“THE DISTINCTIVE function of the banker ‘begins as soon as he uses the money of others’; as long as he uses his own money he is only a capitalist,” wrote Walter Bagehot in 1873, quoting Ricardo. This distinction may seem outdated. Institutional investors (hedge funds, mutual funds, pension funds, private equity) all use other people’s money. Yet Ricardo’s point matters.
EAGLE-EYED BEACHCOMBERS may recognise the round white shells etched with a five-petal flower. These erstwhile homes of sea urchins resemble a silver dollar, earning them the nickname “sand dollars” and the myth that they are the money of mermaids or the long-lost city of Atlantis. They pile up on the shores of the 700 islands in the Bahamas, so its central bank picked the sand dollar as its logo. In October 2020, when the Bahamas launched the world’s first central-bank digital currency (CBDC), the authorities chose to adorn the app with the familiar floral
The world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal in 2015, according to a report by a coalition of NGOs.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding remains on an upward trend and the finance provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact the report’s authors and others described as “shocking”.
Oil, gas and coal will need to be burned for some years to come. But it has been known since at least 2015 that a significant proportion of existing reserves must remain
WHEN BOND markets seized up in the spring of 2020 the problem was a shortage of cash. A global dash for dollars caused bond yields, which move inversely to prices, to spike. It sent the greenback soaring in currency markets. And it caused trading in Treasuries, usually the world’s most liquid market, almost to dry up. Today the opposite problem looms: a surfeit of money. It stems from the Federal Reserve’s response to last year’s crisis. The central bank calmed markets by buying vast quantities of bonds with newly created cash, and has continued its purchases,
Stimulus checks for up to $1,400 per person are coming as part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package. In fact, over 90 million payments have gone out through direct deposit and 150,000 paper checks have been processed and sent on their way, the IRS said Wednesday. (Here’s how to track your payment with the IRS or USPS.)
But tens of millions more payments are yet to come — including
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell on Friday after the Federal Reserve’s decision to not extend a pandemic-era capital break for banks stoked a rise in bond yields and a sell-off in financial stocks.
The blue-chip Dow slid 234.33 points, or 0.7%, to 32,627.97, pressured by Visa and JPMorgan. The S&P 500 dipped 0.1% to 3,913.10, closing off its lowest level of the day when it fell 0.7%. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8% to 13,215.24 as investors bought the dip in tech shares. Facebook gained 4%, while Amazon and Netflix rose about 1.5% each.
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