Monday, 27 April 2015

A Prize and a Lesson on Race

The black-white achievement gap. Everyone knows about it; no one seems to know what to do about it. The gap closed a bit in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but then progress stalled. Some have called it “the greatest civil rights issue of our time,” but there’s no agreement about the cure. Enter economist Roland Fryer. Fryer came from about the most disadvantaged background imaginable, with a mother who left his family and an abusive father who was sent to prison. Fryer has described himself as a “full-fledged gangster” in his teenage years (though his criminal activities, selling marijuana and counterfeit purses, wouldn’t be out of place among any number of college kids). But Fryer excelled at high school sports, and went to college on an athletic scholarship. It was there, at the University of Texas at Arlington, that he discovered his true passion was not athletic, but academic. Thus began a meteoric rise that saw Fryer earn a Ph.D. in economics, and go on to collaborate with some of the world’s top economists -- Nobel winner Gary Becker, “Freakonomics” author Steven Levitt, and many others. He got a job as a Harvard professor, received tenure at the age of 30, and now holds an endowed chair.

Profitshop: Singapore Family Cuts Dollar Bets Citing Volatile ...

Profitshop: Singapore Family Cuts Dollar Bets Citing Volatile ...: Woodside Holdings Investment Management, a Singapore-based family office, trimmed bets the U.S. dollar will strengthen amid uncertainty as t...

Singapore Family Cuts Dollar Bets Citing Volatile Central Banks

Woodside Holdings Investment Management, a Singapore-based family office, trimmed bets the U.S. dollar will strengthen amid uncertainty as to when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates. Woodside cut the percentage of its liquid assets denominated in the greenback to about 75 percent from 80 percent this year, said David Fergusson, who is chief investment officer at the company that was set up by his grandfather in 1959. Traders have set back bets for when U.S. policy makers will raise borrowing costs as officials such as Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart and Fed Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said this month policy should stay accommodative. The Swiss National Bank unexpectedly scrapped its currency ceiling in January, while policy makers in Singapore and Japan also surprised the market by boosting stimulus in the past six months The dollar has weakened against all except one of its 16 major counterparts this month and strategists have trimmed forecasts on how much it will gain. The currency will appreciate about 4.6 percent to $1.04 per euro by year-end and 5 percent to 125 yen, according to Bloomberg surveys. The dollar was at $1.0876 per euro and 119.13 yen at 1:30 p.m. in Tokyo.

Friday, 24 April 2015

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Oil at $65 Seen Freeing 500,000 Barrels From Shale Fracklog

Oil needs to recover to $65 a barrel for U.S. drillers to tap a pent-up supply locked in shale wells and unleash more crude on markets than is produced by Libya.
Dipping into this “fracklog” would add an extra 500,000 barrels a day of oil into the market by the end of next year, Bloomberg Intelligence said in an analysis on Thursday. Producers in oil and gas fields from Texas to Pennsylvania have 4,731 idled wells at their disposal.
Prices are rebounding from a six-year low after drillers idled half the nation’s oil rigs, slowing the shale boom that boosted production to the highest in four decades. The number of wells waiting to be hydraulically fractured, known as the fracklog, has ballooned as companies wait for costs to drop. That could slow the recovery as firms quickly finish wells at the first sign of higher prices.
U.S. oil futures tumbled by more than $50 a barrel in the second half of last year amid a worldwide glut of crude. West Texas Intermediate for June delivery fell 26 cents to $57.48 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:29 a.m. London time.
Last week, Raoul LeBlanc, an oil analyst with Englewood, Colorado-based consultant IHS Inc., pegged the U.S. fracklog at around 3,000 wells. Halliburton Co., the world’s second-biggest provider of oilfield services, estimated there are about 4,000 uncompleted wells, citing “third party estimates.”
The U.S. shale business has evolved over the years to produce a “shorter-term investment cycle” that will allow it to respond quicker to prices in the future, David Zusman, managing director at Talara Capital Management, which handles $400 million in energy investments, said by phone on Thursday.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Dollar Falls Third Week as Jobs Data Clouds U.S. Rate Outlook

The Fed is weighing data for signs the U.S. economy can weather higher borrowing costs as global growth stalls.
American companies added 126,000 jobs in March, almost half the 245,000 median estimate of 98 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the most pessimistic forecast and followed a 264,000 gain a month earlier that was smaller than initially reported, the Labor Department said.
“It’s pretty shocking,” said John Vail, the chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management Co., which oversees $160 billion globally. “This report obviously does push out expectations for a Fed hike to some degree, although we all know that the data can change very rapidly.”
The rate for fed funds futures for December fell four basis points to 0.34 percent, indicating about one-in-three odds of a rate increase by the Fed’s meeting that month.
Policy makers will still increase rates in August or September, according to Bill Gross, who runs the $1.5 billion Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund.
“They want to get off zero, if only to prove that they don’t have to stay at zero for a long, long time,” he said after the payrolls release.