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FED RAISES RATES AMID STRONGER INFLATION

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The Fed has raised rates seven times since late 2015 on the back of the economy’s continuing expansion.

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday, a move that was widely expected but still marked a milestone in the U.S. central bank’s shift from policies used to battle the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession, Reuters reports.

In raising its benchmark overnight lending rate a quarter of a percentage point to a range of between 1.75 percent and 2 percent, the Fed dropped its pledge to keep rates low enough to stimulate the economy “for some time” and signaled it would tolerate above-target inflation at least through 2020.

The Fed has raised rates seven times since late 2015 on the back of the economy’s continuing expansion and solid job growth, rendering the language of its previous policy statements outdated.

Inflation is also snapping into line, with fresh projections from policymakers on Wednesday indicating it would run above the central bank’s 2 percent target, hitting 2.1 percent this year and remaining there through 2020.

Policymakers also projected a slightly faster pace of rate increases in the coming months, with two additional hikes expected by the end of this year, compared to one previously.

They see another three rate increases next year, a pace unchanged from their previous forecast.

“The labor market has continued to strengthen … economic activity has been rising at a solid rate,” the Fed’s rate-setting committee said in unanimous statement after the end of a two-day meeting.

“Household spending has picked up while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly,” the Fed said.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT).

The Fed’s short-term policy rate, a benchmark for a host of other borrowing costs, is now roughly equal to the rate of inflation, a breakthrough of sorts in the central bank’s battle in recent years to return monetary policy to a normal footing.

Though rates are now roughly positive on an inflation-adjusted basis, the Fed still described its monetary policy as “accommodative,” with gradual rate increases likely warranted as a sturdy economy enters a 10th straight year of growth.

Estimates of longer-run interest rates were unchanged and seen reaching as high as 3.4 percent in 2020 before dropping to 2.9 percent in the longer run.

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Fintech start-up TransferWise reports second year of profit, revenue almost doubles

The Azeri Times

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Fintech start-up TransferWise reports second year of profit, revenue almost doubles
Kristo Kaarmann, Co-Founder & CEO, TransferWise, on Centre Stage during day one of MoneyConf 2018 at the RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

TransferWise, one of Europe’s largest financial technology (fintech) start-ups, said Monday it was profitable for the second year in a row.

 

The London-headquartered money transfer firm reported an annual post-tax net profit of £6.2 million ($8 million) for the fiscal year ending March 2018.

Annual revenue nearly doubled to £117 million during the period, from £66 million the previous year, TransferWise said. Operating profit came in at £9.5 million following a loss of £519,000 last year.

The company’s accounts entered into the black for the first time in March 2017, six years after the firm was founded by Estonian entrepreneurs Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Kaarman.

“We’ve proven that fintech can offer consumers an unbelievable experience at a low price, all whilst creating a solid business that can be trusted long-term,” Kaarman, TransferWise’s chief executive, said in a statement Monday.

“Looking forward, sustained growth and our healthy financial position means we can continue to drive down costs whilst investing in developing our product.”

TransferWise is counted among Europe’s “unicorn” start-ups — firms valued at $1 billion or more — with a reported valuation of $1.6 billion.

It has raised a total of $397 million since it was founded in 2011. Backers include asset management giant Old Mutual, Silicon Valley venture capital firms Institutional Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, and British billionaire Richard Branson.

The firm says that £3 billion worth of transactions are moved around each month on the TransferWise app by its more than 4 million users.

The company makes money through fees charged on international transfers, which it boasts are up to eight times lower than those charged by banks.

Last year, it introduced its traveler-friendly borderless account to European customers, which lets users hold over 40 currencies and switch between currencies instantly. TransferWise plans to roll out the product to U.S. users later this year.

And in July, TransferWise tied up with French bank Groupe BPCE, in its first major bank partnership, to provide the lender’s customers access to its money transfer service. It has also struck deals with rival fintech firms Monzo and N26.

Monday’s earnings news could signal a changing landscape for fintech firms like TransferWise when it comes to profitability. Many start-ups in the sector have struggled to break even due to the cost of investing in their products and scaling their business while offering cheaper services than large banks.

Rival currency exchange and banking app Revolut for instance said earlier this year that it had broken even for the first time in December 2017. Meanwhile, another competitor, WorldRemit, expects to turn a profit by 2019.

The money transfer industry is a competitive one, with established giants like Western Union and MoneyGram, both of which have been investing heavily in the digital segments of their businesses.

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Business

Moonves speaks after CBS shakeup, says he’s ‘deeply saddened’

The Azeri Times

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Moonves speaks after CBS shakeup, says he’s ‘deeply saddened’

The two words that keep coming to mind are “stunning downfall.” Sunday night’s announcement by CBS is five stories in one.,

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Watch Elon Musk’s boring machine being operated by an Xbox controller

The Azeri Times

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Watch Elon Musk’s boring machine being operated by an Xbox controller
boring-company-flamethrower-ashley-esqueda-cnet-4

Captura de pantalla: Laura Martínez/CNET

Elon Musk founded The Boring Company in order to drill holes beneath the earth and build tunnels that could possibly reinvent public transport. Most recently the company pitched a “loop” system that would connect Los Angeles suburbs to the Dodgers stadium in four minutes.

It was a company famously founded after Elon Musk got annoyed with LA traffic.

Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 17, 2016

Currently The Boring Company has three machines capable of digging the tunnels required to make the “loop” systems work.

Here is the second machine, being controlled with an Xbox One controller, which The Boring Company tweeted about on the weekend:

Best video game ever indeed. This is literally the machine being used to burrow into the ground, most likely at Hawthorne, where Elon Musk’s test tunnel is currently being worked on.

Elon Musk recently appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast where he smoked weed and discussed the impending threat of AI.

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