It’s proving extremely difficult just to get up to two. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) is the core price deflator, which is what the fed looks at. Currently, it is at about 1.4%, but it’s stuck there. It’s not going anywhere. The Fed continues to try everything possible to get it to two with hopes to hit three.
The reason is that it’s not purely a function of monetary policy, it’s a partial function of monetary policy.
Bitcoin, “mined” by computers performing complex calculations, surged to over $16,000 last week, and all bitcoins in circulation are now worth more than New Zealand’s entire $185 billion economy. Early investors include the Winklevoss twins, who played an early role in Facebook Inc.’s formation. Cameron Winklevoss told Bloomberg Friday he think bitcoin’s gains have only just begun as it will come to be seen as an upgrade to gold.
China’s Robotic Advantage (jdargis)
In order to remain competitive against both home country manufacturers that keep shipment costs down and countries that provide cheaper labor, China is facing increased pressure to develop a new comparative advantage. Regarding the build up of robotic capabilities, China is uniquely posed for success — in terms of scale, growth momentum, and money.
Physicians, FBI investigators and US intelligence agencies have spent months trying to piece together the puzzle in Havana, where the US says 24 government officials and spouses fell ill, starting last year in homes and later in some hotels. The US refers to “specific attacks” but says it does not know who is behind them. A few Canadian embassy staffers also got sick.
The Arctic Threat to Oil’s Grand Bargain (jdargis)
These are not the putative offshore fields that energy supremo Igor Sechin touted five years ago as Russian oil’s future. Arctic exploration has been all but halted by cheap oil and Crimea-based sanctions. But other development projects in the region have quietly gathered momentum, yielding almost 400,000 barrels a day of exports.
The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half goes to China. For decades, China has used recyclables from around the world to supply its manufacturing boom. But this summer it declared that this “foreign waste” includes too many other nonrecyclable materials that are “dirty,” even “hazardous.” In a filing with the World Trade Organization the country listed 24 kinds of solid wastes it would ban “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.”
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