• Jun, 2021
  • 14-06-2021
  • Lordstown Motors CEO and CFO have resigned

    ... Amid shortselling investigation, but having more to do perhaps with the company saying they had 'substantial doubt' they could continue next year. Shares were down 10%.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • 13-06-2021
  • Turkey has approved development of a new canal beside the Bosporus

    The Bosporus is Turkey's, but due to the 1936 Montreux Convention it can't allow non-Black Sea State navy ships to pass through, and it can't charge for the passage of civilian vessels during peacetime. The new Istanbul Canal would not have such restrictions.

    It is expected to be around 45km long, 21m deep, and 360-275m wide (top and bottom) and cost $15b. It will sit around 30km west of the Bosporus Straight, and will be spanned by 6 bridges, all high enough to clear the largest ships (which will cost another $1.4b).

    Currently, ships have to wait around 14 hours to enter the Black Sea due to congestion of the Bosporus. Estimates have it that revenue from the canal could amount to $8b per year eventually, if vessels decide to pay, which it is uncertain they will. Turkey will also be able to send dangerous cargo on a route further away from the city center.

    Istanbul citizens polled in 2020 opposed the project (80% opposed) due to environmental and other effects they will be faced with. It's also opposed by Russia which sees the potential ability of US and NATO warships to enter the Black Sea as a national security threat. 104 former Turkish naval officers also publicly opposed the project (the next day 10 were arrested).

      
  • Between 2019 and 2020, toy sales were up 16%, and figures appear to be up even more for the current year.

    Hasbro, as the biggest maker of board games, stood out because they saw a lift to their entire business, as did the makers of Lego.
  • Lots of talk about billionaires not paying taxes

    No one knows how the journalists at ProPublica got hold of tax records for several years for some of the richest Americans.

    Bezos, Musk, Soros, Buffet, etc., paid what appear to be small dollar figures in income tax for certain years (some years $0, some years around $70k were the most quoted figures, dating back to the year 2011). This is because they don't generally make income (particularly when you're talking about each year). Instead, they hold assets. Their largest asset is generally company stock, which is only taxed if it is sold (capital gains). Some years, they need to raise cash and so they take loans against their assets. This is not taxable.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • 12-06-2021
  • El Salvador adopts Bitcoin

    The country doesn't have their own currency and uses USD. This means they can't print money, and that can be an issue when you're a net importer like El Salvador is (they could run out of dollars without the ability to print).

    They also have high unemployment, and 70% of the population doesn't have a bank account, and many Salvadoreans receive money from relatives working in more prosperous countries (about 25% of Salvadoreans live outside the country, and the money they send accounts for 20% of El Salvador's GDP). Money transfers are always a challenge with conventional institutions, and can involve high fees for each transfer (sometimes as high as 10%, which is of course good for banks).

    The bill passed Congress (62 out of 84 votes) to make El Salvador first country to accept crypto as an official method of payment ('unrestricted legal tender') beside the USD.

     
  • May, 2021
  • 20-05-2021
  • Bitcoin drops 30%

    Basically all crypto dropped significantly, after months of increased speculative buying.

    Other factors in the drop: further talk of regulation, ESG (energy use) concerns regarding mining, and China cracking down on crypto.

    In somewhat related crypto news, Bitmix reportedly ceased operations, not long after the tentative conclusion of the DarkSide pipeline hack. Bitmix was a crypto money laundering service used by ransomware hackers.

    Musk tweeted a "diamond hands" image, signifying he wasn't selling.

    About a month later, Musk tweeted a more positive comment on energy concerns with crypto mining, causing Bitcoin to rise from around $35k to around 40k.



     
  • May, 2021
  • 08-05-2021
  • Corn, soy, wheat prices up

    The reasons include China buying more because the country is rebuilding its hog herd after major losses in 2019 and last winter (African Swine Fever); draught in Brazil and ongoing dry conditions in the U.S (two major suppliers); and traders trying to hedge inflationary risks.

    The robust Chinese demand is expected to continue for 2-4 years. Additionally, rising incomes in developing countries could keep food prices moving upward.

    There isn't much alternative (such as rice and wheat) to feeding livestock good grains (corn and soy beans) when a livestock economy is focused on maximizing gains and quality, as China's is.

    Offsetting factors to inflation in food prices have started to be seen in more elastic demand factors, such as Chinese animal protein demand, where indications are consumers are starting to pull back due to prices. Also, the supply side, if robust enough, could put downward pressure on prices. We'll see how robust U.S. production turns out to be this year in the June Acerage Report, as the U.S. is still planting this years crops.

    Rice prices aren't up in the same way because stocks have been built up over the past few years.


    USDA Acreage Reports
     

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