September 24, 2018
By Andy Bruce
LONDON (Reuters) – A meaningful boost to wage growth still looks elusive for most countries despite a robust global economy over the last year, an annual report on the world’s labor market showed on Monday.
Firms are finding it increasingly hard to hire skilled staff but weak productivity growth is hampering wages, recruitment firm Hays and consultancy Oxford Economics said.
Hays’ gauge of skills shortages across 33 countries hit its highest level in 2018 since the survey started six years ago.
“That talent mismatch has got worse in around half the countries that we’ve surveyed around the world,” Alistair Cox, chief executive officer of Hays, said.
Still, Hays’ index of wage pressure increased only slightly in 2018, and remains below levels seen two years ago.
“In this world of low inflation … it’s very difficult to pass on increased costs (from pay rises) to your consumers and customers. So to pay for wage inflation you really need to get productivity up,” Cox said.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts economic output per worker in major economies will grow on average by 1.1 percent this year and 1.4 percent in 2019 — still short of its pre-financial crisis average of 1.9 percent.
Japan, the United States and major European economies such as France and Spain showed some of the biggest disparities between the skills that employers need and those available in the workforce, the Hays report showed.
Much of the mismatch reflected strong demand for high-tech jobs but insufficient supply of trained staff.
“The educational systems around the world are not geared up to churn out enough of the people with these sorts of higher level skills,” Cox said.
Britain ranked relatively poorly for overall wage pressure, with only China, Singapore and France faring worse, Hays said.
“There’s been quite a steady increase in government-introduced costs and burdens on all businesses in the UK over the last few years, which is worsening the cost base of British companies, making them less competitive,” Cox said.
For the year ahead, Cox said the fundamentals of the global economy bode well for the world’s labor markets but the growing trade war between the United States and China was a risk.
“That can put consumers and businesses onto the back foot. But that’s the only cloud I see on the horizon,” he said.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)
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September 24, 2018
LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party would keep the option for a second vote on any Brexit deal struck with the European Union on the table but it would prefer a national election to sort out the issue, its finance spokesman said on Monday.
“We believe general election is the best solution because people can then have a wide-ranging debate and also then choose the team that would then do the negotiations,” John McDonnell told Sky News.
“If we can’t get a general election, we’ve kept the option of People’s Vote on the table and that’s what we’ll go for, but I’d much prefer a general election,” he said, adding a second vote would be on the deal itself rather than leaving the EU because the party would respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum.
(Writing by Michael Holden; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)
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September 24, 2018
LONDON (Reuters) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the Reuters stories related to them.
1/BOND ON THE RUN
U.S. Treasuries — and maybe financial markets across the world — are at a critical juncture. The bond selloff is gathering pace, pushing 10-year yields above 3 percent to the highest since May and within sight of levels last seen in 2011.
Is this the breakout, the reversal of the 30-year bull market, that some people have spent years predicting? If 10-year yields break above 3.128 percent, that view will gain credence. There are still plenty of political, fundamental and relative valuation reasons for buying bonds. But once a market move picks up momentum, it can be hard to stop.
The 10-year Treasury yield matters because it is the rate against which trillions of dollars of borrowing around the world are referenced. It touches every market in the world.
But markets, curiously, are not paying as much attention as one would expect. Wall Street sailed to new highs in the past days, emerging market stocks are up four weeks out of the last five, and market volatility remains low. Even Treasury market volatility. It could get more interesting in the coming week.
GRAPHIC: U.S. 10-year Treasury note yield – https://reut.rs/2prKKit
2/WAITING FOR THE FED
A rate hike at the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Sept. 25-26 policy meeting is all but certain – taking the rate to 2.00 percent-2.25 percent. And the odds have also increased for a December rise and more bumps up into 2019.
But market watchers have already turned their attention to the question of when to call the next economic downturn.
The traditional indicator is the yield curve inverting — in the United States this has been a pretty accurate predictor of recessions. However, another interesting sign could be read from the relationship between the fed funds rate and employment.
The fed funds rate has risen above the employment rate ahead of prior recessions – and the unemployment rate, currently 3.9 percent, is now near the lowest in 18 years.
So the fed funds rate and the employment rate are still a far bit apart. But they are inching closer and another hike will trim the gap a little bit more.
GRAPHIC: Beyond the U.S. yield curve – https://reut.rs/2MQ2ZYr
3/RRR-ALLYING THE TROOPS
Much of the emerging market universe is in a rush to tighten monetary policy, but in China speculation is rife that authorities will ease reserve requirement ratios (RRR) again.
For one, the pattern of this year’s RRR cuts has been a quarterly one. Second the economy has been looking more sluggish. And finally, new U.S. tariffs of 10 percent on about $200 billion of Chinese products will kick in on Sept. 24, rising to 25 percent by year-end. China’s retaliatory tariffs on 5,207 U.S. products also enter into force in the coming week.
With trade wars set to take a toll on the economy, Chinese authorities, despite a campaign to curb risky financing, may have little choice but to provide support. Not via any grand stimulus plan, but through targeted measures, such as cutting RRRs.
The problem is that monetary easing will pressure the yuan, which is not far below the key 7-per-dollar level, the rate that in past years tended to inflame capital outflows. Those outflow fears are less than they used to be. But policymakers will still have to tread carefully.
GRAPHIC: China reserve requirement ratios and the yuan – https://reut.rs/2poDnZc
4/OF BUDGETS AND BTPs
D-day looms for Italian government debt markets. Known as BTPs, the bonds are trading nervously before the Sept. 27 deadline for Italy’s coalition government to present details of its 2019 budget. Focus will be on the budget deficit, the cause of months of investor angst.
In one corner is economy minister Giovanni Tria. Unaffiliated to any party, Tria has assured markets he will keep the deficit below limits stipulated by the European Union — 3 percent of annual GDP. That pushed Italian risk premiums steadily lower over the summer — 10-year yields are more than 50 bps off end-May highs.
But Tria is up against coalition cohorts Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini, deputy prime ministers, who have become increasingly vocal in urging more spending to meet election promises.
The horse-trading has raised market volatility. But longer-term, a rules-busting budget that raises conflict with the EU, could trigger a credit ratings downgrade and foreign investor exodus. And all that could hit just as the ECB’s bond-buying program nears its end.
GRAPHIC: Rough ride for holders of Italy’s 10-year govt bond – https://reut.rs/2prVuO5
4/EMERGING FROM THE DARKNESS
Don’t say it too loudly, but the emerging market tornado might just have blown itself out. The principal reason is the dollar’s sudden loss of power, as well as China’s reassurance that yuan devaluation is not on the cards. But the coming week could make or break the rebound — hinging on whether the Fed meeting ends up recharging the dollar or if Beijing’s retaliation to U.S. trade tariffs is harsher than it has signaled.
But there have been other changes too — for instance Turkey’s whopping interest rate rise that stabilized the lira and signs of progress in Argentina’s talks over an IMF loan. Some prominent investors have also said the selloff might be overdone — many currencies are trading well below what could be considered fair value.
There is a blizzard of data from the likes of Brazil and India and plenty of central bank meetings too and it will be copper powerhouse Chile’s turn to lay out its budget.
GRAPHIC: Emerging from the gloom? – https://reut.rs/2prEgQF
(Reporting by Marius Zaharia in Hong Kong, Megan Davies in New York; Jamie McGeever, Marc Jones and Virginia Furness in London; compiled by Sujata Rao; Editing by Alison Williams)
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Liberia is still struggling with the aftermath of the 2014 Ebola outbreak and the stubbornly low prices of coffee and other commodities that its exporters rely on to bring in badly needed foreign capital. But to the country’s lengthy list of problems, we can now add one more.
As the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, authorities in Liberia are investigating the disappearance of $104 million in newly printed bank notes intended for the central bank – a suspected fraud equivalent to 5% of the country’s GDP.
The theft reportedly occurred some time between late 2017 and early 2018, as former President (and Nobel laureate) Ellen Sirleaf was handing over power to her successor, soccer star George Weah.
Liberian officials said the bank notes—more than 16 billion Liberian dollars—were ordered by the central bank from overseas printers but disappeared between November and August. The money, packaged in canvas bags and 20-foot-high sealed containers, was cleared through Liberian customs between November and August but never made it to the central bank’s headquarters in the capital, Monrovia, the officials said.
The government said the matter was being taken extremely seriously because it had national-security implications.
The disappearance is a blow for Liberia’s crisis-addled economy as it recovers from the commodity-price crash and devastating Ebola epidemic that has claimed more citizen’s lives than in any other nation.
While Weah has blamed his predecessor for the disappearance, arguing that the banknotes were ordered when she was still in office, local investigative reporters discovered that the notes were cleared by Liberian customs workers back in March, after the Weah administration had taken over, according to Quartz.
The notes…were ordered by Sirleaf’s administration in 2016. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the government’s spokesman and Cllr. Frank Musah Dean, attorney general, told reporters the containers had arrived in November, while the Sirleaf administration was still in office. But leaked shipping documents from the port show the containers were cleared in February and March of this year, after the new administration had taken over.
Sirleaf has criticized Weah for casting aspersions on her rule (tainted as it was by brazen nepotism)…
Ms. Sirleaf quickly hit back, calling it unfortunate that the government of Liberia “would give false information that wickedly impugns the reputation of past officials and by extension the country itself,” according to Front Page Africa.
She said the Central Bank of Liberia had conducted an internal investigation that the current government has refused to release.
…But a breakthrough in the state’s investigation revealed that both administrations may have been complicit. Investigators released a list of 15 “persons of interest” who have been ordered not to leave the country.
One of them is Charles Sirleaf, the former president’s son who served as deputy governor of the central bank during the present and previous administrations.
The plot thickened this week when the Ministry of Information issued a list of 15 “persons of interest” who have been barred from travel.
Among them was Milton Weeks, a former Central Bank governor who worked in Ms. Sirleaf’s government and resigned in July. Also on the list was Charles Sirleaf, Ms. Sirleaf’s son, who is deputy governor of the Central Bank in the Weah administration. He held the same post during his mother’s tenure.
However, whether anything will ultimately be done to hold corrupt politicians to account remains uncertain. As one economist told the New York Times, the country’s “deeply embedded culture of patronage” has left it with “makeshift” administrations.
“You can have Jesus Christ heading all of these ministries, but if the president of Liberia is not serious, nothing happens,” economist John Morlu said.
At the end of the day, the people of Liberia will bear the brunt of this theft as already unmanageable inflation in the price of staples like rice grows immeasurably worse.
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Only in meditation will you find one day the exact meaning of easiness – not in any dictionary. When you feel so full like an ocean, everything is possible if you want, but there is no desire; the ocean is silent, resting. And just the feel of resting energy is so blissful, so peaceful, that if you come close to a man who is easy, you will start feeling yourself, a certain relaxedness.
Avoid laziness and create yourself a pool of energy without any ripples, and the small statement of Chuang Tzu, “Easy is right” will be understood in its essential meaning. Anything that is not easy and creates tensions in you, anxiety and anguish, is not right – don’t do it. Follow the easy way to the point that you forget that it is easy. It becomes so natural to you that there is no need to remember that it is easy, or to remember that it is right. This is the state of enlightenment.
Easy flows the river of consciousness towards the ocean.
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It is finally time to put to rest the voices that have been telling you that you are less than perfect. Those memories, looping tapes and feelings are not yours, dearest! They belong to another time, another place or another person who was in denial about their own issues and chose to give them to you. Does that make sense? The Universe is always on-hand to help you see what is truly yours and that which was given to you when you felt it was the only way to be loved on your Earth plane. It may take some work, however, it can be done. You have the knowledge, wisdom and power to make it so! (Smiling) The last determining factor is how willing you are to finally release it to be transformed to light and love. The choice has always, always been yours! ~ Creator
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Dear Ones, please understand that there is nothing that you have to do, only things that you choose to do as a means of self expression. ~Archangel Gabriel through Shelley Young
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Beloved, there is an aspect of you that doesn’t require being handed answers. You don’t have to look something up or be advised. Everything is known within your very Being.
True instructions are built into you. All that which is true lies within you. Of course, go ahead, take all the courses you want, yet True Knowledge lies deep within you and from within Me and not necessarily from anyone else.
Because certain advice is just right for your friend doesn’t mean it’s just right for you. Nevertheless, you may be led off course. How important it is to set yourself straight. Not everyone knows better than you by a long shot. Know thyself.
Odds are you are well able to acquire first-hand knowledge as it grows from within you. Unless you find this knowledge inside you, you may think you can order it from Amazon or you acquire it somehow from outside you. Perhaps it is bootlegged or simply tossed at you as a bone to a dog.
All that lies within you alights on you. When knowledge lies outside you, it may not quite be the Living Truth. You don’t have to check out a book from the library. You are free to heal yourself right here and now.
You may indeed feel better just from the idea of healing from the honest to goodness lighted-up truth of your own. Despite what you’ve been told, Coke isn’t the real thing. Get your water from the Source.
Nor do you have to be in a hurry to cure all that ails you. Take a breath. You don’t have to read up on everything, You can simply reach for the truth within you as you desire. This is a lovely place for you to come from. Be authentic.
You know the difference between homemade bread and white Wonder Bread and between margarine and cultured homemade butter. You know the difference between the real aged bubbly and an aerated look-alike.
You know the difference between fresh air and stuffy air. You know the difference between a hand-knit sweater and a sweater off the shelf.
You know the difference between home and a motel. You know the difference between fresh ground coffee and instant coffee.
You don’t have to believe everything you read.
If you’re really lucky, you may find true love, and you may give true love. You know when something adds up, and you know when it doesn’t. You know when all is right with the world and when it isn’t. You know what is solid truth and what isn’t. You know when you get to your wedding on time. You know when you’re stood up or when you have stood someone up.
You know when you are sorry. You know when you’ve said so, and you know when it’s time to say so.
What a difference in the day a word makes.
There are two matters we talk about now – good intentions and making sure you stand on solid ground. Intentions aren’t everything by a long shot.
Where do you go from here? A lot depends upon your being clear and no less. And, ah, yes, that the floor is solid under your feet. These questions aren’t small potatoes.
Yes, your intentions and your feet on the ground in sync matter. Less isn’t good enough. Pie in the sky isn’t good enough. Be clear that the least you have to do is to emerge in the full light of day, Beloved.
Permanent link to this Heavenletter: http://heavenletters.org/the-real-goods-and-no-less.html – Thank you for including this when publishing this Heavenletter elsewhere.
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September 24, 2018
LONDON (Reuters) – The deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned U.S. and Israeli leaders on Monday to expect a “devastating” response from Iran, accusing them of involvement in Saturday’s attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz that killed 25 people.
“You have seen our revenge before … You will see that our response will be crushing and devastating and you will regret what you have done,” Hossein Salami said in a speech before the funeral of the victims in Ahvaz, broadcast live on the state television.
(Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Paul Tait)
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September 24, 2018
LONDON (Reuters) – A majority of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s senior ministerial team now supports moving towards a Canada-style trade deal with the European Union after Brexit, the Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.
May said on Friday that Brexit talks with the EU had hit an impasse, defiantly challenging the bloc to come up with its own plans after EU leaders savaged her proposals.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden)
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