Business

Japan finds a huge cache of scarce rare-earth minerals

Japan looks to replace China as the primary source of critical metals Rare earth elements are a set of 17 metals that are integral to our modern lifestyle and efforts to produce ever-greener technologies. Robby Berman Big Think The “rare” designation is a bit of a misnomer: It’s not that they’re not plentiful, but rather that they’re found in small concentrations, and are especially difficult to successfully extract since they blend in with and resemble other minerals in the ground. ... Read More »

The euro at 20: An enduring success but a fundamental failure

New Year’s Day 1999 saw the largest monetary changeover in history. Barry Eichengreen The Conversation On that date, just 20 years ago, 12 members of the European Union formally adopted a brand-spanking-new currency, the euro. Today seven additional EU member states use it, along with Montenegro, Kosovo, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City. If survival is the ultimate gauge of success, then this grand monetary experiment can be said to have succeeded. But as investment advisers say, past performance ... Read More »

Government’s post-Brexit agriculture scheme falls short of protection needed to safeguard environment, farmers warn

Call for tougher policies comes after Michael Gove addressed two major farming conferences in Oxford Josh Gabbatiss Independent The government’s vision for post-Brexit farming does not provide enough protection for the environment, meaning food production is at risk, according to a farming group.Michael Gove’s agriculture bill is a cornerstone of his plan for a “green Brexit”, but campaigners say it has fallen short of providing long-term protection for UK nature. The environment secretary addressed two farming conferences in Oxford on Thursday, one focusing on traditional agriculture and the other based around ... Read More »

Seven minutes of chaos: The ‘flash-crash’ that rocked currency markets

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade. WAtoday Bloomberg Traders are still seeking to piece together what happened just before 9:30 a.m. in Sydney, when orders came to sell Australia’s dollar and Turkey’s lira against the yen. While some pointed to risk aversion triggered by Apple cutting its sales outlook, others said Japanese retail investors were behind the trades. Whatever the cause, the moves were exacerbated by algorithmic programs ... Read More »

How to negotiate infrastructure deals with China: four things African governments need to get right

“You don’t negotiate with China !” I was quickly told when I started interviewing African public servants about their infrastructure deals with Beijing. Folashade Soule The Conversation There is a widespread view in Africa that you accept whatever terms are offered, for fear that the money might go somewhere else instead. China is the leading infrastructure finance provider on the continent – as demonstrated by a recent pledge of US$60 billion (£47 billion), most of which is for infrastructure projects. Big projects on the slate include hydropower plants ... Read More »

Ending austerity: give everyone a pay rise

In 2018 real earnings were 4% below what they were in 2008 in the UK. The decade since the global financial crisis was a lost decade for British workers; their living standards have stagnated. Engelbert Stockhammer The Conversation Wages have not even kept up with inflation. This is in sharp contrast to numerous decades before 2008. For example, from 1998 to 2008 wages, adjusted for inflation, grew by 25%. For most households, wages are the most important source of income, ... Read More »

How to change your Facebook, Google and Twitter settings to keep your data private

Any internet user leaves themselves open to having their data harvested Cuara O’Brien The Irish Times We’ve all done it: set up an account on social media or for a new device in our home and just clicked through all the settings without really reading them. It’s the quickest way to get things done, and who really has the time to spend reading through each option and figuring out the implications of a yes or no answer? But tempting as ... Read More »

Wall Street finishes worst year since 2008 with gains

Wall Street advanced in low-volume trading on Monday as revelers gathered to ring in 2019, marking the end of the worst year for US stocks since 2008, the height of the financial crisis. WAtoday Reuters Wall Street entered correction territory in late January and was challenged for much of 2018 by tariff jitters, rising interest rates, and fears of diminishing corporate profits. “Investors got complacent,” said Thomas Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments in Atlanta. “People were positioned for ... Read More »

Energy price cap could leave customers £200 a year out of pocket

Householders could be left more than £200 a year out of pocket as the energy regulator has admitted a cap on bills which comes into force today could reduce the number of customers shopping around for a… Sam Meadows Telegraph The cap, which applies to the default energy tariffs paid by consumers after any fixed-rate period comes to an end, prevents suppliers charging the average household more than £1,137 a… Ofgem said the cap will help the 11 million households ... Read More »

Energy price cap could mean people missing cheapest deals, warns consumer champion

Which? said the cheapest tariffs had vanished from the market as suppliers prepared for the cap’s implementation Joe Watts Independent Theresa May’s energy price cap which comes into force on Tuesday could mean people missing out on the cheapest electricity and gas prices, the UK’s foremost consumer group has warned. Which? said some of the cheapest tariffs available had been vanishing from the market as suppliers adjusted their operations in the run-up to the cap’s implementation. The prime minister argued the cap would cut bills for millions ... Read More »

Find parenting tough? Be glad you’re not American

I have a news flash: being a grandad beats being a parent. Parenting is now a much tougher gig, whereas grandparenting is all care and no responsibility. And it’s a lot cheaper. Ross Gittins The Age These thoughts are prompted by an article in the New York Times, in which Claire Cain Miller writes that parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be. “Over just a couple of generations,” she writes, “parents have greatly ... Read More »

You can’t get public service ethics from bankers

When Matt Comyn, now chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank, was a slightly more junior bank executive, he had qualms and scruples about the bank’s shameful practice of selling virtually useless personal loan insurance to its… Jack Waterford The Canberra Times His then boss, Ian Narev told him to “temper your sense of justice.” Mr Comyn, the successor and protégé of Narev, apparently followed this advice. It wasn’t until about 10 months ago, after it was clear that the banking ... Read More »

The Center Left and Globalization

After promising to reform both France and the European Union, President Emmanuel Macron is now struggling to reclaim the public’s confidence and prove that he is not the “President of the Rich.” Kemal Derviş and Caroline Conroy * Project Syndicate By pursuing a business-friendly reform agenda, Macron has fallen into a trap that center-left reformers everywhere seem incapable of avoiding. WASHINGTON, DC – Popular uprisings across France are threatening to shatter the hope that so many had placed in French President Emmanuel Macron ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

Whiff of Extinction Blows in Bull Market That Outlived Them All

It’s been derided as a house of cards, a gift to the one-percent, an experiment in monetary policy taken way too far. By Sarah Ponczek,  Elena Popina, and Vildana Hajric Bloomberg Now a bull market that for 10 years has confounded and chastened its detractors — by outlasting all its predecessors — is staggering up to death’s door. And haters and admirers alike are turning out to pronounce last rites. The fall has been swift, a spasm of nearly uninterrupted selling that dragged the S&P ... Read More »

US stocks endure worst Christmas Eve on record

Not even the truncated Christmas Eve session could halt the US market rout that’s gripped investors for three months. Elena Popina Brisbane Times The S&P 500 plunged almost 3 per cent to end at a 20-month low, in what was the worst final session before the Christmas holiday on record in the US, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the busiest Christmas Eve since 2010, with more than 1.7 billion shares changing hands in the truncated session. “The ... Read More »