PulteGroup opens sales for Clay County community

The development in Green Cove springs is one of several projects Pulte has just opened or is about to open......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 24th, 2022

PulteGroup opens sales for Clay County community

The development in Green Cove springs is one of several projects Pulte has just opened or is about to open......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 24th, 2022

Tyler (TYL) to Upgrade Fairfield Court & Public Safety Systems

The implementation of Tyler's (TYL) solutions is likely to modernize the Fairfield County Probate and Juvenile Court's case management system and streamline Fairfield County Sheriff's Office's work processes. Tyler Technologies TYL recently announced grabbing two major contracts in Fairfield County, OH. The first is with the Fairfield County Probate and Juvenile Court and the second with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.Under the contract with the Fairfield County Probate and Juvenile Court, Tyler will replace the court’s current case management system with its Enterprise Justice and Enterprise Supervision solutions, both powered by Odyssey. The implementation of these solutions will help the county court improve case management, streamline court processes and manage all supervision processes and pretrial services more efficiently.Tyler disclosed that the aforementioned solutions would run on Amazon Web Services, which provide an on-demand cloud computing platform, thereby eliminating the need for courts to build and maintain local servers. Moreover, the solutions will improve the availability and uptime of products and enhance security and compliance.Under its contract with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, TYL will provide several solutions from its Enterprise Public Safety suite, including Enterprise Law Enforcement Records, Enterprise Police, Enterprise Computer Aided Dispatch and Fire Mobility and Enterprise Corrections.Tyler Technologies, Inc. Price and Consensus Tyler Technologies, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Tyler Technologies, Inc. QuoteWith Tyler’s integrated solutions, the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office will be able to streamline work processes, thereby improving staff efficiency and productivity while enhancing community safety. These solutions will help Sheriff’s Office provide the accurate and secure information for dispatchers and first responders in the field and command its staff.It is worth mentioning that Tyler has been benefiting from the public sector’s ongoing transition from the on-premise and outdated systems to scalable cloud-based systems. It has been continuously advancing its core software applications and expanding its complementary product and service portfolios to fulfill the changing needs of customers and respond to technological advancements, which is helping it win new customers.In the first quarter of 2022, TYL added 149 new subscription-based arrangements and 44 license contracts, accounting for a cumulative contact value worth $73.6 million.The company has been pursuing strategic takeovers to broaden its product and service offerings, enter new markets related to local governments, attract clients and expand geographically. However, it faces significant integration risks due to frequent acquisitions.Furthermore, Tyler’s near-term growth prospect is likely to be negatively impacted by delays in procurement processes and lengthening sales cycles as public entities focus on issues related to the pandemic. Moreover, inflation, rising oil prices and Fed’s hawkish monetary policy are raising concerns of a recession, which can result in lower spending by the public sector. This will eventually hurt Tyler’s sales growth.Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to ConsiderTyler currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Some other top-ranked stocks from the broader technology sector are ON Semiconductor ON, Analog Devices ADI and MaxLinear MXL. While ON sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Analog Devices and MaxLinear each carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ON's second-quarter 2022 earnings has been revised to $1.26 per share from $1.05 over the past 60 days. For 2022, earnings estimates have moved north by 18% to $4.91 per share in the past 60 days.ON's earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 2.8%. Shares of ON have plunged 16.6% year to date (“YTD”).The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Analog Devices' third-quarter fiscal 2022 earnings has been revised upward by 24 cents to $2.42 per share over the past 30 days. For fiscal 2022, earnings estimates have moved north by 9.6% to $9.24 per share in the past 30 days.Analog Devices' earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 7.7%. Shares of ADI have decreased 16.3% YTD.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for MaxLinear's second-quarter 2022 earnings has been revised upward by 10 cents to $1.02 per share over the past 60 days. For 2022, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for MaxLinear's earnings has moved north by 36 cents to $4.07 per share in the past 60 days.MaxLinear's earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average surprise being 9.6%. Shares of MXL have plunged 51.5% YTD. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Electric Vehicles Big money has already been made in the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry. But, the EV revolution has not hit full throttle yet. There is a lot of money to be made as the next push for future technologies ramps up. Zacks’ Special Report reveals 5 picks investorsSee 5 EV Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI): Free Stock Analysis Report MaxLinear, Inc (MXL): Free Stock Analysis Report ON Semiconductor Corporation (ON): Free Stock Analysis Report Tyler Technologies, Inc. (TYL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 15th, 2022

Virco Reports 13% Increase in First Quarter Revenue; Competitive Advantages of Domestic Factories and U.S. School Furniture Market Lead to Record Orders and Backlog

Highlights: Shipments + Backlog at May 31, 2022 Reaches $144.4 Million, 20% Higher Than Previous Record of $120.2 Million Established Prior to China's Entry to The World Trade Organization (WTO) U.S. Factory Output Up 45% From Prior Year to Meet Surge in Demand Recent Adjustments to Public Contracts Expected to Offset Inflation TORRANCE, Calif., June 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Virco Mfg. Corporation (NASDAQ:VIRC), the largest manufacturer and supplier of movable furniture and equipment for educational environments in the United States, today reported financial results for the period ended April 30, 2022 (first quarter of fiscal 2023). Net sales were $32.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, a 13% increase from $28.4 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year. Net loss was ($5.1 million), or ($0.32) per diluted share for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, an increase of 30% from ($3.9 million), or ($0.25) per diluted share, for the same period of the prior fiscal year. The increased loss in the first quarter was driven by orders that shipped in the first quarter after original booking and pricing before the current inflationary period. These inflation-impacted orders have now largely been cleared from the Company's backlog. In addition, the Company recently negotiated modifications to its public procurement contracts allowing for more frequent price adjustments to offset inflationary impacts in the future. Management believes this modification will have positive material impacts on the Company's operating margins going forward. The market for educational furniture and equipment remains strong. As of May 31, 2022, the fiscal year-to-date shipments plus unshipped backlog ("Shipments + Backlog"), the Company's preferred measure of current and future business activity, reached $144.4 million, a 35% increase from $107.3 million on the same date in the prior year. More significantly, Shipments + Backlog were 20% higher than the company's prior record level achieved in May 2000 (fiscal year-end 2001), one year before China's entry into the World Trade Organization. Robert Virtue, Chairman and CEO of Virco, said, "We continue to see very strong order flow driven by increased funding for schools and many customers returning to Virco after years of using foreign suppliers who can no longer reliably provide quality furniture and equipment at a competitive price. The strong order flow resulted in an increase in revenue over the prior year and significant growth in Shipments + Backlog, which continues to be at a record level. Many of the orders shipped during our fiscal first quarter were booked prior to the price increases that were implemented at the beginning of the year, and the inflationary pressures that increased during the first quarter exacerbated the impact on our profitability. Almost all of our current backlog reflects orders booked following our price increase, and we have recently renegotiated our major public procurement contracts to allow for bi-annual price adjustments. The new pricing and ability to implement more frequent price adjustments should enable us to better manage the impact of inflationary pressures on our operating margins and deliver improved profitability in the future." Doug Virtue, President of Virco, added, "After twenty years of competitive headwinds, we now have the wind at our back. And as more schools invest in the future of American students, who are literally the future of the country, we believe we are ideally positioned to support those investments and provide a long overdue reward to our patient shareholders." "We are effectively increasing capacity utilization within our 2.3 million square feet of integrated manufacturing and distribution facilities with factory output increasing by 45% over the first quarter of last fiscal year. The long-term trends that are driving our strong order flow remain intact and should lead to continued growth in revenue as more schools utilize their increased funding to upgrade or replace older furniture and we take additional market share by providing our customers with innovative, high-quality products that are delivered in a shorter timeframe than what can be offered by our competitors. With higher revenue, the positive impact of our new pricing, and increased capacity utilization, we believe that we are well positioned to deliver improved financial performance and create greater value for our shareholders in the future." FIRST QUARTER FISCAL 2023 FINANCIAL RESULTS Net sales were $32.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, a 13% increase from $28.4 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year. Gross margin was 30.3% for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, compared with 27.1% in the same quarter of the prior fiscal year. The improvement in gross margin was primarily attributable to better overhead absorption in the Company's U.S. factories, which increased unit output 45% compared to the same period in the prior year. Selling, general and administrative expenses for the three months ended April 30, 2022 increased by approximately $2,468,000 compared to the same period last year. The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses was attributable in part to increased variable freight and service expense and by increased selling expenses. In addition, the Company incurred increased legal expenses in the first quarter of 2022 to enforce its intellectual property rights against a competitor in the school furniture market and for outside legal counsel to advise a special committee of the Board of Directors formed in May 2021 and terminated in May 2022. The special committee was formed to review and advise the Board on an unsolicited acquisition proposal with the assistance of independent legal counsel and an independent financial advisor, which proposal was ultimately rejected as inadequate and not in the best interests of shareholders. Interest expense was $427,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, compared with $293,000 in the same period of the prior fiscal year. The higher interest expense was related to the financing of higher inventory levels to support higher order rates and record backlog. Income tax benefit was $282,000 for the first quarter of fiscal 2023 compared with $1,185,000 for the same period of the prior year, reflecting the effect of the Company recording a valuation allowance against deferred tax assets in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended January 31, 2022. About Virco Mfg. Corporation Founded in 1950, Virco Mfg. Corporation is the largest manufacturer and supplier of moveable educational furniture and equipment for the preschool through 12th grade market in the United States. The Company manufactures a wide assortment of products, including mobile tables, mobile storage equipment, desks, computer furniture, chairs, activity tables, folding chairs and folding tables. Along with serving customers in the education market - which in addition to preschool through 12th grade public and private schools includes: junior and community colleges; four-year colleges and universities; trade, technical and vocational schools - Virco is a furniture and equipment supplier for convention centers and arenas; the hospitality industry with respect to banquet and meeting facilities; government facilities at the federal, state, county and municipal levels; and places of worship. The Company also sells to wholesalers, distributors, traditional retailers and catalog retailers that serve these same markets. With operations entirely based in the United States, Virco designs, manufactures, and ships its furniture and equipment from one facility in Torrance, CA and three facilities in Conway, AR. More information on the Company can be found at Contact:Virco Mfg. Corporation (310) 533-0474Robert A. Virtue, Chairman and Chief Executive OfficerDoug Virtue, PresidentRobert Dose, Chief Financial Officer Non-GAAP Financial Information This press release includes a statement of shipments plus unshipped backlog as of May 31, 2022 compared to the same date in the prior fiscal years. Shipments represent the dollar amount of net sales actually shipped during the period presented. Unshipped backlog represents the dollar amount of net sales that we expect to recognize in the future from sales orders that have been received from customers in the ordinary course of business. The Company considers shipments plus unshipped backlog a relevant and preferred supplemental measure for production and delivery planning. However, such measure has inherent limitations, is not required to be uniformly applied or audited and other companies may use methodologies to calculate similar measures that are not comparable. Readers should be aware of these limitations and should be cautious as to their use of such measure. Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding: market share, net sales and profitability in future periods; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, customers, competitors, supply chain and workforce; the anticipated recovery of our customers from COVID-19 and re-opening of school districts; business strategies; market demand and product development; estimates of unshipped backlog; order rates and trends in seasonality; product relevance; economic conditions and patterns; the educational furniture industry including the domestic market for classroom furniture; state and municipal bond and/or tax funding; the rate of completion of bond funded construction projects; cost control initiatives; absorption rates; the relative competitiveness of domestic vs. international supply chains; trends in shipping costs; use of temporary workers; marketing initiatives; and international or non K-12 markets. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and beliefs about future events or circumstances, and you should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors, many of which are out of our control and difficult to forecast. These factors may cause actual results to differ materially from those that are anticipated. Such factors include, but are not limited to: uncertainties surrounding the severity, duration and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; changes in general economic conditions including raw material, energy and freight costs; state and municipal bond funding; state, local, and municipal tax receipts; order rates; the seasonality of our markets; the markets for school and office furniture generally, the specific markets and customers with which we conduct our principal business; the impact of cost-saving initiatives on our business; the competitive landscape, including responses of our competitors and customers to changes in our prices; demographics; and the terms and conditions of available funding sources. See our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 31, 2022, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and other reports and material that we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a further description of these and other risks and uncertainties applicable to our business. We assume no, and hereby disclaim any, obligation to update any of our forward-looking statements. We nonetheless reserve the right to make such updates from time to time by press release, periodic reports, or other methods of public disclosure without the need for specific reference to this press release. No such update shall be deemed to indicate that other statements which are not addressed by such an update remain correct or create an obligation to provide any other updates. Financial Tables Follow Virco Mfg. Corporation Unaudited Consolidated Balance Sheets   4/30/2022   1/31/2022   4/30/2021 (In thousands)             Assets           Current assets           Cash $ 539   $ 1,359   $ 556 Trade accounts receivables, net   13,326     17,769     14,334 Other receivables   85     118     39 Income tax receivable   135     152     85 Inventories   66,297     47,373    .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaJun 10th, 2022

Futures Jump, Tech Stocks Rally As Beijing Eases Covid Restrictions

Futures Jump, Tech Stocks Rally As Beijing Eases Covid Restrictions Global markets and US equity futures pushed sharply higher to start the new week (at least until some Fed speakers opens their mouth and threatens a 100bps emergency rate hike) as Beijing’s latest move to ease Covid restrictions injected a note of optimism into markets rattled by inflation and rate-hike concerns. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 1.4% at 7:15 a.m. in New York after the underlying index erased more than $400 billion in market value on Friday amid renewed concerns about tightening monetary policy, as Beijing rolled back Covid-19 restrictions, boosting global risk appetite after reporting zero local covid cases on Monday while also finding no community cases for three straight days... ... while a Wall Street Journal report that China is preparing to conclude its probe on Didi Global boosted sentiment further, with Didi shares surging 50% and sending the Hang Seng Tech index soaring. S&P 500 futures also climbed, rising about 1% and trading near session highs. Treasuries and the dollar slipped. Among other notable movers in premarket trading, Apple rose 1.6%, Tesla jumped 3.9% after tumbling over 9% by the close on Friday, while cryptocurrency-tied stocks jumped with Bitcoin. Here are some other notable premarket movers: (AMZN US) shares rose as much as 2% following a 20-for-1 stock split. Didi Global Inc. (DIDI US) soared after a report that Chinese regulators are about to conclude a probe into the company and restore its apps to mobile stores as soon as this week. Cryptocurrency-tied stocks climb with Bitcoin, which rose beyond the $30,000 level after languishing at the weekend. Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) +7.1%; Coinbase (COIN US) +6.6%. Crowdstrike (CRWD US) shares rise as much as 3.9% following an upgrade to overweight from equal- weight at Morgan Stanley, with the broker saying that the cyber security firm offers “durable” growth and free cash flow at a discount. ON Semi (ON US) shares rise as much as 8.2%. The sensor maker will be added to the S&P 500 Index this month, S&P Dow Jones Indices said late US stocks slumped in last week’s final session after strong hiring data cleared the way for the Federal Reserve to remain aggressive in its fight against inflation by raising rates, and after repeat warnings by Fed presidents that the central bank was willing to keep hiking. This week, focus will be on the latest US CPI print to assess how much further the Fed will tighten policy. Inflation is likely to “stall by the end of this year unless the energy or oil prices double again, but a lot of it is already priced in,” Shanti Kelemen, chief investment officer at M&G Wealth, said on Bloomberg Television. While the economy is likely to slow, “I don’t think the US will flip into a recession this year. I think there is still too much of a tailwind from spending and economic activity.” Goldman economists said the Fed may be able to pull off its aggressive rate-hike plan without tipping the country into recession. The easing of Chinese lockdowns will help abate supply-chain pressures, said Diana Mousina, a senior economist at AMP Capital. “Positive news around Chinese economic activity and cheaper equity valuations could offer value from a long-term investment perspective, but volatility will remain high in the short-term,” Mousina said in a note. On the other hand, Morgan Stanley's permagloomish Michael Wilson warned that weakening corporate profit forecasts will provide the latest headwind to US stocks, which are likely to fall further before bottoming during the second-quarter earnings season. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was up 0.9% with technology and mining stocks leading gains. Basic resources led an advance in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as copper rose to its highest since April, with sentiment across industrial metals bolstered by China’s gradual reopening. The technology sector also outperformed, following a gain for Asian peers and amid a recovery in Nasdaq 100 futures in the US. The Stoxx 600 Tech index was up as much as 2.1%; Stoxx 600 benchmark up 0.9%. Tencent-shareholder Prosus was among the biggest contributors to the gain amid a rise for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tech index, driven by Didi Global and Meituan; Tencent shares rose 2.4% while    Semiconductor-equipment giant ASML was the biggest contributor to the gain; other chip stocks ASMI, Infineon and STMicro all higher too. Just Eat Takeaway also higher following a report that Grubhub co-founder Matt Maloney had worked with private equity investor General Atlantic to buy back the food delivery company he sold to the Dutch firm last year. Here are some of the other notable European movers today: Just Eat shares rise as much as 12% in the wake of a report saying Grubhub co-founder Matt Maloney had worked with private equity investor General Atlantic to buy back the food delivery company he sold to the Dutch firm last year for $7.3b. Semiconductor-equipment giant ASML climbs as much as 3.1% as European tech stocks outperform the broader benchmark, following a gain for Asian peers and amid a recovery in Nasdaq 100 futures. LVMH gains as much as 1.7% with luxury stocks active as Beijing continues to roll back Covid-19 restrictions in a bid to return to normality. Kering and Hermes both climb as much as 1.9%. Melrose rises as much as 4.7% after the firm said it has entered into an agreement to sell Ergotron to funds managed by Sterling for a total of ~$650m, payable in cash on completion. Serica Energy jumps as much as 12%, the most since March 30, after the oil and gas company published a corporate update and said it expects to benefit from investment incentives packaged with the UK’s windfall tax. Airbus rises as much as 2.8% after Jefferies reinstated the stock as top pick in European aerospace & defense, replacing BAE Systems, as short-term production challenges should not overshadow the potential to double Ebit by 2025. EDF drops as much as 3.3% after HSBC analyst Adam Dickens downgraded to reduce from hold, citing “corroded confidence” Accell falls as much as 4.8%, the most intraday since December, after KKR’s tender offer for the bicycle maker failed to meet the 80% acceptance threshold. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is set to announce an end to bond purchases this week and formally begin the countdown to an increase in borrowing costs in July, joining global peers tightening monetary policy in the face of hot inflation. The ECB is planniing to strengthen its support of vulnerable euro-area debt markets if they are hit by a selloff, Financial Times reported. Italian and Spanish bonds gained. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed, supported by a rally in Chinese tech shares and positive sentiment following Beijing’s economic reopening.  The MSCI Asia Pacific index rose 0.6% as Hong Kong-listed internet names jumped after a report that authorities are wrapping up their probe into Didi Global. Hong Kong and Chinese shares were among the top gainers in the region, also helped by Beijing moving closer to returning to normal as it rolled back Covid-19 restrictions. “As policymakers continue to deliver on support pledges, the worst is likely behind us,” said Marvin Chen, strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “We are seeing the beginning of a recovery into the second half of the year as the growth outlook bottoms out.” Japanese shares were higher, with transportation and restaurant stocks gaining after the Nikkei reported the government is considering restarting the “Go To” domestic travel subsidy campaign as soon as this month. Japanese equities erased early losses and rose with Chinese stocks as a loosening of Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing increased bets that economic activity will pick up. The Topix rose 0.3% to 1,939.11 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei advanced 0.6% to 27,915.89. Daiichi Sankyo Co. contributed the most to the Topix gain, increasing 3.7%. Foreign investors are returning to emerging Asian equities after several weeks of outflows, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Weekly inflows for Asian stock markets excluding Japan and China climbed to almost $2.7 billion last week, the most since February. Asian stocks have been outperforming their US counterparts over the past few weeks, with the MSCI regional benchmark up 5.7% since May 13, more than double the gains in the S&P 500. Stock markets in South Korea, New Zealand and Malaysia were closed on Monday Stocks in India dropped amid concerns over inflation as the Reserve Bank of India’s interest rate setting panel starts a three-day policy meeting.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 0.2% to 55,675.32 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.1%. Ten of the 19 sector sub-gauges managed by BSE Ltd. slid, led by an index of realty companies. Makers of consumer discretionary goods were also among the worst performers.  “The market has been exercising caution ahead of the credit policy announcement this week, and hence investors trimmed their position in rate-sensitive sectors such as realty,” according to Kotak Securities analyst Shrikant Chouhan.  The yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose to its highest level since 2019 on Monday amid a surge in crude prices and ahead of the RBI’s rate decision on Wednesday. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, decreasing 0.5%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 9 rose and 21 fell. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.5% to close at 7,206.30 after a strong US jobs report reinforced bets for aggressive Fed tightening. The RBA is also expected to lift rates on Tuesday, with the key debate centering on the size of the move. Read: Australia Set for Back-to-Back Rate Hikes Amid Split on Size Magellan was the worst performer after its funds under management for May declined 5.2% m/m. Tabcorp climbed after settling legal proceedings with Racing Queensland. In New Zealand, the market was closed for a holiday In FX, the dollar fell against its Group-of-10 peers as hopes for a recovery in China’s economy damped demand for the haven currency. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3% after posting a weekly gain on Friday. China’s equity index jumped after Beijing rolled back Covid-19 restrictions and received a further boost after a report that a ban on Didi adding new users may be lifted. “Further lifting of restrictions in Beijing helped Chinese equities, which spilled over into Europe with risk more ‘on’ than ‘off’,” Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes wrote in a note to clients. “The dollar is once again on the back foot.” USD/JPY dropped 0.1% to 130.73. It touched 130.99 earlier, inching closer to the 131.35 reached last month, which was the highest since April 2002.  “Dollar-yen is being sold for profit-taking because we don’t have enough catalysts to break 131.35,” said Juntaro Morimoto, a currency analyst at Sony Financial Group Inc. in Tokyo. But, should US inflation data due this week be higher than estimated, it will see dollar-yen break 131.35. In rates, Treasuries, though off session lows, remained under pressure as S&P 500 futures recover a portion of Friday’s loss. 10-year TSY yields rose 1bp to 2.95%, extending the streak of advances to five days, the longest in eight weeks; UK 10-year yield underperformed, jumping 6bps to 2.21% after domestic markets were closed Thursday and Friday for a holiday. US auctions resume this week beginning Tuesday, while May CPI report Friday is the main economic event. IG dollar issuance slate includes Tokyo Metropolitan Govt 3Y SOFR; this week’s issuance slate expected to be at least $25b. Three- month dollar Libor +3.90bp to 1.66500%. Bund, Treasury and gilt curves all bear-flatten, gilts underperform by about 2bps at the 10-year mark. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany. In commodities, WTI crude futures hover below $120 after Saudis raised oil prices for Asia more than expected. Spot gold is little changed at $1,851/oz. Spot silver gains 1.5% near $22. Most base metals trade in the green; LME nickel rises 5.4%, outperforming peers. LME tin lags, dropping 0.7%. There is no major economic data on the US calendar. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.1% to 4,152.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 443.90 MXAP up 0.6% to 169.12 MXAPJ up 0.8% to 558.02 Nikkei up 0.6% to 27,915.89 Topix up 0.3% to 1,939.11 Hang Seng Index up 2.7% to 21,653.90 Shanghai Composite up 1.3% to 3,236.37 Sensex little changed at 55,772.44 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,206.28 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,670.65 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.29% Euro up 0.2% to $1.0742 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $120.28/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,851.93 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.22% to 101.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Boris Johnson will face a leadership vote in his ruling Conservative Party on Monday following a series of scandals, including becoming the first sitting prime minister found to have broken the law. Chinese regulators are concluding probes into Didi and two other US-listed tech firms, preparing as early as this week to lift a ban on their adding new users, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The European Central Bank is set to strengthen commitment to support vulnerable euro-area debt markets if they are hit by a selloff, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people involved in the discussions. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's post-NFP losses on Wall St and ahead of this week's global risk events - including central bank meetings and US inflation data, while participants also digested the latest Chinese Caixin PMI figures and the North Korean missile launches. ASX 200 was pressured by weakness in tech and mining, with sentiment not helped by frictions with China. Nikkei 225 pared early losses but with upside limited by geopolitical concerns after North Korean provocations. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were encouraged by the easing of COVID restrictions in Beijing, while the Chinese Caixin Services and Composite PMI data improved from the prior month but remained in contraction. Sony Group (6758 JT) said its planned EV JV with Honda Motor (7267 JT) may hold a public share offering, according to Nikkei. Top Asian News China’s Beijing will continue to roll back its COVID-19 restrictions on Monday including allowing indoor dining and public transport to resume in most districts aside from Fengtai and some parts of Changping, according to Reuters and Bloomberg. Furthermore, a China health official called for more targeted COVID control efforts and warned against arbitrary restrictions for COVID, while an official also said that Jilin and Liaoning should stop the spread of COVID at the border. Australia accused China of intercepting a surveillance plane and said that a Chinese military jet conducted a dangerous manoeuvre during routine surveillance by an Australian plane over international waters on May 26th, according to FT. BoJ Governor Kuroda said Japan is absolutely not in a situation that warrants tightening monetary policy and the BoJ's biggest priority is to support Japan's economy by continuing with powerful monetary easing, while he added Japan does not face a trade-off between economic and price stability, so can continue to stimulate demand with monetary policy, according to Reuters. European bourses are firmer on the session, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.3%, with newsflow thin and participants reacting to China's incremental COVID/data developments during reduced trade for Pentecost. Stateside, futures are bid to a similar extent in a paring of the post-NFP pressure on Friday, ES +1.0%, with no Tier 1 events for the region scheduled today and attention very much on inflation data due later. Chinese regulators intend to conclude the DiDi (DIDI) cybersecurity probe, and remove the ban on new users, via WSJ citing sources; could occur as soon as this week. DIDI +50% in pre-market trade Top European News Most of the ECB governing council members are expect to back proposals to create a bond-purchase programme to buy stressed government debt, such as Italy, according to sources cited by the FT. Confidence vote in UK PM Johnson to occur between 18:00-20:00BST today, results to be immediately counted, announcement time TBC. London’s Heathrow Airport ordered carriers to limit ticket sales for flights until July 3rd to maintain safety amid understaffing and overcrowding, according to The Times. French Finance Minister Le Maire expects positive economic growth this year although will revise economic forecasts in July, according to Reuters. EU Commissioner Gentiloni said he aims to propose reform for the EU stability pact after summer which could envisage a specific debt/GDP target for each country, while he added that Italy should show commitment to keeping public debt under control and needs to avoid increasing current spending in a permanent way, according to Reuters. FX Pound perky on return from long Platinum Jubilee holiday weekend as UK yields gap up in catch up trade and Sterling awaits fate of PM; Cable above 1.2550 to probe 10 DMA, EUR/GBP tests 0.8550 from the high 0.8500 area. Dollar eases off post-NFP peaks as broad risk sentiment improves and DXY loses 102.000+ status. Kiwi lofty as NZ celebrates Queen’s birthday and Aussie lags ahead of RBA awaiting a hike, but unsure what size; NZD/AUD above 0.6525, AUD/USD sub-0.7125 and AUD/NZD cross closer to 1.1050 than 1.1100. Euro firmer amidst further declines in EGBs, bar Italian BTPs, eyeing ECB policy meeting and potential news on a tool to curb bond spreads, EUR/USD nearer 1.0750 than 1.0700. Loonie underpinned by rise in WTI after crude price increases from Saudi Arabia, but Lira extends losses irrespective of CBRT lifting collateral requirements for inflation linked securities and Government bonds; USD/CAD under 1.2600, USD/TRY not far from 16.6000. Fixed income Gilts hit hard in catch-up trade, but contain losses to 10 ticks under 115.00 awaiting the outcome of no confidence vote in PM Johnson Bunds underperform BTPs ahead of ECB on Thursday amidst reports that a new bond-buying scheme to cap borrowing costs may be forthcoming; 10 year German bond down to 149.59 at worst, Italian peer up to 123.15 at best US Treasuries relatively flat in post-NFP aftermath and ahead of low-key Monday agenda comprising just employment trends Commodities Crude benchmarks are bid by just shy of USD 1.00/bbl; though, overall action is contained amid limited developments and two-way factors influencing throughout the morning. Saudi Aramco increased its prices to Asia for July with the light crude premium raised to USD 6.50/bbl from USD 4.40/bbl vs Oman/Dubai, while it raised the premium to North West Europe to USD 4.30/bbl from USD 2.10/bbl vs ICE Brent but maintained premiums to the US unchanged from the prior month. Oman announced new oil discoveries that will increase output by 50k-100k bpd in the next 2-3 years, while it noted that its crude reserves stand at 5.2bln bbls and gas reserves are at around 24tln cubic feet, according to the state news agency citing the energy and minerals minister. Libya's El Sharara oil field resumed production at around 180k bpd after having been shut by protests for more than six weeks, according to Argus. French Finance Minister Le Maire said that France is in discussions with the UAE to replace Russian oil supplies, according to Reuters. US will permit Italy’s Eni and Spain’s Repsol to begin shipping oil from Venezuela to Europe as early as next month to replace Russian crude, according to Reuters citing sources familiar with the matter. Austria released strategic fuel reserves to cover for loss of production at a key refinery due to a mechanical incident, according to Reuters. Indonesia will adjust its palm oil export levy with the regulations that will outline the changes expected soon, according to a senior official in the economy ministry cited by Reuters. Turkish presidential spokesman Kalin said deliveries of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea and through the area of the strait could begin in the near future, according to TASS citing an interview with Anadolu news agency. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Later this morning, I will be publishing the 24th Annual Default Study entitled "The end of the ultra-low default world?". Please keep an eye out for it but I won't let you miss it in the EMR and CoTD over the next few days! For those in the UK, I hope you had a good four-day weekend. We went to two big parties and my digestive system and liver need a rest. Well, until my upcoming birthday this weekend!. One of the parties had a converted VW campervan with 5 or 6 self-service drinks taps on the outside of which one was filled with ice cold Prosecco. Thankfully the Queen doesn't have a 70-year Jubilee very often! The fun and games in markets this week are heavily back ended as an ECB meeting on Thursday is followed by US CPI on Friday. The rest of the week is scattered with production and trade balance data, while Chinese aggregate financing data is expected at some point. The Fed are now on their pre-FOMC blackout so the attention will be firmly on the ECB this week. So let's preview the two main events. For the ECB, our European economists believe the ECB will confirm that APP net purchases will cease at the end of the month, paving the way for policy rate lift-off at the July meeting. Our economists believe the ECB will have to hike rates by 50 basis points at either the July or September meeting, with the risks skewed toward the latter, to accelerate the policy hiking cycle in light of growing inflationary pressures. Our economists also believe that hiking cycle will ultimately reach a 2 percent terminal rate next summer, some 50 basis points into restrictive territory. As prelude, next week watch for the staff's forecast to upgrade inflation to 2 percent in 2024, satisfying the criteria for lift-off. With all three lift-off conditions met, expect the statement language to upgrade rate guidance for the path of the hiking cycle. Meanwhile, the June meeting should also bring about the expiration of the TLTRO discount. There are two interesting things for the ECB to consider at the extreme end of the spectrum at the moment. Firstly German wages seem to be going higher. In a note on Friday, DB's Stefan Schneider (link here) updated earlier work on domestic wage pressures by highlighting that on Thursday night, the 700k professional cleaners in the country achieved a 10.9% pay rise. In addition, with the nationwide minimum wage legalisation voted through on Friday, the lowest paid in this group will get a +12.6% rise from October. At the other end of the spectrum 10yr Italian BTPs hit 3.40% on Friday, up from 1.12% at the start of the year and as low as 2.85% intra-day the preceding Friday. We're confident that the ECB will create tools to deal with Italy's funding issues, but it is more likely to be reactive than proactive to ensure legal barriers to intervene are not crossed. However, the nightmare scenario we've all been hypothetically thinking about for years, if not decades, is here. Runaway German inflation at the same time as soaring Italian yields. The good news is that this should bring a lot more targeted intervention and a better-balanced policy response than in the last decade where negative rates and blanket QE was a one size fits all policy. High inflation will force the ECB to hike rates while managing the fall out on a more bespoke basis. It won't be easy, but it will likely be better balanced. Following on from the ECB, the next day brings the US CPI data. Month-over-month CPI is expected to accelerate to 0.7% from last month’s 0.3% reading. The core measure stripping out food and energy is expected to print at 0.5%. Those figures would translate to 8.3% and 5.9% for the year-over-year measures, respectively (from 8.3% and 6.2% last month). The Fed policy path for the next two meetings appears to be locked in to 50 basis point hikes, but Fed officials have highlighted the importance of inflation readings to determine the path of policy thereafter. There is a growing consensus that month-over-month inflation readings will have to decelerate in order to slow hikes to 25 basis points come September. Some Fed officials are still considering ramping the pace up to 75 basis points if inflation doesn’t improve. None appear to be considering zero policy action in September. Elsewhere, data will highlight production figures and the impact of the nascent tightening of financial conditions, with PMI, PPI, and industrial production figures due from a number of jurisdictions. Asian equity markets have overcame initial weakness this morning and are moving higher as I type. Across the region, the Hang Seng (+1.14%) is leading gains due to a rally in Chinese listed tech stocks. Additionally, the Shanghai Composite (+1.01%) and CSI (+1.06%) are also trading up after markets resumed trading following a holiday on Friday. The easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing is helping to offset a miss in China’s Caixin Services PMI for May. It came in at 41.4 (vs. 46.0 expected), up from 36.2 last month. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.30%) is also up while markets in South Korea are closed for a holiday. Outside of Asia, US stock futures have been steadily climbing in the last couple of hours before finishing this with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.55%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.65%) both in the green. US Treasuries are ever so slightly higher in yield. Recapping last week now and a renewed sense that global central banks would have to tighten policy more than was priced in given historic inflation drove yields higher and equity markets lower over the past week. This reversed a few weeks where market hike pricing had reversed. This move was driven by a series of inflationary data but also came right from the source, as Fed and ECB speakers sounded a hawkish tone ahead of their respective meetings in June. Elsewhere, OPEC+ met and agreed to expand daily production, which was followed by reports that President Biden would visit the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia. Peeling back the covers. A series of ECB speakers openly considered the merits of +50bp hikes in light of growing inflation prints, as core Euro Area CPI rose to a record high, while German inflation hit figures not seen since the 1950s. In turn, 2yr bund yields climbed +30.9bps (+3.0bps Friday), and the week ended with +122bps of tightening priced in through 2022, the highest to date and implies some hikes of at least +50bps. A reminder that our Europe economists updated their ECB call to at least one +50bp hike in either July or September; full preview of that call and next week’s ECB meeting here. Yields farther out the curve increased as well, including 10yr bunds (+31.0bps, +3.6bps Friday), OATs (+32.3bps, +4.2bps Friday), and gilts (+23.8bps, +5.4bps Friday) on their holiday-shortened week. Italian BTP 10yr spreads ended the week at their widest spread since the onset of Covid at 212bps. The tighter expected policy weighed on risk sentiment, sending the STOXX 600 -0.87% lower over the week (-0.26% Friday). It was a similar story in the US, where a march of Fed officials, led by Vice Chair Brainard herself, again signed on for +50bp hikes at the next two meetings, and crucially, ruling out anything less than a +25bp hike in September. It appeared there was growing consensus on the Committee to size the September hike between +25bp and +50bps based on how month-over-month inflation evolves between now and then, with clear evidence of deceleration needed to slow the pace of hikes. The May CPI data will come this Friday but last week had a series of labour market prints that showed the employment picture remained white hot, capped on Friday with nonfarm payrolls increasing +390k and above expectations of +318k. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings maintained its +0.3% month-over-month pace. Treasury yields thus sold off over the week, with 2yr yields gaining +17.9bps (+2.5bps Friday) and 10yr yields up +20.1bps (+3.1bps Friday). The implied fed funds rate by the end of 2022 ended the week at 2.82%, its highest in two weeks, while the probability of a +50bp September hike ended the week at 66.3%, its highest in a month. The S&P 500 tumbled -1.20% (-1.63% Friday), meaning its run of weekly gains will end at a streak of one. Tech and mega-cap stocks fared better, with the NASDAQ losing -0.98% (-2.47% Friday) and the FANG+ fell -0.30% (-3.76% Friday). Elsewhere OPEC+ agreed to increase their production to +648k bls/day, after a steady flow of reports leaked that the cartel was considering such a move. Nevertheless, futures prices increased around +1.5% (+3.10% Friday) over the week, as it was not clear whether every member had the spare capacity to increase production to the new putative target, while easing Covid restrictions in China helped increase perceived demand. The OPEC+ announcement was closely followed by reports that President Biden would visit the Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia. Tyler Durden Mon, 06/06/2022 - 07:51.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 6th, 2022

Foreign Buyers See Upside in U.S. Real Estate

It’s a big world out there. One of the many Herculean challenges a real estate agent confronts daily is how to filter out the noise and hone in on what is most important and most relevant to their market—focusing exclusively on one individual neighborhood, a handful of towns or maybe a county. But here in… The post Foreign Buyers See Upside in U.S. Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia. It’s a big world out there. One of the many Herculean challenges a real estate agent confronts daily is how to filter out the noise and hone in on what is most important and most relevant to their market—focusing exclusively on one individual neighborhood, a handful of towns or maybe a county. But here in 2022, is that a mistake? Has our planet grown so interconnected, so accessible that even in the eternally local realm of real estate, agents or brokers can—or should—be looking beyond national borders when planning to grow, protect or bolster their business? And if so, what does this globalism look like, and does it matter to anyone outside of the coasts and major metros? The answer to all of these questions is, to greater or lesser degrees, yes. Almost a fifth of REALTORS® said they had worked with an international client in 2019, before the pandemic, and while right now this influence is concentrated in places like Miami, New York and San Francisco, it is far from being exclusive to these regions. And yes—ignoring the international real estate community could very well mean missing out on some tremendous, long-term opportunities, as well as falling behind the evolution of who is buying and selling homes, and how. “The money flowing in is not what it had been—there’s some limitations,” says John Yen Wong, an associate broker at eXp in the San Francisco Bay Area. “But the interest has not faded.” Wong might have more insight than almost anyone into the recent history, mechanisms and relationships that connect overseas buyers with the domestic real estate market. As co-founder of the Asian American Real Estate Association of America (AAREA), Wong has built relationships with potential buyers and trade organizations in countries around Asia and beyond—including a long-running connection with the incredibly powerful China Real Estate Association—which has allowed members to access new opportunities through both formal and informal channels. At the same time, a pulse of general uncertainty stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine along with a relaxation of pandemic restrictions could push more potential global buyers to U.S. real estate markets—big money investors but also upwardly mobile middle-class families. Marci Rossell is chief economist for the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE). Although it is impossible to fully predict consumer reactions to the current geopolitical crisis or attribute any trend to any one outcome, she says that broadly, overseas buyers crave U.S. real estate in times like this. “When political instability occurs, people perceive U.S. real estate to be a safe haven,” she explains. “I think that we have yet to see foreign buyers come back to the U.S. in a meaningful way. But I do think that six months out , this could definitely spur European buying.” Who and why For those agents or brokers who are interested in building connections and expertise in overseas real estate, there might not be a better time to get started. Another factor that will almost certainly increase foreign buyers soon (though again, the timing is hard to predict) is the ending of covid restrictions. As many countries relax their travel restrictions, more and more people are likely to explore a vacation home, or even a permanent move to the U.S. According to Fernando Arencibia Jr., the broker-owner of Arenci Properties Realty in Miami and current chair of the Miami Association of REALTORS®, this is already happening to some degree. “A lot of international buyers were not making their way to the U.S., and now they are,” he says. “The lifting of the sanctions is giving people the freedom to come in.” Foreign buyers purchased 107,000 homes last year in the U.S., according to data collected by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), with numbers declining ahead of and during the pandemic from a recent peak of 284,000 in 2017. But a significant number of agents (24%) responding to an NAR survey last year said they expected an increase in the number of real estate deals with foreigners in the next 12 months. The perception has long been that overseas real estate investors are usually deep-pocketed and mysterious, snapping up huge swaths of inventory at a time to the detriment of locals. Canada recently banned many foreign buyers temporarily as the government seeks to cool their hot housing market. According to both Wong and Arencibia, in reality, the pool of foreign buyers is made up of a broadly diverse range of people with both young and old, families and individuals, cash buyers and mortgagors. “Miami is not only a place for the ultra-rich,” Arencibia says. “We do have a healthy number of that middle class, upper-middle class buyers.” Wong says some of the strong sentiment against foreign buyers can easily harm real estate markets, violate fair housing laws and ostracize buyers who are just looking to enjoy the amenities and opportunities available in the U.S. Some of it even takes the form of racism and overt discrimination, which is masked behind what Wong describes as legitmate concerns about the influence of autocratic governments like the Peoples Republic of China. “I think that what AREAA is focused on is that it doesn’t mean you’re oblivious to the risk if you don’t let the risk be the overriding generalization that colors every person who is of Asian descent,” he says. Making it happen Maybe the most salient question regarding overseas buyers is not tied to geopolitics or demographics but is much more practical: is it worthwhile from a business standpoint? Importantly, brokers and agents should not be looking at wooing foreign buyers as a short-term play, according to Wong. Even though a variety of factors have decreased the number of international transactions significantly over the past decade or so, the relationships forged between agents around the world—between AREAA and the China Real Estate Association, for example—are designed to outlast the up-and-down nature of politics. “At some point, the tensions that now exist will moderate and it could be a few years, it might be decades,” Wong says. “But at some point, when it opens up again, the interest will be there.” At the peak of the foreign buyer market, Wong says that close to 40% of his business was foreign nationals. On the other side of the country, Miami has been an international city for decades, with investors and buyers from 43 countries—many in Latin America but with representatives from all over the world. Arencibia says his association has recently signed agreements with real estate associations in Turkey, Tunisia, Indonesia and Nigeria. “We can bring back that exposure to our members and to our Miami REALTORS®,” he says. “It’s always been important for us to bring that exposure, that connectivity. Like anything else in life, if you do it once you might have a little bit of an effect, but anything you do consistently, it pays off exponentially.” Having the foundation, the education and the connections already in place allows agents to be ready at any given moment when overseas transactions pick up, Arencibia adds. The formal connections often facilitate large-scale opportunities—Arencibia mentions the city-wide “Art Basel” show that brings a “captive audience” from all over the world, with many people looking for, or at least interested in a second home or vacation property there. For sellers, AREAA has a for-profit subsidiary that can market overseas properties to U.S. nationals, Wong says, and Miami REALTORS® likewise uses their connections to get domestic buyers to homes in countries around Latin America and beyond. Both organizations also offer formal classes on how to work with clients overseas. But the more informal connections are where almost any agent or broker can start finding referrals and opportunities. Wong describes a huge, diverse and loosely-connected landscape of Facebook, WeChat and other social media groups spanning across the entire world where AREAA members help facilitate real estate transactions—both buyers and sellers, big-money and middle class. “It’s kind of a new stage of networking,” he says. “That, I think, is the best way to do it.” This is also where the foreign markets are creeping into the heartland—a trend that has been gaining steam for many years. Though Florida, California, Texas and New York still attract the majority of foreign buyers, Michigan and Georgia have both tripled their number of overseas buyers in the last decade, and agents in 45 states reported some level of foreign buyers or sellers. Wong says last year, he had a handful of Chinese buyers very specifically interested in Idaho—something he could not immediately make sense of. A few months later, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun identified Boise, Idaho as one of the hottest housing markets in the country. “When I asked him why, he said he didn’t know—just the stats showed that,” Wong says. Though he admits he cannot be certain, Wong says he believes that these clients—and others—are likely well aware of U.S. real estate trends, and are now more than ever looking beyond the big metros and coasts to where property values are growing and amenities are plentiful. Right now, conditions are not necessarily ideal for people overseas to buy real estate in the U.S. Wong says many big lenders no longer have programs designed to help foreigners get mortgage loans, and there is still government scrutiny looking for potential money laundering activity particularly in higher-end properties. But there are a variety of scenarios that could change this, and other international developments that might bring more foreign money to the U.S. real estate market. Rossell mentions Chinese domestic stock markets that have struggled in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, potentially pushing more people to put their money in the safer realm of U.S. real estate. Hong Kong and Taiwan are also carefully watching mainland China’s crackdown on dissent and attempts to aggressively consolidate its sphere of influence. Both big money investors and middle-class families in these regions could very well begin looking for a real estate connection in the U.S, she posits. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see a second round of money moving out of Hong Kong and out of Taiwan,” Rossell says. The bottom line is, U.S. real estate remains an attractive option for people all over the world, both in times of crisis and when they want to find relaxation and security. Against the hope of some sort of end to the pandemic along with an increased desire for security and safety, that time might be now. Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas, The post Foreign Buyers See Upside in U.S. Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaApr 21st, 2022

Whither Bitcoin?

Whither Bitcoin? Authored by Eric Yakes via, The world stands on the precipice of a monetary restructuring, with bitcoin seemingly the most likely to be adopted... albeit slowly. INTRODUCTION The world is reorganizing. People are attempting to comprehend the implications of recent events across a variety of dimensions: politically, geopolitically, economically, financially and socially. A feeling of uncertainty has eclipsed global affairs and individuals are developing an increased reliance on the thoughts of those bold enough to attempt comprehension. Experts are everywhere, but the expert is nowhere. I am not claiming to be an expert on anything, either. I read, write and do my best to piece together an understanding of vague and complex concepts. I’ve spent some time reading and thinking through various concepts and believe we are witnessing an inflection point of global trust. My goal is to explain the framework that led me to this conclusion. I’ll generally avoid discussing geopolitics and focus on the monetary and financial implications of this shift we are witnessing. The best place to start is understanding trust. THE WORLD RUNS ON TRUST We are witnessing a shift in global trust, setting the table for a new global monetary order. Consider Antal Fekete’s introduction from his seminal work Whither Gold?: “The year 1971 was a milestone in the history of money and credit. Previously, in the world's most developed countries, money (and hence credit) was tied to a positive value: the value of a well-defined quantity of a good of well-defined quality. In 1971 this tie was cut. Ever since, money has been tied not to positive but to negative values -- the value of debt instruments.” Debt instruments (credit) are built on trust — the most fundamental construct of organization. Organization allowed humanity to genetically eclipse its ancestors. Relationships, whether between individuals or groups, hinge on trust. Societies developed technologies and social structures to reduce the need for trust through reputations, security and money. Reputations reduce the need to trust because they represent an individual’s pattern of behavior: You trust some people more than others because of how they’ve acted in the past. Security reduces the need to trust that others will not hurt you in some form. You build a fence because you don’t trust your neighbors. You lock your car because you don’t trust your community. Your government has a military because it doesn’t trust other governments. Security is the price you pay to avoid the costs of vulnerability. Money reduces the need to trust that an individual will return a favor to you in the future. When you provide an individual a good or service, rather than trusting that they will return it to you in the future, they can immediately trade money to you, eliminating the need to trust. Stated differently, money reduces the need to trust that positive outcomes will happen while reputations and security reduces the need to trust that negative outcomes won’t happen. When money became entirely unanchored from gold in 1971, the value of money became a function of reputations and security, requiring trust. Before then, money was tied to the commodity gold, which maintained value through its well-defined quality and well-defined quantity and therefore didn’t require trust. Trust at a global level appears to be shifting across reputations and security, and thus credit money: Reputations — countries are trusting each other’s reputations less. The U.S. government’s reputation throughout recent history has been a global pillar of political stability and standard of financial and economic prudency. This is changing. The rise of U.S. populism has hindered its reputation as a politically stable country that allies depend on and rivals fear. Unprecedented economic and financial policy measures (e.g., bailouts, deficit spending, monetary inflation, debt issuance, etc.) are causing international powers to question the stability of the U.S. financial system. A hindrance to the reputation of the U.S. is a hindrance on the value of its money, to be discussed below. Security — countries are witnessing a contraction in global military order. The U.S. has been reducing its military presence and the world is shifting from a unipolar to a multipolar structure of order. The U.S.’ withdrawal of its military presence abroad has reduced its role as the monitor of international order and given rise to the military presence of rival nations. Reducing the assurance of its military presence internationally reduces the value of the dollar. Money — countries are losing trust in the international monetary order. Money has existed as either a commodity or credit (debt). Commodity money is not subject to trust through the reputations and security of governments while credit money is. Our modern system is entirely credit-based and the credit of the U.S. is the pillar upon which it exists. If the global reserve currency is based on credit, then the reputation and security of the U.S. is paramount to maintaining international monetary order. Trust in political and financial stability impacts the value of the dollar as does its holders’ demand for liquidity and stability. However, it’s not just U.S. credit money that is losing trust; it’s all credit money. As political and financial stability decline, we are witnessing a shift away from credit money entirely, incentivizing the adoption of commodity money. U.S. DEBT IS NOT RISK FREE Most recently, the reputation of U.S. credit has declined in an unprecedented way. Foreign governments historically trusted that the U.S. government’s debt is risk free. When financial sanctions froze Russia’s foreign exchange reserves, the U.S. undermined this risk-free reputation, as even reserves are now subject to confiscation. The ability to freeze the reserve assets of another country removed a foreign government’s right to either repay its debts or spend those assets. Now, international observers are realizing that these debts are not risk free. As the debt of the U.S. government is what backs its currency, this is a significant cause for concern. When the U.S. government issues debt, and demand from domestic and foreign buyers of it isn’t strong enough, the Federal Reserve prints money to purchase it in the open market and generate demand. Thus, the more U.S. debt countries are willing to buy, the stronger the U.S. dollar becomes — requiring less money printing by the Fed to indirectly enable government spending. Trust in the U.S. government’s credit has now been damaged, and thus so has the credit of the dollar. Further, trust in credit is declining in general, leaving commodity money as the more trustless option. First, I will examine this shift in the U.S. which applies specifically to its reputation and security, and then discuss the shifts in global credit (money). U.S. Dollar Dominance Will foreign governments attempt to de-dollarize? This question is complex as it not only requires an understanding of the global banking and payment systems but also maintains a geopolitical background. Countries around the world, both allies and rivals, have strong incentives to end global dollar hegemony. By utilizing the dollar a country is subject to the purview of the U.S. government and its financial institutions and infrastructure. To better understand this, let’s start by defining money: The above figure from my book shows the three functions of money as a store of value, medium of exchange and unit of account, as well as the supporting monetary properties of each below them. Each function plays a role in international financial markets: Store of Value — fulfilling this function drives reserve currency status. U.S. currency and debt is ~60% of global foreign reserves. A country will denominate its foreign exchange reserve assets in the most creditworthy assets — defined by their stability and liquidity. Medium of Exchange — this function is closely tied to being a unit of account. The dollar is the dominant invoicing currency in international trade and the euro is a close second, both of which fluctuate around ~40% of total. The dollar is also 64% of foreign currency debt issuance, meaning countries mostly denominate their debt in dollars. This creates demand for the dollar and is important. Since the U.S. issues more debt than domestic and foreign buyers are naturally willing to buy, they must print dollars to buy it in the market, which is inflationary (all else equal). The more foreign demand they can create for these newly printed dollars, the lower the inflationary impact from printing new dollars. This foreign demand becomes entrenched as countries denominate their contracts in the dollar, allowing the U.S. to monetize their debt. Unit of Account — Oil and other commodity contracts are often denominated in U.S. dollars (e.g., the petrodollar system). This creates artificial demand for the dollar, supporting its value while the U.S. government continually issues debt beyond amounts domestic and foreign buyers would be willing to purchase without the Fed creating demand for it. The petrodollar system was created by Nixon in response to a multi-year depreciation of the dollar after its fixed convertibility into gold was removed in 1971. In 1973, Nixon struck a deal with Saudi Arabia in which every barrel of oil purchased from the Saudis would be denominated in the U.S. dollar and in exchange, the U.S. would offer them military protection. By 1975, all OPEC nations agreed to price their own oil supplies in dollars in exchange for military protection. This system spurred artificial demand for the dollar and its value was now tied to demand for energy (oil). This effectively entrenched the U.S. dollar as a global unit of account, allowing it more leeway in its practices of money printing to generate demand for its debt. For example, you may not like that the U.S. is continually increasing its deficit spending (hindering its store of value function), but your trade contracts require you to use the dollar (supporting its medium of exchange and unit of account function), so you have to use dollars anyway. Put simply, if foreign governments won’t buy U.S. debt, then the U.S. government will print money to buy it from itself and contracts require foreign governments to use that newly printed money. In this sense, when the U.S. government’s creditworthiness (reputation) falls short, its military capabilities (security) pick up the slack. The U.S. trades military protection for increased foreign dollar demand, enabling it to continuously run a deficit. Let’s summarize. Since its establishment, the dollar has served the functions of money best at an international level because it can be easily traded in global markets (i.e., it’s liquid), and contracts are denominated in it (e.g., trade and debt contracts). As U.S. capital markets are the broadest, most liquid and maintain a track record of secure property rights (i.e., strong reputation), it makes sense that countries would utilize it because there is a relatively lower risk of significant upheaval in U.S. capital markets. Contrast this idea with the Chinese renminbi which has struggled to gain dominance as a global store of value, medium of exchange and unit of account due to the political uncertainty of its government (i.e., poor reputation) which maintains capital controls on foreign exchange markets and frequently intervenes to manipulate its price. U.S. foreign intervention is rare. Further, having a strong military presence enforces dollar demand for commodity trade per agreements with foreign countries. Countries that denominate contracts in dollars would need to be comfortable trading away military security from the U.S. to buck this trend. With belligerent Eastern leaders increasing their expanse, this security need is considerable. Let’s look at how the functions of money are enabled by a country’s reputation and security: Reputation: primarily enables the store of value function of its currency. Specifically, countries that maintain political and economic stability, and relatively free capital markets, develop a reputation for safety that backs their currency. This safety can also be thought of as creditworthiness. Security: primarily enables the medium of exchange and unit of account functions of its currency. Widespread contract denomination and deep liquidity of a currency entrench its demand in global markets. Military power is what entrenches this demand in the first place. If the reputation of the U.S. declines and its military power withdraws, demand for its currency decreases as well. With the shifts in these two variables in front of mind, let’s consider how demand for the dollar could be affected. OVERVIEW OF THE GLOBAL MONETARY SYSTEM Global liquidity and contract denomination can be measured by analyzing foreign reserves, foreign debt issuance, and foreign transactions/volume. Dollar foreign exchange reserves gradually declined from 71% to 60% since the year 2000. Three percent of the decline is accounted for in the euro, 2% from the pound, 2% from the renminbi and the remaining 4% from other currencies. More than half of the 11 percentage point decline has come from China and other economies (e.g., Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, Swiss francs, et al.). While the U.S. dollar decline in dominance is material, it obviously remains dominant. The primary takeaway is that most of the decline in dollar dominance is being captured by smaller currencies, indicating that global reserves are gradually becoming more dispersed. Note that this data should be interpreted with caution as the fall in dollar dominance since 2016 occurred when previous non-reporting countries (e.g., China) began gradually revealing their FX reserves to the IMF. Further, governments don’t have to be honest about the numbers they report — the politically sensitive nature of this information makes it ripe for manipulation. Source: IMF Foreign debt issuance in USD (other countries borrowing in contracts denominated in dollars) has also gradually declined by ~9% since 2000, while the euro has gained ~10%. Debt issuance of the remaining economies was relatively flat over this period so most of the change in dollar debt issued can be attributed to the euro. Source: Federal Reserve The currency composition of foreign transactions is interesting. Historically, globalization has increased the demand for cross-border payments primarily due to: Manufacturers expanding supply chains across borders. Cross-border asset management. International trade. International remittances (e.g., migrants sending money home). This poses a problem for smaller economies: the more intermediaries that are involved in cross-border transactions, the slower and more expensive these payments become. High-volume currencies, such as the dollar, have a shorter chain of intermediaries while lower-volume currencies (e.g., emerging markets) have a longer chain of intermediaries. This is important because it is these emerging markets that stand to lose the most from international payments and for this reason alternative systems are attractive to them. Source: Bank of England If we look at the trend in composition of foreign payments it’s evident that the dollar's share of invoicing is materially greater than its share of exports, illuminating its outsized role of invoicing in proportion to trade. The euro has been competing with the dollar in terms of invoicing share, but this is driven by its usage for export trade among EU countries. For the rest of the world, export share has been, on average, greater than 50% while invoicing share has remained less than 20% on average. Source: Journal of International Economics Lastly, let’s discuss the volume of trade. A currency with high volume of trade means that it is relatively more liquid and thus, more attractive as a trade vehicle. The chart below shows the proportions of volume traded by currency. The dollar has remained dominant and constant since 2000, expressing its desirability as a liquid global currency. What’s important is that the volume of all major global reserve currencies have declined slightly while the volume of “other” smaller world currencies has increased from 15% to 22% in proportion. Source: BIS Triennial Survey; (Note: typically these numbers are shown on a 200% scale — e.g., for 2019 USD would be 88.4% out of 200% — because there are two legs to every foreign exchange trade. I’ve condensed this to a 100% scale for ease of interpretation of the proportions). The dollar is dominant across every metric, although it has been gradually declining. Most notably, economies that are not major world reserves are: Gaining dominance as reserves and thus world FX reserves are becoming more dispersed. Utilizing the dollar for foreign transactions in significantly greater proportions than their exports and limited by a long chain of intermediaries when attempting to use their domestic currencies. Hurt the most by long chains of global intermediaries for their transactions and thus stand to gain the most from alternative systems. Increasing their share of foreign exchange volume (liquidity) while all the major reserve currencies are declining. There exists a trend whereby the smaller and less dominant currencies of the world are expanding but are still limited by dollar dominance. Pair this trend with the global political fragmentation occurring and their continued expansion becomes more plausible. As the U.S. withdraws its military power globally, which backs the dollar’s functions as a medium of exchange and unit of account, it decreases demand for its currency to serve these functions. Further, the dollar’s creditworthiness has declined since implementing the Russian sanctions. The trends of declining U.S. military presence and creditworthiness, as well as increased global fragmentation, indicate that the global monetary regime could experience drastic change in the near term. THE GLOBAL MONETARY SYSTEM IS SHIFTING Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and the U.S. subsequently implemented a swath of economic and financial sanctions. I believe history will look back on this event as the initial catalyst of change towards a new era of global monetary order. Three global realizations subsequently occurred: Realization #1: Economic sanctions placed on Russia signaled to the world that US sovereign assets are not risk free. U.S. control over the global monetary system subjects all participating nations to the authority of the U.S. Effectively, ~$300 billion of Russia’s ~$640 billion in foreign exchange reserves were “frozen” (no longer spendable) and it was partially banned (energy still allowed) from the SWIFT international payments system. However, Russia had been de-dollarizing and building up alternative reserves as protection from sanctions throughout previous years. Now Russia is looking for alternatives, China being the obvious partner, but India, Brazil and Argentina are also discussing cooperation. Economic sanctions of this magnitude by the West are unprecedented. This has signaled to countries around the world the risk they run through dependence on the dollar. This doesn’t mean that these countries will begin cooperating as they are all subject to constraints under an international spiderweb of trade and financial relationships. For example, Marko Papic explains in “Geopolitical Alpha” how China is heavily constrained by the satisfaction of its growing middle class (the majority of its population) and fearful that they could fall into the middle-income trap (GDP per capita stalling within the $1,000-12,000 range). Their debt cycle has peaked and economically they are in a vulnerable position. Chinese leaders understand that the middle-income trap has historically brought the death of communist regimes. This is where the U.S. has leverage over China. Economic and financial sanctions targeting this demographic can prevent growth in productivity and that is what China is most afraid of. Just because China wants to partner with Russia and achieve “world domination” does not mean that they will do so since they are subject to constraints. The most important aspect of this realization is that U.S. dollar assets are not risk free: they maintain a risk of appropriation by the U.S. government. Countries with plans to act out of accordance with U.S. interests will likely start de-dollarizing before doing so. However, as much as countries would prefer to opt out of this dollar dependency, they are constrained in doing so as well. Realization #2: It’s not just the U.S. that has economic power over reserves, it’s fiat reserve nations in general. Owning fiat currencies and assets in reserves creates uncertain political risks, increasing the desirability of commodities as reserve assets. Let’s talk about commodity money vs. debt (fiat) money. In his recent paper, Zoltan Pozsar describes how the death of the dollar system has arrived. Russia is a major global commodity exporter and the sanctions have bifurcated the value of their commodities. Similar to subprime mortgages in the 2008 financial crisis, Russian commodities have become “subprime” commodities. They’ve subsequently declined materially in value as much of the world is no longer buying them. Non-Russian commodities are increasing in value as anti-Russia countries are now all purchasing them while the global supply has shrunk materially. This has created volatility in commodity markets, markets that have been (apparently) neglected by financial system risk monitors. Commodity traders often borrow money from exchanges to place their trades, with the underlying commodities as collateral. If the price of the underlying commodity moves too much in the wrong direction, the exchanges tell them that they need to pay more collateral to back their borrowed money (trader get margin-called). Now, traders take both sides in these markets (they bet the price will go up or that it will go down) and therefore, regardless of which direction the price moves, somebody is getting margin-called. This means that as price volatility is introduced to the system, traders need to pay more money to the exchange as collateral. What if the traders don’t have more money to give as collateral? Then the exchange has to cover it. What if the exchanges can’t cover it? Then we have a major credit contraction in the commodity markets on our hands as people start pulling money out of the system. This could lead to large bankruptcies within a core segment of the global financial system. In the fiat world, credit contractions are always backstopped — such as the Fed printing money to bail out the financial system in 2008. What is unique to this situation is that the “subprime” collateral of Russian commodities is what Western central banks would need to step in and buy — but they can’t because their governments are the ones who prevented buying it in the first place. So, who is going to buy it? China. China could print money and effectively bail out the Russian commodity market. If so, China would strengthen its balance sheet with commodities which would strengthen its monetary position as a store of value, all else equal. The Chinese renminbi (also called the “yuan”) would also begin spreading more widely as a global medium of exchange as countries that want to participate in this discounted commodity trade utilize the yuan in doing so. People are referring to this as the growth of the “petroyuan” or “euroyuan” (like the petrodollar and eurodollar, just the yuan). China is also in discussions with Saudi Arabia to denominate oil sales in the yuan. As China is the largest importer of Saudi oil, it makes sense that the Saudis would consider denominating trade in its currency. Further, the lack of U.S. military support for the Saudis in Yemen is all the more reason to switch to dollar alternatives. However, the more the Saudis denominate oil in contracts other than the dollar, the more they risk losing U.S. military protection and would likely become subject to the military influence of China. If the yuan spreads wide enough, it could grow as a unit of account, as trade contracts become denominated in it. This structure of incentives implies two expectations: Alternatives to the U.S. global monetary system will strengthen. Demand for commodity money will strengthen relative to debt-based fiat money. However, the renminbi is only 2.4% of global reserves and has a long way to go towards international monetary dominance. Countries are much less comfortable utilizing the yuan over the dollar for trade due to its political uncertainty risks, control over the capital account and the risk of dependence on Chinese military security. A common expectation is that either the West or the East is going to be dominant once the dust settles. What’s more likely is that the system will continue splitting and we’ll have multiple monetary systems emerge around the globe as countries attempt to de-dollarize — referred to as a multipolar system. Multipolarity will be driven by political and economic self-interest among countries and the removal of trust from the system. The point about trust is key. As countries trust fiat money less, they will choose commodity-based money that requires less trust in an institution to measure its risk. Whether or not China becomes the buyer of last resort for Russian commodities, global leaders are realizing the value of commodities as reserve assets. Commodities are real and credit is trust. Bitcoin is commodity-like money, the scarcest in the world that resides on trustless and disintermediated payment infrastructure. Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, Russia had restricted crypto assets within its economy. Since then, Russia’s position has changed drastically. In 2020, Russia gave crypto assets legal status but banned their use for payments. As recently as January 2022, Russia’s central bank proposed banning the use and mining of crypto assets, citing threats to financial stability and monetary sovereignty. This was in contrast to Russia’s ministry of finance, which had proposed regulating it rather than outright banning it. By February, Russia chose to regulate crypto assets, due to the fear that it would emerge as a black market regardless. By March, a Russian government official announced it would consider accepting bitcoin for energy exports. Russia’s change of heart can be attributed to the desire for commodity money as well as the disintermediated payment infrastructure that Bitcoin can be transferred upon — leading to the third realization. Realization #3: Crypto asset infrastructure is more efficient than traditional financial infrastructure. Because it is disintermediated, it offers a method of possession and transfer of assets that is simply not possible with intermediated traditional financial infrastructure. Donations in support of Ukraine via crypto assets (amounting to nearly $100 million as of this writing) demonstrated to the world the rapidness and efficiency of transferring value via just an internet connection, without relying on financial institutions. It further demonstrated the ability to maintain possession of assets without reliance on financial institutions. These are critical features to have as a war refugee. Emerging economies are paying attention as this is particularly valuable to them. Bitcoin has been used to donate roughly $30 million to Ukraine since the start of the war. Subsequently, a Russian official stated that it will consider accepting bitcoin, which I believe is because they are aware that bitcoin is the only digital asset that can be used in a purely trustless manner. Bitcoin’s role on both sides of the conflict demonstrated that it is apolitical while the freezing of fiat reserves demonstrated that their value is highly political. Let’s tie this all together. Right now, countries are rethinking the type of money they are using and the payment systems they are transferring it on. They will become more avoidant of fiat money (credit), as it is easily frozen, and they are realizing the disintermediated nature of digital payment infrastructure. Consider these motivations alongside the trend of an increasingly fragmented system of global currencies. We’re witnessing a shift towards commodity money among a more fragmented system of currencies moving across disintermediated payment infrastructure. Emerging economies, particularly those removed from global politics, are postured as the first movers towards this shift. While I don’t expect that the dollar will lose primacy anytime soon, its creditworthiness and military backing is being called into question. Consequently, the growth and fragmentation of non-dollar reserves and denominations opens the market of foreign exchange to consider alternatives. For their reserves, countries will trust fiat less and commodities more. There is a shift emerging towards trustless money and desire for trustless payment systems. ALTERNATIVES TO THE GLOBAL MONETARY SYSTEM We are witnessing a decline in global trust with the realization that the age of digital money is upon us. Understand that I am referring to incremental adoption of digital money and not full-scale dominance — incremental adoption will likely be the path of least resistance. I expect countries to increasingly adopt trustless commodity assets on disintermediated payment infrastructure, which is what Bitcoin provides. The primary limiting factor to this adoption of bitcoin will be its stability and liquidity. As bitcoin matures into adolescence, I expect this growth to increase rapidly. Countries that want a digital store of value will prefer bitcoin for its sound monetary properties. The countries most interested and least restrained in adopting digital assets will be among the fragmented developing world as they stand to gain the most for the least amount of political cost. While these incremental shifts will be occurring in tandem, I expect the first major shift will be towards commodity reserves. Official reserve managers prioritize safety, liquidity and yield when choosing their reserve assets. Gold is valuable in these respects and will play a dominant role. However, bitcoin’s trustless nature will not be overlooked, and countries will consider it as a reserve despite its tradeoffs with gold, to be discussed below. Let’s walk through what bitcoin adoption could look like: Source: World Gold Council; Advanced reserve economies includes the BIS, BOE, BOJ, ECB (and its national member banks), Federal Reserve, IMF and SNB. Since 2000, gold as a percentage of total reserves has been declining for advanced economies and growing for China, Russia and the other smaller economies. So, the trend towards commodity reserves is already in place. Over this same period gold reserves have fluctuated between nine and 14% of total reserves. Today, total reserves (both gold and FX reserves) amount to $16 trillion, 13% of which ($2.2 trillion) is gold reserves. We can see in the below chart that gold as a percentage of reserves has been rising since 2015, the same year the U.S. froze Iran’s reserves (this was ~$2 billion, a much smaller amount than the Russia sanctions). Source: World Gold Council. Reserves have been growing rapidly in China, Russia and smaller economies as a whole. The chart below shows that non-advanced economies have increased their total reserves by 9.4x and gold reserves by 10x, while advanced economies have increased total reserves by only 4x. China, Russia and the smaller economies command $12.5 trillion in total reserves and $700 billion of those are in gold. Source: World Gold Council. The growth and size of smaller economy reserves is important when considering bitcoin adoption among them as a reserve asset. Smaller countries will ideally want an asset that is liquid, stable, grows in value, disintermediated and trustless. The below illustrative comparison stack ranks broad reserve asset categories by these qualities on a scale of 1-5 (obviously, this is not a science but an illustrative visualization to facilitate discussion): Countries adopt different reserve assets for different reasons, which is why they diversify their holdings. This assessment focuses on the interests of emerging economies for bitcoin adoption considerations. Bitcoin is liquid, although not nearly as liquid as fiat assets and gold. Bitcoin isn’t stable. Standard reserve assets, including gold, are much more stable. Bitcoin will likely offer a much higher capital appreciation than fiat assets and gold over the long run. Bitcoin is the most disintermediated as it has a truly trustless network — this is its primary value proposition. Storing bitcoin doesn’t require trusted intermediaries and thus can be stored without the risk of appropriation — a risk for fiat assets. This point is important because gold does not maintain this quality as it is expensive to move, store and verify. Thus, bitcoin’s primary advantage over gold is its disintermediated infrastructure which allows for trustless movement and storage. With these considerations in mind, I believe the smaller emerging economies that are largely removed from political influence will spearhead the adoption of bitcoin as a reserve asset gradually. The world is growing increasingly multipolar. As the U.S. withdraws its international security and fiat continues to lose creditworthiness, emerging economies will be considering bitcoin adoption. While the reputation of the U.S. is in decline, China’s reputation is far worse. This line of reasoning will make bitcoin attractive. Its primary value-add will be its disintermediated infrastructure which enables trustless payments and storage. As bitcoin continues to mature, its attractiveness will continue to increase. If you think the sovereign fear of limiting its domestic monetary control is a strong incentive to prevent bitcoin adoption, consider what happened in Russia. If you think countries won’t adopt bitcoin for fear of losing monetary control, consider what happened in Russia. While Russia’s central bank wanted to ban bitcoin, the finance ministry opted to regulate it. After Russia was sanctioned, it has been considering accepting bitcoin for energy exports. I think Russia’s behavior shows that even totalitarian regimes will allow bitcoin adoption for the sake of international sovereignty. Countries that demand less control over their economies will be even more willing to accept this tradeoff. There are many reasons that countries would want to prevent bitcoin adoption, but on net the positive incentives of its adoption are strong enough to outweigh the negative. Let’s apply this to the shifts in global reputations and security: Reputations: political and economic stability is becoming increasingly riskier for fiat, credit-based assets. Bitcoin is a safe haven from these risks, as it is fundamentally apolitical. Bitcoin’s reputation is one of high stability, due to its immutability, which is insulated from global politics. No matter what happens, Bitcoin will keep producing blocks and its supply schedule remains the same. Bitcoin is a commodity that requires no trust in the credit of an institution. Security: because Bitcoin cannot trade military support for its usage, it will likely be hindered as a global medium of exchange for some time. Its lack of price stability further limits this form of adoption. Networks such as the Lightning Network enable transactions in fiat assets, like the dollar, over Bitcoin’s network. Although the Lightning Network is still in its infancy, I anticipate this will draw increased demand to Bitcoin as a settlement network — increasing the store of value function of its native currency. It’s important to understand that fiat assets will be used as a medium of exchange for some time due to their stability and liquidity, but the payment infrastructure of bitcoin can bridge the gap in this adoption. Hopefully, as more countries adopt the Bitcoin standard the need for military security will decline. Until then, a multipolar world of fiat assets will be utilized in exchange for military security, with a preference for disintermediated payment infrastructure. CONCLUSION Trust is diminishing among global reputations as countries implement economic and geopolitical warfare, causing a reduction in globalization and shift towards a multipolar monetary system. U.S. military withdrawal and economic sanctions have illuminated the lack of security within credit-based fiat money, which incentivizes a shift towards commodity money. Moreover, economic sanctions are forcing some countries, and signaling to others, that alternative financial infrastructure to the U.S. dollar system is necessary. These shifts in the global zeitgeist are demonstrating to the world the value of commodity money on a disintermediated settlement network. Bitcoin is postured as the primary reserve asset for adoption in this category. I expect bitcoin to benefit in a material way from this global contraction in trust. However, there are strong limitations to full-scale adoption of such a system. The dollar isn’t going away anytime soon, and significant growth and infrastructure is required for emerging economies to utilize bitcoin at scale. Adoption will be gradual, and that is a good thing. Growth in fiat assets over Bitcoin settlement infrastructure will benefit bitcoin. Enabling a permissionless money with the strongest monetary properties will spawn an era of personal freedom and wealth creation for individuals, instead of the incumbent institutions. Despite the state of the world, I’m excited for the future. Whither Bitcoin? Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 13:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

How China turned a Tiananmen Square memorial into one of the most sought-after sculptures in the world

The "Pillar of Shame" was meant to spread all around the world. It didn't — until now, thanks to its removal in Hong Kong. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt (right) with a Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for Insider Last December, Hong Kong removed the Pillar of Shame, a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The removal only increased the monument's fame – and brought a flood of requests for replicas.  Creator Jens Galschiøt gave up his copyright to the sculpture, enabling 3D printers to make copies. HONG KONG – In the 1990s, a Danish sculptor launched an audacious project to pepper the earth with copies of a grotesque sculpture that depicted human bodies wreathed together in pain. The monument, known as the "Pillar of Shame," is constructed out of bronze, copper or concrete and stands atop a square plinth. It rises about 8 meters, or 26 feet, in all. Its creator, Jens Galschiøt, envisioned it as a "Nobel Prize of Injustice" and vowed to place replicas of the pillar all over the world to mark acts of genocide and murder. For a time, Galschiøt's effort was something of a success. He installed a copy of the pillar in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters. He landed a second copy in Mexico in 1999 to commemorate the slaughter of Indigenous people and a third in Brazil in 2000 to honor landless peasants killed by military police. But then the project stalled. For over two decades, it seemed no one was interested in getting a Pillar of Shame — that is, until now.These days, the 67-year-old sculptor is so inundated with requests for copies of his signature artwork that he needs a full-time apprentice just to manage the endless stream of emails and phone calls. He's being sought out for art exhibitions, speeches, interviews, and new Pillar of Shame installations around the world. At Galschiøt's foundry, about two hours outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, his team is working overtime to cast replicas of various sizes. He has also invited artists everywhere to help meet the demand for replicas by using 3D-printing technologies and a free blueprint of the sculpture."The Pillar of Shame in miniature.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe spark that led to an explosion of interest in Galschiøt's project came in October, when Hong Kong University  ordered that the Pillar of Shame be removed from its longtime home on the school's campus — part of a larger effort to erase any public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The sculpture's removal, carried out in the dead of night two days before Christmas, accomplished its goal of eliminating the controversial monument from public view. But it also unleashed something unexpected: China and Hong Kong authorities gave Galschiøt's struggling art project the sort of publicity that no amount of money and PR firms could buy. Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame was suddenly being discussed in The Washington Post and The New York Times and in outlets in Thailand, Iceland, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Indonesia, to name just a few."They have made a big mistake," Galschiøt said in an interview. "Now, instead of one, they're getting hundreds of Pillars of Shame."A group of former US government officials is working to erect a full-size replica in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. In Norway, there's a request to display a replica near the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. In Taiwan, a pro-democracy group plans to unveil a 3D-printed model by June 4 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. An artists collective is planning to organize a worldwide tour with Galschiøt's pillar to raise awareness of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy.Makerwiz 3D-printing studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Source: Makerwiz.Galschiøt is also making smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper that he aims to hoist on top of plinths with plates dedicated to Tiananmen victims and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, installing them at universities. For everyone else — volunteers at his workshop and ordinary people who are inspired by Galschiøt's vision, or perhaps his tenacity — he has finished a batch of 60 bronze copies that are about a foot tall. He's working on another 40. "There's a lot of people who ask for a copy of that sculpture now," Galschiøt said.The nascent efforts are a cautionary tale of what happens when regimes try to censor art. "The rulers, tyrants know the power of art. That's why artists, poets, and musicians are the first ones they persecute and even kill," said Rose Tang, a Tiananmen survivor and artist. But, as one 3D printer who recently replicated Galschiøt's sculpture put it, "ideas can never be suppressed." Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame is finally an idea whose time has come. Except, rather than commemorating atrocities in spots across the globe, the monument now seems poised to become synonymous with one event above all others: the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's efforts to erase it from memory. A witness For more than two decades, anyone who visited the western edge of Hong Kong University's winding Pok Fu Lam campus would inevitably bump into Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame. It was situated off a major campus walkway, boxed inside a narrow atrium next to a popular student canteen. (Disclosure: The author teaches at Hong Kong University's journalism program.) As you looked up from your meal, your eyes would fall upon the Eiffel Tower-like heap of some 50 twisted bodies screaming in pain. Many of the faces looked like cadavers that had already breathed their last while others appeared to be in the act of dying; a man clutching a baby looked as if he was running away from some danger. Layers of thick orange paint flowed from the top down, turning yellow and peeling in places, giving the whole mass the hellish appearance of a pile of burning human flesh. The inscription "THE TIANANMEN MASSACRE" was etched in thick, blood-red letters on one side of the square base, above the date June 4, 1989. Directly to the left was another inscription that read, "the old cannot kill the young forever."Students gather around Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderFor students who came to study here from mainland China, the pillar might be their first introduction to the Tiananmen massacre. On one side of the pillar's base, a plaque provided "A Brief History of the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement." It recounted how the death of pro-reform Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Beijing's Tiananmen Square became a central gathering spot for students who waged a hunger strike to try to prompt a dialogue with Communist Party leaders. The government refused, declared martial law, and ultimately sent in military convoys to clear the square. On June 3 and 4, 1989, "several thousand soldiers forced their way via various routes into Beijing City, using guns and bullets to shoot unarmed citizens and students. Tanks were deployed to recover the Square," the plaque read. An official death toll was never confirmed. A 1990 report on the massacre by Amnesty International noted that Chinese authorities tallied some 200 civilian casualties, while Amnesty itself concluded that at least 1,000 people had been killed. Another more recent estimate based on a diplomatic cable declassified in 2017 pinned the number of civilian casualties at more than 10,000.Whatever the ultimate toll, there was no doubt in Rose Tang's mind that it had been a bloody day. Rose Tang in Tiananmen Square on May 21, 1989. At the time, she was a 20-year-old freshman in college.Rose Tang/HandoutTang was a freshman studying English at what was then known as the Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute. She ditched classes in the spring of 1989 to join her classmates in Tiananmen Square to chant pro-democracy slogans, even though, she now says, she had very little idea of what democracy even meant. Her memoir of the events of June 4 describes bullets whizzing overhead, a stampede trampling over dead bodies, and the deafening noise of tanks moving in and crushing tents set up in the square. But there's one detail of the aftermath that helps explain why Galschiøt's sculpture found a loyal following in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997. When Tang revisited Tiananmen Square some seven months after the massacre, she found no trace of what had happened there that day. There were no signs of blood stains or bullet holes from June 4, 1989, let alone any memorial. She walked around, trying to find proof to back up her memories. There were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the square as water trucks sprinkled water on the ground. "All I could see was the clean wet concrete ground glittering in street lights," she recalled in her memoir.Tang turned to a life of art and activism to help her cope with the events of that day. She has written poetry and music inspired by June 4, 1989, and toured with a band that performed songs that student protesters sang at Tiananmen Square. "Making music and using music to heal and mobilize people is my way of carrying on the true legacy of Tiananmen. Art is power. Performance is protest," she said.Tang eschewed making sculptures, though. "I just personally found it really hard to convey the experience of Tiananmen through visual art," she said. She admires Galschiøt for trying. Rose Tang at a Tiananmen Square massacre memorial in New York City on June 4, 2020.Thirdblade PhotographyBut something about Galschiøt's sculpture always puzzled Tang. On close inspection, the figures assembled on Galschiøt's pillar appeared to span the races. One could be excused for wondering whether this was all a mistake: A white man from Denmark created a sculpture to commemorate the killings of Chinese civilians, and he filled it with people from all over the world?'My Inner Beast'The international nature of the sculpture was precisely what Galschiøt had in mind when he began to sketch out the vision for his Pillar of Shame in the early 1990s. Galschiøt had turned to making sculptures in the 1980s after a career as a blacksmith at a Danish shipyard and a rebellious youth filled with drugs, travel, and a desire to distance himself from his father's communist sympathies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he grew hopeful for a more egalitarian future but was soon dismayed by Serbian militias' mass rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and other atrocities. He became convinced that civilization is only a thin veneer that can crumble at any time and unleash an inner barbarism laid bare in such episodes. In 1993 he installed concrete sculptures of a pig dressed in a gentleman's overcoat in 20 cities across Europe. Titled "My Inner Beast," the project aimed to call attention to Europeans' mistreatment of ethnic minorities. The sculptures proved an unwelcome sight to governments that never asked for them. Most were torn down, and only a few remain standing today. Galschiøt's middle son, Kasper Galschiøt Markus, recalled eating "significantly more porridge" in the months that followed since Galschiøt nearly went broke paying for the project out of pocket. But profit wasn't the goal. The reaction to the sculpture became part of the story the art sought to tell, summarized by the motto, "It is not the foreigners but our reaction to the foreigners that threatens our civilization." Galschiøt preparing a Pillar of Shame replica.Mikkel Møller for InsiderGalschiøt began to make small models of the Pillar of Shame that same year. As the idea took shape, he assembled 7 tons of clay to create the casting mold for the sculpture.He included faces of people that represented a wide variety of races and ethnicities, hoping to create a universal symbol. Once he finished his prototype in 1996, he went looking for contacts who could help him install it in various places around the world. The Tiananmen Square massacre quickly came to mind, but he knew it would be impossible to install a pillar in Beijing. 'They made a good fight for freedom'Hong Kong offered the tantalizing possibility of a work-around. After years of negotiations, the UK was due to hand control of Hong Kong back to China on July 1, 1997.  If Galschiøt could get the pillar to Hong Kong while the city was still in British hands, China would take the sculpture with it. "At that time, we had good reason to believe that this statue would not be allowed to enter after the transition," Albert Ho, who helped Galschiøt get the pillar to Hong Kong, recalled in a later interview.Ho was a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, a group founded in 1989 just before the massacre. One of the alliance's signature projects was an annual candlelight vigil commemorating Tiananmen victims. Galschiøt reached out to see whether the group would help him install a replica of the sculpture and soon he had a partner: On May 2, 1997, he packed up a copy of the pillar in a shipping container and sent it off to Hong Kong. The sculpture arrived at a Hong Kong container terminal nine days before the alliance's annual candlelight vigil in the city's sprawling Victoria Park. The alliance displayed it prominently at the June 4 vigil, which happened to coincide with Galschiøt's birthday. Afterward, the pillar was loaded onto a truck headed for Hong Kong University, where student leaders hoped to install it near their student union. Tang joined part of the march to campus, walking alongside Galschiøt. Galschiøt grew concerned as scuffles broke out between students and security guards who wouldn't let the truck through to campus. Security guards eventually relented, and the sculpture was dropped off as onlookers applauded, according to Associated Press archival footage from the night. "They made a good fight for freedom," Galschiøt told an AP reporter at the time.The pillar made the rounds to several schools around the city before the Hong Kong University student union voted in 1998 to permanently host it on its campus. Galschiøt, meanwhile, wrote a manifesto for his artwork. "My name is Jens Galschiøt. I'm a Danish artist born 1954. My new art happening the Pillar of Shame has just been launched, as the sculpture was displayed 4th June '97 in Hong Kong," began the lengthy December 1997 missive, which predicted that "over the next ten years the happening will spread over the Planet." Galschiøt listed Auschwitz, the site of the infamous Nazi death camp, and Rwanda, where a 1994 genocide had just killed an estimated 800,000 people, as two possible candidates for Pillars of Shame.Galschiøt outside his studio in Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderSoon he managed to install a "Columna de la infamia" in Mexico to commemorate the 1997 killings of 45 Indigenous people in Chiapas state and a "Coluna da infâmia" in Brazil to mark the 1996 murder of 19 landless Brazilian peasants. Both sculptures made brief appearances near parliament buildings in their respective countries, elevating their visibility in Mexico and Brazil. In 1999 he outlined a grand vision to install a pillar in Berlin atop a platform covered with bronze plates notched with 10 million lines representing the victims of Nazi-era persecution (the project was too costly, and he gave up on it in late 2002). In 2012, he traveled to Iraq to explore the possibility of placing a pillar there to commemorate the victims of Saddam Hussein's mass murders of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s (installing a sculpture in a war zone was too dangerous, though Galschiøt hopes to try again someday).Galschiøt openly mused that Hong Kong's Pillar of Shame might someday move to Beijing if political circumstances allowed it. But he acknowledged that it might just as well be removed or destroyed: "The Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," he wrote in a post on his website.'The old cannot kill the young forever'Galschiøt was right about the possibility of his sculpture being removed from Hong Kong.The early signs of trouble came in April 2008, when Galschiøt flew to the city only to be denied entry. He was there to paint the pillar orange as part of a campaign to raise awareness of China's alleged human-rights abuses ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In Galschiøt's absence, members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China carried out the paint job. News reports at the time described the ordeal as a test of the freedoms China had granted to Hong Kong when it took over.Hong Kongers would experience many more such tests in the years that followed. In 2014, protests erupted when China insisted on vetting any candidates for the territory's chief executive before allowing the post to be elected directly by the people. The tense 79-day standoff with pro-democracy protesters became known as the Umbrella Movement after demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray police used to try to disperse them. The sense of togetherness and community among the protesters felt like a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement to Tang, who flew from the US to Hong Kong to camp out with the protesters and speak up for their cause. Even larger protests shook the city in 2019 after Hong Kong leaders proposed amending the territory's extradition laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests grew into a broader movement against Beijing's encroachments on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the terms of its handover from the UK. Meanwhile, Beijing readied a national-security law that would give China broad authority to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong. Even before the law took effect, in June 2020, authorities had already taken aim at Hong Kong's long tradition of commemorating the Tiananmen victims. They refused to let the alliance organize its annual June 4 vigil in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Thousands showed up anyway. In 2021, Hong Kong blocked the June 4 vigil again and put up a massive police presence to deter Hong Kongers from defying the ban. The same month, the alliance's museum commemorating the massacre was forced to shut down. Police raided the museum in September and confiscated its exhibits just a day after arresting the alliance's leaders under the guise of the national-security law. The alliance disbanded on September 25, and days later reports surfaced that the digital version of its Tiananmen Square massacre museum had been blocked in Hong Kong.  By early October, the pillar's time had come. Galschiøt wasn't formally notified that the Pillar of Shame would be removed. Mayer Brown, an American law firm representing Hong Kong University, sent a letter demanding its removal to the liquidators of the alliance (the alliance didn't actually own the sculpture; Galschiøt had always retained ownership). The October 7 letter gave the now-defunct pro-democracy group six days to remove the sculpture from the university, a publicly funded institution, or consider the pillar abandoned property that would be dealt with "at such time and in such manner" as the university saw fit. Galschiøt tried to intervene but said he couldn't get a reply to his lawyer's pleas to let him come to Hong Kong to retrieve the artwork.The sudden deadline was sandwiched between two typhoons that pummeled Hong Kong with heavy rains and winds. As the storms moved through the city, the October 13 removal deadline held firm. Hong Kongers flocked to the sculpture to bid their farewells to what many saw as one of the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the Chinese territory. "Say goodbye to freedom," one man said as he snapped a photo of the sculpture one day before the deadline. Steps away, a father took a selfie in front of the pillar with his 9-year-old daughter. Afterward, the little girl grabbed her father's phone and snapped some photos of it herself. On their way out, he pointed to the inscription "the old cannot kill the young forever" as she looked on attentively. Shortly after, it started to rain again. But the crowds kept coming.A father introduces his daughter to Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe university hit a snag when Mayer Brown bowed out of the legal matter amid public outrage that an American law firm would be helping Chinese authorities stifle freedom of expression in Hong Kong. (Mayer Brown's decision prompted a former Hong Kong chief executive to call for a China-wide boycott of the law firm. Spokespeople for Mayer Brown did not respond to comment requests.) Several weeks followed when the sculpture's fate stood in a strange state of limbo; it wasn't clear when exactly it would disappear, but there was no doubt the end was near. An artists' collective known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong made use of the delay to take detailed photos of the pillar and create a three-dimensional model that could be used as a basis for 3D printing. Galschiøt, meanwhile, dusted off old molds that he had used to create smaller replicas of the Pillar of Shame in the 1990s so that he would be ready if his sculpture were removed. The limbo ended on December 22. Galschiøt had just told the workers in his workshop in Odense, Denmark, to go home early and enjoy the holiday when he got a call from a reporter seeking comment on the sculpture's removal.  The energy drained from his body; he looked like a parent who had just learned about the loss of his child, recalled his apprentice, Lauge Jakobsen. Social media lit up with footage of workers fencing off the area around the pillar so no one would witness its removal. Reporters still managed to document parts of the ordeal, which ended with a human-like fragment of the sculpture being loaded into a shipping container by a group of workers in hard hats resembling pallbearers at a funeral.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University as seen the day after the monument was removed.Cezary Podkul for Insider As Galschiøt watched from a distance, all he could do was decry the university's actions. He issued a statement calling the sculpture's removal an unreasonable act of "self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong." Hong Kong University said in a statement that "no party has ever obtained any approval from the university to display the statue on campus," and the statue would be placed in storage pending legal advice on what to do with it. Galschiøt said the university has now responded to his lawyer, and he is sorting out the details of how to return the sculpture from Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the university did not provide further details. 'Jens' biggest supporter has been the Chinese government'The sculpture's dramatic removal gave Galschiøt the kind of worldwide attention he had long hoped to bring to his international art project. "Suddenly, all the world's eyes were turned on this Pillar of Shame," recalled Jakobsen, his apprentice. "From 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at night the phone was calling all the time, and our email was looking like a celebrity's fan email because every 10 seconds there were coming new emails."Jakobsen switched from working in Galschiøt's workshop to assisting him in the office as he juggled media requests and inquiries about how to acquire a Pillar of Shame. "Jens' biggest supporter last year has been the Chinese government," Jakobsen said during a phone interview. Galschiøt could be heard laughing beside him.Jessica Chiu was one of those requesters. The native Hong Konger, who's 32 and lives in Norway, first learned about Tiananmen Square from her high school math teacher, who would abandon his usual lesson every June and instead teach about the massacre. Later, as a student at Hong Kong University, Chiu would occasionally pass by Galschiøt's sculpture. Chiu leads a Norwegian nonprofit focused on supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The group had been interested in exhibiting Galschiøt's pillar in Norway since 2020; its removal in Hong Kong reinforced those plans. "It makes us more motivated to do it, and it just makes the impact bigger," Chiu said. Her nonprofit has already applied for permits to display the sculpture at two locations in Oslo, including a plaza near the Nobel Peace Center.Galschiøt at his gallery in Odense, Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderA similar effort is taking shape to bring a copy of the pillar in the US. The most provocative spot under consideration includes a park directly across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. A group of former US government officials, outraged by Mayer Brown's involvement, is spearheading the initiative, which is still in its initial planning stages, according to a person familiar with the effort. Getting a 2-ton sculpture cast and transported abroad — let alone securing a spot for it — is no easy feat, so it's unclear how many of such installations will ultimately succeed. Galschiøt estimated that making the sculpture in a full-size bronze cast costs about $800,000. To make it more affordable and easier to handle, he has started making the smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper using an old mold he created in the 1990s. He hopes to distribute the smaller pillars to universities around the world (and requests that schools interested in a copy contact him). He scored his first win in Budapest, Hungary, on March 2, when one of the copper replicas was installed on the site of a future Budapest campus of Fudan University. Hungary lawmakers had voted in 2021 to donate four plots of land toward the planned campus of the Shanghai-based university, which ranks as one of China's most elite schools. The move sparked criticism of Chinese influence-buying and prompted Budapest's mayor to rename streets near the proposed site after various alleged human-rights abuses committed by China. Galschiøt traveled to Budapest to personally dedicate his "a szégyen oszlopa" (Hungarian for "Pillar of Shame") near the corner of Free Hong Kong Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road.Galschiøt applies paint to a pillar, which will soon be shipped aboard.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe use of the artwork to make political statements about China's alleged human-rights abuses could get easier thanks to the rise of 3D printing. Lady Liberty Hong Kong's three-dimensional model of the sculpture has enabled anyone with access to a 3D printer to create a copy of the sculpture without bothering with the cost and logistics of transporting it from Denmark. To make the process even more hassle-free, Galschiøt surrendered his copyright to the sculpture, writing in an open letter on Christmas Day that anyone is free to 3D print or mass-produce replicas of the pillar as long as profits go to benefit pro-democracy causes in China and Hong Kong.  A 2-foot-tall replica created using Lady Liberty's model recently showed up at a Hong Kong pro-democracy rally in Manchester, England. An even bigger version — 10 feet or taller — is set to be 3D-printed in Taiwan in time for the June 4 anniversary of the massacre. The New School for Democracy Association Taiwan, a pro-democracy group, is spearheading that effort, which is in the planning and fundraising stages, according to the project's manager.Lady Liberty itself is hoping to organize an international art tour with Galschiøt that would feature the pillar as well as the group's own signature artwork,  a symbol of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The 3.5-meter-tall, crowdfunded sculpture of a woman wearing a helmet, goggles, and a respirator made the rounds to various sites across Hong Kong in 2019, including a famous summit known as Lion Rock, before being vandalized and thrown off the cliff (most likely by pro-government activists). Lady Liberty is preparing to sell small replicas of the Pillar of Shame to help fund the art tour, which would also invite other artists to participate, a spokesperson said.Galschiøt's team with a copy of the Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for InsiderTang is raising her hand for the effort. She said she'd like to reunite her Tiananmen band and perform under Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame if a replica makes its way for a tour in the US. In Canada, a scrappy group of expatriate Hong Kongers created a supply chain that allows them to 3D print and ship copies of the pillar anywhere in the world. Their website,, sells a variety of Hong Kong-themed merchandise — including 3D prints of Lady Liberty Hong Kong — to fund pro-democracy causes. Proceeds from the 3D-printed pillar replicas are earmarked for organizations that help young Hong Kong refugees resettle in Canada and seek asylum, said Eric Li, who cofounded one of the groups and helped launch the merchandise website. Many of the refugees are youths who faced persecution for their pro-democracy activities, Li said. Some are depressed and feel guilty, even suicidal, for having left Hong Kong behind, he said. Others are traumatized after their violent clashes with police. "They feel they betrayed their friends because they ran away from the action," said Li, who helps arrange counseling for the youths as part of his work for one of the groups that will receive proceeds from the pillars'  sales. Art 'without interruption'There isn't much action left when it comes to protests in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed national-security law has succeeded in ending the mass demonstrations that gripped the city in 2019. You might find an occasional pro-democracy slogan or poster here or there, but any public artwork the government could deem subversive to Beijing is likely to quickly vanish from public view. A day after Galschiøt's pillar disappeared in December, two other Tiananmen-themed monuments were removed by universities in Hong Kong. The "Goddess of Democracy," an imitation of a sculpture created by Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, was hauled away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 24. A relief depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the campus of Lingnan University the same day. Both artworks were created by Chen Weiming, an exiled Chinese sculptor who lives in California. Chen is now trying to repatriate the monuments from the universities and is planning to house them at a Tiananmen Square museum that he hopes to build at his sculpture park in Yermo, California. "In America, I can do anything I want to do. In China, I can't do it," Chen said.In late January, Hong Kong University covered up the last public tribute to Tiananmen victims on its campus — a hand-painted slogan on a bridge outside a dormitory. It read, "The souls of the martyrs shall forever linger despite the cold-blooded massacre. The spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil." Every year, students would touch up the paint on the 32-year-old inscription and wash the Pillar of Shame.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University has been replaced with an outdoor seating area.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe former site of the pillar is now a seating area with movable plastic furniture atop wooden planks. The area stood empty on a recent Monday evening as the clean, wet planks glittered in overhead lights. With the usual churn of a university, it won't take more than a few years for future generations of students to sit in the area without any idea of what stood here previously, or why. But nearby, another sculpture remains intact. It's a commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely regarded as the father of modern China, who sits calmly in a chair surrounded by a placid fishpond topped with water lilies. Sun is a rare figure in recent Chinese history, revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for helping to end feudal imperial monarchy in China and briefly serving as the first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Even as Hong Kong stamps out dissent, posters honoring him as a "great outlaw" invite visitors to a museum of Sun's life and legacy. The university installed Sun's statue in 2003 so students could follow his historic footprint, according to a dedication issued at the time. A sculpture of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, adorns a lily pond on the Hong Kong University campus.Cezary Podkul for InsiderIt is impossible to know what Sun might say about the removal of the Pillar of Shame and other artworks in Hong Kong if he were alive today. But a speech that he gave nearly 100 years ago on Hong Kong University's campus gives a clue. In his remarks, Sun called Hong Kong and the university his "intellectual birthplace" and explained why he got his revolutionary ideas there: "Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption."Cezary Podkul is an award-winning investigative reporter who has written for ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He teaches at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Centre.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

Future condo community on Tiki Island opens sales gallery, prepares for groundbreaking

Phase 1 of the 6-acre mixed-use island development is expected to start construction this summer......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMar 17th, 2022

See inside this California oceanfront mansion that"s on the market for $160 million and has 10 beds and 21 bathrooms

The 22-acre mansion, The Sanctuary at Loon Point, is on the market for $160 million, boasting two estates and room for three more. Take a look inside. Jim Bartsch/The Agency A 22-acre oceanfront mansion on the California coast is on the market for $160 million. The Sanctuary at Loon Point, is a 14,189-square-foot property has 10 beds and 21 bathrooms. The mansion is one of the most expensive home listings in California history. Here's a look inside. A 14,189-square-foot megamansion on the California coast is on the market for $160 million.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyKnown as The Sanctuary at Loon Point, the property covers 22 oceanfront acres and 2,129 feet of coastal bluff.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyIt's located in the central California beachside community of Carpinteria, just a few miles south of Santa Barbara.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThe property has five parcels, including two custom estates.Macduff Everton/The AgencyOne of the estates is called Ocean View, as seen here.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyHere's Ocean View's great room, which has an exposed wood beam ceiling...Jim Bartsch/The Agency...just like the kitchen.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyOcean View also has a gallery hallway.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyGuests will have a beautiful view outside the orange-accented guest bedroom.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThey can take a dip in the estate's pool, which has more ocean views...Jim Bartsch/The Agency...or take in the scenery from the upper terrace.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThe other custom estate at the Sanctuary is called Bellevue, pictured here.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyHere's the Bellevue from another angle.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyIt has plenty of greenery in the courtyard.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyInside, Bellevue's great room has a more modern feel than the one in Ocean View.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyBellevue also has its own library...Jim Bartsch/The Agency...which also opens out onto stunning views.Macduff Everton/The AgencyHere's one of the bedrooms inside Bellevue.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyOutside, Bellevue has its own pool...Jim Bartsch/The Agency...which is surrounded by plenty of trees.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThere's also a rose garden outside...Jim Bartsch/The well as an outdoor terrace...Jim Bartsch/The Agency...and seating for outdoor dining overlooking the ocean.Macduff Everton/The AgencyThe Sanctuary's five parcels are all connected by a private, gated road.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyMeanwhile, residents have private access to the beach below via the so-called Barranca Path.Blake Bronstad/The AgencyThe Sanctuary also has a small pond on the property.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyHere's a closer look at it.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThe Sanctuary's current owner spent 14 years developing and building the property.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyThe owner is retired hedge fund manager Bruce Kovner, according to The Wall Street Journal.In total, the property boasts 10 bedrooms and 21 bathrooms.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyBesides the Bellevue's pool, other amenities include a spa and five fireplaces.Macduff Everton/The AgencyBesides Ocean View and Bellevue, the Sanctuary's three remaining parcels could be used to build more homes on the property.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyIf the Sanctuary sells for $160 million, it would mark one of the priciest home sales ever completed in California.Jim Bartsch/The AgencyA close competitor is a Los Angeles mansion dubbed The One, which listed earlier this month at a whopping $295 million.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Millennials are making mobile homes a new symbol of the American Dream

Author Parag Khanna says trailer homes are a "symbol of the new American mobility." It's also typical millennial lemonade made out of economic lemons. Younger generations are finding new ways to propel economic mobility.Evgeny Vasenev/Aurora Photos/Getty Images Trailer parks, tiny houses, and RV sites are booming in Austin, Bloomberg reported. The pandemic has accelerated a shift to living in mobile homes, a globalization expert told Insider. Younger generations are leading the way, he said, and it's opening up paths to economic and social mobility. Fifteen miles east of downtown Austin, Texas, a community known as Oak Ranch is growing.But it's not an Austin suburb. It's a trailer park, and the incoming residents fueling its growth happen to be Tesla workers. So reported Bloomberg's Michael Smith and Shelly Hagan in an article detailing Elon Musk's influence in the Austin housing market. The city has been a magnet for Americans seeking more space, fewer taxes, and warmer weather during the pandemic, with a particularly strong pull towards those in Silicon Valley. The Tesla CEO is no exception, as he famously decamped from California to Texas during the pandemic.But when the world's richest man moves to town to build a new Tesla Gigafactory, it's no surprise that an affordability crisis follows. Tesla promised 5,000 to 10,000 "middle-skill" jobs paying a little under $50,000 a year at its factory, but that doesn't go far in a city where the median house listed is $525,000. Austinites are making lemonade with the latest economic lemons they've been given, by turning to trailer parks like Oak Ranch, tiny houses, and RVs.As globalization expert Parag Khanna wrote in his new book, "Move: The Forces Uprooting Us," the trailer home "is the ultimate symbol of the new American mobility." He told Insider that this type of small home is bigger than ever during the pandemic, and it's thanks to younger generations.The trailer home is becoming coolKhanna's book explores how the youth are shaping the future with a mobile lifestyle. The trailer home is a key part of that, he wrote, emerging as a "trendy, cost-effective, and sustainable alternative to traditional homeownership."To be clear, a trailer home is typically used to refer to a prefabricated house, such as a mobile or manufactured home. There are differences between all of these, and they are not the same as a tiny house or a camper van, both of which fall more into the RV category.All of these alternative lifestyles have something in common that Khanna is referring to: they enable owners to live a more nomadic lifestyle and present a more affordable solution to aspiring homeowners in a time when housing prices are sky high.That's exactly what many millennials were seeking in the 2010s, causing mobile and minimalist living like the tiny house movement and #vanlife to to take off. Now facing their generation's second housing crisis, and freed from the office in an era of remote work, they've been even more inclined to turn to a life on wheels since the pandemic began. Millennials in Austin are one cohort exemplifying this trend, real estate broker Matt Menard told Bloomberg."Their instinct is, 'I'm not going to be stuck in place. I'm not going to take on more debt. I don't need to own that home,'" Khanna said.Since the pandemic began, makers of camper vans, RVs, and travel trailers have been updating on existing builds or creating new floor plans to accommodate the growing market. Tiny house builders saw sales fly last year, and the number of Americans who would consider living in one increased from 53% in 2018 to 56% in 2020, according to two separate studies. Khanna argues that the increase in trailer living is a good thing because physical mobility opens up paths to economic and social mobility. He said it's even creating a new version of the American Dream. The new version of the "picket fence," he said, is having a tiny home that's mobile enough to give you a view of Boise, one week, and Tahoe the next. "When people move, their circumstances improve," he told Insider, likening it to a mouse in the wheel who stays inside their cage to run faster. The solution, he said, is to move to a different cage.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 18th, 2021

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings One day after Goldman doubled down on its call for a market meltup into year-end, futures on the Nasdaq 100 edged higher, while contracts on the S&P 500 were modestly higher on Monday, approaching record highs again as investors braced for a flood of earnings (164 of 500 S&P companies report this week) while weighing rising inflation concerns, Covid-19 risks and China’s deteriorating outlook (Goldman slashed China's 2022 GDP to 5.2% from 5.6% overnight). The FOMC enters quiet period ahead of next week's FOMC meeting, which means no Fed speakers as attention shifts to economic data and corporate earnings. At 745 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.25 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36.25 points, or 0.25%. Bitcoin bounced back over $63,000 after sliding below $60,000 over the weekend, the 10-year US Treasury yield rose and the dollar also rose after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell flagged that inflation could stay higher for longer, fueling investor concern that sticky price increases may force policy makers to raise borrowing costs. Global markets have remained resilient despite risks from price pressures stoked by supply-chain bottlenecks and higher energy costs. On Sunday, Janet Yellen was among those counseling the inflation situation reflects temporary pain that will ease in the second half of 2022 even as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey warned hyperinflation is coming. Investors are wary that tighter monetary policy to keep inflation in check will stir volatility “Inflation concerns will continue to dominate markets this year as the price of crude oil remains elevated,” while “the pandemic remains a central concern,” said Siobhan Redford, an analyst at FirstRand Bank Ltd. in Johannesburg. “This will add further complexity to the already difficult decisions facing policy makers around the world.” All of FAAMG - Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and - are set to report their results later this week. The companies shares, which collectively account for over 22% of the weighting in the S&P 500, were mixed in trading before the bell. Facebook shares fell in premarket trading, extending six weeks of declines, after Bloomberg reported that the social-media company is struggling to attract younger users and that employees are concerned over the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results after the market closes. “After Snap got an Apple caught in its throat, markets will have an itchy trigger finger over the sell button if the social network says the same,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA. “Additionally, this week, it is a FAANG-sters paradise ... that decides whether the U.S. earnings season party continues, before the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) reasserts its dominance next week.” PayPal jumped 6.4% as the company said it wasn’t currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest, ending days of speculation over a potential $45 billion deal. Shares of Pinterest plunged 12.5%. Tesla gained 2.2% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley raised its price target for the stock by a third, citing “extraordinary” sales growth. The stock then surged to new all time highs after Bloomberg reported that Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Teslas in the first step of an ambitious plan to electrify its rental-car fleet. Oil firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil rose about 0.5% each, tracking Brent crude prices to three-year high. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks gain in premarket trading as Bitcoin climbs back above the $63,000 per token level after slipping from its record high last week. Crypto-linked stocks that are climbing in premarket include Bakkt +6.6%, Hive Blockchain +3.9%, Hut 8 Mining +2.8%, Riot Blockchain +2.2%, MicroStrategy +2.3%, Marathon Digital +2.8%, Coinbase +1.9%, Silvergate +1.8%, Bit Digital +1.2% and Mogo +0.8% Strong earnings reports helped lift the S&P 500 and the Dow to record highs last week, with the benchmark index rising 5.5% so far in October to recoup all of the losses suffered last month.  However, market participants are looking beyond the impressive earnings numbers with a focus on how companies mitigate supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and inflationary pressures to sustain growth. Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to grow 34.8% year-on-year for the third quarter, according to data from Refinitiv. On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. In Europe, mining companies and banks gained but the telecommunications and industrial goods and services sectors declined, leaving the Stoxx 600 index little changed. Banks rose on HSBC’s bright outlook. Spain’s Banco de Sabadell SA jumped more than 5% after rejecting an offer for its U.K. unit. Telecoms and industrials were the biggest losers. Volvo Car slashed its initial public offering by a fifth, making it the latest in a string of European companies to pull back from equity markets roiled by soaring energy costs and persistent supply chain delay. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Banca Monte dei Paschi slides as much as 9.5% after the Italian government and UniCredit ended talks over the sale of the lender. Exor shares gain as much as 5.6% in Milan trading to the highest level on record after a report that the Agnelli family’s holding co. revived talks with Covea for the sale of Exor’s reinsurance unit PartnerRe. Banco Sabadell jumps as much as 5.6% after it said it rejected an offer for its TSB Bank unit in the U.K. from Co-operative Bank. SSAB rises as much as 5.2% after the Swedish steelmaker posted 3Q earnings well above analysts expectations. Handelsbanken analyst Gustaf Schwerin said the figures were “very strong.” Weir Group rises as much as 3.7% after Exane BNP Paribas raised the stock to outperform. Analyst Bruno Gjani says the stock’s underperformance YTD provides a “compelling entry opportunity.” Darktrace drops as much as 26% after Peel Hunt initiated coverage of the cybersecurity firm with a sell rating and 473p price target that implies about 50% downside to Friday’s close. Nordic Semiconductor declines as much as 8.8% after ABG Sundal Collier downgraded to hold. German business morale deteriorated for the fourth month running in October as supply bottlenecks in manufacturing, a spike in energy prices and rising COVID-19 infections are slowing the pace of recovery in Europe’s largest economy from the pandemic. The Ifo institute said on Monday that its business climate index fell to 97.7 from an upwardly revised 98.9 in September. This was the lowest reading since April and undershot the 97.9 consensus forecast in a Reuters poll. “Supply problems are giving businesses headaches,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that capacity utilisation in manufacturing was falling. “Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery.” The weaker-than-expected business sentiment survey was followed by a grim outlook from Germany’s central bank, which said in its monthly report that economic growth was likely to slow sharply in the fourth quarter. The Bundesbank added that full-year growth was now likely to be “significantly” below its 3.7% prediction made in June. Earlier in Asia, stocks dipped in Japan and were mixed in China, where the central bank boosted a daily liquidity injection and officials expanded a property-tax trial. Signs that it would take at least five years before authorities impose any nationwide property tax bolstered some industrial metals.  Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved. The ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, while the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier inching lower to touch the weakest level since Sept. 27; the greenback was mixed against its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies performing best, led by the Australian dollar and Norwegian krone. The euro hovered around $1.1650 even as German business confidence took another hit in October as global supply logjams damp momentum in the manufacturing-heavy economy. Ifo business confidence fell to 97.7 in October, from 98.9 in the prior month. The pound inched up, rising alongside other risk- sensitive Group-of-10 currencies, having trailed all its peers on Friday after Brexit risks reared their head late in the London session. A quiet week for U.K. data turns focus to the upcoming government budget. The Australian dollar rose against all its Group-of-10 peers, tracking commodity gains, with market sentiment also boosted by the People’s Bank of China’s move to inject additional cash into the banking system. The yen declined after rising for three consecutive days; Economists expect the BoJ to keep its policy rate unchanged Thursday. Turkey’s lira fell to a record low as the country’s latest diplomatic spat gave traders another reason to sell the struggling currency. Day traders in Japan have started trimming their bullish wagers on the Turkish lira, with forced liquidation a growing threat as the currency tumbles. In rates, Treasuries were under pressure again, with the yield curve steeper as US trading begins Monday. They’re retracing a portion of Friday’s swift flattening, which occurred after Fed Chair Powell said rising inflation rates would draw a response from the central bank. 5s30s curve is back to ~89bp vs Friday’s low 85bp, within half a basis point of the lowest level in more than a year. Long-end yields are higher by as much as 3bp, 10-year by 2.7bp at 1.66%, widening vs most developed-market yields; yields across the curve remain inside Friday’s ranges, which included higher 2- and 5-year yields since 1Q 2020. Curve-steepening advanced after an apparent wager via futures blocks. In commodities, Brent oil rallied above $86 a barrel after Saudi Arabia urged caution in boosting supply. Gold rose for a fifth day, the longest run of gains since July, as risks around higher-for-longer inflation bolstered the metal’s appeal. Facebook will report its third quarter results after the market today, followed by Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon later in the week.  On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. Top Overnight News from Bloomberg S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,542.25 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 472.03 MXAP little changed at 200.13 MXAPJ up 0.1% to 661.46 Nikkei down 0.7% to 28,600.41 Topix down 0.3% to 1,995.42 Hang Seng Index little changed at 26,132.03 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,609.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 61,038.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,441.00 Kospi up 0.5% to 3,020.54 Brent Futures up 0.7% to $86.14/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,800.45 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.10% to 93.55 Euro up 0.1% to $1.1655 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s record on regulating the financial system, which has been a target of criticism from progressive Democrats arguing he shouldn’t get a new term. Yellen said she expects price increases to remain high through the first half of 2022, but rejected criticism that the U.S. risks losing control of inflation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the door to Democrats using a special budget tool to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without the support of Senate Republicans, whose votes would otherwise be needed to end a filibuster on the increase. President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats are racing to reach agreement on a scaled-back version of his economic agenda, with a self-imposed deadline and his departure later this week for summits in Europe intensifying pressure on negotiations. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann’s surprise announcement last week that he will leave on Dec. 31 has hit Berlin at a sensitive time, with Chancellor Angela Merkel currently running only a caretaker administration in the aftermath of an election whose outcome is likely to remove her CDU party from power. Some holders of an Evergrande bond on which the embattled developer had missed a coupon deadline last month received the interest before the end of a grace period Saturday, according to people familiar with the matter. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved with the region now mixed heading into the European open. US equity futures overnight opened trade with a mild negative tilt before drifting higher, with a broad-based performance experienced across the Stateside contracts, whilst European equity contracts are marginally firmer. Back to APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. Top Asian News Xi Takes Veiled Swipe at U.S. as China Marks 50 Years at UN Hong Kong Convicts Second Person Under National Security Law Gold Extends Gain as Inflation Risks and Virus Concerns Persist Amnesty to Quit Hong Kong Citing Fears Under Security Law A tentative start to the week for European equities (Stoxx 600 U/C) as stocks struggle to find direction. On the macro front, the latest IFO report from Germany was mixed, with commentary from IFO downbeat, noting that Germany's economy faces an uncomfortable autumn as supply chain problems were causing trouble for companies, and production capacities were falling. The overnight session was a mixed bag with the Shanghai Composite (+0.8%) supported by a liquidity injection from the PBoC whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. Stateside, US futures are marginally firmer with newsflow in the US in part, focused on events on Capitol Hill with CNN reporting that the goal among Democratic leaders is to have a vote Wednesday or Thursday on the infrastructure package. Note, the Fed is currently observing its blackout period ahead of the November meeting. From an earnings perspective, large-cap tech earnings dominate the slate for the week with the likes of Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) all due to report. Back to Europe, sectors are somewhat mixed as Basic Resources is the marked outperformer amid upside in underlying commodity prices. It’s been a busy morning for the Banking sector as HSBC (+1%) reported a 74% increase in Q3 earnings, whilst Credit Suisse (+0.7%) is reportedly mulling the sale of its asset management unit. Less encouragingly for the sector, UniCredit (-0.5%) and BMPS (-3.2%) shares are lower after negations on a rescue plan for BMPS have ended without an agreement. Finally, Airbus (-1.2%) and Safran (-2.3%) sit at the foot of the CAC after reports suggesting that the CEO's of Avolon and AerCap have, in recent weeks, written to the Airbus CEO expressing their concerns that the market will not support Airbus' aggressive plans to increase the pace of production; subsequently, Airbus has rejected their proposal, according to sources. Top European News The Man Behind Erdogan’s Worst Spat With the West: QuickTake Weidmann Succession Suspense May Last for Weeks on Berlin Talks Cat Rock Capital Urges Just Eat Takeaway to Sell GrubHub European Gas Jumps Most in a Week as Russian Supplies Slump In FX, the Dollar is somewhat mixed vs major counterparts and the index is jobbing around 93.500 as a result in rather aimless fashion at the start of a typically quiet start to the new week awaiting fresh impetus or clearer direction that is highly unlikely to come from September’s national activity index or October’s Dallas Fed business survey. Instead, the Greenback appears to be reliant on overall risk sentiment, US Treasury yields on an outright and relative basis along with moves elsewhere and technical impulses as the DXY roams within a 93.775-483 range. TRY - Lira losses continue to stack up, and the latest swoon to circa 9.8545 against the Buck came on the back of Turkish President Erdogan’s decision to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata status due to their countries’ support for a jailed activist, including diplomats from the US, France and Germany. However, Usd/Try has actually pared some gains irrespective of a deterioration in manufacturing confidence and this may be partly psychological given that 10.0000 is looming with little in the way of chart resistance ahead of the big round number. AUD/NZD - Iron ore prices are helping the Aussie overcome rather mixed news on the COVID-19 front, as the state of Victoria is on course to open up further from Friday, but new cases in NSW rose by almost 300 for the second consecutive day on Sunday. Nevertheless, Aud/Usd has had another look at offers around 0.7500 and Aud/Nzd is approaching 1.0500 even though Westpac sees near term downside prospects for the cross while maintaining its 1.0600 year end projection, as Nzd/Usd continues to encounter resistance and supply into 0.7200. GBP/CAD - Sterling has regrouped after losing some of its hawkish BoE momentum and perhaps the Pound is benefiting from the latest rebound in Brent prices towards Usd 86.50/br on top of reports that the first round of talks between the UK and EU on NI Protocol were constructive, while the Loonie is up alongside WTI that has been adobe Usd 84.50 and awaiting the BoC on Wednesday. Cable is around 1.3750 after fading into 1.3800, Eur/Gbp is hovering above 0.8450 and Usd/Cad is pivoting 1.2350. EUR/JPY/CHF - The Euro has bounced from the lower half of 1.1600-1.1700 parameters and looks enshrined by a key Fib just beyond the current high (1.1670 represents a 38.2% retracement of the reversal from September peak to October trough) and decent option expiry interest under the low (1 bn between 1.1615-00), with little fundamental direction coming from a very inconclusive German Ifo survey - see 9.00BST post on the Headline Feed for the main metrics and accompanying comments from the institute. Elsewhere, the Yen is hedging bets prior to the BoJ within a 113.83-42 band against the Dollar and the Franc seems to have taken heed of another rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks as Usd/Chf climbs from circa 0.9150 towards 0.9200 and Eur/Chf trades nearer the top of a 1.0692-65 corridor. SCANDI/EM/PM - Firm oil prices are also underpinning the Nok, Rub and Mxn to various extents, while the Zar looks content with Gold’s advance on Usd 1800/oz and the Cnh/Cny have derived traction via a firmer onshore PBoC midpoint fix, a net Yuan 190 bn 7 day liquidity injection and the fact that China’s Evergrande has restarted work on more than 10 projects having made more interest payments on bonds in time to meet 30 day grace period deadlines. In commodities, a modestly firmer start to the week for the crude complex though action has been contained and rangebound throughout the European session after a modest grinding bid was seen in APAC hours. Currently, the benchmarks post upside of circa USD 0.30/bbl amid relatively minimal newsflow. The most pertinent update to watch stems from China, where the National Health Commission spokesperson said China's current COVID outbreak covers 11 provinces and expects the number of new cases to keep rising; additionally, the number of affected provinces could increase. Separately, but on COVID, they are some reports that the UK Government is paving the wat for ‘plan B’ measures in England, while this are primarily ‘softer’ restrictions a return of work-from-home guidance could hamper the demand-side of the equation. Note, further reports indicate this is not on the cards for this week and there are some indications that we could see, if necessary, such an announcement after the COP26 summit in Scotland ends on November 12th. Elsewhere, and commentary to keep an eye on for alterations given the above factors, Goldman Sachs writes that the persistence of the global oil demand recovery being on course to hit pre-COVID levels would present an upside risk to its end-2021 USD 90/bbl Brent price target. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are firmer but reside within tight ranges of just over USD 10/oz in gold, for instance. In a similar vein to crude, newsflow explicitly for metals has been minimal but it is of course attentive to the COVID-19 situation while coal futures were hampered overnight as China’s State Planner announced it is to increase credit supervision in the area. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.20, prior 0.29 10:30am: Oct. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 6.2, prior 4.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Well I saw Frozen twice this weekend. Once in the flesh up in London in the musical version and once on TV on Sunday at the heart of Manchester United’s defence which was breached 5 (five) times by Liverpool without reply. Regular readers can guess which I enjoyed the most. Anyway I’ll let it go for now and prepare myself for a bumper week ahead for markets. This week we have decisions from the ECB and the Bank of Japan (both Thursday) even if the Fed will be on mute as they hit their blackout period ahead of the likely taper decision next week. Inflation will obviously remain in the spotlight too as we get the October flash estimate for the Euro Area (Friday) with some regional numbers like German (Thursday) before. In addition, the Q3 earnings season will ramp up further, with 165 companies in the S&P 500 reporting, including Facebook (today), Microsoft, and Alphabet (both tomorrow), and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). Elsewhere, the UK government will be announcing their latest budget and spending review (Wednesday), Covid will remain in the headlines in light of the growing number of cases in many countries, and we’ll get the first look at Q3 GDP growth in the US (Thursday) and the Euro Area (Friday). Starting with those central bank meetings, we’re about to enter a couple of important weeks with the ECB and BoJ meeting this week, before the Fed and the BoE follow the week after. Market anticipation is much higher for the latter two though. So by comparison, the ECB and the BoJ are likely to be somewhat quieter, and our European economists write in their preview (link here) that this Governing Council meeting is likely to be a staging ground ahead of wide-ranging policy decisions in December, and will therefore be about tone and expectations management. One thing to keep an eye on in particular will be what is said about the recent surge in natural gas prices, as well as if ECB President Lagarde challenges the market pricing on liftoff as inconsistent with their inflation forecasts and new rates guidance. 5yr5yr Euro inflation swaps hit 2% for the first time on Friday so if the market is to be believed the ECB has achieved long-term success in hitting its mandate. With regards to the meeting, we think there’ll be more action in December where our economists’ baseline is that there’ll be confirmation that PEPP purchases will end in March 2022. See the BoJ preview here. Inflation will remain heavily in focus for markets over the week ahead, with recent days having seen investor expectations of future inflation rise to fresh multi-year highs. See the week in review at the end for more details. This week one of the main highlights will be the flash Euro Area CPI reading for October, which is out on Friday. Last month, CPI rose to 3.4%, which is the highest inflation has been since 2008, and this time around our economists are expecting a further increase in the measure to 3.8%. However, their latest forecast update (link here) expects that we’ll see the peak of 3.9% in November, before inflation starts to head back down again. The other main data highlight will come from the Q3 GDP figures, with releases for both the US and the Euro Area. For the US on Thursday the Atlanta Fed tracker has now hit a low of only +0.53%. DB is at 2.3% with consensus at 2.8%. Earnings season really ramps up this week, with the highlights including some of the megacap tech firms, and a total of 165 companies in the S&P 500 will be reporting. Among the firms to watch out for include Facebook and HSBC today. Then tomorrow, we’ll hear from Microsoft, Alphabet, Visa, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Texas Instruments, UPS, General Electric, UBS and Twitter. On Wednesday, releases will include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Boeing, General Motors, Santander and Ford. Thursday then sees reports from Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Comcast, Merck, Royal Dutch Shell, Linde, Volkswagen, Starbucks, Sanofi, Caterpillar, Lloyds Banking Group and Samsung. Finally on Friday, we’ll hear from ExxonMobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Charter Communications, Daimler, BNP Paribas, Aon and NatWest Group. Here in the UK, the main highlight next week will be the government’s Autumn Budget on Wednesday, with the Office for Budget Responsibility also set to release their latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook alongside that. In addition to the budget, the government will also be outlining the latest Spending Review, which will cover public spending priorities over the next 3 years. Our UK economists have released a preview of the event (link here), where they write that 2021-22 borrowing is expected to be revised down by £60bn, and they expect day-to-day spending will follow the path set out at the Spring Budget. They’re also expecting Chancellor Sunak will outline new fiscal rules. Finally, the pandemic is gaining increasing attention from investors again, with a number of countries having moved to toughen up restrictions in light of rising cases. This week, something to look out for will be the US FDA’s advisory committee meeting tomorrow, where they’ll be discussing Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine on 5-11 year olds. The CDC’s advisory committee is then holding a meeting on November 2 and 3 the following week, and the White House have said that if it’s authorised then the vaccine would be made available at over 25,000 paediatricians’ offices and other primary care sites, as well as in pharmacies, and school and community-based clinics. The full day by day calendar is at the end as usual. Asian markets are mixed this morning so far, as the Shanghai Composite (+0.38%), Hang Seng (+0.09%) and the KOSPI (+0.30%) are edging higher, while the Nikkei (-0.85%) is down. The rise in Chinese markets comes despite the news of 38 new COVID-19 cases as well as an announcement of a lockdown affecting around 35,700 residents of a county in Inner Mongolia. As China is one of the last countries in the world to still adhere to strict containment measures, a major outbreak can deal a fresh blow to the domestic economy and further reinforce global supply chain issues. Elsewhere the Turkish Lira hit fresh record lows, and is down around -1.5% as we type after last week’s surprise interest rate cut and Saturday’s news that ambassadors from 10 countries, including the US, Germany and France, were no longer welcome in the country. S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are around unchanged and 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.1bp. Looking back on an eventful week now, and there was a marked increase in inflation expectations, which manifested itself in global breakevens hitting multi-year, if not all-time, highs. Starting with the all-time highs, US 5-year breakevens increased +14.9bps (-1.0bps Friday) to 2.90%, the highest level since 5-year TIPS have started trading, while 10-year breakevens increased +7.5bps (-0.7bps Friday) to 2.64%, their highest readings since 2005. 10-year breakevens in Germany increased +9.5 bps (+3.6bps Friday) to 1.91%, their highest since 2011, while in the UK 10-year breakevens increased +17.1 bps (+4.0bps Friday) to 4.19%, the highest level since 1996. Remarkable as these levels are, 5-year 5-year inflation swaps in the US, UK, and Euro Area finished the week at 2.63%, 4.00%, and 2.00%, multi-year highs for all of these measures. If you never thought you’d see the day that long term inflation expectations in Europe would hit 2% then this is a nice/nasty surprise. Overall, this suggests investors are pricing in the potential for inflation far into the future to be higher, in addition to responding to near-term stimulus and Covid reopening impacts. Crude oil prices also climbed to their highest levels since 2014, with Brent climbing +1.07% (+1.37% Friday) and WTI gaining +2.07% (+1.79% Friday). One area where there was some reprieve was in industrial metals. Copper decreased -4.81% (-1.24% Friday), but at $449.80, remains +10.10% higher month-to-date. Bitcoin also joined the all-time high club intraweek, and finished the week +2.28% higher (-3.08% Friday). It marked a seminal week for the crypto asset, which saw ETFs and options on said ETFs begin trading in the US. The inflationary sentiment coincided with market pricing of central bank rate hikes shifting earlier. 2-year yields in the US, UK, and Germany increased +5.9 bps (+0.1bps Friday), +8.0 bps (-4.7 bps Friday), and +4.0 bps (+0.9bps Friday) respectively. In fact, money markets are now placing slightly-better-than even odds that the MPC will raise Bank Rate as early as next week. Fed and ECB officials offered some push back against the aggressive policy path repricing, but BoE speakers seemed to confirm a hike next week was a legitimate possibility. Rounding out sovereign bonds, nominal 10-year yields increased +6.2 bps (-6.9bps Friday) in the US, +4.0 bps (-5.6bps Friday) in the UK, +6.2 bps (-0.3 bps Friday) in Germany, +6.0 bps (-0.1bpFriday) in France, and +8.1 bps (+0.8bps Friday) in Italy. Inflation expectations didn’t fall with the big rally in the US and U.K. but real rates rallied hard. The S&P 500 increased +1.64% over the week, but ended its 7-day winning streak after retreating on -0.11% Friday. On earnings, 117 S&P 500 companies have now reported third quarter earnings. Roughly 85% of companies have beat earnings expectations compared to the five-year average of 76%, while 74% of reporting companies have beat sales estimates. The aggregate earnings surprise is +13.05%, topping the 5-year average of +8.4%, while the sales surprise is +2.06%. Although a seemingly strong performance on the surface, our equity team, after taking a look under the hood in this note here, points out that a large part of the beats so far is due to loan-loss reserve releases by banks. Excluding those, the aggregate S&P 500 beat is running much closer to historical average, suggesting the headline beats have not been as broad based as they look at first glance. Congressional Democrats spent the week negotiating the next fiscal package, which is set to spend more than $1 trillion on social priorities key to the Biden administration. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that 90% of the bill is agreed to and would be voted on before October was out. One of the key sticking points has been what offsetting revenue raising measures should be included in the final bill. As those details emerge, it should give us a better picture as to the ultimate additional fiscal impulse the new bill will provide. Finally, global services PMIs out last Friday expanded while manufacturing PMIs lagged. Readings across jurisdictions were consistent with supply chain issues continuing to impact activity. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/25/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2021

The 4 best Instant Pots and electric pressure cookers we tested in 2021

Electric pressure cookers, including the popular Instant Pot, make it easy to prepare elaborate dishes quickly. These are the best ones you can buy. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. James Brains/Insider A good multicooker can pressure cook, slow cook, and brown or sear food effortlessly. We cooked over 130 pounds of food in 11 multicookers to find the best ones on the market. The Crock-Pot Express Crock XL is our top pick with its simple controls and accurate cooking. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews kitchen products. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWhether you call them electric pressure cookers, multicookers, or Instant Pots - the name of the most popular brand - these countertop appliances have become a mainstay in American kitchens, especially since the coronavirus pandemic forced many people to cook at home.At their most basic, electric pressure cookers have functions for pressure cooking, slow cooking, and browning/searing/sauteing. And, some of the fancier models also air fry and sous vide. Unlike their non-electric stovetop forebears, today's electric pressure cookers have many safety mechanisms to protect you from blowing up your kitchen.To test electric pressure cookers, I pressure cooked, slow cooked, seared, air fried, and sous vide cooked 80 pounds of pork, 25 pounds of chicken, 11 pounds of dried beans, 6 pounds of beef, 6 pounds of dry rice, and 2 pounds of frozen French fries in 11 multicookers. I also consulted with Anne Wolf, a chef and chocolatier who worked on America's Test Kitchen's Multicooker Perfection, and Jeffrey Eisner, author of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook, which features recipes we used in our testing.I have tested kitchen appliances for four years and have developed several objective tests to determine which models are best for specific needs. You can find details about how I test electric multicookers here. In addition to our top picks, we list other models we recommend, what we look forward to testing, and common FAQs at the end of the guide.Here are the best electric pressure cookersBest electric pressure cooker overall: Crock-Pot Express Crock XL MulticookerBest electric pressure cooker on a budget: Instant Pot Duo Multi-Use Programmable Pressure CookerBest smart electric pressure cooker: Chef iQ Smart CookerBest multitasking electric pressure cooker: Instant Pot Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker Best electric pressure cooker overall James Brains/Insider The Crock-Pot Express Crock XL Multicooker performed well in all of our cooking tests, and its button controls make programming it a snap.Capacity: 8 quartsInner pot material: NonstickSettings: brown/sear, saute, slow cook, simmer, boil, yogurt, keep warm, meat/stew, poultry, beans/chili, soup/broth, rice/grains, dessert, steamNumber of included recipes: 34Extras: Extra sealing gasket, steaming rack, plastic serving spoonPros: Intuitive controls, produced delicious and tender food, excellent browning, comes with an extra gasket, spacious 8-quart potCons: The pressure took longer than average to build with some items, the sealing gasket comes loose easilyThe Crock-Pot Express Crock XL Multicooker was the only model to do well in all of our tests. Within five minutes of opening the box, I had the unit building pressure. The controls are intuitive and include a button for making custom pressure and time adjustments. I like that it comes with an extra sealing gasket since the seal tends to hold onto flavors, which can be off-putting when switching between savory and sweet dishes.All of the dishes we made in the Express Crock XL were excellent. It was one of the fastest to build pressure during our pork test, and the resulting meat shredded effortlessly. The slow cooker pork also shredded easily after the ten-hour cook, though there were still a few harder chunks.In under an hour (including building and releasing pressure), the Crock-Pot electric pressure cooker cooked a pound of dried pinto beans, and the results were flavorful with nearly-perfect texture and great uniformity. The rice was also nearly perfect, though it took 33 minutes (including the pressure build), which was longer than most models. The pressure also took a little longer than other units to build after searing. The spacious 8-quart inner pot is large enough for a 5.5-pound chicken, which we cooked following the recipe in the included booklet. The browning was beautiful, and the final product was falling off the bone, juicy, full of flavor, and didn't taste overcooked. Though the inner pot is dishwasher safe, the nonstick surface makes it easy to clean by hand. The sealing gasket is also dishwasher safe, but I found this wasn't enough to remove the pulled pork odor — a problem with all of the units we tested.The biggest problem we had with the Crock-Pot Express Crock XL Multicooker is that the sealing gasket didn't fit as well as other models. It came loose when jostled so we had to make sure it was positioned just right before putting the lid on. We seemed to nail it each time, though, and never had trouble building pressure.Express Crock XL Multicooker (8-quart) (button) Best budget electric pressure cooker James Brains/Insider If you're looking for a basic affordable multicooker from the top name in the industry, the Instant Pot Duo Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is your best bet.Capacity: 6 quartsInner pot material: Nonstick Settings: pressure cook, sear/saute, steam, slow cook, sterilize, keep warm, ferment plus 300+ preset programs in its menuNumber of included recipes: 1000+ in the Chef iQ App (available for iOS and Android)Extras: Extra sealing gasket, steam rack, steam basket, heat-resistant pad for lidPros: Produced tender and juicy slow cooked pork, builds pressure quickly, good browning, dishwasher-safe and metal utensil-safe stainless steel inner pot, Instant Pot app features 100s of recipesCons: Takes experimentation to get cooking times right, controls take some getting used toWith more than 130,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, the Instant Pot Duo Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is the most popular electric multicooker on the market. It comes in three, six, and eight-quart sizes and features a stainless steel inner pot, which is found in most Instant Pots. Though overcooked food can get stuck to the pot making it hard to clean, we like that it's dishwasher-safe and metal utensil-safe.The Duo did okay in each of our tests, but excelled in our slow cooker test. The slow cooker pulled pork shredded effortlessly and had excellent, juicy flavor. The pressure build was quick for the pressure-cooked pulled pork, but the resulting pork was tougher and harder to shred than we would have liked. It seemed like it could have used 10 more minutes of pressure cooking.Again, the pressure built quickly for the rice and beans, but the rice was a little too chewy and the beans were slightly overcooked (although not to the point of mushiness). Rather than providing you with a print recipe book, Instant Pot has a free app with hundreds of recipes. I chose a recipe for "perfect seared chicken" which involved searing chicken breasts coated in herbs and spices before a quick pressure cook. The chicken breasts browned well, and the pressure build was fast, but the finished product was dry.Setup was quick, but operating the Duo wasn't exactly intuitive. I was confused about whether it had started building pressure or not. It was so quiet and just said "on." There's no start button. I had to consult the manual to see that "on" means it's building pressure.Despite these negatives, we still think the Instant Pot Duo is a good budget option — especially if it's on sale during Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday as it seems to be every year. All of the functions work well, and the negatives can be fixed easily by adding or subtracting time as you get used to the appliance.DUO 60 7-in-1 (6-qt) (button) Best smart electric pressure cooker Amazon With its hundreds of preset programs and step-by-step interactive recipes, the Chef iQ Smart Cooker is outstandingly precise.Capacity: 6 quartsInner pot material: Nonstick Settings: pressure cook, sear/saute, steam, slow cook, sterilize, keep warm, ferment plus 300+ preset programs in its menuNumber of included recipes: 1000+ in the Chef iQ App (available for iOS and Android)Extras: Extra sealing gasket, steam rack, steam basket, heat-resistant pad for lidPros: WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, helpful app with 1000+ interactive recipes, full-color screen with 300+ present programs, quickest to cook rice and beans, good at searing, easy to set upCons: Didn't do well in our pulled pork testsWhile we've given the Chef iQ Smart Cooker the title of best smart electric multicooker in our guide, it was the only WiFi-connected multicooker we tested this time around. However, regardless of its smart capabilities, it performed impressively.The Chef iQ has the best screen and most precise cooking options of any of the units we tested, and it was easy to set up. Whereas other models have a button for beans, the full-color screen of the Chef iQ cooker offers much more detail. It has specific programs based on bean type, whether they're soaked, and how much you're cooking. And, the customization worked well. The Smart Cooker cooked a pound of beans 13 minutes faster than any other model, and the texture was uniformly excellent.Another great feature is the three pressure release options: natural, quick, and pulse. The Chef iQ multicooker recommends a release method based on what you're cooking, or you can change it based on your preferences. If you choose quick or pulse release, the Smart Cooker automatically starts releasing the pressure (with a warning to ensure you're at a safe distance) at the end of your cooking time.The recipes in the Chef iQ app offer step-by-step directions and interact with the Smart Cooker to automatically adjust the settings to fit the recipe. As the cooker completes each of the timed steps, a push notification is sent to your phone. Since it's WiFi-connected, you can receive the notifications anywhere you have an Internet connection. I went for a walk and received an alert when pressure cooking finished up, and was given the option to release the steam. One quibble I have with the smart features is you have to press the Start button on the cooker to initiate the cooking. You can't just start it on your phone. This is done for safety reasons, but if you want it to start while you're away, you can set a delayed start in the app.I followed the app's step-by-step directions to make a whole chicken, and the recipe was accurate. Plus, the cooker browned the chicken well prior to pressure cooking it.The Chef iQ Smart Cooker made rice with a nearly perfect texture in under 20 minutes (including building pressure). The only area where the cooker stumbled was making pulled pork. After the slow and pressure cooking, the meat wasn't tender enough to shred easily. I was surprised by this so I pressure cooked another batch, and the results were the same. I'd recommend adding an extra 10 minutes to the cooking time for easier shredding.Smart Cooker (button) Best multitasking electric pressure cooker James Brains/Insider The Instant Pot Duo Crisp is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, air fryer, and sous vide machine all in one, making it one of the most useful and economical small appliances we tested.Capacity: 8 quartsInner pot material: Stainless steel Settings: pressure cook, saute, slow cooker, steam, sous vide, air fry, roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, keep warmNumber of included recipes: 100s in the free Instant Pot app (available for iOS and Android)Extras: Air fryer lid, air fryer basket, heat-resistant pad for lid, broil/dehydrate tray, steam rack Pros: Features air frying and sous vide cooking options, comes with an app with 100s of recipes, easy to set up and use, cooks rice in under 20 minutesCons: Tended to build pressure and heat up slowly, didn't sear wellSure, multicookers can be used to perform a variety of tasks. That's why they're called "multicookers". But, some of today's models can do more than the usual pressure cooking, slow cooking, and sauteing. We tested three units that could either air fry or sous vide, but only the Instant Pot Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker could do both. The Duo Crisp comes with two lids: one for the usual multicooker activities and another with a built-in fan for air frying. And, an air fryer basket fits in the inner pot to allow for better airflow and flavorful browning. We air fried frozen French fries and were impressed with how quickly they were ready and how crispy they tasted.When sous vide cooking, the Instant Pot was slow to get the water bath up to temp, but the resulting steak was tender and perfectly done. Setting up the Duo Crisp was effortless, though if you're new to air frying or sous vide cooking, you may want to take a minute to look at the user manual to ensure you set it up correctly.In our standard cooking tests, the Duo Crisp was one of two models to cook rice in under 20 minutes, and the finished product had a good texture, was sticky, and wasn't too dry. The pressure cooker pork and beans also came out nearly perfect, though both took a little longer to build pressure than average. And, the slow cooker pork was a little harder to shred than we would have liked.Lastly, the "perfect seared chicken" recipe we tested from the Instant Pot app was less than perfect. First, the pot didn't sear the chicken well. It didn't get the nice crust that we look for. The pressure build took the longest of any model post-sear, and though the results were flavorful, the chicken was dry.Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker with Air Fryer (8 Qt) (button) What else we tested We tested 11 electric pressure cookers for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut.What else we recommend and why:Zavor LUX LCD ($174.95): Professional chef and chocolatier Anne Wolf liked this model when working at America's Test Kitchen. It has more than 30 programmable settings, including sous vide, and an easy-to-read LCD display. In our tests, it was easy to set up and use. It was quick to build pressure and made juicy, easy-to-shred pulled pork. However, we weren't as impressed with its bean cooking and meat searing. Ninja Foodi XL Pressure Cooker ($179): The Ninja Foodi rose to prominence as the first multicooker to feature air frying, and we almost made it our multitasking pick, but we chose the Instant Pot Duo Crisp because it also does sous vide. Yet, if you have no interest in sous vide, consider the Foodi, which did a great job searing, slow cooking, and pressure cooking delicious meals, though it took longer than most units to build pressure.Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 80 ($139.95): The Duo Evo Plus's stay-cool handles built into the inner pot set it apart from other multicookers. Usually, you need to grab potholders to lift a multicooker's pot out, but that's not the case with this model. It also keeps the pot in place when you stir the contents. The screen is packed full of info, including several preset programs. It didn't make our guide because it didn't do better than average at any cooking task and was one of the worst at rice and slow-cooker pork.Instant Pot Duo Plus ($119.95): This is the favorite Instant Pot of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook author Jeffrey Eisner. We liked how easy it is to use and that it has sous vide cooking. It also did a great job of making tender, juicy pulled pork. However, it was slower than most of the other models at building pressure, which adds to cooking times. And, the sear didn't produce the golden brown crust we were looking for. Still, if you're looking for an affordable multicooker that can do sous vide, this is a great pick.What we don't recommend and why:GoWise USA 14-Quart ($130.67): We were interested in this model because it's larger than anything else we tested. We wondered if it could still perform well. It didn't. The controls are confusing, it takes longer to build pressure, it didn't sear well, and the included recipes were designed for GoWise USA's smaller multicookers. Still, it did well pressure cooking pork and rice. Crock-Pot Express Oval Max ($129.99): This was the only multicooker we tested that had an oval inner pot. We only found this useful for fitting longer cuts of meat and keeping the pot from spinning when stirring. However, it was slow to build pressure, didn't sear well, and the included recipes weren't accurate. Instant Pot Ultra ($134.99): The only positive we could find with the IP Ultra is it was easy to set up and use. Other than that, the performance was subpar. It was among the slowest to build pressure in every test. It did an okay job searing, but the chicken from the included recipe was dry and flavorless. If you want an Instant Pot, you'll be happier with any of the other models we tested. Our pressure cooker testing methodology James Brains/Insider Here are the main attributes we looked for and how we tested them:Setup: I timed how quickly I was able to get the cooker set up and building pressure from the moment I opened the box. I also noted whether I was able to do this without looking at the instructions or if the controls were confusing. Most units took five minutes or less to set up.Pressurizing: Many pressure cooker recipes look like they won't take long, but few factor in the time it takes for the unit to build pressure. A cooker that builds pressure quickly is a real timesaver. I tested how long it took each model to get up to pressure with just four cups of water inside. I also tracked how long the pressure build took during all of the cooking tests. I gave more favorable scores to cookers that built pressure quickly.Performance: I put each multicooker through five cooking tests:Pressure-cooked pulled pork: I cooked about 3.5 pounds of pork butt on high pressure for an hour. After a 10-minute natural release followed by a quick release, I removed the pork and noted how easy it was to shred and how it tasted.Slow-cooked pulled pork: To test the slow-cooking capabilities, I cooked about 3.5 pounds of pork butt on low for 10 hours. Then, I removed the pork and noted how easy it was to shred and how it tasted.Rice: I added a cup of jasmine rice and a cup of water to each unit and selected the rice function. If there was no rice function, I used the basic recipe from The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook. In addition to noting the total cooking time, I tasted each batch to judge the texture, chew, and stickiness. I also judged how uniformly the rice was cooked.Beans: I combined one pound of pinto beans and two quarts of water in each unit and selected the bean function, if there wasn't a bean function, I used the recipe from The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook. In addition to noting the cooking time, I tasted each batch to judge the texture and uniformity.Included recipe: To determine the accuracy of the recipes included with each unit, I picked out one recipe that featured chicken, pressure cooking, and sauteing so I could test the cookers' searing function. I judged how uniform and close to golden brown the sear was, and how the food tasted.Additional functions: Three of the units I tested featured sous vide cooking, and two had air frying capabilities. To test the sous vide, I cooked a NY Strip at 129 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours and assessed how tender and flavorful it was. All sous vide cookers performed well. For air frying, I cooked a pound of Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food French Fries at 400 degrees for eight minutes — shaking the basket halfway through — and judged the doneness.To keep waste to a minimum, I donated most of the pulled pork my family didn't eat to a local restaurant. And, extra rice and beans went to feed the pigs at a local farm. What we look forward to testing We're always testing new electric pressure cookers and retesting our top picks to determine the best ones. Here's what we're looking forward to testing for potential inclusion in this guide:Instant Pot Smart Wifi ($149.99): We want to expand our testing of smart multicookers. A smart Instant Pot is an obvious choice. We're curious to see if the smart connectivity really improves the user experience or if it's more of a gimmicky afterthought.Instant Pot Duo Nova ($99.99): The Duo Nova is designed with the beginner home chef in mind. The lid automatically seals when pressure cooking, and it displays the progress of the pressure build. We want to see exactly how user-friendly this model is.GoWise USA Ovate ($117.54): We're interested in seeing if GoWise USA has figured out the oval multicooker puzzle. This model has a nonstick pot with built-in, cool-touch handles. At 8.5 quarts, it's bigger than most, but hopefully, it can perform better than the disappointing GoWise USA 14-quart behemoth we tested.Breville Fast Slow Pro ($279.95): I was not able to get a sample of this pricey multicooker for this update. It features eight pressure levels ranging from 1.5 to 12 psi. You can also release the pressure with the press of a button on the front control panel, which makes it easier to stay out of harm's way. FAQs James Brains/Insider How do electric pressure cookers work?Dating back to the 1600s, pressure cooking involves using heat and pressure to cook food more quickly. Prior to the Instant Pot revolutionizing the industry, pressure cookers were non-electric stovetop devices. But, Instant Pot changed that with its countertop electric version. In order for pressure to build in the cooker, the pot needs to have sufficient liquid (check your unit's user manual for how much) and the lid must be airtight. The steam created from the heated liquid causes the pressure to build and permits for higher cooking temperatures and thus faster cooking.Once you're done cooking, you must first release the pressure before removing the lid. This is a step that varies by model so consult your multicooker's user manual for how to safely do this.Are electric multicookers safe?For the most part, today's electric pressure cookers are safe. However, you still need to be careful. Many people are afraid to use electric pressure cookers because they have heard stories of them exploding on the stove. That was a problem with the old stovetop models, but there are several safety mechanisms that minimize the chance of this happening with modern electric cookers."I was never concerned about a multicooker exploding on the countertops," said chef and chocolatier Anne Wolf. Jeffrey Eisner, author of The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook agreed. "If you're going to compare pressure cookers from back in the day when they were on stovetops to today's that are electric and have locking, a big difference is today's lids will stay securely on top," said Eisner. "I feel comfortable using them, and I've never been afraid. I've never had any issues personally."However, today's electric pressure cookers are not without their risks. "I did find that it's easy to burn yourself on the steam when you're doing a quick release," said Wolf. "So, there's some burn risk."The best way to minimize the burn risk when releasing the pressure is to use a wood spoon or other long utensil to engage the lever that opens the vent. The steam always comes from the top so make sure you are not standing over the cooker when releasing the steam.From using a pressure cooker for years and following the Instant Pot community on Facebook, one of the most common dangers I've seen is people using their multicooker on a stove and accidentally turning the burner on. Every brand warns against putting your cooker on the stove for this reason. So, I'm warning you. You're unlikely to get hurt, but it could make a big mess.What size electric pressure cooker should you get?"The sizes that I've seen are three quarts, six quarts, eight quarts, and now 10 quarts, which is enormous," said Eisner. "I always suggest getting the six-quart, even if you're just a family of two up to a family of six. The three-quart is good for maybe a single person, but it's limited. One of the best things you can make in an Instant Pot is a roast. But, you're going to have trouble in a three-quart model because it's so tiny. So, I always suggest going with a six-quart. Start with a six-quart, see how much you love your pot, and then, from there, people typically start to get addicted to it, and they'll get a larger size, like an eight-quart."Many of the models in our guide come in several sizes. All except one of the models we tested was either six or eight quarts, the two most popular sizes. We didn't notice any significant differences in cooking time or food quality between the sizes.Do Instant Pot recipes work in any multicooker?Most of the testing for this guide was done using recipes from Eisner's The Step-by-Step Instant Pot Cookbook, which was developed using a variety of Instant Pot-brand electric pressure cookers. In our testing, we didn't find any difference in how well the recipes turned out in off-brand pressure cookers versus Instant Pots. The recipes appear to translate well across brands.Though Eisner has never used another brand, he says his recipes work in non-Instant Pot multicookers. "I've had people write to me who have other brands," said Eisner. "And, they say the recipes in my book work just fine for them."Which is better: a stainless steel or nonstick inner pot?This is a matter of personal preference. All of the Instant Pots we tested featured stainless steel inner pots, while all of the other brands had nonstick. Stainless steel inner pots are great because they are dishwasher safe, heat evenly, and you can use metal utensils in them without fear of scratching the nonstick surface. On the other hand, it's harder to remove stuck-on debris from stainless steel.Nonstick inner pots are great because your food is less likely to stick to the inside, and thus, it's easier to clean. Though it varies by brand, many nonstick pots are also dishwasher safe, but we recommend washing by hand to increase the longevity of the nonstick coating. The biggest negatives with nonstick pots are that they don't heat as evenly as stainless steel, and metal utensils can scratch them. We did not find there was a difference in cooking times or quality based on pot type.What's the difference between quick release and natural release?Quick release and natural release are the two main ways to release steam from your electric pressure cooker once you're done cooking. Quick release involves moving the steam release valve to vent to instantly allow the steam to escape. Once the pin near the valve drops, the pressure has been released, and it's safe to remove the lid.With natural release, you don't release the steam immediately. Instead, you allow the pressure to decrease on its own. Again, you can open the lid once the pin drop indicates that the pressure is at a safe level. Many recipes call for a 10-minute natural release followed by a quick release. In general, we recommend following the recipe you're using for best results, though, as you get more experienced with the quirks of your cooker, you may want to make slight adjustments.There's a third, less-common release method known as a pulse or controlled release. This involves releasing the pressure in short bursts by opening and closing the vent.However you choose to release the steam, be careful! We recommend using a nice long wooden spoon to trigger the release mechanism so you're far from the steam when it's released. Also, never stand over the multicooker when releasing the steam. Releasing the steam is probably the most dangerous part of using an electric pressure cooker. The best deals on pressure cookers from this guide Instant Pot multicookers are some of our readers' favorite products. These appliances can perform a myriad of different functions, make a wide variety of meals, and are surprisingly easy to use. Due to their popularity, these products go on sale frequently. The Instant Pot Duo, for instance, is usually $10 less than retail price for most of the year. The best deals and all-time lows crop up during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day, with some of our picks seeing discounts of $40 or more.But it can often be difficult to judge what's a good price to pay. To make shopping a little easier, we've compiled all of the best deals on the Instant Pots we recommend.There are currently no deals on our recommended pressure cookers. For more chances to save, check out our best online sales and deals happening now and the best deals happening on Amazon.Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us. Check out our other small appliance guides Jen Gushue/Insider The best air fryersThe best juicersThe best espresso machinesThe best blenders Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 20th, 2021

Mountain Peaks and Tumbleweeds: Real Estate in Frontierland, USA

Editor’s note: Even in an industry where jobs are determined by the disparate geography and composition of their individual communities, there are realms that transcend the real estate firmament, where markets, environments or policy make the experience of buying and selling homes something else entirely. People who embark on careers in these spaces take on […] The post Mountain Peaks and Tumbleweeds: Real Estate in Frontierland, USA appeared first on RISMedia. Editor’s note: Even in an industry where jobs are determined by the disparate geography and composition of their individual communities, there are realms that transcend the real estate firmament, where markets, environments or policy make the experience of buying and selling homes something else entirely. People who embark on careers in these spaces take on a different set of challenges than the vast majority of those in the industry. In RISMedia’s “Real Estate On The Edge” series, we take a look at some of these people and the spaces they work in, highlighting some of the most interesting places and environments to practice real estate. In the far southwest corner of Texas lies Zapata County. Nestled against the U.S./Mexico border, the county—around 1,000 square miles of rocky desert, with a population of around 15,000—is not home to any incorporated municipalities or border crossings. About a third of the population lives in the relatively bustling county seat of Zapata, which offers all the small-town comfort that a few chain restaurants, mom-and-pop bakeries, laundromats and a newly built public playground can provide. A scrubby nine-hole golf course at the edge of town holds regular tournaments and fundraisers, and the local high school football field can accommodate more than half the town’s population for football and other sporting events. The nearest city of any measurable size is Laredo, about an hour’s drive to the north through mostly empty desert, and the nearest metro, San Antonio, lies almost four hours away by car. Liz Mendoza is the broker/owner of Cornerstone Real Estate. She has lived in Zapata her entire life. Most of her family works in education, she says, but since 1996, her passion has been real estate—something that started as a college job but evolved into much more than that as she took over the county’s only real estate brokerage. “I’m the little one from this little, small city but I’m a contender,” she promises. Most homes in Zapata County go for around $100,000, though you can get a fixer-upper for half that. Like Mendoza, many of her clients have deep roots in the small desert community, going back multiple generations. People will inherit land or a home and may want to sell, while others save enough money to upgrade after living in one of the many prefabricated structures or trailers that essentially serve as starter homes. About 15% of Zapata residents work in the oil industry, chasing jobs that have steadily moved out of the area according to Mendoza. In 1954, a dam meant to mitigate flooding issues in the Rio Grande completely destroyed the original settlement, with many property owners forced to flee on short notice, abandoning family homesteads. But many of them chose to remain in the area despite its remote location and challenges. Mendoza describes this attitude in her beloved community as not one of defiance, but persistence. People in Zapata are not staying in spite of the area’s tough history, but because of it, relishing the community and the lifestyle that their ancestors cultivated. “They keep lands in their families for generations,” she says. About 2,000 miles to the north, on the far side of the country, is another place that has historically drawn those who want to embrace a self-sustaining, rugged lifestyle far from the city rat-race. With a population of just over a million people spread out over 150,000 square miles of deeply forested, mountain terrain, Montana is one of the least densely populated states behind only Wyoming and Alaska. Will Friedner is not a native Montanan, he admits. He founded his brokerage, Montana Life Realty, about 15 years ago with his wife after growing up in Minnesota. “The most fulfilling thing is just showing people the state and watching them react,” he says. “It’s still one of the few places left in the lower 48 that is still so wild.” Though it has little else in common superficially with the shale-scattered clay of South Texas, people who choose to live in rural Montana share something very important with the folks of Zapata: pride. Friedner says that people in his state are looking for a lifestyle that is deeply personal and unique, centered on the state’s ability to provide space, and a rugged communion with nature. “I like to joke that you can watch your dog run away for three days, because there’s nothing there,” he says. Further north—much further north, in fact—is a place that most people understand is a frontier. Connie Yoshimura is a broker at Alaska Realty in Anchorage, through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. She took a road trip up through Canada 40 years ago, she says, and never looked back. Though there is truth to what outsiders imagine when they think of her state—long winters, wildlife, empty space and self-reliance—Alaska is also a place of great diversity, she says, with bustling cultural centers and people living all sorts of lifestyles. “We’re actually a combination of a frontier state and a pretty sophisticated urban environment,” Yoshimura says. Those who are seeking to move there, or move within the state, mostly know what they are doing, she says, and also have in common a tremendous appreciation of what Alaska can offer them and their families. “I personally enjoy working with buyers and sellers and learning what brings them to this particular point in time,” she adds. “Some people come for great adventure.” What these frontier agents all have in common, though, is a deeply personal reason for doing what they do, where they do it—a connection with the people, with the landscape or with the history of these communities. Whether they grew up there or are transplants themselves, each has remained out on the edge, spending decades getting to know all the unique challenges and extraordinary experiences of these places—which in the end, is what the job is all about. What It’s Like Housing is especially unique in Zapata, according to Mendoza, because no developer has ever built speculatively there—every house is either a prefab or a custom design commissioned (or constructed) by the property owner. Because of this, and because she has been essentially the only real estate agent in the county for close to two decades, Mendoza says she has sold some’s homes three or four times. “I know the history of it, and I can tell them that. Some may or may not believe it, but I’ll tell them, ‘Oh I remember when I sold it the first time, and this is what it looked like,'” she laughs. “Limited inventory, you know, so we trade the same house over and over.” One of Mendoza’s properties outside the town of Zapata—a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch listed at $105,000—is described as “secluded…yet property is not isolated.” Among the listing photos is one of a rabbit crouched beside a cactus in the backyard (the property is great for hunting, the listing says). Another listing consists of two prefab structures (one that was formerly used as a beauty shop) connected by a sheet-metal overhang that forms a patio, or carport depending on preference. The lot includes shaded animal pens as well as a lake view, according to the listing. Mendoza says it took a while for the larger REALTOR® organization in Laredo—a relative metropolis with a population of about 100,000—to take her seriously, but she has since proved herself as a scrappy and passionate member of the community, being elected to the Board of Directors in Laredo last year. “There’s other big-time brokers that trade properties left and right, and at first I was kind of being looked down ,” she says. “They’ve learned to respect me, and now they appreciate Zapata because I tell them the good .” At the other extreme in Zapata is the relocation industry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents are consistently transferred in and out, and oil industry workers—who make up about 15% of Zapata County jobs according to census data—also arrive regularly, many from thousands of miles away and hailing from very different geographic and demographic areas. “We deal a lot with relocation,” she says. “Some people are used to having Walmart a block away. We don’t have that; it’s 45 minutes to the first Walmart. So we kind of explain that to people.” While these kinds of situations—communicating the unique challenges of the area to outsiders—make up a good portion of Mendoza’s business in Zapata, out-of-staters have been Friedner’s bread and butter, at least for the last two years or so. Montana metros were the third-fastest growing in the nation as far as price appreciation this past spring and summer, according to data collected by the National Association of REALTORS®, as many people fled coastal markets looking for space and affordability during the pandemic. With all the transplants, it got to the point where late last summer Friedner filmed a video titled “Living in Montana: Things They Don’t Tell You,” which was meant to address issues most outsiders are not prepared for. That video went viral, garnering almost 2.5 million views as of press time. “Ironically enough, the video that goes viral is the one that’s about why you shouldn’t move to Montana,” he deadpans. He was inspired to make that video, he explains, after driving a couple from Los Angeles hours into the wilderness to see a home they had viewed online, and felt was a sure home-run. “They just had no idea what they were getting into,” he says. “By the time we got to it, their eyes were huge and…obviously weren’t going to live out there once they saw it in person.” Frieder says he now strongly recommends that any out-of-state buyers take a drive through the state before he sends them any specific listing, just so they can get an idea of just how vast and isolated it is—have a chance to spot a bear on the side of the road or experience a few hundred miles of cell-service blackout. If they are still interested after that, he says they can start discussing specific properties or issues, like roads that are only ploughed if you plough them yourself, grizzly bears and wolves encroaching on properties (only an issue in certain parts of the state) and what “off-grid” really means as far as your daily, monthly and yearly investment of time and money. “Some people are scared off a little bit, some people just think it sounds even better,” Friedner laughs. This is in stark contrast to Alaska where Yoshimura says people almost always have a good idea of what to expect if they are planning on moving to the state. “Everybody that’s here enjoys the great outdoors,” she says. Claire James is Alaska Realty’s business development director working with Yoshimura at Berkshire Hathaway. She herself is an avid backpacker and outdoor enthusiast who regularly embarks on weeklong hikes through the Alaskan wilderness. But she says a lot of folks coming up the state end up in relatively standard living arrangements in the cities or suburbs. “Often will say they’re looking for a cabin in the woods,” she says. “But in reality, we live in a major city. We do not live in igloos in Alaska. Once they’re here, they realize they want to live where the work and where the homes are, and maybe in the future they can purchase that second cabin.” That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of unique aspects to the market. A lot of people who purchase lake homes need to know whether they are able to land or dock small airplanes there, according to Yoshimura, as air travel is extremely common in a state where roads simply do not reach every town or community. Wildlife is also endemic to all parts of the state—not just out in the boonies. “I was out walking my dog last night and I was greeted by a huge bull moose,” James says. People who have lived there a while are not necessarily surprised or in awe of these types of encounters—both black and brown bears, bald eagle and wolves—but instead approach the situation from a practical standpoint. “A lot of times you just think, ‘Okay should I run?'” James laughs. Another unique issue is for people who live in “fly-to” locations outside of the major cities and have to account for the fact that all goods and services have to arrive by plane. The trade-off is of course, access to some of the best fishing, hiking and incredible landscapes in the world. “Those towns are just beautiful,” James says. Generally, Yoshimura says people in Alaska are looking for two things: space and a view. Lake homes are very popular, and anything with mountain or water views will be in high demand. Lake access or really spectacular views can easily drive the price of a property up by six figures, she says. These things are also highly sought after in Montana, according to Friedner, but the vast surge of interest from outsiders has also resulted in a lot of push-back from the folks who have lived there for generations. In the “Living In Montana” viral video, Friedner said that some locals have begun referring to Bozeman—the state’s fourth-largest metro with a population of just over 50,000—as “Boze Angeles” due to the influx of California migrants. But though restaurants might be busier and roads might occasionally get clogged (relatively speaking) around resort areas, Frieder says Montana has plenty of room for newcomers. “As much as the locals don’t want to hear that,” he says, “you can drive ten minutes out of town and you’re in the middle of nowhere. I don’t want to see Montana turn into Southern California, but it’s going to be long after I’m gone before it ever gets to that point.” Why We’re Here In Zapata, welcoming strangers has never been an issue, according to Mendoza—something that can be traced through the area’s history of ranchers and frontiersmen who stuck together through hard times. That includes decades of 19th century outlaws feuding across the almost stateless land, and political upheaval during the short-lived Republic of the Rio Grande uprising in 1840, with the county named after slain revolutionary general Antonio Zapata. But despite its lineage of conflict, Mexican and White Anglo-Europeans in Zapata have almost always gotten along, according to the Texas Historical Society, even as nearby regions saw significant ethnic and racial violence through much of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Mendoza says this spirit of peace and harmony persists today, with the majority-Hispanic population happy to mingle with relocated workers, seasonal vacationers at nearby Falcon Lake and any new neighbors regardless of race or origin. “We’ve learned to mesh well with everyone,” she says. “People here are raised different—we’re raised to respect. Everybody here—in Spanish we say, tio and tia. So everywhere I go, people are my tio and tia, people I don’t even know. That’s the respect we have for people because we were brought up with that kind of morals.” Living in a place where everyone refers to you as an uncle or aunt is part of what has kept Mendoza in Zapata, she says, and part of what makes her work more than a job—makes it a service to every person who wants to share the unique, enduring community she belongs to. “These are people that I live with, these are people that I’m going to see at the store tomorrow,” she says. “I need to make sure that I did a good job for them because I’m going to bump into them every day, and I want to make sure they’re happy with the services that I could provide. So I take a lot of pride in that.” In Montana, there is a very different kind of priority. Many people come to the state and stay there because they would rather not see their neighbors every day, according to Friedner. “Everybody wants to go be a cowboy in Montana,” he said. The peace and opportunity that comes from that amount of space has a growing appeal, he says, with a lot of out-of-state folks explicitly asking for homes that are “off the grid” or properties with no legal restrictions. In his video, Friedner talked about housing covenants, which dictate the kind of activities or uses allowed on a particular lot. A lot of people come to him asking for properties that have no covenants, and because most of rural Montana land is also unzoned, they imagine they can do essentially whatever they want with that kind of property. Though this is often attainable, Friedner warned that there are also drawbacks. A neighbor can park dozens of junk cars haphazardly in their front yard, open a store or start raising livestock next door and there is little recourse for a property owner who is bothered by these things. Because of this need for space, sometimes even acres and acres of distance isn’t enough, Friedner says, as people value their self-reliance, history and privacy in a way that is hard to describe to outsiders. Likewise in Alaska, where James and Yoshimura say that there is an inherent respect earned simply by calling the state home. “Alaskans are really proud to live here,” she says. “There’s just no more beautiful place than Alaska,” Yoshimura affirms. Diversity is more than environment and landscape, she adds. Indigenous people speak almost 150 different languages in local schools, and Anchorage and Juneau boast growing hispanic communities, she says. And though the 18% of the population that identifies as indigenous has faced violence and continues to battle discrimination, several young people have also been able to move into the cities, according to Yoshimura, to attend colleges or elevate employment opportunities. Every individual and family—immigrant or native— bring tremendous and unique individual histories to the state, Yoshimura says, traceable across the vast Alaskan landscape and beyond. And that is the real appeal to being in this part of the world, especially as a real estate agent, she adds. Every place where people live has written its own story, stories that are often as wild and ancient as the rolling tundras, sparkling fjords and soaring mountains that initially draw people to explore Alaska. It is this deeper landscape of community and history that someone like Yoshimura, someone like Friedner, someone like Mendoza gets to explore every day, and the reason why they all have spent decades as real estate agents in the communities that they know—and love—more than anyone. Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to The post Mountain Peaks and Tumbleweeds: Real Estate in Frontierland, USA appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 19th, 2021

Software co. UiPath takes 26,000 s/f at One Vanderbilt

SL Green Realty Corp. announced that global enterprise automation software company, UiPath has signed a 15-year, 26,363 s/f lease at One Vanderbilt Avenue covering the entire 60th floor. The tower in the heart of East Midtown is now over 91 percent leased. “We’re delighted to welcome UiPath to One Vanderbilt... The post Software co. UiPath takes 26,000 s/f at One Vanderbilt appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. SL Green Realty Corp. announced that global enterprise automation software company, UiPath has signed a 15-year, 26,363 s/f lease at One Vanderbilt Avenue covering the entire 60th floor. The tower in the heart of East Midtown is now over 91 percent leased. “We’re delighted to welcome UiPath to One Vanderbilt Avenue,” said Steven Durels, Executive Vice President and Director of Leasing and Real Property at SL Green. “They join a prestigious list of companies seeking a best-in-class, healthy work environment with direct connectivity to mass-transit.” “One Vanderbilt Avenue is one of those rare buildings that is quickly becoming a New York City icon, and we could not be more excited and prouder about opening our global headquarters in the center of a growing, thriving technology community,” said UiPath Chief Financial Officer, Ashim Gupta. “UiPath continues to grow at a market-leading rate and we are confident that this new space will expand with us, providing a great place for our team to work and collaborate, and an immersive experience to host customers and partners as we deliver the future of work through automation.” Major recent milestones for One Vanderbilt include the launch of ticket sales for its observation experience, SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, which opens on October 21, 2021, offering visitors an immersive experience at the highest vantage point in Midtown Manhattan. Earlier this year, SL Green celebrated the opening of world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud’s new restaurant, Le Pavillon, which occupies 11,000 s/f on the second floor, facing Grand Central Terminal. Standing 1,401 feet tall, One Vanderbilt is the new headquarters for many of the world’s leading finance, technology, law and real estate firms. The 1.7 million-square-foot skyscraper offers a combination of amenities, innovative office design, state-of-the-art technology, the highest level of sustainability and healthy workplace environment together with direct connection to Grand Central Terminal. Dale Schlather together with John Boyle, Greg Herman, Justin Halpern, Ed Wartels and Jennifer Konefsky of Cushman & Wakefield represented UiPath. Robert Alexander, Ryan Alexander, Emily Chabrier and Alex D’Amario of CBRE represented the landlord. The post Software co. UiPath takes 26,000 s/f at One Vanderbilt appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 30th, 2021

The 10 books on the 2021 National Book Award"s fiction longlist includes picks praised by Oprah and Obama

The National Book Awards longlist for fiction in 2021 includes books by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and an Oprah's Book Club pick. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The books on the National Book Award fiction longlist in 2021 include "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers and "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr. Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider The National Book Foundation announced the 10 best US fiction books this week. Judges will name their top five in mid-October, and the winner in November. Below are all 10 books on the list, including ones from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors. Every year, the National Book Foundation crowns the best US literature of the year in five categories: Non-fiction, fiction, translated literature, poetry, and young adult books. 25 judges (five experts per genre) nominated by former winners, finalists, and judges spend the summer reading hundreds of hopeful submissions (about 150 for poetry to more than 500 for nonfiction) in search of standout books.By mid-September, they name their 10 favorites on a longlist. By mid-October, they cut it down to their top five. No one knows who the winner will be until the very day it's announced, when judges meet to hash out the best book. Winners, announced in November, receive $10,000, and finalists receive $1,000. Both can expect a boost in prestige and book sales. Past fiction winners for National Book Award in fiction include now-classics "Sophie's Choice" by William Styron, "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy, and "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen, as well as recent rising stars "Sing, Unburied, Sing" by Jesmyn Ward and "Interior Chinatown" by Charles Yu.Below, you'll find the 10 nonfiction books that made the National Book Award fiction longlist this year, including new novels by Pulitzer Prize-winning authors of "All the Light We Cannot See" and "The Overstory", an Obama summer reading selection, and an Oprah's Book Club pick. The 10 books on the 2021 National Book Award longlist for fiction:Descriptions provided by Amazon and lightly edited for clarity and length. "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr Bookshop "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.49Set in Constantinople in the 15th century, in a small town in present-day Idaho, and on an interstellar ship decades from now, Anthony Doerr's gorgeous third novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in worlds in peril, who find resilience, hope — and a book. In "Cloud Cuckoo Land," Doerr has created a magnificent tapestry of times and places that reflect our vast interconnectedness — with other species, with each other, with those who lived before us, and with those who will be here after we're gone.Note: Doerr's earlier novel, "All the Light We Cannot See" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015. "Matrix" by Lauren Groff Bookshop "Matrix" by Lauren Groff, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.At first, taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough? "Abundance" by Jakob Guanzon Amazon "Abundance" by Jakob Guanzon, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evicted from their trailer on New Year's Eve, Henry and his son, Junior, have been reduced to living out of a pickup truck. Six months later, things are even more desperate. Henry, barely a year out of prison for pushing opioids, is down to his last pocketful of dollars, and little remains between him and the street. But hope is on the horizon: Today is Junior's birthday, and Henry has a job interview tomorrow.To celebrate, Henry treats Junior to dinner at McDonald's, followed by a night in a real bed at a discount motel. For a moment, as Junior watches TV and Henry practices for his interview in the bathtub, all seems well. But after Henry has a disastrous altercation in the parking lot and Junior succumbs to a fever, father and son are sent into the night, struggling to hold things together and make it through tomorrow. "Zorrie" by Laird Hunt Amazon "Zorrie" by Laird Hunt, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16As a girl, Zorrie Underwood's modest and hardscrabble home county was the only constant in her young life. After losing both her parents to diphtheria, Zorrie moved in with her aunt, whose own death orphaned Zorrie all over again, casting her off into the perilous realities and sublime landscapes of rural, Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, Zorrie survived on odd jobs, sleeping in barns and under the stars, before finding a position at a radium processing plant. At the end of each day, the girls at her factory glowed from the radioactive material.But when Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finally finds the love and community that have eluded her in the small town of Hillisburg. And yet, even as she tries to build a new life, Zorrie discovers that her trials have only begun. "The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois" by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers Amazon "The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois" by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.38W. E. B. Du Bois, the great scholar, once wrote about the problem of race in America, and what he called "Double Consciousness," a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois's words all too well. Bearing the names of two formidable Black Americans — the revered choreographer Alvin Ailey and her great grandmother Pearl, the descendant of enslaved Georgians and tenant farmers — Ailey carries Du Bois's Problem on her shoulders.To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family's past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors — Indigenous, Black, and white — in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story — and the song — of America itself.Note: This book has also been selected by Oprah's Book Club. "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr. Bookshop "The Prophets" by Robert Jones, Jr., available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.99Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man — a fellow slave — seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony.As tensions build and the weight of centuries — of ancestors and future generations to come — culminates in a climactic reckoning, "The Prophets" masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love. "Intimacies" by Katie Kitamura Bookshop "Intimacies" by Katie Kitamura, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.95An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home.She's drawn into simmering personal dramas: her lover, Adriaan, is separated from his wife but still entangled in his marriage. Her friend Jana witnesses a seemingly random act of violence, a crime the interpreter becomes increasingly obsessed with as she befriends the victim's sister. And she's pulled into an explosive political controversy when she's asked to interpret for a former president accused of war crimes.A woman of quiet passion, she confronts power, love, and violence, both in her personal intimacies and in her work at the Court. She is soon pushed to the precipice, where betrayal and heartbreak threaten to overwhelm her, forcing her to decide what she wants from her life. Note: This is one of Obama's 2021 summer reading list books. "The Souvenir Museum: Stories" by Elizabeth McCracken Bookshop "The Souvenir Museum: Stories" by Elizabeth McCracken, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.99In these stories, the mysterious bonds of family are tested, transformed, fractured, and fortified. A recent widower and his adult son ferry to a craggy Scottish island in search of puffins. An actress who plays a children's game-show villainess ushers in the New Year with her deadbeat half-brother. A mother, pining for her children, feasts on loaves of challah to fill the void. A new couple navigates a tightrope walk toward love. And on a trip to a Texas water park with their son, two fathers each confront a personal fear.  "Hell of a Book" by Jason Mott Bookshop "Hell of a Book" by Jason Mott, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.20In Jason Mott's "Hell of a Book," a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives "Hell of a Book" and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: Since Mott's novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.As these characters' stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it's also about the nation's reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind?  Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, "Hell of a Book" is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last 10 years. "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers Bookshop "Bewilderment" by Richard Powers, available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.64The astrobiologist Theo Byrne searches for life throughout the cosmos while single-handedly raising his unusual nine-year-old, Robin, following the death of his wife. Robin is a warm, kind boy who spends hours painting elaborate pictures of endangered animals. He's also about to be expelled from third grade for smashing his friend in the face. As his son grows more troubled, Theo hopes to keep him off psychoactive drugs. He learns of an experimental neurofeedback treatment to bolster Robin's emotional control, one that involves training the boy on the recorded patterns of his mother's brain…With its soaring descriptions of the natural world, its tantalizing vision of life beyond, and its account of a father and son's ferocious love, "Bewilderment" marks Richard Powers's most intimate and moving novel. At its heart lies the question: How can we tell our children the truth about this beautiful, imperiled planet? Note: This is also shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Powers' earlier book, "The Overstory" won the Pulitzer Prize in 2019.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

Single-family community near Lake Conroe opens for home sales

Miami-based homebuilder Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) has begun selling homes in a new community it is developing near Lake Conroe. Lennar’s Heritage Reserve community aims to provide relatively inexpensive family homes that are located near employm.....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsApr 28th, 2020

More than 1,000 McDonald"s outlets across Texas are donating $250,000 to the Uvalde community after the school shooting

The funds were raised after more than 1,000 restaurants in the fast-food chain donated 10pc of lunchtime sales on June 23 to Uvalde charities. More than 1,000 McDonald's outlets in Texas raised $250,000 for the Uvalde community.Getty Images McDonald's branches in Texas held a fundraiser for the Uvalde community after the school shooting. The iniative raised $250,000 for the Robb School Memorial Fund and Ronald McDonald House Charities. The shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24 left 19 children and two adults dead. More 1,000 McDonald's outlets across Texas have raised $250,000 for the Uvalde community after the mass school shooting in May.Fox Business first reported the news.The fundraiser pledged 10% of all sales between 11am to 2pm on June 23 at participating restaurants to the Robb School Memorial Fund and Ronald McDonald House Charities, according to a company Facebook page.The McDonald's of South Texas Facebook page thanked customers for helping it raise $250,000 in a follow-up Facebook post on June 29.McDonald's did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment on the fundraising.The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas on May 24 left 19 children and two adults dead.McDonald's wrote in the Facebook post announcing the fundraiser that: "Our hearts are with those in Uvalde following the unspeakable tragedy in their community. We can't take away their pain, but we want to help these families in any way we can."Manuel Pacheco, a McDonald's franchisee, said the fundraiser "shows how Texans come together in times of tragedy to lift each other up," Fox Business reported.Local companies are also pitching in to help the Uvalde community after the shooting. Grocery retailer H-E-B and the Butt Family have pledged $10 million to replace Robb Elementary School after it is demolished, the Texas Tribune reported.The residents of Uvalde have also received millions for their local community in private donations. Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that Uvalde had raised $11 million through GoFundMe.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider1 hr. 58 min. ago

Sale Puts Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Back in West Bank, Kind Of

The company said it does not agree with the decision by its parent Unilever A new agreement in Israel will put Ben & Jerry’s ice cream back on shelves in annexed east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank despite the ice cream maker’s protest of Israeli policies, according to Unilever, the company that owns the brand. The Vermont company, which has long backed liberal causes, said it does not agree with the decision, and it’s unclear if the product—which would only be sold with Hebrew and Arabic labeling—would have the same appeal to customers. We are aware of the Unilever announcement. While our parent company has taken this decision, we do not agree with it. (🧵1/3) — Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) June 29, 2022 Israel hailed the move as a victory in its ongoing campaign against the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. BDS aims to bring economic pressure to bear on Israel over its military occupation of lands the Palestinians want for a future state. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Unilever, which acquired Ben & Jerry’s in 2000 but distanced itself from the ice cream maker’s decision last year to halt sales in the territories, said Wednesday that it had sold its business interest in Israel to a local company that would sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream under its Hebrew and Arabic name throughout Israel and the West Bank. When Ben & Jerry’s was sold, the companies agreed that the ice cream maker’s independent board would be free to pursue its social mission, including longstanding support for liberal causes, including racial justice, climate action, LGBTQ rights and campaign finance reform. But Unilever would have the final word on financial and operational decisions. Unilever said it has “used the opportunity of the past year to listen to perspectives on this complex and sensitive matter and believes this is the best outcome for Ben & Jerry’s in Israel.” In its statement, Unilever reiterated that it does not support the BDS movement. It said it was “very proud” of its business in Israel, where it employs around 2,000 people and has four manufacturing plants. Unilever sold the business to Avi Zinger, the owner of Israel-based American Quality Products Ltd, who had sued Unilever and Ben & Jerry’s in March in a U.S. federal court over the termination of their business relationship, saying it violated U.S. and Israeli law. Zinger’s legal team said the decision by Unilever was part of a settlement. He thanked Unilever for resolving the matter and for the “strong and principled stand” it has taken against BDS. “There is no place for discrimination in the commercial sale of ice cream,” Zinger said. Ben & Jerry’s said that its parent company had taken the decision. “We do not agree with it,” the ice cream maker said on its Twitter account, adding that it would no longer profit from sales of its products in Israel. “We continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,” it added. Omar Shakir, the director of Human Rights Watch for Israel and the Palestinian territories, said Unilever sought to undermine Ben & Jerry’s “principled decision” to avoid complicity in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights, which his organization says amount to apartheid, an allegation Israel adamantly rejects. “It won’t succeed: Ben & Jerry’s won’t be doing business in illegal settlements. What comes next may look and taste similar, but, without Ben & Jerry’s recognized social justice values, it’s just a pint of ice cream.” Israel hailed the decision and thanked governors and other elected officials in the United States and elsewhere for supporting its campaign against BDS. It said Unilever consulted its Foreign Ministry throughout the process. “Antisemitism will not defeat us, not even when it comes to ice-cream,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. “We will fight delegitimization and the BDS campaign in every arena, whether in the public square, in the economic sphere or in the moral realm.” BDS, an umbrella group supported by virtually all of Palestinian civil society, presents itself as a non-violent protest movement modeled on the boycott campaign against apartheid South Africa. It does not adopt an official position on how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be resolved, and it officially rejects antisemitism. Israel views BDS as an assault on its very legitimacy, in part because of extreme views held by some of its supporters. Israel also points to the group’s support for a right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees — which would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state — and BDS leaders’ refusal to endorse a two-state solution to the conflict. Ben & Jerry’s decision was not a full boycott, and appeared to be aimed at Israel’s settlement enterprise. Some 700,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel annexed and considers part of its capital. Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Palestinians want them to be part of their future state. Most of the international community views the settlements as a violation of international law. The Palestinians consider them the main obstacle to peace because they absorb and divide up the land on which a future Palestinian state would be established. Every Israeli government has expanded settlements, including during the height of the peace process in the 1990s......»»

Category: topSource: time2 hr. 26 min. ago

Meet the CEO tapping machine translation to make the world more accessible to people with hearing loss

Yamillet Payano, the cofounder and CEO of sign-language-recognition startup Sign-Speak, believes innovation only happens by building a community. BI GraphicsSign-Speak CEO and cofounder Yamillet Payano.Sign-Speak Sign-Speak aims to use machine learning to make communicating through sign language easier. Cofounder Nikolas Kelly's own challenges communicating while deaf prompted the idea. The software translates between English and sign language and is now in some zoos and restaurants. This article is part of Innovation Leaders, a series examining how business leaders view their role in driving tech innovation. When Nikolas Kelly got a potential cofounder — Yamillet Payano — on a video call to hear out his startup idea, the circumstances of their meeting alone turned out to be enough of a sales pitch.Kelly, who is deaf, had an idea to create software that would translate sign language for non-speakers in real time with machine learning. When the two met virtually, Payano and Kelly had difficultly communicating since she didn't know sign language, and Zoom's caption service didn't offer American Sign Language, or ASL, translation. Payano eventually asked if there was an easier and more accessible way to chat virtually. There wasn't, and that was Kelly's point."You find that thing that you know you're supposed to do, and you get this epiphany moment of, 'I need to do something about this problem,'" Payano told Insider. "That's what happened to me."Together, with help from Kelly's friend Nicholas Wilkins — who was working as a software engineer for Google at the time — they started Sign-Speak. According to the World Health Organization, there are nearly 430 million people globally who are deaf or have disabling hearing loss. Despite this, Payano said that a lack of sign-language datasets is just one of the reasons why translation products like theirs haven't reached the mainstream. Now, Sign-Speak is building its own dataset of ASL signs to power its translation. The software — which is designed to work with any camera-enabled device — currently only supports English, but the company has plans to expand to other languages. "Think of us as like Siri for deaf people," Payano explained.Sign-Speak ran a beta test in late 2021 at a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC, to assist customers with ordering. Tablets with Sign-Speak's software provided spoken translation as customers signed orders to enable them to easily interact back and forth.Earlier this year, Sign-Speak also tested the product at a zoo in Rochester, New York, to help guide visitors. At both locations, Payano said an average of 90 people a day used the software, allowing businesses to better serve a community they hadn't considered before. The tests have both ended, but Sign-Speak hopes to launch with some enterprises and small businesses sometime this year."They didn't have to write back and forth. They didn't have to beg, plead. They didn't have to come overly prepared," Payano said. "Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals felt seen for the first time."Having to be overly prepared, according to Payano, means that deaf and hard-of-hearing people understand certain businesses are not designed to serve them. She cited banks as an example of businesses that deaf and hard-of-hearing clients feel do not accommodate for them. In 2011, Wells Fargo settled an Americans with Disability Act, also known as ADA, complaint from the US Department of Justice alleging that the bank refused to do business with deaf clients. Payano envisions a future where Sign-Speak could deploy its software in banks to help ease transactions with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.Currently, many deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals rely on translators, lip reading, and writing notes on paper to engage with different businesses. Having translators and interpreters can be cost-prohibitive, Payano said. Still, Sign-Speak says it doesn't want to replace translators and interpreters, but rather serve deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in more accessible ways. Above all, Payano said the company has a responsibility to the community it serves. This also means expanding the technology so that people can use sign-language translation anywhere. Payano talked about a future where two people — one deaf or hard-of-hearing, and one not — will be able to communicate on a train platform using an app. As any company grows, Payano says it's important to remember the intent around a product and who that product is serving."We believe in building with the deaf community, not for the deaf community," she said. "And we have a long way to go."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider19 hr. 14 min. ago

Consumer Confidence Rattles Markets While Moonpig And B&M Revenue Slides

FTSE 100 opens lower after sell offs in Asia and the US. US Consumer confidence takes a battering with a fresh Eurozone reading out later. Trading set to stay tough for retailers as consumers stay cautious. Sales fall 2.2% at B&M European Value Retail SA (LON:BME) amid signs shoppers are tightening their belts. Loyal customers […] FTSE 100 opens lower after sell offs in Asia and the US. US Consumer confidence takes a battering with a fresh Eurozone reading out later. Trading set to stay tough for retailers as consumers stay cautious. Sales fall 2.2% at B&M European Value Retail SA (LON:BME) amid signs shoppers are tightening their belts. Loyal customers help Moonpig Group PLC (LON:MOON) stay resilient despite 17% fall in revenues year-on-year. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Consumer Confidence Rattles Markets "With signs that consumer confidence is seeping away, worries that global growth will go down the drain have returned to rattle financial markets. Indices on Wall Street sank into the red, dampening hopes that a floor to the sell-off might be in sight. The nervousness has pervaded trading in Asia, with the Nikkei in Japan, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite all sharply lower and the London’s FTSE 100 has opened in negative territory. Covid restrictions may have eased for international travellers to China as infections rates slow, but one global problem is being replaced by another - fear that recessions are looming around the world.  The latest consumer confidence snapshot for the US, from a Conference board survey, showed a sharp deterioration in optimism as shoppers are faced with a mountain of price rises. The focus will turn to the Eurozone later, with a fresh readings out today on consumer sentiment and the prospects for an improvement are low. In May confidence was close to levels not seen since the early days of the pandemic, and given that the missile barrage of Ukraine is intensifying and inflation is still on the offensive, consumers are set to stay cautious amid heightened uncertainty. B&M's Decline With reports from the grocery sector that some shoppers are setting lower limits on their spend at the tills, and signs that any slack in budgets is being ring-fenced for experiences like holidays and social lives, general merchandise retailers in particular are likely to continue to feel the pressure on sales. This has been reflected in the decline in revenues at B&M European value retail, which fell 2.2% in the first quarter. Although the group is well placed to capitalise on shoppers trading down from more expensive brands to fill baskets with cheaper groceries, with its Heron food ranges performing ahead of company expectations, overall sales including for homewear, DIY and garden products are declining. As shoppers tighten their belts, they have appeared to be less inclined to splash out on impulse buys as they browse the aisles and aren’t stockpiling essentials as much. However, a slight improvement noted near the end of the quarter has helped cheer investors, with the share price lifting in early trading. Moonpig's Revenues Take A Hit For online card retailer Moonpig, it’s an even tougher trading environment, given the ready market of locked down consumers ordering from home has been drying up.  Revenues are down 17.3% year on year, coming in at just over £304 million, which has disappointed investors even though the company has played down the impact on margins from rising prices, saying it’s seen no material impact on cost price inflation. Although it’s hard to see how conditions can ever exceed lockdowns for an online-only company like Moonpig, the group has been peddling hard and its efforts in optimising data to target customers through personalised reminders do seem to be paying off to some extent. The rapid pandemic growth spurt may be behind it, but it’s growing its online market share and with 87% of revenue from existing customers, that loyalty will help Moonpig bring home some bacon, while it invests to try and attract new business." Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.7 million clients trust us with £132.3 billion (as at 30 April 2022), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Jun 29, 2022, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalk21 hr. 14 min. ago