$500B in loans to the rich, Helicopter Money, College grads with side jobs, Osmosis power: Open Questions links, Aug. 8

Welcome to my weekly recap of articles I’ve read on topics of finance, markets, and investing. All are on open questions I’m interested in.

Inside Wall Street’s Latest Boom: Lending Half A Trillion Dollars To The Ultrarich  LINK

For Andy Chase of Morgan Stanley, based in Menlo Park, Calif., FORBES’ fourth-ranked wealth advisor, with $37 billion in client assets, liquidity as a service solves a dilemma posed by the rise of privately held firms like Uber and Palantir. These so-called unicorns are raising capital from investors and wealthy families at multibillion-dollar valuations, creating massive, but illiquid, paper wealth. But are they generating the cash to buy a Bay Area home and fund an executive lifestyle?

Chase says one of the biggest demands among his clients is for the ability to borrow against pre-IPO stock.

Side jobs in the gig economy for college grads LINK

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Osmosis power may be viable for commercial use LINK

In a first osmotic powerplant, built 2009 in Tofte, Norway, four kilowatts of power(good enough for running a clothes dryer for one cycle) were produced using the process. If that doesn’t sound impressive, it’s OK, because it isn’t.

A recent breakthrough, however, may change everything.

A few weeks ago, an international team of scientists published an article in Nature magazine, where they hypothesized and successfully tested a minuscule prototype of another osmosis power plant. That one, however, showed considerably greater power generation potential than any other osmosis power plant in the world.

Structural bottom for oil found at $40, says WoodMac’s Skip York LINK

Skip York, VP of integrated energy at Wood Mackenzie says that oil hits a “structural bottom” at the low-$40s. “There isn’t enough oil that is active in the $40s,” York said on Bloomberg TV. “The market just can’t stay there. We saw that in January and February.” So even if prices dip into the $30s, they will have to bounce back again as supply goes offline.

“Helicopter Money is Coming to the U.S.”–A. Gary Shilling plants his flag LINK

Major central bank helicopter money is a fact of life in war time — and that includes the current global war on slower growth. Conventional monetary policy is impotent and voters in Europe and North America are screaming for government stimulus. I just hope it doesn’t set a precedent and continue after rapid growth resumes — otherwise, the fragile independence of major central banks could go the way of those
in banana republics.

Tech, not trade, killed manufacturing jobs LINK

The political anger about lost manufacturing jobs should be aimed at technology, not trade. According to a recent study by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University, productivity growth caused 85% of the job losses in manufacturing from 2000 to 2010, a period that saw 5.6 million factory jobs disappear. In that same period, trade accounted for a mere 13% of job losses.

China and Russia stockpile gold LINK

The world’s biggest official gold holder is the U.S., with 8,134 tons — more than four times as much as China (1,808 tons), more than five times Russia’s 1,499 tons — followed by Germany with 3,380 tons, the IMF itself with 2,814 tons, Italy with 2,452 tons and France with 2,436 tons.

…For the time being, however, the policy of painstaking monthly accruals seems set to continue , allowing Beijing to profit gradually from the rising gold price without spurring any kind of disorderly buying in its wake.

#ThenWhat #OpenQuestions

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