The COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a truly singular year. With a deep global recession resulting from strict lockdown measures being implemented throughout much of the world, there has been little for investors to cheer. But with signs that the worst may be mostly behind us, an increasing number of opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves as we move into 2021.
As COVID-19 continues to transform our daily lives in significant ways, traditional banking models have come under intense pressure. Technology is facilitating a rapidly evolving landscape for financial services, with the execution of financial transactions no longer solely under the stewardship of conventional financial institutions.
In December 2018, Andrés Manuel López Obrador swept to power, having promised to reduce Mexico’s longstanding problem of gang violence, which had climbed to record levels, and to bolster economic growth, which at that time had slowed considerably.
On December 15, US bank Goldman Sachs announced what many believe to be the strongest restrictions on fossil-fuel activity by any major bank in the United States. Most notably, the bank has become the first big American lender to restrict financing on any part of the oil-and-gas sector, with a particular focus on protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
There are times when no one wants to see history repeat itself, and that’s the case among today’s investors in technology stocks. Some fear that the dot-com bubble burst of 2000 may repeat itself 20 years later. Although some tech stocks may be overvalued, the flourishing Fourth Industrial Revolution displays no signs of running out of steam any time soon. Caution is advised but not panic.
Many commodities have watched their prices drop, but iron ore is one exception; its price has surged to levels not seen since 2014. The price of iron ore, the main ingredient of steel, is being propelled upward by the combination of growing shortage and intensifying demand. Devastating circumstances affecting the world’s top producers, Brazil and Australia, along with booming demand in China are mainly to blame for the supply shortfall.
In recent weeks, the eyes of the financial world have been firmly fixed on Turkey, since its lira plunged in reaction to a doubling of trade tariffs by the United States.
Many banks have given up the fight and are working to get along with those fintech upstarts, but not regarding one area in particular: top-notch tech talent. When it comes to tech staff, the gloves are off, and banks are fighting to both recruit and hold on to the cream of the crop, recognizing how indispensable experienced professionals have become in the digital world.
On August 8, US bank Goldman Sachs reported that the amount raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain start-up companies through early-stage venture-capital funding had been surpassed by that raised by ICOs (initial coin offerings) during the months of June and July.
On November 8, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, addressed his nation to announce that Rs 500 (approximately $7.25) and Rs 1,000 notes would be withdrawn from circulation. Indian citizens have until the end of 2016 to swap their holdings of old notes, effectively giving them just over 50 days to get rid of currency that is soon to be defunct.