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The Independent Investor: Currencies & Trade Wars
By Bill Schmick,
04:34PM / Thursday, June 28, 2018
What's up with the dollar? The greenback is strengthening and is having its best quarter since 2016 against an array of foreign currencies. Is this an accident, or is it something far more dangerous?   Economists will tell you that the Trump tariff crusade is responsible. New trade barriers, which the president is suggesting, would usually lead to higher prices at home, according to economic doctrine. Products we import would cost more, whether we are talking about steel, automobiles, or baseball caps.   As prices increase, so should the U.S. inflation rate. As inflation rises, bondholders will demand higher interest rates to keep up with inflation. In turn,

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The Independent Investor: The Next Recession
By Bill Schmick,
05:27PM / Thursday, June 21, 2018
Over half the economists on Wall Street believe that by the end of 2020, we will experience our first economic downturn in years. If so, when might you begin to prepare for a rocky two-year period for all of us?   The good news is that we still have another year or so of stock market gains, job growth and more importantly, wage growth. As it stands, the U.S. is currently enjoying its second-longest economic expansion in history with an unemployment rate that hasn't been this low in decades. Wage growth, after languishing for years, is expected to top 3 percent by the end of 2018, while GDP could achieve greater than 3 percent this year and a further 2.5 percent next

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The Independent Investor: How to Avoid Recession? Emigrate to Australia
By Bill Schmick,
03:13PM / Thursday, June 14, 2018
  — "New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus (Statue of Liberty)   This "land down under" has escaped an economic recession for 26 years in a row. An open immigration policy in a nationalist world that demands just the opposite is one of the key drivers to their success. An abundance of natural resource wealth has also helped.   Readers would need to go back to the late 1980s, early 1990s, to find two quarters of negative growth (the definition of an economic recession) in Australia. Back then, Australia was noted for its boom and bust economy. Throughout their 160-plus year history, mining booms in gold,

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The Independent Investor: Trump's trade war
By Bill Schmick,
03:52PM / Thursday, June 07, 2018
Over the weekend, the G-7 group of nations met to denounce the recent actions of the United States. This coming Friday, these same leaders convene in Quebec. President Trump will attend and seems determined to face them down.   Ever since the Trump administration announced plans to raise tariffs on imported steel and aluminum by 25 percent and 10 percent respectively, our allies have been livid. Some are referring to the upcoming meeting as the G-6, plus the United States. You've got to hand it to the president, he doesn't back off, but given the circumstances, maybe he should.   I doubt that anyone in this country believes the present trade agreements

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The Independent Investor: Italy's Crisis Threatens Financial Markets
By Bill Schmick,
04:05PM / Thursday, May 31, 2018
A political crisis in the fourth largest economy in Europe has spilled over into the financial markets. Global stock exchanges greeted Italy's present political dysfunction by registering major declines — and the crisis may just be getting started.   Back in 2010 through 2012, readers may recall a similar eurozone calamity. Greece was at the center of that maelstrom and, at its worse, threatened the viability of the European Union and its currency, the Euro. This time around, many of the same issues are now bedeviling Italy. The country has the third largest debt load in the world after the U.S. and Japan. It still suffers from double-digit unemployment

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