Tuesday, May 30, 2023

30: Hong Kong

How to Grease a Chatbot: E-Commerce Companies Seek a Backdoor Into AI Responses When search was king, companies could turn to SEO—and paid ads—to land atop search results. ChatGPT has thrown a wrench into that arrangement. ......... When Andy Wilson’s company received its first successful client referral through ChatGPT, he was shaken to his core. ...... The founder and CEO of Logikcull, a San Francisco–based legal technology company, Wilson “had the exact same reaction to ChatGPT as I had to the internet browser in the early ’90s,” he said. “But this time I knew it would be even bigger than the internet, the cloud, the iPhone combined.” .

Why Hong Kong must ditch the US dollar peg and switch to the yuan now Hong Kong risks being increasingly led by US monetary policy, which could see property prices and the economy come crashing down ..... Switching to the yuan would mean stability and a unique chance to ride the currency’s rise before it becomes fully convertible ............. Hong Kong’s currency peg to the dollar is not sustainable. The city risks being increasingly led by US monetary policy as the utility of the fully convertible Hong Kong currency in meeting China’s demand for US dollars is fading. As global yuan demand grows, switching to that currency would boost Hong Kong’s financial fortunes. ........ With China’s interest rates expected to stay lower than US rates, due to lower Chinese inflation, embracing the yuan would stabilise Hong Kong’s asset markets. Sticking with a US-pegged currency, however, means exposure to volatility. Entrenched US inflation threatens to bring back dollar swings like in the 1970s and/or US interest rate surges like in the 1980s – the effect on Hong Kong could devastate its property market. ........... The yuan accounts for just over 2 per cent of the global payments system, and about the same in global forex reserves. China accounts for about 18 per cent of the world economy and around 30 per cent of global manufacturing output. The yuan’s share in global payments and currency reserves is bound to rise. Before it becomes fully convertible, Hong Kong has a unique opportunity to ride its rise and consolidate its status as a global financial centre. ........... if Hong Kong sticks to the dollar peg, its economy and asset markets could run into a severe storm. ......... Now US interest rates have gone past 5 per cent, their knees have begun knocking, fearing a financial collapse. They are likely to pause rate rises for a while, but this will allow inflation to become entrenched, seeding future storms. ............ The Anglo-Saxon economies have the most toxic brew for inflation: a structural labour shortage, strong corporate pricing power and a massive monetary overhang. .......... With falling real wages and rising welfare benefits, the worker shortage will remain as long as real wages fail to keep pace with inflation, giving workers more power to switch jobs and push up wages – they are unlikely to absorb the loss to put a lid on inflation. ....... The market consolidation and economic monopolisation of the past three decades have also boosted the power of businesses, letting them pass on rising labour and material costs through price increases. ........ As labour and businesses both have strong pricing power, real interest rates must be high to hold off a wage-price spiral. But real interest rates remain negative. Worryingly, the massive monetary overhang from past quantitative-easing exercises means plenty of fuel for inflation. ....... If US inflation becomes entrenched at 5 per cent, the Fed could panic and raise interest rates to 7 per cent, lifting bond yields to the same level. Such rates would crash Hong Kong’s property market, like in 1998. ......... Hong Kong does not have much time to inoculate itself from the coming financial storms. If it does not take cover ahead of the time, like before 1997, it will be a sitting duck.

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