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Dollar stands tall after firm U.S. data, Asian stocks wobble

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The dollar reached a four-and-a-half-year high against the yen on Wednesday after better-than-expected U.S. retail data, which also boosted Wall Street equities, although Asian shares failed to follow suit.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.45% edging off Tuesday’s near three-week closing high, with declines in most markets, while Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.4%.

The dollar reached a high of 114.97 yen in early Asian hours, its strongest since March 2017, while the euro languished at a 16-month low at $1.1320.

The greenback was helped by Tuesday data which showed U.S. retail sales rose faster-than-expected in October, potentially encouraging the U.S. Federal Reserve to accelerate the tapering of its asset purchase programme, as inflation remains stubbornly high.

“The data backs up that sense that things are going pretty well, and the Fed can be a little more aggressive if it wants to be without completely causing the party to crash,” said Rob Carnell, head of research for Asia Pacific at ING.

“Top of mind for everyone is inflation right now, it’s still an issue after the numbers we got from the U.S. yesterday, and we’ve got a whole barrage of other inflation data coming today, particularly the U.K and Canada,” he added.

Britain publishes its October CPI inflation data later today with a high print likely to add pressure on the Bank of England to raise rates in December after surprising markets by holding fire last month.

“What it’s not about is the Biden-Xi summit, which had the potential to do damage but seems not to have done so,” Carnell added.

At a three hour meeting on Tuesday, U.S. president Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping turned down some of the heat in Sino-U.S. tensions, though both sides held to their entrenched positions on a range of issues.

The positive tone offered a slight boost to Asian shares on Tuesday, but this proved short lived.

On Wednesday, the Hong Kong benchmark slipped 0.4%, weighed by property developers and casinos as traders bet a recent rebound in both sectors had gone too far. Chinese blue chips were flat.

Australian shares slipped 0.5%, weighed by Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest bank, whose shares slipped 6% after it flagged hit to margins from the low interest rate environment and mortgage competition.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.15%, the S&P 500 gained 0.39% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.76%, supported by the retail sales figures.

These also provided a boost to U.S. Treasuries and benchmark 10-year note yields reached as high as 1.646% in early Asia, a three-week high.

U.S. crude dipped 0.66% to $80.25 a barrel. Brent crude fell 0.5% to $82.03 per barrel.

Spot gold rose 0.25% to $1,854 an ounce, climbing back towards the five-month high of $1,876.9 hit a day earlier on rising inflation concerns.

Rival inflation hedge bitcoin was steady at $60,240 having shed 5% a day earlier and briefly falling below $60,000.

 

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

Economy

Mindset Matters: The Responsibility Of Corporate Behavior In Magnifying The Disability Economy – Forbes

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Through a series of columns starting with the previous Mindset Matters piece, the hope is to open a dialogue around the significance of the emerging Disability Economy and discover some of the intricacies that are key to its very growth. As we mine deeper into this burgeoning economy of identity it is critical to recognize that this very concept is not static, but rather filled with complexity and nuances that must be explored further. If companies are going to truly embrace disability inclusion as a key stakeholder within their leadership strategy and a central theme to their long-term business success, then they must integrate key areas of knowledge that are essential to adopting a framework that radiates true disability confidence.

Corporations who choose to participate in this budding Disability Economy must understand the holistic nature of what needs to be done. A good starting point is to acknowledge the fact that the disability community is diverse, that the lived experience of disability cannot be seen through one lens, rather it must be seen through a diversity of perspectives that offer organizations a multitude of opportunities. Corporate leadership should have an awareness that while the Disability Economy is continuing to grow, it is ephemeral, in that it will continually change with each generation and each situation demanding new requirements that necessitate innovative ways of thinking and operating. It is this very awareness that will be critical for organizations to foster greater economic opportunities within this uncharted space.

So, what do businesses need to know? Corporate leadership must understand that to honestly immerse themselves within the Disability Economy in an authentic way they must identify with the value of needs. It is this understanding that must become the fundamental building block for corporate leaders to work on as they move forward while embracing disability into their business strategy. The value of needs is based on the notion that amplifying soft skills such as listening, trust, and empathy are central to pushing past barriers that are critical to gaining access to this new marketplace. 

The adage “Nothing About Us, Without Us” cannot be far from the mind of any corporate leader who is engaging in the disability space. For any corporate leader to be involved in the Disability Economy, one must begin with a level of trust. No matter what the product or service, having buy-in from the disability community is essential to the process. Understanding the communities’ needs is imperative, but it is also the first salvo in starting an ongoing dialogue between corporate entities and the disability community themselves. It is through this process that the potential for real evolution can happen, and new products and services can have real meaning within this growing market. 

As corporate leaders realize the value of need, the next step is making them habitual. The role of need must become an essential calling card for any organization doing business within the Disability Economy. It is not only critical for larger corporations but has value across many other branches of the emergent Disability Economy from entrepreneurship, social investors, to nonprofit organizations, and even government and educational institutions. These are topics that we will investigate further in future columns, but for the moment it is important to acknowledge the role behaviors play in expanding economic opportunities by celebrating the value of both the individual and the collective to shape the reality of the future.

Corporate leaders say they want to “do the right thing”, yet the question lies not just in the want, but the how. It is time for organizations and their leadership teams to be vulnerable and recognize that it is okay not to know. By identifying the needs of others to become a part of the habit of daily business life gives corporate leaders the flexibility to not only be prepared for change but move beyond a level of unconscious bias that offers a continuous mode of learning that will impact business both socially and economically creating opportunities for true disruption that can recalibrate the culture of business for the next century.

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Japan economy contracts 3.6% in 3Q as virus hits spending – Yahoo Canada Finance

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s economy contracted at a 3.6% annual rate in July-September as a wave of coronivirus infections crimped travel and other activities, the government said Wednesday.

The estimate for the last quarter, downgraded from an earlier report of a 3.0% contraction, reflected weakness in consumer spending and trade, the government said.

In quarterly terms, the measure used for most economies, the economy contracted 0.9%, compared to the earlier estimate of a 0.8% contraction.

The world’s third-largest economy was in a slump before the pandemic hit. Its recovery has been fitful thanks to precautions taken to curb COVID-19 infections. Troubles with supply chains, especially for computer chips used in autos, have also taken a toll.

Japan’s latest big coronavirus outbreak, in the late summer, has receded for now with a sharp drop in cases. But it hit during the usually busy summer travel season, with calls for restricted business activity and travel hurting restaurants, hotels and other service sector industries.

Consumer spending is recovering and will likely drive a recovery in the current quarter, Norihiro Yamaguchi of Oxford Economics said in a commentary.

“With supply chain disruptions easing in the auto sector, production and exports are also projected to recover, albeit at a moderate pace,” he said.

The latest data showed a lower level of private inventories than earlier reported and weaker government and consumer spending. It also showed wages contracted by 0.4%, instead of growing by 0.1% as earlier reported.

Japan’s Cabinet has approved a record 56 trillion yen, or $490 billion stimulus package, including cash handouts and aid to ailing businesses, to help the economy out of the doldrums worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. Parliamentary approval of the plan is expected this month.

The Associated Press

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The global economic transition to a green economy – Lombard Odier

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