Wondering if you are up to speed with topics that are likely to pop up at your upcoming dinner meet? Here’s a list of the key developments in finance that you should know:
When someone talks about Hurricane Harvey, you can link it to global oil prices:
Hurricane Harvey has impacted almost a quarter of U.S.’s oil refining capacity. U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of petroleum products but a lot of it’s energy assets are concentrated in the hurricane prone coastal corridor. This has led to supply shortages in the U.S. because the stockpiles cannot be accessed. The hurricane has also led to closures of oil refineries because of which global fuel prices have risen and the global fuel markets are badly affected.
When someone talks about G.S.T. and demonetization you can point out its current impact on the Indian Economy:
India’s economic growth rate had been 5.7% in the April – June quarter, the first quarter of the current fiscal year. This is the lowest it has been in the past three years. The reasons for this slowdown can partly be attributed to companies stalling production in June as they prepared to switch-over to Goods and Services Tax regime and some lingering effects of demonetization as well.
When someone says the iPhone 8 is releasing you can say this is the reason U.S.’s tech sector is outperforming the other sectors:
Apple’s stock hit an all-time high because of the market’s excitement over the bullish (meaning a buying trend) estimate for the new iPhone 8. This sharp rise in Apple’s stock price has made technology the best performing sector in the U.S. markets for the month of August.
When someone talks about Wells Fargo you can explain why it is the bank you shouldn’t trust:
Wells Fargo, the third largest bank in the US by total assets, seems to be in deeper trouble as new revelations about the fake accounts created by its employees have come to light. After the resignation of its long time CEO John Stumpf and a $185 million fine, Wells Fargo continued to face investigations, inquiries and law suits related to its notorious sales tactics. Driven by a high pressure sales environment, Wells Fargo employees created two million fake deposits and credit card accounts for customers without their authorization and consent. Thousands of employees were fired because of this and last week it was revealed that the number of fake accounts created, at 3.5 million, is much larger than what was revealed earlier.
When someone talks about IPO’s, Uber’s IPO is something that is rumored to come out:
Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is keen to take the company public within the next 18-36 months. The company has been going through a tumultuous phase with several scandals implicating its ex CEO Travis Kalanick and his group of close advisors. Roughly valued at $70 billion, the developments at Uber are being closely watched with interest by potential investors.
When someone talks about Raghuram Rajan you can say he wasn’t a fan of the demonetization and recommend his book ‘I do what I do’:
Ex RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan finally broke his silence on the much debated issue of demonetization in his book “I do what I do”. Rajan revealed that neither he nor the RBI under him was in favour of demonetization. His view was that short term costs associated with this decision would outweigh any long term benefits. This is also backed by RBI data that shows 99% of the high value notes are back in the banking system.
When someone’s talking about Bitcoins you can talk about the 6 banks that have collaborated to create a similar new digital currency:
Is a new digital currency in the offing? Six of the world’s largest banks are likely to create a new form of digital currency for clearing and settling transactions over blockchain. Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin, the digital currency called “the new gold” by Forbes magazine recently. Bitcoin is increasingly becoming more popular than gold among investors as a hedge against rising political and geo political uncertainties. Growing tensions in Asia are further boosting interest levels in Bitcoin.
Now that you know these topics, the next time someone mentions them you know what to say. If there are any such topics spoken about at a party that have made you feel out of the loop, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will cover it in our next edition.
This column is written by Sonia G.
Sonia is a finance professional, educator, ethics trainer and a yoga enthusiast. She has worked in Investment Banking with Deutsche Bank , J.P. Morgan, and BNP. She is also a visiting faculty/ guest lecturer at management institutes and colleges.