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A Race To The Bottom For Gold

 2 min read / 

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Editor’s remarks:
Last week gold shed 5% of its value, its sharpest decline in 3 years. The principal theme driving the price instability is the upcoming Fed decisions about a change in interest rates which is gathering steam. The market is now convinced that November or December will see an increase in interest rates, and consequently see other yield-bearing assets become more attractive, resulting in a rise in the value of the US dollar. Over the course of a poor 2016, $27bn has flowed into gold-backed exchange traded funds this year alone, and while gold may seem a stable and strategic hedge it is too vulnerable to shocks and changes in the global economy. Gold it seems will forever be a crisis commodity and should see a terrible few months on the Fed’s and US’s continuing good news. However, gold rose marginally by 0.7% on Monday, due to the jump in the price of crude oil after Putin announced that Russia is prepared to cooperate with Saudi Arabia and OPEC on capping production. However, this should not have a lasting effect on the continuous decline of the commodity, especially if OPEC’s deal falls through.

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How Are the Chinese Net Giants Faring?

 1 min read / 

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In the last year, China’s tech giants have really come into their own. Finally, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have shed their former reputation as “China’s version of [insert western tech company]” and begun to define their business models by their own terms. The market has rewarded them for it too: Baidu gained 60% in 2017, with Tencent and Alibaba each up about 120%, which trumped the price gains achieved by their western competitors. Tencent has cemented itself as the world’s biggest video games company due to its ever-expanding portfolio of mobile games and savvy investments in a broad range of foreign tech firms. Alibaba, meanwhile, has expanded into physical supermarkets in China, where it hopes to build further streams of revenue. Baidu is somewhat lagging, as its relatively small market cap indicates but the company is actively testing autonomous cars.

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How Big Banks Have Invested in FinTech Since 2013

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big banks fintech

In the UK at least, fintech has been characterised by challenger banks such as Starling and Monzo opening their (virtual) doors to customers in recent years. However, that does not mean that big banks aren’t getting in on the fun too. Since 2013, premier investment bank Goldman Sachs has completed some 37 fintech-related investments with Citibank trailing with 25 similar deals over the same period. Kensho is one company that has received a lot of attention from Wall Street’s biggest players; Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi and Morgan Stanley all invested in the machine learning startup’s Series B fundraise last year at a valuation of $500m. with the advent of blockchain, it seems like 2018 will see many more fintech deals take place.

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The Earth’s Continents by Population

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Asia remains by far and away the world’s most populous continent with a staggering 4.5bn people, largely from India and China. The two superpowers are now roughly neck and neck in terms of population size, with one unofficial poll, in fact, putting India ahead of China last year. China phased out its one-child policy in 2015, which had stood since 1979, and replaced it with a two-child policy. The impact of these policies on the demographics of the nation have been enormous; many Chinese men are unable to found spouses due to there being around 15% more females than males among millennials in the country. Elsewhere, Africa is expected to witness a population boom between now and 2050, when the population is expected to be in excess of 2bn – and keep growing. Asia is also expected to add another 1bn people in that time, while Europe and the Americas will have stopped growing.

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