comes from very appropriately named for the Times from Russia With Love, which is Ian Fleming’s story, one of the James Bond books. And just to set up this quote that I’m going to read to you, the situation is that James Bond is absconding with a Russian decryption machine on a train and it’s supposed to be met somewhere down the line by the British intelligence agents. And he’s accompanied by a much wiser and older head of station from Istanbul whose name is Kareem Bay.

And Kareem advises him to get off the train immediately because there’s existential danger. They’re being hunted and Bond wants to see this gamble through. And so Kareem tells him a little story which I’d like to read to you which I think kind of explains more or less or answers a question about systemic risk and generally what’s going on between the markets and events that we’re all observing through press but may not necessarily fully understand or yet appreciate their implications.

So what Kareem tells him, he says “you’re a gambler. To me, this is business, to you this is a game.” And then he puts a hand on his shoulder and he says, “this is a billiard table. An easy, flat, green billiard table and you hit your white ball and is traveling easily and quietly towards the end. The pocket is alongside. Fatally, inevitably you’re going to hit the red and the red is going to go into that pocket. It is the law of the billiard table, the law of the billiard room. But outside the orbit of these things a jet pilot has fainted and his plane is dining straight at that billiard room or a guest main is about to explode. 

It already has actually, in the real life with Nordstream or lightning is about to strike and the building collapses on top of you and on top of the billiard table. Then what has happened to that white ball that could not miss the red ball and to the red ball that could not miss the pocket. The white ball could not miss according to the laws of the billiard table.

But the laws of the billiard table are not the only laws. And the laws governing the progress of this train and of you to your destination are also not the only laws in this particular game.

And so the point is that for 40 years, the markets, the financial system and the economy has gone along with that, have lived by the laws of financialization, by the laws of the billiard room and of the billiard table and other laws that are outside the real economics more famine, pestilence, inflation have not entered into the equation. And so within the framework of the billiard table there is no, for example US Treasuries do not have credit risk. US dollar does not have counterparty risk. Banking deposits are safe, 100% safe. That’s by the laws of the billiard table. That’s by the laws of the markets.

So essentially this bubble, the everything bubble that the credit bubble that we have been in for x number of years. All the problems inside this bubble were nominal problems related to nominal values in financial markets. And those values can be fixed by creating additional money, by creating additional credit, by creating conditions, by providing liquidity. What cannot be fixed inside this bubble are real problems like energy shortage, like supply chain disruptions, like World War, like the fact that a significant number of other countries are suddenly developing their own ideas as to economic policies and monetary policies and other policies that they want to pursue.

Whereas our system has come to depend on the US dollar as a source of cheap financing without any limits and without any constraints on our ability to create credit, create money, pay the bills, however much, in any quantity at any time. So when you ask me about systemic risks, what I would say is that systemic risks are coming from outside this framework and are not yet fully understood inside the framework.

Which is why, for example, the dollar is on a tier relative to other currencies. And the phrase that’s used to describe it is it’s the least dirty shirt? What is not being said in that statement is how dirty is the least dirty shirt? Has it been already worn for ten days and all the other ones for 20 days, or is it just been worn for ten minutes? That’s my point. So how healthy is the healthiest course in the soap factory? That’s the question, right?

TN: And I guess the question about systemic risk, which is almost unanswerable. But when these things break, do they usually break gradually or do they usually break all at once? Is that an answerable question?

SM: Well, they break gradually and then all at once. Just like the famous also overused quote from Hemingway how do you go broke slowly and then all at once? Obviously you can think of this phenomenon as a confidence collapse. Now, confidence collapse is not a problem in itself. It’s a consequence of other problems where the preponderance of the evidence and preponderance of the mental recognition reaches a certain critical mass, where in the physics it’s called phase transition. 

Like for example, boiling water, which looks the same whether it’s half boiling or almost boiling. And then suddenly you see the bubbles, you see the churn, and it almost happens in moments, but it didn’t happen in the moment. It’s been heating up for a while. So that’s how I would describe it. And

TN: this is all great, I guess, if we have a doomsday clock, are we like really close to midnight or are we kind of approaching midnight? And it’s something that will come at some point I know that’s kind of an ambiguous question, but does it feel to you like we’re really close to midnight or can we put it off for a little bit?

SM: Well, I would answer it this way. I think the proverbial train has left the station. The crisis is now underway. Okay? The crisis, geopolitical crisis, military crisis, supply chain crisis, economic crisis, and financial crisis. All of the… And political crisis. You’re going to talk about elections. So all of these events, and by crisis I mean a moment of high danger, again develops similarly to boiling water. Crisis itself, once it starts, it means the heat is now in real time, is going up. The boiling point has not yet been reached. How long does it take to reach it? It depends on the intensity of the flame. Right. So that we cannot gauge. But what we can gauge is that the process has started and it can accelerate or decelerate as it goes, but I don’t think it can stop suddenly.

TN: Right. And a US president using the word Armageddon in a fundraising speech half a dozen times this week doesn’t really help lower the boiling point.

SM: It does not help lower the boiling point. It does not help. And frankly, I think that people are not paying much attention to what happened with this Nordstream explosion. But this is the first act of sabotage on an international against an international supply chain infrastructure, which I think is going to have dramatic consequences ultimately, because it changes the rules of the game. Sure something unthinkable becomes feasible.

Albert Marko: Just real quick. I agree with Simon on the systemic risks. And the fact is the Fed policies have completely ignored geopolitical issues, political issues, supply chain problems. I mean, they keep going on this tear about raising rates is going to bring down inflation, but then they put themselves in doom loop because the demand is going to come back faster than the supply damage that they’re creating. 

So, yeah, Simon is correct that the systemic risks are there and getting worse and that’ll see any chance that they can be alleviated in the next six months. I’m skeptical that ongoing rate rises or rapid rate rises is going to have an impact on inflation given… Wait till they end QT in the next couple of months and continue on with rate hikes thinking that’s going to fix things. It’s not. It’s not. It’s whistling past the graveyard. It’s way overused. But that’s what we’re doing.

TN: So before we move on to other things, I want to ask you about gold. Okay, Tracy, kindly put out some questions for you last night. And we got some responses from some Twitter users and this Twitter user @Spudlink1, asked, “if gold doesn’t rally in this environment, how could conditions possibly get more perfect than the last three years? Is gold dead?”

So, very poignant question, but what are your thoughts on that?

SM: So my thoughts on that are very simple. Gold itself. Gold is not a company. It doesn’t release results. It’s not like things are going better or worse. Gold is the same gold. So the price of gold and the prospects of gold are not determined by gold itself or anything that it does, but it is determined by supplying demand, which is human driven. So it’s human perception and human behavior. 

So why is gold not behaving like certain people like this gentleman expect it should? That’s because what this gentleman thinks and what few of us think is not accepted as received wisdom by the vast majority of investors. That’s not consensus. 

So the fact that these are perfect conditions for gold is absolutely not consensus because by the rules of the billiard table inside the billiard room, gold is not seen at the moment as a safe haven. The dollar is because the dollar is fiat gold. Now, fiat of gold is no gold. But inside this framework that we’ve been in for 40 years, it has been and so demand for gold, you don’t need to take my word for it. I mean, you can just look at the ETF flows like GLD publishes ETF laws and you can see that money is not flowing into gold. 

So demand from investors for gold is anemic in an environment where some of us think it should be robust. But that’s because we see certain things and we believe that there’s tremendous systemic risk and market large does not believe it. 

Again, you don’t need to take this as the only example. You can look at the Treasuries, they’re trading, I mean for something percent with the percent inflation. Well, why is that? Well, because the breakeven rate, which is market expectation of future inflation, the curve, the forward curve shows that rates are actually positive and getting more positive because inflation is supposed to drop to 2-3% imminently. Well, is it going to? Well, that’s conventional wisdom is that it will. So that’s one thing. 

The other thing I would say is when people say that gold is dead, I mean, it’s an American century theory because gold is essentially a reserve currency. It has outperformed all other currencies, reserve currencies but gold. So let’s say in dollar terms gold is down like 6% year to date, but in yen terms it’s up 18%. In pound terms it’s up 13%. In Europe, in Swiss Franc, all of the DXY components, currencies, DXY, Canadian dollar in all of those currencies, gold is up.

So gold is outperforming financial assets, stocks, equity is down 23%, Nasdaq is down whatever it is, 33% or 34% here today. Gold is down 6%. So it’s outperforming financial assets and an underperforming US dollar because US dollar is gold by the rules of the billiard table and the guest line has already blew up, but maybe the plane has not yet hit the room. 

And so as long as that’s continuing, everybody’s playing by those rules where there’s no credit risk in the dollar. So if there’s no credit risk in the dollar or in Treasuries, in US sovereign obligations, then by the dent of that reasoning, getting any kind of coupon beast getting no coupon, if you factor out credit risk and market is not factoring in credit risk, I think the credit risk is tremendous. And obviously people who are asking and wondering how come gold is not surging, they think there’s credit risk. But that’s a minority opinion. That’s a simple answer to that question. 

TN: And that is fantastic. Thank you so much for that. This is an amazing perspective because I think there is a lot of cynicism around gold in the markets today around kind of popular chatter. And it’s so great to get this perspective. 

AM: Tony, I mean, I’ve been a big critic of gold for a long time. However, in this scenario, I even have to admit that if you want to arbitrage for dollars, especially in other currencies and FX’s, gold is the only real way to do it. And the longer that the Fed makes errors in policy, there’s no question that people are going to start resorting to gold just as a hedge.

SM: My only warning to people is gold is a commodity that’s sort of it’s an industrial commodity in physical form. So, of course, all the paper gold exposure has counterparty risk. Physical gold does not have counterparty risk, but physical gold is a manufactured product. And manufactured product borrows coins. 

By the way, the premiums on coins are surging, and it’s doubled this summer since the beginning of the summer. So manufactured products, they’re supply chains, they’re manufacturing facilities that produce them. They can work 24 hours a day, but three ships, but they can’t work faster than that. 

So just like with toilet paper, it all works until suddenly there’s a surge in demand. Then there’s no toilet paper in your supermarket. It’s the same thing with gold. It’s available until everybody wants it, at which time, by definition, it’s not available because the inventory and supply chain is geared towards test demand, not towards surging demand. So as soon as demand surges, it disappears. 

So you buy insurance when you can, not when you think you really need it, because you’re not the smartest guy or person you know, other people achieve the same reach the same conclusion at the same time. And so everybody wants insurance at the same time.

TN: You’re the only guy I’ve ever heard who compared gold to toilet paper in a positive way. Yeah. Okay, let’s move on to crude from one physical quantity to another. Tracy, we talked about OPEC in recent weeks. We talked about crude prices in recent weeks. 

And with the OPEC announcement, the supply cut announcement this week, I want to revisit our discussion from a couple of weeks ago about crude prices in Q4. We talked about the possibility of a whipsaw effect for crude prices in Q4. What’s your thoughts on that? Do we see that happening?

Tracy Shuchart: Well, I think what we’re… First, I kind of wanted to touch on this 2 million barrels because it’s not actually a 2 million barrel cut, right? Because the group hasn’t been producing a quota all year, basically. So we’re running at a 3.58 million barrel shortfall, really, which happened in September. And so if we take a look at the cut distribution, yes, the five countries that are producing at or near quote, which are Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Russia, yes, they are shouldering most of that burden. But when you net everything out, it’s really closer to like 1.25 million barrels. So I just kind of wanted to clear that up because it’s really not 2 million.

Going into Q 4, what we have to pay attention to is, one, the ending of the SPR, which if they keep releasing it, eventually it will drain. But so far it should end in November, which is going to immediately take four to 7 million barrels off the market because that’s kind of what they’ve been releasing per week on average. Then we also have to look at China and their COVID lockdowns trying to come to an end because they’re looking for 5.5% GDP by end of year, which is not going to happen.

TN: Well, it’ll happen. 

TS: Well, on paper it’ll happen. Statistically it’ll happen. But we are starting to see a little bit of firmness in mobility data in traffic and airlines. What I’m also looking at is they are talking about lifting export quotas. If they do that, that means they are going to have to purchase more crude barrels because it would be a significant increase. Those are kind of the things that I’m.. Going into Q4, in other words, I think the pressure is definitely to the upside rather than the downside, just looking at what is coming online potentially that could propel this market higher as far as… I mean, we’re already in a structural supply deficit, so it’s not going to take a lot for this kind of freak out. 

TN: Post US midterms, post CCP meeting, post SPR, post other stuff. Right.

TS: And then December 5, we have to see if EU actually follow through with their oil and product embargo for Russia. So also another thing that would take more barrels off the market.

TN: Right. So I’ve also heard, I think you may have said it where this OPEC meeting, and what we’ve seen over the past few months is really OPEC changing their orientation to Asia and really forgetting about the west. Is that real? Are you seeing that, in fact, or is that just kind of a myth?

TS: Well, no, I mean, if you look throughout the last few years, I mean, China and Russia basically compete, sorry, Russia and Saudi Arabia basically compete for China’s fitness. So off and on, one of those countries has been their biggest suppliers. So this is not new where the focus is towards Asia, especially because over the last few years, the west is pursuing green policies and trying to stay away from that. And so where they can sell barrels like you see Saudi Arabia or you see OPEC in general raising their OSP to Asia consistently, right. Because they can capture above markets for their barrels. That’s not really a new phenomenon.

TN: Well, China’s perpetuating green policies, too, right. Kind of wink wink, supposedly as they build out coal plants and other things. But I think what I find interesting is Europe and the US are kind of begging for more energy and OPEC is saying, no, we’re going to cut back. I think the headline is more important than the fact the 2 million is more important than the 1.25, because that’s what really moved markets in the immediate term. But China had really bought all their crude already by, say, April or something, right? And so they had fixed all that stuff, the prices for the year in kind of second quarter. So this doesn’t at least for now, it doesn’t really affect them. It won’t affect them until early next year or something like that. Is that fair to say?

TS: Well, unless in Q4 they raise these export quotas, then it’s going to matter because that’s still on the table for discussion next year. This is kind of a last-minute thing. And so that’s definitely something that I’m watching if they actually follow through with that. Right?

TN: And also with purchases in a dollar equivalent, whether it’s not US dollar, whether or not it’s US dollar, these are extraordinarily expensive barrels compared to what they could have gotten in Q2. So something has to change for them to want to buy the volumes that they bought. And then if they’re buying at the same time the US is trying to refill the SPR, that creates even more pressure on the market. Is that fair to say?

TS: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, our SPR barrels are going to China, right? Right.

TN: So, Tracy, what are we missing? I mean, we’ve heard all this chat about OPEC over the last couple of days. What’s the nugget that you feel like people are missing?

TS: I think as prices have come down, I think everybody has been forgetting we are still in a structural supply deficit. Even though prices were coming down, they were down to extraneous reasons like recession fears and not as many Russian barrels off the market as initially anticipated. But really, the market structure hasn’t changed, nor has the supply problem. Right. Let me add another question there. I want to ask about refining capacity. What are we at now with refining capacity? We need more refining capacity. 90 something. We’re currently we’ve been between 90 and 95% of our refining capacity, which is crazy because I’m actually surprised that we haven’t seen more heart breakdowns. They’re not built to Google at 95%.

TN: So we have a hurricane goes through Louisiana, cuts out some refineries for a week. What does that do?

TS: Well, that would be a little bit of a relief for crude prices, right? Because you shake it with the barrels. But that’s going to take your product prices through the roof, and your current tax rates are going to go through the roof.

TN: And what’s the lag on that? What’s the tail on that?

TS: That really depends on how long the refinery is offline for. Right. Whether it’s a week or two, that’s fine. But if we start going into, like Katrina, where you’re going in months, then that’s going to be longer. Problem.

TN: Okay, very good. Thank you for that. And as we talk about gasoline, it becomes very political at some point. And Albert, as we go into we’re deep into the midterm season right now, and I’ve got a couple of graphics from Real Clear Politics looking at the House and the Senate races in the US.

And it looks like it’s very competitive in the Senate. The House, it seems like Republicans are doing very well to reclaim the House, but it seems like the Senate is really competitive at the moment. Can you walk us through that?

AM: Yeah, well, simply, the Republicans will easily take the majority. Redistricting alone will give them 20 seats, which is the majority, and then you start looking at any Democrat that one with 2% or less across the country is probably going to lose. So I think that will probably end up getting 250 seats in the House of the GOP. So I think that would end up being like 185 for the Democrats, which is important because you need a buffer to avoid any messy infighting the Senate becomes difficult because the Republicans have kind of weak candidates in Oz, in Pennsylvania, and Walker in Georgia.

If those two candidates were stronger, it would have been a slam dunk, but it’s not at the moment. Nevada looks like it’s trending towards the GOP, which is a big, big problem for the Democrats at the moment. If they lose Nevada, they’ll probably end up losing Arizona. And if they lose Arizona, it’s going to be a one or two seat GOP majority.

TN: Okay, and so what does that do? Okay. We covered Pennsylvania, right? You said it’s potential

Republican but not strong. Georgia potential, but not strong. Arizona is leaning that way. Nevada is leaning that way. Wisconsin is Wisconsin.

AM: Wisconsin and North Carolina are solid Republican.

TN: Okay, so then what does that mean for the second half of the Biden administration?

AM: Not good things. Hearings all over the place, from Hunter Biden’s antics to Biden’s pipeline policies, environmental policies that’s affecting the economy at the moment. Border crime, elections, election integrity, I mean, you name it, it’s going to be all over the news. So it’s just not good for the Biden administration. I expect them to keep on going with executive orders because there won’t be anything that he can pass.

TN: Okay, very interesting. Now for the people not in the US. Most Americans view legislative gridlock as a good thing, right? I mean, it’s a good thing for business when we have legislative gridlock. So this is not necessarily a bad thing for US government. There will be a lot of talk about can’t pass a budget, can’t get extensions on certain things, and that’s just drama that comes every year. But legislative gridlock is not necessarily a bad thing for American business. Is that fair to say?

AM: It’s not. You’re absolutely correct about that. However, actually, with Biden insisting on producing executive orders for his own policies and the treasury, with the Allen just acting insane, in my opinion, god knows what they’re going to sit there and pass. If you can’t pass something legislatively, they’ll do it via budgets. That’s fine. But it sets a terrible pressing going. Forward because we’re well past that, Tony. We’re well past that president. We’re well past that.

TN: Okay, great. I want to cover this over the next couple of weeks as we lead up to the election. So I just want to give people a taste of what we can talk about. So if we don’t mind if you guys don’t mind, let’s just go around and I’d love to know what you guys are looking for in the week ahead. Tracy, do you want to get us started? Then Simon will go to you. And now what are you guys looking for for the week ahead?

TS: Obviously, I’m watching the energy markets right as we get closer and to see what sort of policies the US is going to or the current administration is going to try to pull out of a hat to derail oil prices in front of Midterms. They’ve been talking about fuel bans, fuel export bans. They’re talking about actually trying to pass the no peck bill again. They’re also talking about actually seizing assets of Saudi Arabia, which they do own, motivo, which is the largest refinery in the US. Which is paramount to all out oil war. So closely watching the administration and how they’re going to move forward with energy policy.

TN: is this Venezuela thing real? Will they dial back the restrictions on Venezuela to get Venezuelan crude?

TS: Venezuela produces 7000 barrels per day and literally most of that goes to China to pay debts. There’s nothing more you can squeeze out of Venezuela.

TN: Okay, that’s good to know. So that’s fake news. All right. Okay. Simon, what do you see

going into the week?

SM: Well, a week is not my reference, in my opinion, but I think that the most important thing people should be watching are international geopolitical developments because I believe we are in a world war. It sounds very dramatic. War usually is assumed to be bomb flying, but there are other forms of enforcing essentially will on other people and economic, financial, political, ideological, cyberspace,

space, outer space these days. 

So I think the most critical thing to watch are developments like with Tracy’s talking about confiscation of Saudi refinery. I mean, that’s an act of war. That’s an act of economic war. So this is where I think a lot is going to come from. And the other thing I would watch very carefully for the types of developments like what we saw with Gilts in UK just overnight, things happen. Like for example, the repo lines right now are in excess of 2 trillion. I mean, in 2019, the first blow up, they went in with 30 billion. So this is a crisis that’s continuing and it’s being bailed out by the Fed.

So I would watch all these excess, telltales of all these excesses and watch for ripples on the surface to make sure to identify if something is really breaking. Like you said, when is it going to come? Well, is the water starting to boil? That’s what I want…

TN: Real quickly, do you get the sense that at least in the US, they’re trying to hold this back until midterms and then we’ll start to see a bunch of bad news come?

SM: Well, for example, they’re releasing strategic petroleum reserve, which is clearly controlling an attempt to control energy prices at the pump, gas prices at the pump. So, yes, I think after the elections we’re going to see some damage break.

TN: Yeah, interesting. Albert, week ahead, what do you got. Your eyes on? 

AM: CPI. And I think it’s going to end up coming in hot and all of a sudden you’ll see the dollar surge once again, maybe threatening 120. Then you talk about what Simon is saying about things breaking and building up of a narrative of ending QT, although we haven’t really started it, but it is what it is.

TN: Well, exciting times guys. Thank you so much. Thanks for your time. Thank you very much for all your insights. And have a great weekend. Thank you very much.


US-China tensions: Beijing hits out as Pelosi arrives in Taiwan

This podcast is originally published in BBC Business Matters with the link here:

US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has become the most senior US politician to visit Taiwan in 25 years, despite China warning that Washington would “pay the price” if she visited the island. Beijing warned it would respond to any potential visit from Pelosi, who has not been backed by the White House to visit Taiwan.

The first grain ship to depart Ukraine since Russia’s invasion – The Razoni, has arrived at Turkey’s Bosphorus strait. The vessel which is carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn, will be inspected on Wednesday morning before continuing its journey to Lebanon.


Roger Herring: Tony. Well, let me come to you because you know this part of the world extremely well. You live there, of course, for a while. You know the ins and outs of it. What do you make of the US position on it? Because Biden has said he doesn’t support what Nancy Pelosi is doing. But is there a bit of, give and take, I mean, underneath, is he perhaps quite glad that it’s been brought to a head like this?

Tony Nash: I think both sides are glad it’s been brought to a head. So bear with me for a few seconds, Roger. The economy in China is pretty bad. The political situation is pretty bad. There are a lot of difficult domestic issues in China. So a galvanizing event before the November senior political meeting is helpful for China domestically. And in the US, with the economy the way it is, with a number of kind of political issues, this is helpful for Pelosi and potentially for retention of the House representative. So this is, yes, on the front there’s a lot of conflict, but in the back, this really helps the politics of the ruling parties in both countries.

RH: Yeah, that’s a really interesting insight actually, the real politique, I suppose, is a terrible cliched word does seem to be there. In fact, maybe, Tony, President Biden, at the moment, he’s already had a hit on Al Qaeda, which I guess he probably likes, might help his ratings. But certainly a major crisis in Asia and a war isn’t going to help, is it?

TN: No, I don’t think it would help anybody just given where the world economy is and given where some of the lingering kind of post-COVID problems are, I don’t think anybody would find it helpful. I don’t think it serves China or the US. 

RH: Because apart from anything else, of course, we’re in the middle of another crisis in another part of the world, and many think they are related, that we are seeing confrontations with the two biggest and most powerful authoritarian regimes on the planet and confronting the west in all kinds of ways. And what, of course, I’m alluding to is what’s going on with Ukraine and the difficulties there with the Russian invasion, the consequences, one of the big consequences for the world from that, of course, has been the lack of grain coming from Ukraine, because it’s effectively borcaded now that…

I’m not much of a sailor, but I have to take my hat off to the crew who steered through that area of the Black Sea. It must have been absolutely hair raising.

TN: Yes, they definitely are in their pay. It sounds like.

RH: Well digested, literally, of course, when it gets to wherever it’s going, we hope, because that’s the whole point of it. But Tony, let me pick up on this, because it’s something that puzzled me. I’m interested your view on it. Why is Russia allowing this to happen? Because I can’t see how it plays into Vladimir Putin’s endgame? 

TN: I think, on some of it, it’s Middle East relations in the US, from Russia. Russia doesn’t want to be seen as starving out people in Lebanon, Egypt, other parts of the Middle East. And I think that is probably a clear consideration for them.

RH: Yeah. And I mean, it also exposes hugely the fragility. During COVID, we learned about the fragility, of course, of supply chains. 

But Tony, this means that food globally, it seems almost on a hand trigger. One thing in a country far away from an awful lot of people changes everything. 

TN: But this is what happens with global supply chains, right? As we concentrate sourcing of food, manufactured goods, commodities, so on and so forth, we concentrate risk in supply chains and they become very fragile, and we realize they’re COVID exactly how fragile global supply chains are.

RH: Yes. A lot of rethinking, I think, going on in a lot of countries and also a lot of companies as to where it all comes from. Tony, how solid is US backing now for Ukraine in the midst of all this? Because there are lots of crises. We’re talking about Taiwan, of course, taking up a lot of bandwidth, if you like, in the State Department. But is it still solid behind Ukraine, do you think and unmoving? 

TN: Roger, it’s $40 billion solid. So there’s quite a lot of financial backing. So I don’t think there’s much doubt that there’s US back in there.

RH: Yeah, okay. Well, it’s solid and remains. And hopefully the food issue in all this could be moving towards the solution. But we’re going to talk about a wider problem in the moment in the next part of the program. Tony, what about you, just on that principle, the idea. In the States, I imagine federal workers get paid the same whether they’re working in California or Idaho, don’t they?

TN: I don’t know, but I don’t think they should. Obviously, they need to be paid according to the costs around where they live.

RH: That’s interesting. So you back the idea, really? You think it makes sense?

TN: Absolutely. Look, I’m a pretty rational, data driven economic mind. And so if somebody is paid for a salary, if they’re based in DC, but then they move to, say, Texas, where the house cost is a third or somewhere around there what it would be in DC, should they make the same wages they made in DC? I don’t think so. 

RH: But I suppose the argument we had there from Jagged at Chad was actually it attracts when you put money into an area like this, a, you get the best people, I suppose, working in difficult areas, and also they will fuel the local economy anyway when they spend.

TN: Well, it’s very… That kind of clustering theory, used to economic development consulting around

clustering about 20 some years ago, and there are a lot of dependencies there. So you don’t necessarily just attract kind of the best people just because you pay the most or something like that. There’s a lot of social infrastructure and other things that are required to capture kind of the talent that you need. So I do think the reality is private sector companies don’t really work that way. People are paid according to kind of where they live. It’s kind of indexed. And I think if I don’t really follow UK politics

and I don’t really have opinions on UK. 

RH: Lucky you. I think most people feel at this stage. 

TN: But I think it would have been smarter to say, hey, we’re going to appoint a private sector HR advisory firm to index salaries based upon things. Outsourcing, that type of expertise, rather than saying you have regional boards of bureaucrats deciding the stuff is probably sounds a little bit better.

RH: I have to say, Tony, with some experience that they do have such advances and consultants, they’re not popular at all. Of course they’re not. As you can imagine, that doesn’t always get. Our was Michelle Ferry in New York.

Come on, Tony, I’m going to ask you, what would $5,000 a month get you in Houston?

TN: Roger, I’m looking at a listing right now for $4900 a month you get a four bedroom house. 3500 square feet. It looks beautiful.

RH: That’s a rental. We’re in a different world, aren’t we?

TN: Yes, sir.

RH: I got to take a fly here and say that each of us in the past, perhaps when we were younger, has rented. I bet you rented, didn’t you, Jessica? At some point.

Jessica Kind: I currently rent now. My balance sheet light and I can tell you that an average semi detached house in a delicious, delightful quiet estate is 1100 US for 3800 sqft.

RH: That is a lot of space. Yes. That’s nice. That’s good. If I were in Kuala Lumpur somewhere like that, right in the center of the fashionable areas, obviously be a lot more. But because you’ve got a lot of people in the financial I mean, this is maybe the problem in Manhattan. You’ve got people with large amounts of money forcing all this stuff up. I mean, that would be true, Jessica, wouldn’t it? Places Singapore, I guess. 

JK: Actually no big gap between KL and Jahor, really. Singapore is now artificially inflated by a lot of escapees from Hong Kong. Refugees from Hong Kong are pushing up the Singapore property market. Rental and purchase.

RH: Yeah. The point in all this, I suppose, is these are unregulated markets. There was an issue a little while back, I think, in Berlin, where there was a strike because regulated rent strike because regulated rents were coming to an end or being lift or being abandoned, and that makes a big difference to people. Is there a case, do you think, for regulating rent? 

TN: Gosh. It makes things really hard. There are a lot of economic case studies on that, but rent control in New York was notoriously problematic. So as I heard the story and I heard the woman talk about a 48% rent rise. I spent most of my adult life in Singapore and a 48% rent rise you would have to take in stride every so often. That’s just the way it was. There were years you say, take in. Stride, but you had to be earning a hell of a lot to do that, didn’t you? You would figure out how to get it done and there were years, I think, in 2007, eight, where rent would double. There have been times in Singapore, and I’m sure Hong Kong is similar, where rent would just simply double. Yeah, and there have been times when you found it,

you’ve had to make big changes, you’ve had to take deep breaths. Well, that’s what pushed us to buy a house in Singapore and we had to scrape together the money to buy a property so that we could get out of the path of that because it’s too volatile, life is too risky without that.

RH: That’s interesting. Jessica, you say you travel like you rent, you must have had must have been times when you found rent difficult I guess everybody does, and you have to cut back and I suppose think about other ways of doing it.

JK: Once upon a time, when one was young, Roger and Tony. I remember it vaguely. It was a long, long time ago in my case. A little internal benchmark that I never let rent go above 25% of my take home. So for the New Yorkers, with an average salary of $70,000 pre tax, that five grand, I think bites. I think it’s hard. 

RH: Well, we heard in Michel Flores report that 30% was the kind of working rule I mean, Tony, if you were renting, you’re not, but is that a sensible a third of your income effectively? I think people say also the same which you’re paying, if you’re paying a mortgage, should be around that.

TN: Well, it depends on where you are in life, right, Roger? I lived in London when I was in my 20s and my rent was way too high and I could barely afford it, and after a year and a half in London, I left with debt because it was so expensive. So I think it depends on where you are in life and can you really afford it or will you just make ends meet or get roommates or something like that? So we’ve all had to make those trade offs. But I suppose we’re talking about perhaps normal economic times.

RH: But Jessica, I mean, an awful lot of people have gone through COVID when certainly here in Britain, there were lots of rules went in, including people weren’t allowed to be evicted because obviously they couldn’t work, they couldn’t earn, therefore they couldn’t pay rent. Should we perhaps post-COVID take a rather more, I don’t know, involved view of private renting and see if there are ways in which to avoid people who are really vulnerable being put in a really difficult situation like this?

JK: It’s so difficult. I think Tony mentioned earlier in our conversation, didn’t he, that rent controls and those sort of committees and sort of pricing, having foundations for pricing, I think it is all extremely difficult and I have no idea what is the best solution.

But I know that in Singapore now, if you try to rent a flat, you think you’ve sealed a deal with the landlord

in the morning, in the afternoon, you pop back with the deposit you’ve been gazumped. Yeah, well, of course that happens. Property buying as well. I mean, it’s simply another version of that.

RH: But, Tony, what about the principle of social housing? We have quite a lot of it in this country, not perhaps enough, but where there is, it is provided by the local authority in Britain, mostly at a controlled level and affordable level. Is that the real answer to real deprivation, as we’ve heard about in New York?

TN: I don’t have a problem with that. I think there is room for that in society and I think we have to provide for some people, and some people just haven’t had the right opportunities. So I don’t have any issue with that. I think the problems remain when people become, say, you come to an earning level where you can

afford more, but you remain in those places. So I think it can lead to some difficult, say, trade offs. But I do think that… Singapore has that, and again, I was there for a long time. There is housing in Singapore for people who can’t afford more expensive housing. So it’s something I’ve seen work. It doesn’t work well here in the US. It’s a big difficulty and one that we’re not going to come up with an easy answer for a course on a program like this, but it’s always good to talk it through and to get experiences we’ve all had in that market.

RH: So I hope that has been helpful and indeed elucidating, and we hope, entertaining as well. My thanks to Tony Nash, Jessica Kind and to all you for listening.


US warns against cruise ship travel as industry reels

Our CEO and founder is one of the live guests at BBC: Business Matters that talked about the cruise ship travel warnings, Italy’s Coronavirus, Wells Fargo, US politics, and sports.


BBC Notes:


The US State Department has told US citizens not to travel on cruise ships. We will look at how the industry has been left reeling from these latest government instructions.


Italy meanwhile remains on lockdown as the country attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus gripping it currently.


Wells Fargo, the bank that went bad, promises to Congress that it has turned the corner.


We look at whether we – or Congress – can take its new chief executive at his word. We ask who will help out companies when coronavirus hits supply chains harder, from Kerstin Braun, President of Stenn Group, an international provider of trade finance.


We talk about all this live with guests Yumiko Murakami from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in Tokyo, and Tony Nash, CEO and Founder of Complete Intelligence, a contextual artificial intelligence platform in Houston, Texas.



Show Notes:


Do you think this is the way that all countries (same as Italy) will have to go? Could it happen in the States?

It could, but I don’t think it will.  Part of the problem in Italy is almost 25% of Italians are over the age of 65. If you look at the mortality rate, for those over 80 years old, it’s about 15% and for those over 70 is 8%. The biggest risk is in older populations. With Italy being the oldest country in Europe.


The people who are affected by it are largely older people and they are not working-age population and not consumption cohorts of the economy. Anybody under 60 years old, there’s a less than a 0.5% chance of fatality. It’s just not bearing out in the direct economy. But we are seeing concerns for older people, justifiably, we should be. But does it necessarily require the shut down of the economy? I’m not so sure.


Do you think he’s got what it takes to take on Trump?

I think it’s gonna be hard to beat Joe Biden at this point. But it’s gonna be an uphill battle for him with Trump because Trump is already taken him on in social media and speeches, and I’m not sure Joe Biden has the ability to respond to Trump in a debate, etc. in a way that Americans expect.


The populism way of 2016 is not really over in the US yet and Biden cannot grasp that. There was an issue with him in a factory him cursing a factory worker that upset a lot of people.


Do you think if the Coronavirus continues at this rate, and tips the economy into recession, does that make the President more vulnerable?

I think it can. That’s 6 months away, anything is possible in 6 months in politics. If the US is the only one affected or affected worse, then sure, it will make Trump vulnerable. But if the US is kinda similarly affected to other places, I think it’s hard to blame him. I’m not exactly sure how Biden will take that in November. They may just blame China.


It’s very hard for Biden to play the common man message. If you’re talking about the economic dislocation (1% vs the 99%), Joe Biden has been carried in the womb of government health care plans for the last 60 years or something. Most Americans are very resentful at public sector workers because they have a very good insurance plan. It will be very hard for Joe Biden to play the populist in that role. I just don’t see a scenario that Biden looks better than Trump in that scenario.


If you really want to drive a clear wedge between the Republicans and Democrats, Sanders would have been a very clear alternative to Trump. But you can’t really say that Biden, at least from the kinda rich guy getting his kids job, it’s really hard to say that Biden’s really much that different.


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Free Trade Ain’t Dead but a New Approach is Needed

27 June 2016 | CNBC

Last week’s Brexit vote by the United Kingdom came as a surprise to many. In a single day of broad democratic participation, the majority of U.K. voters chose to undo 40 years of integration at the heart of the world’s largest trading bloc. Free trade agreements (FTA) have had an impressive run.


Over the last 25 years, the value of trade has grown by five times, according to the World Bank. Unfortunately, trade growth has slowed in recent years, with the value of 2015 global trade down 14 percent, according to the CPB World Trade Monitor.

Weak global demand and slowing appetites for trade liberalization are the key factors. While free trade is not dead, the utility of incremental tariff reductions under FTAs is diminishing rapidly.

From a demographic perspective, free trade is evolving to meet political demands for trade “fairness” in the greying developed world as productivity and income growth grind to a halt.

Trade revisionism has dominated recent U.S. politics, to be sure, but the movement is also alive and well in other industrialized countries, particularly in Europe, and has already intensified post the Brexit vote.