Links 5/29/2020 | naked capitalism



‘Zombie fires’ are erupting in Alaska and likely Siberia, signaling severe Arctic fire season may lie ahead WaPo (Re Silc).
Rolls-Royce downgraded to junk by S&P FT
U.S. Corporate Bond Sales Smash Record, Soaring Over $1 Trillion Bloomberg
Check your junk mail — 4 million Americans are getting their stimulus payments as prepaid debit cards, not checks MarketWatch
#COVID19

The science:
Research provides important insights into genetic adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to humans Medical Life Sciences News (DL). Original.
* * *
The data:
Hospitals facing big hurdles to public health data reporting HealthCare IT
Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening Politico
* * *
Vaccines:
Adverse Consequences of Rushing a SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine JAMA. “Warp speed” and low risk?
When could a COVID-19 vaccine be ready? AP
* * *
Spread:
Half of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in Washington are in people under 40 Seattle Times
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Masks:
Face coverings for the public: Laying straw men to rest Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. Splendid polemic, a must-read.
Masks and Morality ZDoggMD (via MedPage). Click plus sign at bottom for transcript. “Moral taste buds.” Also very interesting, albeit prolix.
McConnell urges people to wear masks: ‘There’s no stigma’ The Hill
San Francisco New Health Order Requires Residents And Workers To Wear Face Coverings Outside The Home Patch.com
How Mask Mandates Were Beaten Down in Rural Oklahoma The New Yorker
Special masks being made with transparent portions for teachers, to help deaf students who rely on lip-reading Straits Times
Covid masks give the French a new way to be chic The Economist
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Social determinants of health:
Coronavirus ravages poorer L.A. communities while slowing in wealthier ones, data show Los Angeles Times. The original headline, captured in the URL, is a bit more pointed: “coronavirus-surge-in-poor-l-a-county-neighborhoods-reveals-two-americas.”
America’s Assisted Living Residents Are Falling Through the Cracks of COVID-19 Response, Families Say Time
Political response:
How the U.S. Fought the 1957 Flu Pandemic Smithsonian
State Rep. Goes on Profanity-Laced Tirade After GOP Colleague Hid Positive COVID-19 Test Rolling Stone
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Remedies and Ameliorations:
The Coronavirus Killed the Handshake and the Hug. What Will Replace Them? Time
Vietnamese cops bust US$2.6 billion online gambling ring Channel News Asia. “Wildly popular” in Vietnam. So you can imagine the scale in China.
China?

Explainer: How important is Hong Kong to China as a free finance hub? Reuters
UK says it will extend Hongkongers’ visa rights if China pursues security laws Guardian
Joint Statement on Hong Kong U.S. Department of State. Sinocism comments:
Question: Where is New Zealand, the fifth member of five eyes and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations? And w[h]ere are any Asian countries? This kind of milquetoast statement is not going to worry Beijing much
Then again, it’s State.
What to Make of Secretary Pompeo Decertifying Hong Kong Autonomy LawFare (DL).
* * *
U.S.-China Tension Only Set to Get Worse: ‘There Is No Off Ramp’ Bloomberg
China Manufacturing Risks are Sky-High Right Now. Act Accordingly. China Law Blog
China rounds up Wuhan’s citizen journalists for ‘provoking quarrels’ FT
Ours is less transparent:

"A rosy future is ahead."Rose fragrance spreads beyond Xinjiang's deserts as industry blooms https://t.co/2q7sjrdcCv pic.twitter.com/Fepl2qzFNY
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) May 29, 2020

Coronavirus misinformation fuels panic in Asia Channel News Asia
50 days of Indonesia’s partial lockdown. Is it enough for the ‘new normal’? Jakarta Post
India

Benefits of HCQ outweigh risks, if any: Govt Times of India
China rejects Trump’s offer to mediate in border standoff with India Times of India
India’s Farmers Told to Scare Locusts Away by Beating Drums Bloomberg
UK/EU

The Mother of All Parliaments. Thread:

The govt has decided to shut down the online Parliament. In future, only those present in the Chamber will be allowed to take part. The Speaker's letter on this has three main takeaways, that should matter to anyone who cares about our democracy. [THREAD] https://t.co/By95YEkU2D
— Robert Saunders (@redhistorian) May 28, 2020

For years, the Tories have banked on impunity. Is their luck finally running out? Guardian
Britons Stick to the Lockdown and Fear Health Risks When It Ends Bloomberg
Revealed: Serco under fire over fresh £90m COVID-19 contract Open Democracy
Black Injustice Tipping Point

UPDATE George Floyd protests spread nationwide CNN. Rollin coverage, including this. “Breaking: CNN team arrested by Minnesota police on live television” (!). Crude.
George Floyd Riots: Violence Spans Twin Cities: 3rd Precinct Overtaken & Burned, Looting Continues, Businesses Torched CBS Minnesota
Right near the Lake Street Target, which is “temporarily closed“:

This is how you know riots weren’t simply reactionary violence, but had some basis in solidarity and theory https://t.co/f1Nc3X2YTL
— garf,, the quaranteen (@garfpoop) May 28, 2020

So… it was personal, too:

Andrea Jenkins, vice president of Minneapolis City Council, says George Floyd and Officer Chauvin worked at restaurant near Third Precinct.
"They were coworkers for a very long time." pic.twitter.com/IrwJvmxchI
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) May 29, 2020

At least 7 shot in Louisville as protesters call for justice in Breonna Taylor case CBS
Bad Policing, Bad Law, not ‘Bad Apples,’ Behind Disproportionate Killing of Black Men by Police Rutgers Today. From 2018, still germane.
From Mother Jones to Middlebury: The Problem and Promise of Political Violence in Trump’s America Foreign Policy. From 2017, still germane.
What to do if you’re exposed to tear gas Popular Science. From 2019, still germane.
Tear gas: an epidemiological and mechanistic reassessment Annals of the New York Academy of Science. From 2016, still germane.
Protestors Criticized For Looting Businesses Without Forming Private Equity Firm First The Onion
Ecuador Grapples with Food Sovereignty NACLA
New Cold War

Trump’s War on Arms Control and Disarmament Counterpunch
Moscow, Ankara ‘Divide Up Influence’ In Libya: Analysts Agence France Presse
Why America Has Misdiagnosed Russia’s Role in Syria The National Interest
Restrictions to stay in Moscow until COVID-19 vaccine is ready — mayor TASS. “Health Minister Mikhail Murashko predicted that the first results of clinical tests of COVID-19 vaccines will be there by late July, and that a vaccine should become available for mass administration at about the same time. Hmm.
Trump Transition

Graham urges senior judges to step aside so Trump, GOP can replace them The Hill
2020

Touchscreen Voting Machines and the Vanishing Black Votes Jennifer Cohn, Who What Why
Ilhan Omar on War, Arms Sales to Israel, Margaret Thatcher, and Prince Current Affairs. Musical interlude.
Our Famously Free Press

Trump signs executive order targeting protections for social media platforms Axios
Donald Trump’s executive order is ‘plainly illegal,’ says co-author of Section 230 The Verge
Tit for tat (openly):

US President Donald Trump's tweet on the protests in Minnesota, which he posted as protesters set fires in St. Paul and Minneapolis, has been flagged by Twitter as violating the platform's rules. https://t.co/WRetSthgdA
— CNN (@CNN) May 29, 2020

Should Silicon Valley determine “public interest”? And where is the State that does not “glorify violence”?
Class Warfare

Yes, Millennials Really Are That Screwed New York Magazine. Re Silc comments: F*ck them. People working in afghani rug factories are screwed. People picking coffee in Guatemala are screwed. People breaking ships in Bangladesh are screwed. People selling cigs by the piece in Lagos are screwed. Americans make me sick.”
Amazon won’t say how many workers have gotten COVID-19. So workers are tracking cases themselves Los Angeles Times
Why We Have So Many Problems with Our Teeth Scientific American
What Kind of Country Do We Want? NYRB
Translation From VC-Backed PR Jargon to English of Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz’s Statement That He’s ‘Stepping Down’ Daring Fireball.
Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.




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The Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus Crisis Actions, Explained (Part 7)



By Nathan Tankus. Originally published at Notes on the Crises
This is part 7 of my ongoing coverage of the Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus actions.
You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here,  Part 4 here, Part 5 here & Part 6 here. It feels a little silly to be publishing a technical series on the Federal Reserve’s crisis response while the United States burns from another round of police murdering Black people. On one level, what’s happening has very little to do with the intricacies of central banking. On another level, they are intimately related. Our macroeconomic policy mix is centered around monetary policy and our fiscal safety net has been increasingly ripped apart. Since fiscal policy is a much more flexible tool that can be targeted to specific sectors and groups while replacing and increasing income and wealth, it is the best tool for dealing with discrete social problems and making sure that no one is left behind. The last major challenge to our economic policy mix came in the 1970s when Coretta Scott King co-founded the Full Employment Action Council to advocate for a legally enforceable right to a job. As Coretta said:
When Martin Luther_King, Jr., left us in 1968, he was leading the struggle for jobs and income for every American. Martin Luther King, Jr., understood that the right to sit at a lunch counter is no right at all when you are without a job to pay for the lunch. He knew that the right to_attend a college is no right at all without a job to finance the education. And the right to live in a decent neighborhood is no right at all Without a job to pay the mortgage or rent. Many of the gains of the last two decades are threatened by the disastrous levels of joblessness among mmonty Americans. I fear that the civil rights legislation we struggled for, and some died for, is about to be repealed by the harsh reality of high unemployment and persistent poverty. […]
I fear that our leaders and people are coming to accept high rates of joblessness as normal aspects of economic life and are becoming insensitive to the enormous human suffering resulting from massive joblessness. We cannot permit this insensitivity and acceptance to spread. It will cost us too much. It costs the jobless dignity and income. It costs our communities dollars and stability. It costs our Nation socially, economically, and morally. Yes; morally, because failure to respond to the needs of the jobless represents far more than lost productivity and wasted talents. It represents a social callousness and neglect which we ought not tolerate. As a society, we must not accept the notion that some will have jobs and income while others are told to wait a few years and to subsist on welfare in the interim. Our democratic form of government can not long survive with two separate societies—one working, one job less; one hopeful, one despairing.
These words largely fell on deaf ears. A major reason why is the 1960s had riots while the 1970s, to the shock of many, did not. Coretta’s organization organized protests and marches but without the perception that the society was coming apart at the seams, federal policymakers didn’t feel the need to act decisively as they had in the 1960s on other civil rights initiatives. In the late 1960s, people began to realize that civil unrest was often a tradeoff of restrictive macroeconomic policy. As the historian David Stein says in his forthcoming paper:
He [A Phillip Randolph] called for a “vast ‘Freedom Budget’” of $100 billion to abolish poverty. And he reasoned that the ‘cost may be vastly less than the chance of another Watts [uprising].” Randolph was not alone in making these sorts of calculations. When a Fortune magazine journalist who focused on race and the economy wrote a letter to White House aide Harry McPherson concerning the conference, he confirmed Randolph’s analysis. The journalist commented that “in the usual formulation, policy-makers have to balance the desirability of cutting the unemployment rate against the desirability of maintaining price stability: is a one percentage reduction in the unemployment rate, say, worth a two percent rise [in the inflation rate]? […] The Relevant question …. may… be, is two per cent inflation too high a price to pay to avoid another Los Angeles riot? What I’m suggesting, in short, is that one of the inputs in discussions about monetary and fiscal policy [should] be the implications of that policy for Negro unemployment and employment.”
By the mid-1970s though, riots were not on the horizon despite a major recession. The Ford administration knew this and former officials have explicitly stated how they were emboldened by this fact. Alan Greenspan, who at the time was Chairman of Gerald Ford’s Council of Economic Advisors, explicitly saw a lack of riots as the reason the Ford administration felt emboldened to pursue austerity in order to “beat inflation” (Hat Tip David Stein):
Things were worse than any of us told him was possible. Worse than I would have expected. Nine percent unemployment rate. If any of us had said there would be a 9 percent unemployment rate and the equivalent in Western Europe, and argued that there wouldn’t be any significant social unrest in the United States in Europe or Japan, they would have run us out of the country. We went through that period with a remarkable sense of cohesion in the country. […]
Goerge Meany was advocating $100 billion deficits and a number of things that we all argued might be supportive in the short-run, but with vast long-term costs to the system. We essentially fended them off, and the major reason we were able to do so is that the response to these higher levels of unemployment was remarkably mild. One of the columnists, it may have been Joe Kraft, wrote something on the unemployment situation here and in Europe, noting the great surprise throughout the world at the failure of social radicalism to emerge as a consequence. Essentially that political milieu enabled us to stay fairly well on stream.
In my view, it’s important to contextualize monetary policy in this way as these political issues are inseparable from the technical questions of macroeconomic stabilization. Trying to analyze the technical details of monetary policy without this context is at its core an analytical error. People live or die, and uprise or not, based on the macroeconomic and social policy a society pursues. I write about and advocate shifting to a fiscal policy centered macroeconomic policy framework where financial regulation plays a subordinate distributional, and demand restriction, role because I think that framework is the only that’s up to the task of responding to climate change and the deprivation that’s leading to civil unrest.
That framework may seem unrealistic and far away, but social instability tends to make the seemingly unrealistic possible. The New Deal was unimaginable in the years before it happened- and so was reconstruction. For those of you who are just interested in the technical Federal Reserve details, I will continue to provide them (as the rest of this post will do). But my larger political takeaway is the same. As purchase and sale policy gets more heavily used by the Federal Reserve, and it has politically more obvious distributional consequences between business, state and local governments and households, Federal Reserve policy will become much more popularly political and the only way out of that uncomfortable position for the Fed is becoming a subordinate junior partner to new fiscal policymaking agencies and Congress.
With that, I’m going to move onto the series itself. I haven’t written about the Federal Reserve’s Coronavirus crisis actions since the beginning of May. Partially, that is a result of wanting to focus on other issues. However, it largely comes from the fact that the Federal Reserve hasn’t announced all that much. Below I cover just 6 Federal Reserve announcements, and I felt I was stretching to justify covering 1 or 2 of the announcements below. The big announcement from this month, which is mainly a negative one, is the update to the Municipal Liquidity Facility which made it far more restrictive than many had anticipated. It feels like a painful irony that I’m writing about this just as a major metropolitan area erupted. With that said, it’s time to dig into the minutiae …
May 5th
That Tuesday, the Federal Reserve joined the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to tweak one of the major liquidity regulations to come out of the financial crisis. Specifically, they are adjusting how The Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility and the Payroll Protection Program Liquidity Facility loans are treated by the Liquidity Coverage Ratio. Recall the definition I provided for the Liquidity Coverage ratio in the very first post in this series:
The major one, Liquidity Coverage Ratios (LCR) applies to banks with more than 250 billion dollars in assets or more than 10 billion dollars of potential exposure to movements in foreign exchange rates. It says that these banks have to have enough “high quality liquid assets” to meet 30 days of net payment outflows (money immediately coming in minus money immediately coming out) based on a “stressed” scenario. The “Tier one” High Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA) are treasury securities and settlement balances.
With that definition in mind, let’s examine this rule change. It’s worth quoting directly from the Federal Register notice. Incidentally, I should mention that the Federal Register notices on announced administrative rule changes tend to have some of the best official government analysis of the macroeconomic situation and it’s worth reading them occasionally to get a sense of how regulators are thinking about such issues. In this case, I think the Federal Register notice is particularly good:
Absent the interim final rule, under the LCR rule, covered companies would be required to recognize outflows for MMLF and PPPLF loans with a remaining maturity of 30 days or less and inflows for certain assets securing the MMLF and PPPLF loans. As a result, a covered company’s participation in the MMLF or PPPLF could affect its total net cash outflows, which could potentially result in an inconsistent, unpredictable, and more volatile calculation of LCR requirements across covered companies.
Under the LCR rule, secured loans from a Federal Reserve facility with a remaining maturity of 30 calendar days or less are categorized as secured funding transactions with a sovereign entity and assigned an outflow rate that varies based on the collateral securing the loan. In addition, the LCR rule assigns inflow rates to collateral generally based on the asset and counterparty type. As a result of the applicable inflow and outflow rates in the LCR rule, MMLF and PPPLF transactions could receive a non-neutral liquidity risk treatment. Moreover, after these loans are extended and upon their maturity, the associated inflows and outflows could unnecessarily contribute to volatility in LCRs.
Under the terms of the MMLF and PPPLF, covered companies use the value of cash received from posted or pledged assets to repay the MMLF or PPPLF loan, respectively, and in no case is the maturity of the collateral shorter than the maturity of the advance. In addition, because the advance from the Federal Reserve Bank is non-recourse, the banking organization is not exposed to credit or market risk from the collateral securing the MMLF or PPPLF loan that could otherwise affect the banking organization’s ability to settle the loan. For these reasons, the agencies believe that it is appropriate to provide predictable and consistent treatment for participation in the MMLF and PPPLF by neutralizing the effects of participation in the MMLF and the PPPLF on covered companies’ LCRs.
Let’s unpack this. Basically what the regulators are saying is that the Liquidity Coverage Ratio’s formula assigns essentially an outflow risk based on the origination of these loans and a “lack of inflow” risk based on these assets which are inconsistent with the structure of the Federal Reserve facilities. Most notably the Liquidity Coverage Ratio, despite being a liquidity regulation, doesn’t have a mechanism for recognizing when newly acquired assets are “maturity matched” with newly issued liabilities. They are also saying that inflows are basically guaranteed because the loans are no recourse so that the collateral can just be handed to the Federal Reserve at any time. The term finance point is particularly important and suggests the whole design of the regulation is flawed. There should absolutely be preferential liquidity treatment for maturity matching assets with comparable liabilities. In fact, my colleague Rohan Grey’s proposal for shifting us away from liquidity regulation is for all bank loans to be automatically pledged as collateral at the discount window with term loans whose maturity matches the collateral. In this respect, this crisis makes a good case for his proposal and makes our current suite of liquidity regulations look … less than ideal.
May 8th
That Friday, Financial regulators put out a joint policy statement on “allowances for credit losses and interagency guidance on credit risk review systems”. When I first clicked on this press release, I assumed it would be Coronavirus related. Instead, it’s the result of a much longer regulatory process that’s been under way for a while. As such, I’m not going to highlight specific elements of it. What’s notable is a) how much of the administrative capacity of the financial regulatory state has been devoted to this activity during the crisis and b) that they aren’t updating these standards for the crisis, at least not yet.
May 11th
That Monday, the Federal Reserve announced an update to its Municipal Liquidity Facility. The central problem with the update is the pricing of the facility. The pricing is onerous, especially punishing municipalities and states judged less credit-worthy by private credit rating agencies. They are charging a 5.9% premium above short term interest rates to below investment grade municipalities. Even triple A rated securities are being charged a 1.5% premium. In addition, there is a .1% upfront“origination fee” for using the facility. Cities and States are unquestionably public infrastructure. Conventional private sector criteria such as credit-worthiness should not be how a program administered by a federal agency is managed during a crisis when lives are on the line. This prohibitive pricing will limit the use of the facility and hamper the Federal Reserve’s crisis response. The Federal Reserve needs to let go of the stingy instinct it has when it comes to sub-federal governments. I’d argue they should be doing the complete opposite thing. Use 14.2(b) “non-emergency” authority to establish unlimited credit lines for every state & local government. The limiting principle should be not their creditworthiness or potential deficit, the limiting principle should be the previous year’s discretionary budget. Let the automatic portions of state and local budgets function as automatic fiscal stabilizers are intended to function and simply limit how much they can increase discretionary spending or cut taxes. This is the proper way to use them as instruments of monetary policy- and to respond to the crisis on the scale it demands. Reversing this decision should be the main demand of any politician, political group or activist who wants to avoid a prolonged and painful depression and want a “life-saving” monetary policy,

May 12th
That Tuesday, the Federal Reserve updated the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) with new information on which borrowers, and the eligible collateral. This seems to be a result from political fallout. The new facility is more restrictive, especially with regard to the international distribution of the borrower’s employees. The borrower must have “have significant operations in and a majority of their employees based in the United States”. What types of assets which qualify have also been restricted. The announcement also states that this facility, as well as the Payroll Protection Program Liquidity Facility, will disclose detailed information about their activities, including the borrowers, on a monthly basis. I generally think that’s a good thing.
May 15th
That Friday, the Fed, the OCC and FDIC put out another statement “tweaking” federal regulations, this time the “Supplementary Leverage Ratio”. This is essentially the rest of the financial regulators ratifying the decision taken by the Federal Reserve, as it independently made this decision on April 1st. Since I covered that action in Part 4 of this series, I’m simply going to repost my comments from then:
This change is attempting to move the Fed away from that market making role by ensuring that private actors absorb treasuries as needed. In addition, the rule also excluded settlement balances held in accounts at the Federal Reserve from the supplementary leverage requirement. This is important for slightly different reasons. The Fed doesn’t have to worry about banks not accepting settlement balances in payment. Instead, the worry is that Federal Reserve actions which increase the banking system’s level of settlement balances will force them to reduce other activities.
In this way, Federal Reserve lending to and purchases from non-bank entities could actually reduce bank lending by taking up balance sheet space and moving financial institutions closer to the asset ceiling set by supplementary leverage ratios. Excluding balances held at the central bank prevents this phenomenon. Other central banks have done this kind of thing in normal times. This is another change that is bound to lead to the question “if it’s good enough for a crisis, why isn’t it always good enough?” Leverage ratios that exclude government guaranteed assets, unlimited intraday liquidity and a freely open discount window is a radically different policy suite that should be considered in “normal” times. Unlike now, normal times may require stricter asset-based financial regulations, but that is a feature not a bug.
May 20th
That Wednesday, there was another interagency statement providing “principles for offering responsible small-dollar loans”. The announcement states that it’s a follow up on an announcement from March 26th. The essence of this statement is to emphasize that small dollar loan programs would need adequate loan underwriting, no discrimination, reasonable rates and involve successful repayment by a “high percentage of customers”. It’s not clear how such programs could be designed to accomplish such goals during this crisis and provide emergency credit to households in need during this crisis. It is also unclear how this policy is consistent with loan forbearance which financial regulators are encouraging in other circumstances. To me, this policy fundamentally reflects a failure of our cash payment programs and infrastructure. Direct payments to individuals should be providing the “bridge funding” that expansions of small dollar lending programs are meant to help with.
Conclusion
As the crisis seemed to ease overall, the Federal Reserve has slowed down its crisis response. That’s understandable. They are working hard to implement the programs they have already announced. What is not reasonable or understandable is how they have hampered the Municipal Liquidity Facility. They need to completely reverse their attitude to this policy tool. If they don’t forcefully make the case that another administrative agency needs to be empowered to provide Congress with expertise on fiscal policy and ultimately, to conduct some degree of discretionary fiscal policy, this will be the only tool left in their toolbox. The alternative policy, that of increasing corporatist coordination and planning, will not do well in this political climate. I’m curious to see how the Federal Reserve will respond to the riots, especially in the upcoming Humphrey Hawkins hearing. That’s all for tonight! Stay safe everybody.



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Yen Edges Up Amid U.S. Protests, China Tension: Markets Wrap



(Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia looked set for a mixed start as investors weighed the simmering U.S.-China tensions against violent protests in some American cities that may threaten the economic recovery. The yen edged up.With Amazon scaling back deliveries and Apple closing some stores Sunday, investors are trying to estimate how the violence over the weekend will impact the reopening of the world’s largest economy. Currency markets showed an initially muted reaction, though focus will be on the opening of U.S. equity futures. Meantime, President Donald Trump’s long-touted response to China for its crackdown on Hong Kong included a barrage of criticism but stopped short of fully escalating tensions between the two nations. The S&P 500 ended higher on Friday, when futures in Japan and Hong Kong climbed.Traders on Monday will also take stock of a slew of manufacturing PMIs due, including from South Korea and Taiwan, after Chinese data over the weekend showed a continued bumpy recovery. The demonstrations in the U.S. could add another layer of complexity to assessing the economic reopening after the rally in global equities from the March lows left some to conclude the gains are running out of steam.“The reopening could be disrupted and that can affect local state economies that just began to emerge from the pandemic,” said Ben Emons, managing director for global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors.Here are some key events coming up:Australia’s central bank is expected to keep its main policy programs unchanged on Tuesday. So too is the case for Canada, which has options to add stimulus but will probably stand pat on Wednesday to allow more time to evaluate the progress of policy action.In Europe, the ECB is expected to top up its rescue program with an additional 500 billion euros of asset purchases. Anything less than an expansion at Thursday’s meeting would be a big shock, Bloomberg Economics said.The U.S. labor market report on Friday will probably show American unemployment soared to 19.6% in May, the highest since the 1930s.These are the main moves in markets:StocksThe S&P 500 Index climbed 0.5% on Friday.Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.1% on Friday, when Hang Seng futures advanced 0.6%. Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.4%.CurrenciesThe yen rose 0.1% to 107.69 per dollar.The euro bought $1.1119, up 0.2%.The offshore yuan was steady at 7.1361 per dollar.The Australian dollar slid 0.1% to 66.58 U.S. cents.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries fell four basis points to 0.65% on Friday.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude gained 5.3% to $35.49 a barrel on Friday.Gold closed at $1,730.27 on Friday.©2020 Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg.com



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Improving Productivity for Remote and Distributed Work Forces

Improving Productivity for Remote and Distributed Work Forces



As work from home and distributed teams become a new normal, it’s critical to recognize that managing remote teams comes with some different challenges. Here are four tips to achieving stronger communication and productivity gains.

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May
27, 2020

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

At a time when more people are working from home but business deliverables and deadlines remain the same, managers are seeking tangible ways to make remote work function just as well as the usual methods for employees they support. Below are four tangible steps that managers can take to combat communication or productivity issues that can occur for teams who aren’t used to working remotely.Related: 3 Ways Strong Leaders Can Support Work-From-Home EmployeesIntegrate your communications and management toolsIntegrations allow distributed, remote-first and remote-friendly teams to connect regularly and with little to no effort. Communications-based SaaS platforms have now transformed into “virtual offices,” where employees, especially those working in different time zones, can talk both one-on-one and in groups. Particularly, Microsoft Teams and Slack have become some of the most important spaces for daily activities and team interactions and team building.Your people are already updating each other on the progress of their tasks in these channels, so why not take advantage of integrations with management software to save them the work of updating unnecessary spreadsheets?Related: How I (Almost) Doubled My Productivity While Working From HomeMake progress visible and simple to understandCombining goal-setting processes with the means to effortlessly and instantly see how you are actually performing is a priceless motivator for employees. It propels them to gain an in-depth look into the overall health of the business while finding areas for personal improvement and opportunities for advancement or specialization.To ensure that your employees are progressing toward their goals and those of the company while working remote, they need to know how to prioritize their time, delegate, track task progress and stick to deadlines. Every teammate should be aware of not only their responsibilities, but also their peers’ as well, which is why organizations should try to be as transparent as possible throughout all levels (especially the C-suite!).Related: 10 Tips From CEOs on Working From Home Effectively and HappilyUse data to illuminate productivity and communication breakdownsIn an ideal organization, data makes it possible for everyone to track their work’s impact on the overall business. Of course it also helps people set and manage goals and stay aligned on what good performance looks like. Most unified communications and organizational management software now display data in a dashboard format so that people can conveniently draw conclusions and quickly make data-fueled recommendations. Proper data collection — and putting it in an easy-to-understand manner like this — helps employees at all levels. But arguably its biggest value is that it allows executives and managers to see what issues have occurred (and where) and identify performance problems or irregularities.Related: Why Working From Home Is Beneficial for the Employer and EmployeeConnect on the most human level possibleOne element often overlooked is how challenging it can be to maintain coherency in a remote or distributed environment. Even parsing the meaning of phrases, punctuation or emoticons can become overwhelming for some employees. In-person workplaces have the advantage of context, but in virtual and written environments, employees can take 20 minutes to determine whether a period instead of an exclamation point indicates anger or frustration. For global organizations, language differences only add to the challenge. It’s not an exaggeration to say that remote working often brings its own set of intense frustrations.Managers can and should use tools and technology to ensure that the day-to-day work is being done and the bottom-line goals are going to be met — but don’t forget that as a manager, your longer-term goal is to do just that: manage. Keep in mind the bigger picture of ensuring your employees are engaged, happy and productive. Often, a call or little reminder (an e-gift, mailed card or even a link to a book they’d enjoy) can go a long way in reminding them that there is a bigger purpose in the work they are doing, that they aren’t being forgotten and that their work isn’t going unnoticed.Change is never easy, particularly when it is sudden and implemented amid stressful circumstances and uncertainty. When shifting some of your workforce into new, distributed environments, it’s natural to expect a period of adjustment. However, if you make the commitment to implement the above changes to your management style, it can do wonders in making such transitions easier for your company.Related: 4 Major Cybersecurity Risks of Working From Home



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SaverOne to hold TASE IPO despite ‘going concern’ warning

SaverOne / Photo: company presentation




SaverOne plans to raise NIS 18-26 million in its Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) IPO at a company valuation of NIS 100 million, after money, according to an updated prospectus filed by the company.
SaverOne has developed a system that it says represents a unique solution to the problem of distraction when driving from use of mobile telephones. The system takes over the driver’s telephone and prevents use of dangerous applications. Among the company’s investors are Ituran Location and Control Ltd. (Nasdaq:ITRN); TASE:ITRN), UMI Israel, and Keshet Broadcasting.
SaverOne plans to offer between 1.1 million and 1.6 million shares at a minimum price of NIS 15.90 per share. After the IPO, the public will hold 14.7% of the company’s share equity and 12.9% on a fully diluted basis. The offering will be led by Rosario and Discount.
According to the prospectus, the flotation depends on the company’s equity after being listed for trading not being less than NIS 8 million. As of the end of 2019, the company’s equity deficit was NIS 19.8 million compared with NIS 13 million at the end of 2018.
The company’s auditors Fahn Kane, Grant Thornton Israel have attached a ‘going concern’ warning to the company’s reports and said, “The company is in the R&D stages and has not yet produced major revenue from its activities. The ability of the company to meet its development targets and realize its business plans depends on the continued raising of sources of financing, which is not assured.”
In each of the past three years prior to December 31, 2019, the company reported losses and negative cash flow from its day-to-day operations.”
According to SaverOne, 25% of road accidents in the US are connected to the use of mobile telephones. It says that its system is the only one that prevents access to distracting applications in the vicinity of the driver. When the vehicle stops, applications become unblocked.
SaverOne was founded in 2014. It currently employs 24 people and has ten registered patents. It has so far raised $10 million. It states in its presentation that it has collaboration agreements with Israel Police, Dan Bus Company, and insurance company Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services Ltd. (TASE: HARL).
SaverOne’s CEO is Ori Gilboa, formerly CEO of the auto division of Meir Group, and its chairman is Jacob Tenenboem, who founded Internet company Genieo Innovation, which was sold to Somoto for $34 million.
SaverOne says in its presentation that its business model is based on one-time sales of the system, and it estimates that when regulations requiring the use of a system to prevent mobile telephone distraction during driving come into force, the market will be worth $70 billion. The company describes this regulation as a game changer. It says that the market is highly competitive, but that as far as it knows there are no similar full, effective solutions.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on May 31, 2020
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