Talks about a new treaty governing the European Union’s relationship with Switzerland have collapsed over the same issue bedevilling Brexit — the European Court of Justice. Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, has more than 100 bilateral agreements with Brussels overseeing ties including transport, trade and education, but the EU is demanding a single framework treaty. A new treaty could clear the way for closer ties in fields including financial services and power markets, but fear that any deal might upset Swiss voters under the country's system of direct democracy has put the project on hold.
There is a new breed of bond in the fixed income world. It’s different, it’s bold, it’s the so-called green bond market. As the drive towards environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing continues to gather pace, policy makers and investors alike are waking up to the importance – and benefits – of green bond investing.
A measure of Swiss household spending trends rose modestly in May, after the reading for the previous month was revised down sharply, suggesting slightly below-average growth in private consumption during the second quarter, survey data from the UBS investment bank showed Wednesday. The UBS consumption indicator climbed to 1.39 points from 1.34 in April, which was revised from 1.48. This matches the UBS CIO consumption growth forecast of 1.3 percent for this year, the bank said.
China's economy continued to improve in the second quarter, with corporate profits rising and hiring up, a private survey showed, but it suggested the Asian giant may have to brace for tougher times ahead even though firms have been able to weather a tighter financing environment. To provide a more accurate read on China’s economy, Leland Miller and his team at China Beige Book International (CBB) interview thousands of companies and hundreds of bankers on the ground in China each quarter. They collect data and perform in-depth interviews with Chinese executives. The quarterly survey showed that while the property sector slowed, manufacturing improved further and the retail and services industries bounced back after a difficult first quarter.
Ransomware known as Petya seems to have re-emerged to affect computer systems across Europe, causing issues primarily in Ukraine, Russia, England and India, a Swiss government information technology agency said on Tuesday. "There have been indications of late that Petya is in circulation again, exploiting the SMB (Server Message Block) vulnerability," the Swiss Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance (MELANI) said in an e-mail. It said it had no information that Swiss companies had been impacted, but said it was following the situation. The Petya virus was blamed for disrupting systems in 2016.
Switzerland's financial markets authority said Friday that it has taken action in two separate cases of insider trading and market manipulation, seizing millions of Swiss francs (dollars) of illegal profits and banning three traders from the industry. The authority, FINMA, said 1.4 million francs in ill-gotten profits were seized from a former corporate board member who "repeatedly and systematically flouted the ban on using non-public information" to trade in shares of premier Swiss companies between 2013 and 2016.
Google has been fined a record €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) after EU antitrust regulators concluded the first stage of their three-pronged probe into the world's most popular search engine. The fine, which targets the company's shopping business, is the largest doled out by Brussels for a monopoly abuse case and came after a seven-year long investigation prompted by scores of complaints from rivals such as U.S. consumer review website Yelp, TripAdvisor, UK price comparison site Foundem, News Corp and lobbying group FairSearch.
The price of gold fell to a multiweek low on Monday after a trader made a grave mistake. Spot gold fell around 1% Monday morning to trade as low as $1,236.46, which marks the lowest level the commodity has seen since May 17, Bloomberg reported. U.S. gold futures also lost nearly 1 percent to trade at $1,245.40 an ounce. The decline in gold is attributed to a large market order of 18,500 lots of gold, which represents 1.85 million ounces. This was likely a mistake, or a "fat finger" trade, as the order is bigger than anything seen at the peak of domestic political turmoil and the surprising outcome from the Brexit vote.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a series of lower-court rulings blocking the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban on Monday, setting up a major showdown over presidential power and religious discrimination. In an unsigned order issued on the Court’s last day before its summer recess, the justices scheduled oral arguments in the case for when they return in October. They also partially lifted the lower courts’ injunctions against Section 2(c) of President Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspended visa applications from six Muslim-majority countries, as well as Section 6, which froze the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and halted refugee entry into the United States.
This Newsletter has suggested in the past that investors avoid bonds, and it is likely that bonds will become even worse investments in the near future. The geniuses at central bank headquarters in the US, EU and Japan have created a situation that makes it extremely risky and unprofitable to put money in bonds. Not only have bond purchases by central banks distorted the bond market but the ZIRP and NIRP implementation has resulted in central banks not being in a position to combat the next recession. The present policy of the Fed to raise interest rates in a sluggish economy will only hasten the arrival of the next downturn which has already started in some sectors.
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