The World Financial Report

World Financial Report – March 21st, 2019

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WORLD FINANCIAL REPORT ON RADIO MARCH 21ST 2019
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CHARTS OF THE WEEK-QUOTES-QUICK HITS

-CHART OF THE WEEK: These Are the World’s Most Expensive Cities. Move over Singapore the world’s most expensive city has two new rivals. After topping the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living Survey for five years, Asia’s Lion City has been joined by Paris and Hong Kong in a tie at the top of the table. Zurich and Geneva rounded out the top five, while New York and Los Angeles reclaimed spots in the top 10 ranking in seventh and 10th respectively after slipping to 13th and 14th last year thanks to a weakening dollar. The survey is designed to help companies calculate cost-of-living allowances and build compensation packages for expatriates and business travelers. Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Oil Rallies as OPEC+ Defers Decision on Production Cuts to June. Oil hit a high for the year after OPEC and its allies reiterated their commitment to production cuts and recommended deferring a decision on whether to extend them until June. Futures in New York gained as much as 1.2 percent on Monday. The group known as OPEC+ closed its weekend meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan after reaffirming its intent to continue its output cuts.

But it deferred until June a decision on extending the curbs. At the same time, production in Venezuela and Iran is expected to continue its decline. “They will likely continue to do what they were doing in terms of keeping 1.2 million barrels of cuts on and most likely comply even further with their targets,” said Bart Melek, head of global commodity strategy at TD Securities in Toronto. “And this is all happening at a time where we expect Venezuela to provide less crude and a tighter grip on Iran.” Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Texas Power Prices Surge 700% on a Chilly Morning in Dallas. A chilly morning in Dallas combined with calm winds and idle power plants sent wholesale electricity prices in Texas to the highest level in more than a year. Spot electricity at a northern hub in Texas surged about 700 percent to average $383.71 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended 8 a.m. local time, the most since January 2018, according to Genscape.

It came as Dallas temperatures dipped to 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius) early Monday. At the same time, power plants representing about 37 percent of the state’s generating capacity were shut for spring maintenance, according to Jeffrey Thibodeau, Genscape’s regional director for Texas. Wind was little help, as with output from turbine farms fell to about 1.6 gigawatts for that period, compared with around 10 gigawatts most days last week, Thibodeau said. Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Currencies Need a ‘Proper Crisis’ to Start Swinging Again. Only a crisis is likely to awaken market volatility from its deepest sleep in more than four years, according to strategists. A JPMorgan Chase & Co. measure of price swings in global currencies has dropped to the lowest level since September 2014 as the world’s largest economies show signs of slowing and global central banks signal caution in terms of their future monetary policy. With officials on hold, and few interest-rate increases forecast this year, volatility in the $5.1 trillion-a-day foreign-exchange market has been suppressed. Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Hong Kong Currency Intervention Nears $1 Billion. The cost of Hong Kong’s defense of its currency is mounting as the local dollar remains stuck at the weak end of its trading band. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought HK$2.01 billion ($256 million) on Monday, according to its page on Bloomberg. The authority has spent HK$7.4 billion this month purchasing local dollars as low interest rates make the currency less attractive to hold compared with the higher-yielding greenback and yuan. While the interventions help drain interbank liquidity, as measured by the aggregate balance, borrowing costs in the city remain low. One-month rates were at 1.57 percent on Monday, compared with 2.48 percent for those in the U.S. Analysts last week predicted the HKMA would need to spend another HK$50 billion at least before rates rose sharply. Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Trudeau Spends Budget Windfall on ‘Laundry List’ for Voters. Justin Trudeau got a windfall and spent it, delivering a pre-election budget that leaves Canada’s deficit track largely unchanged. Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled his fourth fiscal plan Tuesday in Ottawa, announcing C$22.8 billion ($17.1 billion) over six years in new spending funded by a spike in revenue. In a year Trudeau had once promised to have balanced the budget, he’ll instead head into an October election with an annual deficit of nearly C$20 billion. The plan continues the hallmark of Trudeau’s fiscal policy since his 2015 election a reluctance to return to balance even in the face of a revenue windfall and the approach has supporters and critics.

Cuts may undermine growth with the economy in a soft patch, but some warn the spending leaves too little room to react to any recession or shock. Tuesday’s plan is aimed at key voting groups like seniors, students and young families. The budget is littered with pledges to support the middle class, and the wide-ranging spending measures include new funding for home buyers, infrastructure and indigenous communities. “It’s more of a microeconomic budget,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Trudeau got billions in new revenue and “they’ve essentially allocated that money to a laundry list of items.” Bloomberg

-CHART OF THE WEEK: Here’s how many working Americans aren’t saving any money for retirement or emergencies at all. Working Americans are still struggling when it comes to saving money for both their short-term and long-term goals: More than one in five (21 percent) don’t save any of their annual income. That’s according to a new survey from Bankrate.com, which asked 1,000 working American adults how much of their annual income they set aside for retirement, emergencies and other financial goals. And those who do save, Bankrate finds, aren’t setting aside a lot: 20 percent save only 5 percent or less of what they make, and 28 percent save 6 to 10 percent. Just 16 percent are saving more than 15 percent of their income. Experts generally recommend earmarking 10 to 20 percent of your income just for retirement savings.

Fed holds line on rates, says no more hikes ahead this year. The Fed indicated that no more hikes will be coming this year, after estimating in December that two rate hikes would be appropriate in 2019. The central bank says it will complete its balance sheet roll-off program at the end of the September. The Fed also reduced expectations in GDP growth and inflation and a bump higher in the unemployment rate outlook. The benchmark funds rate was kept in a range of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent as expected on Wednesday. CNBC

-Fed sets end of balance sheet reduction for September. The central bank said that in May it will begin tapering the amount of proceeds it allows to roll off each month and that the runoff will end in September. The amount for Treasury’s will drop to $15 billion in May. Under the current program, it is allowing $30 billion in Treasury proceeds to roll off. The total of Treasury’s and MBS once totaled more than $4.2 trillion and has been reduced by about $450 billion in the program that began in October 2017. CNBC

-TD bank predicts loonie may fall to 71 cents US as Canadian dollar’s outlook shifts ‘considerably.’ A strong start to the year for the Canadian dollar rising 3.5 per cent against the greenback in the first two months after a nearly eight per cent drop in value last year had many wondering if this was the year the loonie would stage a comeback. But, since the start of March, the Canadian dollar has fallen 1.3 per cent against the U.S. dollar as prospects for the Canadian economy have also dimmed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.1 per cent in January, following a deeper than anticipated slowdown that in the second half of last year. Strategists at TD Securities say the Canadian economy has a “real problem on its hands,” which will lead to broad weakness for the currency going forward. They predict the loonie will spend much of this year in range where it will cost between $1.35 and $1.40 Canadian to buy one U.S. dollar. Put another way, that means it could dip as low as 71 cents US against the greenback. That’s a more than five per cent decline from its current 75-cent level. “Prospects for Canadian dollar have shifted considerably to the downside over the medium-term.

This comes in the wake of a poor fourth quarter GDP report, and the Bank of Canada returning to the drawing board on what it got wrong,” said Mazen Issa, senior foreign exchange strategist at TD securities, in a note on Friday. “To put it bluntly, the Canadian dollar has established itself uniquely as a “problem child” in the G10. The positives are hard to find.” Issa thinks the Bank of Canada is now at the end of its tightening cycle after five interest rate hikes since mid-2017. If the central bank does move on rates this year, Issa says it will more likely be a cut. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2CsUGiQ

-Fidelity’s Wolf Sees Loonie Testing 62-Cent Low Amid Slowing Economy. The Canadian dollar may sink back to its record low of 62 U.S. cents (C$1.61) as the country retrenches from a consumer-spending boom into the face of a slowing global economy, said David Wolf at Fidelity Investments. A 17 percent drop from current levels of around 75 U.S. cents may sound like a lot but the currency has already fallen about 30 percent from above par in 2011 when Canada’s economic stars were aligned, said the Toronto-based portfolio manager.

Back then, the country was revving up from the financial crisis and oil was over $100 a barrel. Now, the nation may already be in recession after growing at an annualized pace of just 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter and a pretty “soggy” start to the year, said Wolf, part of the asset allocation team at Fidelity Investments Canada, which manages about C$136 billion ($109 billion). He stressed his views were his own, not the firm’s.

“There’s a good chance that those stars are going to be misaligned,” Wolf said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. The big problem for Canada is that a household deleveraging appears to be starting just as the global economy is slowing, said Wolf, who was an adviser at the Bank of Canada before joining Fidelity in 2014. Home values fell nationwide last year for the first time since at least 1990, while household debt burdens touched a record high. Meanwhile, Canada’s competitiveness problems remain, he said. Bloomberg

-From Poster Child to Problem Child: The Canadian Dollar in 2019. Canada’s dollar may have gotten off to a flying start in 2019, outperforming all its Group-of-10 peers except the British pound, but those good times may be a thing of the past. Weaker-than-expected local economic data is combining with a decidedly more downbeat view from the central bank to put a damper on the currency, and some analysts are calling for the loonie to weaken significantly as the year progresses.

Prospects for the Canadian dollar “have shifted considerably to the downside over the medium-term,” according to Mazen Issa and Mark McCormick, foreign-exchange strategists at TD Securities. The currency has established itself as a “problem child” among G-10 peers and “the positives are hard to find,” they wrote in a note Friday. That wasn’t the case earlier in the year. In January, the Canadian dollar outstripped all its G-10 peers to notch a gain of almost 4 percent. It’s struggled since then though, with the Bank of Canada last week watering down talk of higher rates, and economic growth figures earlier this month coming in worse than expected. The loonie is now close to 2 percent below its early February peak and it was around C$1.3343 per U.S. dollar in New York trading Friday following poor housing data this week. Bloomberg

-A new report from debt experts Hoyes, Michalos & Associates shows Millennials now account for 37 per cent of insolvency filings in Ontario, compared with 14 per cent in 2011. The reason is simple: “Millennials are a generation buried in student loans which is why we are seeing such a dramatic rise in student debt driven insolvencies,” according to the report. BNNBloomberg

-Statistics Canada says household debt grew faster than income in fourth-quarter. The amount Canadians owe relative to their income ticked higher in the fourth quarter of last year as the growth in debt slightly outpaced income growth, Statistics Canada said Thursday. The agency reported that seasonally adjusted household credit market debt, as a proportion of disposable income, increased to 178.5 per cent in the fourth quarter. That compared with a revised reading of 178.3 per cent in the third quarter. That means there was roughly $1.79 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income in the fourth quarter. Josh Nye, senior economist at Royal Bank, said the figures highlight the challenge consumers face. “It will take a long period of household incomes outpacing credit growth to deliver meaningful improvement in the debt-to-income ratio,” Nye wrote in a report. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2HKsU4E

-Average Canadian home sold in February cost $468,350, down 5.2% in past year. Canadian home sales plunged to their lowest level in more than six years in February, and the average price fell to $468,350. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Friday that just 29,974 residential properties changed hands during the month. February is typically a slow month for real estate, but that was the slowest month for home sales since November 2012. CREA says sales activity fell by more than nine per cent from January’s level, which wasn’t a strong month to begin with.

That decline is the biggest monthly slowdown since the government implemented new stress test rules for buyers at the start of last year. “For aspiring home buyers being kept on the sidelines by the mortgage stress test, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when policy makers say the policy is working as intended,” CREA president Barb Sukkau said. “Fewer qualified buyers means sellers are affected too.” Fewer homes were bought and sold during the month, and prices for them were, on average, lower too.

The average sale price was $468,350, but CREA says that figure isn’t a fair representation of the overall market because big markets like Toronto and Vancouver can skew the number one way or the other. So instead, CREA trumpets something it calls the House Price Index, which the group says does a better job of stripping out misleading factors. The HPI fell by 0.1 per cent in the year up to February. It’s the first time the HPI has been in negative territory in almost a decade. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2Jt72gT

-Oil tops $60 for first time since November after US crude stockpiles plunge. Crude inventories fall by 9.6 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 309,000 barrels. Crude futures draw support from OPEC-led supply cuts and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela. Analysts say concerns over economic growth are weighing on the market and capping gains.

-UBS CEO says this is one of the worst first-quarter environments in history. Swiss bank UBS is cutting an extra $300 million from 2019 costs after investment banking revenues plunged. UBS chief Sergio Ermotti said investment banking revenues were down about a third compared to the euphoric first quarter that kicked off 2018. He said investment banking conditions among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S. CNBC

-FedEx just warned the whole globe is slowing. FedEx reported declining international revenue as a result of unfavorable exchange rates and the negative effects of trade battles. “Slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue, as seen in the year-over-year decline in our FedEx Express international revenue,” says Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer. FedEx reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter earnings and revenue after the closing bell on Tuesday, and cut full-year guidance. CNBC

-EU regulators hit Google with $1.7 billion fine for blocking ad rivals. EU regulators slap the Alphabet unit with a fine for stifling ad competition. It’s the third antitrust fine from Brussels to hit Google. CNBC

-A Swiss court has killed some of the buzz for cannabis lovers in the Alpine country. The sale of cannabis flowers in Switzerland will be taxed at 25 percent, the same levy that currently applies to tobacco, because the drug’s floral buds are smoked in a similar way to cigarettes, the Swiss Federal Administrative Court ruled in a March 11 decision. As the decriminalization of marijuana becomes more commonplace in Europe and North America, the Swiss decision could prove an interesting test-case of how governments should tax marijuana products. Cannabis with less than 1 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical that gets you high, has been widely available in tobacco stores in Switzerland since 2017. Possession of up to 10 grams of the more potent variety carries a 100 Swiss franc ($99) fine. Bloomberg

-Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said a provincial election will be held on April 16, kicking off a battle for control of one of the world’s top oil-producing jurisdictions. Notley’s center-left New Democratic Party swept to power in 2015, ending more than four decades of conservative rule in Alberta. Since then, she has won mixed reviews from the province’s oil industry, facing criticism for implementing a carbon tax while winning applause for fighting to get new pipelines built.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, whose organization is a combination of two parties that split the conservative vote in the last election, will challenge Notley. He is running on a platform of fighting harder for the energy industry, saying he’d kill the carbon tax, cut off oil shipments to provinces that balk at pipelines, boycott banks that shun fossil fuels and pressure the federal government to end billions in transfers to other regions if new pipelines don’t get built. The energy industry is of utmost importance in Alberta and Canada. The province is currently producing about 3.6 million barrels of oil a day, more than any individual member of OPEC other than Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and the industry supports more than 500,000 jobs across the country.

The energy industry accounts for about a tenth of Canada’s economy and a fifth of its exports. Polls show Kenney’s party with a commanding lead, and it is widely expected to form the next Alberta government. However, Kenney’s approval ratings are lower than his party’s, while Notley is more popular than hers. Since taking over in May 2015, Notley has grappled with a plunge in global oil prices that has hammered the province’s largest industry. Unemployment rose from 5.9 percent the month she took over to as high as 9.1 percent in November 2016. The rate was 7.3 percent in February. Bloomberg

-Senator Warren believes she knows the way into Americans’ hearts: Lots of government spending. In her CNN townhall Monday night, Sen. Warren responded to almost every question with a proposed new government program. Over the course of the 80 minute forum, Sen. Warren endorsed Medicare-for-All, slavery reparations, universal childcare, universal pre-K, “universal pre-pre-K,” the creation of 3 million new federal housing units, increasing infrastructure spending several times, forgiveness of student loan debt, and the Green New Deal. Add it all up, and it’s more than $100 trillion. Estimates range on Warren’s proposed spending plans, but the Green New Deal has alone been projected to cost at least $93 trillion; slavery reparations have previously been pegged at upward of $14 trillion; and Warren says her universal child care, universal pre-K, and universal pre-pre-K programs can be done for $3 trillion.

Despite the avalanche of proposed new spending, Warren was cautious about calling for new taxes. After describing her plans for greatly increasing the percentage of GDP spent on infrastructure, she was asked whether a gas tax might be necessary to finance it. Warren responded that she opposes a gas tax because it’s regressive against the poor. Instead, Sen. Warren said, a single tax on the very wealthy would be enough to pay for “universal child care, universal pre-k, universal pre-pre-K for every child in America” and, she said, the tax would leave “$2 trillion left over.” Read more here-http://bit.ly/2uf1GLB

-More than free money: Here’s how long-shot 2020 candidate Andrew Yang would reshape the American economy. Until recently, Andrew Yang has been flying under the radar as one of several Democratic candidates vying to challenge President Trump in 2020. If you’ve heard of Yang, it’s probably because of his universal basic income proposal that would give $1,000 a month to every American aged 18 and older. But that’s not the only issue he’s tackling. Yang has more than six dozen proposals listed on his campaign site, many of them aimed at reshaping the economy. CNBC

-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s approval rating in New York declines following Amazon deal collapse, while Trump hammers Democrats over ‘socialism.’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s approval rating among New York voters, including Democrats, dips from January to March. The drop follows the collapse of Amazon’s deal to build a new facility in New York City, which the representative opposed and most New Yorkers supported. The poll findings come as President Donald Trump tries to cast Democrats’ economic policies as dangerously radical ahead of the critical 2020 election. Read more here-https://cnb.cx/2Oe6lqh

-Trump wants to use a big banking settlement to help build his border wall. The White House is targeting a windfall from an international banking scandal to help pay for the border wall, according to an administration official. French bank Societe Generale struck a deal with the U.S government in November to pay $1.3 billion after admitting that it violated U.S. sanctions on Cuba and Iran for years. The administration is hoping to funnel as much as $359 million from that settlement to a special account at the Treasury Department to fund the wall, the official says. CNBC

-Jamie Dimon says we’ve split the US economy, leaving the poor behind. J. P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon points to two Americas: one that is benefiting from thriving U.S. corporations, and another that is struggling. “It is absolutely obvious that a big chunk of [people] have been left behind,” Dimon says. CNBC

-Super fast travel using outer space could be $20 billion market, disrupting airlines, UBS predicts. In a decade, high speed travel via outer space will represent an annual market of at least $20 billion and compete with long-distance airline flights, UBS says. UBS expects the broader space industry, which is worth about $400 billion today, will double to $805 billion by 2030. Long haul airplane flights that are more than 10 hours in duration would “be cannibalized” by point-to-point flights on rockets, UBS said. CNBC

-Electric vehicles could cost the auto industry millions of jobs, a top analyst says. Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas says electric vehicles are here to stay and that means the auto industry is going to see serious, widespread changes to its labor force. He estimates that the global auto supply chain employs “in the range of 11 million people.” The trend toward greater production and sales of electric vehicles could cost the industry 3 million jobs in the next three to five years, the analyst said. CNBC

-Uber’s eye-popping $120 billion valuation would make it worth more than Nvidia, 3M and PayPal. Proposals for the ride-hailing IPO would reportedly value Uber at $120 billion as a public company. At that valuation, its market value would be bigger than profitable, established companies like Nvidia, Amgen and 21st Century Fox. Uber, which lost more than $1 billion last year, plans to release its S-1 filing and start its IPO road show in April, according to Reuters. CNBC

-More households subscribe to streaming than traditional TV, according to new report.For the first time, a higher percentage of households in the U.S. subscribe to a digital streaming service than to traditional pay television, according to the results of a new survey released Monday by Deloitte. Deloitte’s 13th annual digital media trends survey found that 69% of respondents have at least one streaming video subscription, compared with 65% who have a traditional pay TV subscription.

The finding underscores the continued popularity of services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, as more consumers become disenchanted with the high costs associated with cable and satellite packages. The survey found that the average consumer subscribes to three streaming services and that binge-watching continues to be a popular activity, with 91% of U.S. millennials saying they have watched three or more episodes of a show in a single sitting.

But many consumers experience frustration with streaming services’ content, with 47% saying they need multiple subscriptions to watch everything they want and 57% saying shows that they enjoy have disappeared from streaming services. “This is happening more frequently as more studios and TV networks are pulling content from the major streaming services to launch their own direct-to-consumer offerings,” the report said. In response, streaming services have been ramping up production of their own original content. Read more here-https://lat.ms/2HEkXhq

-UK lawmakers vote in favor of delaying Brexit departure date by at least 3 months. Members of Parliament (MPs) voted 412 to 202 for an extension of Article 50 which sets out the EU departure process beyond its current March 29 deadline. The vote was nonbinding, however, and the EU will have to agree to a delay. Brussels has already said Britain needs to justify requesting such an extension. The exact wording meant that lawmakers approved an extension until June 30 if Parliament approves the government’s Brexit deal by March 20. CNBC

-Harvard University uncovers DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration. Humans may one day have the ability to regrow limbs after scientists at Harvard University uncovered the DNA switch that controls genes for whole-body regeneration. Some animals can achieve extraordinary feats of repair, such as salamanders which grow back legs, or geckos which can shed their tails to escape predators and then form new ones in just two months. Planarian worms, jellyfish, and sea anemones go even further, actually regenerating their entire bodies after being cut in half. Now scientists have discovered that that in worms, a section of non-coding or ‘junk’ DNA controls the activation of a ‘master control gene’ called early growth response (EGR) which acts like a power switch, turning regeneration on or off. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2TYsU7F

-The No. 1 happiest country in the world. On Wednesday, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an initiative of the United Nations, released its well-respected “World Happiness Report,” and, once again, Finland tops the list. The report ranks 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be, according to their own evaluations of their lives. Finland is followed, in order, by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria. These are countries that “consistently” rank in the top 10, the report notes. Read more here-https://on.mktw.net/2FqaKUr

-The 180-year-old Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe SA is not for sale, according to the company’s chairman. The maker of $10,000-plus Calatrava timepieces is staying in hands of the Stern family, which has owned it for four generations, Chairman Thierry Stern said in an interview. He said he hopes his children, who are still teenagers, will someday inherit the company. Bloomberg

-Another bitcoin bull market is coming in 2019, says Fundstrat’s Tom Lee. 2019 could mark the return of bitcoin, according to one bitcoin bull. The digital currency has had a difficult run since hitting its all-time high, sinking from its peak near $20,000 per coin in late 2017 to its current trading price of less than $4,000. The CME bitcoin futures curve is up nearly 6 percent year to date but has also fallen significantly from the 2017 peak.

But Fundstrat Global Advisors strategist and known bitcoin bull Tom Lee who in December valued bitcoin between $13,800 and $14,800 says this year could bring about a comeback for the cryptocurrency, thanks to favorable macroeconomic trends. “I think 2019’s a year about repair,” Lee said Thursday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” “We have a risk-on rally in global markets that’s positive for bitcoin; it was a headwind last year. And the dollar isn’t surging like it was last year. That’s a headwind that’s gone away.” And while Lee also noticed that bitcoin’s technical indicators are stabilizing, with the digital currency managing to hold above its 200-week moving average, his thesis centered on the bigger picture. CNBC

-This 24-year-old makes celeb portraits from Rubik’s Cubes and sells them for thousands of dollars. Italian artist Giovanni Contardi isn’t exactly a cubist, but he is making a name for himself by using a particularly tricky medium for his art. Contardi, 24, can turn hundreds of Rubik’s Cubes into massive portraits bearing the likenesses of celebrities like LeBron James, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake. Read more here-https://cnb.cx/2HLhNbB

-Bloomberg tracks the fortunes of some 2,800 billionaires. Of those, 145 are worth at least $10 billion, making them decabillionaires. Now, the world contains two centibillionaires simultaneously. Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, once the world’s richest person, has again eclipsed the $100 billion threshold, joining Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos in the exclusive club, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Gates’s fortune, now $100 billion on the nose, hasn’t reached such heights since the dot-com boom, when Bezos was only beginning his march up the world’s wealth rankings. The Amazon founder is now worth $145.6 billion, having added $20.7 billion this year alone, while Gates has gained $9.5 billion in 2018. Bloomberg

-Mike Trout Gets $430 Million, But Floyd Mayweather Still Has Biggest Sports Contract of All Time.Star outfielder Mike Trout is on the verge of signing a 12-year contract worth more than $430 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal comes on the heels of massive contracts for other members of baseball’s elite, with Bryce Harper signing for $330 million, Manny Machado for $300 million and Nolan Arenando for $260 million. The deals above are deemed by many as four of the seven richest contracts in the history of sports.

The others to make the cut are boxer Canelo Alvarez, who is expected to earn $365 million over five years and 11 fights from streaming service DAZN; Giancarlo Stanton, who inked a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Miami Marlins before being dealt to the New York Yankees; and Alex Rodriguez, the only athlete in sports to sign two deals worth more than $250 million. A-Rod signed with the Yankees for $275 million over 10 years in 2007. But left out of these discussions of the biggest contracts in the history of sports is the one that turned out to be richer than Trout, Alvarez and baseball’s other blockbuster deals. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2OglqHV

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RARECOLOREDDIAMONDS.COM

-Gem Diamonds nets $8.8 million for 13.3 carat pink rock. Africa-focused Gem Diamonds has sold a 13.33 carat pink diamond recovered at its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho last month for $8.8 million. The high-quality pink colour type I diamond sold at a tender in Antwerp, Belgium, achieving a record price per carat of almost $657,000. The Letšeng mine is well-known for yielding some extraordinary diamonds, including the 910-carat “Lesotho Legend”, which sold for $40 million last year.

The precious rock was the world’s fifth-largest ever found. Since acquiring the operation in 2006, Gem Diamonds has unearthed five of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation. According to market analysts, the average price for pink, yellow, blue and green stones has risen consistently by 12% a year over the last few decades, driven by consumer demand for exotic and unusual diamonds. This means they are less affected by other factors driving general diamonds’ supply and demand. Currently, the global market for polished coloured diamonds is dominated by Rio Tinto and Anglo American’s De Beers. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2HwLw9b

-Graff Unveils Three of The Most Expensive Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Watches on The Market. With the 2019 edition of Baselworld about to officially begin this Thursday, Graff Diamonds gives us a sneak peek at two of the three incredible Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond watches to be showcased. Yellow diamonds are extremely rare more so than white diamonds, and to be set in a timepiece or a piece of jewelry, it can take years for a Maison to collect enough stones in the perfect color, intensity and size. Graff Diamonds, though, known for purveying some of the finest gemstones and diamonds in the world, is a master at it.

As such, the brand this year unveils a host of bejeweled watches, not the least of which are two superb works of art and time. These two yellow diamond watches that Graff is showcasing are both made using the hardest-to-find yellow diamond color: Fancy Vivid yellow. Because Graff is a family owned and operated company, a host of Graff family members are part of the organization from start to finish meaning each of the more than 120 diamonds used in these two watches was most likely hand picked by a Graff family member.

Each watch is built in 18-karat yellow gold to underscore the brilliance of the yellow diamonds, and each features diamonds in round and fancy ovals that are meticulously set by hand, as well as finished and polished by hand. The Round Graff Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond watch is set with 211 diamonds weighing an incredible 59.25 carats. The Graff Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Watch with an Oval dial consists of 60 diamonds weighing 25.85 carats. Both watches house Swiss-made quartz movements. The third yellow diamond watch is under wraps until Baselworld. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2Jpy0G8

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GOLD-SILVER-PALLADIUM-PLATINUM

Gold to silver ratio at 80 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $25.00

Gold to silver ratio at 70 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $28.57

Gold to silver ratio at 60 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $33.33

Gold to silver ratio at 50 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $40.00

Gold to silver ratio at 40 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $50.00

Gold to silver ratio at 30 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $66.67

Gold to silver ratio at 20 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $100.00

Gold to silver ratio at 15 to 1 with gold at $2,000 the silver price would be $133.33

-“Twice before in my life gold has been relatively strong at the same time that the US dollar has been strong. Normally they trade in opposition to each other. The last time this occurred was 2000-2001. Both gold and the dollar were strong in 2000, albeit from a weak base. The dollar eventually rolled over and gold did extremely well. Will past be prologue? I don’t know. But I’m encouraged by the fact that we see US dollar strength, at least relative to other currencies with simultaneous gold strength. Rick Rule Sprott USA

-Greg Hunter: Andrew Maguire Interview, Central Banks Going Long Gold. World renowned precious metals expert Andrew Maguire says pay attention to the new rule that goes into effect at the end of March that will allow gold to become fully valued and monetized as a tier 1 asset for banks around the world. Maguire explains, “Basel III is coming into effect in less than two weeks from now, and it will effectively remonetize physical gold. Of course, that is a big deal.

While the synthetic players shuffle chips in this siloed CME casino, the insider bullion banks are positioning for higher gold prices. That is it right there. Bottom line is what are the big boys doing?” Maguire says watch silver for an extreme spike to the upside. Maguire says, “Silver is going to break out. I think $50 per ounce is a joke. I think it’s going to be substantially higher than that. It’s not going to be a question of how you can run into resistance with silver. It’s going to be how much physical is available. It’s going to be a heck of a lot higher when you start to have a run on the price.” Read more here-http://bit.ly/2Hwkm23

-Buy Gold, Sell Stocks Is the ‘Trade of Century’ Says One Hedge Fund. One of last year’s best-performing hedge funds says the “trade of the century” is to buy gold and sell stocks as risk assets are due for another meltdown. It’s only a matter of time until the bearish bet pays off big, according to Crescat Capital LLC. While the Denver-based firm has only about $50 million under management, it has a history of outperforming the S&P 500 Index with its Global Macro Fund returning 41 percent last year alone. Now the investment company says it’s ready to capitalize on an end of the economic cycle as indicators warn that a recession is imminent in the coming quarters. The consensus is pointing to a recession in 2020 or 2021, Tavi Costa, a global macro analyst at Crescat, said by phone. “We think it’s a lot closer than that and we have a number of macro timing indicators that we look at.”

Going long gold in yuan terms and shorting global equities currently explains three-quarters of the hedge fund’s strategy. While the firm uses the MSCI World Index in models to visualize the trade, it goes a bit deeper with its short position, selecting individual stocks and exchange-traded funds to bet against. Among the warning signs, Crescat cites corporate insiders who are currently selling stocks hand over fist indicating a potential stock bubble burst. In early 2017, those investors heavily sold shares while the S&P 500 continued climbing.

That happened again in 2018. With the smart money selling once again, “the third time should be the charm for the stubborn U.S. market,” Crescat wrote to clients over the weekend. U.S. economic data is deteriorating and inversions remain across the Treasury yield curve, the hedge fund pointed out. Measuring multiple yield spreads across the curve from Fed Funds to 30-year Treasury bonds, Crescat found that almost 45 percent of the curve is inverted. “The last two times the credit markets had such a high distortion, asset bubbles began to fall apart shortly thereafter,” Crescat wrote.

As for the almost 13 percent rebound in global stocks in 2019, Costa said the firm has a high conviction it’s simply a bear-market rally. Just about everything has bounced since the start of the year, accompanied by an abrupt decline in the Cboe Volatility Index, or the VIX signs reminiscent of head fakes in such advances. “Soon the buy-the-dip mentality and bull-market greed will turn to fear. Selling will beget more selling. That’s how bear markets work,” Crescat wrote.

“There is so much more ahead to profit from the short side of the market. The bear-market rally is running out of steam!” The firm’s Global Macro Fund has posted an annualized return of near 12 percent since it was created in 2006, according to its website greater than the S&P 500’s 8 percent. Crescat’s Long/Short and Large Cap funds have also outperformed. “We’re not perma-bears by any means,” Costa said. “This is a very tactical bearish view right now, and hopefully when the market turns, we want to also time the bull market at some point.” Bloomberg

-Silver Demand in India Set for 4-Year High on Farm Cash Payout.Silver will see a resurgence in demand this year from rural Indians spending cash handouts from the government designed to aid local economies ahead of the general election, according to Metals Focus Ltd. Purchases are set to rise to about 6,590 tons, beating the 6,442 tons bought in 2018 and marking the best year since record consumption in 2015, Chirag Sheth, an analyst for the London-based research firm, said in an interview in Mumbai. The demand recovery will continue over the next few years “because of economic growth, higher income, and relatively low silver prices and penetration of sterling silver,” he said.

India last month started distributing the first installment of 2,000 rupees ($29) to smallholders, under a program that proposes to spend 750 billion rupees in the year beginning April. “The government cash handouts to farmers will help silver demand much more than gold,” as many recipients only have the purchasing power to buy the cheaper metal, said Sheth. Silver prices in India have been relatively stable for the last two years, and are about half their 2011 peak.

At around 38,000 rupees a kilogram, the metal is about eighty times cheaper than gold and a far more affordable investment or gift for the average citizen. In contrast to gold imports, which collapsed last year, inflows of silver rose 36 percent in 2018 to 6,958 tons, just shy of the all-time high of 7,579 tons seen in 2015, according to India’s trade ministry. Sheth pegged this year’s imports at between 6,000 tons and 7,000 tons. “In the last two years, demand has been very strong from the jewelry and silverware segments,” said Sheth. “The market is in an expansion phase.” Bloomberg

-Palladium Tops $1,600 as Metal Sets New Highs on Supply Shortage. Palladium topped $1,600 an ounce for the first time, and there’s little sign of the rally slowing as global supply tightens. The price of the metal mainly used in autocatalysts in gasoline vehicles has almost doubled from a recent low in August. Demand has remained robust as manufacturers scramble to get hold of palladium to meet more stringent emissions controls, particularly in China, even as auto sales in key markets slow.

With the palladium market expected to be in deficit for an eighth year, speculators have piled back in, and a robust borrowing market for the metal prompted investors to pull supplies from exchange-traded funds and lease them out. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s recent recall of about 863,000 vehicles that violate U.S. standards could spur even more demand.

“Metal for immediate delivery remains in extremely short supply,” said Jonathan Butler, precious metal strategist at Mitsubishi Corp U.K. “The short-term supply outlook doesn’t look any better, particularly in South Africa. Automakers are still finding ways to thrift but it’s getting more difficult with ever stricter emissions targets.”

The metal’s rally is even stirring debate about whether automakers can make the switch to cheaper platinum to help control their costs. “We remain bullish on palladium since the physical palladium market remains tight and it will take years to substitute,” analysts at Citigroup Inc. said in a March 19 report. “However, at these higher prices we are acknowledging the increase in downside risks relating to potential substitution headlines.” Palladium climbed as much as 1.4 percent to $1,601.52 an ounce, and has increased 26 percent this year. Bank of America Merrill Lynch earlier this month raised its average forecast for 2019 to $1,800, suggesting that prices could surge as high as $2,000.

Palladium’s jump has revitalized producers. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., which has slashed its net debt, plans to start building a new palladium mine that could begin producing as soon as 2024. Anglo American Platinum Ltd. is studying plans to boost palladium output by 270,000 ounces a year through expansion of its flagship Mogalakwena mine. More than 80 percent of palladium comes as a by-product from nickel mining in Russia and platinum mining in South Africa, so supplies depend on the extraction level in other minerals. The viability of platinum as a substitute has also been downplayed. Research has shown that technological advances are needed before it can match the performance of palladium-based catalytic converters, according to Johnson Matthey Plc, which makes the devices. Bloomberg

-Aberdeen’s Gold Suggests ‘Caution On Palladium.’ Maxwell Gold Gold, director of investment strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments, offers some caution about the high-flying palladium market that has traded above $1,600 an ounce for the first time ever each of the last two days. The most recent surge was helped by reports of a Russian export ban on precious metals, but this would be for scrap only and temporary, Gold points out. Further, he notes, Russia does not even provide a “material amount” of palladium scrap to the market.

“Palladium prices continue to reach record highs and broke through $1,600/oz this week; however, I would suggest applying caution on palladium in the short term,” he says. “The price is currently at the upper range of a bullish scenario of $1500-1600/oz by year-end. The market remains in supply deficit but isn’t as tight of an imbalance as it was at the start of the year.” This is reflected by borrowing rates for palladium, which have fallen from over 30% in January to about 4.5% currently, he says. “The large amount of buying forward and inventory building over the last few months may have slowed, causing a drop in these lease rates,” Gold says. Read more here-http://bit.ly/2CFdk7l

-Investor flows suggest platinum on cusp of recovery. Rapid flows of investor money into physically backed platinum exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and a sharp drop in speculative bets on lower prices suggest the autocatalyst metal is on the verge of a recovery. Large supply surpluses and falling demand, particularly since Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” scandal in 2015, have eroded platinum’s popularity to the extent that prices have dropped below those of palladium and gold. Emissions-reducing catalytic converters in diesel vehicles contain more platinum, while sister metal palladium is a larger component in gasoline engines. At about $850 an ounce, platinum is near its lowest in a decade and around a third of its value in 2008.

That price barely covers production costs in top producer South Africa. “Looking at it from a long-term value investor perspective, now is the time to put money in,” ICBC Standard analyst Marcus Garvey said. Holdings of platinum in ETFs tracked by data company Refinitiv have leapt more than 325,000 ounces, or 16 percent, from a December low the fastest build since 2013. Speculative bets on NYMEX have also flipped, with a net short position bets on lower prices in February of 1,606 contracts equivalent to 80,300 ounces turning to a net long of around 1 million ounces. “It’s a longer-term bet on platinum being undervalued,” Mitsubishi analyst Jonathan Butler said. “The fundamentals are not particularly exceptional in the short term, but longer-term they have good potential.” Read more here-https://reut.rs/2TnwhRk

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Investing In Fancy Colored Diamonds

Investing in rare colored diamonds is a long-term investment. The economic cycles of the past 15 years have seen colored diamonds reach new heights in value as price records were broken.

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The Investor Learning Center was created to provide investors with the tools to make the right decision when it comes to investing in Rare Colored Diamonds.
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1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $50,000
  • Price per Carat: $50,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $150,000
  • Price per Carat: $150,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $500,000
  • Price per Carat: $500,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $1,000,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,000,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $1,090,500
  • Price per Carat: $1,090,500
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $2,828,187*
  • Price per Carat: $2,828,187*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Pink

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $4,361,506*
  • Price per Carat: $4,361,506*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $1,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $3,000
  • Price per Carat: $3,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $9,000
  • Price per Carat: $9,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $23,500
  • Price per Carat: $23,500
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $26,300
  • Price per Carat: $26,300
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2012
  • Total Price: $32,000
  • Price per Carat: $32,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $53,993*
  • Price per Carat: $53,993*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Intense Yellow

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $74,873*
  • Price per Carat: $74,873*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 1980
  • Total Price: $60,000
  • Price per Carat: $60,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 1990
  • Total Price: $200,000
  • Price per Carat: $200,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2000
  • Total Price: $600,000
  • Price per Carat: $600,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $1,350,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,350,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $1,494,000
  • Price per Carat: $1,494,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $4,555,497*
  • Price per Carat: $4,555,497*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Vivid Blue

  • Year: 2025
  • Total Price: $7,561,708*
  • Price per Carat: $7,561,708*

*Estimated value based on current market trend

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 1950
  • Total Price: $13,800
  • Price per Carat: $13,800
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 1987
  • Total Price: $927,000
  • Price per Carat: $927,000
  • Source: Auction

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2008
  • Total Price: $2,000,000
  • Price per Carat: $2,000,000
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2009
  • Total Price: $2,074,600
  • Price per Carat: $2,074,600
  • Source: Private Sale

1 Carat Radiant Cut Fancy Red

  • Year: 2020
  • Total Price: $3,103,720*
  • Price per Carat: $3,103,720*

*Estimated value based on current market trend