The Window http://thewindow.net/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 15:16:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://thewindow.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/thewindow-icon-150x150.png The Window http://thewindow.net/ 32 32 Egret II Mini review – Will you regret buying this bite-sized arcade machine? | Games | Entertainment https://thewindow.net/egret-ii-mini-review-will-you-regret-buying-this-bite-sized-arcade-machine-games-entertainment/ Wed, 28 Sep 2022 15:16:30 +0000 https://thewindow.net/egret-ii-mini-review-will-you-regret-buying-this-bite-sized-arcade-machine-games-entertainment/

Egret II Mini contains 40 games, including Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, Darius Gaiden and more (Image: ININ)

The Five Star Mega Drive Mini and the awesome classic snes may have more mainstream appeal, but if you love retro gaming and fondly remember feeding arcade machines with your hard-earned pocket money, then the Egret II Mini might be the go-to gaming device. of this year. The Egret II Mini is a fairly faithful recreation of Taito’s iconic arcade cabinets that were hugely popular in Japan. It comes with 40 built-in games, a rotating screen, stereo speakers, and an adjustable joystick, making it one of the most feature-rich devices in the ever-expanding miniature market.

Besides the games list (but more on that later), it’s the adjustable screen that really makes the Egret II Mini feel like something special.

An absolute boon if you’re a fan of vertically scrolling shoot-em-ups, the Egret II Mini has a satisfying rotating screen. Just click it, pull it out and turn the screen when you want to play vertical scrolling games the right way – such as Space Invaders, RayForce and Gun Frontier.

When you want to play the most commonly available side-scrolling games, just rotate the screen back to its original position and it will automatically adjust the aspect ratio.

The ability to play games with a proper aspect ratio is further enhanced by the fact that the LCD screen measures in at a solid 5 inches, meaning you’ll never squint to make out the action on screen. screen.

It’s a far cry from the original Sega Astro Mini, where some games were borderline unplayable due to the tiny 3.9-inch screen and unnecessary 16:9 display mode.

You can see a comparison of the two devices and their respective game-to-screen ratios below.

Egret II Mini vs. Astro City Mini

Not only is the Egret II bigger than the Astro City Mini, it makes better use of the screen (Image: ININ SEGA)

Egret II Mini vs. Sega Astro Mini

The difference between vertical scrolling games is even more pronounced (Image: ININ SEGA)

Another really nice touch is the ability to toggle the joystick between four and eight directions, while the lighted marquee and instruction panel with interchangeable cards add an extra layer of legitimacy.

Factor in the solid build quality and sizable form factor that’s actually comfortable to play right out of the box, and the Egret II Mini strikes the perfect balance between functionality and authenticity.

The games list is another big tick in the win column for the Taito Egret II Mini, both in terms of variety and overall quality.

The base unit comes with 40 games, which is far more than Capcom Home Arcade’s paltry 16 games, and the 22 titles that came with the Astro City Mini V. It even tops the original Astro City Mini, which comes with 37 games.

The Egret II Mini doesn’t carry as many household names as some of its rivals – Space Invaders is the oldest and most historically significant of the bunch – but there are very few games that don’t have at least some redeeming qualities. .

Egret II Mini Rotating Screen

Rotating screen means you can play vertical games like Space Invaders without squinting (Image: ININ)

List of EGRET II minigames

• Adventure Canoe (1982)

• Bubble Bobble (1986)

• Bubble Memories (1995)

• Symphonic bubble (1994)

• Cadash (1989)

• Chack’n Pop (1983)

• Dan-Ku-Ga (unreleased update by Kaiser Knuckle, 1995)

• Darius Gaiden (1994)

• Don Doko Don (1989)

• Elevator Action (1983)

• Elevator Action Returns (1994)

• Story of Fairyland (1985)

• Growl (1990)

• Gun Frontier (1990)

• Halley’s Comet (1986)

• Hat Trick Hero (1990)

• Kaiser Knuckle (1994)

• Kiki Kai Kai (1986)

• The Legend of Kage (1985)

• Liquid Kids Adventure (1990)

• Lunar Rescue (1979)

• Lupine III (1980)

• Metallic Black (1991)

• History of New Zealand (1988)

• Ninja Kids (1990)

• Outdoor Zone (1984)

• Pirate Pete (1982)

• Bobble 2X Puzzle (1995)

• Qix (1981)

• Raimais (1988)

• Rainbow Islands EXTRA (1988)

• Rastan Saga (1987)

• Ray Force (1993)

• Training Scramble (1986)

• Space Invaders (1978)

• Steel Worker (1980)

• Tatsujin (1988)

• Twin Cobra (1987)

• Fight Against Violence (1989)

• Volfield (1989)

Personal favorites include Elevator Action Returns, Rastan Saga, Runark (Growl), Darius Gaiden, Dan-Ku-Ga (and Kaiser Knuckle), Metal Black, Rayforce, Tatsujin, Gun Frontier, Kyukyoku Tiger (Twin Cobra), and Puzzle Bobble.

I also got a big kick out of Pocky & Rocky’s predecessor, Kiki KaiKai, especially after spending hours playing Pocky & Rocky Reshrined on Nintendo Switch.

There are quite a few Bubble Bobble-style games on the device, which is great if you’re into that sort of thing, but I’ve never personally been able to get into it. Not bad games, but not my cup of tea (maybe I lack practice). I also remember enjoying Rainbow Islands much more in my youth than I do now.

Although slightly limited in the gameplay department, Hat Trick Hero’s chunky visuals and overall layout represent everything I love about arcade games, while Pirate Pete’s, Lunar Rescue, and Space Invaders’ primitive graphics don’t. shouldn’t put you off playing these addictive classics.

EGRET II Mini Paddle and Trackball Expansion Kit Review

Fans willing to splash the extra cash can purchase a host of extras for the Egret II Mini, including a chunky arcade stick, traditional control pad, and the excellent Paddle and Trackball expansion set.

The Paddle and Trackball Expansion Set comes with a special controller that plugs into the back of the system, along with an SD card containing ten additional games that support paddle or trackball control input.

Although the sensitivity of the racquet and trackball takes some getting used to – especially the racquet which feels extremely loose at first – it’s worth persevering with, as the set contains some real addictive treasures.

Games like Cameltry – where you use the paddle to rotate the stage to guide a ball to the exit – are simple enough for anyone to pick up and play, but challenging enough to keep people hooked for hours.

The paddle-controlled Arkanoid games (and Puchi Carat) are the stars of the show, with more convoluted block-breaking action that will be familiar to Atari’s Breakout fans.

On the Trackball side, Strike Bowling and Birdie King are the standout titles, while Syvalion, a maze-based shooter, offers a unique and meatier experience for fans of arcade curiosities.

The biggest issue with the expansion is that there isn’t as much variety in the game lineup, especially considering the price. Five of the games are either part of the Arkanoid series (Arkanoid, Arkanoid Revenge of Doh and Arkanoid Returns) or feature similar gameplay (Puchi Carat and Plump Pop).

At the time of writing, the Paddle and Trackball extension costs over £100, plus the cost of the Egret II Mini itself. You can buy bundles that contain everything, but again, it will cost you.

If you have the budget and are willing to pay a little extra, you can at least rest assured that the Paddle and Trackball expansion won’t disappoint. What it lacks in quantity, it certainly makes up for in quality.

VERDICT – 4/5

Egret II Mini Paddle and Trackball Expansion Set

The Egret II Mini Paddle and Trackball Expansion Set (Image: ININ)

Arkanoid and Strike Bowling

Arkanoid and Strike Bowling are notable titles in the Paddle and Trackball expansion (Image: ININ)

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the Egret II Mini’s weedy speakers that let it down – particularly at higher volumes – although you can at least plug in headphones.

Another issue is that the Egret II Mini doesn’t come with an actual power supply, just a cable. Although this is usually not a problem, the Egret II Mini needs a lot of juice to keep everything running smoothly. Use a standard outlet and the device doesn’t get enough power, leading to all sorts of performance issues.

The price could also be a sticking point for some, especially if you buy the wardrobe and extras – which will set you back over £400. It’s not that the Egret II Mini isn’t worth it, it’s just a steep price to pay compared to some of its rivals.

Still, with a solid gaming lineup, excellent build quality, and some nice features like the rotating screen, there’s not too much to complain about when it comes to the Egret II Mini.

If you’re looking for a pint-sized machine that holds more gems than a safe at Tiffany’s, the Egret II Mini might just be the best miniature gaming device yet.

VERDICT: 4.5/5

You can purchase the Egret II Mini Limited Blue Edition and separate add-ons from Gamesrocket, or the Game Center Blue Edition and Arcade Cabinet Blue Edition from Strictly Limited Games.

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US stocks rise on cruise and tech spending https://thewindow.net/us-stocks-rise-on-cruise-and-tech-spending/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 16:15:17 +0000 https://thewindow.net/us-stocks-rise-on-cruise-and-tech-spending/

12:05 p.m .: Dow oscillates between gains and losses

Both major U.S. indices rebounded from five days of losses after the Dow Jones and S&P 500 hit their lowest closing point in two years.

By midday, the S&P 500 was flat at 3,653, while the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.3% at 10,837. The Dow Jones hit a high of 29,659 points, before falling back to 29,216 points at the noon bell.

Keith Buchanan, senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments, said analysts are wondering if the market is starting to bottom.

“Participants from my perspective are starting to circle around the carnage, if you will, of the last couple of weeks and trying to identify when the markets have flushed out or are at maximum pessimism to get more involved,” Buchanan wrote in a report.

Major movers included cruise lines Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, up 4.8%, 4.5% and 3.9% respectively, following news that Canada will drop related travel restrictions to COVID-19 in October.

US fertilizer maker CF Holdings rose 6.4%, while solar company Enphase Energy rose 4.6% and chipmaker Nvidia rose 2.2%.

On the downside, Keurig Dr Pepper fell 2.1% after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgraded the stock to “Neutral” from a “Buy” rating, and Estée Lauder fell nearly 3% , despite yesterday’s announcement of a partnership with BALMAIN. focusing on luxury beauty products.

9:35 a.m.: The market mood is improving…for now

US stocks reversed sharply at the open on Tuesday as bargain hunters rushed after days of selloffs, with the S&P 500 sliding to a new 2022 closing low and the Dow Jones Industrial Average joining the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite officially entering a bear market yesterday.

Shortly after the market opened, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gained 207 points or 0.7% to 29,468 points, the S&P 500 was up 40 points or 1.1% to 3,695 points and the Nasdaq Composite had added 173 points or 1.6% to 10,975 points. .

Meme AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) Inc stock jumped 6% on news that it has reached a distribution deal to sell up to 425 million shares of AMC Preferred Units, known as of APE. APE also climbed 10%.

After rising about 3% in premarket trading, shares of Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) held steady at the open as the legal battle between the social media company and eccentric billionaire Elon Musk heats up with attorneys for both sides ready to argue several unresolved requests for pre-trial information.

Forex.com market analyst Fiona Cincotta noted that while stocks rose slightly, it was more of a pause in the market sell-off than the start of something more positive.

“The fundamentals remain the same and a recession looks increasingly likely,” she said. “When companies like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) downgrade global equities to underweight for more than three months, we can expect the last quarter of the year to be a shock.”

6:30 a.m.: A little respite?

U.S. stocks are set to open higher after five straight days of sharp declines amid growing worries about a faltering global economy driven by high inflation, rising interest rates and currency market swings.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.5% in premarket trading, while those on the S&P 500 added 0.7% and contracts on the Nasdaq-100 rose 0.9% .

The gains in stock futures come after the Dow Jones entered the so-called bear market, defined roughly as levels around 20% below recent highs, and the S&P 500 index fell. collapsed to its lowest levels in about two years.

The trigger for the market rout last week was the Federal Reserve’s third 75 basis point interest rate hike and expectations of further hikes in the future, but the turmoil in the foreign exchange market, the the pound being on the way to parity with the dollar, added to equity. market woes.

“We had a bearish start to the week on Monday and price action across multiple asset classes remains volatile and chaotic – and that’s particularly true for currency markets rocked by the free fall of the pound,” he said. said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

The pound has come under huge selling pressure since the announcement of the UK’s ‘mini-budget’ last week, fueling debt concerns rather than boosting growth expectations as reported. had hoped. The UK central bank’s decision not to proceed with an emergency rate hike prompted further selling, pushing the pound to new all-time lows just above the US$1.03 level.

Ozkardeskaya noted that investors are sitting on cash after selling assets, citing reports that $4.6 trillion is now sitting in U.S. money market mutual funds paying 2% or more.

“But of course rising sovereign yields also become attractive. US 2-year paper now yields around 4.30%, while the S&P500 dividend yield is only around 1.7%,” she added.

Where the flows will go remains to be seen, but equity futures this morning suggest recent price declines could attract bargain hunters.

On the data front, US durable goods orders and home sales prices are due out today and personal consumption expenditures numbers are due Friday. Each of these numbers will shed light on where the world’s largest economy stands in the face of current concerns.

Contact the author at jon.hopkins@proactiveinvestors.com

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My ‘Wealth Disparity Monitor’: QTs, Rate Hikes, Stock and Bond Falls Reduce America’s Outrageous Wealth Disparity https://thewindow.net/my-wealth-disparity-monitor-qts-rate-hikes-stock-and-bond-falls-reduce-americas-outrageous-wealth-disparity/ Tue, 27 Sep 2022 06:50:28 +0000 https://thewindow.net/my-wealth-disparity-monitor-qts-rate-hikes-stock-and-bond-falls-reduce-americas-outrageous-wealth-disparity/

The wealth of the “top 0.1%” falls by $12 million per household; the wealth of the “bottom 50%”, who have almost nothing, increases.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The Fed, in its new publication of data on the distribution of wealth in the United States, has divided its classic category of the “Top 1%” into two new categories: the “Top 0.1%” and the “Remaining 1%” . And then there are the three classic categories of wealth or lack thereof: the richest 2% to 10%; the next 40%; and the “bottom 50%”.

The results of the splitting of the 0.1% are shocking – although we’ve known it all along: just how richer the “top 0.1%” are than even the “remaining 1%”, and what kind outrageous gift they received Fed money printing and interest rate crackdowns. While the “bottom 50%” have almost no wealth.

QT and Fed rate hikes reduce huge wealth disparity.

The new version is for the second quarter, when the stock market and bond market selloff was in full swing. The sale hit the total wealth (assets minus debt) of the “Top 0.1%” the most, as they hold the most stocks and bonds, and these were the hardest hit: the “Top 0.1%” lost $12 million in wealth on average. household, compared to the end of 2021. And the incredibly huge and mind-boggling wealth disparity in America has actually visibly diminished.

QE ended in early 2022. The Fed started raising rates in March. QT started in June. Right now, interest rates have gone up, bond yields have skyrocketed, and bond prices have fallen. The Nasdaq began to fall in late November. The S&P 500 index began to decline at the start of this year. Looking at Q2, at the end of June, the S&P 500 index was down 24%.

And indeed the reversal of QE and the Fed’s interest rate crackdown deflates the bubble of everything and thus some of the horrible wealth disparity that QE and the interest rate crackdown had so much aggravated.

So here is the average wealth (assets minus debts) per household, by wealth category in Q2 2022, and how much it has changed since the end of 2021 (in bold). Note the gain of the bottom 50%:

  • “Top” 0.1% “(red in chart below): $133.8 million (-$12 million, -8.2%)
  • “Remaining 1%” (purple): $19.8 million (-$2.0 million, -9.1%)
  • The 2% to 10% (yellow): $4.4 million (-$253,000, -5.5%)
  • “Next 40%” (green): $768,000 (-$16,500; -2.1%)
  • “Bottom 50%” (not shown in chart): $69,100 (+$10,500; +15.5%).

The “bottom 50%” of households do not appear on the graph below because they have so little, and much of what little they have is durable goods, such as cars, some real estate capital and pension rights. They own almost no stocks or bonds, directly or indirectly. But their net worth actually went from tiny to a little less tiny! Glory!

So here it is, my Wealth Disparity Monitor. It shows wealth (assets minus debts) in dollars, per average household for each category. The lower green line is the average household wealth of the wealthiest part of the middle class, people below the top 10% and above the bottom 50%, which is an indictment of the wealth distribution in America :

Main Beneficiaries of QE and Rate Clamping: “The 0.1%”

The explosion of household wealth of the “Top 0.1%” through 2021 (red line) shows that they have been the primary beneficiaries of Fed policies since March 2020. These policies were designed to inflate asset prices, and only asset owners have benefited. . The more assets they held, the more they benefited. And those who already held the most assets benefited the most.

From Q2 2020, the start of the Fed’s crazy QE and interest rate crackdown, through the end of 2021, 0.1% average households gained $47 million in wealth!

It was an obscene gift the Fed handed out to this small number of households for a monstrous increase in their wealth, and for an exponential increase in the already ridiculous wealth disparity to the rest of the households, even the “remaining 1%”. It is also the greatest economic injustice committed in recent US history in such a short time.

These monetary policies are largely responsible for the worst inflation in 4 decades which eats away at the “bottom 50%” of households because they have so little and spend all their money on necessities.

In the second quarter, households in the “Top 0.1%” gave up $12 million of the $47 million in gains they had made since March 2020. So the Fed has a long way to go with its policies. of tightening before this wealth disparity reverts to something that doesn’t tear American society apart.

Wealth disparity between “the 0.1%” and “the 1%”

The wealth disparity, even at the top, is simply staggering. As we’ve long suspected, it’s not the 1% who get all the benefits; it is the tiny number of households that make up the top 0.1%: QE and the repression of interest rates since the financial crisis, and in particular since March 2020, have simply exploded the gap of wealth between “the 0.1%” and the “remaining 1%.

The effects of Fed tightening are now beginning to reduce a small part of this disparity; and the path is long:

My Wealth Disparity Monitor is a quarterly bulletin on the effects of the Fed’s monetary policies. The official rationale for QE and interest rate suppression is the well-known but dubious “wealth effect” which is the monetary equivalent of trickle-down economics, where the Fed attempts to make the already rich much more rich by inflating asset prices with QE and interest rate repression. , based on the doctrine that these households will then spend some of this newly acquired wealth, which will then trickle down….

What we got instead of the wealth trickle is a huge bout of inflation, global inflation, as central banks around the world have pursued similar policies of interest rate suppression and QE.

Now the Fed and other central banks are backtracking furiously, and as the tightening progresses there will be more progress in reducing the disastrous wealth disparity.

Do you like to read WOLF STREET and want to support it? You use ad blockers – I completely understand why – but you want to support the site? You can donate. I greatly appreciate it. Click on the mug of beer and iced tea to find out how:

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Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin Falls to US$19,087: Fears of Global Economic Slowdown https://thewindow.net/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-falls-to-us19087-fears-of-global-economic-slowdown/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 18:09:44 +0000 https://thewindow.net/cryptocurrency-bitcoin-falls-to-us19087-fears-of-global-economic-slowdown/

New

oi-Kuntala Sarkar

|

The cryptocurrency market plunges after the US Fed’s 75 basis point interest rate to control the rising inflation rate. Today, September 24, at 18:00 UTC, Bitcoin gained 3.05% intraday and was quoted at $19,087.20. Yesterday, Bitcoin closed at US$19,286. Over the past 5 days, Bitcoin has fallen by 2.46%. Over the past month, it has fallen 10.68%. Moreover, over the past 6 months, Bitcoin has fallen by 56.61%.

Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin Falls to US$19,087: Fears of Global Economic Slowdown

On the other hand, other cryptocurrencies show a mixed trend. Ethereum was listed at $1,336.40, up 0.72%. Yesterday, Ethereum closed at US$1,245.65. Litecoin was listed at $54.83 down 0.72%, Dogecoin was listed at $0.0655 down 3.36%, and Cardano was listed at $0.4611 up 0.20% today. today, until the last transaction.

However, US stock markets are down in response to this. The S&P 500 was down 1.72% to 3,693.23, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 1.80% to 10,867.93, at the time of writing. On the other hand, the US dollar index reached 113.02, up 1.50%, until the last trade.

“Bitcoin was back in the red in Friday’s session as the token once again traded below $19,000. The recent decline comes as the global economic slowdown has become more apparent. This week, the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve moved to raise interest rates, with the Bank of Japan also intervening in the currency market. Ethereum was also lower on Friday, falling below $1,300,” noted news from bitcoin.com.

  • Cryptocurrency accepts US Fed rate hike of 75 basis points, bitcoin rises 3% during the day
  • Crypto Market Absorbs 75bps Fed Rate Hike, Bitcoin Relives at US$19,029.40
  • Bitcoin continues to fall, quoted at US$18,885 ahead of US Fed meeting
  • Cryptocurrencies see steep drop, Bitcoin dips below $18,400, Ether to $1,327
  • Cryptocurrency continues to fall: Bitcoin slips to $19,690, trading volume plunges
  • Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin falls to US$19,437, US Fed rate hike concerns escalate
  • Cryptocurrency: Ethereum Drops Above 8%, Bitcoin Plunges Above 2% Today: Merger News
  • Bitcoin plunges to $20,030, ether quoted at $1,588 pre-merger
  • Bitcoin drops sharply by 7.40% to US$20,745: US inflation higher than expected
  • Bitcoin regains momentum at US$22,338, Ether up to US$1,726
  • The risk and rewards of crypto gambling
  • Bitcoin bounces back to US$18,991, after falling sharply yesterday due to a strong US dollar index

Article first published: Saturday, September 24, 2022, 11:39 p.m. [IST]

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Three Waters in turmoil as local elections approach https://thewindow.net/three-waters-in-turmoil-as-local-elections-approach/ Sat, 24 Sep 2022 00:35:43 +0000 https://thewindow.net/three-waters-in-turmoil-as-local-elections-approach/

The councils – including the 31-member opposition Three Waters group, Communities for Local Democracy – broadly support greater Maori influence and voice in decision-making. However – and despite the task force’s changes – most oppose the government’s model, with a recent poll of 291 mayoral candidates showing that more than 75% were against the reforms.

Timaru Mayor Nigel Bowen said his council’s main concern was the “economic ease” water control brings to the district, and supports calls for a bipartisan solution on such an important issue.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton said with improvements to the water over the past decade, the council did not want residents to pay again to bring nearby areas up to standard.

Auckland’s Phil Goff says the supercity has already merged its water assets, contributes 93% of the assets’ value and is responsible for 90% of Entity A’s population – but would only have 28% of the representation.

He would prefer the government to provide a direct guarantee for the communes’ water debts, allowing them to borrow more.

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker broadly supports the reforms but also has reservations about council voice and says there will be ongoing staffing issues for the industry.

“Even though we funded it in a different way, we don’t have enough water technicians, we don’t train enough water engineers, so right now we can’t all the amount of water infrastructure done just with our Wellington Water group as it is,” explains Boulanger.

Mahuta says that throughout the four-year project, she always hoped to work in partnership with councils. She is backed by her second-in-command, Associate Minister for Local Government and MP for Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty.

Since then, he’s been visiting councils across the country — now over 40 — to engage and get their input. RNZ has repeatedly requested an interview on the subject over the past three weeks, but has declined until the tour wraps up next month.

He told parliament in August, however, that every council he had spoken to had told him the status quo was unsustainable.

However, they also face a series of other major reform programs – a replacement of the Resource Management Act and an overhaul of local government.

Many details of the Three Waters Plan are also unresolved: there are many calls to exclude stormwater systems at least until jurisdiction over things like culverts and rivers can be settled; and there are no details yet on economic regulation and pricing.

The chief executive of industry group Water NZ, Gillian Blythe, and chairwoman Helen Atkins, however, warn against delays, saying there is no good time for intergenerational change.

They referred the select committee to a document from the Environmental Commissioner in 2000 which stated that the then current model – 22 years ago – had reached the end of its lifespan and that further changes would only make necessary changes more difficult and costly.

Whether the government’s unpopular plan will achieve its goals remains to be seen.

in today Focus on politics podcast, RNZ Digital Political Reporter Russell Palmer enters the Three Waters Debate, assessing the situation ahead of local and general elections.

RNZ

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Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF: Buyable in 2023 (NASDAQ: BND) https://thewindow.net/vanguard-total-bond-market-etf-buyable-in-2023-nasdaq-bnd/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 21:49:00 +0000 https://thewindow.net/vanguard-total-bond-market-etf-buyable-in-2023-nasdaq-bnd/

Alex Wang

The Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund ETF (NASDAQ: BND) is taking a beating this year. It is doing better than stocks, but its 14.5% selloff has many investors worried. If bonds fall along with stocks, is there something there really safe?

Truth be told, BND is probably safer than most funds you could buy. It is less volatile than stocks and offers a yield of 3.73% (higher than the average stock). Today, BND suffers from not beating the yield on 2-year Treasury bills. However, the fund could become a great buy in 2023, as I will explain in the following paragraphs.

BND Features

To prove that BND might be a good buy next year, I’ll have to take a look at the fund’s characteristics. If BND were to drop 10% with the same risk profile it has now, it would already be a great buy. However, it does not have such a yield, so from today it exposes investors to the risk of not compensating for the rate of inflation.

The key statistics on BND are:

  • An annualized return of 3.73%.

  • An MER of 0.03%.

  • A bid-ask spread of 0.01%.

  • 4.975 million in daily volume.

  • 10,178 bonds.

Immediately, most of these features jump out at you as very desirable. The fees are among the lowest in the ETF industry, the spread is virtually zero and the level of diversification is enormous. This fund has pretty much everything ETF investors are looking for on paper.

However, there is a small problem:

The BND yields 3.73% while the 2-year Treasury bond yields 4.1%. Treasury bills are considered risk-free, but BND is not: it includes many corporate bonds, some of which are rated BBB or lower. Thus, the high-risk investment has the lowest return. This looks set to be offset over time by the continued sale of assets held by BND, which will in turn cause the price of BND to decline.

Indeed, the price of BND is trending lower and should continue to do so as long as the Fed continues to raise interest rates. When the Fed raises rates by selling Treasuries, it lowers their price by increasing their supply. The Fed doesn’t determine yield on its own (enough demand can overwhelm Fed selling), but it is large enough to move the yield on Treasuries in the direction it wants. Treasuries owned by BND will drop when the Fed sells them. As the chart below shows, the value of Treasuries on the Fed’s balance sheet has declined by $96 billion since June 8, so the sell-off continues.

Fred

Fred (Fed balance sheet)

The BND’s own holdings aren’t the same as what the Fed sells — that includes some corporate debt and some miscellaneous. obligations. However, rising Treasury yields tend to depress the price of riskier bonds, as it is impossible to justify investing in a riskier asset for a lower return. Thus, the Fed’s interest rate decisions in the coming months will affect ALL BND holdings, not just Treasuries.

BND Holdings

Speaking of BND holdings, it’s time to take a closer look at them. As the name suggests, BND invests primarily in bonds. That in itself doesn’t say much. There are all kinds of different bonds, just like there are all kinds of different stocks, and the differences between them can be substantial.

According to BND’s factsheet, the fund’s major asset classes and their weightings are:

  • US government bonds (67%).

  • Corporate debt rated AAA (3.8%).

  • Debt rated AA (3%).

  • A rated debt (11.8%).

  • Debt rated BBB (14.3%).

  • Debt rated below BBB (0.1%).

It’s a pretty diverse set of different levels of risk. In addition to those listed above, we may see some mortgage-backed securities as we scroll through the fund’s annual report. So there is a bit of everything. Some specific obligations it holds include:

  • US Treasury bonds of various maturities.

  • AbbVie (ABBV) with a coupon of 4.2%.

  • American Express (AXP) with a coupon of 3%.

  • Abbott Laboratories (ABT) with a coupon of 4.9%.

Some of these bonds have quite high yields, but again, the 2-year treasuries have them too. Investors can buy treasury bonds directly from their bank or from online vendors, so they are reasonable alternatives to funds like BND.

What are the advantages of BND compared to Treasury bonds?

The most obvious is diversification. With 10,178 bonds, BND is one of the most diversified funds in the world. Thus, it offers less risk than an individual bond theoretically does. However, it is not clear that the logic of diversification makes sense when the opportunity cost is cash. US Treasuries are considered the safest investments in the world, so much so that people refer to their returns as the “risk-free rate of return”. Diversification is supposed to protect you against a specific risk – the risk of an asset as opposed to market risk – but what about assets that have almost no risk? You cannot “diversify” a risk that does not exist.

Admittedly, when people call Treasuries “risk-free,” they’re just using shorthand for “least risky asset.” Treasuries are literally not without risk: the federal government has already come close to defaulting (due to political deadlocks), and it could theoretically default in the future. However, Treasuries are low-risk enough that it’s hard to imagine other assets thriving when they fail. If the United States ever defaults, it would imply that the government is going through a fiscal crisis, which would be bad for corporate bonds, stocks, and everything else.

In this sense, BND’s allocation to corporate debt could be seen as increasing risk rather than decreasing it. Sure, BND has a lot of bonds, but compared to the least risky stock on earth, it’s more exposed to risk. Therefore, it is difficult to justify buying BND at a lower yield than the Treasury. This seems to be a “more risk for less return” proposition.

Why I have my eye on 2023

After explaining all the reasons why BND is not very attractive right now, I can explain why I think it will become more attractive in 2023.

The first observation here is that the Fed behaved exactly as announced this year. He increased the rates at each meeting. The rate hikes were of a similar magnitude to what they hinted at before making them. There was no pivot.

It seems the Fed’s plan here is to do what it always said it would do, which is to keep rising until it hits a terminal rate somewhere between 4 .5% and 5%. Many people like to bet that the Fed will eventually pivot, on the theory that the pain of high interest rates will knock them off course, but there’s little reason to think that way. If anyone thinks the Fed is going to pivot because they’re going to be scared of the consequences of the rate hike, they’re essentially armchair psychoanalysis. No academically sound investment philosophy endorses this type of thinking. The default assumption should be to expect Fed officials to do what they say they will do.

Given this, we can reasonably expect the highest rates to be reached in 2023. Officially, the Fed’s plan is to rise until inflation begins to decline, but it signaled that the target range is 3% to 3.25%. The maximum target range is expected in 2023 at 4.6%. For rates to rise that high, bonds will have to fall much further. Therefore, buying BND in 2022 may be premature.

Note that the Fed forecast has a hard deadline: 2023. Fed officials did not specify which month or quarter in 2023 it would be, but whether we are at a 4% policy rate in the first quarter of 2023 , it will be safe. assume that BND is approaching its maximum return. Remember that all bonds are correlated with other bonds and the yield on Treasury bills tends to move in the same direction as the key rate. So if the Fed behaves as it says, we should see yields peak next year. I can’t tell you what time it will be next year, but a 4% funding rate in 2023 seems like a good buy trigger. I know that, personally, I would consider an investment in BND if these conditions were met.

As for BND’s yield lagging the 2-year treasury: it appears to be partly a function of the inverted yield curve. The yield on 10-2 year Treasury bonds tends to reverse before recessions and then gradually normalize as the recession nears the bottom. BND holds bonds at all sorts of different durations: its 3.73% yield actually beats the 10-year Treasury yield, which is 3.68%. So, if the yield curve normalizes going forward, BND will enjoy a better yield than short-term Treasuries: another factor indicating that it will be more buyable next year than this year.

The essential

The bottom line about BND is that it is a reasonably safe fund that, at present, simply does not compete with Treasuries. The yield curve is inverted and some of BND’s long-term debt offers lower yields than 2-year Treasury bills. From today, you better ask your bank for Treasury bills and CDs rather than buy this fund. However, history shows that inverted yield curves don’t last forever. Sooner or later, long-term bonds will become attractive, and on that date, BNDs will be purchasable. As for me personally, I am aiming for 2023.

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India will consume 40% more coal than today in the next decade — Quartz India https://thewindow.net/india-will-consume-40-more-coal-than-today-in-the-next-decade-quartz-india/ Fri, 23 Sep 2022 06:40:00 +0000 https://thewindow.net/india-will-consume-40-more-coal-than-today-in-the-next-decade-quartz-india/

In India’s energy transition, solar will emerge as a dominant energy source, but coal will remain the mainstay of the country’s energy sector.

Over the next decade, at least 40% more coal consumption is estimated in India. These trends are reflected in the draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), which provides an overview of India’s ongoing energy transition.

The CEA report estimates a 40% increase in national coal needs in 2031-32. In 2021-2022, India’s domestic coal requirement was 678 million tonnes (MT). It will increase to 831.5 MT by 2026-27 and 1018.2 MT by 2031-32.

At present, 51.1% of the total installed capacity in India’s power sector comes from coal. Of the total installed capacity of 399.49 gigawatts (GW) in the country, 236.10 GW comes from thermal, 6.78 GW from nuclear and 156.60 GW from renewable energies. The NEP draft indicates that there is additional coal-based capacity required until 2031-32, which can range from 17 GW to around 28 GW. This is beyond the 25 GW coal-based capacity being built.

Talking about the role of thermal power plants (TPPs) in the future, Ashok Sreenivas, coordinator at Prayas, a Pune-based energy think tank, says that a small increase in thermal power capacity may be needed despite the low plant load factor (PLF). ). Energy capacity can be maximized at certain peak times when renewable energy is not available. To meet this demand, additional capacity may be required. It should also be clear that reasonable coal capacity will be retired in the near future.

Interestingly, there was a total of 22.7 GW of coal-fired power plants, which were planned to be decommissioned between 2017 and 2022. Of this total, only 7.35 GW were removed from those planned, of which 4.5 GW due to old age criteria. Now, it is estimated that 4.6 GW of TPP will retire between 2022 and 2027. There is no such estimate for 2027-32.

An expert working with one of the four international accountancy bodies, says that of the 22 GW that needed to be removed, 16 GW of TPPs were those that did not have space to install flue gas desulphurization (FGD). Sulfur dioxide (SOx) emissions need to be controlled.

The majority of these TPPs have not retired. The central government is also extending the deadlines for installing FGDs. So no one should get confused with the government’s intention regarding coal. Even today, the government is talking about installing 17 GW of thermal power plants in the most conservative scenario and 28 GW in the most optimistic scenario, added the expert, who wishes to remain anonymous.

According to the Electricity Act 2003, the CEA is supposed to prepare a national electricity plan once every five years. To date, the CEA has prepared three PNEs in 2007, 2013 and 2018-2019. The CEA is preparing the report in two volumes, one dealing with energy production and the other with energy transmission. This draft report discusses estimates of energy production in the next five-year and ten-year scenarios. It paints an ambitious picture of the electricity sector and the efforts needed to achieve the objectives.

The energy transition is underway

Since independence, India has focused on adding capacity to meet energy demand.

In 1947, the country had only 1.36 GW of installed capacity. Compared to this, the country’s installed capacity for power generation was 399.49 GW in March 2022. Today, India is not only looking to increase its capacity but also focusing on clean fuels to meet its energy demand. Over the next 10 years, the country plans to add more than double its existing capacity.

According to the draft NEP, the country will target 865.94 GW of installed capacity by the end of the year 2031-32, half of which will come from non-fossil fuel sources. This is India’s commitment to the global community in the fight against global warming.

To achieve this, India plans to add 35 GW of coal to its existing capacity by 2031-32. On the other hand, the country plans to add 279.48 GW of solar energy and 93.6 GW of wind energy to its existing park during the same period.

The draft report states that “the contribution of renewable energy sources (RES) will be about 35.6% of the country’s total energy in 2026-27 and 45.09% by 2031-32” .

This added capacity will change the industry, said the expert quoted above. According to him, coal and gas as a mixture have so far been the predominant player. Renewable energies represent only 10% of total electricity production.

“Right now that’s not a problem. When you’re talking about a grid where it’s 45% renewable energy, that will become a problem. You’re reducing a reliable source which is coal and replacing it with a variable source which is renewable.In this case, the management of the network becomes a concern.Therefore, the country needs reliable resources for the production of energy.It can be a hydro or storage battery.For the next five years, we have enough hydropower to meet these challenges. But beyond 2026, hydropower alone will not be able to provide this reliability. We need a battery energy storage system (BESS) The draft report is clear on this and highlights the fact that the country will need 51 gigawatts of storage capacity by 2031-32.

However, he points to another problem with this ambitious goal. India adds just 10 to 12 GW of renewable capacity each year. It’s not sufficient. “If the country is serious with its ambition, it needs to add 40 to 50 GW of capacity every year. It also requires huge investments,” he added.

The draft NEP report also gives an overview by stating that a total investment of 3.4 trillion rupees is needed for BESS and 12.52 trillion rupees for renewable energy by 2031-32.

Underutilization remains a concern

Although adding capacity remains above the country’s energy ambition, the proper use of existing capacity (including TPP, gas and renewables) remains a challenge.

The performance of a power plant is measured using the plant load factor (PLF). It is a measure of the output of a power plant relative to the maximum output it could produce. This means that if a power plant has a higher PLF, it produces more energy also at lower cost (per unit of electricity).

The CEA’s draft PNE highlights this bitter observation. About TPPs, it is said that once the power plant is commissioned, the biggest challenge is to operate the plant at a high PLF. “The PLF of the country’s coal-fired power plants has steadily declined over the years. The PLF varied by 60.5% in 2017-18, 60.9% in 2018-19, 55.9% in 2019-20, 54.6% in 2020-21 and 58.8% in 2021-22” , he adds.

Similarly, the NEP project speaks of gas infrastructure. Gas-fired power plants operated at a low PLF of around 23%, the report said. The low PLF is not due to a lack of gas pipeline infrastructure, but to the unavailability of cheap sources of natural gas.

Regarding peak demand and challenge, it is stated that ER generation could not be fully absorbed due to the shape of the load curve. This is the case when the daytime wind capacity utilization factor (CUF) is 24.08% and the solar CUF is 17.73%.

An expert, on condition of anonymity, explains this by saying that there is a mismatch between supply and demand. Solar and wind energy produce maximum energy when demand is minimum. If you see the power demand pattern, it is high in the evening and in the morning. But energy production peaks in the afternoon. In such a scenario, it is difficult to integrate the generated energy into the grid. In the future, when the capacity of solar and wind energy increases, it will be even more difficult to manage the total electricity production.

As for the TPP and the low PLF, the use of these plants has been in continuous decline for at least a decade. In 2009-10, the national PLF was 77.5%. Now, in 2021-22, the average PLF has decreased to 58.87%. The draft NEP document foresees a further decline and estimates that it will reach 55% in 2026-27. However, he claims that there will be an improvement thereafter and that the PLF of thermal power plants will be around 62% in 2031-32. But, he gives no explanation on how he will improve.

Sreenivas de Prayas says TPPs have a low PLF because the country has added significant coal capacity over the past decade. This is accompanied by weaker than expected demand growth and the growing role of renewables in generation. This led to reduced use of TPPs and therefore lower PLF, he added.

An article published in the International Journal of Energy Production and Management in 2021 also raises these concerns. The author of the article is Alok Kumar Tripathi, Managing Director and Head of L&D-NTPC Regional Learning Institute. He writes that coal capacity seems to have been caught between the inaccuracies of forecasting, the obsession with legacy systems, and the rapid advent of renewables.

In his article, he gives five scenarios where three projects further lower the PLF of the thermal power sector. But, when Mongabay-India approached him, Alok Kumar Tripathi had a different perspective to share.

He says now the situation is changing. For several reasons, the whole world is again considering the addition of thermal energy. In recent months, the way demand has picked up, renewables are not able to match it and that is why thermal energy is once again gaining attention. Today, policy makers around the world are planning to establish new thermal power plants. Regarding the low PLF, he says that TPPs must adapt to renewables as production of these increases or decreases. Due to this imposed flexibility, thermal power plants are suffering and must be compensated, he adds.

His view is also reflected in other reports, from different parts of the globe, on the renewed focus on coal, which increasingly looks like a global trend.

This post was originally posted in mongabay india.

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S&P/TSX Composite Index down, US stock markets also down in volatile trading https://thewindow.net/sp-tsx-composite-index-down-us-stock-markets-also-down-in-volatile-trading/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 21:40:40 +0000 https://thewindow.net/sp-tsx-composite-index-down-us-stock-markets-also-down-in-volatile-trading/ TORONTO — Canadian and U.S. markets were under pressure again on Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s rate decision a day earlier signaled more rate hikes and economic trouble ahead.

TORONTO — Canadian and U.S. markets were under pressure again on Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s rate decision a day earlier signaled more rate hikes and economic trouble ahead.

“Markets continue to absorb the full implications of the Fed’s decision in terms of the outlook for higher interest rates for longer,” said Todd Mattina, chief economist at Mackenzie Investments.

On Wednesday, the US Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to a target of between 3 and 3.25%, and indicated that it could reach around 4.4% by the end of the year.

At a press conference after the announcement, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned that getting inflation under control could mean slower growth, higher unemployment and potentially a recession.

“The chances of a soft landing,” Powell said, “are likely to diminish.”

The stern warning sent bond yields sharply higher on Thursday as investors digested the implications of Powell’s remarks, Mattina said.

“The Fed really acknowledged yesterday that they are willing to pay real costs in terms of output and even jobs in order to get inflation under control. So we are seeing some of that trickle down to markets today, including including stock markets, which are also down today.”

The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed down 181.86 points, or 0.95%, at 19,002.68.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 107.10 points at 30,076.68. The S&P 500 index fell 31.94 points to 3,757.99, while the Nasdaq composite fell 153.38 points to 11,066.81.

Growth stocks were particularly under pressure, with the information technology index on the TSX down 2.61%, including Shopify Inc. down 6.26%, while the index for cannabis-intensive healthcare fell 2.17%.

“It’s really tech and growth stocks that are driving the sell off today, as opposed to industrial stocks,” Mattina said. “This makes sense because the most growth-sensitive stocks tend to be sensitive to changes in long-term interest rates, primarily because their future earnings are expected to be long-term.”

The losses were quite large, however, with the S&P/TSX energy index down 1.8% and financials down 0.69%.

Uncertainty over growth prospects has also led to more market swings, Mattina said.

“Volatility in trading days has increased in recent weeks. We’ve seen a lot more volatility in the day, especially in stocks.”

The prospect of higher US rates and weaker growth also put continued pressure on the loonie. The Canadian dollar was trading at 74.18 cents US against 74.64 cents US on Wednesday.

Canada’s currency is falling partly because inflation came in below expectations in the last reading, while in the US it surprised on the upside.

“Inflation trends are starting to diverge between Canada and the United States,” Mattina said. “So the Bank of Canada’s rate hike outlook is starting to look a little less hawkish than that of the Federal Reserve, which faces greater inflationary momentum right now.”

The November crude contract was up 55 cents at US$83.49 per barrel and the October natural gas contract was down 69 cents at US$7.09 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$5.40 at US$1,681.10 an ounce and the December copper contract was flat at US$3.47 per pound.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 22, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)

The Canadian Press


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Financial planning helps in retirement | Farm progress https://thewindow.net/financial-planning-helps-in-retirement-farm-progress/ Thu, 22 Sep 2022 07:43:52 +0000 https://thewindow.net/financial-planning-helps-in-retirement-farm-progress/

Last month, the first of a two-part retirement series focused on how to plan to protect your farm and your family in retirement. In this second part, we’ll cover financial planning before and during retirement, and how practice can help you achieve your overall farm succession plan and prevent you from running out of cash during retirement or when you need more care. .

What is a financial plan? Simply put, it is a comprehensive assessment of a person’s current and future financial situation. As we discussed last month, many farm families are so busy farming that they might consider retiring later than planned. We all know that the earlier you plan for a major life event, like retirement, the better your overall chance of achieving your goals.

From a legal perspective, a solid pre-retirement financial plan is critically important to a successful farm business transition. Many families spend time talking about a farm succession plan, but financial planning is an essential element that can be lost when focusing on passing assets to the next generation. There are many benefits to going through the financial planning process with an experienced financial advisor:

Define aims. The process helps you put your goals and objectives in writing and make informed decisions based on those objectives. Additionally, the process creates a baseline that the family can review for years to come.

Maximize retirement income. Income can come from Social Security or other government benefits. Having other liquid assets available can help fund those “extra” things you haven’t had a chance to do during your working life, such as charitable or family donations, vacations, and money. set aside for unforeseen life events such as long-term care. .

Additionally, knowing where the income would come from when you decide to reduce active farming activities gives you greater flexibility.

Identify the need for insurance and other financial products. This strategy also complements succession planning and helps the next generation continue the farming operation.

Keep reviewing the plan

Remember that it is important to monitor your plan and remind yourself of your goals and objectives each year. Most financial planners recommend reviewing a plan annually or more often, especially in times of market volatility like the one we are experiencing today.

Consider long-term goals and assess your risk tolerance with your advisor. Everyone has a different risk tolerance when it comes to investing for retirement or accumulating wealth. There are many investment approaches and strategies, too many to cover here.

The bottom line is that you need to remember your goals and objectives, and your overall plan in times of uncertainty. Most advisors recommend not making decisions based on short-term economic conditions. Perform a risk tolerance analysis annually, or at least periodically, reviewing and reminding yourself of your goals and objectives.

More for Advisors

It takes a team to move your plan forward. As a lawyer, I have seen firsthand the benefits for all involved when farm families engage their financial advisor in retirement planning as part of an overall goal-setting process for the agricultural succession plan.

For practical purposes, reviewing your plan helps your lawyer understand what’s important to you, know your net worth for tax planning purposes, and understand the financial assets you have.

Another important piece of information a lawyer will ask a financial planner is how much cash the family has in retirement. This helps the attorney analyze which legal tools and strategies will protect the deal in the future.

Protect your land

One of the most frequently asked questions by my clients is how to protect the greatest asset they own – their land – if they need long-term care. The best answer I have is to investigate long term care insurance or investment products as soon as possible.

What if there is simply no money available and not enough income to cover long-term care expenses? It is a difficult situation. You should consult a lawyer who can advise you on elder care planning. They will know the rules you need to understand and give your family advice on how to keep what you worked for together. Ultimately, the best approach is to plan early and often.

Herbold-Swalwell is with Parker & Geadelmann PLLC. Email him at [email protected].

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Fed interest rates, Wall Street, currencies, yields https://thewindow.net/fed-interest-rates-wall-street-currencies-yields/ Wed, 21 Sep 2022 07:38:00 +0000 https://thewindow.net/fed-interest-rates-wall-street-currencies-yields/

The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Toru Hanai | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region traded lower on Wednesday, following Wall Street’s negative advance ahead of the Federal Reserve’s planned rate hike.

Oil prices recovered in the afternoon in Asia after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan fell 1.36% to 27,313.13, while the Topix index also fell 1.36% to 1,920.80. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 1.56% to 6,700.20.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 1.6% in the last hour of trading and the Hang Seng Tech Index fell 2.7%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.17% to 3,117.18 and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.668% to 11,208.51.

The South Korean Kospi fell 0.87% to 2,347.21. MCSI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan lost 1.4%.

“A sourer tone has set in over the past 24 hours, with stocks falling and safe-haven currencies, including the dollar, stronger,” National Australia Bank economist Taylor Nugent wrote in a note. of Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313.45 points, or 1.01%, to 30,706.23. The S&P 500 slipped 1.13% to 3,855.93 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.95% to 11,425.05. The dollar index strengthened above the 110 level.

– CNBC’s Samantha Subin and Jesse Pound contributed to this report.

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