Despite Russia’s Recent Economic Struggles – Miss Russia Wears Ridiculously Expensive Gowns to the Miss Universe Pageant in Doral

It is no secret that Russia has been on an economic slump lately due to economic sanctions brought about by the United States, Europe and their allies. The drop in crude oil prices makes things even worse.

Russia’s GDP grew by only 0.7% in the third quarter of 2014, and the World Bank projects that the country will go into recession in 2015. The Russian ruble (RUB) already lost about half its value. To counter the ruble slide, the Russian Central Bank raised interest rates to around 17%. Inflation is at around 9%.

But you probably cant’t tell what the Russian economy is going through based on what Miss Russia, Yulia Alipova, has been wearing to the Miss Universe 2014 pageant in Doral, Florida.

For the official evening gown portraits, Yulia wore an Elie Saab haute couture gown. Fashion pundits estimate the gown’s price tag at USD175,000. Yes, the number of zeroes are correct – the gown costs as much as a house. Continue reading Despite Russia’s Recent Economic Struggles – Miss Russia Wears Ridiculously Expensive Gowns to the Miss Universe Pageant in Doral

What Did Obama Say During His State of the Nation Address? What’s Your Say?

On the 20th of January 2015, President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union Address.

“Tonight, we turn the page”, Obama said.

Clap! Clap! President Obama during his State of the Union Address on January 20, 2015. Image from AFP/Getty Images

 

Below are some excerpts from the President’s speech. I made my own comments. How about you? What’s your say?

Continue reading What Did Obama Say During His State of the Nation Address? What’s Your Say?

Overpriced Swiss Watches Become Even Pricier

Switzerland is the home of many watch brands, and of most of the luxury ones.

Breguet Tourbillon watch in Rose Gold priced at around GBP 88K. The owner will probably still look at his smartphone to tell time though. Image from thewatchgallery.com

 

On January 15 2015, the Swiss National Bank (SNB), decided to remove the currency cap on the Swiss Franc (CHF) which kept the CHF artificially low against the Euro (EUR). Investors buy CHF because they consider it as safe haven currency. Because the SNB suddenly will cease the practice of “printing” CHF to buy Euros to support the cap, the CHF appreciated significantly. Before the move by the SNB, CHF:EUR was hovering around 0.80. On January 15, CHF:EUR went past 1.17. As of the writing of this post (January 21 Manila time), CHF:EUR is trading at around 1.0. See CHF:EUR quotes here

This is bad news for the Swiss since exports comprise around 70% of their GDP. Swiss made watches, who many people think are already expensive, will now even be more expensive. Continue reading Overpriced Swiss Watches Become Even Pricier

The Blues on the First Workday After a Long Holiday

We are all familiar with the Monday blues. But there is something much worse than Mondays — It is the first workday after a long holiday. What makes this day specially bad?

  • There’s a lot of work to do – because tasks didn’t just miraculously accomplish themselves during the holidays.
  • Long lines in banks and government offices. It’s permit and licensing season in the Philippines as well, so expect mayhem in queues everywhere.
  • A lot more shoulda woulda coulda from people who just slept through the break and didn’t make any plans
  • For those who actually made plans, a hoilday mood that will take longer to shift to work mood.
  • Specifically for the Papal visit, a lot of people got drenched in the rain during the record breaking mass. They may be ill now. Those who are not ill will have more work to do, since the ill ones will call in sick.
  • Specifically for the Papal visit, a lot of people were on their best behavior while the Pope was here. Your co-worker may suddenly unleash the nasty side that he’s been suppressing all week long.

 

What about the markets? Do they do well after a long break or did they also get the blues? — or since this is finance related — the reds? Continue reading The Blues on the First Workday After a Long Holiday

Investment Trend for 2015: Strong US Dollar

In 2014, the dollar gained on the Euro, Pound and Yen. In 2015, many analysts expect the dollar to grow stronger.

Is 2015 the year of an even stronger US Dollar?

Barron’s enumerated the ways in which a strong dollar impacts the global economy.

Will an extra second disrupt banking and trading systems ?

Because the earth rotation is slightly slowing, there is a need to add an extra second to sync clocks to the earth’s rotation. On June 30, a “leap second” will be added by the International Earth Rotation Service in Paris.

For us people, that action may be unnoticeable, but not so for computers. When a leap second was last added in 2012, Mozilla, LinkedIn, Reddit and other websites crashed. Will adding an extra second affect banking and trading platforms that are becoming increasingly dependent on the computers and the internet?

According to a report in the TelegraphUS delegates at the conference in Geneva in 2012, opposed adding leap seconds since this action may disrupt timed money transactions, among other things. However, experts believe that this is a better option than adding leap minutes in the future to catch up. The Earth’s rotation may also slightly speed up, so removing a second is also a possibility.