Five Reasons Why 2018 Could Be Best Year Yet For Cryptocurrencies

In an earlier piece for CNBC, I explained why a potential cryptocurrency bubble could burst in 2018. Many people asked me afterward: If I’m so skeptical about the space, why am I invested in it?Let me clarify. I’m someone who always calculates the potential upsides and downsides, and I think many people take unnecessary risks: They either invest too much or too little because they don’t do proper analysis.So I want to highlight five reasons why 2018 might be the best ever year for cryptocurrencies and why I’m heavily invested in them.

Source: Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrency: Five positive factors for 2018 – CNBC

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

May Faces Difficulties Keeping Cabinet United Over Brexit

Theresa May is braced for her Cabinet to split when the European Union rejects her demands for a sweeping free trade deal, after her senior team agreed to put off the hardest Brexit decisions until later.Despite the Cabinet truce after months of internal division, three senior government officials said May will face her most challenging task keeping her ministers united when — as they expect — EU leaders formally reject the British approach.The U.K. prime minister won the backing of her ministers to ask the EU for the most ambitious and wide-ranging trade agreement the bloc has ever signed, after a marathon eight-hour meeting at her country house on Thursday.

Source: May Knows Danger of Cabinet Split on Brexit Still Lies Ahead – Bloomberg

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

A Guide to the Italian Election

Italians go to the polls on March 4 in an election that could either help to rebalance the political environment or send shockwaves through the country and beyond.Voting will take place between 7 a.m. (1 a.m. ET) and 11 p.m. local time. The result is not expected to be officially counted until 2 p.m. Monday, however.Here’s a guide to the vote.Who are the main parties and candidates?Italian politics can seem a muddle of shifting alliances and allegiances and the country is not renowned for its political stability, having had 64 governments and numerous prime ministers since World War II.In 2018, there are “old faces” to look out for, such as the ever-resurgent Silvio Berlusconi, and some new personalities too.Most importantly, Italy’s political landscape is littered with coalitions and these could be decisive in the election result. So while the main parties are important, the alliances with other minor parties could prove decisive.

Source: Italy election 2018: A simple guide to the vote – CNBC

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

50 50 Chance of Halting Brexit

Opponents of Britain’s exit from the European Union are preparing a major campaign they say now has close to a 50:50 chance of stopping Brexit by blocking Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal, a leading pro-EU campaigner said.With Britain scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019, opponents of Brexit are exploring various ways to stop what they say is Britain’s biggest mistake since World War Two.‘Best for Britain’, a campaign group which received a 400,000 pound donation from billionaire financier George Soros last year, hopes to convince lawmakers in the 650-seat parliament to block the withdrawal deal May aims to bring back from Brussels in October.

Source: Chance of halting Brexit now close to 50:50, says leading campaigner – Reuters

DAX Edges Lower as German GDP Slows in Q4

24 hours of reconciliation

UK Growth Revised Lower

The UK economy expanded by less than previously thought in the last three months of 2017, official figures say.GDP grew by 0.4% in the October-to-December period, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, down from the initial estimate of 0.5%.The revision was due to slower growth in production industries, the ONS said.In 2017 as a whole, the economy grew by 1.7%, also slightly lower than previously thought and the weakest since 2012.

Source: UK economic growth revised downwards – BBC News

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone

Merkel Wants Overhaul of EU Finances After Brexit

Brexit offers the European Union an opportunity for a broad rethink of its financial set-up, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday before an EU summit that will tackle the bloc’s future budget.Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin, Germany, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Axel SchmidtAddressing the Bundestag (lower house of parliament), Merkel made clear that the future of the EU would be a priority in her fourth term, provided a coalition deal between her conservatives and the pro-EU Social Democrats is approved by SPD members.“We need a new start for Europe,” said Merkel, adding the looming debate on a new budget for the 27-member bloc after Britain’s withdrawal in 2019 could lead to some major changes.

Source: Merkel eyes overhaul of EU finances for post-Brexit bloc – Reuters

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone

Italians Warned of Mafia Meddling

There is a risk of Italy’s mafias “conditioning” the general election in March, Italy’s Interior Minister Marco Minniti warned.Italians go to the polls on March 4 and Minniti said there was “too much silence” on the “concrete” risk of the mafias posing a threat to democracy and “the freedom to vote,” Italian news agency ANSA reported.”We’re in the swing of the electoral competition and … There is a concrete risk of the mafias conditioning electors’ free vote,” Minniti said on Wednesday as he presented an annual report to the Anti-Mafia commission in Rome.

Source: Italian election could see mafia interference – CNBC

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone

ECB Optimistic But Cautious

The euro rose to a day’s high on Thursday shortly after the European Central Bank (ECB) released minutes of its January meeting.The currency hit $1.23085 at around 12:30 p.m. London time (7:30 a.m. ET) but it eased some of that strength a few minutes later.ECB minutes showed that inflation, the most important economic indicator at the central bank, is set to finally rise. As a result, some market participants briefly interpreted that as an indicator that monetary stimulus will come to an end earlier than previously thought.

Source: European Central Bank leaves policy on hold, inflation set to rise – CNBC

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone

Too Many Rate Hikes Could Harm Economy

Central bankers need to be careful not to increase interest rates too quickly this year because that could slow the economy too much, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard told CNBC on Thursday.Wall Street expects the Fed to raise rates at next month’s meeting, in the first of what’s seen as at least three total hikes in 2018. The Fed increased the cost of borrowing money three times last year to the current range of 1.25 to 1.50 percent.Hiking rates by a total of 1 percent this year, which would signal four increases of the typical 0.25 percent, would be “priced for perfection,” Bullard said.

Source: Fed’s Bullard: Too many hikes this year could slow economy too much – CNBC

Futures Flat After Hawkish Fed Minutes

Dollar maintains its firmer tone

GBP/JPY – Bearish Breakout Ahead of Jobs Data and BoE

OANDA Senior Market Analyst Craig Erlam talks to Core Finance about the recent bearish break in GBPJPY and whether it signals more pain ahead. He also previews the UK jobs data and Bank of England inflation report hearing and what they could mean for interest rates this year.

USD/JPY – Japanese Yen Edges Lower as Japanese Manufacturing PMI Dips

BoE Hearing and Fed Minutes in Focus

DAX Under Pressure, Investors Eye Fed Minutes