Ernst & Young’s (EY) Swiss arm has announced formal support and membership of the Bitcoin Association of Switzerland (BAS). An announcement posted by the BAS on Wednesday states the move is part of the global consultancy giant’s continued foray into cryptocurrency. “Being the first of the Big 4 to get into Bitcoin, the next obvious step for EY was to support our local Bitcoin community by joining the Bitcoin Association as a corporate member,” BAS stated. The association exists as a lobby group raising awareness and organizing events centered on Bitcoin and the decentralization of money.
The account of the Federal Reserve’s early May meeting, which the Fed published Wednesday, suggested the decision to raise interest rates in June still hangs in the balance. “Members generally judged that it would be prudent to await additional evidence indicating that the recent slowdown in the pace of economic activity had been transitory before taking another step in removing accommodation,” the Fed said in an account, released after a standard three-week delay.
The ECB kept its monetary policy unchanged. Though, strong economic recovery may encourage policymakers to start tightening monetary conditions. Do you share this point of view? At this point, we agree that the Euro zone's economy is strengthening. We have recently revised our forecast for this year, though I think the key point here is that the ECB has not really seen any reasonable signs of an economic recovery. We have seen a little bit stronger inflation earlier in the year due to energy effects; however, inflation is probably going to be lower this year than we thought six months ago. Even if the Euro zone economy is picking up steam, we certainly do not expect the ECB to start raising interest rates until 2019.
OPEC is meeting in Vienna to discuss rolling over its six-month deal with 11 other exporters to remove 1.8 million barrels a day from the oil market in order to shrink global crude stockpiles. Consensus has formed in recent weeks around a nine-month extension, along the lines of a plan agreed to last week bySaudi Arabia and Russia. Most analysts expect the cartel to extend production cuts for another six to nine months following recent statements from major oil players.
Between now and 2021, battery production all over the world will more than double, Bloomberg reports. With more companies getting into the game, expansion and competition are up, and prices are down. This will mean more opportunities for energy companies and electric car manufacturers, and better deals for consumers looking to purchase clean powered technology for less money. The key is an expected increase in the number of battery factories, which will boost production capacity—and thus provide the economies of scale needed to make batteries cheaper.
Uber is backpedaling over an accounting error that led to tens of thousands of New York City drivers not getting their full pay for two and a half years. Uber reportedly discovered the accounting error when it created a new receipt template for New York City drivers, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported this story. The payments are the result of an error Uber said it recently discovered in how it calculated driver earnings. Until this week, Uber applied its “service fee”—typically 25% for UberX rides in New York City—to the gross fare, or the total amount paid by the passenger. But in a terms-of-service agreement dated to November 2014, Uber told drivers it calculated that commission based on the net fare, or the amount paid by the passenger minus sales tax and other applicable fees. Uber told WSJ that it will refund affected New York City drivers an average of $900 each, which includes interest on the loss profit over the past years.
The Catalan Government decided on Tuesday to formally request negotiations with the Spanish government on the terms and conditions for carrying out the independence referendum. In the next few days, the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, which will include the text approved on Tuesday at the Executive Council of the Catalan government, the Catalan Minister of Presidency and Government Spokesperson, Neus Munté, explained in declarations to the press.
Abigail Johnson, chair and CEO of Fidelity Investments, went public with her enthusiasm for blockchain technology, bitcoin, ethereum and what the future holds for both open-source, public blockchains and more private alternatives, during Coinbase, a bitcoin and blockchain conference held in New York City. In her talk, Johnson discussed the "future scenario" where blockchain technologies have thrived, remarking that she thinks this has a "reasonable chance" of coming to pass despite the relative newness of the technology.
Moody's Investors Service on Wednesday downgraded China's credit rating to A1 from Aa3, changing its outlook to stable from negative, citing expectations that China's financial strength will erode somewhat over the coming years. It was Moody's first downgrade for the country since 1989, according to Reuters.
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