We often tend to think of our global economic system as some kind of abstract entity (arguably as a result of how it is reported and framed in our media), as reflected in the language and terminology that is used- terms like: stocks and shares; debt and equity; derivatives, futures and options… 

(As Alan de Botton quips in his book ‘The News: A User’s Manual’: ‘It isn’t only the scale of the economic machine that can silence us, but also its complexity. Only a minuscule percentage of the populations of developed countries have any solid understanding of the workings of the economic system they exist within. Most of us will struggle to grasp quite what might be going on within essential terms like arbitrage, Basel 1 and 2, cyclically adjusted current budgets, price/earning ratios or quantitative easing.’)

However, as this map that notes the highest valued export (or ‘commodity’- another economic term…) of each nation in the world- it is worth reflecting on the fact that all of these assets are essentially physical materials that are derived from nature. 

Whether directly, in the case of fossil fuels, plant and animal foods, or minerals and natural fibers; or indirectly as products such as textiles, manufactured goods and electronics, all of which depend on natural physical inputs.

Because, as has been bluntly stated elsewhere- without nature there is no economy

There can be no future(s)… (or options, derivatives or bond instruments…)


What got many people so excited last year about the concept of postal banking – enabling the U.S. Postal Service to provide expanded financial services for the 68 million Americans with little or no access to them — was a government white paper from the post office’s Inspector General, outlining the benefits and advantages of such a program. In a nutshell, USPS IG David Williams explained how postal banking could promote financial inclusion and save families billions while turning a small profit for the Postal Service besides, a complete win-win idea.

It’s true!

How To Raise Financially Savvy Kids

Teaching children financial responsibility is one of a parent’s most important tasks, but they often don’t know where to start. Here’s how you can set your kids up for future financial success and responsibility:

1) Make sure you’re showcasing healthy financial behaviors in your own life.

2) Involve the kids in household shopping and use it as an opportunity to talk about planning, saving and finding the best value.

3) Bring your kids to the bank with you to show them how banks work.

4) Talk about money regularly and casually to reinforce what you taught them.

Read more.


The 2015 BRW Rich 200 list is out today and the results are not-so-surprising even in the current topsy-turvy economic environment.

Gina Rinehart remains the richest Australian – topping the 2015 BRW Rich 200 list. This is the 5th consecutive year in which Rinehart tops the list, although her overall wealth falls by $5.99 billion to just over $14 billion.

Second on the list is Anthony Pratt and family, and third is Sydney apartment developer Harry Triguboff, both of whose wealth broke beyond the $10 billion mark for the first time.

Fourth-ranked is Frank Lowy whose Westfield-focused wealth has grown by $700 million after major restructure of his shopping centres was backed by the sharemarket in the past year.

Hong-Kong based billionaire Hui Wing Mau rounds out the top five. His Shimao Property Holdings has extensive projects in China and also holds Sydney CBD office property.

Property remains the dominant sector. Of the 200 people on the list, 53 make most of their money in the property sector.

There are 19 new names on the list this year, and 10 new billionaires.

The highest ranked debutants are Leonie Baldock and Alexandra Burt (#22 and #23) with combined wealth of $1.7 billion. Baldock and Burt are the daughters of the late Michael Wright, the son of prospector Peter – one-time business partner of Lang Hancock, Gina Rinehart’s father.

Another notable debutant is Tony Denny (#179), who debuts with $320 million wealth. Denny left Australia after the 1987 stockmarket crash and has made his fortune selling used cars in central Europe with his AAA Autos business.

Despite the recent economic crisis and perhaps due to the natural effects of inflation, the total wealth of the BRW Rich 200 list went up $16.81 billion to $193.61 billion, while the average wealth per person on the BRW Rich 200 list rises to $974 million, up from $968 million last year.

Financial crisis? What financial crisis?  Antonino Tati

For the full list, visit www.brw.com.au.



from finance, business http://ift.tt/1KsxfS8

Victoria Ruan for the South China Morning Post:

China’s yuan is no longer undervalued after “significant” appreciation over the past 12 months, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday in the agency’s first such finding in more than a decade. Even so, the IMF called on Beijing to make the exchange rate more flexible while quickening reforms in the state sector. … The IMF announced its assessment yesterday after wrapping up the 2015 Article IV Consultation Mission to China.

Beijing has been very active and vocal in the past year about its intentions to get the Yuan in the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights and the People’s Bank of China has been working to make the Yuan more “freely convertible” for a number of years. Getting the IMF to deem your currency level “fair” is a step in the right direction.

Since 2009, the Yuan has been used to finance 25% of China’s trade while 20 central banks have signed currency-swap agreements with China. These policy changes to expand the Yuan’s use abroad also stabilized the currency against the headwind of slowing growth and a strengthening US dollar, but came at a measurable cost. Nearly $113 billion worth of Beijing’s holdings left their reserves in the first quarter of this year and the PBC spent close to $231 billion to prevent further depreciation against the US dollar in March. Faced with the trilemma of international finance, China has been slowly moving from utilizing monetary policy to stabilize the economy and maintaining currency stability, to continuing to use monetary policy but opening up restrictions on capital flows. I stress the slow because ultimately Beijing has been incremental in changes to its monetary and financial policies.

It’s worth noting that three of the four IMF criteria being used to evaluate the Renminbi are somewhat subjective. There are no hard, numerical benchmarks for Beijing to meet. The Yuan’s expanded use over the past 6+ years will likely be enough for the IMF to declare the currency widely used enough to meet the first three criteria, but the fourth makes things trickier. The fourth centers on whether the Yuan’s interest rates are market-based, but this weeks announcement that the currency is no longer deemed undervalued will likely result in the fourth criteria being met. After all, complaints about the Renminbi’s value have always been linked to Beijing’s monetary policy. If the IMF feels that the currency’s value is no longer an issue, then they likely believe the policies undertaken to get to that point don’t fly in contrast to their own beliefs regarding monetary policy and currency values.

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Diary 15th May 2015

Before I headed out, I was looking at IrelandAM. I saw that Ursula Halligan who is TV3 News’ Political Correspondent, she had come out as gay. She wrote a piece in the Irish Times describing how she was hiding her sexuality etc.,

I then went to An Post to get cash for the move to Meteor. I was too late for Three AND Meteor. So will try again tomoz.

Sad to see Delhi O’ Delhi was closed down,…

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