Finance

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Wants Out of Oil and Gas

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The $1 trillion fund that Norway has amassed pumping oil and gas over the past two decades wants out of petroleum stocks. Sveinung Sleire Bloomberg Norway, which relies on oil and gas for about a fifth of economic output, would be less vulnerable to declining crude prices without its fund investing in the industry, the central bank said Thursday. The divestment would mark the second major step in scrubbing the world’s biggest wealth fund of climate risk, after it sold most of its ... Read More »

Revenge of the TPP?

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership is back on the menu for a number of Asia-Pacific countries Scott B. MacDonald  And with America on the sidelines, U.S. exports could suffer. The National Interest One of the first actions that Donald Trump did when he came into office was to pull the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal he called a “disaster.” According to him, past U.S. leaders were inept on trade and his administration’s approach would strike tougher, ... Read More »

Green finance? Why global banks are pledging billions to fight climate change

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Banking giant HSBC has pledged US$100 billion (£76 billion) to “fight climate change”, to be spent on sustainable finance and investment over the next eight years. Simon Wilde The Conversation It also commits to increasing its own use of renewable energy and to reducing its funding of coal projects. HSBC is following a growing trend among investment banks which includes a US$200 billion funding commitment from JP Morgan Chase, the acquisition of the UK’s Green Investment Bank by Macquarie, and ... Read More »

Society relies on a social compact. Time for tax-avoiding multinationals to sign up

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Pat Leahy: The political centre needs to force big business to pay its way The Irish Times Pat Leahy Western countries are by and large the most civilised, comfortable and desirable places to live in the history of mankind. If, in a version the “veil of ignorance” thought experiment, you could choose any time or place to live, not knowing your race, abilities, talents or gender, you’d be mad not to choose to be born into a modern western country, ... Read More »

Fight for Your Right to Proxy

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Are shareholders finally on equal footing with corporate executives — or have investors become drunk on power? Alicia McElhaney When Institutional Investor published a report on proxy reform in its April 1991 issue, corporate governance was on the precipice of change. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System and College Retirement Equities Fund were lobbying the Securities and Exchange Commission to give institutions a say in corporate governance, as Stephen Clark reported in “Push Comes to Shove on Proxy Reform.” The raft of ... Read More »

Will the Easy-Money Era Lead to a Recession?

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The Fed has already achieved its objective of escaping 0 percent Now the goal is to avoid recession. Samuel Rines As Janet Yellen readies for her departure from the Federal Reserve, a sentiment creeping into markets that the era of “easy money” is over—as if somehow the Yellen Fed was the root of all easiness. The National Interest Yellen’s Fed was the first in recent history to oversee only rate increases—and not encounter a recession. That is quite the accomplishment: ... Read More »

The GOP Tax Plan Tells Us Everything About Who Matters In American Democracy

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Flanked by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform legislation during a meeting with members of the House Ways and Means Committee in the Cabinet Room at the White House, November 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. On Thursday, Republican lawmakers unveiled their plans for a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Your boss, not you. The United States is the richest country in the history of the world. Last year, the genius and muscle of the American people generated more than $18.6 trillion in wealth. Zach Carter  HuffPost This year, our brains and brawn will combine to create well over $19 trillion. Despite all the debt theatrics of the Republican Party during the Obama presidency, we owe just $6.2 trillion to other countries ― less than four months of our collective ... Read More »

Will exodus of firms from Catalonia economically influence voters?

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Damage to Catalan economy’s credibility and investor confidence may persist for years The secessionist process initiated by Catalonia’s regional government has prompted companies to relocate in other Spanish regions to ensure continued free-market access to the rest of Spain and the European Union. José Guimón The Irish Times Over 1,300 companies have now moved their headquarters outside Cataloniain the three weeks following Catalonia’s illegal referendum for independence of October 1st. The traditional concern that multinational affiliates are “footloose” applies equally to local companies. ... Read More »

If Everyone Ate Beans Instead of Beef

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With one dietary change, the U.S. could almost meet greenhouse-gas emission goals. Ecoanxiety is an emerging condition. James Hamblin The Atlantic  Named in 2011, the American Psychological Association recently described it as the dread and helplessness that come with “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and…It’s not a formal diagnosis. Anxiety is traditionally defined by an outsized stress response to a given stimulus. In this case, the ... Read More »

Scottish economy ‘fundamentally strong and ready to face Brexit’

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Scotland’s economy is “fundamentally strong” and ready to meet the challenges of Brexit, the Economy Secretary has said Lucinda Cameron Keith Brown told the Unite conference on Saturday that the economy is growing while the number of people in employment has risen and unemployment has fallen. The Scotsman However he said withdrawal from the EU posed some “serious headwinds” and warned that a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic”. He said Scotland would lose an estimated £11 billion a year by ... Read More »

How Islamic Finance Can Save the Global Economy

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You can’t make money from money forever: The case for the Islamic financification of global markets. Ashby Monk Institutional Investor The market for financial derivatives is valued at a quadrillion dollars, give or take a few hundred trillion. I can’t contemplate how big that is or what it even means. Where is that money? I know you can’t physically touch it — just as you can’t touch a company’s market capitalization or an index. But is it real? The financial ... Read More »

Should central banks have a ‘representative of the poor’?

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The Reserve Bank of Australia should have a board member whose job it is to “represent the poor”, says Catholic Social Services Australia in a report released this week. Usman W. Chohan The Conversation  This hasn’t been tried before but it’s an interesting proposal and worth considering – particularly as recent central banking programs like quantitative easing have inflated the value of assets belonging to the very rich, exacerbating inequality and even threatening democracy. The report is part of a ... Read More »

Capitalism is ending because it has made itself obsolete, former Greek finance minister Yannis Varoufakis says

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Exclusive: Former economics professor says rise of artificial intelligence will spell end of neoliberal system Tom Embury-Dennis The Independent  Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed capitalism is coming to an end because it is making itself obsolete. The former economics professor told an audience at University College London that the rise of giant technology corporations and artificial intelligence will cause the current economic system to undermine itself. Mr Varoufakis, who took on EU institutions over Greek debt repayments in 2015, said companies ... Read More »

Austerity benefit freezes and Brexit inflation to cost lower-income households £300 next year

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The benefit freeze ‘risks ushering in a period of rising inequality on a scale not seen since Margaret Thatcher’s final term,’ says think tank The Independent  Charlotte Beale  Poorer households could be £300 worse off next year, due to benefit freezes and a predicted rise in inflation. Half of all families with children will be affected, warns think tank the Resolution Foundation, meaning seven million children in total. 800,000 people looking for work and 2.4 million disabled people will also be hit. ... Read More »

Costello wants govt to run workers’ super

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The Turnbull government won’t say if it backs a call for it to assume control of billions of dollars in workers’ compulsory superannuation contributions now being managed by banks and industry funds Australian Associated Press Herald Sun Former treasurer Peter Costello is critical of the way default funds are being run and wants a new government agency to instead invest the money About $2.3 trillion in workers’ super is sitting in private accounts as part of the former Keating government’s ... Read More »

IMF raises growth forecast for all advanced economies except UK

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The pound has made gains despite a flurry of gloomy economic reports, while advances among bank stocks helped the wider market push higher Holly Williams The Scotsman Official figures showing disappointing trade data, but a stronger-than-expected performance from the manufacturing sector, saw the pound make strong gains against the US dollar and hold firm against the euro. Sterling lifted 0.6% to 1.32 US dollars and was flat at 1.12 euros. The FTSE 100 Index closed the session 30.4 points higher ... Read More »