WORLD’S RICHEST

December 29, 2017


OK, it is once again time to make those New Year’s resolutions.  Health, finances, weight loss, quit smoking, cut out sugar, daily exercise, etc. You get the drill.   All of those resolutions we get tired of and basically forget by the end of February.  If you had all the money in the world, as some do, you might not even make resolutions.  You might sit back and watch it roll in.  Let’s take a quick look.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, 2017 proved to be an outstanding year for the world’s richest people, watching their net worth rise 23 percent from $4.4 trillion in 2016 to $5.3 trillion by the end of trading on Tuesday, December 26.

The following graph will indicate the progress of the world’s richest through the 2017 year.  As you can see, the world’s richest individuals added a very cool one trillion dollars ($1 trillion USD) to their individual wealth.  Now that’s the entire group of richest people but even that’s a huge sum of “dinero”.

Take a look at these duds below.  Do you know who they are?  I’m going to let you ponder this over the weekend but they all “look familiar” and they are all very very wealthy.

WINNERS:

  • The U.S. has the largest presence on the index, with 159 billionaires. They added $315 billion, an eighteen (18%) percent gain that gives them a collective net worth of $2 trillion.
  • Russia’s twenty-seven (27) richest people put behind them the economic pain that followed President Vladimir Putin’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, adding $29 billion to $275 billion, surpassing the collective net worth they had before western economic sanctions began.
  • It was also a banner year for tech moguls, with the fifty-seven (57) technology billionaires on the index adding $262 billion, a thirty-five (35%) percent increase that was the most of any sector on the ranking.
  • Facebook Inc. co-founder Mark Zuckerberghad the fourth-largest U.S. dollar increase on the index, adding $22.6 billion, or forty-five (45%) percent, and filed plans to sell eighteen (18%) percent of his stake in the social media giant as part of his plan to give away the majority of his $72.6 billion fortune.
  • In all, the 440 billionaires on the index who added to their fortunes in 2017, gained a combined $1.05 trillion.
  • The Bloomberg index discovered sixty-seven (67) hidden billionaires in 2017.
  • Renaissance Technologies’ Henry Lauferwas identified with a net worth of $4 billion in April. Robert Mercer, 71, who plans to step down as co-CEO of the world’s most profitable trading fund on Jan. 1, couldn’t be confirmed as a billionaire.
  • Two fish billionaires were caught: Russia’s Vitaly Orlovand Chuck Bundrant of Trident Seafood.
  • A Brazilian tycoon who built a $1.3 billion fortune with Latin America’s biggest wind developer was interviewed in April.
  • Two New York real estate moguls were identified, Ben Ashkenazy and Joel Wiener.
  • Several technology startup billionaires were identified, including the chief executive officer of Roku Inc. and the two co-founders of Wayfair Inc.
  • Investor euphoria created a number of bitcoin billionaires, including Tyler and Cameron Winkelvoss, with the value of the cryptocurrency soaring to more than $16,000 Tuesday, up from $1,140 on Jan. 4. The leap came with a chorus of warnings, including from Janet Yellen, who called the emerging tender a “highly speculative asset” at her last news conference as chair of the Federal Reserve, on Dec. 13.

I’m not going to highlight the losers because even their monetary losses leave them as millionaires and billionaires.  I know this post makes your day but I tell you these things to indicate that maybe, just maybe it is possible to achieve monetary success in 2018.  I DO KNOW IT’S POSSIBLE TO TRY.  Now, when I say success, I’m not necessarily talking about millions and certainly not billions—enough to cover the basic expenses with a little left over for FUL.

Here’s hoping you all have a marvelous NEW YEAR.  Remember—clean slate.  Starting over. Have a great year.

MONEY AND BANK SAFETY

November 1, 2017


Do you ever wonder if the money, hard-earned money, you earn every week or month is safe?

According to the FDIC:  “The basic FDIC coverage is good for up to $250,000 per depositor per bank. If you have more than that in a failed bank, the FDIC might choose to cover your losses, but there is no promise to do so.” Sep 13, 2016

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system by insuring deposits in banks and thrift institutions for up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each ownership category by identifying, monitoring and addressing risks to the deposit.  This is the law.  Good to know.

The following list will indicate that our banking system has experienced some “hard times” in the recent past.  Let’s take a look at bank failures in this country and then we will look at the safest countries relative to bank and customer money.

BANK FAILURES:

The following list is taken from the web site: Bankrate.com.

YEAR                      NUMBER OF BANK FAILURES

2016(Estimated)                              1

2015(Estimated)                              8

2014(Estimated)                            18

2013(Estimated)                            14

2012(Estimated)                            51

2011(Official)                                 92

2010(Official)                                157

2019(Official)                                140

As you can see, from 2009 through 2016 there have been four hundred and ninety-one (491) bank failures in this country.

Now, The Survey of Consumer Finances is conducted and published every three years, most recently in 2013. According to the Federal Reserve, “the survey data include information on families’ balance sheets, pensions, income, and demographic characteristics.” Data from previous SCF years show significant changes in checking account balances since 2001. Our analysis of average savings account balances based on the same data can be found as follows:

YEAR     AVERAGE CHECKING BALANCE

2013                       $9,132

2010                       $7,036

2007                       $6,203

2004                       $7,382

2001                       $6,404

As you can see, most people are definitely covered if and when their individual bank fails.  That begs the question:  what are the safest countries in which to deposit money?  Let’s take a look. Some may be very surprising.

SAFEST COUNTRIES IN WHICH TO BANK:

  1. Czech Republic — The Czech banking sector is unusual in that foreign-owned lenders dominate the industry, but consumers don’t seem to mind, ranking them the 14th safest in the world.
  2. Guatemala — The densely populated Central American nation of 15.5 million people has three key players in its banking system — Banco Industrial, Banco G&T Continental, and Banco de Desarrollo Rural. All three are seen as being fairly sound, according to the WEF’s survey.
  3. Luxembourg — It’s no surprise Luxembourg scores highly, as the country is famous for its financial sector. Its Banque et Caisse d’Épargne de l’État is often cited as one of the safest on earth.
  4. Panama — As the country has no central bank, Panamanian lenders are run conservatively, with capital ratios almost twice the required minimum on average. Traditionally seen as a tax haven, the country has made substantial strides to shake off that reputation since the financial crisis.
  5. Sweden — Although Swedish lenders are being squeezed by the Riksbank’s negative interest rate policy, Swedish banks are still among the safest in the world, according to the WEF.
  6. Chile — In July, ratings agency Fitch cut the outlook of the country’s banking system to negative, based on “weakening asset quality and profitability,” but that hasn’t spooked Chileans, according to the WEF.
  7. Singapore — Singapore is renowned as one of the world’s great financial centres, and the soundness of its banking sector reflects that.
  8. Norway — As an oil-reliant economy, Norway has faced serious issues in recent years, and in August, its banking system had its outlook cut to negative by Moody’s. However, the country’s banks remain very sound, the WEF’s survey suggests.
  9. Hong Kong — Another global financial centre, Hong Kong is home to arms of most of the world’s biggest banks, and some of the world’s safest financial institutions.
  10. Australia — A small group of four major banks divide up most of Australia’s banking sector, while foreign banks are tightly regulated, making sure the system is sturdy.
  11. New Zealand — New Zealand’s banking sector is dominated by a group of five financial players. Decent profits and growth without too much competition has seen the sector thrive, although it slips from second last year to fourth in 2016.
  12. Canada — Canadian banks have long been a byword for stability. The country has had only two small regional bank failures in almost 100 years, and had zero failures during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Last year, the country’s banks were seen as the safest on earth, so confidence has clearly slipped a little.
  13. South Africa — South Africa’s so-called ‘Big Four’ — Standard Bank, FirstRand Bank, Nedbank, and Barclays Africa — dominate the country’s consumer sector, and are widely seen to be pretty safe, with only one other nation scoring higher.
  14. Finland — Finland’s banking sector is dominated by co-operative and savings banks, which take little risk. The country’s central bank governor, Erkki Liikanen, below, has led the way on proposals to split investment banking and deposit-taking​ activities at European lenders. Ranked fourth in 2015’s list, Finland’s banks have got even safer this year.

According to the same company that made the list above, the United States ranked number thirty-sixth (36) in depositor safety.

CONCLUSIONS:

I’m definitely not saying run out tomorrow and transfer all of your money to a bank located in one of these countries above but really, can’t we do better as a country?  Can’t the FED just get out of the way?  Regulations and banking philosophy are to blame for the failures given above—not to mention plain OLE GREED.  REMEMBER WELLS-FARGO?

 

GOING GLOBAL

September 4, 2015


The data from which this post is taken may be seen from the following sources: 1.) Business Insider, 2.) Investopedia, 3.) World Stock Exchanges 4.) Commerce.gov and 5.) The World’s Richest Countries.    The text is mine.

There is absolutely no doubt the United States of America exists in a global community.  Proof of this statement can be seen from various trade agreements between our country and others.  We have regional, multilateral and bilateral trade agreement with other countries with a fairly long list of agreements “in the works”.    Commerce.gov  published the following news release on February 15, 2015:

“U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that U.S. exports in 2014 set a record for the fifth consecutive year, reaching $2.35 trillion. International Trade in U.S. Goods and Services data released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce show that U.S. exports are up more than $760 billion since 2009.”

So much for exports.  Now let’s look at imports. From The World’s Richest Countries we see the following:

“America is the world’s second-richest country and largest importer. In 2014, the US bought US $2.410 trillion worth of imported products. That total is up by 22.5% since 2010.”

We export and import from just about every country in the world.  The top ten (10) imports from three of our most important trading partners are as follows:

IMPORTS FROM JAPAN

IMPORTS FROM CHINA

IMPORTS FROM GERMANY

There is other trading on a daily basis accomplished between investors through stock markets over the world. Hourly buying and selling occurs between markets providing huge opportunities for those individuals and financial institutions savvy enough to take advantage of trading mechanisms established decades ago. If we examine the market capitalization figures for the most prominent stock exchanges we see the following:

MARKET CAPITALIZATION

Let’s now define market capitalization.

“The total dollar market value of all of a company’s outstanding shares.  Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying a company’s shares outstanding by the current market price of one share. The investment community uses this figure to determine a company’s size, as opposed to sales or total asset figures.  If a company has 35 million shares outstanding, each with a market value of $100, the company’s market capitalization is $3.5 billion (35,000,000 x $100 per share).”

The following list will indicate the top twenty (20) stock markets over the world.  I have given digital photographs of the trading floors for the top five (5) and brief information relative to each.

  1. New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)– Headquartered in New York City. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 14,242; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 20,161.

The largest stock exchange in the world by both market capitalization and trade value.  The NYSE is the premier listing venue for the world’s leading large- and medium-sized companies. Operated by NYSE Euronext, the holding company created by the combination of NYSE Group, Inc. and Euronext N.V., NYSE offers a broad and growing array of financial products and services in cash equities, futures, options, exchange-traded products (ETPs), bonds, market data, and commercial technology solutions. Featuring more than 8000 listed issues it includes 90% of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 82% of the S&P 500 stock market indexes volume.

NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE

  1. NASDAQ OMX– Headquartered in New York City. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 4,687; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 13,552.

Second largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization and trade value. The exchange is owned by NASDAQ OMX Group which also owns and operates 24 markets, 3 clearinghouses and 5 central securities depositories supporting equities, options, fixed income, derivatives, commodities, futures and structured products. It is a home to approximately 3,400 listed companies and its main index is the NASDAQ Composite, which has been published since its inception. Stock market is also followed by S&P 500 index.

NASDAQ STOCK EXCHANGE

  1. Tokyo Stock Exchange– Headquartered in Tokyo. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 3,325; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 3,972.

Third largest stock exchange market in the world by aggregate market capitalization of its listed companies. It had 2,292 companies which are separated into the First Section for large companies, the Second Section for mid-sized companies, and the Mothers section for high growth startup companies. The main indices tracking Tokyo Stock Exchange are the Nikkei 225 index of companies selected by the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the TOPIX index based on the share prices of First Section companies, and the J30 index of large industrial companies. 94 domestic and 10 foreign securities companies participate in TSE trading. The London Stock Exchange and the Tokyo Stock Exchange are developing jointly traded products and share technology.

TOYOKO STOCK EXCHANGE

  1. London Stock Exchange– Headquartered in London. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 3,266; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 2,871.

Located in London City, it is the oldest and fourth-largest stock exchange in the world. The Exchange was founded in 1801 and its current premises are situated in Paternoster Square close to St Paul’s Cathedral. It is the most international of all the world’s stock exchanges, with around 3,000 companies from over 70 countries admitted to trading on its markets. The London Stock Exchange runs several markets for listing, giving an opportunity for different sized companies to list. For the biggest companies exists the Premium Listed Main Market, while in terms of smaller SME’s the Stock Exchange operates the Alternative Investment Market and for international companies that fall outside the EU, it operates the Depository Receipt scheme as a way of listing and raising capital.

LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE

  1. Shanghai Stock Exchange– Headquartered in Shanghai. Market Capitalization (2011, USD Billions) – 2,357; Trade Value (2011, USD Billions) – 3,658.

It is the world’s 5th largest stock market by market capitalization and one of the two stock exchanges operating independently in the People’s Republic of China. Unlike the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the SSE is not entirely open to foreign investors. The main reason is tight capital account controls by Chinese authorities. The securities listed at the SSE include the three main categories of stocks, bonds, and funds. Bonds traded on SSE include treasury bonds, corporate bonds, and convertible corporate bonds. The largest company in SSE is PetroChina (market value – 3,656.20 billion).

SHANGHAI STOCK EXCHANGE

  1. Euronext
  2. Frankfurt Stock Exchange
  3. Shenzhen Stock Exchange
  4. Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  5. Toronto Stock Exchange
  6. BM & F Bovespa
  7. Australian Securities Exchange
  8. Deutsche Borse
  9. Bombay Stock Exchange
  10. National Stock Exchange of India
  11. Korea Exchange
  12. OMX Nordic Exchange
  13. JSE Limited
  14. BME Spanish Exchanges
  15. Taiwan Exchanges

It is very obvious all of the exchanges exist and thrive with capitalism being the model.  Free unfettered trade has become the norm even though countries do place restrictions on imports to protect their basic industries.  It would be marvelous (I think) if all restrictions on goods other than weapons of mass destruction could be traded freely and without tariffs.

I certainly, as always, welcome your comments.

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