December 1, 2020

Bitcoin price breaks all-time record, nearing $20,000 as cryptocurrency bounces back from March slump

The cryptocurrency capped out at just over $19,850 on Monday before retreating to around $19,668, according to the CoinDesk index, surging past its previous peak of $19,666, hit in late 2017. The spike follows a week of volatility, seeing the price dip to as low as $16,200 last Thursday.

Also on rt.com Resurgent bitcoin pushing toward all-time high after last week’s stumble

Bitcoin took a serious hit in March with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, sinking below $4,000 for a time, but has steadily climbed out of the slump, gaining some 240 percent in the time since. Demand for the digital asset has also surged, helping it bounce back to its new height.

Other major cryptos, which typically follow bitcoin’s trends, also rallied on Monday, with Ethereum and XRP gaining by some six percent, while Litecoin climbed by more than 11 percent, according to CoinMarketCap. Among the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, only Tether was down over the last 24 hours, shedding just shy of one point.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508283-bitcoin-breaks-record-20000/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Group Seeking Equality for Women in Tech Raises $11 Million

And by some measures, harassment has worsened, according to a recent survey from Women Who Tech, a nonprofit. Forty-four percent of female founders said they had been harassed. Two-thirds said they had been propositioned for sex, up 9 percent from 2017, and one-third said they had been groped, up 7 percent from 2017.

More broadly, bigger tech companies, which began publishing diversity statistics on their work forces six years ago and have poured millions of dollars into diversity efforts, are nowhere close to gender parity and have shown even less progress on hiring more Black and Latino workers. This year, the World Economic Forum concluded that it would take women 257 years to close the employment gender gap across all industries, compared with its previous estimate of 202 years.

“We are not going to take hundreds of years of stereotyping and systemic oppression and turn that around overnight,” Ms. Kostka said. “But are we making more tangible progress? Yes.”

All Raise helps peer groups, boot camps, and mentorship programs for female and nonbinary investors and founders. It also produces data reports on the start-up industry, publishes a directory of vetted speakers and runs a program for Black female founders, When Founder Met Funder. With the new money, it plans to establish chapters in more cities and offer more programs, which it said were “oversubscribed.”

Ms. Kostka said the demand for All Raise’s programs showed that the tech industry’s lack of diversity was not caused by a lack of talent or interest from women and minorities. “We don’t have a pipeline problem,” she said. “We have a talent network problem.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/technology/women-tech-allraise.html

‘Thumb-Stopping,’ ‘Humaning,’ ‘B4H’: The Strange Language of Modern Marketing

Purpose-driven lifestyle brand: Blue Apron, Chipotle, Goop and Godiva have described themselves with this phrase. It’s meant to suggest that customers don’t just want the products sold by a particular company, but seek a deeper connection with it and wear it “as a badge,” as Christopher Brandt, the chief marketing officer of Chipotle, put it.

Snackable content: Short promotional videos made for smartphones and other devices.

Solutioning: Marketers love making one part of speech into another. A slogan from Hyundai — “However you family” — turns a noun into a verb. Toyota turned an adjective into a noun with “Start your impossible.” So it should come as no surprise that many marketers have taken a perfectly good noun, solution, and made it into a verb to describe the process of solving a knotty problem.

Storytelling: Companies once hired ad agencies for a simple job: conveying the appeal of their products, usually in a punchy manner. Now they want creative teams to immerse potential customers in narratives that practically mythologize their brands, and storytelling is perhaps the industry’s No. 1 buzzword. AdWeak, an advertising studio that also runs a parody Twitter account, has sold a tongue-in-cheek coffee mug emblazoned with the line: “For the last time, I’m not a copywriter, I’m a [expletive] brand storyteller.” (And even storytelling may not be enough, it seems. Mondelez says that “humaning” happens when “storytelling becomes storydoing.”)

Thumb-stopping: A descriptor for online content, made especially for mobile devices, that captures someone’s attention enough to stop him or her from scrolling. Pinterest, Shutterstock and Samsung have all promoted themselves as services that help users to create “thumb-stopping” material.

TLA: The ad industry loves acronyms and initialisms. OTT stands for “over-the-top” streaming content delivered over the internet. PDOOH is short for “programmatic digital out-of-home” (that is, ads placed through an automated bidding process on digital billboards and other signs). And TLA? It stands for a type of acronym. Specifically, “three-letter acronyms.”

Top-of-funnel: Remember the customer’s journey (see entry above)? Top-of-funnel (also known as TOFU) describes a special part of it, the moment when a potential buyer becomes aware of a product or service.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/25/business/media/thumb-stopping-humaning-b4h-the-strange-language-of-modern-marketing.html

Russia wants to ditch US dollar in favor of national currencies trade between SCO countries

Speaking at an SCO meeting on Monday, Mishustin said the “development of alternative, dollar-independent settlements” is an important issue. “We consider it promising to expand the practice of mutual settlements in national currencies,” he stated.

The PM stressed that the members of the organization should work on a coordinated approach on the matter and further discuss the funding mechanism for SCO projects. 

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During the SCO summit held earlier this month, one member of the group, Kazakhstan, also voiced support for boosting trade in national currencies between the partners. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said unlocking the economic potential of the alliance is an urgent task given the rise in protectionism and the disruption of international supply chains. Creating a roadmap for a gradual increase in the share of national currencies in mutual settlements as well as launching a Eurasian financial advisory mechanism could facilitate this task, he said. 

The SCO was established in 2001 by six founding states – Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Prior to that, all of the above countries, except for Uzbekistan, were members of a political association known as the Shanghai Five. The SCO has since expanded, with India and Pakistan receiving the status of full-fledged members in 2017. The member states are home to almost a half of the world’s population and account for around one-fifth of global GDP.

Also on rt.com Euro beats US dollar as world’s most used currency, SWIFT says

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508217-russia-dump-dollar-trade/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

OPEC+ may delay crude production hike while keeping one eye on US shale

The two-day meeting to discuss the next phase of its production policy started on Monday and, according to chief commodities economist at Capital Economics Caroline Bain, it won’t spring any surprises while an extension of the production cut is largely priced in.

“We now think that the oil price (Brent) will stand at $60 per barrel by end-2021,” she said in a research note, according to CNBC, while revising her forecast due to positive Covid vaccine news.

Many market watchers see both oil benchmarks (Brent and WTI) at, or around, $50 a barrel over the next year as global demand slowly builds up. The price of US WTI crude plunged into negative territory during the first wave of the pandemic as Saudi Arabia and Russia couldn’t agree a production deal.

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OPEC+ is planning to raise output by two million barrels per day (bpd) in January – about two percent of global consumption – after record supply cuts this year. In April, the group of oil producing nations agreed to the largest single output cut in history, but that reduction of 9.7 million barrels per day was subsequently scaled back to 7.7 million in August. 

Bain and some other economists point out that OPEC+ will be keeping a keen eye on US shale producers, and would not like to see them significantly re-ramp production without increases of its own. Data showed the number of operating oil and natural gas rigs in the United States has risen for the fourth month in a row.

According to investment bank BCS Global Markets, there is substantial supply waiting in the wings from OPEC+ and “hyper-dynamic US shale producers itching to drill again.”

Also on rt.com Will the United Arab Emirates withdraw from OPEC?

The bank’s oil and gas analyst Ron Smith said that “[Rig activity] was rising steadily this fall, even before oil began its most recent rally. We think that as oil prices head towards $50/bbl, a key inflection point may be crossed, accelerating US oil drilling activity and, with a small lag, oil production.”

Smith added: “We are watching OPEC+, which in turn is likely watching for any reaction from US shale producers.”

Both Brent and WTI were down over one percent on Monday, trading at $47.56 and $45.08 a barrel, respectively.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508211-opec-boost-oil-production/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Resurgent bitcoin pushing toward all-time high after last week’s stumble

The fresh rally comes after the cryptocurrency tumbled on Thursday, falling as low as $16,200. However, bitcoin added 15 percent over the past four days, reaching almost $18,700 earlier on Monday. Its 24-hour trading volume stood at $24.8 billion.

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Analysts say that the latest movements signal bitcoin has finished correcting. Prior to last week’s slump, bitcoin saw a monster rally that pushed its price to an almost three-year high. It fell short of reaching an all-time peak and started to sink shortly after breaking past the $19,000 threshold for the first time since December 2017.

Most of the other top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap, which usually follow bitcoin’s trend, were also up on Monday. Ripple’s XRP and Tether were the only ones trading lower, losing 1.7 percent and around half a percent, respectively.

For more stories on economy finance visit RT’s business section

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508200-bitcoin-pushes-toward-record/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

The Covid-19 pandemic is fueling a record decline in emissions

The report estimates that 2020 emissions will be 9.2 percent lower than in 2019, reaching a level last seen in 1983.

Although US carbon dioxide emissions have been declining for a dozen years, BNEF estimates that this year’s decline will be the largest on record. Without the impact of Covid-19, the report estimates that emissions would have still fallen by about one percent. Thus, the pandemic alone was responsible for about an 8 percent decrease in emissions.

The report breaks down emissions by sector, and also includes the impacts of this year’s forest fires. On the sector-by-sector impact, BNEF Chief Content Officer Nathaniel Bullard wrote:

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“Transport, now the biggest contributor to US greenhouse gas emissions, has taken its biggest year-on-year hit ever. Emissions from transportation will probably be down more than twice as much as during the early days of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. Power emissions are likely to drop by a record proportion too, but industrial emissions won’t.”

Forest fires were a significant contributor to US emissions this year. Although the transport and power sectors are experiencing estimated declines of 4.0 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, forest fires are estimated to have added 2.8 percent to US emissions this year. That would offset the decline from the power sector. However, the report also notes that the impact from forest fires is usually temporary, as atmospheric carbon dioxide is removed as the forests regrow.

The flip side of the historic emission decrease this year is that BNEF expects a significant rebound in emissions after the pandemic. However, the report highlights that the silver lining in this year’s pandemic is that it puts the US back on track to meeting our commitments from the Paris Accord prior to leaving the agreement:

“The downtick in emissions we expect to see for 2020 would bring the US back on track to meet its original Paris pledge of reducing emissions 26-28 percent on 2005 levels by 2025. Prior to that, the US was well off track. The pandemic inadvertently gives the US a second chance to make good on its commitment.”

By Robert Rapier for Oilprice.com

Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508201-covid-19-pandemic-lower-emissions/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

France Thought It Could Reverse Globalization, but It’s Still Bleeding Jobs

France regularly appears at the top of worker productivity comparisons with other European economies. Yet companies with far-flung operations say that output can lag behind lower cost, more productive manufacturing sites, creating another incentive to shift production.

Bridgestone is shuttering its 863-employee factory in Béthune, an industrial town in northern France, after warning for several years that its productivity trailed its other sites in Europe. Union representatives have accused the company of not investing enough to make the plant, which produces tires for small cars, more efficient.

Last year, Bridgestone proposed maintaining jobs at the highly unionized factory if employees agreed to increase their working shifts to 34.7 hours a week from 32 for an additional hour of pay. Unions responded angrily, and over 60 percent of employees rejected it.

This summer, Bridgestone said it would close the plant, citing overcapacity in the European market for small tires. Mr. Macron’s government scrambled to negotiate with the tire maker to keep a portion of production and jobs. But this month, Bridgestone said it could not afford to continue operating the factory at any cost, and would relocate production to Poland, Hungary and other lower-cost sites.

“It’s a question of performance,” a Bridgestone spokesman said of the decision. “The cost of producing tires in Bethune is the highest compared to our other European sites, and the working time per person is weaker,” the spokesman said.

While less than 5 percent of jobs losses in France in recent years have been because of offshoring, Mr. Mouhoud said, such layoffs are easy fodder for populist ire and leave a lasting shock to communities.

In Béthune, one of many cities in northern France that has faced industrial decline, government officials warned of a “brutal” economic and social shock to families, as well as local suppliers and businesses that profited from the factory.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/business/france-globalization-jobs.html

UK government begins purge of China’s Huawei from country’s 5G rollout

The announcement comes ahead of a debate on new telecoms legislation in parliament.

“I am setting out a clear path for the complete removal of high-risk vendors from our 5G networks,” digital minister Oliver Dowden said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters. “This will be done through new and unprecedented powers to identify and ban telecoms equipment which poses a threat to our national security.”

London has also announced a new strategy to diversify the 5G supply chain, consisting of an initial £250 million ($333.5 million) investment, trials in collaboration with Japanese firm NEC, and the establishment of new research facilities.

Also on rt.com British telecoms may be fined up to 10 percent of revenues for using Huawei gear

The UK has already banned the purchase of new Huawei 5G kit after the end of the year. It initially allowed and then banned the use of equipment made by the Chinese tech giant in 5G mobile phone networks from the end of 2027, citing concerns that sanctions by the United States meant the Chinese company would not be a reliable supplier.

Beijing has criticized those decisions, while Huawei said last week that it was disappointed by the fact Britain was looking to exclude it from the 5G rollout after the publication of new laws that could see firms fined £100,000 ($133,140) if they break the ban.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508186-britain-huawei-5g-ban/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

China’s economic activity continues to gain momentum amid strong recovery from Covid crisis

The PMI, a key indicator of the health of a country’s manufacturing sector based on a survey of sentiment among factory owners, rose by 0.7 points compared to last month, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics on Monday. The reading continued to beat market expectations, with analysts polled by Reuters forecasting November’s reading to stand at 51.5.

Meanwhile, China’s non-manufacturing PMI, which reflects sentiment in the services and construction sectors, also finished higher than expected, increasing to 56.4 this month versus 56.2 recorded in October.

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The composite PMI that covers both manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors also showed growth. “The composite PMI was 55.7 in November, up 0.4 from previous month, showing that corporate production and operation activities continued to accelerate in China and the stable recovery trend was further consolidated,” senior NBS statistician Zhao Qinghe said, as quoted by media.

The statistics agency said that the strong performance of the manufacturing sector was driven by sub-gauges of production and new export orders and import, which hit the best levels of the year. The strong performance of those spheres compensated for weaker growth in the textile and clothing sector, which was still in the contraction territory this month, according the NBS.

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An increase in exports and imports came despite the rising number of coronavirus infections across the globe. While some economies started to reopen, the resurgence of the virus may eventually push demand for China’s exports down, some analysts warned.

China, which was the first country to suffer from the coronavirus outbreak which forced a strict lockdown in the affected regions, is set to see the weakest economic growth in three decades this year, with its gross domestic product (GDP) expected to expand around two percent. The modest growth would still be much better than in most parts of the world, with all major economies except China expected to see contraction this year.

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Article source: https://www.rt.com/business/508181-china-manufacturing-activity-expands/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS