2019 Banking Industry Outlook 6 themes driving banking industry trends counting the Costs of a Data Breach

 

Banking And Technology

For 2019 and past, banks must contend with many issues engaged to regulations and legacy systems, upsetting models along with technologies, new challenge, and an impatient customer base while chasing new techniques for lasting growth. Our 2019 Banking Industry Outlook inspects the six macro themes from customer centricity to cyber risk facing all the industry’s five primary business portions in the coming twelve to eighteen months. Companies that can address these issues opportunities to effortlessly balance long-term goals with short-term performance pressures might be amply compensated.

There is considerable opportunity for banking institutions on the coming year, but lasting development will probably rely on navigating 6 dominant themes.

The banking industry comes in 2019 having a fresh air of careful confidence among clouds of policy doubt. Today, the clouds have cleared a little. For banking institutions around the globe, 2019 might a crucial year for accelerating the change into more strategically minded, digitally connected, and operationally agile organizations better equipped to maintain market leadership in an ecosystem that is rapidly evolving.

But this present year also promises multiple challenges, including complex and diverging regulations and legacy systems, troublesome models and also technologies, new competitors, and an often restive customer base with ever-higher anticipations. For banks’ 5 company lines retail banking and corporate banking, capital areas, payments, and wide range management 6 broad themes might be particularly critical for sustainable long-term development into the coming twelve to eighteen months:

Customer-centricity: True customer centricity is certainly a Holy Grail for banking institutions, which have made notable strides in moving away from sales-dominant countries. But clients objectives are evolving at a much faster speed, many thanks in particular to the superior experiences they enjoy with other industries. Being alert in experience delivery is as essential today as aiming at right areas as well as right consumer segments with all the ideal resolutions.

Financial Technology and Banking

Fintechs and techs are going to have a very strong impact on banking in the near future . Banking institutions can learn from fintech firms, which have set a benchmark that is new surpassing customer objectives in financial services. Fintechs have changed the direction of innovation in banking. However, incumbent institutions that are financial likely to keep their dominance offered their scale of operations, regulatory barriers to entry, and customers’ reluctance to change. That does not mean that banks should lean on their market laurels, but just the opposite. Rather, they are able to discover techniques to improve the customer experience. Banks could reproduce just what fintechs are doing, collaborate with them, or obtain them. Moreover, banks could take an expansive view of competitive benchmarking to consist of the most beneficial in class fintechs along with big tech companies.

Tech Administration

Technology administration. As much as banks may wish they might, discarding legacy systems just isn’t an option. Modernizing the main generally seems to be considered a concern on par with buying a profile of new technologies for example Blockchain as well as robotics and intellectual automation. There exists a lot to be done, as well as it is not going to be easy. Banks can aim to strike a balance between retaining competitively differentiating activities in-house as well as others that are externalizing. By 2020, technology units inside banks will possible start making changes by themselves from running platforms to arranging technology information flows across most of the stakeholders.

 

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US Dollar Still Ahead of other Currency Markets

The US dollar has been outdoing other currencies for a while now. While other countries are being bombarded by economic struggles, the US economy seems to be standing firm on its own.

Volatility prices are decreasing at a rapid rate, which is forcing the US to consolidate. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Dollar Index is reporting an upward surge in the US greenback when compared to other currencies such as the Australian dollar and the Japanese Yen. As the US dollar continues to stay on top of other currencies, binary option like Scam Watchdog is making sure that dealers in foreign currencies have the right information when it comes to their security.

 

Asian Currencies

Asian stocks received some encouragement based on the positive report given by the US Federal Reserve. The Feds painted a positive picture of the country’s performance in the past and leading up to the present. Asian stocks rose base on positive performance that the US is expecting to continue generating growth for the rest of 2015 and leading into 2016. The Japanese Nikkei rose 1.2 percent while shares on the Australian market went down 0.7 percent.

Asian Pacific shares went up 0.4 percent and this is showing a certain level of confidence in the US economy. In this week, the greenback rose to its highest gain to 0.1 percent when trading took place on the Asian exchange. The dollar traded at 124.075 yen.

The euro went down 0.2 percent and stood at $1.0964. The fall of the euro might be a reflection of a strong risk appetite, which is being used as a currency to fund risk assets investments.

In the US, positive inflation and housing data led to an outstanding performance by the country’s currency. Since the information about inflation and housing was revealed, Janet Yellen who is the Federal Reserve chairperson hinted that it might be time to lift the country’s interest rates sometime down in the year.

 

New Zealand Currency Ranks High With the Dollar

New Zealand’s currency was the only bright spark when compared to the US dollar. The Kiwi currency went into recovery mode after slumping for six years with an amount of $0.6498. The recovery brought a sense of relief to financial analysts in the market. An acceptance therefore came about among key players in the economy that the finances of the country are picking up at a rapid pace. The fast growth of the Kiwi economy is causing a concern among big financial players in the economy and thus there is now a move on by government to cut interest rates to facilitate growth.

 

Since the US dollar has shown an increase over the past week, dollar bulls are investing in the country’s currency in an effort to snatch greater profits from their investment. One dealer that deals with an international bank based in London says, “All of the commodity currencies are taking a hammering from the dollar’s rise”.

How Will the Gold Market Preform Against the Dollar

The gold market also helped to strengthen the US dollar. As gold went down 4 percent, the dollar went up because of added pressure placed on other currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars as well as the Norwegian crown.

While the euro and other world currencies directions are heading downwards, the US dollar is on an upward trend. With many woes facing certain countries like Greece and others, the value of international currencies are expected to continue falling. However, with a strong US economy to contend with, the greenback will always be outperforming other country currencies.

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How to Keep Up With Your Business Finances

When running a business, it can be incredibly difficult to understand your finances. However, keeping up with your business’s finances is of the utmost importance and should be one of your main priorities while running a business.

Although it can be easy to lose control of your finances, there are many ways in which you can be sure that you are able to track your expenditure, understand your taxes, and know your profits, some of which are explained below.

  1. Hire an Accountant

One of the most profitable steps that you can take if you struggle to understand your finances is to hire an accountant. Accountants can deal with all your finances for you, and prepare you for the tax year. Not only this, but chartered accountants such as Howlader & Co build a professional relationship with you that can help you to get the most out of your business financially and ensure that your business can be tax efficient. This helps businesses to ensure that they are paying the right taxes, know how much profit they are making, and organize their finances accordingly, taking away the stress of dealing with the complicated tax system alone.

  1. Understand Your Taxes

However, if you plan to control your business finances alone, you should first ensure that you understand your taxes as a business. Unlike during employment, when taxes are taken straight out of your payslip, running a business means that you have to maintain an understanding and submit your own taxes.

Income tax is based on the earnings of your business, and so calculating this is the first step to understanding how taxes work. However, there are many more implications which you need to consider, and these can affect how much tax you should pay.

  1. Track Your Expenses

To ensure that you are ready for the tax year, you should track your expenditure throughout the year. This will not only help you when it comes to submitting tax forms but also means that you will know how much money you have to spend and invest. The best ways to track your expenses include using apps and spreadsheet templates to create simple and yet effective methods of tracking your expenditure.

  1. Project Your Revenue

Not only this but when it comes to understanding your business finances, it can also be helpful to project your revenue. This will help you to adapt your business plan to the amount of money that you have available to spend, and will help you to prepare for any obstacles – or profits – you have in the future, allowing you to invest in your business accordingly.

  1. Write Invoices on Time

Writing invoices and sending these to your clients on time will ensure that you receive payment as soon as possible, reducing the number of outstanding payments that you have. You should establish a timeframe for payment in your invoice template, as this will give you a reference point so that you know when you will be receiving money and ensure that your money is not outstanding for long. If you have not received payment within a week, then you should ensure that you follow up on these invoices.

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GOLD OR REAL ESTATE: WHICH ONE IS THE BETTER INVESTMENT?

To buy gold or real estate, that is the question. If you are savvy enough with these things, it may sound as though we were comparing apples to oranges. And up to a certain point, we are. However, before we delve into which is the better option, let us begin with the features they hold in common. Both forms of investment share at least three features. The first one is rarity, next is durability and lastly scarcity. Given these similar characteristics, it may be hard to decide, but it is way nobler to know the differences between the two before you trade cash for gold.

In the real estate corner, most of the people who study these things will tell you that real estate does well. In fact, investment in real estate would afford an investor income in rent, for example. However, the crash of 2008 was enough to remind us all that housing prices too can fall. Real estate was also at the heart of the Asian crisis in the mid-90s, the lesson here being that no investment option is really foolproof to the vagaries of outrageous fortune. Then again, gold is a lot more portable than real estate. Gold’s suitability in this case becomes even more pronounced during times of calamity, natural and man-made.

Investing in gold, investing in the long-haul

Gold as a commodity is best for the long-haul. The numbers show that gold is a good asset to hold, and has less volatility than stocks. It is even more attractive of an asset when planning for retirement or if you are planning to pay for your kids college fees. Even in the event of a downturn, it is unlikely that gold would lose all of its intrinsic value. Visit www.buyandsellgoldsilver.com for more information.

In tough economic times, such as when there is high inflation, the price of gold typically goes up. This is because in such situations, investors trade cash for gold as a way store value and protect their wealth. Gold is viewed as being a stable commodity whose price is not really affected in such downturns. Experienced investment managers will tell you that gold serves as a good foundation in an investment portfolio, and that is due to its lack of volatility in the markets.

Diversified Portfolio

Ultimately, the best approach in developing an investment portfolio is to have a diversified one. You would buy gold and complement it with investment in equities. Ideally, this would be for the long-haul. Real estate would then top up these investments to enable you earn some extra income, especially in times when the housing markets are strong.

It should be clear to you by now that each of these investment options have their pros and cons. You may want to invest in something that guarantees you a quick return, or you may have specific preferences. Discussing your needs with a good gold broker or investment manager will be an important first step in determining how to trade cash for gold, equities or real estate.

 

 

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Student Loan Debt Makes Home Purchase Almost Impossible For Millennials

The Burden of Student Debt Affects the Real Estate Market

Student loan debt has become a paralyzing financial burden for many young Americans. Today, millenials are now moving past their college years and entering the phase in their lives where they are looking to be homeowners. However, being the generation with the most student debt in America does not make the home buying process very easy. Millenials are least likely to own a home compared to generations before them. In 2014, only about 36% of household heads between the ages of 24 and 32 years old owned a home. That is down from 45% in 2005. One of the big factors to this low-rate of homeownership is the amount of student loan debt they have.

While homeownership may be lowering, the amount of student debt continues to rise. This can be attributed to the increasing costs of higher education. The average college student graduates with about $30,000 in both private and federal loans. The more education costs the more students take out loans to pay for their education. This has created a never-ending cycle of debt that affects other aspects of life such as buying a home. The amount of student loan debt now surpass that of credit card debt with the total student loan debt being $1.56 trillion and credit card debt being $1.03 trillion. Here are some ways that student loan debt can make it difficult for millenials:

  • Debt-to-income ratio

    – The number one issue that comes up when trying to purchase the home is the debt-to-income ratio. That is the amount of money you owe to lenders versus the income your bring in. The average income of college graduates is about $59,000. However, the average monthly payment of a student loan is about $350. This becomes a large chunk of monthly expenses. Banks are often wary of those with large amount of debt, especially debt like student loans which are seen as “unsecured debt”. Meaning that this debt is likely to be paid throughout a lifetime. Often, banks would prefer candidates whose expenditures are not more than 36% of their income. However, that can be difficult if your income is only $50,000. This ratio also can be affected by the cost of housing in your specific area. Those that live in higher cost areas can find it even more difficult to secure a home loan.

  • Credit Score

    – Another aspect that strongly affects homeownership for millenials is their credit score. About 8% of student loan borrowers were denied a mortgage because of their credit score. Those between the ages of 19 and 34 years old on average have a credit score of about 625. This is much lower compared to previous generations such as Generation X who had an average of 650 and Baby Boomers whose average was 709. However, as mentioned previously millennials also have a larger amount of debt compared to these generations. Millennials’ debt-to-income ratio is directly affecting their credit scores. Often, borrowers acquire a large amount of student loan debt and upon graduation found it difficult to find stable income to payoff the debt and defaulted into their loans. This caused their credit score to lower and made it difficult to be approved for a mortgage.

  • Down Payments

    – Getting approved for a mortgage can be a difficult first step to homeownership. However, the burdening reach of student loan debt does not stop there. Saving up for a down payment for a home can be difficult when you have such huge loan debt to pay every month. Often some would-be homeowners choose to take out a short-term loan to get immediate cash to use as a down payment . This might be particularly appealing for those living in states with lower student loan debt and lower costs of living. Millennials can access an online car title loan to get immediate cash that they can use as a down payment for their home. Since it is a short term loan, unlike a student loan, it can be paid off quicker and easier.

    Higher Cost of Living – Another aspect of student loan debt that is affecting millennials’ homeownership is the higher cost of living. While millennials seem to be earning much more than previous generations, the increase of income has not combatted the rapidly increasing costs of living. Millennials not only pay more for education and housing than previous generations but they must spend more on other expenditures as well. The cost of childcare is about 2% more than previous years, which might not seem like a lot but when broken down that is about $150 on average for child care compared to about $85 a week in 1985. Millennials also spend more on health insurance, transportation, and entertainment than previous generations.

Homeownership and student loan debt can be a tumultuous relationship. Student loan debt often paralyzes millennials from acquiring an integral part of the American Dream, owning a home. Millennials do have a challenging future when it comes to purchasing a home. However, with careful budgeting and dedication to paying off debt, the dream of homeownership can be a reality.

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Financial Security: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials Face Mixed Fortunes

 

Baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials have very different financial experiences. When compared to baby boomers or Generation Xers, millennials have it rough when it comes to finances. They enter the labor force when full-time jobs are few and far between, making the strive for financial independence, marriage, or retirement even harder.

In addition, they have an overwhelming student loan debt that prevents them from achieving their financial goals. Even worse, those who are already working are barely making enough money to cover their bills. Never mind savings. Data from Smartasset show that the average salary of the millennial today is about 20 percent lower than the average salary that a baby boomer earned at the same age.

These unique set of financial challenges make it difficult for millennials to build up rainy day savings or establish themselves financially. For instance, a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found that 66.2% of working millennials have no retirement savings because they hold off savings in favor of paying off student debt or buying homes.

In contrast, prior generations, Gen Xers and baby boomers exhibit far more financial confidence, thanks to their higher salaries, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and years of soaring markets, which enabled them to plan their financial future.

A Sea of Financial Traps

Another reason why the financial prospects of millennials are less than those of their parents is that they often make bad investments. The quest to live in the here and now and to enjoy life to the fullest has millennials spending money they don’t have to buy items they don’t need.

For instance, some millennials consider buying a new car as against a used one a status symbol. Same goes for luxury cars, expensive houses, premium cable package, leased cars, etc. It’s either these or they are overspending or living a frivolous lifestyle that makes it harder for them to put money toward their top priorities.

The lack of basic financial education also comes at a cost, as does lack of financial goals, their spending without a plan, falling for scams, taking on more student loan than is necessary, rushing into investing or not investing at all. All of these issues delay the ability millennials to secure their financial future. Even worse, it makes them more susceptible to economic vulnerability.

Staying on Track

Millennials will do well to consider measures that will help them climb out of debt quickly, especially if they are to make progress towards their financial goals of building a stable future. Good thing is, they have time in their favor, and so can make the most of that time to improve their finances.

To stay on track, one should first of all design strategies that will prevent them from falling into the bad habit of spending too much or living beyond their means. If you’re the kind of millennial who doesn’t have much or is in debt, your goal should be to earn more and spend less.

This means cutting costs, saving a certain amount every paycheck, establishing a side hustle, having a realistic budget, and buying only the things you need. Also, you should consider hiring a finance expert to help you set financial goals and advise you on how best to invest your money.

About investing, you might want to avoid investing in depreciating assets like cars, which tend to lose 75 percent of their original value within the first 3-4 years. Don’t put a brand new car in your garage if you think that will strain your budget. Instead, consider getting a used car and saving the balance or investing it in a profitable venture.

 

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An Untraceable Currency? Bitcoin Privacy Concerns

Bitcoin is frequently portrayed being an untraceable technique of payment that facilitates illegal activities by allowing crooks to create and receive payments without being tracked. This depiction implies that users transacting in bitcoin can completely do so anonymously that their identities will never be exposed. However, that isn’t fundamentally the way it is. Although bitcoin provides better privacy when compared with traditional-payment connecting a 3rd-party intermediary for example a credit-card provider, it’s nevertheless not as anonymous as a cash transaction. A person’s identity could potentially be exposed in bitcoin transactions in fact, there are many ways.

A general idea of the Blockchain

Bitcoin isn’t anonymous. As we explain below, it really is pseudonymous an important distinction. It can also be a decentralized, peer-to-peer currency that is digital having no third-party intermediary for instance, a charge card issuer, vendor processor or bank that is involved to verify a transaction between a customer and vendor. Since there is no party that is third there must be another way to confirm a transaction between two users and avoid the double-spending problem i.e., a means of guarantee that an individual does maybe spend bitcoin they have formerly transferred.

This is where the Blockchain, the undoubtedly revolutionary aspect of cryptocurrencies such as for instance bitcoin, is necessary. A Blockchain is just a public, distributed ledger, by which every transaction is documented. A Blockchain ledger is distributed across a group of computers thousands of them, each with its own copy of the Blockchain transactions unlike traditional payment systems in which the ledger is maintained by a single third party.

Each block of deals in a Blockchain is complete by users within the peer-to-peer network, known as miners, who compete to resolve a complex problem that is computational. 1st successful miner to validate the deal broadcasts it to the network that then checks the results. Once checked, the new deals are added as a new block to the Blockchain. The miner who first successfully verified this transaction gets rewarded by the network with newly created bitcoins in the case of bitcoin. At the time of 2016, the reward was reduced from 25 to 12.5 bitcoins, and it is expected that the reward will be further reduced to 6.25 bitcoins in 2021 July.

Tracing Bitcoins Back to Individuals

Encryption might make the impression that these transactions are visible however unmatchable to specific individuals. However, bitcoin isn’t as untraceable as encryption may indicate. Tying an encrypted transaction to a real person may be it’s not really a risk that is remote. There are numerous ways this could occur. Users who count on a bitcoin trading exchange such as Bitfinex and Binance or Kraken to switch money for bitcoin have to divulge their information that is personal to exchange to produce a free account. The information collected by the trade varies, however normally includes, at a minimum, a user’s first and name that is last and, possibly, a phone number. The trade may additionally collect a user’s ip. If these exchanges had been subject to a data protection breach, a user’s personal information could be exposed. In addition, some exchanges that are centralized to manage users’ bitcoin funds and users’ private keys on their behalf.

You can find additionally wallet that is on line providers that control users’ wallets on their behalf. A wallet is really a software program that stores an accumulation of a public that is user’s personal key pairs. The storage space of personal tips makes these central exchanges, and online wallet providers, prime targets for crooks because, as discussed above, you aren’t access to a user’s personal key should be able to develop a bitcoin transaction that is valid. A hacker who accesses a user’s private key can send all of that user’s bitcoins to him or herself, or even to any intermediary of their choosing.

Summary

Although bitcoin is a decentralized and unregulated payment method, users should recognize that this does not mean that their bitcoin transactions are private and hidden from scrutiny. The public nature for the Blockchain coupled with the increasing threat of government regulation can result in the identification of users involved in transacting the currency.

 

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8 Things Small Business Owners Need to Know About Finance

Figuring out how to manage finances is one of the most challenging things you’ll face as a small business owner. Often, people get into the business world because they have an exciting idea or product to share. The chances are that you won’t have a lot of experience with accounts, taxes and cash flow too.

While learning as much as you can about money matters can seem like an exhausting process at first, it’s something you can’t afford to overlook when you start bringing your company to life. Knowing these 8 simple things about finance will help to keep your organization on track.

1. Sometimes You’re Going to Need a Loan

When you first launch a business, sometimes it’s tempting to try and do everything by yourself. The last thing you want is to be in debt before you’ve ever started making a profit. However, the truth is that most people simply don’t have the capital required to handle the demands of a business without a little support. A loan can be the most useful tool you have when it comes to starting your business, and even overcoming cash flow problems. Just make sure that you compare your options so you can ensure you’re getting the best interest rates.

2. Have a Billing Strategy

No matter how good you are at staying on top of things like cashflow, there’s nothing to say that your clients will be just as efficient. Most companies will have at least one customer that always seems to be late when paying their bills. Too much cash tied up in your unpaid invoices can quickly lead to cash flow problems. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure that you have a billing strategy in place. The good news is that there are tools online you can use to automatically invoice clients and send them reminders when they’re late.

3. You Need to Pay Yourself

When you’re running a small business for the first time, you might find yourself trying to put everything you earn back into the company. Any extra capital is a great way to help your business grow, but you also need to look after yourself and your family too. Remember that you’re playing an important role in your company, and you deserve to get paid for your work. Don’t focus on everyone else and forget to look after yourself.

4. You Need to Spend Money to Make It

This phrase might sound like a cliché at first, but it’s true. If you want to make real progress in any industry, then you need to be willing to invest in yourself and your business. With that in mind, make sure that you take risks from time to time, and invest in your growth. This could mean that you need to take an extra loan out at some point so you can afford to buy additional equipment, materials, or pay for staff, but a good risk analysis will help you to see if it’s worth it in the long-term.

5. You Must Remember to Look at ROI

Speaking of investing in the long-term, it’s a good idea to have a way to track your return on investments. Every time you start pouring money into projects for your business, make sure that you set up a measurement system that will show you which of your strategies are good for your future, and which might not be worth the effort.

6. You Need to Constantly Monitor Your Books

Monitoring your books might be an obvious task for financial health in your business, but it’s something that people often forget that they need to do regularly. If you’re the kind of person who might leave managing cash flow to the end of the month, try setting up an hour in your schedule each day where you can look at your incoming and outgoing expenses and make some crucial notes. The last thing you want to do is neglect your accounts.

7. It Helps to Establish Good Habits

Make sure that you do everything you can to develop good financial habits – even if it just means that you block aside some time at the end of each week to check that everything is running smoothly in your business. Running a small business often leaves you strapped for time, but your financials aren’t something you can afford to cut corners on. Start building good habits for your finances now.

8. You May Need Help

Finally, don’t expect to become a professional accountant overnight just because you’ve decided that you want to run your own business. If you don’t know anything about taxes and deductions, and you don’t have time to learn, then invest in an accountant or bookkeeper to help you. You’ll thank yourself for it in the long-term.

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Prices Likely to Spike for Commmon Goods as Geo-Political Tensions Rise

In today’s global economy, what happens in one part of the world – sometimes in one specific country – can set off a chain reaction likely to have far-reaching effects for consumers everywhere. When Panama Disease hit and peaked in Central America in the 1950s, for example, it wiped out thousands of acres of banana plantations that caused a worldwide shortage of the fruit, even forcing growers to abandon their favored cultivar and go in search of new types. Today, most of the world eats an entirely different kind of banana – the Cavendish – because of this. Like bananas, global products of all kinds are not immune to the effects of global markets. Recent announcements and economic policies have U.S. markets and consumers poised for a price hike for common steel and aluminum products. From soda cans to new cars, hundreds of industries are likely to see costs go up. Yet these products are far from the only ones being impacted by global geo-political tensions and sharp changes in demand and consumer preferences.

Food

Global food prices are hitting new highs as demand for meat, dairy, and wheat from countries with expanding populations continues to surge. U.N. food agency data shows global food prices are up 7 percent from a year ago and ahead 17 percent from a low set in early 2016. According to analysts, there has been a growing global demand for meat, particularly for beef. So strong is this demand that global meat has outpaced most other major food commodity groups, according to U.N. data.

Common Household Goods

Yes, even toilet paper is not immune to drastic price hikes and consumer panic. Just this week, a spike in the price to produce toilet paper in Taiwan cause panic to a point where lines formed outside of local grocery stores as people snapped up toilet paper and paper towels in bulk. The mess began on February 23rd when, according to The Economist, Taiwanese retailers, including several supermarket chains, said that toilet-paper producers would increase prices by as much as 30 percent in March because the cost of raw pulp had gone up.

Pearls

Political uncertainty in the South China sea has forced the price of pearls upward, much to the dismay of traditional brick-and-mortar and online retailers throughout the U.S. Leon Rbibo, who runs two of the top pearl websites in the U.S., The Pearl Source and Laguna Pearl, says military escalations in this part of the world can drive costs up “literally overnight,” since a large portion of the world’s favorite gemstone is imported from this area. Add to that the implications of Brexit, which is destabilizing world currencies, and you have a recipe for higher costs.

Gas and Other Fuel Types

There was a brief respite from the pump for many U.S. consumers over the last year, but don’t bank on that trend continuing, analysts say. According to AAA and the transportation industry, more than half of the country is likely to see a significant spike in the average cost for a gallon of unleaded gasoline. According to AAA, there are numerous reasons for the hike: This year “has seen fluctuating crude oil prices, strong gasoline demand and new U.S. oil production records creating a volatile gas price market from month to month for consumers,” Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokeswoman, said. “Typically, March brings more expensive pricing as days get longer, weather gets warmer and refinery’s gear up to switchover to pricier summer blends.”

Bourbon (and Other U.S. Produced Spirits)

New U.S. tariffs have other countries considering raising duties of their own. The European Union could choose to retaliate by going after peanut butter, orange juice, cranberries, and yes, even that world-famous Kentucky bourbon.

The European Union is the first trade partner to offer specific steps and products if the U.S. is to proceed with certain proposed tariffs, including on steel. Canada has also promised countermeasures. And Mexico, China and Brazil are said to be weighing options.

 

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Robots Are Taking Over Human Jobs on Wall Street

STEPHEN HAWKING WARNS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ‘MAY REPLACE HUMANS’

Quote by Stephan Hawkins:

“If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”

The rise of Machines and AI is Fast Approaching

The rise of the machines was always going to come at a cost, as each wave of technology destroys what has been put in place. The frenetic pace of technological development in the areas of artificial intelligence and robotics is causing massive shifts in the finance industry.

The impact is already being felt on Wall Street, where there have been far-reaching and significant changes, with technology eliminating many jobs by replacing hundreds of humans with either robo-advisers or software.

Many investment banks and big institutions, in a bid to cut cost and improve efficiency, use AI to automate financial tasks usually undertaken by humans, such as wealth management, operations, risk management, and algorithmic trading.

One of the areas that the Wall Street has seen the greatest disruption of robotics and AI is the execution of buy and sell orders, where robots carry out between 50% to 60% market trades, according to CNN, citing data from Art Hogan. Hogan is the chief market strategist for B. Riley FBR.

The preference for technology over human traders is premised on the inability of the vast majority of traders to act consistently rationally when trading. Often, people fail to control themselves, allowing emotions to get in the way of their thoughts and actions.

Machines don’t suffer from these psychological issues when a major trading decision is being made. This is because they remove emotion from short-term trading activity, allowing for a more objective approach to trading.

Laying a Claim to the Future of Investing

Artificial intelligence and robotics is fast advancing into the investment sector, where its incredible ability to learn and think will eventually make them the most advanced and complex investment systems capable of helping corporations to make more efficient and effective choices.

For instance, advisory bots are increasingly being used by companies to assess investments, deals, and strategies in a fraction of a second, much faster than any human quantitative analysts using traditional statistical tools.

Such is the growing dominance of robots in the finance industry that former Barclays boss, Anthony Jenkins warned they could displace half of the workers in the banking sector, and lead to branch closures.

Activities such as calculations based on structured data and other repetitive support tasks are the most susceptible to automation because robots are well-suited for them.

There’s Still a Place for Humans in a Robotic Wall Street

While AI is probably the most robust technology there is today; its ability to perform complex tasks is limited. Trading machines can only learn historical data and trade patterns. However, stock market behavior changes all the time and computers can be less adept in the face of unexpected market performance.

Humans can easily adjust themselves to these changes. Getting the robots to do the same, however, will require changing their algorithms, which can be too expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, humans will always be a step ahead and remain relevant.

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