Finance Knuggets

Feb 02, 2024

I recently read about the potential for the EU to squeeze Hungary due to the country’s massive structural current account surplus, but with a recently developed currency mismatch in the banking system that might be exploited with the ECB’s help. European leaders are frustrated with Hungary’s obstruction over aid to Ukraine and are exploring financial warfare against the country. However, it is unlikely that EU funds being withheld would break the Hungarian economy, as Hungary has already been cut off from much of the EU funds due to concerns about corruption and abuse of power. The Hungarian economy and financial system have also been transformed after the global financial crisis, making them less vulnerable to external pressure.

In other news, Vietnam and the Philippines have signed new pacts that spotlight the geopolitical and geoeconomic opportunities for both countries, with a focus on alignment regarding the South China Sea and wider implications for the Indo-Pacific region. The visit and new pacts come after months of discussion by the two sides on how to advance cooperation amid evolving strategic dynamics, and the state visit by the Philippine President to Vietnam constitutes a significant development in the relationship.

Additionally, I came across an email discussing retirement mistakes to avoid, ways to reduce taxes on investment income, and the need for estate plan check-ups. The email provides tips on making the right choices for retirement planning and reducing taxes on investment earnings, as well as the importance of regular estate plan check-ups. Lastly, there was news about the Fed pouring cold water on the prospect of March rate cuts, leading to the S&P 500 reacting with its worst day in over four months. This has left dealmakers with the choice of taking the ball and going home, playing out the first quarter with the expectation of changed conditions later this year, or adapting to the new normal.

I heard that Alibaba is considering a sale process for InTime, the Chinese department store chain it took private in 2017. This move seems to indicate a shift away from its omnichannel retail ambitions, as the tech giant continues to struggle with broader reorganization plans. This decision comes as Chinese consumer confidence is lower today than in 2017, when Alibaba valued InTime at around $4 billion.

In other news, there have been several significant venture capital deals, with companies like DataSnipper, Watershed, Metronome, Oasis Security, ArteraAI, and others raising substantial amounts of funding. Additionally, private equity deals, public offerings, and liquidity events have been making headlines, including Arcane Capital Partners’ acquisition of Petroflex North America and Amer Sports’ successful IPO.

One notable story involves a judge ruling against Elon Musk and ordering him to give back the $55.8 billion in pay that Tesla’s board agreed to pay him in 2018. The judge’s decision has sparked discussions about corporate governance and the role of the Delaware Court of Chancery in resolving corporate law disputes.

Overall, it seems like the financial landscape is experiencing significant activity across various sectors, with notable developments in venture capital, private equity, and corporate governance.

Stay Well!