Why forex traders need to understand the Big Mac Index

US Dollar Index, index, Why forex traders need to understand the Big Mac Index

What thought comes to mind when you read the "Big Mac Index"? Most people will probably think of the McDonald's logo. But for those who are interested in finance, this index can be much more important than just a hamburger.

What is the Big Mac Index?

The Big Mac index really directly refers to the "Big Mac" of McDonald's. McDonald's is a huge global network of fast food enterprises, covering more than 70-80% of the globe. The Big Mac is used as a reference point for the economy, based on how much the Big Mac costs in each of the countries, which reflects the cost and value of different currencies. The Big Mac burger is used because it is sold in every existing store.

Big Mac Index in 2020

Country - Price, USD

Australia - 4,13

Brazil - 3,63

Canada - 4,81

Germany - 4, 52

Russia - 1,79

Spain - 4,52

USA - 5,67

The famous annual review of The Economist magazine

When The Economist magazine first introduced the Big Mac Index in 1986, it was conceived as a fun and entertaining way to calculate purchasing power parity. Thirty-four years later, this index has become one of the most quoted and reliable in the world standard, which traders rely on and which is also taught in many economic textbooks.

What is purchasing power parity?

Purchasing power parity is an economic theory known as a "basket of goods". Purchasing power parity is used as a benchmark to calculate whether the two currencies being compared are in equilibrium.

Read more: What is a Benchmark in investment and trading

The levels are tested through the prism of a fixed set of consumer goods and commodities. The two currencies must be in balance when both are placed in the basket, and must have the same value in each country.

In the case of the Big Mac Index, the price of the famous McDonald's Big Mac is the benchmark used to determine purchasing power parity. The theory states that fluctuations in the exchange rate between currencies affect the price that consumers will eventually pay for a hamburger.

Why you might be interested in using purchasing power parity for forex trading

For traders who do not know, purchasing power parity (PPP) is an indicator that is used to compare economic variables, since they differ in different countries. One of the key attributes of the model is that it is formed without taking into account changes in exchange rates and possible distortions.

This is the problem of forex traders who want to use this model in their daily trading. Forex traders need data on exchange rates to make informed investment decisions.

Unlike purchasing power parity, the Big Mac index is based on differences in exchange rates and directly reflects the value and devaluation of currencies. This makes it a much more effective indicator for forex traders. The Big Mac is also a material object, and not a concept, like purchasing power parity.

Read more: What is the devaluation of currency

Why the Big Mac Index can be a great tool for forecasting the forex market

Since its creation in 1986, the Big Mac index has been a valuable tool for forex traders who wanted to find a connection between the long-term forecast of a currency and its exchange rate. Traders who use the index to predict the market perceive discrepancies between the index and the real exchange rate as a measure of potential future correction of exchange rates. In other words, the index connects the Forex market with commodities and shows the direction where the market can go.

As is the case with most theories, this correlation only works until it stops working. Since the cost of a hamburger can be influenced by various factors, the exchange rate is not always an accurate indicator of the strength and direction of the market.

But the main reason why the Big Mac is not a reliable indicator is that it does not take into account small short-term fluctuations in the foreign exchange market.

It only works for the long term and, therefore, will not help those traders who need to understand the short term. In combination with other indicators, the Big Mac index is an excellent tool that you should be able to use.

Example of the Big Mac index in action

Let's look at the following example:

If the cost of a Big Mac from McDonald's is $3.75 in the US and 2 pounds sterling in the UK, the exchange rate is expected to be 1.875 (3.75 USD/2 GBP). When the dollar exchange rate rises, the Big Mac index tells us that the pound is overvalued. If the dollar is declining, the index tells us that the pound is undervalued.

Why the Big Mac Index can be misleading

Initially, the index was supposed to be more entertaining, since it was far from perfect. McDonald's can influence the index because they make a decision about the cost of their Big Mac burger. Another big disadvantage is that the Big Mac burger does not have any rigid characteristics. Each country has its own type of Big Mac burger, which differs in size, ingredients, and type of bun.

Traders can use the Big Mac index as an indicator of commodities.

Conclusions about the Big Mac Index

The Economist came up with the Big Mac Index in 1986 to use it to determine whether currencies are at their "exact" level.

Over the past years, this index has become a world standard, many scientific studies have been devoted to it, and it is included in textbooks on economics.

Read more: About the Big Mac Index and its competitors


Another articles

Germany is turning from the "Motor" of the European Union into the "Sick man of Europe"
Germany is turning from the \ In the second quarter of 2023, the German economy stagnated, and before that it declined for two consecutive quarters. Among most economists, this dynamic is considered a sign of a recession. Meanwhile, the key index of business sentiment compiled by the Munich-based ifo Institute based on a survey of more than nine thousand companies fell for the fourth time in a row, rolling back to the lowest value since August 2020 - when the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic peaked. Germany is still often called the "engine of Europe", because its potential has been driving the economy of the entire region for many years. But now the country is facing numerous challenges: from the difficult situation on world markets to various structural problems within the German economy itself. Among them are an aging population, a shortage of qualified personnel, bureaucratic delays and slow digitalization.The economy is cyclical: growth phases are replaced by periods of stagnation — and Germany is no exception. The previous recession caught the country at the turn of the century. In 1999, the authoritative business magazine The Economist called Germany "the sick man of Europe." Back then, Germany was facing problems similar to today's: exports and GDP growth slowed down, and the collapse of the dotcom bubble of 2001 also hurt the country. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has now ruined his reputation in the West because of his close ties with the Kremlin, was still an energetic popular politician at that time - and was able to unravel this tangle of difficulties through reforms. Paradoxically, it was the Social Democrat Schroeder who carried out reforms to liberalize the economy - reduced social subsidies, raised the retirement age and lowered taxes in order to stimulate economic growth, explains a senior researcher at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) Konstantin Kholodilin.And yet there was a difference with the current challenges: the previous crisis was characterized by mass unemployment and high government debts. Today, the situation is reversed: there is an unprecedented shortage of personnel in the country, and the level of Germany's creditworthiness, on the contrary, is relatively low in comparison with other countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which includes developed countries that recognize the principles of democracy and free market. So the current Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Schroeder's colleague in the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has to solve problems of a different nature. Scholz, a pragmatic and reserved politician, was initially elected on promises to stick to the course set by his predecessor Angela Merkel.But today, when Germany is on the verge of an unprecedented crisis since the unification of the country, it will not be possible to maintain the status quo - the country needs reforms again.What's going on with the German economy"We have a real problem, especially in the energy-intensive industry and in the construction industry. There are two main reasons for this: high energy prices due to the outbreak of war in Ukraine and a sharp increase in key rates," says Professor of Economics at the University of Dusseldorf, member of the Scientific Advisory Council at the Ministry of Economy of Germany Jens Sudekum. He believes that, despite the leveling of GDP in the second quarter, the economy will continue to fall, reaching the bottom by about the end of 2023, and possibly will move to growth only at the beginning of 2024.The first victims of the crisisOne of the early victims of the crisis was the chemical industry — the third largest industry in Germany. Chemical manufacturers require large amounts of electricity to produce intermediate materials used in almost all sectors of the economy. In recent months, several large German chemical concerns, including BASF — the market leader that has existed since the middle of the XIX century — have warned of declining profits and the inability to achieve previously set targets this year.Another German company with a history, Linde, which gained fame more than a hundred years ago thanks to its cooling system for breweries, and now has become the world's largest producer of industrial gases, has decided to abandon stock trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in favor of the New York Stock Exchange due to capital growth restrictions in Germany. At the same time, the company was the most valuable component of the main German stock index DAX.The real estate sector was also immediately affected by the crisis. Here, in addition to the jumped prices for building materials, the growth of key rates is most pressing: people have become less willing to take out a mortgage due to the high cost of borrowing. According to the largest German real estate market analytical agency Bulwiengesa, in the first half of the year the number of new construction projects fell by almost half, and the decline in housing construction is even greater.Defense spending growthThe defense industry has recently begun to support the German economy. It began to grow after a long stagnation due to the powerful impetus given by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On the third day after the outbreak of the great war in February 2022, Olaf Scholz announced the allocation of a record 100 billion euros for the modernization of the army in the coming years. As a result, the share price of Rheinmetall alone, which produces components of Leopard tanks supplied to Ukraine, has doubled in a year and a half.The news about the allocation of an unprecedented defense package came as a surprise to the country. In post-war Germany, military spending remained consistently low, and the local army, the Bundeswehr, was the subject of numerous jokes. For example, according to German defense industry laws, it is forbidden to produce tanks to replenish reserves. In matters of security, Berlin mainly relies on the United States, which has a military contingent of about 35,000 people in Germany — the largest in Europe.Energy crisisThese days it is exactly one year since the supply of Russian pipeline gas to Germany almost completely stopped. At the end of September 2022, explosions occurred on three lines of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which put a fat end even to the theoretical possibility of resuming Russian supplies to the country.However, by that time the gas had almost ceased to flow through the pipes lying at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. After the outbreak of the war, Germany announced that it would refuse to supply the Nord Stream - 2, which had just been completed by that time, and Russia, in turn, significantly reduced the volume of gas pumping through the Nord Stream -1, explaining this by technical problems in the turbines.Meanwhile, prices for Russian gas, with which Germany provided 40% of its energy consumption, began to rise even before the start of the war, as markets reacted in advance to the growth of geopolitical tensions.The situation was further aggravated by the country's long-planned abandonment of nuclear energy, which came into force in 2022. The Germans took the Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents painfully, and the decision to gradually close nuclear power plants was made under Angela Merkel.To date, electricity prices in Germany have reached one of the highest levels in Europe. As a result, production in the country sharply rose in price, which was a serious blow to the economy of Germany, the industrial engine of the EU. This forces companies to look for options abroad — for example, in China or the United States, where energy prices are lower, and the authorities offer favorable subsidies, especially for projects related to the green economy. For example, chemical heavyweight BASF has invested 10 billion euros in a new plant in China and is not planning new investments in Germany in the near future.As a result of all these phenomena, the volume of new German industrial orders fell sharply in July — by 11.7% on a monthly basis (10.5% on an annual basis).The automotive industry and the boom in electric vehicles (which overslept)Germany is known all over the world for its automotive industry and mechanical engineering, and its well-being largely depends on the export of these goods. In the mid-noughties, thanks to Schroeder's reforms, exports were able to increase - then the country even got the nickname "Exportweltmeister" ("Export Champion"). In recent months, Germany's export indicator has changed little, but in July it fell by almost one percent, although analysts expected a larger decline. Whereas imports, on the contrary, began to grow.According to the IFO survey, the business climate indicator among automakers fell sharply to zero from 34 points in July, mainly due to low order volume.The superiority of German goods is beginning to be intercepted by Chinese ones — thanks to the lower cost and, in principle, comparable quality. Especially when it comes to electric cars, solar panels or batteries. At the same time, China is the main market for the German automotive industry. The slower-than-expected recovery of China's economy after severe coronavirus restrictions, which were completely lifted only at the beginning of 2023, also had a negative impact on German companies.There is an opinion that in Germany, the birthplace of the internal combustion engine, they simply "overslept" the boom of electric vehicles. German automakers initially treated the trend dismissively, not taking it seriously. While their competitors from China and the United States were already heavily invested in the new technology. Today, the capitalization of Tesla alone significantly exceeds all German car companies combined. And the leader of the Chinese automotive industry, BYD, recently surpassed Volkswagen in sales in the domestic market for the first time.Nevertheless, the German car industry is still trying to catch up with competitors. For example, Mercedes-Benz recently announced the release of the latest E—class model with an internal combustion engine - there will be no more of them. But whether German brands, which gained fame thanks to discoveries in the field of mechanics made more than a hundred years ago, will be able to adapt to the new era of the automotive industry is a big question. Today, drivers are increasingly appreciating technical innovations and environmental friendliness, rather than the amount of horsepower and engine capacity. And digitalization has not yet become a strong side of the German economy.Consequences of the pandemicAnother factor exerting pressure on the German economy is related to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, says Professor Sudekum. Border closures and lockdowns have seriously disrupted the global supply chain system. And it is necessary for the normal operation of the global economy, since almost nothing is completely produced in individual countries.As a result, prices for cargo transportation rose sharply, to which companies reacted by increasing goods in warehouses, as they were afraid that prices could rise even more."The German industry still lives a little on old contracts received during the coronavirus. The companies still have enough goods in warehouses, as well as contracts for their supply, but they will be fulfilled soon," warns Sudekum. Consequently, he expects a further decline in GDP, because in a negative environment, companies are unlikely to start increasing supplies again, rather the opposite — they will reduce reserves. Analysts at the ifo Institute expect the economy to shrink by 0.4% by the end of the year. For comparison, last year the country's GDP grew by 1.8%.Aging populationAt the same time, the country is facing many internal structural problems, and the most dangerous of them is the rapidly aging population. This factor can be compared to a ticking bomb laid under the foundation of the German economy.Professor Sudekum believes that it is the aging of the population that is the key problem that requires an immediate solution. Here you can visually study the disturbing graphics of the generation pyramid in Germany."By 2035, about 13 million people will retire — the so-called baby boomers, that is, people who are now over 50 years old. But only nine million young people will replace them in the labor market due to a decrease in the birth rate. Accordingly, we have a gap of four million people, which cannot be closed by internal fertility alone. Therefore, Germany will need 400 thousand immigrants a year to compensate for this difference," the expert says.This is not the first time Germany has faced a shortage of workers. During the post-war economic boom of the 1970s, the German government managed to solve the problem by attracting guest workers (Gastarbeiter) from Southern Europe and Turkey, many of whom settled in the country. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many immigrants from the states of the former pro-Soviet Eastern Bloc also flooded into Germany. But now many of them are returning to their homeland, as the economies of these countries are actively growing, and the standard of living is rapidly approaching Western European.What ways out of the crisis is the German government looking forThe German authorities are already taking the first steps to prevent or at least a quick exit from the economic crisis — although, according to experts, they are still too timid. The current motley ruling coalition was nicknamed "traffic light" in accordance with the colors of its parties: the red Social Democrats (SPD), the yellow Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens (die Grüne). It is difficult for them to come to a consensus on simpler issues because of different political views - not to mention the strategic economic course.Attracting professionals from abroadOne of the achievements of the coalition can be called the recently adopted law significantly liberalizing immigration legislation, which is aimed at closing the gap between generations."The new law on immigration of skilled workers is the most important of the measures taken by the government so far. The only thing that can be done in the short term is to close the gap by attracting qualified workers from abroad. Because in the absence of people, development will stop, and many investment projects will simply fail. It is already possible to observe that the construction of some new wind and solar power plants and other facilities is not possible due to a shortage of personnel," Professor Sudekum notes.But it seems that not everyone will be happy with new neighbors. The popularity of the right-wing populist anti-migrant party Alternative for Germany (AdG) began to grow sharply. In a recent poll, it scored more than 22% — a quarter higher than Chancellor Scholz's SPD party (and only slightly less than the Christian Democrats — also right-wing, but not so much). AdG is especially popular in the less economically developed east of the country and consistently opposes the policy of "open doors".SubsidiesThe German authorities are also actively trying to attract foreign investors, including by allocating large subsidies. For example, the American processor manufacturer Intel received 10 billion euros from the German government for the construction of a semiconductor factory in East German Magdeburg. The total cost of the plant is 33 billion euros, which will be one of the largest investments in the German economy of all time.With the help of subsidies, the German authorities are also trying to protect the future of the automotive industry, which is acutely dependent on semiconductors and batteries, in the conditions of economic confrontation between the West and China.Stimulating growthFollowing the results of the recent two-day retreat, the German Cabinet also adopted a number of policy measures aimed at reducing bureaucratic barriers and subsidizing industry.Konstantin Kholodilin, senior researcher at the German Institute of Economic Research, explains the essence of the proposed measures:reduction of the bureaucratic and tax burden for enterprises (Wachstumschancengesetz — law on growth opportunities: investment premium, accelerated depreciation in housing construction, more generous tax deductions and reduction of bureaucratic procedures by raising the minimum size of the enterprise requiring such procedures);it is also planned to reduce bureaucracy by reducing the shelf life of invoices from 10 to eight years and canceling the registration of German citizens in hotels.However, the parties failed to agree on the most anticipated measure — electricity subsidies for industrial companies."It seems to me that the direction of reforms has been chosen correctly. But it is difficult to judge how successful these measures will be. Sometimes it seems that they are more cosmetic. In addition, German society is now highly polarized. This is reflected in the current government coalition, which is known for its friction rather than successful actions. It is no coincidence that among developed countries, only Germany's index of economic policy uncertainty has grown significantly in the last couple of years," Kholodilin continues.In his opinion, the country needs more radical measures in five directions at once:Investment promotion,Digitalization,Significant reduction of bureaucracy,Improving education,The solution of the energy problem.For example, in the latter area there is confusion and staggering. In an effort to push through their program, the Greens are close to undermining the economy. They're breaking down an old house before they've built a new one.Reduction of social spendingAgainst the background of rising defense spending, the government wants to reduce social spending in the budget for 2024. For example, it is proposed to cancel child benefit for families whose total income exceeds 150 thousand euros per year. In Germany, which is famous for its Sozialstaat (welfare state), even such seemingly not too radical measures are perceived very painfully.Germany spends almost a third of GDP on social security — one of the highest levels among OECD countries. This is largely ensured by high taxes with a progressive rate, which grows in parallel with income. At the same time, this negatively affects the ambitions of the population to earn more — after all, wages will not increase much in real terms due to constantly increasing taxes. And many generally prefer generous benefits to everyday work.So still: Is Germany the "sick man of Europe" again or not?Germany got the nickname "the motor of Europe" for a reason: the economy of many European countries is closely connected with Germany, and in some cases depends on it altogether. Since the EU countries are highly interconnected — more than half of their trade takes place within the European Union, and Germany's share is large (almost a third in the Eurozone) — a recession in the country could hit the economies of other EU members."Are we the engine of Europe now? Of course not. And I don't believe that the situation will improve in the short term. But at some point it will happen - then growth will return to Europe. But now we are a burden on the European economy, this is quite clear," admits Professor Sudekum."We should not allow the importance of [the quality mark] Made in Germany to be downplayed," Bundesbank chief Joachim Nagel said in an interview with the Handelsblatt newspaper last week. "The German economic model is not outdated, but needs to be updated."Jens Sudekum agrees: we have not yet become the sick man of Europe. Rather, we are a bit like the old man of Europe, who is sitting too comfortably in a chair and who urgently needs to get up and do sports. If we do not do this, we will become Europe's sick again — but so far this is not the case.
Sep 13, 2023
There is a global shortage of copper. Who benefits from it?
There is a global shortage of copper. Who benefits from it? The world is moving toward green energy today, and copper is the clear "beneficiary" of this. Renewable energy sources (RES) - solar panels, wind turbines, electric cars, and chargers for them - are in dire need of this metal.For example: about 40 million electric cars are expected to be commissioned by the end of 2023. They need 2.5 times as much copper as cars with internal combustion engines. As a result, copper consumption in the world is growing. According to the International Copper Study Group (ICSG), in 2022 it will grow by 3% to 26.048 million tons:China: +6%;Europe: +2%;USA and Japan: -2.5%.But last year's refined copper production only grew by 3.51% (25.672 million tons):Chile: -5.5%;EU: -4%;Congo: +18%;China: +5.7%.Total we have a supply deficit for last year of 0.376 million tons.What to expect next?ICSG estimates that in 2023 the global copper deficit will be smaller, about 0.114 million tons. By the end of 2024, it is even expected to be in surplus. The key driver is the growth of China's steel industry. However, production will not keep up with the growing demand, so there will be a shortage of metal starting from 2024. By 2031, the shortage will reach 6.5 million tons, according to participants of the World Copper Conference in Chile. And by 2035, S&P Global Market Intelligence expects a deficit of 10 million tons if there are no new mines. The reasons are the same: the increasing rate of hydrocarbon replacement with renewables.What could reduce the deficit?Innovation, new production methods, new mines, high capacity utilization, refining. But in the last 2 years only 2 new projects have been put into operation: in Peru and Congo.Who benefits from a shortage of copper?Freeport-McMoRan #FCX is an American copper and gold producer.Southern Copper Corporation #SCCO - U.S. mining company, complexes located in Peru and Mexico.  Jiangxi Copper Company #HK: 0358 largest copper producer in mainland China.Vale S. A. #VALE is a Brazilian company with operations in Brazil, and also operates in Canada, Mozambique, Indonesia, Malawi and Oman.Rio Tinto #RIO is an Australian-British concern, the world's third-largest multinational metals and mining company.NorNickel #GMKN is a Russian metals and mining company, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium.
Jun 15, 2023
Changee: A Review of a Modern Cryptocurrency Exchange Service
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Credit Suisse - will the Lehman Brothers story repeat itself?
Deutsche Bank, stock, UBS Group, stock, Credit Suisse - will the Lehman Brothers story repeat itself? "History repeats itself" is a well-known expression, which is based on the hypothesis that the development of society is a cycle of certain events and phenomena, and that history, like economics, is characterized by cyclicity. Considering that history does not only record the heyday of empires, and that the cycle of the economy always goes through crises, it becomes uncomfortable when the symptoms of past economic recessions begin to manifest themselves in modern times.The year 2022, a critical situation for Credit Suisse, one of the largest banks in the world and the second largest bank in Switzerland. All analysts agree that if it goes bankrupt, the consequences will be similar to those of the bankruptcy of US Lehman Brothers in September 2008. The global financial crisis of 2008 was one of the most serious financial and economic crises since the Great Depression, the consequences of which are still continuing in some countries.Credit Suisse in the global banking systemCredit Suisse is the second largest bank in Switzerland, a systemically important bank in the global financial system, the main dealer and currency counterparty to the U.S. Federal Reserve System, a leader in the global market of structured products.The stability of the entire banking system depends on banks like Credit Suisse. Their bankruptcy could have dire consequences for the entire financial system. Everyone remembers the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the bank filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, after rejecting the bailout. Many consider it the beginning of the global financial crisis of 2008.Credit Suisse problemsThere is now a growing murmur in the news background about problems at Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse has been involved in a large number of scandals in recent years. Last year, the bank suffered billions of dollars in losses with the bankruptcies of major clients Greensill Capital, a financial company, and Archegos Capital Management, a hedge fund. Both of these failures were accompanied by allegaticredons of misconduct and potential fraud.Now the U.S. Department of Justice has taken up a new investigation: the bank is suspected of violating the law again. Former bankers have filed a compromise against the company that says it is once again helping customers evade taxes.Credit Suisse Group AG CEO Ulrich Körner said the bank is at a "critical juncture" as it prepares to restructure. The memo was sent out to staff after the company's CDS jumped to all-time highs and the stock price hit all-time lows.What could be the consequences of Credit Suisse's bankruptcyGiven Credit Suisse's role in the global banking system, realizing the risk of its bankruptcy would have global consequences:Shares and structured products issued by Credit Suisse would lose all their value. The bank is the largest player in the structured products market, which would cause the entire structured products market to implode.The chain reaction and collapse of such banks as Deutsche Bank, Credite Agricole, Unicredit, Barclays, Bank of China, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered and many intermediaries.The crisis of the global financial system and the collapse comparable to 2008.The return of many central banks to stimulating the economy through the printing press.The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was unexpected and shocked the financial system. The problems of Credit Suisse have been known for a long time, and there is a high probability that the Swiss government will help the bank in case the situation worsens. But there is a question of the size of this help.This year the ratio of tier 1 capital adequacy of Credit Suisse will make 13-14%, which is considered high for large financial companies and exceeds the regulatory norms. But Goldman Sachs Group Inc. estimates that if the bank doesn't address its problems, it could face an $8 billion capital shortfall in 2024.Now, to reassure investors, the bank said it intends to buy eight issues of euro- and sterling-denominated bonds totaling up to $1 billion. It is also prepared to buy twelve issues of U.S. dollar-denominated securities totaling up to $2 billion.On October 27, 2022, the bank plans to present a detailed plan for its reorganization along with its quarterly results.ConclusionThroughout its history, mankind has gone through numerous crises. Each crisis is unique in its cause, depth and duration. But what all crises have in common is that they end. A recession is always followed by recovery and growth.What does an investor need to know and what should he prepare for? Crises are always accompanied by a decline in the stock markets. That is why it is important for an investor to take care of maximum protection of his capital. First of all, you need to maximize the share of protective assets in your investment portfolio.
Oct 18, 2022
U.S. vs OPEC+: who will win the oil race
Brent Crude Oil, commodities, WTI Crude Oil, commodities, U.S. vs OPEC+: who will win the oil race OPEC+ is markedly reducing oil production - in fact, the exporting countries will pump about 1 million barrels less per day. We have written earlier on why this is so.As a result, supply at the market has become lower, so prices have gone up and are approaching $100 per barrel again.What will the U.S. do after the OPEC+ statement?The coming energy crisis and the high inflation it causes are scaring the whole world, but it's the States that are worried the most right now:expensive oil means expensive fuel;it's causing prices of almost all commodities to rise;inflation is going up - the Fed keeps tightening policy;high key interest rates are pushing the U.S. closer to recession;in addition, high fuel prices can cause social discontent.To prevent this, the U.S. is trying to influence the largest oil producers and keep prices down. Otherwise, the Democrats will most likely not win the congressional elections. They are due in a month.The U.S. started to prepare in advance: President Biden flew to Saudi Arabia this summer and persuaded the U.S. to bring down oil prices. But it did not work out very well: OPEC acts in its own way and does not want to listen to Americans. As a result, the failed negotiations with the Saudis have further diminished the credibility of Biden and the Democrats' ability to influence oil, inflation and economic stability in the United States.However, the Biden administration is not giving up; they have a few more options - rather radical ones - on how to lower oil prices.Additional Oil ReleaseThe safest, though least effective, option is to further draw oil from strategic U.S. storage facilities. In response to OPEC+'s decision to cut production, Biden announced that the U.S. would release 10 million barrels of oil, even as storage reserves are depleted.That would be all well and good, but the announcement had little or no effect on oil prices, especially compared to the previous similar decision to release 180 million barrels to the market. No wonder: the volumes are not comparable.In addition, since U.S. storage reserves are running out, there is a risk that they will not be enough for a rainy day: in case of sharp reductions in domestic production (for example, during hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico) or imports (if OPEC+ countries reduce exports).Reducing military aid to the ArabsDemocrats have drafted a "Tense Partnership" bill in response to OPEC+ and specifically the alliance's leaders, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They are accused of "a hostile act against the United States" and "siding with Russia in the conflict with Ukraine."As revenge, the U.S. could withdraw its troops from these countries and stop supplying weapons and other military aid to fight neighboring states and terrorists. This includes protecting oil infrastructure from attack.This option also has disadvantages: without U.S. military support in these countries, there could be problems that would inevitably affect the global oil supply. After all, if military actions or terrorist attacks affect the oil fields or storage facilities of Saudi Aramco, oil will cost even more, and such attacks occur quite often.So even if the Saudis and the UAE will not reduce exports in response to the withdrawal of troops and reduction of arms supply, there is a good chance that sooner or later the fighting will make prices go up.In addition, Saudi Arabia has already planned to prepare for a possible conflict with the United States. For example, in the spring the Saudis said they were going to explore ways to move away from the petrodollar - that is, not to use bucks in the black gold trade. In this case, the demand for the dollar could fall dramatically, especially if other oil-exporting countries do the same.NOPEC: Conflict with OPEC+Amid disagreements with OPEC, the U.S. may return to the "oil production and export cartel law," NOPEC, to have more leverage on oil exporters.In this case, U.S. courts will be able to consider antitrust suits against OPEC+ and in general against countries involved in cartel collusion in the oil market. Under the decision of their own courts, the U.S. will be able to impose sanctions, confiscate property of these countries and put pressure on them in other ways. At the same time, the U.S. itself will indicate what is legal and what is not, thus assessing any actions of the countries that regulate oil production and prices.This option also has a disadvantage: sanctions on exporters would also hit the U.S. itself. If oil prices become lower, the U.S. oil industry will also be hard hit: domestic production will decrease and it will have to import more. And since the market is competitive, and the U.S. in this case will be "enemies of OPEC +", they will have to buy oil more expensive.So, even if the U.S. takes a drastic step - provoking a conflict with Saudi Arabia or the UAE, or starting a sanctions war with OPEC+ - all this will have a negative impact on themselves.Can't sanctions be lifted on Venezuela?As we can see, the U.S. has almost no normal options left to influence the oil market. Nevertheless, the U.S. says it is not going to remove sanctions from Venezuela yet, despite the fact that this would help get more oil on the market and lower oil prices. We may see some new rhetoric in this regard, but no change for now.The Iran deal has also been stalled so far: there is no news or movement on it. Although it is possible that disagreements with the Saudis may attract the U.S. to support Iran, because these are the two sides of the Arab conflict.On the one hand, Iranian oil would help to increase supply, but there is a nuance here as well: the reserves in this country are not grandiose, moreover, most of the oil is already exported in circumvention of sanctions.So what to do with Brent and WTI crude oil prices in 2022?If we discard all of the above options, then all we have to do is sit back and watch oil go up in price. The outlook is also bad: even if the world starts a recession and the demand for oil decreases, OPEC+ is already reducing production and adjusting to negative expectations, and also the supply from Russia may decrease if the embargo comes into force.And if that's the case, U.S. inflation will be high. And given the strong labor market, the Fed may raise the rate even more than 1.25% by the end of the year, and it is not certain that it will slow down next year as well. If rates remain high for a long time, the risk of recession in the U.S. is very high, and stocks and cryptocurrencies will have no fuel for growth. As a result, the economy will have a hard time: liquidity is scarce.If the U.S. starts to act sharply, the dollar is at risk: the "oil" countries can give it up to reduce dependence on the United States. But if the U.S. does nothing, tightening Fed policy will keep the dollar very strong - though at the cost of high inflation and recession. If you are interested in WTI analytics, we recommend you to visit the analytics page, where you can find the latest analytics on Forex from top traders from all over the world. These analytics will be useful both for beginners and professional traders. The Forex signals service makes it much easier for beginners to make their first steps in trading on the financial markets. The latest WTI forecasts and signals contain support and resistance levels, as well as stop-loss levels.
Oct 11, 2022
Investing in meta-universes: 4 ideas
Microsoft, stock, Meta Platforms, stock, Roblox, stock, Investing in meta-universes: 4 ideas Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the word "meta-universe" is still misunderstood by the vast majority of people in the world. That's why Apple is trying to avoid the term. The company has mentioned it once. But Meta (recognized as an extremist organization) has used the word "meta-universe" 36 times in its reports this year.And before, Apple was not afraid to set trends and create demand where there was none. Apparently, Meta, which is not afraid to use new words, will now be in charge. Moreover, metaworld is not just an abstract term, but quite specific tasks and solutions (VR-helmets, 3D-graphics, software and so on), on which many companies work.Roblox Metawell (NYSE: RBLX)This is a publicly traded company whose meta-villain is already built and popular today, while others have it only as plans for the future. A share of the company is worth $38 -- nearly five times cheaper than it was at the peak of market hype (November 2021). Last year we underestimated the enthusiasm of the market by half - the price soared to $141. Accordingly, this value over a 3-5 year horizon reflects the potential value of the stock. Analysts emphasize the opportunity offered to users: they can build their own games and applications with the help of an internal constructor. Anyone can work with the platform thanks to a simple interface and flexible functionality.Investing in meta-universes through Unity Software (NYSE: U)Developer of a 3D video game engine. The company's stock is now worth $36.6 - six times cheaper than its peak value (also reached in November 2021), and even cheaper than the low end of its IPO range ($44). At the same time, the company's revenues are twice as high as the 2019 IPO it reported.Microsoft Metasites (NASDAQ: MSFT)Last year generated $198 billion in revenue and $72 billion in profit. With a capitalization of $1.8 trillion, it is the largest and most resilient maker of software, hardware game software and games. As this company's history shows, if it doesn't manage to become a leading player in its target market right away, it still takes a significant share of it over time.Investing in Meta (NASDAQ: META)Zuckerberg is serious and plans to create his own meta universe using all available resources. He's got the makings for it: 3 billion monthly active social media users, ownership of Oculus, the company that makes VR helmets, and enough cash flow to service it all. But so far, the reality lab division (those meta universes) has spent $10 billion on revenues of only $2.3 billion.
Oct 09, 2022
"Reliable Swiss" all in holes: waiting for Credit Suisse bankruptcy?
\ Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers: will the Swiss bank repeat the story of 2008?Swiss bank Credit Suisse is in trouble: its bonds have plummeted to a record low. In addition, the CDS value of these bonds has skyrocketed. This is a kind of "insurance" against default of the issuer, and the greater the market fears about such an outcome, the higher the value of CDS.Why such pessimism about Credit Suisse?A string of failures and scandals surrounding Credit Suisse have led to it:last year, billion-dollar losses were caused by the bank's major clients - financial services firm Greensill Capital and hedge fund Archegos Capital Management;the bank ended the first half of the year with a loss of $1.7 mln, the reasons being an alleged Russian special operation, rising inflation and a tightening of the central bank's monetary policy;in February of this year, a journalistic investigation, "Secrets of Credit Suisse", was released about "immoral clients of the bank";a Swiss court found Credit Suisse guilty of laundering money from Bulgarian drug traffickers;it is also suspected of having links to Russian oligarchs and violating sanctions: it is reported that Credit Suisse asked hedge funds and other investors to destroy documents concerning loans to sanctioned individuals.  These are not all the scandals in which Credit Suisse has been involved over the last 2 years. The bank is not used to scandals. It ruined its reputation long time ago - in the late 90s Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks were accused of having links to Nazi Germany and embezzling deposits of Holocaust victims.Read more about the Swiss bank's "dirty dealings" in an article by The Guardian or in our article.Will Credit Suisse not make it this time?They have already started comparing it to Lehman Brothers which went bankrupt in 2008 and triggered the world crisis. Indeed, Credit Suisse is also very big, the second largest bank in Switzerland and one of the largest investment banks in the world. The consequences of its collapse cannot be predicted in advance - too many financial chains are tied to it.However, after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the authorities all over the world came to the concept of too big to fail. Its essence is in the point that it is easier to save such a bank than pull the whole financial system out. Logically, if Credit Suisse is included in the list of systemically important banks of the world, it means that they will not let it go bankrupt. But this is not certain.However, the bank itself is already trying to improve the situation. To avoid bankruptcy filing, on October 27 Credit Suisse will present the report for the third quarter and the plan for business reorganization.It also plans to sell part of its assets. The most radical option is to get rid of the American division. Also among the options to get out of the situation is splitting the investment business into three parts, with a "bad assets bank" being spun off. Cutting 5,000 employees is also being discussed.  Will downsizing and splitting up the business help?Probably, but the problem is fundamental. After all, Credit Suisse is a universal bank. In addition to traditional commercial banking, it is engaged in investment activities (asset management operations, mergers and acquisitions, securities and derivatives trading). By the way, it was the investment division that led to the problems.What prompted "Reliable Swiss" to change its risk profile? First of all, regulatory permissiveness, a period of record-low interest rates and the policy of quantitative easing. After all, in a low-interest-rate economy, it's hard to make money on classic banking - hence the desire to lend to risky hedge funds and dubious investment companies. That's exactly what you can make more money on - especially when the bubble inflates.Is Credit Suisse the first swallow?Credit Suisse's problems are bad, but even worse is that it may not have been the only one to follow such a strategy. Now that all the bubbles in the world are deflating, other banks may also announce problems. For example, there are already rumors about problems in CSFB and Deutsche Bank. The most acute situation is with the fall of the bond market, because until recently they were considered a reliable tool and were often used as collateral for many loans.In fact, the problem of separation of commercial and investment banks is as old as the world. But it seems that mankind keeps stepping on the same rake.
Oct 05, 2022
Sex and Forex: what do they have in common?
Sex and Forex: what do they have in common? In another interpretation, it is also called lovers' day. But, in the end, what difference does it make, the root is one - love! And love, as the poet said, all Forex is submissive! Did the poet say something wrong? Well, it's just that there was no forex back then, he would have corrected himself…Have you ever wondered what there might be in common between FOREX and SEX (except ending, of course)? It is worth imagining a little and you can draw an analogy to almost any concept or action on forex and find an association!  There are no minors here, so I suggest in honor of the thematic holiday to have a little fun and spend a sexy ten-minute. We will not use Viagra, since all of us here are full of energy, enthusiasm and ready for sexual and trading exploits. Well, who is not ready, and Viagra will not help much…Virtual sex trade on demo. In virtual sex, you can imagine yourself (and introduce yourself online) as anyone. Even Brad Pitt, even Antonio Banderas, and even Britney Spears. You will flirt, seduce, imagine how cool you are. And the real result at the output is zero point zero! And so you decided to return to reality and set up a live date with your chosen one. And then a bummer! Instead of a long-legged beauty, a hairy, sweaty man comes to you on a date. And his name is disgusting - Margin Call!Market analysis is a prelude. Good preparation (foreplay) is the key to good sex! You will not wait until the partner is in the right condition at the beginning, it will be difficult to bring him to the desired result in the end! The main thing in this case is not to rush! Do not proceed to the main part of the Marlaison ballet if your partner has not yet matured. Watch him, try to understand his mood, feel when he is ready for action. And only after that – full speed ahead!Love is the key to great sex and a cure for frigidity and impotence! Without love, sex is bland, boring and uninteresting. And with her, he looks like an atomic bomb explosion! Do you like the market? If not, then don't expect reciprocity. You have to love the market. And only then will he respond to your courtship.If you have spontaneous sex, it's trading on the news. Look-spark-discharge! An irresistible desire to do IT here and now. You want her, she wants you. Feelings are strained to the limit, a shiver runs through your bodies, unable to restrain yourself any longer, you grab her in your arms and enter ... into a deal. And then... then, how lucky! Either you thank me for the incomparable impressions, or you curse yourself for what the world is worth, and you think – why did I fall for her at all?? But you have time to grab your portion of adrenaline in any case!There is no need to be afraid of sex for money – trading on signals. It's great - you don't have to do anything special! Professionals will do everything for you. Well, really, it's if good professionals. Sit (lie down) – get high! Well, what remains if someone does not work out for love? At least once, but it's worth a try, for comparison. However, the question arises, who uses whom – you or you? Therefore, it is better still for love! A thousand times more colors and impressions.So. Well, what do you say to getting a stop – a sexual fiasco? I tried, I did everything right, but it didn't work out at all!  At the most inopportune and crucial moment, this unpredictable creature says – "And the ceiling is not painted!" And turns in the other direction… There remains a feeling of resentment and dissatisfaction. I really want to play everything back and try again. But time has passed and the train is already far away…The initiative to change the pose is usually welcome. Especially if nothing works out in the usual one. Pose is a fundamental concept in Kama Sutra and forex! Each of us, of course, at least once in his life looked at the positions of the Kama Sutra (who did not do it – it's never too late to start sexual experiments). However, some poses (especially beginners) need to be looked upside down in order to understand what kind of intricacy of arms and legs there is, and to catch at least some sense in such tricks! You need to have good flexibility and a rich imagination to execute some particularly bold positions. A natural question arises: is it worth it? You can get out and pervert yourself as you like, but it does not always bring the expected pleasure. Exotic poses can numb your arms and legs, and you won't get a profit! Very rarely aggressive attempts like "lock", "stop-flip" and "averaging" help to achieve trading ecstasy!And, of course, tune in to get a profit! Profit is akin to orgasm. You've fallen in love, they don't seem to be chasing you either. There came a moment X when you decided it was time to do IT. You showed patience and endurance, studied the habits and characteristics of the object of lust – and the foreplay was a bang! And if in the main part of the process you were able to feel each other, be attentive to the little things, take your time, then a mutual orgasm will not take long to wait! My deepest conviction is that there are no cold women, as well as bad markets. There are bad lovers.  And illiterate traders.Contraception is the most important thing in sex. And in forex. Protect yourself, protect yourself and protect yourself again! Not sure about choosing the right partner? Don't know what to expect from him? Stay out of the market on the fence. And if you decide to get involved - be sure to follow the rules of money management! We are for safe sex!Adventures in sex and forex do not lead to anything good. Promiscuous sex life did not bring anyone to good. Casual sex, as well as a casual transaction – if without consequences, then there will be something to remember with a smile in old age. And if with the consequences, you will have to be treated for a long time, and it is very likely that you will not restore the deposit. It depends on what you get sick with…
Jul 19, 2022
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