Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category
A floating vessel that is longer than the Empire State Building is high has taken to the water for the first time.
The hull of Shell’s Prelude was floated in South Korea.
When fully built, Prelude will be the largest floating facility ever created, weighing more than 600,000 tonnes.
It would be used to help in the production of natural gas from 2017, Shell said, and would operate for 25 years off Australia’s north-west coast.
The area has a yearly cyclone season from November to April, but Prelude has been designed to withstand such conditions. It is hoped the facility will be able to produce enough gas to power a city the size of Hong Kong.
I do not miss working in shipyards. Even when you get to work on the construction of something this impressive, it’s still mostly grunt work, plumbing and welding. Oil field work that floats.
OTOH, the engineering requirements of a structure this massive impresses. Even if it wasn’t designed to float and survive severe weather it would be a beastie.
China’s yuan currency overtook the euro in October, becoming the second-most used currency in trade finance, global transaction services organization SWIFT said on Tuesday.
The market share of yuan usage in trade finance, or Letters of Credit and Collection, grew to 8.66 percent in October 2013. That improved from 1.89 percent in January 2012.
The yuan, also known as the renminbi, now ranks behind the U.S. dollar, which remains the leading currency with a share of 81.08 percent…
Yup. A long way to go to be competitive. Though, anyone who thinks the RMB will fall by the wayside anytime soon – is deluded.
The top five countries using the yuan for trade finance in October were China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany and Australia, SWIFT said in a statement.
“The RMB is clearly a top currency for trade finance globally and even more so in Asia,” Franck de Praetere, SWIFT’s Asia Pacific head of payments and trade markets said…
The world’s second-largest economy is accelerating the pace of financial reform to promote its currency to international players beyond Hong Kong. China aims to lift the yuan’s global clout and reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar.
Even though the dimwits in Congress still run their trick bag on the American public about Chinese currency being manipulated as cheap – to steal business – they know nothing about ForEx or global biz. It’s been a few years since the PBOC stopped pegging the RMB to the US dollar and it’s only gone in one direction since. Up, up. About a third of a percent, yesterday.
The Western moneyboys are jostling each other in the peloton to get to the front on converting yuan to euros and dollars – and vice versa. The Swiss and the Brits mostly in the lead. This month.
The tiny house movement continues to build momentum, and the latest small home to catch our eye with a clever space-maximizing design is the Minim House. The trailer-based mobile micro-home is capable of operating on or off grid, and boasts some comforts often associated with a larger home…
Inside the 210 sq ft home, an open-plan interior offers a generous 10 ft wide kitchen area, with multi-use surfaces, refrigerator, and ample storage space. Owing to this layout, the main lounge area is on the larger side for a self-styled “micro-home,” and Levy reports that the couch will seat five adults, with room for several more guests on seats placed around the home.
The usual range of off-grid technology makes an appearance in the home, including an optional compostable toilet and 960 W roof solar array with integrated battery storage system. LED lighting, and rainwater collection and filtration are also on-board, and the house mostly uses the kind of low-power appliances often seen in small boats, but also has a hookup for full mains.
Minim House was constructed using standard SIPs (structural insulated panels), with a cypress facade that will eventually age to a light grey color. According to Levy, the simple construction and standardized materials allow a crew of two people to construct the house within just five days.
The price for materials was just under $31K. Labor provided by just 2 reasonably handy amateurs and was completed in under 5 days.
The findings are in.
Over 2,600 people responded to Business Insider’s survey on financial TV, and question after question Bloomberg TV beat out CNBC and Fox Business News as the preferred channel among those polled.
It’s a fierce debate in financial circles. CNBC has consistently claimed the top spot, but Bloomberg TV isn’t tracked by Nielsen, the ratings pollster, so the true favorite among financial professionals and business news consumers has been unclear.
Respondents answered questions about everything from their favorite anchors, to Maria Bartiromo’s recent move to Fox Business News. They gave their opinion on which network has the best tech coverage and their favorite morning show…
But there was one crucial question that sums up the entire network battle. Bloomberg TV and CNBC are in a dead heat over who has the best guests.
If Bloomberg TV edged ahead in that department, who knows what would happen.
Even when the same guests appear on both Bloomberg TV and CNBC there’s no question where I would be watching. The politics, sociology, economics understanding and just plain old-fashioned humanity that manages to thread through the market blather puts Bloomberg lightyears ahead of the let’s-pretend-to-tolerate-working-people ethos of the competition.
I got stuck into watching Bloomberg TV behind the dearth of real news reporting from the news-as-entertainment crowd that dominates American television. There’s a bit more than that involved; but, only a sidebar to the point of this Business Insider article. You have to understand that economics grounds everything.
CNBC is dominated by ethically shriveled reactionaries like Kudlow – who provided the acronym RINO to denigrate traditional Republicans with the rise of neocon schmucks like Cheney, Bush and Wolfowitz. Fox isn’t worth recognizing as anything more than a precursor to fascism. I removed both from my DirecTV Guide.
I’ve now added AlJazeera America and the new CCTVN. We have real global news sources back again. But, the article and discussion is about financial news channels – and the fact that Bloomberg does a decent job at the broader task is simply an added benefit.
Thanks to my favorite Recovering Republican for pointing out this article.
Pope Francis condemned trickle-down economics and the world of inequality and exclusion it fosters in the first apostolic exhortation of his papacy:
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed.”
Many of the pontiff’s criticisms of trickle-down economics are true of the American experience. The policies that began with Ronald Reagan have not benefited middle and working class Americans, while deregulation spawned a reckless financial system that nearly destroyed the financial industry in a historic recession — a recession in which the most affluent have rebounded from far more easily than other Americans. Three decades of high-income tax cuts have proven equally ineffective. The Bush tax cuts aided the wealthy but did not reach the middle and lower classes as promised, resulting instead in “the worst wage and salary growth and total compensation growth of any postwar economic expansion.” In short, the wealth never trickled down…
Why, yes – I have a master’s degree in education
The fastest-growing jobs in the United States through 2017 are expected to be those requiring an advanced education, a study released Thursday found.
The report compiled by CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International, says job creation will accelerate from 2013 to 2017 compared with 2009 to 2013, gaining 4.4 percent compared with 3.5 percent.
Jobs requiring an associate degree or a master’s degree are expected to grow 8 percent, the report says, while jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree — which generally takes four years and falls between associates and master’s degrees — are expected to grow 6 percent.
Jobs that require “short-term, on-the-job training trail at 4 percent,” the study projects.
In a list of jobs expected to grow 8 percent or more through 2017, personal care and home health aides top the list with growth expected at 21 percent.
Jobs for market research analyst and marketing specialists are expected to grow 14 percent, as are jobs for medical secretaries.
Jobs for emergency medical technicians and paramedics are projected to grow 13 percent, while jobs for software developers are projected to rise 11 percent.
The final job with double-digit growth expected is medical assistants, with growth of 10 percent predicted, CareerBuilder said…
The top 18 include, in descending order, registered nurses, network and computer systems administrators, pharmacy technicians, landscapers, and social and human services assistants, all expected to grow 9 percent, and computer systems analysts, management analysts, cooks, insurance agents, nursing assistants, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses and food preparation workers and servers, including fast-food, the report said.
Middle-aged? Stick to figuring out ways to survive. Sooner or later the cost of living will begin to accelerate to match the increases of those with growing income. If you want longer-term worries consider your kids and grandkids. The quality of K-12 education ain’t especially getting better inside the United States. Compared to other literate nations and competing with them for jobs, we’re in a deeper hole that’s on the way to becoming downright subterranean.
While there’s no shortage of pundits who finished their college years before malaise and a matching decline set in – they continue to praise the value of our advanced education. That will continue to sort out with underfunded public schools getting more and more of the student base and giving back less in return. Or so it seems.
The cranes are flying
I finally tracked down a release of documents detailing the sixty points of reform from the 3rd Plenum just concluded in China. Aside from wanting to read through it and form my own opinions – I’d like to make it available for any of my readers.
What I am posting here is linked to an 8-page summary from the online edition of the China Daily. I’ll put up a couple of categories just to note the breadth of the document. I’m confident what I’m looking for is online already – Here is a brief note from China’s president Xi Jinping, as well. Google hasn’t been much of a help, frankly.
Much has come from the third plenum regarding the management of State-owned assets, particularly State-owned enterprises. The reforms are not going to wipe SOEs out of existence, however.
The communique said China’s basic economic system is one that depends on public ownership as its main body but allows for the prosperity of various ownerships. Both public and nonpublic ownerships are important components, it said…
China must accelerate construction of a new agricultural management system and give farmers more proprietary rights, to realize the equal exchange of production factors, achieve a fair allocation of public resources between urban and rural areas, and promote healthy urbanization, the communique said…
This milestone will bring concrete benefits to farmers, lay a foundation for modern agriculture, and pressure local governments to end their reliance on land transfers for large profits…
Guo Jianguang, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said the market, rather than the government, is likely to play a more important role in deciding China’s exchange and interest rates. As an effective measure to control the macroeconomy, the exchange and interest rates have long been tightly regulated, he said…
The communique points out that to better adjust to the new realities of economic globalization, China must accelerate the pace of opening-up, both internally and in terms of the outside world. The country will lower the thresholds for investment, accelerate the construction of free trade zones, and boost opening-up in inland and coastal areas…
The communique said China will strive to make social welfare fairer and more sustainable. Reform of social affairs is vital to guarantee all citizens enjoy the fruits of China’s development, it said.
Guan Xinping, director of the department of social work and social policy at Nankai University, said China has almost met the goal of universal social welfare coverage for its urban and rural populations, but a great disparity still exists among different professions and regions…
Regardless of personal and political ideology, the proposed structural changes in China will affect the world economy. Primary source information is always useful. There will be no shortage of analysts and pundits.
Iceland is the most advanced country in the world in gender equality, the 2013 Global Gender Gap Report said Friday.
The report ranks 136 countries on their abilities to close the gender gap in four key areas — economic participation and opportunity, political empowerment, health and survival, and educational attainment.
Iceland was ranked No. 1 for the fifth year in a row, with Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Philippines coming in second through fifth, respectively, the report said…
Germany was the highest-ranked G20 country at 14th, falling by one place from 2012. Britain stayed the same at 18th, Canada moved up a spot to 20th and the United States fell a spot to 23rd. Russia ranked 61st, China 69th and India 101st. The lowest ranking countries were Chad at 134th, Pakistan at 135th and Yemen at 136th.
You can download the whole report over here.
There were a couple of surprises. You’d think with the emphasis placed on gender-equality awareness by the Obama White House, the US might have progressed a little bit. Sadly, no.
Don’t blame the health law for high levels of part-time employment. In fact, using the law’s definitions, part-time work isn’t increasing at all as a share of employment…
Nearly 8 million American were working part-time in September because they couldn’t find full-time work. Overall, 27 million people — nearly a fifth of all employees — are working part-time, well above historical norms.
Many critics of the Obama administration have pointed the finger for the prevalence of part-time jobs at the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law better known to some as “Obamacare.” The law’s so-called “employer mandate” requires most midsize and larger companies to offer health insurance to their full-time employees. That, critics argue, provides companies with an incentive to hire part-timers instead…
But a closer look at the data provides little evidence for the notion that the health law is driving a shift to part-time work…
First of all, over a longer time frame, part-time work has actually been falling as a share of employment in recent years. Before the recession, about 17% of employed Americans worked 35 hours or less, the standard Labor Department definition of “part time.” During the recession, that figure rose, briefly hitting 20%. It’s been trending down since then, but only slowly, hitting 19% in September.
If the health law were driving employers to cut employees’ hours, the most vulnerable workers would likely be those working just above the 30-hour cutoff. That means the data would show a decline in those working 30 to 34 hours and an increase in those working less than 30 hours.
That isn’t what’s happening. The share of part-timers who say they usually work between 30 and 34 hours at their main job has been roughly flat over the past three years, at about 28%. (September data aren’t yet available.) If anything, it’s actually risen in the past year, though the change has been minor. The share working just under 30 hours has indeed risen somewhat, but the share working under 25 hours has fallen—suggesting that employers are giving part-timers more hours, rather than cutting full-timers’ hours back.
Other data tell a similar story. Average weekly hours—a measure that comes from companies, rather than workers themselves—have been flat for the past year, and are near their highest level since the recession. Restaurants, one of the sectors most often cited as likely to shift to part-timers, haven’t cut workers’ hours over the past year.
None of this, of course, means that employers won’t cut workers’ hours in the future…But there’s little evidence they’ve done so yet.
Editing this down to fit on the blog for commentary was a trip. The WSJ crew has never been noted for smiling over good news for American workers. Now that Rupert Murdoch owns the paper, the swing to the Right has only increased.
So, if you compare my copy to the original linked to above – you’ll see I’ve cut away the conservative crystal ball add-ons. Every time there’s a good news paragraph the WSJ plugs in an extra sentence or two to say – “this can all come crashing down and bad news might return”. Fracking hilarious if it wasn’t just repetitious ideology.
Meanwhile, if your stomach can take it don’t mute the sound when CNN or your local TV channel puts up the required clips of Tea Party know-nothings or Republican “leaders” saying exactly the opposite of the labor statistics. You’ll hear what you’re supposed to believe in – along with the Easter Bunny.