The 2017 edition of Art Basel is a welcome distraction from the doom and gloom that has dominated the headlines throughout Europe and the world in recent months. The art world’s elite collectors were reaching deeper into their pockets this year than they have for at least the past two editions of the fair. Just hours into Tuesday’s VIP preview, many dealers were reporting multiple sales in the seven- and eight-figure range—a welcome reappearance of a phenomenon that had been rare at art fairs since the market’s most recent peak in 2014.
Dan Gramza gives Picking Alpha a brief review of the USA grains markets and what June 2017 will bring to the markets. Q.: Do you think there are grains or other Agri contracts that were negotiated while Donald Trump was visiting Saudi Arabia? D.G.: The information we have so far is the primary focus was on financial agreements for defense, technology, and energy. I have not seen any information regarding the agricultural markets as part of the discussions. It is important to remember that the budget is the president suggestion and after Congress gets through with it, the final budget rarely ever looks like what the president has suggested.
According to the latest reports, the European economy grew at a stronger pace than the US economy did. Do you agree that further trend is going to be the same? I do not think so, though it is mostly because the US is likely going to pick back up again. What we saw in the first quarter, and this is something we have seen over the past few years, is that the US has a relatively weak first quarter. This could mean that growth is not going to be as spectacular as it has been over the past years in the United States. Nevertheless, I would say that, overall, the US economy is likely to pick up steam again in the Q2 and Q3. On the other hand, the Euro zone economy is performing quite steadily, while growth is sweeping quite robust at the moment. Still, I do not think that it will be able to keep up with the pace that we have seen in the United States. Currently, we expect the Euro zone growth to come in just under 2% over the year, while we think the United States GDP could hit 2.3% or maybe even 2.5% in 2017.
Panama announced it would break ties with Taiwan and enter into a diplomatic relationship with China Tuesday. The move is a huge coup for China, and signals increasing pressure on the Taiwanese authorities to bend to Beijing’s “one China” policy. Taiwan has strongly condemned the Panamanian decision as “oppressive,” and fueled by “money diplomacy.” The move was announced by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela. After decades of siding with Taiwan in the disagreement, a joint statement said: “The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.”
The Fed has murdered price discovery in the markets and has enlisted other central banks as henchmen. The SNB (Swiss National Bank) has bought millions of dollars worth of Apple stock, for example, and it remains to be seen what the central banks will do if the slight downturn of the last few days persists. They may all buy the dip.
Stonehage Fleming, a London-based wealth management company, has acquired Zurich-based art management and advisory business OmniArte. The business was bought for an undisclosed sum. It will be absorbed into the Stonhage Fleming art management division, which counts clients’ assets at around $43bn and founded its arts arm in 2007 to advise on issues such as succession planning and insurance. As part of the acquisition, Maria de Peverelli becomes executive chairman of the art management division.
European officials indicated on Monday that they had few hopes for a comprehensive agreement at Thursday’s Eurogroup that will pave the way for Greece to join the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing plan, despite a French push for a deal. France’s economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, was in Athens Monday to discuss a proposal whereby relief measures for Greece’s mountainous debt would be strengthened when growth is weak and relaxed when growth is strong. However, he admitted that securing a deal would be “difficult and complex.”
Apple shares fell more than 2 percent Monday, falling for a second-straight day due to mounting concerns about unsustainably high stock prices. The iPhone maker's stock has lost nearly 6.2 percent of its value in just two days. Technology stocks have been hit particularly hard, as some investment firms fear that stocks like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Alphabet in particular rose too quickly.
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