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“Blockchaining” the Euro

“Stable Coins” are the attempt to combine the advantages of Blockchain technology with the stable value of the Euro, US Dollar or Yen. Put simply, these are cryptocurrencies that are meant to be 100% covered by a customary Fiat currency (or another underlying asset). Although the advantages promised must first prove to be real, the approach is definitely promising. How can the advantages of Blockchain technology be combined with the stability of Fiat currencies such as the Euro, US Dollar or Yen? The answer is something representatives of both the traditional financial industry and the “Crypto Community” consider central to the future of cryptocurrencies. After all, the immense volatility of these currencies (to be observed among even its most prominent representatives such as Bitcoin, Ether or Ripple) is a central weakness, in particular as regards confidence and broad public and corporate acceptance. Central bank money in a digital guise for…

Election in Turkey: Little clarity, lots of question marks

Next Sunday sees presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey that have been brought forward. At the same time as the ballot, the still controversial constitutional reform adopted in spring 2017 by referendum comes into force. It strengthens the powers of the president vis-à-vis the Turkish parliament. New elections were not actually scheduled until the end of 2019, but President Erdogan brought them forward to 24 June this year, no doubt not least with the intention of securing his own re-election. According to current opinion polls it is doubtful whether his plan will succeed. Neither Erdogan nor the election alliance of AKP and the nationalist MHP can at present be sure of gaining an absolute majority of the votes. With a view to the composition of the future parliament, what will above all count is whether the pro-Kurdish HDP manages to poll more than the 10% required for a single party…

Data protection and social media: bringing together things that previously did not match

The past few weeks have been turbulent for Facebook. The social media platform has been forced to admit that the personal data of up to 87 million of its users had been the object of an unauthorised sale by a former psychology professor in the context of an opinion survey to the data analyst company Cambridge Analytica. The latter is suspected of having used the data acquired in this way for activities including the election campaign of U.S. President, Donald Trump, among other things. In 2017, Google, which is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc, was the subject of criticism when the video portal, YouTube, placed ads of well-known companies next to extremist and racist videos. In recent years, the two online behemoths have enjoyed huge success with the collection and analysis of personal data – considered the “gold of the 21st century“ – for the purposes of online advertising aimed…

Automotive industry: New CO2 targets are ambitious

The EU Commission presented a clean mobility package at the end of 2017 setting new CO2 targets for passenger vehicles and delivery vehicles. New cars are to emit 15% less CO2 by 2025 on average to begin with and then 30% less by 2030. The starting point is the emission of 95g of CO2 per km for passenger vehicles and 147g for light commercial vehicles. Based on the conversion of the consumption measurement procedure to the “Worldwide harmonized light vehicles test procedure”, only relative targets are set. A quota ruling for electro mobility is not envisaged. The trends in new registrations in 2017 suggest that stricter CO2 emission standards are very difficult to reach at present. This is because 1.) the share of passenger cars with low CO2 emissions continues to decline, 2.) the demand for SUVs and off-road vehicles with high CO2 emissions continues to increase and 3.) pure…

UK: Despite a slight pick-up in growth in the fourth quarter, the Brexit effects are undeniable

The UK economy can count itself lucky that the global economy is going as well as it is right now. Otherwise the headwind of the forthcoming Brexit would be much more apparent. As it was, it once again achieved solid growth in the final quarter of the previous year. With growth coming in 0.5 percentage points above the previous quarter, the result was in fact somewhat better than in the quarters before. Measured against the country’s history, however, current economic growth is still rather mediocre, compared with booming economies elsewhere and growth rates that are well above-average. Thanks to strong exports, the manufacturing industry is booming in the UK as well; the previous quarter’s increase represented the second consecutive rise of more than one per cent – a performance not seen in the last seven years. Had its weighting in the UK economy not fallen as sharply as it did…

African swine fever (ASF) moving closer

The virus was brought over from Africa to Georgia way back in 2007. To date, there is no vaccine against it. Although the virus is not a threat to humans, it quickly leads to death in feral and domestic pigs. Humans are thought to be the main source of transmission, probably through carelessly throwing away infected food leftovers (e.g. in rest areas), which facilitates/triggers the spread of the disease. The virus has spread along highways from Georgia via Russia and the Baltic States all the way to Poland and the Czech Republic. Many experts assume that it is only a question of time before ASF arrives in Germany. Germany’s pork market is dependent on exports. Germany’s own needs are covered to over 120%, which means that the additional production has to be sold on via the global market. An outbreak of ASP in Germany (just one case being reported would…

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