Visa has declared war on cash and its "opening salvo" is to start paying restaurants $10,000 to go completely cash free. The credit card giant is this week announcing a new plan to hand out thousands of dollars to up to 50 small food and restaurant vendors if they agree to stop taking cash. If a restaurant opts in, it'll get a $10,000 gift from Visa, which can be used to pay for technology upgrades and marketing. Those tech upgrades could mean installing platforms that that accept payments from phones, smart watches or other devices. In return, Visa wants the merchant to agree to stop accepting cash, the company said
Global debt levels have surged to a record $217 trillion in the first quarter of the year. This is 327% of the world's annual economic output (GDP), reports the Institute of International Finance (IIF). It has grown by $75 trillion since the 2007-08 financial crisis reaching US$28,900 for every man, woman and child in the world The surging debt was driven by emerging economies, which have increased borrowing by $3 trillion to $56 trillion. This amounts to 218 percent of their combined economic output, five percentage points greater year on year.
The US economy expanded at a stronger-than-initially-expected pace in the March quarter amid higher consumer spending. The Commerce Department reported on Thursday that the domestic economy grew at an annualised pace of 1.4% in the Q1 of 2017, following the preceding quarter's expansion of 2.1% and surpassing the prior estimate of 1.2% growth.
Airbnb has changed the way the world travels since its launch in 2008. The company, which is now valued well into the billions, has helped homeowners across the globe become mini-hoteliers, allowing guests to stay overnight in an extra room, or take over their entire home for a set period of time. To date, the company has helped book more than 160 million guests for its more than three million listings in 190 countries, according to Airbnb’s own statistics.
Donald Trump aims to overhaul the financial services system's regulation in order to simplify lending process for banks. In your opinion, is this intention reasonable? Why? That is obviously not a simple question to answer for the reason that a reform of the financial regulatory system in terms of changing the Dodd-Frank needs to be done, but I do not think an overhaul is indeed necessary. What needs to happen is the implementation of some sort of regulations for small to mid-size banks, while regulations for large banks make sense for the most part. A few larger banks here and there need to be reviewed, but the simple fact is that by requiring significantly greater capital, the system is much more stable than it had been and it has been able to withstand the shock and not get into the kind of problems it faced ten years ago. When we talk about reforming the regulatory system, it needs to be done with an eye towards small and mid-size banks, not large banks. Unfortunately, the focus of attention is on larger banks, because they have more money in the government.
The crisis in the retail sector, briefly mentioned in Newsletter 161, is ironically speeding up as the sector loses steam if one views the consumer-driven American economy as a train pulled by a 19th century locomotive. The number of store closings may be more than 8,000 in 2017 if the rate current in Q1 continues. Hundreds of mall anchor stores are on schedule to be closed if the train runs on time.
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.
According to latest reports, a slowdown in the housing market and a weakness in the construction industry only worsened amid higher costs. In your point of view, should we expect a further decrease in the UK economy? Why? Our base case scenario is that we are expecting a slowdown in the UK economy in 2017. If we ask what has been propping the UK economy up since Brexit, the answer would be the consumer spending story; we have seen consumption being fairly resilient since Brexit. On the other hand, we have seen investment taper a little bit less, therefore, what has been driving the UK economy is really consumer spending. Though, at this point, the outlook looks pretty bleak, especially if we take into account the fact that we have got a squeeze in household consumer incomes, coming from higher fuel prices, higher inflation, and a lack of wage inflation. Real incomes are being squeezed, which in theory leads to weaker consumer spending power. Thus, the channel which has been propping up the UK growth is likely to weaken a little bit going into 2017.
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