FIG Topics of Interest

 

01/31/18

Starting at 6 a.m. on Feb. 2 – the moment Trump’s proclamation reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments takes effect – private citizens and companies will be allowed to stake claims for hard rock mining in a process governed by the General Mining Law of 1872, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The process for staking a claim remains much as it did during the Gold Rush: A prospector hammers four poles into the ground corresponding to the four points of a parcel that can be as big as 20 acres, and attaches a written description of the claim onto one of them. A prospector then has 30 days to record the claim at the local BLM office. 
The costs of claiming are low: a $212 filing fee, and an annual maintenance fee of $150. Unlike laws governing petroleum extraction, there are no environmental guidelines specific to hard rock mining, and no requirement to pay a royalty. The claims provide prospectors mineral rights but not ownership of the land.
The law covers mining for uranium, gold, silver, copper and other precious metals, but excludes coal and petroleum.
The Bears Ears area is known to have uranium deposits, but prices are currently in the dumps - at around $25 a pound compared with $130 a decade ago - due to weak domestic demand from nuclear reactors.

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01/30/18

North America is a prime example of workers with jobs that aren’t yet a ticket to sizable pay increases. The rise of involuntary part-time employment in the U.S. and Canada has also been combined with increased temporary contract work that can act as a brake on wage growth, the ILO said. 

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01/29/18

“More respondents report that their firms are hiring -- and having trouble filling positions -- than in the October survey,” Kevin Swift, NABE vice president and chief economist for the American Chemistry Council, said in a statement. “Looking at 2018 as a whole, 63 percent of respondents expect their firms to increase sales, and three times as many expect hiring to increase rather than decrease.”

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01/26/18

The U.S. office market continued to benefit from strong fundamentals going into 2018, despite continued deceleration in net absorption, occupancy and rental rate growth.
The U.S. office vacancy held steady at 10.1% at the end of the fourth quarter 2017, unchanged from the same period a year prior, despite a large amount of new supply and a 20% decline in office net absorption to 65 million square feet for 2017.
Meanwhile, the total amount of office property acquired by investors declined about 15% in 2017 from the prior year, largely due to a sharp drop in office trades in New York City and other gateway markets.

 

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01/25/18

The last time U.S. drillers pumped 10 million barrels of crude a day, Richard Nixon was in the White House. The first oil crisis hadn’t yet scared Americans into buying Toyotas, and fracking was an experimental technique a handful of engineers were trying, with meager success, to popularize. It was 1970, and oil sold for $1.80 a barrel.

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01/24/18

"Our organizations worked hard over the past year to support your efforts and the efforts of tax-cutters in Congress to provide American families much-needed and long-overdue tax relief," reads a letter being sent to the White House from executives of the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity. "But increasing the gas tax would effectively undermine recent tax cuts by clawing back hundreds of billions of dollars — roughly 25 percent of the total benefit from tax reform."

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01/23/18

There are plenty of losers from the decision: Chinese manufacturers, U.S. rooftop panel installers and renewable energy developers including utilities that are planning large-scale solar farms. There are also a few in the industry that stand to gain -- some more surprising than others.

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01/22/18

“The history of U.S. government shutdowns over the last several decades suggests that the furlough of nonessential personnel and curtailment of agency activities could shave a few tenths of a percentage point from GDP growth in a given quarter if a funding gap lasts for several weeks. A shutdown for a few days to a week is unlikely to have a sizable impact,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva of Bloomberg Economics.

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01/19/18

Investors ploughed $23.9 billion into stocks this week, bringing cumulative four-week inflows to their strongest ever level, BAML strategists said, citing EPFR data.
The record inflow to stocks reflected investors’ overwhelmingly optimistic view on equities as global indices continued to crank out new records, driving them to add risk and wary of being left out of the final leg of the bull run.
“Happy new ‘Fear of Missing Out’”, BAML strategists quipped.

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01/18/18

The funding plan heading toward a House vote as soon as Thursday would keep the government operating through Feb. 16. But after that, Congress will need to confront deep-seated differences to agree on new budget limits, immigration legislation and raising the federal debt ceiling.Democrats are demanding protection for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children as part of a spending bill. Trump decided in September to end an Obama-era initiative that shielded them from deportation, effective in March. The U.S. counts 690,000 people currently enrolled in the program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. 
“The American people elected us to fund defense and hold the line on non-defense spending," said Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican and one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus. “We had a little difference in opinion on a lot of things with our leadership’s decisions last month.”
Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania who is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee, said some of his GOP colleagues need to “grow up” and recognize that a 60-vote threshold for passage of most legislation in the Senate forces compromise from a majority party that holds just 51 seats. 
“Leadership has no choice but to reach a deal,” Dent said. “We need a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. We’re going to raise defense spending, the price is going to be that non-defense goes up as well.”


 

Click here to download a pdf of this article, Missile.pdf