(Bloomberg) — The Arctic blast sweeping the U.S. has unleashed winter weather from coast to coast, spawned deadly ice storms as far south as Houston and sent natural gas and power prices soaring. Conditions are set to get even worse.Storm warnings and advisories stretch from Washington state in the west, south to Texas and up the East Coast to New Jersey. Across the central U.S., wind chill warnings and advisories cover most of the Great Plains and upper Midwest. Temperatures in Chicago could drop to -2 degrees Fahrenheit (-19 Celsius) Saturday and Sunday but the wind will make it feel closer to -25. After this system clears out, another will arrive by the middle of next week.“It is not just the magnitude of the cold, it is also how persistent it is,” said Marc Chenard, a senior branch forecaster with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. “We have about another week of this. There is another system behind this one impacting similar areas.”While winter lashes the nation, it’s even reaching into areas that are usually spared the season’s worst. Texas is about to be barreled over by snow, ice and cold, and that has shaken energy markets.Gas processing plants across Texas are shutting as liquids freeze inside pipes, disrupting output just as demand for the heating fuel jumps. Prices have surged more than 4,000% in two days in Oklahoma. Meanwhile oil output in the Permian Basin, the biggest U.S. shale play, is moderating as wells slow down or halt completely.Gas is the primary fuel used in power plants in Texas. The state’s grid operated warned electricity demand will surge to a record high for this time year as people crank up heaters. Average spot power prices in the state jumped more than 2,400% Saturday morning, to more than $4,200 a megawatt hour, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. If the average price remains at that level, it would be a record for the day.As much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow could fall in Fort Worth, Texas, over the weekend, with temperatures possibly plunging into the single digits Fahrenheit on Monday. Freezing rain has already created treacherous driving conditions there, with a 130-vehicle pileup on Thursday leaving six dead and dozens injured.Slew of RecordsNearly 300 new daily temperature records could be set, mainly across the Great Plains from Canada to Texas through Tuesday, Chenard said. New York City will be dealing with ice and some snow showers from Saturday through Tuesday, with highs mostly hovering just above or below freezing.“Conditions in Texas are the most extreme ever seen,” said Andy Weissman, chief executive officer of energy research firm EBW AnalyticsGroup. If gas production outages become widespread amid record cold, it “could become a dangerous situation.”For example, the temperature in Abilene, Texas, about 180 miles (290 kilometers) west of Dallas, could stay below freezing for eight straight days, which would be an all-time record, Chenard said.The freeze marks the first deep chill this winter in the U.S., which until now had been spared the cold blasts that have plagued Europe and Asia and threatened to take down power grids there. U.S. gas production is already subdued after last year’s oil-price crash forced shale explorers to curtail drilling, and Texas’s grid operator is warning of record electricity demand.Furthermore, a series of winter storms will ride along the leading edge of the cold from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast. That could bring 6 to 12 inches of snow across western Washington and Oregon, including Seattle, while ice and sleet could touch Houston before coming up the East Coast early next week.Texas facilities operated by pipeline companies DCP Midstream LP and Targa Resources Corp. were reported shut on Thursday due to the cold, while Enbridge Inc. said it was limiting requests to transport gas on a pipeline stretching from Texas to New Jersey. Gas production in the mid-continent region is down 35% from the 30-day average, BloombergNEF said Friday. Meanwhile, several hundred barrels a day of output in the Permian Basin of West Texas may be impacted by well shutdowns.In Oklahoma, prices for gas delivered into the hub closed at $377.13 per million British thermal units Friday. That compares with a $9 close on Wednesday. Prices began the week at less than $4.Chenard said the country can expect a mix of ultra-cold lows, with high temperatures that struggle to be anything but frigid. What makes the outlook all the more remarkable is that it’s the dead of winter, so the air has to really chill to set new marks.Also noteworthy is how far into Texas the cold will get. Snow, sleet, and freezing rain could reach Houston late Sunday into Monday. In Lubbock, Texas, Monday’s forecast high will be 14 degrees Fahrenheit, which would shatter the old record of 30 for the date. Usually, any snowfalls in the region quickly melt, but the cold air will keep it around for days. Dallas hasn’t had a major winter storm since 2015.According to Dan Pydynowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc., it all adds up to the state having its biggest chill since 1989.“There is a direct discharge of Arctic air all the way down the plains right to Texas,” he said. “As the old saying goes, there is nothing between Arctic and Dallas but a barbed wire fence. So when you get a direct discharge like this it will go all the way.”In addition, much of the area’s infrastructure is exposed, or cities lack the plows to clear roads quickly, said Jason Dunn, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth. Even area airports may struggle to keep de-icing operations going to allow planes to take off safely.(Adds power prices in the sixth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
How to spot fraudulent investment schemes; regulator sees surge of deception on social media – Times Colonist
Fear of missing out on a good thing may be driving people to make poor decisions with their money, according to the B.C. Securities Commission.
The market regulator said new research suggests fear of missing out, or FOMO, may have investors, especially young ones, thinking social media is a good place to find investment opportunities and that failing to act immediately on a new investment might lead them to miss big wins.
“Results of this new research are particularly concerning because we’ve seen a surge in potentially fraudulent schemes peddled on social media during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Doug Muir, the commission’s director of enforcement. “We also know that fraudsters put pressure on people to act quickly. It’s important to gather as much reliable information about an investment as you can before putting your money into it, and to not rush into it.”
The commission surveyed more than 2,000 Canadians, including 1,000 B.C. residents to gauge how age and FOMO influence investment attitudes.
The study found the younger you are, the more FOMO you have, with half of B.C. residents between 18 and 34 admitting they experience it compared with just 19 per cent of adults 55 or older. Thirty-eight per cent of B.C. adults under 35, who said they experience FOMO, believed social media to be a good source of investment opportunity. And 41 per cent of those believed that if they don’t act immediately, they might miss a good investment.
The commission said a key sign of investment fraud is time constraint — that an opportunity is exclusive or available only to select people, while in reality most legitimate investments are available to anyone with the money to invest. Another warning sign is rushing would-be investors, telling them they must sign now to get in on the deal.
Muir said over the past year or so, they have started to focus on factors like FOMO that influence investors.
Muir said often investors feel pressured by a variety of factors like trust, panic to make up investment shortfalls, fear of missing out and embarrassment that they aren’t well educated when it comes to investing.
“Many are embarrassed about asking questions — they don’t want to admit they don’t understand and when they also have FOMO that can overwhelm reason,” he said.
To educate people about the risk of letting FOMO drive their investment decisions, the commission is launching a campaign called Hi, My Name is FOMO to explain the importance of doing research before investing and encouraging people to report suspected fraud to the B.C. Securities Commission.
In 2018, research by the commission found that fraud vulnerability is highest among younger people, particularly young women.
Muir said the commission has been very active over the past year dealing with an overall increase in fraud as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s not surprising, fraudsters pick up on the theme of the day,” he said. “Fraud hasn’t changed much, but the particular hook they use to get people changes.”
Bank of Canada’s next move to be tapering asset purchases: Reuters Poll
By Mumal Rathore
BENGALURU (Reuters) – The Bank of Canada‘s next policy move will be to taper its asset purchase programme following a solid economic rebound and sustained growth later this year, according to a majority of economists in a Reuters Poll.
Despite renewed lockdowns in some provinces and expectations of a slowdown this quarter policymakers expect a recovery to be driven by a successful vaccine rollout, knock-on effects from a U.S. fiscal package and further gains in oil prices.
The consensus of the March 1-5 poll predicted the BoC would keep its key interest rate on hold at 0.25% through to the end of next year, unchanged from the previous poll.
While two of the top five Canadian banks predicted the central bank would hike rates as early as the second quarter next year, none of the 34 respondents expected any change at the bank’s next meeting on March 10.
More than 70% of poll participants, or 15 out of 21, who responded to an additional question, said the central bank would taper its asset purchases programme as its next move.
“The bank will look to re-calibrate its quantitative easing programme before moving on the overnight rate,” said Derek Holt, vice president of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank.
“If growth comes in stronger than expected, we could see a reduction in monetary support offered through the asset purchase programme.”
Despite the Canadian economy contracting 5.4% in 2020, its deepest annual drop on record, it ended 2020 on a brighter note and grew at a stronger-than-expected annualized rate of 9.6% last quarter.
The economy likely grew 0.5% in January, according to the latest Statistics Canada report despite being hit by a second wave of infections and containment measures.
“The Canadian economy soldiered through the second wave of restrictions much better than anticipated, supported by a big rebound in resource sector activity and a raging housing market,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist and managing director economics at BMO.
“Look for new growth drivers to kick into gear as the economy re-opens in stages through this year, leading to roughly 6% growth – a nice mirror image to last year’s deep dive. It’s not precisely a V-shaped recovery, but it’s very close.”
All 25 economists who answered another question agreed with the BoC’s assessment of a solid and sustainable economy in the second half of this year.
(Reporting by Mumal Rathore; Polling by Manjul Paul; Editing by Jonathan Cable and Edmund Blair)
Comparing Luxury Investment Around the World – Visual Capitalist
Do you enjoy the finer things in life? For many of the world’s wealthy individuals, acquiring luxury goods such as art, fine wine, and watches is a passion.
Unlike traditional investments in financial assets, luxury goods can be difficult to value if one does not have an appreciation for their form. A rare painting, for example, does not generate cash flows, meaning its value is truly in the eye of the beholder.
To gain some insight into the market for luxury goods, this infographic takes data from Knight Frank’s 2021 Wealth Report to compare the preferences of nine global regions.
Global Tastes in Luxury Goods
To rank the most popular luxury investments in 2020, Knight Frank surveyed over 600 private bankers, wealth advisors, and family offices. The following table summarizes their findings, as well as each category’s growth according to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index.
|Global Average Ranking||Category||10-year growth in asset values (%)|
Art was unmistakably the top category for 2020, ranking first in every geographic region except Africa and Asia, where it placed second instead. The global market for artwork was estimated to be worth $64 billion in 2019, and is often facilitated through auction houses such as Sotheby’s.
In terms of asset appreciation, rare whiskeys have climbed the most in value over the past 10 years. Connoisseurs of this spirit will be familiar with distilleries like The Macallan, whose rare bottles can sell for more than a million dollars.
Comparing Luxury Investment Between North America and Asia
Below, we’ve compared the rankings of Asia and North America to get a better idea of how preferences can vary.
The biggest differences here are watches, which ranked first in Asia but fourth in North America, and classic cars, which ranked second in North America but fifth in Asia. The remaining eight categories took similar spots across the two regions.
|Rank||Asia Popularity||North America Popularity|
|6||Rare whiskey||Rare whiskey|
|9||Colored diamonds||Coins (tied for 8th place)|
Asia’s stronger preference for watches was likely driven by Chinese consumers, who are now the biggest buyers of luxury watches globally. Demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic proved resilient, with exports of Swiss watches to China increasing by 17.1% between January and November 2020.
Classic cars, on the other hand, may be more popular in North America due to the region’s longer automotive history. Two of America’s most iconic automakers, Ford and General Motors, have both been around for over a century!
The Biggest Sales of 2020
Here were some of the most extravagant and noteworthy luxury sales from 2020.
Francis Bacon’s 1981 Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus was sold by Sotheby’s for $84.6 million in June 2020. A triptych is an artwork that is divided into three sections but displayed as a single piece.
Other paintings by Francis Bacon have sold for even larger amounts. In 2013, Three Studies of Lucian Freud was sold by Christie’s auction house for $142 million.
A 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster sold for $7.1 million in March 2020, making it one of the biggest classic car sales of the year.
Founded in 1909, Bugatti has produced some of the world’s most sought-after cars. The French brand was acquired by the Volkswagen Group in 1998, and since then, has released numerous special edition cars with price tags reaching well into the millions.
An Hermès Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourné Kelly 25 sold for $437,330 in November 2020, becoming the most expensive handbag ever sold at an auction. Founded in 1837, Hermès is commonly regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious makers of handbags.
COVID-19 Dampens Luxury Investment
When compared to 2019, total sales for Sotheby’s declined 16% in 2020, while Christie’s, another leading auction house, reported a 25% decline. Despite these decreases, executives remain optimistic.
“The art and luxury markets have proven to be incredibly resilient, and demand for quality across categories is unabated.”
– Charles Stewart, CEO, Sotheby’s
The industry has been largely successful in transitioning to online operations, with Sotheby’s reporting that 70% of its auctions in 2020 were held online, up from 30% in the previous year.
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