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Jul 6, 2018

Economic Collapse Confirmed! China 'Weaponize' Yuan For Dollar Collapse - 2018 Stock Market CRASH! I Epic Economist Video ( Published on July 1, 2018)

Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality I Business I DealBook I NYT.

Fresh Proof That Strong Unions Help Reduce Income Inequality

Economic View
Union members demonstrated in Manhattan last month after the Supreme Court issued a decision widely seen as weakening organized labor.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times
New evidence shows that unions played a major role in reducing income inequality in the United States in the decades when organized labor was strong.
But it also demonstrates that the decline in union power since the 1960s — which may be exacerbated as a result of a recent Supreme Court decision — has contributed to the widening gap between rich and poor.
The new insights come from a working paper, “Unions and Inequality Over the Twentieth Century: New Evidence from Survey Data,” by four economists: Henry Farber, Daniel Herbst and Ilyana Kuziemko of Princeton, and Suresh Naidu of Columbia. They establish that unions have constrained income inequality far beyond their own membership ranks.
While the scholars can’t pinpoint the precise mechanism at work, they speculate that unions have indirectly increased pay at firms nervous that their own employees might organize. Unions have also lobbied for higher minimum wages and pushed to hold down executive salaries. They have also advocated for broader access to health care, countering a key channel through which income inequality can harm all of society.
The findings are particularly relevant in light of the Supreme Court’s June 27 decision in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The court ruled that states can no longer require public employees who are represented by a union — but have chosen not to formally become members — to contribute to the costs of collective bargaining. That will certainly hurt unions financially, and it may lessen their already diminished power.
Income inequality began its steep rise in the 1970s. Economists have been arguing about the origins of this trend since, with the primary explanations falling into two camps.
The dominant narrative, described in “The Race Between Education and Technology by Professors Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz of Harvard, is that scientific progress has given the most educated workers the upper hand through “skill-biased technological change.” The theory goes that companies have bid up wages for workers who are best able to adopt new technologies, while demand for other workers has stagnated. This narrative is bolstered by rising levels of earnings for college-educated workers.
But another explanation for increasing income inequality centers on the erosion of the minimum wage and the decline of unions. Economists in this camp emphasize changing norms, institutions, and politics — not just market forces — as important drivers of the widening gulf between rich and poor.
The debate has real-world consequences.
If market forces are primarily responsible for the growing inequality, then the best we can do, from an economic standpoint, is to try to buffer their negative effects on low-skilled workers through “post-market” policies like taxes and social welfare programs. But if institutions matter more, then we can reduce inequality with market-oriented policies that, for example, bolster the minimum wage or ease the formation of unions.
Until now, the study of unions’ effect on inequality has essentially started with the ’70s, because good data has been hard to come by for any time before then. But it was hard to tell a complete story about how the rise and fall of unions affected economic inequality because the data is confined to a time during which unions were already in decline.
In the new study, the four scholars have mined newly available Gallup Organization data going back to the 1930s, based on surveys of American households that include questions about political beliefs as well as union membership, education, and income. A rich trove of these older surveys is now publicly available at the Roper Center at Cornell University.
The four economists painstakingly cleaned and coded hundreds of these surveys spanning nearly 90 years. The data encompass the growth of unions during the 1930s and ’40s, their heyday in the ’50s and ’60s, and their slow decline to the present.
Union workers now earn about 20 percent more than nonunion workers in similar jobs. Remarkably, this union premium has held steady since the 1930s.
Throughout this period, the biggest boost from union membership has gone to the least educated workers, who have, in turn, driven the rise and fall of union membership. The decades following World War II, when unskilled workers formed the union movement’s backbone, marked the most rapid decreases in income inequality. Wages for nonwhite workers were particularly strong then.
But increasing wages for low-skilled union members is just one channel through which unions can reduce income inequality. Unions can also affect the earnings of nonunion workers.
To capture such effects, the researchers broadened their lens to include the entire distribution of workers and their wages beyond those who are in typically unionized jobs and industries. They found that, going back to the 1930s, more unions meant more income equality. During years and in states where workers were more likely to be unionized, income inequality was lower.
I will admit freely that I’m predisposed toward unions. I’ve seen their effects in my own life. My father was a high school dropout, but as a unionized mechanic at the United States Postal Service he earned a solid wage. His union paycheck (along with my mother’s low paid, nonunion job), financed a house, a car, and Catholic school educations for three daughters.
Before I trained as an economist, I spent six years as an organizer, forming unions among secretaries, library workers, and lab assistants at Harvard and the University of Minnesota. I saw firsthand the increased economic security that unionization brought these predominantly female workers, in the form of higher wages, more generous pensions, and paid maternity leave.
Thanks to the new research, evidence going back nearly a century now shows that unions have formed a critical counterweight to the power of companies. They increase the earnings of the lowest skilled and sharply reduce inequality.
But the Supreme Court’s decision will curtail the capacity of unions to organize and represent workers. The court ruled that unions can no longer collect “agency fees” from those government workers whom they represent but who have chosen not to join. These fees have helped pay for contract negotiations as well as prevent the free-rider problem that arises when only some pay for benefits enjoyed by everyone.
Incomes in the United States are now as unequal as they were in the 1920s. The gulf between rich and poor will widen if, as I fear, unions are weakened further.

Your New Trends Journal: 2018 Top Trends Mid-year Review I Gerald Celente ( Original Release July 3, 2018).

'Neoliberalism is a disease': charity chief's pitch to be Labor's new star | Australia news I The Guardian.

'Neoliberalism is a disease': charity chief's pitch to be Labor's new star | Australia news

Paul Karp

Neoliberalism is a “terrible disease” and the government’s proposed income tax cuts would “rip the guts out of what remains of a progressive taxation system”.
So says John Falzon, the chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, who has launched his bid for Labor preselection in Canberra, the third and newest federal seat in the Australian Capital Territory.
While the timing of the election may be up in the air – September if you listen to Labor types; 2019 if you take Malcolm Turnbull at his word – the battle lines are already well drawn.
In the blue corner: “aspiration”, extending tax cuts for companies earning more than $50m a year and a $144bn income tax package that will most benefit those earning six-figure salaries. In the red corner: “fairness”, rolling back tax cuts, and more social spending and redistribution to those earning less than six figures.
Falzon, who has lived in Canberra since 2009 and is a member of the Australian Services Union, has the pedigree of a star Labor candidate.
He worked in community development in public housing in south-west Sydney before joining St Vincent de Paul in 2001. Since 2006 he has led the charity that has been one of the most vocal critics of Coalition austerity budgets.
“I’ve learned a great deal from the people most affected by exclusion and inequality – the victims of neoliberalism,” Falzon tells Guardian Australia.
“For me, neoliberalism has never been an abstract concept because I’ve seen it played out in people’s lives, denying them access to the things ... such as housing and a job and income security.”
Falzon says charity has become “the default mode of delivering social security” under the Coalition, an outcome he describes as unjust and “unworthy of a society that seeks to be progressive and fair”.
“Neoliberalism is the aberration. We need to build a society that’s predicated on the principle of ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’,” Falzon says, quoting Karl Marx.
That, he says, means a tax system where “people contribute what they can”, and a strong social safety net.
“There is an alternative and it’s called government doing its job, which is ... to try and achieve the collective dreams of the many instead of pandering to the demands of the wealthy few.”
From mid 2024 the government’s tax package will flatten the tax scales so that workers earning between $40,000 and $200,000 pay the same marginal rate.
Falzon warns that would “ideologically reframe” the progressive tax system to “give a massive reward to the already wealthy”. This is on top of “massive corporate tax cuts down the track, whilst failing to deliver the things people need”.
“Massive tax cuts at one end will mean cuts to social services and social supports,” he says.

Greens challenge

The Australian Electoral Commission will finalise the seat redistribution on Friday, after which Labor and the Greens will hold preselections.
Falzon, a member of the left, is the standout candidate for Labor so far, and that faction is likely to determine the nomination. But there is still time for others to put their hands up for the prize seat.
The Greens have already leafletted the electorate, appealing to progressive voters to “make Canberra matter”, and urging them to achieve change with a protest vote against the major parties.
Tim Hollo, the executive director of the Green Institute thinktank who had been an adviser to former Greens leader Christine Milne, has nominated for Greens preselection but is precluded by party rules from giving interviews.
Hollo announced his candidacy on Facebook, promising “an engaging, bold, ideas-filled campaign”, and reflecting the party’s optimism by suggesting “we can bring this beautiful community on board and win this seat for the Greens”.
Labor starts well ahead. Even in the Greens’ strongest booths in inner-city suburbs such as Braddon, Civic and Lyneham, the party recorded a touch less than 28% of the primary vote at the 2016 election, while Labor’s vote easily topped 40%.
Since Ged Kearney recorded a thumping win in the Batman byelection, Labor’s confidence has been rising in its formula to stop the Greens’ march in inner-city areas: a progressive candidate, strong grassroots campaigning and a pitch to back candidates who want to change the party’s policy in areas such as asylum, which are usually its achilles heel in attacks from the left.

Policy battle on asylum

Falzon’s advocacy at the St Vincent de Paul Society certainly puts him to the left of Labor’s current positions, calling for a $75-a-week increase to the Newstart unemployment payment (Labor has promised a review) and restoration of the single-parent payments that were cut by the Gillard government (a decision the outgoing Labor social services spokeswoman, Jenny Macklin, has said she regrets).
Falzon has put up his hand for preselection with his eyes open, saying it is a decision to “work within parliament and to be a voice within the Labor party caucus”.
“I really believe that in order to effect change, you have to engage with the structures that are responsible for that change, and so in this case, we’re talking about legislative structures,” he says.
But in some cases a change of law first requires a chance of policy. One of the signal issues for the Labor left at the national conference, now deferred until December, will be whether it can achieve any change on asylum seeker policy, such as imposing time limits on offshore detention.
Falzon says his advocacy for a “fairer deal” for asylum seekers is “well known”.
“In deciding to run as a Labor candidate, that will mean taking that passion ... into the Labor party,” he says.
“I note that our policy will be determined at the national conference later this year, and I’m very, very sincerely hoping to see some progressive change in that area. It is something many people in the Labor party have been advocating for some time.”
It’s a hopeful but not strident message that embodies the promise of Labor left: change from within.

Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund oversight 'severely inadequate' | Australia news I The Guardian.

Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund oversight 'severely inadequate' | Australia news

Paul Karp

Oversight of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is “severely inadequate” and the finance minister should gain joint responsibility for the $5bn fund, a Senate committee has recommended.
On Friday the inquiry dominated by Labor and the Greens called for the Naif to release more information on its investment decisions and any conflicts of interests, due to concerns about board members’ links to the mining industry.
In a dissenting report, Coalition senators labelled the inquiry a “politically motivated” exercise and said its main recommendation to give the finance minister joint responsibility was aimed at undermining the resources and northern Australia minister, Matt Canavan.
The Senate inquiry was established in June 2017, before a review lead to changes to encourage more lending from Naif, and the Queensland Labor government was re-elected promising to veto the controversial Adani Carmichael coalmine receiving Naif funding.
To date, the Naif has only written $120m of loans, although Coalition senators said a further $516m loan to the Kidston Solar/Pumped Hydro project is “well advanced”.
The majority report noted evidence from Transparency International Australia that “investment decision-making lacks transparency” and warnings from academics John Quiggin, Kristen Lyons and Morgan Brigg that loans could be “driven by short-term political imperatives”.
The Coalition senators rejected claims that oversight was “severely inadequate”, claiming there was “no authoritative evidence at all from the lending sector that would suggest any deficiencies in the Naif model”.
The majority recommended that within 30 days of each investment decision the Naif should publish information on:
  • any conflicts of interest disclosed by Naif board members in relation to the relevant project and how they were managed;
  • environmental and native title approvals needed for a project;
  • how projects met the criteria for loans; and
  • any loan conditions including “expected repayment rates, rate of return and length of investment”.
The Coalition senators warned that the recommendation to publish information about projects’ expected financial performance was “excessive and may breach commercial-in-confidence expectations”.
The majority report accused Naif of operating under a “veil of secrecy” and called for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to undertake a review of its transparency and freedom of information procedures.
In additional comments, the Greens noted that a large number of submissions “raised concerns” about possible Naif loans for the Adani Carmichael mine.
“This example provides good grounds for requiring the Naif to include a suitable person test as part of its assessment processes.”
The Greens said the Naif rules should also be amended “to consider the Australian government’s policy commitment to the Paris agreement, the climate impacts of a project, and to prohibit the Naif from financing infrastructure which would facilitate [coal and gas exports]”.
The Greens environment spokesman, Andrew Bartlett, said the Naif was “unaccountable” and had “refused to answer questions” about who has applied for loans, how decisions are made and what the conditions are to access public funds.
“This is public money, not the government’s, and certainly not mining companies,” he said. “The way it is spent should be subject to the highest standards of accountability and transparency.”
An Environmental Justice Australia spokesman said the Naif investment mandate “does not properly consider the climate risk of potential projects, and it has a very loose governing framework”.
The Coalition senators labelled the inquiry a “a blatantly political enterprise designed to capture Greens/Labor-left hysteria regarding the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin”.
The inquiry contributed to “undue pressure that has been placed upon the operations of the Naif” and had “the potential for such pressures to interfere with the Naif executing its remit”.
“Coalition Senators wish to highlight that independent, reputable governance experts from Allens Linklaters and the Australian Government Solicitor have reviewed Naif’s core governance documents and confirmed in their view they are best practice.”

LNP dumps Ian Macdonald and Barry O'Sullivan from Senate ticket | Australia news I The Guardian

LNP dumps Ian Macdonald and Barry O'Sullivan from Senate ticket | Australia news

Amy Remeikis

“Shock, awe and excitement” greeted the news the Queensland Coalition Senate ticket had been completely rewritten, with both sitting senators, Ian Macdonald and Barry O’Sullivan, losing their top Senate ticket positions.
O’Sullivan, the lead Nationals-aligned senator in Queensland, lost by just one vote, according to LNP sources in the room. Having not nominated for any other position, the result means O’Sullivan will vacate the Senate next year.
His challenger, Susan McDonald, is well known in the state’s beef circles, with her father, Don, a former party president, and has built a reputation as a “solid and reliable” voice for regional communities.
O’Sullivan, who was first elected in 2014, had been under threat since 2016, but was thought to have successfully fought off McDonald, after highlighting his role in establishing the banking royal commission and drought funding.
“As of yesterday, we were told he had the numbers, so this is a big surprise,” one LNP source said. Talking about preselections is banned under party rules, so all who spoke did so under the condition of anonymity.
“We thought he was home and hosed, but I think it shows the shift in this; how the members are looking for something other than what their party was delivering.”
Macdonald, the father of the Senate, a term given to the longest-serving senator, lost the top spot to Paul Scarr, a Brisbane mining executive known as an LNP moderate, a move that was all but set in stone in the weeks leading up to the vote. Macdonald eventually won the fourth round, which was described as “winnable, with an emphasis on the quotation marks”.
Scarr had previously gained notice fighting back against more conservative elements in the party on issues such as suspending migration from Islamic nations.
Sources said he had impressed the council with his “well reasoned and eloquent” speeches and, after years of stonewalling and “backward” policy discussion being put forward from Queensland, was seen as helping to pull the branch into the future.
“He’s an excellent speaker and, more importantly, he has ideas to bring to the table,” one LNP source said.
“Queensland has had a bit of a reputation of being held back by dinosaurs, and I think this is the membership rewriting the party, looking to the future.
“It wasn’t unexpected – but replacing Macdonald with someone so comparatively progressive as Paul, I think has come as a shock.
“Shock, awe and excitement, with emphasis on the shock.”
Macdonald, who had been told at his previous preselection that it was “his last go round”, given he would be 80 at the end of another six-year term, had attempted to trade on his regional status as the only senator in north Queensland and had taken the unusual step of running in every position on the ticket.
In an attempt to fight off an insurgency from minor conservative parties, including One Nation and Katter’s Australian party, the Nationals traded one of their spots on the ticket for the second position, ensuring a winnable position.
That left the Liberal-aligned senators battling for the first, third and fourth positions as the “winnable” spots, with Macdonald, a proclaimed “proud Liberal” also running as the only candidate in the fifth position, which was earmarked as a Nationals-aligned spot.
Macdonald lost the third position to Gerard Rennick, a finance executive who landed at the bottom of the last preselection, winning against Teresa Harding, and Theresa Craig, both of whom were considered strong challengers, as the LNP seeks to address its gender imbalance.
Third is considered the last almost certainty on the ticket, with fourth, where Macdonald sits, described as “a long shot –a very, very long shot, in this electoral climate”.
The last time the LNP won four senators was in 2004, before the official merger between the Liberals and Nationals in Queensland.
“But hey, stranger things have happened,” an LNP source said.
Brad Carswell and Nicole Tobin rounded out the ticket in what was described as “no man’s land”.


Daily dose of inspiration:
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Stop the trade war, businesses shout at Trump Commentary I MarketWatch

Stop the trade war, businesses shout at Trump

Rex Nutting

U.S. manufacturing companies say business is booming. Orders are up, production is up, hiring is up. They have just one complaint: It’s getting harder and more expensive to get the materials they need, and Trump’s damn trade war isn’t helping a bit.
Two surveys of manufacturing company executives released Monday told the same story: The manufacturing sector is booming. However, with supply lines already stretched tight, the threat of a trade war is adding to the uncertainty about further increases in manufacturing output and employment.
Related: ISM manufacturing index hits 4-month high, but tariffs, delays flagged by executives
Also read: No longer just ‘noise’: ongoing trade uncertainty saps investor confidence
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index rose to 60.2% in June from 58.7% in May. Almost all of the increase was due to longer supplier delivery times, which rose to the highest level since 2004.
It was the same story in Markit’s purchasing managers’ index, which slipped to 55.4 in June from 56.4 in May. Supplier delivery times were the longest in the nine-year history of the survey.
Arithmetically, an increase in supplier delivery times is a positive; it makes the manufacturing indexes rise as a signal of strong demand. But it’s not something anyone wants. It means higher prices, a buildup in back orders, and missed deadlines. Longer delivery times disrupt production all along the supply chain.
In the ISM and Markit purchasing managers’ surveys, many executives cited higher tariffs on steel and aluminum goods, as well as the threat of higher tariffs on other goods. In addition, transportation bottlenecks have disrupted the availability and the price of getting needed materials and supplies delivered on time.
The shortage of truck drivers hurts, but the tariffs seem to hurt more.
As one executive told the ISM: ““The uncertainty of U.S. tariffs and the Canada/Mexico/E.U. retaliatory tariffs continues to cloud strategic planning efforts. Contingency planning (for tariffs) is consuming large amounts of manpower that could be used for more productive projects.”
“The PMI for June rounds off the best quarter for manufacturing for almost four years, but also fires some warning shots about what lies ahead. As such, the second quarter could represent a peak in the production cycle,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist for IHS Markit.
The economy is running up against its limits. Normally in this situation, companies would try to expand their capacity and seek supplies from more sources. But the trade war is artificially holding down supply just when capacity constraints are beginning to bite.
All this makes the Federal Reserve even more determined to raise interest rates to slow the economy down. Higher inflation is a real risk when supply chains are tight. Shortages and delays lead to higher prices and to slower growth, which is the opposite of what we want.
The message from the business community to Donald Trump is getting louder: Stop this trade war now.


Dollar falls after US jobs data


119609144MW001_TWENTY_DOLLA Mark Wilson | Getty Images
The dollar hit three-week lows on Friday after data showed the U.S. economy created more jobs than expected in June, but a closely watched inflation gauge -- wage growth -- rose less than forecast and the unemployment rate increased.
As a result, expectations dimmed somewhat that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates a fourth time this year.
The greenback had weakened earlier on Friday as the United States and China imposed tariffs on each other's imports, but the fall was muted as investors waited for the jobs report.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls advanced by 213,000 in June, the Labor Department said. Data for April and May was revised to show 37,000 more jobs created than previously reported.
The unemployment rate, however, rose to 4.0 percent from an 18-year low of 3.8 percent in May, while average hourly earnings rose 5 cents, or 0.2 percent, in June after increasing 0.3 percent in May.
"We are of the thinking that the strong economic gains make a September hike a likely event," said Marvin Loh, senior global market strategist at BNY Mellon on Boston. "Without an acceleration of wage growth, a fourth hike at the end of the year is a more difficult call and futures shows that hesitation, placing just 50 percent odds on that event."
In late trading, the dollar index was down 0.44 percent at 94.05. Against the yen, the dollar slid 0.17 percent to 110.42 yen, while the euro rose 0.43 percent to $1.1739.
Fed funds futures priced in a 77 percent chance of a September rate hike, down from 80 percent before the jobs data.
With U.S. payrolls out of the way, investors focused on the trade conflict between the world's biggest economic powers, as U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods came into effect on Friday. Investors wondered whether the latest tariffs were a continuation of tit-for-tat measures or an escalation of tension between the two countries, a scenario which could cause volatility in global financial markets
"Markets are concerned that despite assurances to the contrary, China may use its currency to hurt the U.S. as it cannot implement a like-for-like retaliation," said Tom Milson, executive director at GWM Investment Management in London.
China's yuan was 0.1 percent weaker at 6.6480 per dollar, but still some distance from Tuesday's 11-month low of 6.7204. The yuan had retreated amid trade concerns before pulling back on assurances by China's central bank.

nonfarm payrolls and trade spat in focus I Bond I CNBC.

nonfarm payrolls and trade spat in focus

Alexandra Gibbs, Thomas Franck

U.S. government debt yields slipped on the last trading day of the week after the Department of Labor reported that the economy added more jobs than expected in June, but the unemployment rate ticked higher.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was lower at around 2.829 percent at 11:26 a.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond was lower at 2.934 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
The Department of Labor reported Friday that the economy added 213,000 jobs throughout the month of June, but the unemployment rate ticked back up to 4 percent. Economists polled by Reuters expected gain of 195,000 jobs.
“I thought it was a very good number for the financial markets, both for equities and fixed income,” said Gary Pollack, head of fixed-income trading at Deutsche Bank Private Wealth Management. “It shows the labor market continues to growth, but not so much as to push inflation too much.”
In addition to the payroll gains, average hourly earnings rose 2.7 percent year over year, or up 0.2 percent month over month, a bit below expectations of a 2.8 percent increase.
"This morning’s latest employment report, while solid, offers little indication for concern of an overly aggressive labor market resulting in rapidly rising wage gains and no further evidence to support the more hawkish fear of out of control price increases," wrote Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Nicolaus. "In fact, for the Committee members on the fence regarding a fourth potential increase come December, a tick up in the unemployment rate coupled with a lack of meaningful improvement in earnings reduces the pressure to take additional action.
Concerns surrounding trade resurfaced Friday, after U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods came into effect. Major economies around the world are braced now for a trade war.
China responded to the fresh tariffs by imposing its own retaliatory levies on imports from the States. A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce stated Friday that while Beijing had refused to “fire the first shot,” it was obligated to counter the U.S.’ actions after Washington “launched the largest trade war in economic history.”
Total Votes:
Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.
On Thursday, the Federal Reserve published the minutes from its June meeting, which revealed that Fed officials are concerned about letting the U.S. economy become too strong, as this could trigger major issues later on, if unchecked.

Gold down but off session lows as dollar weakens I Gold Price I CNBC.

Gold down but off session lows as dollar weakens


Gold Getty Images
Gold fell on Friday, but bounced off session lows as the dollar weakened and equities rose, yet bullion was on track for a small weekly gain amid escalating U.S.-Sino trade tensions.
Spot gold was down 0.29 percent at $1,253.66 an ounce, off the session low of $1,252.15 and headed for its first weekly gain in four weeks. U.S. gold futures for August delivery settled down $3 at $1,255.80.
The dollar fell after data showed the U.S. unemployment rate increased and wages grew less than forecast in June even as the economy created more jobs than expected. Wage growth is a closely watched signal of potential inflation that could prompt more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. A weak dollar tends to lift gold, making the greenback-priced metal cheaper for non-U.S. investors.
U.S. tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods took effect on Friday, while China's commerce ministry retaliated with 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. imports. The markets absorbed imposition of the tariffs calmly, with stocks edging higher. Rising stock markets pressure gold prices.
"The tariffs were already priced in," said RJO Futures' Josh Graves. "Gold needs more than a trade war to push it higher. It needs volatility in equities, weaker economic data, a dovish Fed."
"Gold needs to see closes above $1,275-$1,280 before it finds any support," he added.
On Thursday, minutes of the Federal Reserve's June 12-13 policy meeting showed that U.S. central bankers expressed concerns global trade tensions could hit an economy perceived as strong.
"Traders are extremely cautious when it comes to gold. The intraday price-action has a bullish set-up and shows that the price has potential to test the level of $1,280 in the coming days if the dollar weakness continues," ThinkMarkets chief market analyst Naeem Aslam said.
India's gold imports fell for a sixth month in June to 44 tonnes, provisional industry data showed.
Gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw outflows in North America and Asia, but saw inflows in Europe during June, the World Gold Council said.
Silver gained 0.22 percent at $16.02 and platinum fell 0.16 percent to $839.15, both heading for a 0.3 percent weekly drop. Palladium added 0.3 percent at $950.80, on track for a 0.1 percent weekly drop. All three metals were headed for their fourth straight weekly decline.

US crude ends Friday's session higher, but posts weekly loss I Oil Price I CNBC

US crude ends Friday's session higher, but posts weekly loss


Oil fracking California Getty Images
Oil prices were mixed on Friday, with short-covering pushing up U.S. crude futures while Brent slipped on global trade tensions and increased Saudi production.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended Friday's session up 86 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $73.80 a barrel. Global benchmark Brent was down 23 cents at $77.16 a barrel by 2:29 p.m.
For the week, WTI posted a loss of about a half a percent, while Brent was on track for a decline of about 3 percent.
"We have a little bit of a rally that's materialized" for WTI, said Bob Yawger of director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. The rally appears to be a "short covering situation — we were down almost 2 percent yesterday," said Yawger.
U.S. crude futures slipped on Thursday after data showed an unexpected 1.3 million-barrel build in crude inventories.
Brent, meanwhile, was "still having difficulty gaining independent bullish traction," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in a note.
"Increased Saudi crude availability that is being enhanced by reduced OSPs (official selling prices) into Europe and other regions is providing a strong counter against curtailed Libyan export activities," Ritterbusch wrote.
In addition to reducing the price of its August barrels, Saudi Arabia also told the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it increased production by almost 500,000 barrels per day last month.
Output cuts by OPEC and allies since January 2017 have reduced a crude glut.
Involuntary drops in supply in Venezuela, Angola and Libya have made the cutbacks even bigger, although OPEC — led by Saudi Arabia — has since agreed to a modest increase in output.
"The more that Saudi Arabia adds to the market, the less of a supply cushion we have — that's a bullish twist to a bearish development," said Yawger at Mizuho.
An imminent shift in global oil trade flows was also affecting prices.
U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese imports took effect as a deadline passed on Friday. Beijing has vowed to respond in kind.
China has indicated that it could place a tariff of 25 percent on U.S. oil. If that happens, "Chinese demand would then shift to other suppliers. Because the oil market is already in tight supply due to the numerous outages, this would drive international prices (Brent) further up," Commerzbank said in a note.
Renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran against its oil exports look set to tighten supply further.
South Korea, a major buyer of Iranian oil, will not lift any Iranian crude and condensate in July for the first time since August 2012, three sources familiar with the matter said.
Meanwhile, the market continued to watch rising U.S. crude output. This week's oil drilling rig count, an indicator of future production, rose by 5 rigs to a total of 863.

Crypto: A Fast-Growing Part of Hedge Fund World I Investopedia

Crypto: A Fast-Growing Part of Hedge Fund World

Nathan Reiff

With cryptocurrencies losing hundreds of billions in total market cap in the past several months, as well as continued confusion about its regulatory status in the U.S., one might expect that the nascent crypto hedge fund industry would be struggling. However, a report by CryptoGlobe suggests that this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the pace of investments in hedge funds with a cryptocurrency focus has actually picked up significantly so far in 2018.
Data from Crypto Fund Research indicates that by June 15 of this year, 216 investments had been made in these funds, compared with 236 investments for all of 2017. It seems that the cryptocurrency hedge fund space is continuing to grow in popularity despite potential troubles in the digital currency world itself.
Crypto Fund Research indicates that investments in the digital hedge fund space from Jan. 1 through June 15 of this year totaled $637.7 million. In 2017, the total inflows for these funds for the year were $496.7 million, meaning that 2018 investments in the space have already surpassed those of last year.

Venture Capital as Well

Beyond cryptocurrency hedge funds, crypto-related venture capital is also thriving in 2018. Crypto Fund Research ranks venture capital firms according to criteria such as capital outlay, investment activity overall, recent activity in the blockchain space and overall blockchain investment experience. According to the report, Digital Currency Group leads the overall group of blockchain venture capital funds. The company, based in New York, has made 58 total investments worth $78 million with 15 of those investments happening in the past 12 months.
Next up was Pantera Capital out of Menlo Park, California. Famed firm Andreessen Horowitz, which recently revealed a $300 million crypto fund in the works, was fourth on the list.
Crypto Fund Research CEO Josh Gnaizda explains that "the four criteria we used [reflect] not only total investment but also how long they've been investing in blockchain and how active they are today, not just a year or three ago ... the industry is changing rapidly. So what's most accurate today won't be as correct next month."
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.

European and U.S. Stock Markets Closing Report I CNBC


Focus on trade as US-China tensions intensify

Justina Crabtree, Silvia Amaro

European equities closed slightly in the green on Friday afternoon as investors monitored trade developments coming out of the U.S. and China.
FTSE FTSE 7617.70 14.48 0.19% 683995184
DAX DAX 12496.17 31.88 0.26% 123083176
CAC CAC 5375.77 9.45 0.18% 74877359
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.2 percent higher. While all major bourses were positive by a small margin, business sectors pointed in different directions.
Utilities led the gains, closing up 0.9 percent, followed by telecoms and media. Oil and gas was the poorest performer, closing 0.6 percent lower.
Meanwhile, autos ended trade 0.8 percent lower after a turbulent week, paring back further losses made earlier on in the afternoon. Carmakers had jumped 3 percent on Thursday after reported comments from the U.S. ambassador to Germany that President Donald Trump would halt threats of tariffs on imported European Union cars if the bloc in turn lifted its duties on U.S. vehicles.
Looking at individual stocks, Eurazeo climbed during the afternoon to close up 4.9 percent, becoming one of the day's top performers after a ratings upgrade from HSBC. Meanwhile, Thyssenkrupp shares rose during afternoon deals to close 2.4 percent higher after Chief Executive Heinrich Hiesinger offered his resignation just a week after signing a joint venture with Tata Steel.
Deutsche Bank shares finished trade 2.5 percent higher following a media report that J.P. Morgan and the Commercial Bank of China were assessing the possibility of buying the German lender. J.P. Morgan denied the report, but the shares continued to be boosted by the news.
British telecommunications firm Inmarsat foundered at the other end of the spectrum, closing 8 percent lower following an improved takeover offer from EchoStar.

Trade war offsets strong U.S. jobs report

Stateside, stocks rose during Friday's trade on the back of stronger-than-expected employment data, but investors were on edge amid concerns over an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 100 points, with McDonald's and Walgreens Boots Alliance outperforming. The S&P 500 traded 0.7 percent higher, with health care rising 1.1 percent. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.9 percent.
Overall, investors have been tracking events in global trade as U.S. moved forward with $34 billion worth of duties on Chinese products. China retaliated with its own tariffs. President Donald Trump said Thursday that an additional $16 billion tariffs on China could be due in the next couple of weeks.


Stocks rise as Wall Street cheers jobs report, shrugs off trade fears

Fred Imbert, Alexandra Gibbs

Stocks rose on Friday on the back of stronger-than-expected employment data. Investors also shrugged off concerns over an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 99.74 points to 24,456.48, with Apple and Microsoft outperforming. The S&P 500 closed 0.8 percent higher at 2,759.82, with health care rising 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq composite climbed 1.3 percent to 7,688.39 as the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) surged 3.8 percent. Facebook rose to an all-time high, also boosting the Nasdaq.
The U.S. economy added 213,000 jobs in June, while economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 195,000.
“I think the report is more encouraging than discouraging because it suggests we have a bit more slack in the economy than we expected,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank. “I don’t think this (report) is extreme enough to be considered Goldilocks, … but it’s still good.”
Unemployment, however, rose slightly to 4 percent from 3.8 percent. Wage growth also missed expectations, climbing 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. Economists expected growth of 2.8 percent.
"The unemployment rate went up for the right reason: more people coming into the work force," said Eric Souza, senior portfolio manager at Silicon Valley Bank. "It was a good report, but what would've made it a great report is if we saw wages rise a bit more."
The jobs report comes a day after the Federal Reserve released a summary from its most-recent meeting. The minutes showed some officials were concerned that "a prolonged period in which the economy operated beyond potential could give rise to heightened inflationary pressures."
"A strong June labor report, coupled with upward revisions for April and May, gives the Fed a solid rationale for continuing with rate increases this year," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. "Nonetheless, wage growth remains stubborn, and the potential for an enduring trade war could — and perhaps should — give the Fed reason for pause."
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Stock futures pared losses after the report's release. Initially, stock futures slipped after U.S. tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods came into effect earlier on Friday. China responded to the fresh tariffs by imposing its own retaliatory levies on imports from the States.
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Commerce stated Friday that while Beijing had refused to “fire the first shot,” it was obligated to counter the U.S.’ actions after Washington “launched the largest trade war in economic history.”
“As long as the negotiations are more tit-for-tat than a cannonball into the pool, ... I think the market will be fine,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
Boeing rose 0.4 percent, erasing earlier losses. Caterpillar and General Motors, meanwhile, closed off their lows of the day. These companies are sensitive to trade news because of their overseas revenue exposure.
President Donald Trump, however, floated the idea of slapping tariffs on an additional $500 billion worth in Chinese goods. “The market is not priced in for that,” said Freedman. “It’s not even close.”
Trade-war fears have been simmering for months, keeping market gains in check as investors fret over the impact of tariffs on corporate profits.
Biogen shares rose nearly 20 percent after the company announced positive results from a study on a drug aimed at treating early Alzheimer’s disease.
CNBC’s Sam Meredith and Jeff Cox contributed to this report