Random Market News, 2 August
"U.S. Plans Trade Measures Against China.
Trump administration aims to force Beijing to crack down on intellectual-property theft and ease market access.
That would pave the way for the U.S. to impose sanctions on Chinese exporters or to further restrict the transfer of advanced technology to Chinese firms or to U.S.-China joint ventures.
American business frustration with Chinese trade and market-access practices has mounted in recent years, with U.S. business groups urging the government to take a tougher trade line with China. Many organizations have complained that the Trump administration hasn’t pushed hard enough in areas like intellectual property, as it has focused more on Chinese manufacturing and China’s $347 billion trade surplus with the U.S. last year."
"US regulator moves to loosen Volcker rule.
OCC seeks public comment on changing Obama-era ban on proprietary trading.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees national banks, initiated the process of amending the Volcker rule on Wednesday by formally seeking public comment from banks and others on how it is working."
"OCC moves solo on Volcker Rule, soliciting feedback."
"‘Leave Chinese land or face war’: China MoD official warns India amid border standoff."
"Japan and the industrial boom of 1917.
From Mitsubishi Motors to Kikkoman - over a thousand Japanese firms are celebrating their hundredth birthday in 2017. The development reveals much about Japan's history and economic base."
"1MDB misses deadline to pay Abu Dhabi fund.
Scandal-ridden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad said Tuesday it missed the Monday deadline to pay $602.73 million as part of a settlement because the money was held up by red tape, but vowed to come up with the money this month.
Under the settlement agreed on in April, 1MDB was to pay International Petroleum Investment Company PJSC, an Abu Dhabi-based sovereign fund using the acronym IPIC, some $1.2 billion in two tranches -- half on July 31 and the balance on Dec 31."
"Facing Uncertainty, Middle Eastern M&A Transactions Sag in Q2.
For the quarter, the Middle East region closed 50 transactions, including both outbound and inbound deals, 36% below Q2 2016. The value of those completed deals was $6.7 billion, down about 21% from last year. Based on the number of transactions, the second quarter was better than the first, with transactions up by 61%. However, the total transaction value was 57% higher in Q1'17 compared to Q2'17."
"Amazon and Alibaba square off in Southeast Asia.
The battle for e-commerce dominance is just getting started."
"The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, has completed its investment of $7.5 million in a private equity vehicle of Singapore headquartered Emerging Markets Investment Advisers Pte Ltd (EMIA), according to an IFC official.
The investment, that was first proposed in September 2016, was into the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar Development Fund II (CLMDF II), a generalist private equity fund set up in 2015, targeting investments in small and medium-sized enterprises in the three nations."
"Saudi Aramco Battle Intensifies With Fresh U.K. Opposition.
One of the U.K.’s largest business groups has aired concerns over the FCA’s proposal for new listing rules for foreign state-owned companies.
The Institute of Directors, whose 30,000 business leaders include executives at FTSE 100 companies, objects to less stringent requirements to list on the London Stock Exchange because weaker standards may lead to governance problems, according to a report released by the group Wednesday and submitted last month to the Financial Conduct Authority."
"PwC: Money manager M&A deals plunge in second quarter after spike to start year.
There were 28 announced deals in the second quarter, down 32% from the 41 announced deals in the first quarter. Deal value, meanwhile, was $2 billion, down 38% from the previous quarter.
PwC attributes the drop-off to several factors, including there being no transactions involving foreign buyers for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2013; uncertainty created by the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule comment period; and only one announced deal per sector for hedge funds, private equity firms and institutional managers, compared to an average of three per quarter."
"Individually Rational and Collectively Crazy.
I recently polled more than 40 pensions and sovereigns on whether their fiduciary duty allowed them to consider the interests of their peers alongside their own in an investment decision.
The result was unsurprising — and extremely problematic."
Implied rate hike probability for September 20th is ~1.4%, November 1st is ~7.3%; 0% probability of rate cut through June 13th, 2018.
VIX ~10.28. 10-yr treasury vol (TYVIX) ~3.88.
"Dow Jones Hits New Record Boosted By Apple Shares
Wall Street closed mixed on Wednesday August 2nd of 2017, as Apple shares rose nearly 5 percent after the company reported better-than-expected earnings and revenues in Q2. In economic news, US private businesses hired 178K workers in July compared to an upwardly revised 191K in June and below expectations of 185K. The Dow Jones gained 52 points or 0.2% to a new record of 22016. The S&P 500 edged up 1 point or 0.1% to 2478. The Nasdaq closed flattish at 6363.
Eurozone Producer Prices Fall For Second Month in June
Industrial producer prices in the Euro Area edged down 0.1 percent from the previous month in June 2017, in line with market expectations and following a downwardly revised 0.3 percent fall in May. It was the second consecutive month of decline, due to lower cost for energy (-0.3 percent from -1.2 percent in May) and intermediate goods (-0.2 percent from -0.1 percent). Meanwhile, prices rose for non-durable consumer goods (0.2 percent from 0.3 percent in May) and capital goods (0.1 percent, the same as in May) while cost for durable consumer goods was unchanged for the third straight month. Year-on-year, factory gate prices went up 2.5 percent after increasing by 3.4 percent in May.
Japan Consumer Sentiment Rises To 4-Month High
The Consumer Confidence Index in Japan rose to 43.8 in July of 2017 from 43.3 in June and beating market consensus of 43.6. It was the highest reading in household confidence since March, as perception improved for most components: overall livelihood (up 1.2 points from the prior month to 42.3), income growth (up 0.1 points to 41.7) and the willingness to buy (up 1.0 points to 43.2). Meantime, assessment toward employment was steady at 48.1.
Japan Services PMI Edges Down To 5-Month Low In July
The Nikkei Services PMI in Japan edged down to 52 in July of 2017 from 53.3 in June. It was the tenth straight month of expansion in services activity, but weakest recorded since February 2017 as new work and activity increased at a slower pace. Backlogs of work went up for the eight straight month due to sustained capacity pressures while employment rose for the seventh consecutive month. On the price front, output charges rose marginally and input prices continued to increase (currently on a 4-1/2 year streak), although input cost inflation softened to a 3-month low. Positive sentiment was retained in July albeit easing to a 5-month low.
Singapore Private Sector Activity Expands At Faster Pace
The Nikkei Singapore PMI rose to 51.3 in July of 2017 from 50.7 in June. New export orders went up at the strongest pace since the survey began in nearly five years ago while both output and new orders increased more than in a month earlier. Also, firms stepped up buying activity after reducing them in the prior month. That boosted pre-production inventories, where a renewed rise in stocks of purchases was reported. However, lower employment persisted despite increased backlogs. Private sector businesses were generally less confident about the 12-month outlook, expressing concerns for the slowing in some industries such as real estate. Meantime, inflationary pressures remained subdued.
China Composite PMI Highest In 4 Months
The Caixin China Composite PMI rose to 51.9 in July of 2017 from 51.1 in June and reaching the highest reading since March. Manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace since March (51.1 from 50.4 in June) while services sector grew at a slower rate (51.5 from 51.6). "China’s economic performance in July was stronger than expected, mainly due to sustained recovery in the manufacturing sector," said Zhengsheng Zhong, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group. However, downward pressure on the economy likely remains, he added.
Hong Kong Factory Activity Nears 3-1/2 Year High
The seasonally adjusted Nikkei Hong Kong PMI rose to 51.3 in July of 2017 from 51.1 in June for a third straight month of expansion. Output increased for the fifth straight month and new orders continued to grow, with export sales to China advancing the most in over three years. Buying activity expanded at the fastest rate in over six years and companies stepped up their inventories to meet rising demand. On the price front, overall cost inflation slowed from June partly driven by slower wage growth. Also, employment improved for a third straight month, in line with greater operational demand. Meanwhile, business sentiment remained negative, with companies blaming a still weak economic environment, rising US interest rates, high competition and rising costs.
Stocks in Chile Hit All-time High
IGPA increased to an all-time high of 25404.
India 10Y Bond Yield Hits 8-week High
India 10 Year Government Bond Yield increased to a 8-week high of 6.464%."
"CommonSense Robotics raises $6M seed round to make on-demand logistics affordable for all retailers.
As e-commerce giants like Amazon continue expanding their on-demand offerings, retailers are struggling to keep up. CommonSense Robotics wants to make near-instantaneous deliveries accessible to smaller businesses with micro-fulfillment centers that can be built inside existing retail spaces."
"XPO Logistics May Spend Up to $8 Billion on Acquisitions.
Second-quarter profit rises 11.7% on e-commerce-related growth.
XPO Logistics Inc. is going on a spending spree, earmarking up to $8 billion for acquisitions and planning to nearly double the hubs in its last-mile delivery network, Chief Executive Bradley Jacobs said Wednesday.
The expansion plans indicate the company is doubling down on its business helping retailers and other shippers fulfill online orders, including managing warehouses and arranging transportation of goods to customers’ homes."
"Trucking, intermodal and logistics services provider Schneider National Inc. on Aug. 1 reported that its second quarter profit increased 5.2% from a year earlier while revenue improved 8.1%.
The increase in revenue to $1.075 billion was largely attributed to the June 2016 acquisitions of carriers Watkins & Shepard and Lodeso, higher fuel surcharge revenue, brokerage growth, and revenue generated from the company's equipment leasing business."
"A token solution to no-shows.
A Hong Kong-based start-up is seeking to provide a solution to the lack of contractual discipline between carriers and shippers, with the launch of a new virtual currency for container shipping.
The TEU tokens will be used as booking deposits for container shipping, of which the value could be lost if a customer does not turn up with a cargo or a container liner does not load a cargo according to a confirmed booking."
"Early gene-editing success holds promise for preventing inherited diseases.
Scientists have, for the first time, corrected a disease-causing mutation in early stage human embryos with gene editing. The technique, which uses the CRISPR-Cas9 system, corrected the mutation for a heart condition at the earliest stage of embryonic development so that the defect would not be passed on to future generations.
The work, which is described in Nature on August 2, 2017, is a collaboration between the Salk Institute, Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Korea's Institute for Basic Science and could pave the way for improved in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes as well as eventual cures for some of the thousands of diseases caused by mutations in single genes."
"Feeding The Future: Game-Changing Startups Support Indoor Farming.
High-momentum startups like Bowery and Bright Farms are shortening supply chains with modular, tech-enabled indoor farms.
The SoftBank Group’s much-hyped Vision Fund recently announced it would lead a $200M investment into Plenty, a startup focused on indoor vertical farming. The deal highlights growth in startups aiming to optimize indoor farming, promising lower water usage, higher crop yields, improved crop flavor and nutrition, and shorter supply chains when compared to traditional farming."
A Google Ventures speaker noted that 'fresh' produce in stores are typically several weeks old due to logistics requirements. Indoor farms offer distribution to local stores within a day.
"Aussies Win Amazon Robotics Challenge.
Amazon has a problem, and that problem is humans. Amazon needs humans, lots of them. But humans, as we all know, are the most unreasonable part of any business, constantly demanding things like lights and air. So Amazon has turned to robots (over 100,000 of them) for doing tasks like moving things around in a warehouse. But it’s proving to be much more difficult to get the robots to do some other tasks. One of the hardest is picking objects from shelves and bins.
To solve this problem, Amazon is making it someone else’s problem, by hosting a yearly robotics “picking” challenge. In the competition, teams have to develop robotics hardware and software that can recognize objects, grasp them, and move them from place to place."
"A big hurdle do-good companies face.
Have you ever wondered who collects the clothes you stuff into that donation drop box in your neighborhood? Chances are, you assumed it was a nonprofit, but that box actually may instead belong to a for-profit social venture. If you don't know what that means, you're not alone."
"VC funding in SEA deep tech startups at early stage: Innovatube Fund’s Hajime Hotta.
Venture capital investment in frontier technology like AI, IoT, blockchain and AR/VR is still at a nascent stage in Southeast Asia as startups lack good mentors to help them grow, according to Hajime Hotta, co-founder of the $5-million Innovatube Fund."
"How Venture for America helps Baltimore find and keep talent."
"The Truth about Cats’ and Dogs’ Environmental Impact.
In a paper published in the journal PLOS One, Okin says he found that cats and dogs are responsible for 25 to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. If Americans’ 163 million Fidos and Felixes comprised a separate country, their fluffy nation would rank fifth in global meat consumption, Okin calculated, behind only Russia, Brazil, the United States and China."
Startup/SME of the Day.
"Muru is liberating medical decision-making data to allow the paramedic to focus on the patient.
Paramedics know how difficult it can be to find the information necessary to provide life-saving care when it really matters. As paramedics ourselves, we live with this pain constantly.
Muru was born to fix this.
Our vision is to provide the paramedic with the exact information they need at a moment's notice - no matter the situation, no matter the problem. Muru is bringing true clarity to a world filled with confusion."
Founder noted that most still rely on pdfs during emergencies.
"Ancient City of Nessebar.
Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period."
IN: PMI Services Index, 1:00 AM ET
FR: PMI Composite, 3:50 AM ET
DE: PMI Composite, 3:55 AM ET
EZ: PMI Composite, 3:55 AM ET
GB: CIPS/PMI Services Index, 4:30 AM ET
EZ: Retail Sales, 5:00 AM ET
GB: BOE Announcement & Minutes, 7:00 AM ET
GB: BOE Inflation Report, 7:00 AM ET
US: Challenger Job-Cut Report, 7:30 AM ET
US: Jobless Claims, 8:30 AM ET
US: Gallup Good Jobs Rate, 8:30 AM ET
US: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, 9:45 AM ET
US: PMI Services Index, 9:45 AM ET
US: Factory Orders, 10:00 AM ET
US: ISM Non-Mfg Index, 10:00 AM ET
US: EIA Natural Gas Report, 10:30 AM ET
ALL: Global Composite PMI, 11:00 AM ET
ALL: Global Services PMI, 11:00 AM ET
US: Fed Balance Sheet, 4:30 PM ET
US: Money Supply, 4:30 PM ET
AU: Retail Sales, 9:30 PM ET
https://tradingeconomics.com/calendar (More complete listing, including consensus)