Category Archives: Economy

In Brief: What the US Dollar is Up To

The dollar jumped against a slew of currencies that measure its broader strength earlier this month.  A four month peak was reached against the yen on the back of the numbers at the beginning of the month’s 25 basis-point rise in 10 year US government bond yields.  According to co-head of Millennium Global, Richard Benson: “The real story at the moment is the rise in U.S. real yields.  That does look like being the theme for the moment. Dollar yen is properly supported, and I don’t think there is even that much participation yet (in that trade).”

It has also been speculated that the US dollar could advance against the pound, following the Fed’s Labour Market Conditions Report, expecting to indicate an enhancement of market conditions that may spark some appreciation in the US dollar.

Other impacts on markets at the moment are central bank events, with anticipated raised interest rates imposed from the Bank of Canada and data indicates the economy in Britain looks gloomy suggesting an interest rate hike there later this year.

NY: Federal Reserve News

Herewith some of the latest news blurbs connected to New York’s Federal Reserve.

  1. A recent report from the NY Federal Reserve indicated that expectations of consumer inflation had actually gone down. For the numbers for 2020, the expectations hit their lowest point since January 2016.
  2. On June 19, William Dudley, President of the NY Federal Reserve Bank, participated in a roundtable breakfast meeting in Plattsburgh with local business leaders.
  3. Dudley also met with military installation leaders and Watertown Chamber of Commerce members.
  4. Meanwhile, Charles Evans, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President, addressed the Money Marketeers of New York University about economic conditions and monetary policy.

Meanwhile, in some good news for the economy it was reported by government that unemployment hit its lowest figure in 16 years, dropping to 4.3 percent.

Clive Holmes Silverfern: Latest Investment

The Silverfern Group, with Co-Managing Partner Clive Holmes has made a recent investment, which is their fifth portfolio follow-up investment in the last 18 months.

They have completed a follow-up into the Silverfern portfolio company Broad River Power Holdings. Broad River Power Holdings is a 5×0 Simple Cycle Generating Facility that produces electricity as part of its long-term tolling agreement with Gaffney, South Carolina. The units are able to be on the grid and they can help to supply power within 15 minutes during peak times or during emergencies.

As Silverfern’s Clive Holmes explained, “The opportunity to expand our investment in Broad River in partnership with Arroyo further demonstrates that by partnering with lead investors with deep industry and local knowledge, we can identify and access value where other investors may not be able to do so. Capturing this value on investment allows Silverfern to potentially deliver a higher return to our investors than might otherwise be commensurate with the risk underwritten in an infrastructure investment such as Broad River.”

When describing Broad River, Silverfern Managing Director Brooks Klimley said, “Broad River is a modern, efficient facility that is playing an increasingly important role in the provision of clean, reliable electricity to consumers in North and South Carolina.”

Family-Owned NY Businesses

According to Westfair Communications correspondent Peter Katz, “family-owned businesses form the foundation of the U.S. economy.” Statistically this means that around 64 percent of America’s GDP comes from these businesses with 36 percent of all employees working in the family businesses.  In addition, for the economy, 40 to 46 percent of all annual sales come from family-owned businesses.

But how successful are these family-run businesses?  According to recent data from the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, only 16 percent of businesses are successfully transmitted from a founder to the next generation.  The numbers continue to diminish through each generation, reaching a mere 2 percent by the fourth generation.

But there is some good news for New Yorkers, as was seen at the 2017 award ceremony for Westchester and Fairfield counties’ family businesses.  According to Dee DelBello, Westfair Communications Publisher, these counties comprise “the most diverse, successful and community-minded family businesses…Family-owned businesses are the backbone of our country and its economy, and that’s just as true for Westchester and Fairfield counties.”

One of the award winners was Mamaroneck’s Walter’s Hot Dog Stand.  Recipient Christine Warrington accepted the award together with her children.  She is a third generation family member to run the company which was launched in 1919 by her grandparents.  Today, her three children aged 39, 31 and 27 are all working to “continue the legacy of Walter’s.”

if so much of America’s economy is dependent on family-run businesses, wouldn’t it make sense for more people to at least give it a try?

Bolstering NYC Businesses

Businesses in New York are getting boosts from a few different industries.  Two which are of particular note are the NYC Love Your Local and the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline.

A new approach has been put in place by the Department of Small Business Services with its establishment of the NYC Love Your Local. Created in order to “celebrate and promote small businesses throughout the five boroughs,” New Yorkers are being encouraged to share their favorite businesses (independent and non-franchised). Thereafter these will be included in an online interactive map.  As Gregg Bishop, commissioner for the Department of Small Business services pointed out, “

“Independent, small businesses are the backbone of our neighborhoods, and the ‘NYC Love Your Local’ initiative recognizes and supports their vital role in the fabric of New York City. New York City is full of unique neighborhoods that are given character by local merchants and entrepreneurs. New Yorkers should share their favorite neighborhood business and be sure to share their love.”

It is hoped that this initiative will creatively encourage people to make purchases in local stores, which in turn will provide more access to capital for these businesses and improve their services.

Mayor de Blasio’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline is meanwhile seeing an investment of $1 million into the program that brings together students and tech jobs.  While de Blasio set this up three years ago (and has over that time brought together educational institutes with NYC’s booming technology industry), now new tech

apprenticeships and internships  are being offered at top level firms such as Accenture, IBM and Verizon.

Castle Harlan Has Case Dismissed

In recent news, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division just dismissed a seven-count complaint that was brought by the Russian-owned companies Norcast S.ár.l and Pala Investments Ltd. against Castle Harlan Inc. In 2011, Castle Harlan purchased a Canadian mining products company, Norcast Wear Solutions, and the plaintiffs claimed that Castle Harlan purchased it from them for $190 million in a private sale and sold in four hours later for a higher price. Castle Harlan was cleared of all wrong doing, as the Appellate Division, First Department explained that there was not a no-flip clause in the share purchase agreement and that no actionable wrongdoing could be proven.

New York Economy: Give Thanks to Thanksgiving Shopping

Thanksgiving used to just be about the food and the football.  In recent years that has expanded to the shopping.  And the trend just keeps getting stronger.  According to Adobe, online shoppers racked up a staggering $3.34 billion on Black Friday; this was 21.6 percent more than Black Friday 2015. Mobile devices were used for more of the deals than in past years.  It seemed like people were getting a head start of Cyber Monday, since, according to Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director at Adobe Digital Insights, the increased access to mobile devices was likely a significant contributing factor to shoppers using the Internet so early on in the festive season.  One major item that was significantly reduced in price was tablets, which gave shoppers the option of purchasing for an average 25.4 percent less.

Thanksgiving Day, as well as Wednesday 23rd were also times of high spending for New Yorkers and other shoppers throughout the nation.  In New York, security along Fifth Avenue was particularly tight, given the hordes of people expected to come for the sales.  While some salespeople had been complaining that sales had plummeted since the election, the Black Friday weekend sales have now turned this around. Indeed, America’s Research Group President, Britt Beemer, said: “I’m calling it the ‘Trump Effect,’” as he noted how many Americans were suddenly in the ‘spending mood.’  He further explained that: “Americans don’t feel any better about their job situation, they’re not better off, but the perception is that tomorrow things will get better.”

However, it seems that due to the huge discounts that were being offered over the holiday period, the economy fared less well.  Shoppers did their part – picking up lots of great new gadgets, etc. – but the spending per person was less due to the discounts they’ve come to expect. Indeed, according to a National Retail Federation survey, when all was said and done, year-on-year over the four day holiday period the average spending per person was 3.5 percent less than 2015 (coming in at $289.19).  This, despite the fact that there were more customers shopping than a year ago (around three million more).

Post-Election Hunger?

fast-foodDid the election campaign have any impact on fast food chains?  And if so, was that ultimately positive or negative? Either way these companies have been utilizing the election as a data point to explain the ebbs and flows of their businesses in the last few months.

One example of this has been the perception of Jack in the Box executives.  According to an article from the end of last month written by Conor Dougherty in The New York Times, during the campaigns, they concluded that because of so much uncertainty, consumers became less committed to purchasing their cheeseburgers and Jumbo Jacks.

However, after the election that seemed to change.  Gillian Rich, in an article published just last week in Investors Business Daily pointed out that Trump’s “victory has already helped put restaurant stocks back on the menu.”  She wrote that:

“Shares of Jack in the Box, which was added to IBD’s Leaderboard Thursday,  jumped 2.3% to 102.54 on the stock market today, consolidating in a flat base and nearing its buy point of 102.78.”

And it is anticipated that by next week the firm (which is also the proprietor of Qboda Mexican Eats) will have quarterly results that will increase 42% to 88 cents and revenue up 12.6% to $398.67 million.

In general restaurants in New York find it challenging to succeed. It’s always been a tough market but it seems that now – with, increasing rents, a higher minimum wage along with city hall bureaucracy and Instagram-obsessed customers, according to Hailey Eber in The New York Post, “many of the city’s most talented chefs [are] throw[ing] in the dish towel, and New York’s once vibrant dining scene is turning bland.”

And thus rather than remain in New York, some of the creative talents are leaving for Los Angeles, which seems to have a better reputation – for now – when it comes to survival and success in the restaurant business.


New York Works: Where the Battle of the Big Bucks

newyorkWhere are the highest salaries and best working conditions in New York? We often believe that small firms are the way to go when it comes to the creation of additional jobs.  And that might be true.  But when one is seeking out the highest salaries and greater benefits, the Scale Up New York report found that the smaller-sized companies require assistance against issues that obstruct growth so that they too may be able to provide higher salaries.

The facts speak for themselves.  Firms that employ more than 500 staff members pay an average of $97,839 whereas companies with less than 20 employees pay an average of $49,041. That divergence is way too large. But what happens is, according to Executive Director of the Center for an Urban Future, Jonathan Bowles, is that “small businesses are tripped up just at the point when they try to grow.”  One example of this is how hard it is to get the loan that is often required for expansion given the diminishing number of community banks (half as many as there were in 1992).

Microsoft does not seem to have a problem with working in New York City.  But there again, that is quite the corporation.  In a recent announcement the company said it will be renting office space from WeWork for 300 of its employees in NYC.  This is so that it can give its participating MSFT employees a more flexible office arrangement as with this WeWork membership they will be able to choose from 30 different office locations around the city. As CDO of WeWork, David Fano explained, they are “making a big push into bettering our offerings for what we call ‘enterprise customers.’”