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Pedro Almodóvar on Strange Way of Life: ‘It’s the only film where I’ve respected the rules’

Pedro Almodóvar and I are discussing green jackets, specifically the vibrant one worn by Pedro Pascal’s cowboy in the Spanish director’s new Western, Strange Way of Life.

“It’s the first film where I don’t mix genres, the only one where I’ve respected the rules,” declares Almodóvar over Zoom from his offices in Madrid. “There are no anachronisms in the clothing, the language, anything.”

Except, perhaps, that leaf-green jacket, I venture — surely those didn’t exist in the Old West. “Yes, even that existed!” Almodóvar shoots back with a triumphant smile. “In a film by Anthony Mann called Bend of the River, James Stewart wears a jacket like that.” An assistant is summoned to produce photographic evidence on his phone. “I wanted to add colour, but I didn’t know how . . . so I was very happy to find Bend of the River. If James Stewart wears a jacket like that, so can Pedro Pascal!”

Film star James Stewart dressed in a green jacket and stetson for a cowboy movie
James Stewart in his green jacket in Anthony Mann’s 1952 film ‘Bend of the River’ © Alamy
Pedro Almodóvar and actor Pedro Pascal talk through a scene on a movie set
The director talks Pedro Pascal, wearing his green jacket, through a scene on the set of ‘Strange Way of Life’

It’s a typical but rare Almodóvarian flourish in a movie that otherwise adheres mostly to convention: a rancher (Pascal) rides back into the old desert town he left years ago to defend his wayward son, who is wanted for murder by the local sheriff (Ethan Hawke). There will be horses, pistols, ten-gallon hats and a climactic shootout. There is just one notable break from classic Western tradition: the two middle-aged men are former lovers, the flame of desire rekindled by their new encounter.

“The first thing I wrote was the two old cowboys waking up after an orgiastic night of alcohol and sex,” Almodóvar says of the film, which is only 31 minutes in length. “What interested me most was their conversation and how each of the characters reacts to that night — a very distinct reaction in each of them.”

This collision of unquenchable love and impossible circumstance reminded me of wartime Hollywood romances such as Casablanca, I tell him. “There is romance, but on the other hand there are the elements of the Western . . . traditional values united with a story of this passion that seems unilateral. Because Sheriff Jake doesn’t react like a man in love, quite the opposite, as if to say, ‘Nothing happened here, it’s only the alcohol,’ which is a very typically male reaction to homosexual desire.”

In any discussion of gay cowboys, especially with Almodóvar, it’s impossible not to mention Brokeback Mountain, which he was approached to direct but eventually declined. As he told me in 2014, “I like [Ang Lee’s] version very much, but I always imagined it differently and I don’t think I would have been able to make it the way I wanted. They wouldn’t have let me.”

I wonder if the same applies today. Is the appearance of gay love in the hallowed American form of the Western still such a taboo almost 20 years after Brokeback? “I never felt any taboo but evidently for the directors who made [classic] Westerns it was a prohibited subject . . . And it seemed strange to me that I’d never found a film that dealt with the desire between two men. That’s why I was interested in tackling this subject.”

A man rides on horseback in a scene from the film
Ethan Hawke as the local sheriff in a scene from the film. ‘He’s atypical, a kind of adventurer,’ says Almodóvar

His interest was excited further by the appearance of several boldly original new Westerns in recent years: Chloé Zhao’s The Rider (2017), Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow (2019) and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog (2021), in which repressed homosexuality plays a key role.

“Curiously, all three are made by women and all very different, bringing a new eye to the genre. The Western continues to be current depending on the gaze of the writer or director.” He also points to more traditional new examples of the form, for example the TV series Yellowstone. “It’s all very masculine — even the women. The daughter of Kevin Costner’s character is more masculine than any of the cowboys.”

Strange Way of Life too is male-dominated, strikingly so for a director famed for giving women the foreground in celebrated films such as Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, All About My Mother and Volver. A shift came with 2019’s Pain & Glory, which focused heavily on male characters, Antonio Banderas playing a thinly disguised version of Almodóvar himself.

“It’s true that I’m more open to making films about men than before,” says the 73-year-old director. “I think it has to do with age, looking back on memories and seeing part of your own life.”

The new film is also a departure in terms of language. It is only Almodóvar’s second in English — written by him in Spanish, then translated — and his first full original script to incorporate English dialogue (2020’s The Human Voice was a Jean Cocteau monologue delivered by Tilda Swinton). All of this is a warm-up of sorts for his first full-length English-language feature, “a very intimate one about women”, to be shot early next year in New York. “These two [short] films have been experiments to see if I was capable of working in the language,” he says.

A woman in a red silk dressing gown sits on a bed with a velvet green cover beneath a Renaissance-era painting of a female nude
Tilda Swinton in the 2020 short ‘The Human Voice’, Almodóvar’s first film acted in English © Alamy

To this end, his casting choices for Strange Way of Life are astute, beginning with Hawke, one of the most European of American actors — “he’s atypical, a kind of adventurer” — while Pascal (star of The Mandalorian and The Last of Us) is Chilean-born and arrived on set “attracted to changing register and showing that he can do something very different”.

Did he discern a difference working with American-trained actors? “We had to mutually adjust to each other and I had to explain my ways of working,” he says. “During preproduction I insisted a lot on rehearsals, for example, because of insecurity and because it’s what I always do. I rehearse even while we’re already shooting, when they are setting up the lights. I realised they were not so used to that way of working.”

Key to the success of the project was how the two actors connected on screen, the drama driven by their longing looks and roiling inner conflict. “There was an immediate chemistry between them, and that aided my work a great deal,” says Almodóvar. 

Could it be that the real taboo these days is not that the two lovers are men — or even cowboys — but that they are approaching or over 50? “Not for me, but we see it very little. I think it’s an effect of marketing. The most highly valued thing in marketing and publicity is youth . . . But desire exists among people over 50 and one should show it because it’s real — and cinema should reflect some type of reality.”

It may be this thirst for emotional authenticity that has kept Almodóvar at the forefront of arthouse cinema for more than 40 years. I ask him if audiences have become more conservative since he started making films in the heady days of Madrid’s post-Franco Movida scene in the late 1970s.

“Society in general has become more conservative, including in Spain,” he says. “The US too is much more conservative than it was 30 years ago . . . There is a wave of puritanism that is reaching all parts, together with the politics of the extreme right, which is worrying for the liberty of expression. Society has regrettably become more conservative — and I try to fight against that.”

‘Strange Way of Life’ is in UK cinemas on September 25 only, with an Almodóvar Q&A

#Pedro #Almodóvar #Strange #Life #film #Ive #respected #rules

Crypto Analyst Predicts $45,000 Price Ahead of Halving

Crypto Michael, a cryptocurrency analyst in the crypto space, has recently shared some insights on the possible market trend of the Bitcoin (BTC) price before the halving commences. These insights were shared in a video uploaded on the analyst’s YouTube channel.

Signs Of A Potential Bull Run

According to the recent revelations by Crypto Michael, Bitcoin might be on the brink of a new bull run. In his video, which has garnered over 2,000 views on YouTube, the analyst suggests that the cryptocurrency shows considerable resilience and potential for a surge.

This optimism stems from various indicators and patterns observed in Bitcoin’s price action. It’s not just Bitcoin’s impending rise that Crypto Michael has highlighted.

The analyst also mentions that the altcoin market is warming up for a possible upward trend. The expert believes the significance of this parallel bullish movement for altcoins cannot be underestimated.

It is worth noting that a comprehensive bull market, including both Bitcoin and its altcoin counterparts, could mean significant gains for diversified crypto portfolios.

$45,000 Ahead Of The Bitcoin Halving?

Diving deeper into his analysis, Crypto Michael predicts a potential Bitcoin price of $45,000 before the much-anticipated halving event next year. A halving is crucial in the Bitcoin network, where miners’ rewards for adding new blocks to the blockchain are cut in half.

This event typically decreases supply and can significantly influence Bitcoin’s price. Historically, the crypto market has experienced bullish trends before and after halvings.

This cyclical behavior has been observed in the past two halvings, with price surges leading up to and following the event. However, the current market dynamics have left investors in a speculative state, pondering if history will repeat itself.

Particularly, Bitcoin has shown a bearish trend over the past month, down by nearly 10%. The asset plunged from its high of $30,000 in late July to as low as trading just above $25,000 on Monday. However, Bitcoin’s price can be seen to show signs of recovery in the past few weeks.

The asset trades above $26,000 at the time of writing, with a price of $26,338 and a market cap of $513 billion today. Notably, Bitcoin’s market cap is currently up by more than $10 billion compared to its recent market cap value of below $500 billion, seen earlier this month.

It is worth noting that while its market cap and price have surged over the past two weeks, the asset’s trading has trended in the opposite direction. Particularly, Bitcoin’s daily trading volume has plunged from the $18 billion seen earlier this month to as low as $10 billion, in the last 24 hours.

Bitcoin (BTC) price chart on TradingView
Bitcoin (BTC) price is moving sideways on the 4-hour chart. Source: BTC/USDT on

Featured image from iStock, Chart from TradingView

#Crypto #Analyst #Predicts #Price #Ahead #Halving

PM Modi to inaugurate ‘YashoBhoomi’ in Delhi on Sept 17 at 11 am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took to X to announce that he will inaugurate Phase 1 of the India International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC), known as YashoBhoomi in Dwarka on September 17 at 11 am.

The PM will also cut the ribbon on the extension of the Delhi Airport Metro Express line, which will connect Dwarka Sector 21 to a new metro station called YashoBhoomi Dwarka Sector 25.

PM Modi also expressed his confidence by saying that this will be a very sought-after destination for conferences and meetings. It will draw delegates from all around the world, he added.

“At 11 AM tomorrow, 17th September, I will inaugurate Phase-1 of YashoBhoomi, a state-of-the-art and modern convention and expo centre in Dwarka, Delhi. I am confident this will be a very sought-after destination for conferences and meetings. It will draw delegates from all around the world.

You all will also be happy to know that YashoBhoomi is also going to be synonymous with sustainability. It has a modern wastewater treatment system, there are provisions for rainwater harvesting and the complex has received Platinum certification from Indian Green Building Council. A new Metro station, ‘Yashobhoomi Dwarka Sector 25’ will also be inaugurated thus linking this iconic venue with the Delhi Metro Airport Express,” PM Modi wrote on X.

With a total project area of over 8.9 lakh square metres and a total built-up area of more than 1.8 lakh square metres, YashoBhoomi will find its place among the world’s largest MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) facilities.

The Convention Center, built across more than 73 thousand square metres of area, comprises 15 convention rooms including the Main Auditorium, the Grand ballroom and 13 meeting rooms with a total capacity of holding 11,000 delegates. The Convention centre has the largest LED media facade in the country.

The Main auditorium is the plenary hall for the Convention Center and is equipped with a seating capacity of around 6,000 guests. The auditorium has one of the most innovative automated seating systems which allows the floor to be a flat floor or an auditorium-style tiered seating for different seating configurations. It provides The Wooden floors and the acoustic wall panels used in the auditorium will ensure a world-class experience for the visitor.

The Grand Ballroom, with a unique petal ceiling, can host around 2,500 guests. It also has an extended open area that can seat up to 500 people. The 13 meeting rooms that are spread across eight floors are envisaged to hold a variety of meetings of different scales.

Also Read: ‘End of an era’: Anand Mahindra, Ronnie Screwvala, other Mumbaikars bid goodbye to diesel-run double-decker bus

#Modi #inaugurate #YashoBhoomi #Delhi #Sept

Paxos’ $500K Bitcoin fee, FTX tokens sales set to begin, and more

Top Stories This Week

Paxos confirms it’s responsible for paying a $500K Bitcoin transaction fee

The Bitcoin miner who received 19.8 BTC in fees from blockchain infrastructure firm Paxos has returned the funds following Paxos’ claim that it made a mistake in paying over $500,000 in transfer fees. On Sept. 10, Paxos paid the six-figure fee to move $2,000, with the average network fee typically being around $2. The company later acknowledged the mistake, confirming the transfer came from its servers. Almost a day after Paxos’ claims, the Bitcoin miner who received the funds went on X (formerly Twitter) to express frustrations after agreeing to refund the amount to Paxos. The funds were returned on Sept. 15.

Court approves sale of FTX digital assets

A bankruptcy court has approved the sale of FTX digital assets in weekly batches through an investment adviser and under preestablished guidelines. The sale does not include Bitcoin, Ether and “certain insider-affiliated tokens,” which can be sold through a separate decision by FTX after 10 days’ notice. FTX sales are not expected to have a heavy impact on markets. According to a recent shareholder update, the bankrupt exchange has $833 million worth of Bitcoin and Ether. A total of $3.4 billion is held in Digital Assets A — the top 10 assets the company holds — which include Solana, Bitcoin, Ether, Aptos and others.

Gemini Earn users could recover all funds in new DCG remuneration scheme

Digital Currency Group has proposed a new agreement plan for the creditors of the now-bankrupt Genesis Global. The plan estimates unsecured creditors will receive “a 70–90% recovery with a meaningful portion of the recovery in digital currencies.” Additionally, the remuneration plan says the recovery of claims for Gemini Earn users would be projected at “approximately 95–110%” without any contribution from Gemini. According to the filing: “If Gemini were to agree to provide $100 million to Gemini Earn users under the Proposed Agreement, as it previously did, there would be little doubt Gemini Earn users would receive more than full recovery.”

Franklin Templeton files for spot Bitcoin ETF

Asset manager Franklin Templeton applied with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to launch a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). According to the application, the fund would be structured as a trust. Coinbase would custody the BTC, and The Bank of New York Mellon would be the cash custodian and administrator. Franklin Templeton has $1.5 trillion in assets under management and joins a long list of asset managers waiting for regulatory approval. The SEC recently delayed decisions on spot ETF applications from WisdomTree, Valkyrie, Fidelity, VanEck, Bitwise and Invesco on Aug. 31.

Two more top executives depart Binance.US amid layoffs, SEC action

The exodus of executives from crypto exchange Binance has reached the firm’s offshoot in the United States, as at least three top employees left Binance.US over the past few days. This week’s departures included the exchange’s CEO, Brian Shroder, alongside legal head Krishna Juvvadi and chief risk officer Sidney Majalya. The mass exit is believed to be tied to the ongoing U.S. investigation into Binance and Binance.US. The SEC sued Binance.US, Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao in June for allegedly engaging in unregistered securities operations and other improprieties. On Aug. 28, the agency requested to file sealed documents in the case, fueling concerns about a criminal probe by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $26,465, Ether (ETH) at $1,628 and XRP at $0.50. The total market cap is at $1.05 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are Toncoin (TON) at 21.30%, VeChain (VET) at 11.94% and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) at 11.36%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are ApeCoin (APE) at -16.82%, Astar (ASTR) at 14.47% and Flare (FLR) at 12.61%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

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Most Memorable Quotations

“I think my generation and younger than me are the ones that are really going to change that narrative for investing, whether it’s in cryptocurrency or other investments moving forward.”

Scotty James, Australian snowboarder

“The only country I would not encourage you to start a company right now is in the U.S.”

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple

“We’re still in the fax era of global payments.”

David Marcus, former PayPal executive and co-founder Lightspark

“I don’t think everybody in D.C. actually fully realizes how powerful the crypto voting community block is.”

Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase

“You cannot get 100% transparency and 100% privacy.”

Alex Svanevik, CEO of Nansen

“Climate change is still a systemic threat to our species. I think as a society, we kind of owe it to ourselves to do anything that we can.”

Marek Olszewski, CEO of Celo

Prediction of the Week 

Bitcoin price all-time high will precede 2024 halving — New prediction

Bitcoin has a $250,000 target for after its next block subsidy halving — but new all-time highs will come sooner, according to the latest BTC price prediction from BitQuant, a popular social media commentator who sees a rosy future for the largest cryptocurrency.

On Sept. 15, the pseudonymous “central banker and Bitcoiner” revealed a pre-halving target above $69,000. “No, Bitcoin is not going to top before the halving,” he wrote in part of the commentary.

Bitcoin has just over six months before the halving, the event that cuts miner rewards earned per block by 50% every four years. “No, BTC is not going to $160K because the magnitude of every pullback is large,” he wrote, adding that “this means it will peak after the halving, in 2024. And yes, the target price is around $250K.”

FUD of the Week 

SEC charges company behind Stoner Cats NFT series with unregistered securities sale

Stoner Cats 2 LLC (SC2), the company behind the Stoner Cats animated web series, has agreed to a cease-and-desist order and other measures imposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission after being charged with conducting an unregistered offering of crypto-asset securities in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFTs). According to the SEC, SC2 sold more than 10,000 NFTs for about $800 apiece. The sale took 35 minutes and occurred on July 27, 2021, and the proceeds were used to fund the series. Besides agreeing to the cease-and-desist order, SC2 will pay a civil penalty of $1 million.

OneCoin co-founder Greenwood gets 20 years in US jail for fraud, money laundering

Karl Greenwood, co-founder of OneCoin with Ruja Ignatova, was sentenced in the United States to 20 years in prison and ordered to pay $300 million on Sept. 20. Ignatova remains at large. Greenwood, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Sweden, was sentenced in a court in New York. In a statement by the Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams called OneCoin “one of the largest fraud schemes ever perpetrated.” The multilevel marketing and Ponzi scheme reaped $4 billion from 3.5 million victims, the statement said. Ignatova has not been seen since October 2017 and is on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted List.

North Korea’s Lazarus Group responsible for $55M CoinEx hack

The attack on crypto exchange CoinEx, which drained at least $55 million, was carried out by the North Korean hacker group Lazarus, according to blockchain security firm SlowMist and pseudonymous on-chain investigator ZachXBT. The hacker group was identified after it inadvertently exposed its address, which was the same one used in the recent Stake and Optimism hacks. On Sept. 12, CoinEx saw large outflows of funds to an address without any prior history. Security experts immediately suspected that the exchange was breached, with initial estimates reaching approximately $27 million.

Are DAOs overhyped and unworkable? Lessons from the front lines

Many contend that DAOs have failed to deliver on their promises, but developers are coming up with novel solutions.

6 Questions for Kei Oda: From Goldman Sachs to cryptocurrency

Kei Oda spent 16 years trading bonds for Goldman Sachs — a life that eventually bored him. That was when he turned to cryptocurrency.

Web3 Gamer: PUBG devs’ Web3 project, Animoca’s $20M raise, Shardbound review

The company behind PUBG announces a new Web3 platform, monetization in Web3 and more.

Editorial Staff

Cointelegraph Magazine writers and reporters contributed to this article.

#Paxos #500K #Bitcoin #fee #FTX #tokens #sales #set

World Adapts to Fed’s Rate Order in 36-Hour Sequence

A 36-hour rush of global monetary decisions may set the tone for the rest of the year as the world adjusts to a US push to keep interest rates high.

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(Bloomberg) — A 36-hour rush of global monetary decisions may set the tone for the rest of the year as the world adjusts to a US push to keep interest rates high.

Starting with the Federal Reserve on Wednesday and ending with the Bank of Japan two days later, monetary policy will be determined at key meetings across half of the Group of 20.

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Advanced-economy central banks, accounting for six of the 10 most-traded currencies, may draw particular focus as global policymakers adapt to the theme US officials set out at Jackson Hole in August: that rates are likely to stay higher for longer. 

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All evidence suggests inflation isn’t fully tamed across much of the world, and the ongoing rise in crude oil prices is stoking worries of yet more pressure. 

So no-one will dare to declare that their job is done, even amid the prospect that central banks in countries from the UK to Switzerland on Thursday could open the door to a pause, as happened last week in the euro zone.

Setting the tone for all of them will be new projections from the Paris-based OECD on Tuesday. With weak demand from China depressing global trade, and the outlines of a stagflationary scenario forming in Europe, the apparent resilience of the US economy could prove the only bright spot.

That backdrop may prompt the Fed itself to keep rates on hold, but maybe pencil in another increase for later this year.

What Bloomberg Economics Says:

“We think the FOMC will strike a balanced tone at its Sept. 19-20 meeting by skipping a rate hike, but keeping further tightening on the table, lest financial conditions ease.”

—Stuart Paul, economist. For full analysis, click here

Click here for what happened last week and below is our wrap of what’s coming up in the global economy.

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US and Canada

Aside from the Fed it’s a relatively quiet week in the US. Housing starts data on Tuesday, initial jobless numbers on Thursday and the latest purchasing manager indexes for manufacturing and services will be the key releases.

In Canada, headline inflation for August could tick higher on rising gasoline prices, but the central bank will be watching for progress on core measures that began easing in July. 

Governor Tiff Macklem and his colleagues will release a summary of the deliberations that led to their decision to hold rates steady at 5% earlier this month. 

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for the US


The BOJ takes center stage in Asia this week as investors look for more signals from Governor Kazuo Ueda on the policy direction. 

While economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect no change at Friday’s meeting, they’ll closely scrutinize any comments on the future of negative rates after Ueda recently touched on the possibility of scrapping them. 

BOJ policymakers will also be watchful for any effects from the Fed decision earlier that might ripple through to assets in the region, including the yen. 

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In China, prime lending rates are expected to remain unchanged on Wednesday, while central banks in the Philippines and Indonesia are also expected to stand pat on Thursday — even as inflation starts to accelerate again in both economies. 

Singapore, Malaysia and New Zealand release trade figures, while preliminary numbers from South Korea offer perhaps the closest pulse check on the latest global trend. 

New Zealand also has GDP data due Thursday that’s likely to show a return to growth as the country readies for an election next month.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Asia

Europe, Middle East, Africa

A multitude of rate decisions across the region will keep investors busy. Most come on Thursday in the wake of the Fed. 

The Bank of England will take center stage, with forecasters almost unanimously anticipating a quarter-point hike but less united on what happens next. 

With the UK economy having shrunk at the fastest pace in seven months at the start of the third quarter and the jobs market showing signs of cooling, it’s feasible that the move may be the last. Governor Andrew Bailey said earlier this month that rates are probably “near the top of the cycle.” 

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The same day, Swiss National Bank policymakers led by President Thomas Jordan may deliver another rate hike to contain inflation that’s currently below their target. If they do, that too could be the final move in the current tightening cycle.

The same applies to Norges Bank, which signaled a likely move this month but might then change tack to keep monetary policy at the tighter level it will then have reached.

Sweden’s Riksbank, also on Thursday, may be less relaxed. Despite a feeble economy, officials are too concerned about the state of inflation to risk a pause.

Looking south, Turkey’s central bank will probably hike by another roughly 500 basis points, taking its key rate to about 30%, according to a Bloomberg survey. That would be a fresh signal that the government is intent on ending years of ultra-loose monetary policy.

Egypt surprised the market with a 100 basis-point hike last month, and traders will be watching for a similar move on Thursday. The central bank is under pressure to slow inflation that’s running at a record high of 37%, and support the pound.

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On the same day, policymakers in South Africa are likely to look beyond an expected quickening in consumer-price growth and maintain the benchmark interest rate at 8.25% for a second straight meeting.

Neighboring Eswatini, whose currency is pegged to the rand and has seen a sharp slowdown in inflation, may match the move the following day.

Also on Friday, Mozambique’s rate decision is likely to be a close call between a hold and a cut with inflation at a near three-year low and expected to slow further, while its neighbor Zimbabwe is forecast to keep borrowing costs unchanged.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for EMEA

Latin America

Brazil’s central bank is widely expected to cut its key rate for a second straight meeting, by a half-point to 12.75%, even though inflation has accelerated from a below-target 3.16% in June to 4.61% in August.

Economists surveyed by the central bank see another 100 basis points of easing in 2023 to bring the key rate down to 11.75%.

Mexico’s mid-month inflation report should show prices cooled further, though likely at a slower pace than in recent months as record high interest rates only barely get the better of strong domestic demand. Most analysts don’t see Banxico beginning to ease until early 2024.

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Chile’s central bank posts the minutes of its Sept. 5 meeting, at which policymakers cut the key rate by 75 basis points to 9.5% in a follow-up to a full-point reduction in July. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg see a year-end rate of 7.5% with another 300 basis points of cuts to follow in 2024.

Brazil, Colombia and Mexico all report July GDP-proxy data in the coming week while Argentina posts second-quarter output, the last of the region’s big economies to do so.

The region’s first-half standout, Mexico, is benefiting from a wave of nearshoring and has eclipsed China as the US’s biggest trade partner.

  • For more, read Bloomberg Economics’ full Week Ahead for Latin America

—With assistance from Robert Jameson, Monique Vanek, Paul Wallace, Milda Seputyte, Paul Jackson, Ott Ummelas and Laura Dhillon Kane.

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No ‘subsidy bowl’ for UK net zero drive, vows Jeremy Hunt

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Jeremy Hunt has insisted Britain is not about to adopt Joe Biden’s “subsidy bowl” approach to economic policy, on the day he signed off a £500mn subsidy package for Tata to modernise the UK’s steel industry.

The chancellor declared that Britain had an “industrial strategy”, a phrase that prime minister Rishi Sunak has been reluctant to use, but that it would be “hard-headed” and would not result in big state handouts across the board.

In an interview with the Financial Times Hunt acknowledged that Britain needed to invest in switching to electric arc furnaces to cut carbon emissions and safeguard a strategic industry.

He said that the up to £500mn being paid to Tata was agreed only after he received “very credible commitments” from the Indian company that it would invest a further £750mn in developing its site at Port Talbot in Wales.

“We see this as very significant for the long-term viability of steel in Wales and the UK,” he said, adding that a negotiation was also under way with British Steel, which has similar operations at its Scunthorpe site.

“We have not got to the same stage with them,” Hunt said, referring to talks with China’s Jingye, which owns British Steel, and is also seeking hundreds of millions of pounds of subsidies. 

“Our approach will be very similar,” Hunt said. “If we can get the right deal for the country that protects our future as a steelmaker and it’s good for the local area and good for the employees who work there, we will be prepared to do a deal. But it has to be the right deal.”

But Hunt said this state largesse did not mean that the UK would attempt to emulate the Biden administration’s $369bn Inflation Reduction Act, the package of subsidies and tax credits to help the US move to a net zero carbon economy.

“We are very clear — we won’t pursue the Inflation Reduction Act subsidy bowl approach to economic policy,” he said. “We are very hard-headed. We will do what is right for the long-term interests of the UK.”

Hunt said that Britain’s approach to encouraging a transition to greener energy — including the “contracts for difference” system that guarantees energy output prices — was preferable to the policies adopted in the US.

He also said he would not be handing out big subsidies as a matter of course to support the five key sectors — technology, the creative industries, life sciences, advanced manufacturing and the green economy — which he sees as vital to the future of the British economy.

“If you are asking if we are going to have big pots of subsidies for all of those five sectors, that’s not how I would interpret today’s announcement,” Hunt said. But he added: “Where there’s a strategic opportunity to progress, we will take it.”

Sunak has been criticised by former business secretaries for having a low-key approach to industry, but Hunt insisted the government’s industrial strategy was “alive and kicking”.

He said that all of the priorities identified by former Tory business secretary Greg Clark in his “modern industrial strategy” — binned by Sunak when he was chancellor in 2021 — were still being pursued.

“The UK government is taking a very holistic approach when it comes to industrial strategy,” he said, adding that all administrations like to “express things in their own way”. 

Hunt’s Autumn Statement in November is expected to set out more details of the reborn industrial strategy, including a review of foreign inward investment by Lord Richard Harrington.

Meanwhile, the chancellor confirmed he was working with Sunak on addressing cost overruns on the HS2 rail project and refused to commit to building the line beyond Birmingham to Manchester.

“With any big infrastructure project, let alone the biggest infrastructure project in the country, you would expect us to have conversations about managing cost overruns.”

Asked whether the entire rail project would be built, he said: “I’m not going to be drawn on the details.”

Hunt refused to say whether he would trim spending on benefits and pensions in his Autumn Statement, a move that might create some space for tax cuts in next spring’s Budget.

He also declined to confirm whether the pensions triple lock would survive in the next Conservative manifesto, but accepted that on current trends the British state would be “unsustainable in its current form, in its entirety” by the 2070s.

Hunt will be setting out plans to make Britain more productive, and reforms to public services over the coming year. “We have to rethink how we do the state,” he said.

#subsidy #bowl #net #drive #vows #Jeremy #Hunt

Binance’ opBNB Mainnet Goes On Public Release

After rigorous testing that spanned 1.5 months and the partial mainnet launch in the middle of August, BNB Chain developers finally released opBNB to the public.

Binance’s opBNB is an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible layer 2 solution and was developed using Optimism’s OP Stack and will make full use of the latter’s optimistic rollup technology. It was created to enhance the scalability of the Binance Smart Chain (BSC) and Optimism seems to have been the best choice with the latter being known for cost-effectiveness.

The tests held last June revealed that the network recorded over 7 million on-chain transactions with transaction times averaging just around one second. The network achieved a peak of 4,000 transactions per second; the next step is the maintenance of this 4,000 TPS.

Apart from this, opBNB’s Testnet revealed its capacity to support an array of tokens, encompassing not only Binance’s proprietary BNB but also widely recognized stablecoins like BUSD, USDT, and DAI. Lastly, the use of Optimism’s technology could potentially solve BNB Chain’s own security woes, as the chain has endured several expensive exploits in the past.

As the top cryptocurrency exchange in the world (by volume), Binance has been eyeing expansion not simply physically to other countries, but in the potential services it can offer. opBNB is one such endeavor and BNB Chain is currently initiating grants and builder programs for prospective developers who wish to build on the BSC ecosystem.

Optimism, on the other hand, has been at the forefront of the layer-2 solutions sector with the rolling out of its Bedrock upgrade. This has ushered in a revolution of sorts in the layer 2 sector because of the massive enhancements in transaction throughput but with significantly lesser fees. Optimism is also unique in its goal of creating a “superchain” where it is only one among many interoperable and connected chains. The launch of opBNB to the public is a further step towards more engagement from the crypto community, bridging closer its developers and users.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

#Binance #opBNB #Mainnet #Public #Release

multibagger sme ipos: 41 multibaggers, 80% win rate! SME IPOs spreading FOMO among bluechip warriors

Small is beautiful and micro marvellous. This appears to be the new guru mantra giving mind-blowing returns to investors. While the gravity-defying rally in smallcap and midcap stocks is causing heartburn to bluechip investors, the real money is being made in the much smaller and below-the-radar SME IPO market.

Out of the 105 SME IPOs that got listed on Dalal Street so far in the calendar year 2023, a majority 84 have given positive returns. This translates into a win rate of 80%, which means four out of every five SME IPOs made money.

Out of them, 41 have turned multibaggers with the highest returns going up to 357%, according to PRIME Database.

The spectacular bull run is making many bluechip investors uneasy who are now tempted to shift a part of their portfolios to chart-busting minion stocks.

Last week, Basilic Fly Studio IPO, received bids worth a whopping Rs 14,000 crore against its modest issue size of Rs 66 crore and this week Morgan Stanley picked a stake in Rs 43 crore SME IPO Chavda Infra.

Jaw-dropping returns in SME IPOs
Krishca Strapping Solutions IPO, which listed on May 26, has rallied 357% from IPO offer price. Other top gainers include Exhicon Events Media, VASA Denticity, Remus Pharma, MACFOS, Kaka Industries, Bright Outdoor Media and Oriana Power.SunGarner Energies, which got listed on NSE Emerge platform on August 31, ended its first day on the stock exchange with a jaw-dropping return of 216%.

Should you munch on SME stocks?
Hem Securities’ India Rising SME Stars, which invests in SME and smallcap stocks, was the best performing PMS fund last month and delivered over 17% return in just a month.

“In the recent past SMEs have performed really well and many companies are trading at expensive valuations, investors should maintain a cautionary stance while picking stocks in this space. We strongly believe that micro-cap space is a deep ocean and there are a lot of good companies still available at reasonable valuations with strong growth potential,” Mohit Nigam, who manages the SME fund, said.

He suggests that SME space is suitable for investors with high risk tolerance and an investment horizon of over five years.

While describing the SME space as interesting and exciting, Dalal Street veteran Sunil Singhania is of the belief that the rally isn’t exactly based on fundamentals and investors need to do their due diligence properly.

“It is mixed. Some good companies are coming up. We are, in one of our smaller funds, avid investors and the experience has been pretty decent,” he said.

Mumbai-based value investor Vijay Kedia, who made a fortune by betting on small and midcap stocks, says the frenzy in the SME market is nothing but euphoria and FOMO.

“People are still fascinated about penny stocks, cheap stocks and ‘chhota’ price stocks. They are treating SME stocks like penny stocks but it isn’t true,” he said, while warning that valuations are quite high and some day this euphoria will cool down.

The lure of doubling money on listing day is making investors ignore the lack of liquidity which can close all exit doors.

Given the thriving startup ecosystem and innovative business models in play, it is tough to ignore these little ninjas.

“First and foremost, dig into the nitty-gritty details of the company. Study their business model, the industry they operate in, their financial health, the competence of their management team, and their growth prospects. Getting the fundamentals right is paramount,” Shrey Jain, founder and CEO, SAS Online, said.

Besides, one must also assess the company’s valuation, compare it to industry peers and then scrutinize how the company intends to use the funds raised through the IPO.

“In a nutshell, investing in SME IPOs can be a lucrative endeavor, but it’s not without its fair share of risks. The key is to do your own research diligently and make an informed decision before taking the plunge,” Jain said.

(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)

#multibagger #sme #ipos #multibaggers #win #rate #SME #IPOs #spreading #FOMO #among #bluechip #warriors

The market’s heaviest hitters are sounding the alarm on US debt

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio gestures in front of a gray background.

Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio.Brendan McDermid/File Photo/Reuters

  • Three market experts have cited concern that growing US debt will send interest rates up.

  • Ray Dalio and Bill Gross both pointed out a supply-demand imbalance that will keep fueling borrowing costs.

  • US debt supply will only grow, as a recession would expand the federal deficit, Jeffrey Gundlach added.

US debt is ballooning, and leading market experts are raising red flags with more red ink on the way and a potential recession looming.

The warnings come as federal deficits have exploded in recent years, sharply elevating the trajectory of US debt. The Treasury Department has already auctioned $1 trillion in bonds just within this quarter. Meanwhile, borrowing costs have soared in the last year and a half as the Federal Reserve embarked on an aggressive tightening campaign.

Over the past week, Wall Street giants Ray Dalio, Bill Gross, and Jeffrey Gundlach have weighed in:

Ray Dalio

The Bridgewater Associates founder said he won’t invest in bonds and instead touted cash as good, for now.

Speaking at the Milken Institute Asia Summit in Singapore, Dalio explained that a swelling fiscal deficit is forcing the Treasury Department to keep issuing bonds.

But the surge in supply of fresh US debt isn’t the only issue. If investors aren’t receiving a high enough real interest rate, they will sell their bonds, he warned.

“The supply-demand [imbalance] isn’t just the amount of new bonds. It’s the issue of ‘do you choose to sell the bonds?’ I personally believe that the bonds longer term are not a good investment,” Dalio said during Thursday’s event.

Though interest rate gains would help drive demand for bonds, they make debt servicing more costly.

“When the interest rates go up, the central bank then has to make a choice: Do they let them go up and have the consequences of that, or do they then print money and buy those bonds? And that has inflationary consequences,” Dalio said. “So, we’re seeing that dynamic happen now.”

Bill Gross

The “bond king” who drove Pimco’s fixed-income success had similar apprehensions about the debt market.

In an interview with Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, he noted that a third of US outstanding debt is set to mature in under a year. To ensure that the Treasury can service this, it will need to attract a large swath of buyers.

Once again, this relies on amping up interest rates.

Gross noted that the Fed’s quantitative tightening campaign worsens the supply-demand imbalance, given that it removes the central bank as a bond buyer. And a lack of demand means Treasury prices remain low, he warned.

“It’s precarious at some point,” he said. “I’m not saying get out. I’m just saying that assets have to go up or else the economy will not do well.”

Jeffrey Gundlach

Similarly titled the “bond king,” Gundlach expects a flood of Treasurys, warning that a coming recession will deepen the federal deficit.

“The thing that will be so confounding to people is that, once we get deeper into the recession, bond yields will actually start to go up because of excessive money printing and monetary response,” he told Fox Business.

Though many economists have warmed to the prospect of a soft landing, Gundlach maintains that a recession is likely in six to eight months, as pandemic-era consumer savings are depleted.

If this happens amid the Fed’s tight policy, the economy could spiral into deflation, he predicted, forcing the government to go deeper into debt.

“I think the Fed, in the back of their mind, realizes that when the next recession comes, the amount of borrowing is going to be so enormous that it’s going to be a really bad idea to have interest rates higher than 5%,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

#markets #heaviest #hitters #sounding #alarm #debt