Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Macroeconomic Resource - Variant Perception's Trusted Sources

by Claus Vistesen:   London

I normally do not mix business and pleasure but in this case they are such a close match that I think an exception is warranted. The small independent macro research firm I work for is consequently in the process of restructuring its website and is opening up its Trusted Sources which was previously restricted to clients. VP Trusted Sources is a collection of content providers and their content that we deem to offer high quality and value adding financial and macroeconomic analysis worthy our own, investors' and other researchers' time.
Obviously, skilled and hardened readers of econ blogs would point out that the last thing the internet needs is another information aggregator. I would agree, and even in the world of economics and finance there are already considerable aggregators and umbrella sites which collects and gathers information.
However, and biased as I naturally am, I would argue that the VP Trusted Sources blows most of the other"passive" information aggregators in the financial industry away. I would point to three reasons for this.
1. We provide macroeconomic and financial news in its most pure format and if you are a consumer of such information you will be extraordinarily well served. This is high powered macroeconomic news, from one passionate macroeconomic researcher to another.
2. The VP Trusted Sources is essentially a custom made/all inclusive macroeconomic RSS reader. You don't need to create one; we have done it for you.
3. Its versatility. the VP Trusted Sources hub can be used either as the equivalent of a financial/economic Arts and Letters Daily or as a fast and efficient way to learn about a given topic.
I would particularly emphasize the balance between blogs, news and bank/investor research (1) which means that the VP Trusted Sources becomes a potentially very valuable gateway for information. You will also note that each entry (referring back to an original article) has both primary and secondary tags. I dare you to do research on a specific/generic topic where the VP Trusted Sources cannot lead you to instant and valuable information which will make your life easier.
Well, I think that this must be enough self-promotion for one day. Since it is free I encourage you to have a look and if you don't like it, feel free not to return. If you do, tell all your macro friends and fellow macro geeks about it.
(1) - Obviously some links will lead to walled content as some providers may not give free access to their content, but the vast majority of links goes to free resources.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bianna Golodryga Goes Inside the Container Store

As one of the nation's most visible and highly-respected financial reporters, Bianna Golodryga has done more than a little reporting on the ups and downs of Wall Street-in fact, she even covered the World Economic Forum when it was held in Switzerland. But she's no stranger to more street-level financial reporting; in fact, for an ABC News series called "Secrets of America's Favorite Stores," Bianna Golodryga went behind-the-scenes of some of the most popular retail stores in the country, including The Container Store.
What may seem like a niche business is in fact thriving, reported Bianna Golodryga; the chain is especially successful in selling organizational tools for closets, something that has become something of a trademark for The Container Store. Bianna Golodryga spoke with some of the chain's leading executives and uncovered some of the secrets of what makes them so prosperous.
One of the most major components, she found, is in the scripted dialogue that store associates use to engage customers. Bianna Golodryga reported that Container Store employees are discouraged from using more traditional lines like "May I help you?"-instead, they try to engage the customer on a deeper level, something that The Container Store executives believe strengthens their sales.
Indeed, Bianna Golodryga discovered that a big part of what sets the company apart is the emphasis they place on employee training. Associates at The Container Store are trained for some 240 hours, compared to the typical 12 of other retail stores.
Bianna Golodryga has filed similar reports retail chains including Costco and The Gap, just one example of what makes her an invaluable and integral member of the ABC News team. After studying theater arts and acting at Houston's prestigious High School for Performing and Visual Arts-the same school attended by Beyonce-- Bianna Golodryga moved into finance when she was in college, and enjoyed a brief career in that field before ultimately moving into television. She began her career in journalism as a producer for the CNBC network, having been inspired by the financial reporting style of Maria Bartiromo.
Her work with that network quickly drew praise from across the industry, and got the attention of ABC News. She was recruited by that network and immediately became a favorite on-air journalist, covering economic and business affairs for a variety of ABC's news programs. She has co-anchored the weekend edition of Good Morning America ever since Kate Snow left the program in May 2010.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eight Probable Economic Trends in 2011

The year 2011 is one of immense economic and social change, as the shift in economic power continues to move east. What are the eight probable economic trends for 2011?
1. Renewed Turmoil in Our Banking Sectors
Some banks still remain overexposed to potential downturns in our stock markets. This has been created by holding onto vast amounts of "investments" in derivatives, rather than previously passing on all this potential toxic debt to our governments. If there is a major crisis in Korea, or a sudden natural disaster- then this exposure could eventually led to further bank bailouts.
2. A European Backlash Against Austerity
Deep austerity measures in the eurozone, are seen by many as a necessary need, but at the same time perceived as being too unbalanced and unfair. This belief could lead to more demonstrations, and the prospect of any number of European countries defaulting on their debts- the euro could still be saved, but the cost may result in an economically weakened Europe.
3. Closer ties between China, India and Russia
At the end of 2010, Russia and China agreed to trade energy and goods in their local currencies, abandoning the use of the US dollar. India also signed similar agreements, with both China, and Russia, shortly after this historic trade pact.
Signs are that all three countries could effectively continue economic expansion, and at the same time hail the start of a new renminbi, rupee, and ruble trade zone.
4. Further Growth in the Luxury Market
Despite a recession, sales of private aircraft, vacations in luxury resorts and sales of high end luxury brands continue to grow. New chic apartment hotels in Paris and the growth of luxury travel are signs that the global economy is improving.
5. Mixed Results for the US Dollar
A weakened US dollar still remains the international currency of debt and trade. this allows the Federal Reserve more leeway in printing dollars to flow into the economy.
This simple fact keeps the dollar strong, despite high national debt levels, and lack of business induced growth. Greenback values may still continue to decline, but should remain stable against some currencies, because so many nations hold vast reserves in the greenback. Look for further declines in the US dollar value in 2011.
6. Growth in China, East Asia and the Developing World
Brazil, China, East Asia, India, and Russia continue to register economic growth, whilst continued global de-coupling from Europe and the United States, expands as these nations improve trade with African, and South American countries.
7. Renewed Interest in Alternative Energies
Despite the rhetoric about a 'Green Energy revolution," in the developed world, 2011 could become the year- real interest through necessity, replaces forgotten promises.
This change may be brought about because of the increased cost of fossil based resources and the need to create cheap energy- as a declining energy poor United States & Europe have less to spend on these traditional resources.
8. The Rise of Cloud Computing
Austerity and cost cutting could create the need for large Corporations in the developed world to trim costs by simply locally outsourcing its IT work to outside companies, which effectively take over the billing and payroll management of a corporation, moving it online.
Estimates on this changeover by the EMU (European Monetary Union), state that billions could be saved, whilst over half a million new jobs are created.
One drawback could be that these global companies may decide simply to relocate this work to the East, rather than inside Europe or the USA. Creating new jobs, but not in the countries where their headquarters are located.
2011 could be a year of turmoil, continued economic growth and increased austerity. As our societies are growing towards a truly global economy, the unforeseen consequences of these effects are both renewed wealth creation and increasing poverty. Where this eventually leads depends solely on how developed economies evolve during this change, and whether this is acceptable inside the homes of those adversely affected by a changing global economy.