Mixed Signals

WEF

Earlier this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin signaled a shift from conventional economic policy by stating a weaker US dollar would benefit the US economy. Mnuchin is speaking with regard to international trade, suggesting a stronger US dollar makes exports less affordable for other countries, putting American manufacturers and exporters at a price disadvantage.

Naturally, Trump contradicted his Secretary’s comments soon after, stating he wants to, “see a strong dollar” and that the currency’s value “should be what it is.” The Bloomberg dollar index has changed little since the comments. If nothing else, this development exhibits the administration’s lack of a consistent economic policy and communication within the White House.

Crypto Corner

cryptos

Robin Hood, the zero-commission brokerage firm, recently announced plans to integrate cryptocurrency trading into its platform. It will offer trades on Bitcoin and Ether with no transaction fee. Following the news, more than 150,000 people signed up for early access to the new feature. This move may pose a threat to Coinbase, a user-friendly, cryptocurrency exchange that has gained a massive customer base due to the recent rise in cryptocurrency trading.

Coinbase is dependent on transaction fees for most of its revenue.

Doomsday Looms

doomsdayclock

On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) moved their Doomsday Clock forward by 30 seconds, to 2 minutes until midnight. The clock, which is a symbolic index of how close the world is to an apocalyptic catastrophe, has not been this close to midnight since 1953.

The BAS cited sustained and increasing nuclear posturing between leaders of the US and North Korea, nuclear and missile tests carried out by North Korea, rising Russo-American political tensions, unpredictability in the White House, climate change, and weakening institutions as their reasons for moving the clock forward.