Economic Outlook

The S&P 500 roared back to life on Tuesday led by Apple, Inc. after the U.S. Trade Representative released a long list of exemptions from the new 10% tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports set to go into effect on Sept. 1. Tariffs on the exempted items do not go into effect until Dec. 15.

Exempted Items

The USTR said cell phones and other electronic devices, including laptops, video game consoles and computer monitors, are also exempt until December. Certain articles of clothing and most footwear is also clear for another four months. Tariffs will be delayed for certain chemicals, household glassware and silverware, microwaves, jewelry, and sporting equipment as well….CLICK for complete article

The World’s Most Innovative Economies

In the 21st century, innovation has become the heart and soul of economic policy. Developed and developing nations alike are in the race to leave industrialization behind, adapting instead to technology-focused, entrepreneurial societies.

Customized cancer treatment, faux meat products, and the smart home technologies are frequently positioned as ‘the next big thing’. But which countries are consistently innovating the most?

Today’s graphic comes from the seventh annual Bloomberg Innovation Index and highlights the 10 most innovative economies, and the seven metrics used to rank 2019’s top contenders….CLICK for complete article

What Is Africa’s Role In The New Silk Road?

A lot of resource investors stop listening to corporate presentations when they learn the company’s project is in Africa.

More often than not the country risk of exploring for minerals is just too big a gamble for retail investors’ hard-earned capital.

Development projects are hi-jacked by rebels, or over-run by artisanal miners. Operating mines get expropriated by governments that can’t resist the temptation to raid a foreign company’s coffers. And African miners frequently see their profits reduced by corrupt officials intent on re-negotiating royalty contracts….CLICK for complete article

Bank Run: Deutsche Bank Clients Are Pulling $1 Billion A Day

As a result of the modern version of this “bank run”, where it’s not depositors but counterparties that are pulling their liquid exposure from DB on fears another Lehman-style lock up could freeze their funds indefinitely, Deutsche Bank is considering how to transfer some €150 billion ($168 billion) of balances held in it prime-brokerage unit – along with technology and potentially hundreds of staff – to French banking giant BNP Paribas.

One problem, as Bloomberg notes, is that such a forced attempt to change prime-broker counterparties, would be like herding cats, as the clients had already decided they have no intention of sticking with Deutsche Bank, and would certainly prefer to pick their own PB counterparty than be assigned one by the Frankfurt-based bank. Alas, the problem for DB is that with the bank run accelerating, pressure on the bank to complete a deal soon is soaring.

Here are the dynamics in a nutshell, (via Bloomberg): Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing is pulling back from catering to risky hedge-fund clients, i.e. running a prime brokerage, as he attempts to radically overhaul the troubled German lender while BNP CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe wants to expand in the industry. A deal of this magnitude would be a stark example of the German firm’s retreat from global investment banking while potentially transforming its French rival from a small player in the so-called prime-brokerage industry to one of Europe’s biggest.

Of course, publicly telegraphing that DB is in dire liquidity straits and needs an in-kind transfer of its prime brokerage book would spark an outright panic, and so instead the story has been spun far more palatably, i.e., “BNP is providing “continuity of service” to Deutsche Bank’s prime-brokerage and electronic-equity clients as the two companies discuss transferring over technology and staff”, according to a July 7 statement. The ultimate goal of the talks is for BNP to take over the vast majority of client balances, which are slightly less than $200 billion currently.

There is just one problem: nothing is preventing those clients who would be forcibly moved from a German banking giant to a French banking giant from redeeming their funds. And that’s just what they are doing. Or rather, nothing is preventing them from moving their exposure for now, which is why they are suddenly scrambling to do it before they are suddenly gated…CLICK for complete article

The Final Shoe Drops On Germany’s Deutsche Bank

Forget profits for Deutsche Bank for 2019. The German lender is undergoing a radical restructuring that will see 18,000 jobs slashed worldwide and has already taken a 5 percent toll on shares.  London was bustling this morning, according to Twitter, with descriptions of staff frantically packing their stuff in order to get out the door before their security badges quit working.

And that was just London.

Trading staff in Asia were cut loose, too, and the purge also launched in the bank’s New York offices.

All in all, 18,000 jobs are expected to be cut by 2022. That means 20 percent of the bank’s staff. But mostly the focus is on investment banking operations, which haven’t earned enough to justify the risks–or the costs.

The restructuring will cost DB $8.3 billion. That comes on top of Q2 losses of $3.1 billion….CLICK for complete article

At the end of the day, all of the frenzied whispers in the press about Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing’s sweeping restructuring hardly did it justice. Instead of moving slowly, the bank started herding hundreds of employees into meetings with HR, first in its offices in Asia (Hong Kong, Sydney), then London (which got hit particularly hard) then New York City.

By some accounts, it was the largest mass banker firing since the collapse of Lehman, which left nearly 30,000 employees in New York City jobless. Although the American economy is doing comparatively well relative to Europe, across the world, DB employees might struggle to find work again in their same field.

According to Bloomberg, automation and cuts have left most investment banks much leaner than they were before the crisis, and the contracting hedge fund industry, which once poached employees from DB’s equities business, isn’t much help. Some employees will inevitably find their way to Evercore, Blackstone – boutique investment banks and private equity are two of the industry’s top growth areas – or family offices, which, thanks to the never-ending rally in asset prices (and the return of bitcoin), are also booming.

Oh, and of course, there’s always crypto. Some evidence has surfaced to suggest that many young bankers are already looking to make the leap….CLICK for complete article