Inflation Increases Risk of Recession In Global Economy

The Federal Reserve’s bid to calm inflation by raising interest rates and withdrawing emergency stimulus programs is gearing up just as the global economy is displaying worrisome signs of weakness, aggravated by the war in Ukraine and covid’s continuing hold on industrial supply chains.

The risk, some economists said, is that the Fed and other central banks that are implementing similar anti-inflation policies may adjust too slowly to a complex and fast-changing global landscape.

However, the persistence of a tight labour market and high inflation pose concerns for the Biden administration and the Federal Reserve. This week, the US central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by 0.5 percentage points for the first time since 2000 — to a target range of between 0.75 and 1 per cent — to curb rising prices. Inflation in the US is currently running at a 40-year high.

Meanwhile, US stocks fell on Friday, extending sharp losses from the previous session, as signs of a tightening jobs market compounded inflation worries. European shares also declined, with the regional Stoxx 600 index losing almost 2 per cent, putting it on track to end the week more than 4 per cent down. London’s FTSE 100 lost 1.3 per cent and Germany’s Xetra Dax also fell 1.3 per cent.

The Nasdaq Composite, comprised of many of the largest US technology companies, closed down 5 per cent yesterday, in its biggest one-day decline since 2020. The blue-chip S&P 500 index also declined on Thursday with a 3.5 per cent loss. As the world continues to deal with the economic impact of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine is exacerbating inflationary problems.

Central banks are faced with the risk that controlling rising prices could lead to economic decline. The Bank of England warned yesterday that the UK economy was heading towards a recession and inflation would hit 10 per cent this year, as it lifted the interest rate to 1 per cent, the country’s highest level since 2009.

With UK prices likely to rise at their fastest rate in more than 40 years as sustained double-digit inflation becomes possible for the first time since the 1970s, the BoE — which is celebrating 25 years of independence this week — faces challenges that it has not encountered in the past quarter of a century, writes economics editor Chris Giles.

Line chart of CPI inflation and successive BoE forecasts, 2021-22 (%) showing The Bank did not expect to have to tackle double-digit inflation Latest news Ukraine urges Médecins Sans Frontières to evacuate wounded from Azovstal steel plant Glass Lewis advises Amazon shareholders to vote against pay policy German industry suffers biggest drop in output since start of pandemic For up-to-the-minute news updates.

Need to know: the economy China’s president Xi Jinping has reaffirmed his commitment to the country’s controversial zero-Covid strategy, warning against “any slackening” in the effort and vowing to crack down on criticism of the policy despite signs of damage to the economy. US homebuyers are stretching their budgets to buy new homes and rushing to strike deals to avoid higher mortgage financing costs, according to the latest industry data.

Mortgage rates have reached their highest levels in more than a decade, according to the recent Freddie Mac survey. Latest for the UK/Europe Momentum is building for the European Central Bank to raise interest rates in July to fight soaring inflation, after dovish policymakers indicated they were ready to accept an end to almost eight years of negative borrowing costs.

The EU is considering providing more time and money to Hungary to adapt to an embargo on Russian oil after talks on Brussels’ plans for imposing sanctions became “stuck”. Vodafone, the UK telecoms group under pressure from an activist investor, has strengthened its board with two appointments. They are Simon Segars, former chief executive of Arm, the UK-based chip business, and Delphine Cunci, an industry heavyweight in France.

Europe’s largest activist fund Cevian Capital has been pushing the mobile group to refresh its management, which it believes has insufficient experience. Help us compile our ranking of Europe’s Diversity Leaders. Employees and workplace experts are invited to complete a short survey to assess companies’ progress on inclusivity by June 12.

Coronavirus infections in England have fallen to their lowest level since the start of the year, according to official data published today, as the spread of the disease slows across the UK. Global latest US regulators have travelled to mainland China to discuss a potential compromise over audit disclosures that could stop around 270 Chinese companies from being delisted by New York exchanges, according to two people close to the matter.

Tomorrow you can hear Henry Kissinger, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and more at our inaugural US FTWeekend Festival in Washington, DC. Business German sportswear group Adidas has warned that its operating profit this year would be lower than previously expected, as the company struggles with disrupted supply chains, closed shops in China and rising costs.

Operating profit tumbled 38 per cent to €437mn in the first quarter as the company was hit by the economic fallout from China’s strict Covid policies. Australia’s biggest investment bank Macquarie Group profited from volatility on global commodity markets and record dealmaking, driving full-year net profit up 56 per cent from the previous year to a record high of A$4.7bn ($3.3bn).

British Airways has been forced to cut flight schedules further as it struggles to hire staff quickly enough to meet renewed demand for travel after culling nearly 10,000 jobs during the pandemic, raising concerns that the carrier could miss out on a bumper summer for European airlines. France has warmly welcomed Binance’s bid to put down roots in one of Europe’s top financial centres, drawing a deep divide with watchdogs in the UK that rejected the crypto giant.

Binance this week received a nod from French financial regulators, a move that clears the way for the crypto exchange to establish a significant presence in the G7 nation that could also help the company unlock access to other jurisdictions across Europe. Boeing will move its headquarters to the Washington, DC area from Chicago, bringing the company closer to federal lawmakers and rival defence contractors.

The move comes during a tumultuous period for the company, which has been subject to greater regulatory scrutiny following two fatal crashes of its 737 Max jet in 2018 and 2019 as well as the discovery of flaws in its 787 Dreamliner. Science round-up The true total global pandemic death toll was about 15mn by the end of 2021, based on an analysis of excess mortality, said the World Health Organization.

Source: Federal Reserve is raising interest rates even as the global economy struggles – The Washington Post

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How To Protect Yourself From A Possible Recession

You may soon start hearing pundits talk about the dreaded term “recession.” It’s one of those words used by finance people that comes across as ominous and foreboding. When people discuss recessionary times, it conjures up fears of long lines at the gas station, a fading economy, high inflation, job losses and general malaise.

A recession is a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters. Although it’s not a perfect science, there is an old joke about economists who often get things wrong— “He’s predicted nine of the past five recessions”—implying the prognosticator is merely guessing and missing the mark on too many occasions to be taken seriously.

The Signs Of An Upcoming Recession

The United States is starting to see some of the warning signs of a recession. When the stock market plummets by 20%, it’s called a “bear market” and the massive losses contribute to a recession, as people lose faith in the economy and curtail expenditures. When people invest in the market and realize substantial profits, there is a wealth effect created. The windfall from investing emboldens people to spend more money, as they are confident that the good times will last forever.

When dramatic declines in stocks, bonds and cryptocurrencies happen, it has the opposite effect. Fear and panic take hold. Risk-taking is over and people go into survival mode, ruthlessly curtailing expenses.

Another factor for a recession is that inflation is raging to 40-year highs, further causing Americans to lose confidence. To pour more cold water on the economy and stock market, the Federal Reserve plans on continuing to raise interest rates. There is a fear that all of the strides the U.S. has made since the economy reopened will evaporate.

Many, if not all, of the stock gains from the meme subreddit Wallstreetbets crowd over the last year have already been lost. The same holds true for other investors too. If you have a company-sponsored 401(k) plan or IRA account, don’t look at the statements, as it will ruin your day.

Deutsche Bank economists wrote in a report to clients last month, “We will get a major recession,” becoming the first major bank to bearishly predict a U.S. recession. Bank of America has publicly stated that the mood in financial markets has been “recessionary.” Goldman Sachs said the tight labor market has “has caused a meaningful increase in the risk of recession.”

What Happens In A Recession

Recessions are usually characterized by job losses. You may think to yourself that is not indicative of the current labor market. Within the past year, the job market has seen a robust recovery. Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 428,000 jobs were added in April, with the unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.6%.

Job openings hit a record 11.5 million in March. That same month, a historic 4.5 million people quit their jobs, showing that Americans feel confident enough to quit their positions, as they believe there are plenty of other opportunities available.

Nevertheless, depending upon how things progress, there could be further downsizings in other industries, as the U.S. has seen in the tech sector. As there has been so much hiring due to the buoyant economy, it could turn out the executives were too optimistic and now need to trim the staff.

Concerns over a slowing economy could take the steam out of the venture capital engines that have been producing numerous unicorn startups. The unprofitable outfits may not gain further funding and resort to layoffs.

What happens is that the U.S. could enter a situation in which things spiral downward. Rapidly rising unemployment is also another driver of a recession. As more people lose their jobs and business conditions deteriorate, those who find themselves in between roles will find it harder and take longer to procure a new role.

Fear Takes Over

It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fear of a recession prompts businesses to cut costs to conserve financial assets. They want to have the cash to get through the rough patches. The aggressive cost-cutting measures usually include pay cuts and job losses. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. The economy goes through these boom-and-bust cycles fairly regularly. For many people, there are not many other choices than to hunker down and ride it out until better times arrive.

There is a behavioral component too. As there is an eroding level of confidence in the economic and financial system, demand for goods and services declines. There comes a point in which the business cycle reverses course, due to the toxic confluence of rising inflation, loss of faith, joblessness, plunging stock market and housing prices, followed by a fear of further losses, making the economy contract.

How To Get Through A Recession

Now is the time to hyperfocus on your job and career. Make sure your position is secure. Lock in any verbal agreements for a raise, promotion and bonus. It will be awkward and uncomfortable, but ask your boss about how stable the company is and where you fit in. Ask them if they view you as irreplaceable and a future rising star.

If the answers are not to your liking, don’t sulk. Take action. Immediately go into job-hunt mode. Get in touch with top recruiters in your space. Speak with career coaches and résumé writers. Start networking on LinkedIn. Now is not the time to be shy. Push yourself to ask everyone in your network for job leads and introductions.

If you lose your job, make sure you put money aside to get through the time between now and when you secure another position. Keep expenditures down and pay down your credit card and other balances that charge ludicrously high interest rates. Switch investments from risky assets to something more secure or dividend-paying.

Consider going back to school to learn a new profession that is marketable and pays well. This is what happened after the dot-com bubble burst, the financial crisis and the beginning of the pandemic. People took shelter, not only at home, but in colleges, MBA programs and law school.

They used the economic downturn to learn and earn more, once they’ve finished their education. You could also take on gig work, start a side hustle or pivot toward starting a business. Use the time wisely to reevaluate what you really want to do with your work-life.

I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise

Source: Don’t Panic: How To Protect Yourself From A Possible Recession

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Buffett’s Berkshire Buys Citigroup and Several other Stocks, Slashes Verizon

May 16 (Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc on Monday said it added new investments in Citigroup Inc and several other companies in the first quarter, as Warren Buffett’s conglomerate took advantage of volatile stock markets to invest $51.1 billion that had largely been sitting in cash.

In a regulatory filing describing its U.S.-listed equity investments as of March 31, Berkshire reported new stakes in Ally Financial Inc, chemicals and specialty materials company Celanese Corp, insurance holding company Markel Corp, drug distributor McKesson Corp and Paramount Global, formerly known as ViacomCBS.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire said it sold nearly all of an $8.3 billion stake in Verizon Communications Inc that it had amassed in late 2020.

Berkshire also finally exited Wells Fargo & Co, a 33-year-old investment that Buffett soured on after finding it too slow to address revelations that employees had mistreated customers, including by opening unwanted accounts.

Buffett’s company ended March with $106.3 billion of cash and equivalents, down from a near-record $146.7 billion three months earlier, largely reflecting the new investments.

These included previously disclosed stakes in Chevron Corp and Occidental Petroleum Corp, computer and printer maker HP Inc and video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc, the latter an arbitrage bet.

Stock sales totaled $9.7 billion, and also included drugmakers AbbVie Inc and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co .

Citigroup, where Berkshire invested nearly $3 billion, has embarked on a multiyear plan to boost performance and a share price that in recent years has lagged larger rivals JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp, the latter a major Berkshire investment.

Some investors have described Markel as a small-scale version of Berkshire, and Buffett in March committed $11.6 billion to buy another insurance holding company fitting that description, Alleghany Corp.

Berkshire also owns several companies specializing in Celanese’s sectors. Monday’s filing does not say which investments were made by Buffett and his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.

Most large Berkshire investments are Buffett’s. Stock prices often rise after Berkshire reveals new stakes because investors view the investments as a stamp of approval.

At Berkshire’s annual meeting on April 30, Buffett said investors were too focused on flashy stocks, causing markets at times to resemble a casino, allowing him to focus on stocks that Berkshire understands and which add value.

Analysts have also viewed Chevron and Occidental as a way for Berkshire to benefit from rising oil prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I wish the rest of the world worked as well as our big oil companies,” Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said at the annual meeting.

More than three-fourths of Berkshire’s $390.5 billion equity portfolio on March 31 was in American Express Co, Apple Inc, Bank of America, Chevron, Coca-Cola Co and Kraft Heinz Co. Berkshire owned 26.6% of Kraft Heinz. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Bernard Orr).

By Jonathan Stempel

Source: UPDATE 1-Buffett’s Berkshire buys Citigroup and several other stocks, slashes Verizon

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Cryptocurrencies are Crashing So How Low Will Bitcoin Go

With bitcoin crashing – in fact, the entire cryptocurrency sector crashing – I thought I should quickly cover it today. Needless to say, it’s not pretty. At all.

Faith in cryptocurrencies has been battered – in most cases, quite rightly

This time last year, bitcoin went on one its monster runs above $60,000. It then had one of its monster crashes. I can’t remember if it was on these pages or on Twitter, but somewhere I suggested that a reasonable target for the correction might be $20,000.

$20,000 was the old high from the 2017 boom and bust and an obvious pivotal price point. But the correction stopped at $30,000, or just below.The conclusion I drew – and on current evidence wrongly drew – was that, as bitcoin matured, its volatility was declining. The 90% corrections of previous bull markets were now 50%-60% corrections.

Bitcoin had a second run above $60,000 in the autumn, followed by another of its humongous corrections, and lo and behold, $30,000 held again (actually just below, but I use round numbers as they are more readable).

As an asset, bitcoin has become highly correlated to the Nasdaq and tech stocks and, as we all know, tech stocks have been walloped. Peloton, for example, which we wrote about yesterday, is down over 90%.So over the past fortnight, I was quite encouraged to see bitcoin holding up quite well relative to other tech stocks. $30,000 looked like it was a floor.

Then we got the collapse in the protocol Terra, and its so-called stablecoin UST, which John covered earlier in the week, and the sector has been absolutely battered.This is big, and it’s going to take some recovering from. The bubble of 2016 was verging-on the-fraudulent ICOs. Today it’s staking and stable coins. The yields on staking – over 20% in some cases – were unsustainable and so they have not been sustained. (If you’re baffled as to what I’m talking about here, don’t worry, you haven’t missed out and at this stage it’s very much for the best).

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost money, in some cases fortunes, and the reputational damage to crypto is considerable. All those who declared that “crypto is a fraud” are now looking wise, while those, myself to an extent included, who made the argument that bitcoin is a hedge against currency debasement are looking stupid, given that it is off some 65% from its highs.

Bitcoin will survive (again) but it’s likely to hit $20,000 and could go even lower

Of course, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not one and the same. Bitcoin remains a product of technical and open-source genius, but forever in its wake, and surrounding it, are disasters, gaffes, frauds and scams.Altcoins, NFTs, the Metaverse, Defi, staking, whatever the latest buzz thing is – all of it is puking value, and the bubble has well and truly burst. Again.

And there lies the keyword – again. This is not the first time this has happened, and it will not be the last. And, for all the junk that surrounds it, bitcoin keeps plodding on. As I write it sits at $27,500. I can’t see how it doesn’t retest $20,000 in the coming days.

We hope $20,000 holds, but these are horrible, horrible, horrible markets – and I’m not just talking about crypto. It was oil going bananas in 2008, rising to $150 a barrel, which triggered that collapse. It seems like something not too dissimilar is happening now, following oil’s spike to $130 last month.

There will be a lot of forced sellers out there – leveraged players (those using borrowed money) and so on. So we are going to see a lot of liquidation. My advice, if you own quality assets, and you don’t have to sell, is not to.

Gold, bitcoin, good companies – whatever. Their price may go lower, but if you are not confident you can beat the market, then don’t sell. Because just as bubbles always burst, so does quality always come good. And bitcoin itself – I’m not talking about other cryptocurrenciesbitcoin itself is a quality asset.

There’s even a chance it could go back to its corona-panic lows of March 2020. Heck, everything else seems to be going that way. That would take us to $3,000. I would have thought that unlikely, but never say never, especially in these markets. If you think you can beat the market, as I say, go for it. If not, HODL quality. Don’t trade it.

By: Dominic Frisby

Source: Cryptocurrencies are crashing – so how low will bitcoin go? | MoneyWeek

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Where Do Millionaires Keep Their Money?

Where do millionaires keep their money? High net worth individuals put money into different classifications of financial and real assets, including stocks, mutual funds, retirement accounts and real estate. Most of the 20.27 million millionaires in the U.S. did not inherit their money; only about 20% inherited their money. More than two-thirds of all millionaires are entrepreneurs. Here are some of the places the genuinely rich keep their money.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

Many, and perhaps most, millionaires are frugal. If they spent their money, they would not have any to increase wealth. They spend on necessities and some luxuries, but they save and expect their entire families to do the same. Many millionaires keep a lot of their money in cash or highly liquid cash equivalents.

They establish an emergency account before ever starting to invest. Millionaires bank differently than the rest of us. Any bank accounts they have are handled by a private banker who probably also manages their wealth. There is no standing in line at the teller’s window.

Studies indicate that millionaires may have, on average, as much as 25% of their money in cash. This is to offset any market downturns and to have cash available as insurance for their portfolio. Cash equivalents, financial instruments that are almost as liquid as cash. are popular investments for millionaires. Examples of cash equivalents are money market mutual funds, certificates of deposit, commercial paper and Treasury bills.

Some millionaires keep their cash in Treasury bills that they keep rolling over and reinvesting. They liquidate them when they need the cash. Treasury bills are short-term notes issued by the U.S government to raise money. Treasury bills are usually purchased at a discount. When you sell them, the difference between the face value and selling price is your profit. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has a portfolio full of money market accounts and Treasury bills.

Millionaires also have zero-balance accounts with private banks. They leave their money in cash and cash equivalents and they write checks on their zero-balance account. At the end of the business day, the private bank, as custodian of their various accounts, sells off enough liquid assets to settle up for that day. Millionaires don’t worry about FDIC insurance. Their money is held in their name and not the name of the custodial private bank.

Other millionaires have safe deposit boxes full of cash denominated in many different currencies. These safe deposit boxes are located all over the world and each currency is held in a country where transactions are conducted using that currency.

Real Estate

For more than 200 years, investing in real estate has been the most popular investment for millionaires to keep their money. During all these years, real estate investments have been the primary way millionaires have had of making and keeping their wealth. The trend started with buying a primary home and then other residences, usually for tenants. After buying some personal real estate, then they have started buying commercial real estate like office buildings, hotels, stadiums, bridges and more.

Millionaires often have large real estate portfolios. Once they have established themselves as a buyer in the real estate market, real estate agents start bringing them deals and they find it easy to obtain financing. Large investors have many millions tied up in real estate. Real estate is not an investment to depend on for cash, but it is a lucrative investment in the long run and a tried and true investment for millionaires because they like passive income and find that real estate provides it.

Stocks and Stock Funds

Some millionaires are all about simplicity. They invest in index funds and dividend-paying stocks. They like the passive income from equity securities just like they like the passive rental income that real estate provides. They simply don’t want to use their time managing investments.

Ultra-rich investors may hold a controlling interest in one or more major companies. But, many millionaires hold a portfolio of only a few equity securities. Many may hold index funds since they earn decent returns and you don’t have to spend time managing them. They also have low management fees and excellent diversification.

Millionaires also like dividend-paying stocks for the passive income they provide. Of course, they are also interested in capital appreciation but, for some, that’s less of a concern than generating current income.

Private Equity and Hedge Funds

Unless you are a multimillionaire, you may not participate in a hedge fund or buy into a private equity fund. Public equity is well known since its shares trade on stock exchanges. One of its advantages is its liquidity. You can readily liquidate your public equity or shares of stock. Private equity funds, on the other hand, generally gets their investments from large organizations like universities or pension funds.

Investors of private equity funds have to be accredited investors with a certain net worth, usually at least $250,000. Accredited investors can be individuals as well as organizations, but they are defined by regulations. In other areas, private equity funds do not have to conform to as many regulations as public equity does. Some of the ultra-rich, if they are accredited investors, do invest in private equity.

Hedge funds are not the same as private equity. Hedge funds use pooled funds and pursue several strategies to earn outsized returns for their investors. Hedge funds invest in whatever fund managers think will earn the highest short-term profits possible.

Commodities

Commodities, like gold, silver, mineral rights or cattle, to name a few, are also stores of value for millionaires. But they require storage and have a level of complexity that many millionaires simply don’t want to deal with.

Alternative Investments

Some millionaires, along with the ultra-rich, keep a portion of their money in other alternative investments like such tangible assets as fine art, expensive musical instruments or rare books. Also, there are millionaires and the ultra-rich that have investments in intellectual property rights such as the rights to songs or movies. These can be very lucrative investments.

Cryptocurrency

It is estimated that there are around 100,000 cryptocurrency millionaires out there with the majority holding Bitcoin. To try to make your fortune in cryptocurrency, you have to be willing to take on some risk and many millionaires don’t have an appetite for risk.

You can take a small portion of a millionaire’s wealth and invest in one of the different cryptocurrencies. Plenty of people have become millionaires this way. Some have lost their money. More and more, cryptocurrency is becoming accepted as a legitimate investment that deserves a look when trying to accumulate wealth.

The Bottom Line

Millionaires have many different investment philosophies, so it’s difficult to generalize concerning where they keep their money. However, all of the above are legitimate investments for millionaires. They have a desire for a reduction of their risk, so many prefer diversified investment portfolios. More than one of these investments can be combined to try to enhance wealth.

Tips on Investing

Would you like to investigate how your investments are growing? Check out SmartAsset’s free investment calculator.

Do you have questions about how to start investing? It’s wise to begin by consulting a financial advisor. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals

By:

Source: Where Do Millionaires Keep Their Money?

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