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Oil prices are likely to peak sooner, rather than later

There are two main reasons crude oil prices keep rising. The first, of course, is demand, and the other is control of supplies by OPEC. Demand for crude oil is set to top out in the longer run with increasing use of renewables, reduced use of automobiles by millennials and similar developments. In the shorter run, the higher crude oil prices go, the more do alternate sources of oil - like fracking and increasing supplies of LNG and natural gas.

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The world is headed for a huge climate change crisis by 2040, much earlier than expected

A new United Nations study has forecast a massive climate change crisis hitting the earth as early as 2040, if emissions continue at the current rate. 

If governments don't take massive action over the next decade, we could see severe food shortages, increased forest fires, large scale coral reef die-offs, inundated coastlines and more severe storms. Such a situation would also increase the risk of war.

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Investing decisions can be easier during a financial crisis

An interview of Howard Marks, co-chairman and co-founder of Oaktree Capital. He says "You didn’t need caution, conservatism, risk control, patience, selectivity, discipline, any of those things. All you needed was money and nerve.”

This is an audio interview, with the link given within the linked article.

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Bangladesh's remarkable growth story

Until just over a decade ago, Bangladesh was considered to be an economic basket case. It has since achieved a remarkable turnaround, with its GDP poised to exceed that of Pakistan. The author of the piece - renowned economist Kaushik Basu - believes the roots lie in social change, particularly the education and empowerment of women.

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World Bank : India needs to create far more regular, salaried jobs to join the ranks of the global middle class

The World Bank has said in a report that while uneducated Indian workers have shown resourcefulness despite the constraints they face, the business are too small to improve the well-being of their owners. What India needs is a substantial increase in salaried jobs with growing earnings for the standards of living to rise in the country.

“Since 1999, India has seen its IT sector boom, become a nuclear power, broken the world record for the number of satellites launched in a single rocket and achieved an annual growth rate of 5.6%. Yet, the size of its informal sector has remained around 91%,” the World Bank said.

 

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The future is blockchain!

The number of potential uses for Blockchain are only limited by our imagination, and we do not need to know the code that operates it. Blockchain started to be talked about because of Bitcoin, but the technology is much older and bigger. The power of Blockchain comes from its ability to cut out the middle man, and the security boost that it provides. You can read more about the sort of applications Blockchain can support in the linked article from Quartz.

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The North-South divide is widening in India

Human development indicators for the southern states of India resemble those of upper-middle-income-countries, while that of the northern states is closer to sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, the population of northern states has been increasing at a much higher rate than that in the southern ones. As a result, there is an increasing perception in the south is that their resources are diverted to the north, while they become a political minority with little control over the situation.

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The Fed's commitment to normalise interest rates may be riskier than believed

The U.S. Federal Reserve has been committing itself to raising rates back to normal levels, after keeping them unnaturally low for nearly a decade in order to counter the aftereffects of the Financial Crisis of 2007-08. An improving economy gives them the reason to do so.

However, Satyajit Das (named one the world's 50 most influential bankers in 2014) argues that the Fed may be underestimating the risk in increasing interest rates. His contention is that global private debt has built up enormously during this period, and a significant part of it is substantially risky. Higher interest rates could therefore trigger off defaults, with a cascading effect across other markets.

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Privatising Indian PSU Banks will not solve problems with the industry, as Private Sector Banks have got into trouble too.

The biggest problem with the Indian banking sector is a lack of proper checks and balances. Without them, future scams cannot be ruled out. RBI needs to get more powers, besides doing a lot more to ensure that transgressions of the sort seen recently at PNB, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank do not occur elsewhere again.

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Investors need to re-examine their beliefs periodically

All investors have a set of beliefs about how the market works, and the stimuli it responds to. These beliefs may be conscious or unconscious ones. However, there will be many times when the market does something which goes contrary to a belief. Such instances are excellent times to examine whether a belief was in fact wrong, and refresh their knowledge using the new evidence.

Barry Ritholtz has written about his own beliefs which he has revised in light of new evidence in the Bloomberg article.

One belief which many investors subscribe to is that markets' moves are closely related to economic data. However, this is very often not the case. The Guardian piece explains how the abrupt sell-offs in global markets at the end of January were in fact caused by positive economic news from the US.

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