Book Bits: 25 September 2021

The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance
Eswar S. Prasad
Q&A with author via Bloomberg
Q: Why is there such urgency for central banks to develop digital currencies?
A: The reality is that the end of physical cash is not too far away. We are seeing digital payments in various forms beginning to dominate in economies small and large, developing and advanced. So I think for central banks, if you think about their money being used at the retail level, this is at some level an existential question. Central banks will still be able to conduct their main functions and maybe they can continue doing so without having their money being used for retail payments, but having a CBDC has a variety of advantages.

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Macro Briefing: 24 September 2021

* House Speaker Pelosi: Congress won’t let government funding expire next week
* Senate may vote on Monday on raising the US debt ceiling
* Treasury Secretary Yellen under pressure as possible debt default approaches
* China flies fighter jets into Taiwan airspace
* China’s central bank says all cryptocurrency-related transactions are illegal
* China Evergrande silent on whether it will make a key interest payment
* US Leading Economic Index continues to indicate strong growth
* US jobless claims rose again last week, increasing more than forecast
* Chicago Fed Nat’l Activity Index: slower but-still above-average growth in August
* US economic growth continued to slow in September via PMI survey data:

Macro Briefing: 23 September 2021

* FDA authorizes Pfizer booster shots for older and higher-risk Americans
* Pace of new US Covid-19 cases expected to rise in weeks ahead, experts predict
* Federal Reserve expects ‘transitory’ inflation to persist
* Fed chief says taper may start ‘soon,’ perhaps as early as November
* US economy continued to strengthen, but at a slower rate, Fed says
* Eurozone growth eases to 5-month low in September via PMI survey data
* UK economic output rises at softest pace in 7 months via PMI survey data
* Chip shortage will take a heavy bite out of auto company revenues in 2021
* US existing home sales fell more than expected in August:

Exploring Alternatives To The US 60/40 Benchmark: Part II

In the first installment of kicking the tires on alternatives to the standard 60/40 US stock/bond asset allocation, I reviewed three relatively tame possibilities. The results, based on adding various flavors of foreign equities and fixed income, were less than impressive, albeit in part because US markets have been on a tear in recent years. Let’s take another dive into the possibilities with a more radical approach with a volatility ETF.

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Macro Briefing: 22 September 2021

* House passes spending bill, setting up showdown in Senate over debt limit
* Biden addresses UN, says ‘the world must wake up’
* Iran says it’s ready to restart nuclear talks
* Biden plays down odds for post-Brexit US-UK free-trade deal
* Taper timetable in focus for today’s Fed meeting
* Fed will wait till November for taper announcement, CNBC survey reports
* Former China central bank advisor: Evergrande crisis will slow economic growth
* Cracks in China’s growth engine raise risks for emerging markets, analysts warn
* Is the US losing the race to decide the future of money?
* US housing starts rebounded in August to slightly above-average level for 2021:

China Stocks Continue To Weigh On Global Equity Strategies

If you hold a diversified portfolio of world stocks and give China more than a trivial weight, you’re feeling the pinch this year. Shares in the world’s second-largest economy continue to tumble, exacerbated in recent days by the liquidity crisis in Evergrande, a large Chinese property developer with a deepening liquidity crisis that’s roiling global markets lately.

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Macro Briefing: 21 September 2021

* Delta variant prevents a full recovery for the US economy
* Dems see risk of implosion for Biden’s domestic agenda
* World leaders return to UN after two years, facing multiple crises
* Canada’s Prime Minister wins re-election but without majority in parliament
* Rising Haitian migrants at US border is new challenge for White House
* US death toll for Covid-19 exceeds 1918 flu fatalities
* Higher inflation is risk for global economy, OECD warns
* Evergrande crisis in China isn’t expected to be another Lehman moment
* Will Evergrande be able to pay bond interest this week?
* China may accelerate military efforts in response to U.S.-Australia sub deal
* US homebuilder sentiment increases in September–first gain in three months: