How exactly did the British manage to diddle us and drain our wealth’ ? was the question that Basudev Chatterjee (later editor of a volume in the Towards Freedom project) had posed to me 50 years ago when we were fellow-students abroad.This is begging the question.
After decades of research I find that using India’s commodity export surplus as the measure and applying an interest rate of 5%, the total drain from 1765 to 1938, compounded up to 2016, comes to £9.2 trillion; since $4.86 exchanged for £1 those days, this sum equals about $45 trillion.This is completely meaningless. To understand why it's meaningless consider India's annual coconut exports. These are almost certainly a surplus but the surplus in trade is countered by the other country buying the product (indeed, by definition, trade surpluses contribute to the GDP of a nation which hardly plays into intuitive conceptualisations of drain).
She [Patnaik] consistently adopts statistical assumptions (such as compound interest at a rate of 5% per annum over centuries) that exaggerate the magnitude of the drainMoving on:
The exact mechanism of drain, or transfers from India to Britain was quite simple.Convenient.
Drain theory possessed the political merit of being easily grasped by a nation of peasants. [...] No other idea could arouse people than the thought that they were being taxed so that others in far off lands might live in comfort. [...] It was, therefore, inevitable that the drain theory became the main staple of nationalist political agitation during the Gandhian era.- Chandra et al. (1989)
The key factor was Britain’s control over our taxation revenues combined with control over India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its booming commodity export surplus with the world. Simply put, Britain used locally raised rupee tax revenues to pay for its net import of goods, a highly abnormal use of budgetary funds not seen in any sovereign country.The issue with figures like these is they all make certain methodological assumptions that are impossible to prove. From Roy in Frankema et al. (2019):
the "drain theory" of Indian poverty cannot be tested with evidence, for several reasons. First, it rests on the counterfactual that any money saved on account of factor payments abroad would translate into domestic investment, which can never be proved. Second, it rests on "the primitive notion that all payments to foreigners are "drain"", that is, on the assumption that these payments did not contribute to domestic national income to the equivalent extent (Kumar 1985, 384; see also Chaudhuri 1968). Again, this cannot be tested. [...] Fourth, while British officers serving India did receive salaries that were many times that of the average income in India, a paper using cross-country data shows that colonies with better paid officers were governed better (Jones 2013).Indeed, drain theory rests on some very weak foundations. This, in of itself, should be enough to dismiss any of the other figures that get thrown out. Nonetheless, I felt it would be a useful exercise to continue exploring Patnaik's take on drain theory.
The East India Company from 1765 onwards allocated every year up to one-third of Indian budgetary revenues net of collection costs, to buy a large volume of goods for direct import into Britain, far in excess of that country’s own needs.So what's going on here? Well Roy (2019) explains it better:
Colonial India ran an export surplus, which, together with foreign investment, was used to pay for services purchased from Britain. These payments included interest on public debt, salaries, and pensions paid to government offcers who had come from Britain, salaries of managers and engineers, guaranteed profts paid to railway companies, and repatriated business profts. How do we know that any of these payments involved paying too much? The answer is we do not.So what was really happening is the government was paying its workers for services (as well as guaranteeing profits - to promote investment - something the GoI does today Dalal (2019), and promoting business in India), and those workers were remitting some of that money to Britain. This is hardly a drain (unless, of course, Indian diaspora around the world today are "draining" it). In some cases, the remittances would take the form of goods (as described) see Chaudhuri (1983):
It is obvious that these debit items were financed through the export surplus on merchandise account, and later, when railway construction started on a large scale in India, through capital import. Until 1833 the East India Company followed a cumbersome method in remitting the annual home charges. This was to purchase export commodities in India out of revenue, which were then shipped to London and the proceeds from their sale handed over to the home treasury.While Roy's earlier point argues better paid officers governed better, it is honestly impossible to say what part of the repatriated export surplus was a drain, and what was not. However calling all of it a drain is definitely misguided.
she [Patnaik] consistently ignores research that would tend to cut the economic impact of the drain down to size, such as the work on the sources of investment during the industrial revolution (which shows that industrialisation was financed by the ploughed-back profits of industrialists) or the costs of empire school (which stresses the high price of imperial defence)
Since tropical goods were highly prized in other cold temperate countries which could never produce them, in effect these free goods represented international purchasing power for Britain which kept a part for its own use and re-exported the balance to other countries in Europe and North America against import of food grains, iron and other goods in which it was deficient.Re-exports necessarily adds value to goods when the goods are processed and when the goods are transported. The country with the largest navy at the time would presumably be in very good stead to do the latter.
The British historians Phyllis Deane and WA Cole presented an incorrect estimate of Britain’s 18th-19th century trade volume, by leaving out re-exports completely. I found that by 1800 Britain’s total trade was 62% higher than their estimate, on applying the correct definition of trade including re-exports, that is used by the United Nations and by all other international organisations.While interesting, and certainly expected for such an old book, re-exporting necessarily adds value to goods.
When the Crown took over from the Company, from 1861 a clever system was developed under which all of India’s financial gold and forex earnings from its fast-rising commodity export surplus with the world, was intercepted and appropriated by Britain. As before up to a third of India’s rising budgetary revenues was not spent domestically but was set aside as ‘expenditure abroad’.So, what does this mean? Britain appropriated all of India's earnings, and then spent a third of it aboard? Not exactly. She is describing home charges see Roy (2019) again:
Some of the expenditures on defense and administration were made in sterling and went out of the country. This payment by the government was known as the Home Charges. For example, interest payment on loans raised to finance construction of railways and irrigation works, pensions paid to retired officers, and purchase of stores, were payments in sterling. [...] almost all money that the government paid abroad corresponded to the purchase of a service from abroad. [...] The balance of payments system that emerged after 1800 was based on standard business principles. India bought something and paid for it. State revenues were used to pay for wages of people hired abroad, pay for interest on loans raised abroad, and repatriation of profits on foreign investments coming into India. These were legitimate market transactions.Indeed, if paying for what you buy is drain, then several billions of us are drained every day.
The Secretary of State for India in Council, based in London, invited foreign importers to deposit with him the payment (in gold, sterling and their own currencies) for their net imports from India, and these gold and forex payments disappeared into the yawning maw of the SoS’s account in the Bank of England.It should be noted that India having two heads was beneficial, and encouraged investment per Roy (2019):
The fact that the India Office in London managed a part of the monetary system made India creditworthy, stabilized its currency, and encouraged foreign savers to put money into railways and private enterprise in India. Current research on the history of public debt shows that stable and large colonies found it easier to borrow abroad than independent economies because the investors trusted the guarantee of the colonist powers.
Against India’s net foreign earnings he issued bills, termed Council bills (CBs), to an equivalent rupee value. The rate (between gold-linked sterling and silver rupee) at which the bills were issued, was carefully adjusted to the last farthing, so that foreigners would never find it more profitable to ship financial gold as payment directly to Indians, compared to using the CB route. Foreign importers then sent the CBs by post or by telegraph to the export houses in India, that via the exchange banks were paid out of the budgeted provision of sums under ‘expenditure abroad’, and the exporters in turn paid the producers (peasants and artisans) from whom they sourced the goods.Sunderland (2013) argues CBs had two main roles (and neither were part of a grand plot to keep gold out of India):
Council bills had two roles. They firstly promoted trade by handing the IO some control of the rate of exchange and allowing the exchange banks to remit funds to India and to hedge currency transaction risks. They also enabled the Indian government to transfer cash to England for the payment of its UK commitments.
The United Nations (1962) historical data for 1900 to 1960, show that for three decades up to 1928 (and very likely earlier too) India posted the second highest merchandise export surplus in the world, with USA in the first position. Not only were Indians deprived of every bit of the enormous international purchasing power they had earned over 175 years, even its rupee equivalent was not issued to them since not even the colonial government was credited with any part of India’s net gold and forex earnings against which it could issue rupees. The sleight-of-hand employed, namely ‘paying’ producers out of their own taxes, made India’s export surplus unrequited and constituted a tax-financed drain to the metropolis, as had been correctly pointed out by those highly insightful classical writers, Dadabhai Naoroji and RCDutt.It doesn't appear that others appreciate their insight Roy (2019):
K. N. Chaudhuri rightly calls such practice ‘confused’ economics ‘coloured by political feelings’.
Surplus budgets to effect such heavy tax-financed transfers had a severe employment–reducing and income-deflating effect: mass consumption was squeezed in order to release export goods. Per capita annual foodgrains absorption in British India declined from 210 kg. during the period 1904-09, to 157 kg. during 1937-41, and to only 137 kg by 1946.Dewey (1978) points out reliability issues with Indian agriculutural statistics, however this calorie decline persists to this day. Some of it is attributed to less food being consumed at home Smith (2015), a lower infectious disease burden Duh & Spears (2016) and diversified diets Vankatesh et al. (2016).
If even a part of its enormous foreign earnings had been credited to it and not entirely siphoned off, India could have imported modern technology to build up an industrial structure as Japan was doing.This is, unfortunately, impossible to prove. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication that India would've united (this is arguably more plausible than the given counterfactual1). Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been nuked in WW2, much like Japan. Had the British not arrived in India, there is no clear indication India would not have been invaded by lizard people,
This article starts from the premise that while economic categories - the extent of commodity production, wage labour, monetarisation of the economy, etc - should be the basis for any analysis of the production relations of pre-British India, it is the nature of class struggles arising out of particular class alignments that finally gives the decisive twist to social change. Arguing on this premise, and analysing the available evidence, this article concludes that there was little potential for industrial revolution before the British arrived in India because, whatever might have been the character of economic categories of that period, the class relations had not sufficiently matured to develop productive forces and the required class struggle for a 'revolution' to take place.A view echoed in Raychaudhuri (1983):
Yet all of this did not amount to an economic situation comparable to that of western Europe on the eve of the industrial revolution. Her technology - in agriculture as well as manufacturers - had by and large been stagnant for centuries. [...] The weakness of the Indian economy in the mid-eighteenth century, as compared to pre-industrial Europe was not simply a matter of technology and commercial and industrial organization. No scientific or geographical revolution formed part of the eighteenth-century Indian's historical experience. [...] Spontaneous movement towards industrialisation is unlikely in such a situation.So now we've established India did not have industrial potential, was India similar to Japan just before the Meiji era? The answer, yet again, unsurprisingly, is no. Japan's economic situation was not comparable to India's, which allowed for Japan to finance its revolution. From Yasuba (1986):
All in all, the Japanese standard of living may not have been much below the English standard of living before industrialization, and both of them may have been considerably higher than the Indian standard of living. We can no longer say that Japan started from a pathetically low economic level and achieved a rapid or even "miraculous" economic growth. Japan's per capita income was almost as high as in Western Europe before industrialization, and it was possible for Japan to produce surplus in the Meiji Period to finance private and public capital formation.The circumstances that led to Meiji Japan were extremely unique. See Tomlinson (1985):
Most modern comparisons between India and Japan, written by either Indianists or Japanese specialists, stress instead that industrial growth in Meiji Japan was the product of unique features that were not reproducible elsewhere. [...] it is undoubtably true that Japan's progress to industrialization has been unique and unrepeatableSo there you have it. Unsubstantiated statistical assumptions, calling any number you can a drain & assuming a counterfactual for no good reason gets you this $45 trillion number. Hopefully that's enough to bury it in the ground.
Perhaps the single greatest and most enduring impact of British rule over India is that it created an Indian nation, in the modern political sense. After centuries of rule by different dynasties overparts of the Indian sub-continent, and after about 100 years of British rule, Indians ceased to be merely Bengalis, Maharashtrians,or Tamils, linguistically and culturally.or see Bryant 2000:
But then, it would be anachronistic to condemn eighteenth-century Indians, who served the British, as collaborators, when the notion of 'democratic' nationalism or of an Indian 'nation' did not then exist. [...] Indians who fought for them, differed from the Europeans in having a primary attachment to a non-belligerent religion, family and local chief, which was stronger than any identity they might have with a more remote prince or 'nation'.
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Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the global economy has entered a recession, with gold soaring, stock markets tumbling, and oil prices plummeting.
Saudi Arabia cut pricing for oil sales to Asia and the U.S. for October shipments, and the reduction exceeded last month.
Global daily oil consumption (total liquid volume) broke the "100 million barrels" mark for the first time in 2019, reaching 10.96 million barrels. It means the global daily consumption is more than 100 million barrels, and the annual consumption is more than 5 billion tons.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, fuel demand has decreased significantly, while global oil supply has continued to increase.
Global oil consumption has decreased by nearly a quarter due to COVID-19. The global daily oil consumption level in the second quarter of this year was less than 77 million barrels, which is almost 20 years ago.
20th April saw WTI oil prices plunge from $17.85 to -$37.63, more than a 300% drop, the largest one day drop for U.S. crude in history.
The oil prices up and down in history, and various factors impact the oil prices. One of the most critical factors is OPEC.
The Birth of OPEC
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization created at the Baghdad Conference on September 10–14, 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela.
Before the OPEC, the Seven Sisters (E Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Gulf Oil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Socony, Standard Oil Company of New York, and Texaco) controlled the world's oil markets.
In the 1950s, coal was the most critical fuel globally, but oil consumption increased rapidly, and demand continued to grow. In 1959, the United States' Seven Sisters lowered the price of oil produced in Venezuela and the Middle East by 10% to reduce the United States' price.
To counter the U.S. oil monopoly, OPEC was born.
OPEC's 13 members control approximately 30% of global oil supplies and 79.4% of proven reserves. OPEC member nations produce about 42% of the world's crude oil, and OPEC's oil exports account for roughly 60% of the total petroleum traded worldwide.
Impact of OPEC on Oil Prices
Within the OPEC group, Saudi Arabia is the largest crude oil producer in the world and remains the most dominant member of OPEC, with each instance of a cut in oil production by them, resulting in a sharp rise in oil prices, and vice versa.
Additionally, the 'kingdom of Saud' is also the leading exporter of crude oil globally. Since 2000, all historical instances since the 1973 Arab oil embargo indicate that Saudi Arabia has maintained its upper hand in the oil market. It calls the shots in determining crude oil prices by controlling supply.
All major oil price fluctuations in recent history can be clearly attributed to production levels from Saudi Arabia, along with other OPEC nations.
Is it now the end of OPEC?
The success of shale oil and the plunge in oil prices in 2014 are signs that OPEC has declined.
Since 2014, U.S. shale oil has created a boom in domestic crude oil production. Shale oil comprises more than a third of the onshore production of crude oil in the lower 48 states. It drove U.S. oil output from 8.8 million barrels per day in 2014 to a record 12.2 million barrels a day in 2019.
As a result, the United States became the world's largest crude-oil producer.
Today the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Russia rank among the top three in world oil production.
In November 2014, despite the appeals of other OPEC members to cut production, Saudi Arabia suddenly increased production sharply, trying to defeat U.S. shale oil companies through the competitive increase in OPEC member states. But American shale oil survived strongly by borrowing, and it became more efficient, and production costs were greatly reduced.
During this time, Saudi Arabia's economy is declining rapidly. Saudi Arabia had the highest government deficit in history-98 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 15% of GDP in 2015.
In 2016, Saudi Arabia led OPEC and Russia to reach an OPEC+ production reduction agreement. Since then, oil prices have steadily rebounded. At the same time, Saudi Arabia has begun to consider taking advantage of high oil prices to list Saudi Aramco to ease domestic financial difficulties.
During this period, OPEC +'s reduction in production has rescued U.S. shale oil again. The production capacity of shale oil has increased sharply by 4 million barrels per day, surpassing Saudi Arabia, and Russia.
So far, the OPEC structure and cohesion continues to divide and elude.
On 8th March 2020, Saudi Arabia initiated a price war with Russia, facilitating a 65% quarterly fall in the price of oil. The price war was triggered by a break-up in dialogue between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia over proposed oil-production cuts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia walked out of the agreement, leading to the fall of the OPEC+ alliance.
While past oil shocks have been driven by either supply or demand, the price collapse of 2020 is highly unusual in oil market history: It results from a massive demand shock and a huge supply overhang at the same time.
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The Federal Reserve and the United States government are pumping extreme amounts of money into the economy, already totaling over $484 billion. They are doing so because it already had a goal to inflate the United States Dollar (USD) so that the market can continue to all-time highs. It has always had this goal. They do not care how much inflation goes up by now as we are going into a depression with the potential to totally crash the US economy forever. They believe the only way to save the market from going to zero or negative values is to inflate it so much that it cannot possibly crash that low. Even if the market does not dip that low, inflation serves the interest of powerful people.
The impending crash of the stock market has ramifications for Bitcoin, as, though there is no direct ongoing-correlation between the two, major movements in traditional markets will necessarily affect Bitcoin. According to the Blockchain Center’s Cryptocurrency Correlation Tool, Bitcoin is not correlated with the stock market. However, when major market movements occur, they send ripples throughout the financial ecosystem which necessary affect even ordinarily uncorrelated assets.
Therefore, Bitcoin will reach X price on X date after crashing to a price of X by X date.
Stock Market CrashThe Federal Reserve has caused some serious consternation with their release of ridiculous amounts of money in an attempt to buoy the economy. At face value, it does not seem to have any rationale or logic behind it other than keeping the economy afloat long enough for individuals to profit financially and politically. However, there is an underlying basis to what is going on which is important to understand in order to profit financially.
All markets are functionally price probing systems. They constantly undergo a price-discovery process. In a fiat system, money is an illusory and a fundamentally synthetic instrument with no intrinsic value – similar to Bitcoin. The primary difference between Bitcoin is the underlying technology which provides a slew of benefits that fiat does not. Fiat, however, has an advantage in being able to have the support of powerful nation-states which can use their might to insure the currency’s prosperity.
Traditional stock markets are composed of indices (pl. of index). Indices are non-trading market instruments which are essentially summaries of business values which comprise them. They are continuously recalculated throughout a trading day, and sometimes reflected through tradable instruments such as Exchange Traded Funds or Futures. Indices are weighted by market capitalizations of various businesses.
Price theory essentially states that when a market fails to take out a new low in a given range, it will have an objective to take out the high. When a market fails to take out a new high, it has an objective to make a new low. This is why price-time charts go up and down, as it does this on a second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and even century-by-century basis. Therefore, market indices will always return to some type of bull market as, once a true low is formed, the market will have a price objective to take out a new high outside of its’ given range – which is an all-time high. Instruments can only functionally fall to zero, whereas they can grow infinitely.
So, why inflate the economy so much?
Deflation is disastrous for central banks and markets as it raises the possibility of producing an overall price objective of zero or negative values. Therefore, under a fractional reserve system with a fiat currency managed by a central bank – the goal of the central bank is to depreciate the currency. The dollar is manipulated constantly with the intention of depreciating its’ value.
Central banks have a goal of continued inflated fiat values. They tend to ordinarily contain it at less than ten percent (10%) per annum in order for the psyche of the general populace to slowly adjust price increases. As such, the markets are divorced from any other logic. Economic policy is the maintenance of human egos, not catering to fundamental analysis. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth is well-known not to be a measure of actual growth or output. It is a measure of increase in dollars processed. Banks seek to produce raising numbers which make society feel like it is growing economically, making people optimistic. To do so, the currency is inflated, though inflation itself does not actually increase growth. When society is optimistic, it spends and engages in business – resulting in actual growth. It also encourages people to take on credit and debts, creating more fictional fiat.
Inflation is necessary for markets to continue to reach new heights, generating positive emotional responses from the populace, encouraging spending, encouraging debt intake, further inflating the currency, and increasing the sale of government bonds. The fiat system only survives by generating more imaginary money on a regular basis.
Bitcoin investors may profit from this by realizing that stock investors as a whole always stand to profit from the market so long as it is managed by a central bank and does not collapse entirely. If those elements are filled, it has an unending price objective to raise to new heights. It also allows us to realize that this response indicates that the higher-ups believe that the economy could crash in entirety, and it may be wise for investors to have multiple well-thought-out exit strategies.
Economic Analysis of BitcoinThe reason why the Fed is so aggressively inflating the economy is due to fears that it will collapse forever or never rebound. As such, coupled with a global depression, a huge demand will appear for a reserve currency which is fundamentally different than the previous system. Bitcoin, though a currency or asset, is also a market. It also undergoes a constant price-probing process. Unlike traditional markets, Bitcoin has the exact opposite goal. Bitcoin seeks to appreciate in value and not depreciate. This has a quite different affect in that Bitcoin could potentially become worthless and have a price objective of zero.
Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a now famous mysterious figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto and its’ open source code was released in 2009. It was the first decentralized cryptocurrency to utilize a novel protocol known as the blockchain. Up to one megabyte of data may be sent with each transaction. It is decentralized, anonymous, transparent, easy to set-up, and provides myriad other benefits. Bitcoin is not backed up by anything other than its’ own technology.
Bitcoin is can never be expected to collapse as a framework, even were it to become worthless. The stock market has the potential to collapse in entirety, whereas, as long as the internet exists, Bitcoin will be a functional system with a self-authenticating framework. That capacity to persist regardless of the actual price of Bitcoin and the deflationary nature of Bitcoin means that it has something which fiat does not – inherent value.
Bitcoin is based on a distributed database known as the “blockchain.” Blockchains are essentially decentralized virtual ledger books, replete with pages known as “blocks.” Each page in a ledger is composed of paragraph entries, which are the actual transactions in the block.
Blockchains store information in the form of numerical transactions, which are just numbers. We can consider these numbers digital assets, such as Bitcoin. The data in a blockchain is immutable and recorded only by consensus-based algorithms. Bitcoin is cryptographic and all transactions are direct, without intermediary, peer-to-peer.
Bitcoin does not require trust in a central bank. It requires trust on the technology behind it, which is open-source and may be evaluated by anyone at any time. Furthermore, it is impossible to manipulate as doing so would require all of the nodes in the network to be hacked at once – unlike the stock market which is manipulated by the government and “Market Makers”. Bitcoin is also private in that, though the ledge is openly distributed, it is encrypted. Bitcoin’s blockchain has one of the greatest redundancy and information disaster recovery systems ever developed.
Bitcoin has a distributed governance model in that it is controlled by its’ users. There is no need to trust a payment processor or bank, or even to pay fees to such entities. There are also no third-party fees for transaction processing. As the ledge is immutable and transparent it is never possible to change it – the data on the blockchain is permanent. The system is not easily susceptible to attacks as it is widely distributed. Furthermore, as users of Bitcoin have their private keys assigned to their transactions, they are virtually impossible to fake. No lengthy verification, reconciliation, nor clearing process exists with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is based on a proof-of-work algorithm. Every transaction on the network has an associated mathetical “puzzle”. Computers known as miners compete to solve the complex cryptographic hash algorithm that comprises that puzzle. The solution is proof that the miner engaged in sufficient work. The puzzle is known as a nonce, a number used only once. There is only one major nonce at a time and it issues 12.5 Bitcoin. Once it is solved, the fact that the nonce has been solved is made public.
A block is mined on average of once every ten minutes. However, the blockchain checks every 2,016,000 minutes (approximately four years) if 201,600 blocks were mined. If it was faster, it increases difficulty by half, thereby deflating Bitcoin. If it was slower, it decreases, thereby inflating Bitcoin. It will continue to do this until zero Bitcoin are issued, projected at the year 2140. On the twelfth of May, 2020, the blockchain will halve the amount of Bitcoin issued when each nonce is guessed. When Bitcoin was first created, fifty were issued per block as a reward to miners. 6.25 BTC will be issued from that point on once each nonce is solved.
Unlike fiat, Bitcoin is a deflationary currency. As BTC becomes scarcer, demand for it will increase, also raising the price. In this, BTC is similar to gold. It is predictable in its’ output, unlike the USD, as it is based on a programmed supply. We can predict BTC’s deflation and inflation almost exactly, if not exactly. Only 21 million BTC will ever be produced, unless the entire network concedes to change the protocol – which is highly unlikely.
Some of the drawbacks to BTC include congestion. At peak congestion, it may take an entire day to process a Bitcoin transaction as only three to five transactions may be processed per second. Receiving priority on a payment may cost up to the equivalent of twenty dollars ($20). Bitcoin mining consumes enough energy in one day to power a single-family home for an entire week.
Trading or Investing?The fundamental divide in trading revolves around the question of market structure. Many feel that the market operates totally randomly and its’ behavior cannot be predicted. For the purposes of this article, we will assume that the market has a structure, but that that structure is not perfect. That market structure naturally generates chart patterns as the market records prices in time. In order to determine when the stock market will crash, causing a major decline in BTC price, we will analyze an instrument, an exchange traded fund, which represents an index, as opposed to a particular stock. The price patterns of the various stocks in an index are effectively smoothed out. In doing so, a more technical picture arises. Perhaps the most popular of these is the SPDR S&P Standard and Poor 500 Exchange Traded Fund ($SPY).
In trading, little to no concern is given about value of underlying asset. We are concerned primarily about liquidity and trading ranges, which are the amount of value fluctuating on a short-term basis, as measured by volatility-implied trading ranges. Fundamental analysis plays a role, however markets often do not react to real-world factors in a logical fashion. Therefore, fundamental analysis is more appropriate for long-term investing.
The fundamental derivatives of a chart are time (x-axis) and price (y-axis). The primary technical indicator is price, as everything else is lagging in the past. Price represents current asking price and incorrectly implementing positions based on price is one of the biggest trading errors.
Markets and currencies ordinarily have noise, their tendency to back-and-fill, which must be filtered out for true pattern recognition. That noise does have a utility, however, in allowing traders second chances to enter favorable positions at slightly less favorable entry points. When you have any market with enough liquidity for historical data to record a pattern, then a structure can be divined. The market probes prices as part of an ongoing price-discovery process. Market technicians must sometimes look outside of the technical realm and use visual inspection to ascertain the relevance of certain patterns, using a qualitative eye that recognizes the underlying quantitative nature
Markets and instruments rise slower than they correct, however they rise much more than they fall. In the same vein, instruments can only fall to having no worth, whereas they could theoretically grow infinitely and have continued to grow over time. Money in a fiat system is illusory. It is a fundamentally synthetic instrument which has no intrinsic value. Hence, the recent seemingly illogical fluctuations in the market.
According to trade theory, the unending purpose of a market or instrument is to create and break price ranges according to the laws of supply and demand. We must determine when to trade based on each market inflection point as defined in price and in time as opposed to abandoning the trend (as the contrarian trading in this sub often does). Time and Price symmetry must be used to be in accordance with the trend. When coupled with a favorable risk to reward ratio, the ability to stay in the market for most of the defined time period, and adherence to risk management rules; the trader has a solid methodology for achieving considerable gains.
We will engage in a longer term market-oriented analysis to avoid any time-focused pressure. The Bitcoin market is open twenty-four-hours a day, so trading may be done when the individual is ready, without any pressing need to be constantly alert. Let alone, we can safely project months in advance with relatively high accuracy. Bitcoin is an asset which an individual can both trade and invest, however this article will be focused on trading due to the wide volatility in BTC prices over the short-term.
Technical Indicator Analysis of BitcoinTechnical indicators are often considered self-fulfilling prophecies due to mass-market psychology gravitating towards certain common numbers yielded from them. They are also often discounted when it comes to BTC. That means a trader must be especially aware of these numbers as they can prognosticate market movements. Often, they are meaningless in the larger picture of things.
Trend Definition Analysis of BitcoinTrend definition is highly powerful, cannot be understated. Knowledge of trend logic is enough to be a profitable trader, yet defining a trend is an arduous process. Multiple trends coexist across multiple time frames and across multiple market sectors. Like time structure, it makes the underlying price of the instrument irrelevant. Trend definitions cannot determine the validity of newly formed discretes. Trend becomes apparent when trades based in counter-trend inflection points continue to fail.
Downtrends are defined as an instrument making lower lows and lower highs that are recurrent, additive, qualified swing setups. Downtrends for all instruments are similar, except forex. They are fast and complete much quicker than uptrends. An average downtrend is 18 months, something which we will return to. An uptrend inception occurs when an instrument reaches a point where it fails to make a new low, then that low will be tested. After that, the instrument will either have a deep range retracement or it may take out the low slightly, resulting in a double-bottom. A swing must eventually form.
A simple way to roughly determine trend is to attempt to draw a line from three tops going upwards (uptrend) or a line from three bottoms going downwards (downtrend). It is not possible to correctly draw a downtrend line on the BTC chart, but it is possible to correctly draw an uptrend – indicating that the overall trend is downwards. The only mitigating factor is the impending stock market crash.
Time Symmetry Analysis of BitcoinTime is the movement from the past through the present into the future. It is a measurement in quantified intervals. In many ways, our perception of it is a human construct. It is more powerful than price as time may be utilized for a trade regardless of the market inflection point’s price. Were it possible to perfectly understand time, price would be totally irrelevant due to the predictive certainty time affords. Time structure is easier to learn than price, but much more difficult to apply with any accuracy. It is the hardest aspect of trading to learn, but also the most rewarding.
Humans do not have the ability to recognize every time window, however the ability to define market inflection points in terms of time is the single most powerful trading edge. Regardless, price should not be abandoned for time alone. Time structure analysis It is inherently flawed, as such the markets have a fail-safe, which is Price Structure. Even though Time is much more powerful, Price Structure should never be completely ignored. Time is the qualifier for Price and vice versa. Time can fail by tricking traders into counter-trend trading.
Time is a predestined trade quantifier, a filter to slow trades down, as it allows a trader to specifically focus on specific time windows and rest at others. It allows for quantitative measurements to reach deterministic values and is the primary qualifier for trends. Time structure should be utilized before price structure, and it is the primary trade criterion which requires support from price. We can see price structure on a chart, as areas of mathematical support or resistance, but we cannot see time structure.
Time may be used to tell us an exact point in the future where the market will inflect, after Price Theory has been fulfilled. In the present, price objectives based on price theory added to possible future times for market inflection points give us the exact time of market inflection points and price.
Time Structure is repetitions of time or inherent cycles of time, occurring in a methodical way to provide time windows which may be utilized for inflection points. They are not easily recognized and not easily defined by a price chart as measuring and observing time is very exact. Time structure is not a science, yet it does require precise measurements. Nothing is certain or definite. The critical question must be if a particular approach to time structure is currently lucrative or not.
We will measure it in intervals of 180 bars. Our goal is to determine time windows, when the market will react and when we should pay the most attention. By using time repetitions, the fact that market inflection points occurred at some point in the past and should, therefore, reoccur at some point in the future, we should obtain confidence as to when SPY will reach a market inflection point. Time repetitions are essentially the market’s memory. However, simply measuring the time between two points then trying to extrapolate into the future does not work. Measuring time is not the same as defining time repetitions. We will evaluate past sessions for market inflection points, whether discretes, qualified swings, or intra-range. Then records the times that the market has made highs or lows in a comparable time period to the future one seeks to trade in.
What follows is a time Histogram – A grouping of times which appear close together, then segregated based on that closeness. Time is aligned into combined histogram of repetitions and cycles, however cycles are irrelevant on a daily basis. If trading on an hourly basis, do not use hours.
Evaluating the yearly lows, we see that BTC tends to have its lows primarily at the beginning of every year, with a possibility of it being at the end of the year. Following the same methodology, we get the middle of the month as the likeliest day. However, evaluating the monthly lows for the past year, the beginning and end of the month are more likely for lows.
Therefore, we have two primary dates from our histogram.
1/1/21, 1/15/21, and 1/29/21
2:00am, 8:00am, 12:00pm, or 10:00pm
In fact, the high for this year was February the 14th, only thirty days off from our histogram calculations.
The 8.6-Year Armstrong-Princeton Global Economic Confidence model states that 2.15 year intervals occur between corrections, relevant highs and lows. 2.15 years from the all-time peak discrete is February 9, 2020 – a reasonably accurate depiction of the low for this year (which was on 3/12/20). (Taking only the Armstrong model into account, the next high should be Saturday, April 23, 2022). Therefore, the Armstrong model indicates that we have actually bottomed out for the year!
Bear markets cannot exist in perpetuity whereas bull markets can. Bear markets will eventually have price objectives of zero, whereas bull markets can increase to infinity. It can occur for individual market instruments, but not markets as a whole. Since bull markets are defined by low volatility, they also last longer. Once a bull market is indicated, the trader can remain in a long position until a new high is reached, then switch to shorts. The average bear market is eighteen months long, giving us a date of August 19th, 2021 for the end of this bear market – roughly speaking. They cannot be shorter than fifteen months for a central-bank controlled market, which does not apply to Bitcoin. (Otherwise, it would continue until Sunday, September 12, 2021.) However, we should expect Bitcoin to experience its’ exponential growth after the stock market re-enters a bull market.
Terry Laundy’s T-Theory implemented by measuring the time of an indicator from peak to trough, then using that to define a future time window. It is similar to an head-and-shoulders pattern in that it is the process of forming the right side from a synthetic technical indicator. If the indicator is making continued lows, then time is recalculated for defining the right side of the T. The date of the market inflection point may be a price or indicator inflection date, so it is not always exactly useful. It is better to make us aware of possible market inflection points, clustered with other data. It gives us an RSI low of May, 9th 2020.
The Bradley Cycle is coupled with volatility allows start dates for campaigns or put options as insurance in portfolios for stocks. However, it is also useful for predicting market moves instead of terminal dates for discretes. Using dates which correspond to discretes, we can see how those dates correspond with changes in VIX.
Therefore, our timeline looks like:
Trade headlines could be a big factor for markets in the week ahead, but investors will also be attuned to fresh inflation data and moves in the bond market, which is flashing new worries about the economy.
Stocks were on a roller coaster ride in the past week, as markets reacted to worsening trade tensions and concerns that negotiations could be prolonged, causing pain for the global economy. But the bond market’s move was perhaps even more dramatic, as yields, which move opposite of price, fell to levels last seen in 2017, and the futures market began to price in three Fed interest rate cuts by the end of next year.
“There’s not a lot of economic data next week, so events hang over us,” said Marc Chandler, chief global strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex. “It’s more about the evolution of old issues than new issues, like trade and Brexit.”
Brexit will continue to be a focus in global markets. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May stepped aside Friday after failing to get agreement on a plan for the U.K. to leave the European Union. Chandler said investors will be watching the jockeying among candidates hoping to succeed Prime Minister May, with hard line Brexit proponent Boris Johnson expected to seek the job, among others.
As for trade, Chandler said it’s possible that President Donald Trump’s comments that Huawei could be part of a trade deal may be the start of a new approach by the administration to tone down its rhetoric. The telecom giant has been blacklisted by the U.S. and is expected to be denied access to U.S. components for its equipment.
“In some ways, it’s a headline problem. We think of it more as event risk,” said Nadine Terman, CEO and CIO at Solstein Capital. “China thinks in dynasties and U.S. investors seem to think in durations of days and months, so I think we are misunderstanding the duration of their negotiating strategy.”
She said the issues between the two countries go way beyond trade and extend to China’s military aspirations in the South China Sea and its global campaign of influence through the Belt and Road initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature program.
“It’s now become more nationalistic, emotional, to say: ‘We’re going against the U.S. and we’ve got to be in it for the long haul.’ I don’t think you have the same emotion here in the U.S. You don’t have the same nationalistic pride to say ‘we have to fight China at all cost,’” she said.
In the past week, Wall Street increasingly began to expect the Trump administration to turn up the pressure on China with another wave of 25% tariffs on the $300 billion or so in goods remaining that have no tariffs. Those tariffs would directly hit American consumer goods and are expected to take a bigger bite out of the economy.
Fears of a trade war hurting global growth and concerns that the U.S. is already beginning to weaken were evident in the bond market. Treasury yields reflected lowered growth expectations. The 10-year hit a low of 2.29% on Thursday and was at 2.32% Friday.
J.P. Morgan economists Friday downgraded their view of the economy, slicing second quarter growth to just 1% from an earlier forecast of 2.25% and first quarter growth of 3.2%. The economists blamed weak U.S. manufacturing data and said risks were signs of weakness in the global economy and also indications that the trade war was hurting business sentiment.
“The concerns the markets have right now are that we’re moving towards a worst case scenario, and that could persist for quite some time,” said Mark Cabana, head of U.S. short rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “If that’s the case, then the market is believing economic data, and the Fed will likely need to respond to that by trying to offset and prevent a recession.”
The most important data point in the coming week will be Friday’s personal consumption expenditures, which includes the PCE deflator inflation data that the Fed monitors. It was at 1.6% year-over-year last month, and is expected to be the same for April, well below the Fed’s target of 2% inflation.
Inflation has become a key focus on Wall Street, particularly after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said low inflation appears to be transitory and not enough of a concern to make the Fed cut interest rates. Powell and other Fed officials have stressed the Fed is pausing in its rate hiking cycle, is monitoring the economy and does not yet know which way it will move next.
Solstein Capital’s Terman said she is watching the PCE inflation report to see if it confirms her view that inflation and the economy will be weaker this summer.
She also expects the markets to be choppy, and by late summer, around its annual Jackson Hole symposium, the Fed could indicate it could cut interest rates.
“People are going to start getting even more concerned this summer about the U.S.,” Terman said.
Terman said she has been positioned for lower inflation and slower GDP growth with key holdings in utilities, REITs, Treasurys and gold.
“What would do well this summer? Staples, utilities, health care, REITs. You want fixed income. You want to be underweight tech, energy, financials and industrials,” she said.
There is also home prices data Tuesday and advanced economic indicators Thursday. That comes in addition to a few earnings reports, including Costco, Ulta Beauty and Dollar General.
Markets will also be watching the outcome of European parliamentary elections, and if there is a strong showing by populists, there could be a negative impact on the euro and risk assets.
Our office will be closed for observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 27. U.S stock and bond markets will also be closed. As you spend some quality time off with family and friends please take time to commemorate those who have paid the ultimate price while serving in the U.S. military.
For decades the Stock Trader’s Almanac has been tracking and monitoring the market’s performance around holidays. The trading day after Memorial Day has a mixed record going back to 1971. Both S&P 500 and NASDAQ have declined more often than risen on the day, but average performance is still positive. Since 1986, the frequency of gains has improved, and average performance has also risen however, over the last four years S&P 500 has declined. The second trading day after Memorial Day has since more advances than declines, but average performance is negative for NASDAQ. The third day after appears to have the best long- and short-term record combined with solid average performance.
Hut, Hut, Cut! With weaker economic data to contend with this week on both a domestic and international basis, plus escalating tensions between the US and China, investors are increasingly pricing in a higher likelihood of rate cuts from the FOMC before the year is out. Through mid-day Friday, the Fed Fund futures market was pricing in over an 85% chance of a rate cut between now and the January 2020 meeting. Those are the kind of odds that would make James Holzhauer say "All in."
Investors just got more details on Federal Reserve (Fed) policymakers’ views of inflation.
Minutes of the Fed’s most recent meeting, which ended May 1, showed that “many participants” considered slowing consumer inflation as “transitory,” and agreed that the Fed’s current patient approach should help stoke economic growth and inflation. Policymakers’ optimistic view on inflation runs counter to a growing opinion in financial markets that slowing growth in core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) could warrant lower rates.
Markets think the grace period for a “transitory” excuse has passed, but data show it’s too soon to tell. Another measure of inflation, the Fed Bank of Dallas’s “trimmed mean” PCE measure, points to higher pricing pressures ahead. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the trimmed mean PCE, which has proven to be a less volatile version of core PCE, has hit 2% year-over-year growth for the past several months.
Of course, much has happened on the global front since the Fed’s last meeting. Trade tensions have flared up again, with the United States raising tariff rates on $200 billion of Chinese imports and threatening to increase rates on the remaining swath of goods. Logically, tariffs should be a catalyst for higher consumer inflation, as higher costs should boost price growth. However, the opposite has happened over the past few months, and there are several factors to consider when thinking about future inflation.
Overall, we don’t see a strong argument for a rate cut right now, and we side with the Fed in thinking consumer inflation could pick up as wage growth accelerates and growth stabilizes. At the very least, it’s becoming more obvious the Fed doesn’t have enough clarity to move policy in either direction.
The S&P 500 Index has officially gained each of the first four months of the year for the first time since 2013. This comes on the heels of the best first quarter since 1998. Six straight months in green has been the best monthly win streak to start a year, and that last happened in 1996.
Starting a year with strength like this historically has been a good sign, even though stocks in May saw a nearly 5% correction.
“Although we wouldn’t be surprised to see continued volatility over the coming months, the good news is a great start to a year has had a funny way of eventually resolving higher,” explained LPL Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “In fact, the rest of the year has been higher an incredible 14 out of 15 times after the first four months were in the green!”
As our LPL Chart of the Day shows, the S&P 500 returns the rest of the year (final 8 months) have been more than twice as strong as the average year returns—10% versus 4.7%—following four straight monthly gains to kick off a new year. There’s always a catch though, and in this case we’ve seen an average pullback of more than 8% the rest of the year.
We consider earnings season a success based on the amount of upside to prior estimates generated by S&P 500 Index companies despite several headwinds. Companies handily beat expectations to get first quarter earnings up to flat, as shown in the LPL Chart of the Day.
Resilient estimates are also encouraging. Since April 15, the 2019 consensus estimate for S&P 500 earnings per share has risen slightly to $168 (a 4% year-over-year increase). We consider that a win given that estimates typically fall during earnings season.
“Escalating trade uncertainty and the threat of more tariffs are huge wild cards for corporate profits,” said LPL Chief Investment Strategist John Lynch. “We are hopeful that significant progress can be made on the trade front next month, when President Trump and China’s President Xi are expected to meet at the G20 summit. A prolonged impasse that lasts through the summer would make mid-single-digit earnings growth difficult to achieve in 2019.”
Our base case remains that we will get a trade deal with China early this summer and consensus expectations for 3–4% earnings growth may prove to be conservative. Earnings are hardly booming, but with a continued economic expansion, low inflation, and low interest rates, we see enough earnings growth ahead to push stocks up to our year-end S&P 500 fair value target of 3,000—though it probably won’t get there in a straight line.
June has shone brighter on NASDAQ stocks over the last 48 years as a rule ranking eighth with a 0.6% average gain, up 26 of 48 years. This contributes to NASDAQ’s “Best Eight Months” which ends in June. June ranks near the bottom on the Dow Jones Industrials just above September since 1950 with an average loss of 0.3%. S&P 500 performs similarly poorly, ranking tenth, but essentially flat (–0.02% average). Small caps also tend to fare well in June. Russell 2000 has averaged 0.6% in the month since 1979.
In pre-election years since 1950, June ranks no better than mid-pack. June is the #8 DJIA month in pre-election years averaging a 0.8% gain with a record of nine advances in seventeen years. For S&P 500, June is #5 with an average gain of 1.2% (10-7 record). Pre-election year June ranks #6 for NASDAQ and #7 for Russell 2000 with average gains of 1.9% and 1.1% respectively. Recent pre-election year Junes in 2015, 2011 and 2007 were troublesome for the market as DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all declined (Russell 2000 eked out a modest gain in 2015).
Monday 5.27.19 Before Market Open:
([CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S PRE-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())NONE. (U.S. MARKETS CLOSED IN OBSERVANCE OF MEMORIAL DAY!)
Monday 5.27.19 After Market Close:
([CLICK HERE FOR MONDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())NONE. (U.S. MARKETS CLOSED IN OBSERVANCE OF MEMORIAL DAY!)
Tuesday 5.28.19 Before Market Open:
Tuesday 5.28.19 After Market Close:
Wednesday 5.29.19 Before Market Open:
Wednesday 5.29.19 After Market Close:
Thursday 5.30.19 Before Market Open:
Thursday 5.30.19 After Market Close:
Friday 5.31.19 Before Market Open:
Friday 5.31.19 After Market Close:
([CLICK HERE FOR FRIDAY'S AFTER-MARKET EARNINGS TIME & ESTIMATES!]())NONE.
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?
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