They may seem like small fry but they make our world go around. Whether in Tesla cars, toasters or tumble dryers, computer chips are so integral to our daily lives that, without them, our world would grind to a halt.
So it’s a worry as the world gears up for a faster recovery that global demand for semiconductor chips is outstripping supply. It could be symptomatic of a more widespread global supply-side shortage of key production goods, which might lead to increased prices and higher inflation.
The OECD reports that inflation in the major economies rose to 2.4 per cent in March. Inflation is coming back, but it’s not the bogeyman that markets need to fear. Higher prices are a sign of economic vitality, of which the world has been in short supply since the Covid-19 crisis began.
The pandemic may be far from over, but the combination of stronger recovery and inflation shows the global economy is returning to some semblance of normality.
It’s not purely the pandemic which is to blame, although production dislocations due to lockdowns and factory shutdowns certainly haven’t helped. As companies around the world slashed production during the early phase of the coronavirus crisis last year, semiconductor manufacturers were forced to scale back output as well.
Now, chip producers are playing catch-up, trying to keep pace with the surge in global demand for semiconductors as world economic activity bounces back.
With the International Monetary Fund projecting that global growth will accelerate to 6 per cent this year after a 3.3 per cent contraction in 2020, it’s no surprise that the world semiconductor industry is facing volatile demand conditions, which could cause bottlenecks for key industries like carmakers, with their high consumption of chip components.
Last week, German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon, a major supplier to carmakers, warned that up to 2.5 million cars might not be produced in the first half of 2021 due to ongoing supply chain shortages. With market conditions booming for autos and consumer electronics after such a long period of pent-up demand, chip producers are being forced to step up production, but it will take time to reach optimal capacity.
The Semiconductor Industry Association reports that, worldwide, sales rose 3.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 17.8 per cent over the past 12 months. Although chip output is being cranked up, companies like Ford are still warning that car production will be affected in some plants until the shortage is resolved.
In the meantime, fine-tuning the balance between recovery and rising inflation expectations could prove challenging. There may be some short-term price distortions but global policymakers still need to err on the side of caution and keep monetary policy as loose as possible until the world fully recovers from the pandemic and sustainable growth is secured.
It wasn’t too long ago that policymakers were complaining that inflation was too low and that the global economy was in danger of slipping back into deflation, so the temptation to jump the gun and rush back into tightening should be avoided at all costs.
As yet, there are no signs of either demand-pull or cost-push inflation surfacing. Global growth is bouncing back, but it is happening from an extremely weak, non-inflationary base.
Right now, global recovery needs nurturing, not cutting off in its prime. US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell is quite correct to give stronger growth the benefit of the doubt until there is a much more convincing case for higher rates. Global output gaps are still extremely negative, industrial capacity levels are slack and wage pressures remain low, given the fallout from the pandemic. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the global economy might currently be operating as much as 5.2 per cent below potential output levels, suggesting little or no inflation danger this year.
China’s producer prices may have surged 4.4 per cent year on year in March, but inflation risks remain benign with the headline consumer price index extremely low, at 0.4 per cent. Base effects mean that the headline inflation rate will pick up in the coming months, but Beijing can afford to stay relaxed for now.
Until the Fed signals that the time is ripe for tightening, the world can rest easy. No interest rate hikes in 2021 should be the equity market’s rallying cry.
A few days before the second round, the citizenry is already clear about the good, the bad and the ugly of the candidates and their programs, the dilemma behind each blank vote and the irresponsibility implicit in abstention.
So, in this column I will not try to give elements that may tip the balance of some undecided person. Time is a giant with long and heavy legs that is already upon us; luck, empathy, logic or passion are already cast.
Today I simply want to remind you that on June 20, life goes on and the messages that have been dedicated to manipulate the mental health of voters, filling us with fallacies, infiltrations and revelations taken out of context, will have served no good purpose.
According to an artificial intelligence study disclosed in W Radio, there have been more than 26 million messages against the presidential candidates. 67% against Petro and 25% against Hernandez.
We are saturated; the red lines became pale rubber curves and the practice of politics was degraded between disinformation strategies and an unfortunate version of communications and marketing in charge of manipulating at will the minds of voters.
"I am not consoled that in other countries it is the same or worse. This campaign has created unnecessary distances, offenses and sadness that we could have avoided if we had concentrated more on analyzing the programs than on hating the candidates."
We lacked generosity and we had too much vehemence,
we failed to worry more about the future of the vulnerable than about our own risks,
we failed to prioritize the national dimension over the personal millimeter.
To disarm the spirits and words we must be brave, humble and serene. Who is going to heal the broken heart" of this country fractured by ourselves
Casino robberies have been on the rise over the last decade. I don't know if anyone specifically tracks these robberies, but I think those of us who have been in the business for a while know that they are becoming more frequent.
I know that early in my career we weren't concerned about robberies because they were so rare in the gambling world. It's fair to say that in the mafia days in Las Vegas, people were probably afraid to rob a casino for fear of violent retaliation, so it didn't happen.
I guess now that casinos have opened all over the country and the mafia is gone, robbing a casino seems like a good idea.
Not those casinos are easy targets. They have their own security equipment, which includes surveillance equipment with cameras everywhere, especially where the money is. They may have armed security officers both inside and outside. It is not easy to rob a casino, and suspects will most likely be caught on camera, identified and eventually arrested.
So why are casinos targeted?
Because, like banks, that's where the money is!
Most people believe that casinos have millions of dollars, in cash, ready and waiting to be taken at any time.
Of course, we know there isn't usually that much in one place, but in casinos we have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, readily available. And it is that cash-rich environment that is so tempting to criminals.
In essence, casinos are extremely vulnerable to a robbery attempt at any of their cash locations.
Our job is to observe and report it to the local police, hopefully providing them with enough information so they can identify and apprehend the suspects.
Sounds easy enough, until you realize that most casinos do not practice their response to an alarm activation of any kind.
Yes, we have or should have all kinds of plans in case something happens, but when it does, most casinos are not prepared.
When an individual or a team does not have a plan or has not practiced what they will do when an emergency arises, by the time they actually have to act things out the situation has all the potential to get worse quickly.
Think about what could happen if your security officer, instead of observing and reporting, decides to confront an armed robber who struggles to get out of the casino, and does so by firing his weapon.
If someone gets hurt, or worse, seriously injured or killed, there will be a hell of a lot of money to pay!
Most security and surveillance departments do not conduct emergency drills for two reasons:
1) They are too busy in their day-to-day operations.
2) They feel there are not enough personnel on shift to conduct a drill.
Neither reason is a good one. Ask yourself when an emergency will occur. Most of us will agree that emergencies are impossible to predict, and will occur at the worst possible time.
It won't be when you have all your team members present and ready, but when five of your agents and a supervisor have called in sick, in the middle of the night, on a busy Saturday night with events all over your casino. No matter when it happens, it will be the worst possible time.
With this in mind, it makes sense that we practice whenever we can with the people and resources we have now.
Ultimately, this should not be difficult. It usually takes less than 15 minutes to practice an initial response to an alarm. You could do it every week without hurting your business or your security program.
Expand the drill to include one or more employees where they pose as robbers who will act as if they are robbing the teller and allow the situation to play out with the teller raising the alarm, security and surveillance responding and police being notified as in a real situation (be sure to let everyone know it is a drill).
You can also let no one know it is a drill (other than the police) to test your teams, but make sure you are able to control the response and pull back if necessary.
Regular practice will hone your team to the point where they can respond to an alarm quickly and professionally, while giving them the best chance of getting the information they need to bring suspects to justice. At the same time, you're also putting your casino in the best position to protect your players and team members from unnecessary harm.
This is where you want to be!
Jennifer Boss has been in the gambling and hospitality industry for more than 19 years, beginning her career as a surveillance agent and holding positions as surveillance supervisor, security training director, risk manager and corporate fraud investigator and analyst at Aztar Casino, Tropicana Entertainment, Downtown Grand and Caesars Entertainment.
Not too many years ago, sports betting began to move away from the traditional retail environment and into the personal digital space, and the pace of change accelerated rapidly.
First it was mobile sports betting through dedicated apps, then fantasy sports and eSports betting, and more recently, cryptocurrency betting. New ideas and new companies keep popping up, and it's getting harder and harder to foresee what might be next.
One fairly recent arrival that is gaining traction is the fan token, a product that should be of great interest to the sports betting industry. Supporter/fan/fan tokens offer fans digital engagement with their favorite sports teams via the blockchain.
The sales pitch is that token holders benefit from a closer association with the team in question, and also receive a range of benefits and rewards.
Tokens are, in effect, another form of cryptocurrency, as they can be traded, as their value can fluctuate. The value provided is not financial and never will be. The value has to do with the experience and the connection made between the fan and the club.
In fact, I was thinking of ideas to monetize non-playing fans of your poker league teams.
Some of the modalities allow fans to have an access to a mobile app, where they can vote on minor decisions, such as the name of a training facility or playlists for in-stadium entertainment.
This concept might be easy to dismiss as a far-fetched dream.
From the point of view of the teams themselves, the incentive is economic, "Of course this is driven by money, sports teams need to pay players. Players are getting more and more expensive, so more and more revenue is needed. We are a new source of revenue." argued Dreyfus, CEO of Partners, a company dedicated to tokenizing fans.
Only a fraction of the fans watch the teams play live
Partner teams benefit from a revenue share when tokens/tokens are first sold or subsequently exchanged and, with the volume of fans out there, this could become a huge source of revenue. Premier League soccer clubs, for example, have tens of millions of fans worldwide and yet only a small proportion of them will ever see their team play live.
On the face of it, fan tokens are an opportunity for these millions of supporters to not only feel engaged with the team, but also to participate in real activities.
Just as we've seen the once "new kids on the block" DraftKings and FanDuel smartly partner and evolve into sports betting giants, we should keep an eye on fan tokens, and see where their roadmap takes us.
Days before the first round of voting for the Presidency of Colombia, the price of the dollar has presented an important variation, BUT it is not something we should be so happy about.
Evidently, this represents an atypical situation, because according to the different analyses of economic experts and even those presented by Mundo Video, to see a dollar in Colombia below $4,000 COP, when the market expected it to be closer to $4,200 COP, is a phenomenon that should be examined in detail, because political instability and its direct impact on the country risk rating are arguments that promote the rise of the dollar, however, there are external effects that condition it.
At the moment, the US currency reached a minimum price of $3.925 pesos yesterday, its lowest value since the end of April 2022, a little less than 100 pesos compared to its value during the weekend of May 15, when it reached a value of $4.110 pesos.
What can be understood by the global trend, especially in investment funds, is a market correction, which will mark the behavior of the currency in the short term but strongly in the long term accompanied by the outcome of the upcoming elections.
Key aspects for this analysis are the slowdown of the global economy and the surprisingly strong inflation numbers, rising interest rates and less liquidity from central banks.
However, according to the correction of the investment market in emerging markets, more and more funds will stop investing so freely and unrestrictedly in world economies, including ours, which has had record traction during the last few years.
In order for these international funds/investors (especially those from the United States) to continue investing, they must look for opportunities in the market that exceed 10% profitability, so that their money generates value over time with the recently announced inflation of 9.7% in the American country.
Reason enough for all investors to begin to make the decision to readjust their capital, obtain liquidity and begin to save money to have room to maneuver to what may happen both globally and domestically. Therefore, as there is so much capital flowing around, because hundreds of investors are selling, the value of the currency shows a drop like the one we are observing today.
On the other hand, the director of the Dane, Juan Daniel Oviedo, indicated that the annualized inflation for April reached 9.23%, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the fourth month of the year was 1.25%. The items that contributed most to these results were food, lodging, water, electricity, gas, among others.
The CPI measures month to month the joint variation of the prices of a basket of goods and services representative of the consumption of the country's households.
Thus, it is a fact that the recent drop provides attractive opportunities to buy dollars.
Since it is very likely that by Monday, we will see a higher dollar again, understanding that the political polarization that the country is experiencing today does not guarantee that the candidates who pass to the second round will issue a high security in country risk rating, so that the currency remains stable for a foreign investment analysis.
On the contrary, it is the most apt moment for capital flight to occur.
In addition, the domestic market has not led an outstanding negotiation of dollars, which could be understood as a kind of tense calm waiting for the results.
What should be highlighted then, is that after the result of the new president of Colombia, he should evaluate his macroeconomic policies and that they are in line with what has been the behavior of the last decades, so that the exchange rate in Colombia could not vary substantially.
Even so, analysts expect a fluctuation of +/- 300 pesos.
Today, we live a golden opportunity, with the amount of information we have at a click away, articles, studies, analysis and much more that we can find in thousands of languages and that can be translated into our language of preference with completely free tools.
If you stop to think for a moment, 20 years ago, there was not this opportunity of information and knowledge flow as we live today, to think of finding studies or economic analysis from experts in Europe, North America or Asia was something that only those who work in a bank could imagine. Today, it is a reality, and for everyone with just a smartphone and an internet connection, which is already a right.
Being prepared then is no longer an opportunity, it becomes a responsibility, because the tools are out there and at our complete disposal.
Finally, the opportunity left by the covid-19 pandemic was an interconnection never seen before at a global level in all senses. So, my recommendation is to take advantage of new technologies that not only allow us to work from anywhere in the world, but to invest anywhere in the world through digital platforms, allowing us to have a diversified basket to overcome any type of economic situation.
Finally, and in these analysts agree, we must appreciate that in Colombia there has been an economic growth to highlight, making us one of the top 5 countries in the region for entrepreneurship, in fact, in the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Colombia is located worldwide in the 25th position among the best countries to start a business. This was previously something that very few achieved.
With all the comings and goings of the new project to change some of the parameters of the Online connection systems, there are many operators who are worrying about the possible new adjustments that could happen according to the text.
It is worrying because if Coljuegos is going to have all the information of our businesses, being centralized, any of these companies of "promises of future partnerships" could have access to know from a very good source how to move and start something like the D1 stores, which are gradually ending with the neighborhood shopkeepers and that in our case would be the small and medium-sized entrepreneurs of casinos. It may sound silly but we are already living what we sowed some years ago when we enthusiastically allowed sports betting to enter our casinos, we made altars for them, we invested in marketing and personnel to promote them, and now they have taken a good slice of the cake from us, catapulted by the 2020 contingency, but if it had not been for casinos they would not have been in a privileged position.
As of today, there are few or almost no one who says that the sports games are leaving them profits in the casinos, except for those who operate in a "gray" manner because the players have already left our premises.
I see one good thing in the project and that is that it will put an end to these greedy operators that increase the payments through the AFT or remote credits to declare losses and pay less tax.
What is certain is that on the way until it is approved, we are allowed to go through it and our suggestions are taken into account, and it does not happen as it did at the beginning of the connection when comments were published but not taken into account. It is worthwhile for you who read this column to join us and comment, not only the associations have the floor, if you pay Coljuegos you have the right to give your opinion.