Strong Dollar 10 Reasons Why It Matters To You

All things to all people, the U.S. dollar leaves its imprint in every corner of the global economy: It is the currency in which vital raw materials are bought and sold, and it is the safe haven to which investors turn in times of trouble. The greenback is now at a 20-year high against other world currencies.

Here are 10 reasons why you should be paying attention:

AMERICAN ABROAD – A strong dollar is great if you are a U.S. tourist. Hotels, meals or a designer bag all are cheaper by comparison, whether in London, the French Riviera or Cancun. It goes without saying that the reverse is true for the traveller going to the United States – unless they bought their Disneyland tickets or Las Vegas junket a good while ago, it is going to cost more.

THE JOYS OF PARITY – This is a welcome added boon for Americans travelling to one of the 19 countries that use the euro and a small consolation for European tourists in the United States. No more mental arithmetic is required to convert between dollars and euros – you can call it pretty much one for one now.

MADE IN AMERICA – For shoppers around the world in search of top U.S. brands, the strong dollar means they could end up paying a premium for them unless local distributors try to cushion the currency impact. Just in the past days, U.S. companies such as Mattel Inc – maker of the Barbie doll and Hot Wheels cars – said it was seeing a hit from the dollar’s move upwards, even if consumers as a whole looked ready to take on higher prices.

For consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble – maker of everyday products such as Pampers or Ariel – the dollar’s rise has always tended to have a similar impact on its sales. read more

EMERGING TROUBLE – For Argentines, the rise of the dollar against the peso has meant a doubling of local prices in just one year and a spiralling economic crisis. Governments and businesses in a lot of emerging economies finance themselves by issuing bonds in U.S. dollars. The amount they owe has now surged in value when measured in their local currency. Tapping the market for more credit has also become more expensive because U.S. rates have risen.

RAW MATERIALS – Countries like Turkey and Egypt that import a lot of their raw materials have been hit by a double whammy. Most commodities from oil to wheat are priced in U.S. dollars, meaning they are paying more in their local currency for every barrel or bushel they buy. This comes as the price of many of those materials is already at a multi-year high due to the war in Ukraine, extreme weather and the aftershock of the COVID pandemic.

HOME SUPPORT – A strong dollar is good news for people in poorer countries such as Mexico and Guatemala who depend on money sent by relatives who work in the United States. The COVID-19 fallout dealt a sharp blow to these remittances in 2020 but they’ve seen a steady recovery since.

INFLATION – Even for richer countries such as Germany a strong dollar can spell trouble because it helps fuel already record-high inflation through more expensive imports. Local central banks have generally responded by raising interest rates, which makes credit dearer and slows economic growth.

ROUBLE RALLY – The Russian rouble is the only currency in the world that is comfortably in the black against the dollar this year – an unexpected outcome for a country under international sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine. But this strength – a somewhat artificial result of controls on foreign exchange – does little for the ordinary Russian. Moscow may be raking in tens of billions of dollars every month from its energy sales to the West, but Russian households still can’t withdraw their foreign-currency savings. And Many Western brands from Adidas to H&M and Ikea have stopped selling in Russia since the war started.

BITCOIN – Marketed as the ultimate shield against inflation, the world’s largest crypto currency hasn’t lived up to its promise and is down by more than half this year despite runaway consumer prices in large parts of the world. Legions of individual investors drawn to crypto during last year’s bull market have now ditched the digital tokens to park their savings in a U.S. currency they perceive as safer – and which is now starting to pay interest again.

BEEF UP – If the price of a hamburger is anything to go by, the dollar might actually be too strong and bound to fall back. The Economist’s Big Mac Index, which compares the price of the ubiquitous burger around the world, shows that the greenback is overvalued against all but a handful of currencies. The dollar is most expensive – and a Big Mac cheapest for a U.S. traveller – in Venezuela, Romania and Indonesia. The opposite is true in Switzerland, Norway and Uruguay.

By: by Alison Williams

Source: http://Reuters.com

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Why Inflation Looks Likely To Stay Above The Pre-Pandemic Norm

The bad news on inflation just keeps coming. At more than 9% year on year across the rich world, it has not been this high since the 1980s—and there have never been so many “inflation surprises”, where the data have come in higher than economists’ forecasts (see chart). This, in turn, is taking a heavy toll on the economy and financial markets.

Central banks are raising interest rates and ending bond-buying schemes, crushing equities. Consumer confidence in many places is now even lower than it was in the early days of the covid-19 pandemic. “Real-time” economic indicators of everything from housing activity to manufacturing output suggest that economic growth is slowing sharply.

What consumer prices do next is therefore one of the most important questions for the global economy. Many forecasters expect that annual inflation will soon ebb, in part because of last year’s sharp increases in commodity prices falling out of the year-on-year comparison. In its latest economic projections the Federal Reserve, for instance, expects annual inflation in America (as measured by the personal-consumption-expenditure index) to fall from 5.2% at the end of this year to 2.6% by the end of 2023.

You might be forgiven for not taking these prognostications too seriously. After all, most economists failed to see the inflationary surge coming, and then wrongly predicted it would quickly fade. In a paper published in May, Jeremy Rudd of the Fed made a provocative point: “Our understanding of how the economy works—as well as our ability to predict the effects of shocks and policy actions—is in my view no better today than it was in the 1960s.” The future path of inflation is, to a great extent, shrouded in uncertainty.

Some indicators point to more price pressure to come in the near term. Alternative Macro Signals, a consultancy, runs millions of news articles through a model to construct a “news inflation pressure index”. The results, which are more timely than the official inflation figures, measure not just how frequently price pressures are mentioned, but also whether the news flow suggests that pressures are building up. In both America and the euro area the index is still miles above 50, indicating that pressures are continuing to build.

Inflation worry-warts can point to three other indicators suggesting that the rich world is unlikely to return to the pre-pandemic norm of low, stable price growth any time soon: rising wage growth, and increases in the inflation expectations of both consumers and companies. If sustained, these could together contribute to what the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank for central banks, describes in a report published on June 26th as a “tipping point”. Beyond it, warns the bis, “an inflationary psychology” could spread and become “entrenched”.

Evidence is mounting that workers are starting to bargain for higher wages. This could create another round of price increases as firms pass on these extra costs. A survey by the Bank of Spain suggests that half of collective-bargaining deals signed for 2023 contain “indexation clauses”, meaning that salaries are automatically tied to inflation, up from a fifth before the pandemic.

In Germany ig Metall, a trade union, has asked for a 7-8% pay rise for nearly 4m workers in the metals and engineering sector (it will probably get about half that). In Britain rail workers went on strike as they sought a 7% pay rise, though it is unclear whether they will succeed. All this will make wage growth hotter still. Already, a tracker for the g10 group of countries compiled by Goldman Sachs, a bank, is rising almost vertically (see chart). A measure of pay pressure from Alternative Macro Signals is similarly animated. And wage floors are rising, too.

The Netherlands is bringing forward a rise in the minimum wage; earlier this month Germany passed a bill increasing its minimum by one-fifth. On June 15th Australia’s industrial-relations agency raised the wage floor by 5.2%, more than double last year’s increase. Faster wage growth in part reflects public’s higher expectations for future inflation—the second reason to worry that inflation might prove sticky. In America expectations for average price increases in the near term are rising fast.

The average Canadian says they are braced for inflation of 7% over the next year, the highest of any rich country. Even in Japan, the land where prices only rarely change, beliefs are shifting. A year ago a survey by the central bank found that just 8% of people believed that prices would go up “significantly” over the next year (consumer prices, indeed, rose by only 2.5% in the year to April). Now, however, 20% of Japanese people reckon that will happen.

The third factor relates to companies’ expectations. Retailers’ inflation expectations are at an all-time high in a third of eu countries. A survey by the Bank of England suggests that clothing prices for Britain’s autumn and winter collections will be 7-10% higher than a year ago. The Dallas Fed does find tentative evidence that customers are less willing to tolerate price increases than before; a respondent in the rental and leasing business complained that “it is getting tougher to pass on the 20-30% price increases we have received from manufacturers.” But that merely points to a lower level of high inflation.

The big hope for lower inflation relates to the price of goods. Fast increases in the prices of cars, fridges and the like, linked in part to supply-chain snarls, drove the initial inflationary surge last year. Now there is some evidence of a reversal. The cost of shipping something from Shanghai to Los Angeles has fallen by a quarter since early March. In recent months many retailers spent big on inventories in order to ensure their shelves stayed full. Many are now cutting prices to shift stock.

In America car production is finally picking up, which could unwind some of the outrageous price increases for used vehicles seen last year. Falling goods prices could, in theory, help douse the inflationary flames in the rich world, easing the cost-of-living crisis, giving central banks breathing room and buoying financial markets. But, with enough indicators of future prices pointing the other way, the odds of that happening have lengthened. Don’t be surprised if inflation roars for a while yet.

Source: Why inflation looks likely to stay above the pre-pandemic norm | The Economist

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Investors Are Best Off Owning Stable-Growth Stocks Amid Recession Risks and Should Target These 3 Sectors, Says Goldman Stock Chief

Investors are better off turning their attention to stable-growth stocks as opposed to worrying about balance sheet strength, Goldman Sachs’ chief US equity strategist said. David Kostin told CNBC on Thursday that his take is against the grain of popular thinking, specifically that stocks with strong balance sheets typically fare better when heading toward a potential recession .

But that’s not the case anymore, because balance-sheet strength and higher growth have converged into some of the same stocks, which are now vulnerable to rate hikes from the Federal Reserve , he said. “A lot of the stronger balance sheet stocks are also a lot of the growth-ier stocks, and as the interest rate market has re-priced the idea of more Fed tightening over the last several months, growth stocks have done less well,” Kostin said.

That has made companies with slower or more stable growth profiles increasingly attractive to fund managers in the current environment, he added. The remarks came a day before new inflation data raised expectations that the Fed will remain aggressive with its tightening campaign — or even get more hawkish. The Labor Department reported Friday that consumer price growth in May jumped to a fresh 41-year high of 8.6%, accelerating from April’s 8.3% pace.

Prior to the report, the central bank was expected to raise benchmark rates another 50 basis points at its next two meetings, but some investors are now betting on 75 basis points. To find outperformance in the stock market, investors should look to better earnings growth, Kostin said, pointing to energy, healthcare and large-cap profitable tech stocks as three segments that could be used to build a portfolio.

In fact, energy has “some of the best growth in the market in terms of both sales and earnings — obviously commodity prices are up so much,” he added.

By:

Source: Stock Market Outlook: Build a Portfolio on These 3 Sectors, Kostin Says

Critics by: Matthew Frankel, CFP

While we all might love the idea of investing in risk-free stocks, there’s no such thing as a stock that’s 100% safe. Even the best companies can face unexpected trouble, and it’s common for even the most stable corporations to experience significant stock price volatility. We saw this during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many strong companies experienced dramatic drops in stock price. We see it in 2022, with rising interest rates, inflation, and international conflict.

Despite what you might read on social media, stocks that never go down don’t exist. If you want a completely safe investment with no chance you’ll lose money, Treasury securities or certificates of deposit may be your best bet.

That said, some stocks are significantly safer than others. If a company is in good financial shape, has pricing power over its rivals, and sells products that people buy even during deep recessions, it’s likely a relatively safe investment.

Seven safe stocks to buy

What is the safest investment you can make in the stock market? There’s no perfect answer to this, but we can identify some excellent companies with potential for little volatility and excellent returns. Here are seven safe Long-Term stocks that should deliver strong returns over time:

1. Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) is a conglomerate that owns a collection of about 60 subsidiary businesses, including auto insurance giant GEICO, rail transport business BNSF, and battery manufacturer Duracell. Many (like these three) are non-cyclical businesses that generally do well in any economic climate.

Berkshire also owns a massive stock portfolio with large positions in Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), and many more. In a nutshell, owning Berkshire is like owning many different investments in a single stock. Most of the components were selected by CEO Warren Buffett, one of the greatest investors of all time. Because of the diversified nature of its business, Berkshire can be a great choice if you’re looking for safe stocks for beginners.

2. The Walt Disney Company

Most people know Disney (NYSE:DIS) for its theme parks, movie franchises, and characters, but there’s much more to this entertainment giant. Disney also owns a massive cruise line; the Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movie studios; the ABC and ESPN television networks; and the Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ streaming services.

Its theme parks have tremendous pricing power and do well in most economic climates. Disney’s movie franchises are among the most valuable in the world, and its streaming businesses are producing a large (and rapidly growing) stream of recurring revenue.

Disney was not immune to the COVID-19 pandemic, however. The company experienced major revenue declines in fiscal 2020 due to the temporary shuttering of Disney theme parks, Disney’s cruise line, and movie theaters.

Despite these challenges, Disney’s share price has been resilient on the strength of the Disney+ streaming business and the company’s renewed focus on its direct-to-consumer strategy. Those initiatives are driven by the power of Disney’s brand and the company’s valuable intellectual property. Those same qualities make Disney a safe investment over the long term.

3. Vanguard High-Dividend Yield ETF

Dividends are a good indicator of a company’s stability. What’s more, dividend-paying stocks tend to be more stable during tough times than those that don’t pay dividends.

The Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEMKT:VYM) is an exchange-traded fund that invests in a portfolio of stocks paying above-average dividends. Top holdings include Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), and Bank of America, but the fund invests in more than 400 stocks.

4. Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) makes products people need in any economic environment. P&G is the parent company behind brands of household staples such as Pampers, Downy, Tide, Charmin, Gillette, Old Spice, and Febreze.

To give you an idea of how steady and consistent Procter & Gamble’s business has been over time, consider that the company has increased its dividend for 65 consecutive years. That’s one of the best dividend histories in the entire stock market.

5. Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund

Real estate is an example of an asset that tends to produce excellent long-term growth without too much risk. Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, allow investors to gain portfolio exposure to commercial properties such as office buildings, malls, and apartment buildings.

The Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund (NYSEMKT:VNQ) invests in a diverse variety of real estate stocks, pays an above-average dividend yield, and could be a low-risk but high-potential investment opportunity.lite1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-2-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1

In the early days of the pandemic, commercial real estate was one of the hardest-hit sectors. This is because many of the underlying properties REITs own are leased to businesses that depend on people being able and willing to physically go to work in their properties. But the long-term investment thesis is sound, and the safety of real estate is intact, especially when you’re investing in a diverse index fund like this one.

6. Starbucks

You’d be hard-pressed to find a brand with a bigger competitive advantage than Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX). Its trusted brand gives the company pricing power over rivals, and its massive scale gives it efficiency advantages, too. Starbucks can charge more money while benefiting from the cost advantages that come with being such a large company.

Starbucks continues to increase its footprint and its revenue year after year. It’s tough to imagine a world where Starbucks isn’t the go-to destination for higher-end coffee drinks. Even when the COVID-19 pandemic forced Starbucks to close its inside seating areas, consumers still flocked to Starbucks drive-thru lines to pick up their favorite beverages.

7. Apple

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the durable advantage of having both an extremely loyal customer base and an ecosystem of products designed to work best in conjunction with one another; iPhone and Mac users tend to remain iPhone and Mac users.

It’s no secret that Apple products cost significantly more than comparably equipped phones, computers, and tablets from rivals — a sign of Apple’s tremendous pricing power.

More contents:

One-Third of Businesses Plan To Raise Prices In The Coming Quarter

Over a third of all businesses (38%) anticipate raising the price of their goods or services by more than usual in the next three months, a similar result to March 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Head of Industry Statistics, John Shepherd, said: “Most of these businesses were finding that increases in the cost of products and services (92 per cent) and fuel and energy costs (78 per cent) were leading factors for planned price increases.”

The other side

The survey results also showed nearly half (48 per cent) of all businesses have no plans to increase their prices over the next three months. “Of these businesses, nearly half (46 per cent) said it was to retain customers and 46 per cent said they had fixed-price contracts in place.” Mr Shepherd said.

The results also provided information about planned capital expenditure over the next three months. Almost one in five businesses (18 per cent) have planned capital expenditure in May 2022, consistent with findings in May 2021 (17 per cent). Nearly half (48 per cent) of businesses planning capital expenditure indicated it would be higher than what is usual for this time of year, fewer than a year ago when 59 per cent planned for higher expenditure.

The biggest Influencing factors on whether businesses were planning for capital expenditure were uncertainty about the future state of the economy (25 per cent) and supply chain disruptions (23 per cent).  Current inflation in Australia, as in much of the rest of the world, is the result of a combination of short-term and long-term factors and concerns about demand and supply.

The Reserve Bank of Australia previously raised the official cash rate for the first time in over 11 years from 0.1 per cent, which it had been at since November 2020, during the height of the Covid pandemic. It was raised to 0.35 per cent, which was higher than expected, and the RBA stated that additional increases were on the way.

Furthermore, the Russian war on Ukraine increased commodity prices significantly above pre-COVID levels. They produce more than one-tenth of the world’s oil and wheat.

By: Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

Source: One-third of businesses plan to raise prices in the coming quarter: Survey

Critics by Patricio Ibáñez, Ricardo González Rugamas, Sajal Kohli, and Eric Kuehl 

To understand the process of determining which price increases are fair and which are not, consider an example. A leading apparel retailer recently received price increases from suppliers for many of its primary brands, each citing the inflationary environment as the reason for the increase. The company wasn’t sure how it should respond.

This retailer needs to determine whether suppliers are passing along an increase that’s in line with inflation’s effect on the supplier’s costs. Although it’s not possible to answer this question exactly, the retailer can at least pressure test the increase by determining if it falls within a fair range.

To do this, it began by identifying the main cost inputs that have the highest level of change, especially in an inflationary environment. In this example, these cost inputs were commodities (such as cotton, polyester, spandex), as well as labor and transportation (such as import costs, shipping, and freight).

Second, it estimated the percentage of the total cost these inputs make up. We would expect that fabric makes up about 50 percent of the total cost of a men’s cotton T-shirt. It’s safe to assume that cotton fiber (which has a commodity index, making its cost relatively easy to research) makes up roughly one-third of the fabric’s cost.

Immediate commercial opportunities to mitigate volatility typically include maximizing spend on existing contracts whose prices aren’t indexed for inflation and requesting clawbacks on unindexed contracts that covered periods when commodity prices fell. Digital and analytics solutions can enhance cleansheet analysis to uncover how much purchases should cost for large parts of company spending, which lets managers quantify the extent to which inflationary pressure should affect supplier prices.

To improve future resilience, supplier collaboration can drive joint efficiencies and potentially help the organization look beyond price and at changes to quality or specifications or at finding ways to use less. Finally, companies can consider ramping up collaboration between pricing and procurement teams to weigh inflation’s possible effects on the prices the company charges its own customers.

The defensive, technical levers to respond to inflation include accelerating value engineering and adjusting batch sizes or order frequency. Reducing SKUs or high-cost features and attributes by modifying specifications is a potential medium-term technical lever that can help improve resilience. Depending on the sector, options to address volatility in the short-to-medium term include optimizing supplier footprints for better control over logistics, cost, tariffs, and inventory.

Longer-term volatility challengers could include strategic inventory stockpiling, relying more on vendor-managed inventory, expanding cross-industry collaboration to share commodity exposures, and partnering through the end-to-end supply chain to derisk certain nodes.

To approach suppliers in high-priority categories, a targeted playbook can help strengthen negotiation strategies, with pressure testing via mock negotiation sessions that anticipate potential supplier counterarguments…

 More contents:

JPMorgan Says Bitcoin Is Undervalued By 28%, Says Cryptocurrencies Are Now A ‘Preferred Alternative Asset’

Bitcoin price action might not reflect it, but the leading cryptocurrency by market cap could be massively undervalued, according to a variety of fundamental metrics that focus on coin issuance. Any asset – be it stock, currency, commodity, or otherwise – goes through boom and bust cycles; bull and bear markets. These cycles are more rapid and take place more frequently in crypto than they do in traditional market counterparts.

The reason is both due to the always-on 24/7, global crypto market and the speculative nature of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other top coins. Even with adoption taking place, they’re still far from achieving their potential.When speculative assets reach a peak of a bull cycle, they are typically far more overvalued than they should be, which causes such an extreme correction back down toward the “mean.” During bear cycles, speculative assets tend to overcorrect as things appear worse off than they actually are.

These tools are widely known, but when combined paint a clear picture that backs up any chance that the top coin by market cap is actually undervalued at $40,000 per BTC.

Despite the crypto slump, banking giant JPMorgan says bitcoin is massively undervalued. Maintaining its estimate of bitcoin’s fair value at $38,000, the bank today reiterated the assessment it gave the asset in February when the cryptocurrency was trading around $43,400. This price is approximately 28% higher than its current level of $29,757.

In a note to clients issued Wednesday, the bank has also stated that it is replacing real estate with digital, or crypto, assets as its preferred alternative asset class along with hedge funds, citing “potential lagged repricing” in private equity, private debt and real estate. Alternative assets typically refer to ​​investments that aren’t stocks, bonds or cash.

The appraisal is a nod of confidence to bitcoin, which is currently trading at less than half its all-time high of $68,721, and the broader category in general. In addition to rising interest rates and the fallout from the war in Ukraine, the cryptocurrency market is grappling with the $50 billion collapse of algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD and its sister token LUNA. The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies currently sits at $1.3 trillion, a dramatic decline from $3 trillion in November.

“The past month’s crypto market correction looks more like capitulation relative to last January/February and going forward we see upside for bitcoin and crypto markets more generally,” the bank’s strategists, led by Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, noted in the report.

The strategists also believe that “the trajectory for VC funding would be crucial in helping the crypto market to avoid the long winter of 2018/2019”, which followed the initial coin offerings boom. Just today, Ethereum scaling startup Starkware raised $100 million at an $8 billion valuation and venture giant Andreessen Horowitz announced a $1.5 billion allotment for crypto investments as part of its larger $4.5 billion fund.

“Thus far there is little evidence of VC funding drying up post-Terra’s collapse. Of the $25 billion VC funding year-to-date, almost $4 billion came after Terra,” the strategists noted. “Our best guess is the VC funding will continue and a long winter similar to 2018/2019 would be averted.”

I report on cryptocurrencies and other applications of blockchain technology. I also edit the weekly Forbes Crypto Confidential newsletter and contribute to our premium research service

Source: JPMorgan Says Bitcoin Is Undervalued By 28%, Says Cryptocurrencies Are Now A ‘Preferred Alternative Asset’

Price Prediction: How Profitable Will These Coins Be? — Dogecoin (DOGE), Parody Coin (PARO), and Ripple (XRP)

In Defence of Cryptocurrency – Christine Lagarde, Are You Serious?

Gaming Projects You Should Know in 2022: Decentraland (MANA), Enjin (ENJ), and Pac-Man Frog (PAC)

These Undervalued Coins Could Be Your Ticket to Being a Millionaire: Polkadot (DOT) and Quitriam Finance (QTM)

Chronoly (CRNO) Takes Number 1 Spot at Project To Invest In 2022 Over Fantom (FTM) and Anchor Protocol (ANC)

The Nightly Mint: Daily NFT Recap

Bitcoin On-Chain Activity Throttled After LUNA Collapse

Bitcoin Consolidation Uninspiring, But Run To Near $33k On The Cards

Bitcoin Trading Volume Plummets Down From Recent Top

Bitcoin Sets Record Streak For Bloodliest Weekly Trend yet

JPMorgan: Bitcoin Is Undervalued; Says Fair Price Is 28% Higher

Market Sentiment Dangerously Negative As Crypto Fear Index Drops To Two-Year Low

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