Thursday, May 26, 2016

A review of 67 research studies, published in the journal Oncology and Cancer Case Reports, suggests that the nutrient can be used to slow down the enlargement of the prostate, which causes the embarrassing condition. With age most men suffer an unexplained expansion of the prostate, which is wrapped around the urinary tract. The prostate constricts the tube and may block it altogether, causing a condition called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). Professor Hiten Patel, from Bart’s and the Royal London Hospital, led the team which reviewed the research.  “We knew lycopene seems to slow down the development of prostate cancer, but now it seems it can slow down the enlargement of the prostate and development of BPH as well,” he said. “We need to do more research before we can say it should be recommended routinely for everyone, but the outcome of this review is very promising.” The findings appear to corroborate previous studies conducted in China where traditional diets include a much higher intake of fruit and vegetables and lower rates of BPH were found Other research by Bristol University showed that those who ate the most tomatoes had an 18% risk of prostate cancer.  Dr Athene Lane, lead author of the Bristol study, said: “There is definitely something in lycopene to be investigated further so we can understand how the mechanisms works.”  Despite identifying lycopene as a potentially helpful factor in controlling prostate expansion, treatment may be more complicated than simply eating more tomatoes.  This is because lycopene is not easily absorbed into the blood unless processed in some way.  However, researchers believe this problem can be circumvented by administering the nutrient in the form of a supplement pill LactoLycopene.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Three-month interbank offered rates in Riyadh have suddenly begun to spiral upwards, reaching the highest since the Lehman crisis in 2008.  Reports that the Saudi government is to pay contractors with tradable IOUs show how acute the situation is becoming. The debt-crippled bin Laden group is laying off 50,000 construction workers as austerity bites in earnest. Societe Generale’s currency team has advised clients to short the Saudi riyal, betting that the country will be forced to ditch its long-standing dollar peg, a move that could set off a cut-throat battle for global share in the oil markets.  Francisco Blanch, from Bank of America, said a rupture of the peg is this year’s number one “black swan event” and would cause oil prices to collapse to $25 a barrel. Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves are still falling by $10bn (£6.9bn) a month, despite a switch to bond sales and syndicated loans to help plug the huge budget deficit.  Can Saudi Arabia weather the current storm?   The country’s remaining reserves of $582bn are in theory ample – if they are really liquid – but that is not the immediate issue. The problem for the Saudi central bank (SAMA) is that reserve  depletion automatically tightens  monetary policy.  Bank deposits are contracting. So is the M2 money supply. Domestic bond sales do not help because they crowd out Saudi Arabia’s wafer-thin capital markets and squeeze liquidity. Riyadh now plans a global bond issue.  While crude prices have rallied 80pc to almost $50 a barrel since mid-February, this has not yet been enough to ease Saudi Arabia’s financial crunch.  The rebound in crude is increasingly fragile in any case as tough talk from the US Federal Reserve sends the dollar soaring, and Canada prepares to restore 1.2m barrels a day (b/d) of lost output. “We feel that markets have moved too high, too far, too soon. We still face a large inventory overhang and supply outages are reversible,” said BNP Paribas. Total chief Patrick Pouyanne told the French senate last week that prices could deflate as fast as they rose. “The market won’t come back into balance until the end of the year,” he said. Mr Pouyanne said the collapse in annual oil and gas investment to $400bn – from $700bn in 2014 – would lead to a global shortage of 5m barrels by 2020 and another wild spike in prices, but first the glut has to be cleared.  The oil rally is now at a make-or-break juncture. A growing number of oil traders warn that speculative purchases of “paper barrels” by hedge funds have decoupled from fundamentals. There is usually a seasonal slide in demand over the late summer. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Moody's said the eurozone debt crisis had made policymakers more reluctant to cede sovereignty, while "significant fiscal union" was "off the table".  "The process of further integration seemingly relies on further shocks almost by design," it said. Brussels' flagship growth plan also faced significant difficulties as countries with room to invest refused to increase public spending, while fear of further bail-outs meant the banking union remained incomplete, it added. Moody's said the Greek crisis also remained a big threat to the eurozone and EU. "The risk of “accidents” remains high in a process that suffers from partial solutions and, increasingly, public scepticism," it said.
"Crises can be great catalysts for change, and this has been the case in the euro area.  "Still, significant vulnerabilities remain - with 'Brexit' and 'Grexit' still key risks. In a period of relative financial calm, the political will to further pool sovereignty evaporates quickly, and it is only against the alternative of a break-up of the existing system that further measures come back into consideration."  "There are no empires in Europe any more and our leaders would do well not to try to recreate one." The economics professor added that the global economy would be in "deep trouble" if interest rates remained at their record lows for a long period of time as he called for urgent action to boost productivity and trade. "A Keynesian stimulus can only buy time," he said.
"I'm not saying central banks should raise rates and say: 'to hell with it', but central bankers should deliver speech after speech to say 'we can do no more'". Separately, Adam Posen, a former Bank of England policymaker, urged Mark Carney, the current governor, to speak out against the “delusional fantasy” that Britain could thrive outside the EU.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

 Billionaire George Soros has cut his investments by almost 40% in shares of US-listed companies, in the first quarter of 2016, and has instead bought a USD 264 million stake in the world's biggest gold maker, "Barrick Gold" Corp., according to Bloomberg. The agency notes that the worth of the holdings of Soros' fund, Soros Fund Management, has decreased 37% between January and March 2016, to 3.5 billion dollars.   Soros has acquired 1.7% of "Barrick", a company headquartered in Toronto, whose shares have more than doubled this year, amid cost cutting and debt reduction measures. Just since March 31st, "Barrick" shares have risen 39%.  Soros also revealed he holds "call" options on 1.05 million shares in the SPDR Gold Trust, an ETF which tracks the price of gold. The American billionaire, who has built a fortune of 24 billion dollars through market investments, is turning to gold as the global economy is faced with risks. Soros recently warned about the risks China's economy could cause, saying that he was reminded of the crisis which affected the US in 2007-2008, generating a global recession.  In this context, investing in gold is seeing increased demand. June delivery gold futures prices rose 0.4% yesterday, at 10:17, on Comex New York, to 1,279.80 dollars an ounce. In early May, the price of gold passed 1,300 dollars an ounce, amid speculations that the US central bank would slow down the tightening of monetary measures, which have caused the dollar to weaken. According to "BNP Paribas" SA analysts, the price of gold will rise to 1,400 dollars/ounce this year, and "ABN Amro Group" NV predicts a price of 1,370 dollars/ounce.  Soros has sold a stakein"Level 3 Communications" Inc., which was worth 173 million dollars on December 31st, 2015, and a stake in "Dow Chemical" Co., which was worth 161 million dollars. The investor has also sold his stakes in "Endo International" Plc and "Delta Air Lines" Inc.
The price of spot gold has risen 16% in the first three months of 2016, the biggest quarterly rise since 1986, according to Bloomberg. The Bloomberg index which tracks the evolution of 14 major gold producers has doubled this year, after a decline of 76% in the 2011-2015 period.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The US central bank left interest rates unchanged at 0.25%-0.5% for a third time this year when it met in April. After the Fed raised rates from near zero for the first time in almost a decade in December, it was expected to hike rates four times this year. The forecast has since been adjusted to just two hikes in 2016.  The US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates as early as June, according to minutes from its April meeting, with Fed members arguing the risks of a slowdown in the global economy have receded. Yet even as the members have become more bullish about US economic resilience, they remained cautious about raising rates. They voted 11-1 to keep interest rates unchanged for a third time this year at the April meeting. The minutes released on Wednesday listed concerns about the slowing growth of US economy in the first quarter, Britain’s potential exit from the EU and lingering uncertainty over China’s economy. “Since the March FOMC [Federal Open Markets Committee] meeting, foreign financial market conditions eased, on net, and overall risk sentiment appeared to have improved,” the Fed noted in its minutes.  Yet concerns about potential risks of a slowing US economy and global markets remain.  “Many others indicated that they continued to see downside risks to the outlook either because of concerns that the recent slowdown in domestic spending might persist or because of remaining concerns about the global economic and financial outlook,” according to the minutes. “Some participants noted that global financial markets could be sensitive to the upcoming British referendum on membership in the European Union or to unanticipated developments associated with China’s management of its exchange rate.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

The GDP growth of emerging markets is set to fall from 4.4pc last year to just 4.2pc in 2016, before rising to 4.8pc in the following year. These economies have in recent years served as the engines of global growth.  Moody’s said weak oil commodity prices and falling demand for exports could also  drag on the world economy.  Growth forecasts for Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey have been slashed. All are emerging market economies which have been at the sharp end of the commodities rout. It is thought that their weakness will have knock-on effects for the world’s advanced economies.
Despite the effective tax cut offered by low oil prices to importers of the commodity, the turmoil that engulfed financial markets at the beginning of the year will be enough to prompt a slowdown among advanced G20 markets this year, Moody’s believes. 
The rating agency expects the GDP of advanced major economies to rise by 1.7pc this year, compared with a 1.9pc increase in 2015. Elena Duggar, a Moody’s associate managing director, said advanced economies had failed to return to the growth rates enjoyed before the recession, as they have done historically following economic busts.  Ms Duggar said that the factors pulling down on global growth “may prove to be enduring, and global real GDP growth will remain low for some years”. She added that while “financial market volatility from earlier in the year has abated, it showed that the risks of weaker growth scenarios have become more tangible”.  “The global recovery has weakened further and prospects across countries remain uneven and generally weaker than over the past two decades. In addition, global trade remains subdued, while spillovers from emerging markets shocks to financial markets globally have increased substantially.” Moody’s anticipates that oil prices, currently just below $50 a barrel, will average $33 across 2016, before rising to an average of $39 in the following year. Alongside the commodity slump, the ratings agency warned that the possibility of higher US interest rates and the risk of a more severe slowdown in China could further darken the outlook.