David Rockefeller Sr Passes Away At 101


David Rockefeller Sr, the CEO, Chairman and President of the famous Chase Manhattan Bank passed away in his home at the age of 101. He died in his sleep due to congestive heart failure. He was the oldest billionaire in the world. The businessman took the position as the head of the Chase Manhattan bank in 1981 and he had a flourishing 35-year career. He was celebrated as ‘America’s last great international business statesman’. He was one of the most influential persons in the American history of finance and philanthropy.

The grandfather of Rockefeller was John D. Rockefeller, a famous oil baron who became the richest man in the world and died in 1987. David Rockefeller emerged as a financial stalwart. Even though the family owned just 5% shares of the Chase Manhattan bank, it was often called as David’s bank. His financial expertise inspired President Richard Nixon so much so that Rockefeller was offered Treasury Secretary position. However, he declined because he worried that his position could influence the government in numerous ways.

The actual worth of the billionaire is still undisclosed. Rockefeller was a well-known philanthropist who didn’t think twice before donating millions of dollars to the Council on Foreign Relations, Museum of Modern Art and his alma meter Harvard. The medical research center in New York which was run as a family-sponsored center was converted into Rockefeller University. Rockefeller was bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 by the then President Bill Clinton for his contribution towards the funding of International Executive Service Corps.

The mammoth development of the Chase bank could be attributed towards David Rockefeller. He played a quintessential role in changing the banking word in general. In 1946, when he came to Chase, the business of the bank was restricted to the city according to the laws of New York. David, using his powerful brother Nelson who served as Republican Governor of New York overturned the laws in 1960.

After the restrictive laws were thrown out, Chase expanded to Nassau, Westchester and beyond America, reaching Asia, Europe, and Latin America. In the 1960s, Chase Manhattan bank became the second biggest bank in America. However, due to the rise in competition, Chase lost many of its clients in the mid-1970s. Financial historians commented that David Rockefeller had several strong interests which limited the time he spent on the bank.

Rockefeller made sure that Chase remained as a good corporate bank. When New York City was edging closer to bankruptcy in 1975, Chase purchased $400 million city bonds and notes even though the bank itself was struggling. Chase also invested about $730 million in real estate which went sour by 1970s when the real estate market fell. In 1981, Rockefeller retired from the bank, but Chase which was once the third largest bank in the world was pushed down to the 89th position. The iconic skyline of New York couldn’t have become a reality without Rockefeller’s support.

Yuan International Payment Declines In 2016


The international use of a currency for payments is usually an indicator of the globalization of the currency. China, the second-largest economy in the world is always proud of the use of Yuan for international payments. China reveals the data about currency news and this time, the news is not so good for the currency. In the year 2016, the use of Chinese Yuan as an international currency for payments has declined sharply. This means that the efforts taken by the government to stabilize the currency are not sufficient to maintain its international value.

In 2016, the value of Yuan payments made internationally has decreased by 29.5%. Yuan lost 0.63% of its share to reach the value of 1.68 per cent in the international currency payment transactions. In 2015, Yuan emerged in the top as the fifth most sought after currency. Now, Canadian dollar has pushed Yuan behind, claiming that position. 42.1% of international payments are carried through US dollar and 31.3% of the payments are carried out using Euro. British Pound and Japanese Yen became the third and fourth favorite currencies all over the world.

The decline in the use of Yuan is directly caused by the weakened Chinese economy. Yuan became extremely volatile as the exchange rates continued to drop. To prevent capital outflows, the government has taken numerous measures but the results were not highly favorable. In December Yuan continued to weaken at a much faster pace while the government imposed stringent regulations on capital control. The value of Yuan decreased 15.1% per cent, indicating a major problem with the Chinese economy.

Yuan depreciation is not welcomed by overseas merchandise buyers and they decreased the use of Yuan in international payments. Against the greenback, Yuan lost 6.6% in just one year. Experts predict that Yuan will continue to weaken and it will drop further to reach the level of 7.3 to 7.5 in this year. This means that Yuan will not get a chance to become the true international currency.

The government doesn’t want to encourage the outflow of Yuan. The capital outflow will result in a decline in the Yuan reserves as they get converted into dollars. This can put further pressure on the exchange rate of Yuan. Previously, the People’s Bank of China showed interested in internationalizing Yuan and thus it was obsessed with the use of Yuan in international currency payments. However, in the upcoming year, the PBOC has to face challenges relating to the exchange rate of the currency. In 2017, the PBOC will focus its attention on stabilizing the currency first.

After the US presidential election, Chinese Yuan faced a major decline against US dollar as well as the greenback. Now that the US dollar has steadied, Chinese Yuan has a chance to improve its value. The fiscal expansion plan of Donald Trump has taken a backseat and Yuan may have some time to recover.

However, the Chinese government hopes that internationalization of Yuan will grow in the long term as additional offshore Yuan clearing centers are established along with cross-border interbank payment system.

Iran Hopes To Use OPEC Oil Cuts To Increase Its Oil Revenue


The declining oil price has increased concern among the world traders. As a result, the OPEC held a meeting and made the oil producing countries agree to production cuts. The oversupplied market was saturated and it became a major problem for Iran. As the OPEC deal was accepted, Iran got the opportunity to sell more than 13 million barrels of oil that were held on tankers at sea for a very long time.

By the start of 2016, Iran had 29.7 million barrels of oil at sea. The level remained almost unchanged until October 2016 at 29.6 million barrels. After the OPEC deal, Iran’s oil at sea had dropped to 16.4 million barrels. The tanker tracking sources initially claimed that Iran had 30 tankers full of oil out of its fleet of 60 vessels during the summer. Now, the level has dropped to 12 to 14 tankers of oil. Many companies in Asia such as India, China, South Korea and several European countries have purchased Iranian oil in recent times.

As the oil production has been cut down by almost all the oil producing countries, Iran is hoping to catch up with new European markets like Baltic and other countries in the central and eastern Europe. However, no clear information on whether oil had already been sold there is available.

Iran benefited greatly mainly because it was able to get an exemption from the OPEC deal. The oil producing countries have met in November 2016 to cut down oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first six months to reduce the pressure caused by oversupply. Iran claimed that the OPEC should not try to cut down Iranian oil production, especially when the international sanctions were lifted just in January of 2016. The other oil producing countries agreed to the demands of Iran. The OPEC deal will be in effect starting from 2017, but Tehran has notoriously offered numerous discounts. This is an attempt to encourage buyers to stock up on oil now as the production will be cut down later.

Iran is trying to sell as much as oil as it can because the country doesn’t have the land storage facilities to store the oil. The fleet of tankers is heavily used to store excess oil and a large portion of the oil was condensate. SHANA, the news agency of the oil ministry of Iran reported that Kharg Island reached a record of berthing 10 tankers at the same time in the later part of December.

Iran’s new commercial policy will help the country to export a large portion of the oil stored in tankers because this type of oil storage is expensive. Buyers are also interested in stocking oil for winter as the oil prices will soar high in the near future. Insurance companies too have come forward to provide cover for Iranian vessels because ship to ship oil transfers are much easier for Iran to execute.

Australian Payday Loan Borrowers Refunded $10 Million by Cash Converters


It has been announced that Cash Converters, a short-term, high-interest loan provider in Australia, will refund borrowers more than $10 million. Following an investigation by a federal consumer watchdog agency, it was determined that the payday loan company did not meet responsible lending rules.

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (AISC), Cash Converters will be ordered to pay fines totaling roughly $1.35 million. These fines are part of 30 infringement notices provided by the AISC, which discovered that the payday loans were unsuitable.

The AISC confirmed that the terms of the bad credit loans had violated the National Credit Act. As part of the legislation, loans were created for customers who had already received two or more loans online. This is a breach of the current regulations for the payday loan industry, which have been amplified in recent years.

Once the investigation was concluded, it was found that about 118,000 payday loans deemed unsuitable were issued to clients. Cash Converters admitted to wrongdoing and is working with the AISC.

“Asic is seeking to protect financially vulnerable consumers, many of whom are recipients of welfare payments, from falling victim to unsuitable payday loans,” said Peter Kell, the deputy chairman of ASIC, in a statement. “Payday lending is a high priority area for Asic and we will continue to pursue lenders who do not follow their responsible lending obligations.”

Moving forward, a panel of independent experts will be appointed to monitor and oversee Cash Converters’s refund and remuneration program for customers. These experts will also take a look at the payday loan company’s overall business model and general compliance with national credit laws.

If you took out a payday loan from Cash Converters between July 1, 2013 and June 1, 2016 then you will be contacted pertaining to your share of the near $11 million in client refunds.

It has been estimated that more than one million Australia consumers take out a payday loan each year. It’s believed that the payday loan industry is worth as much as $1 billion as of 2012.

Although public officials have examined the payday loan issue in Australia and have demanded action, the federal government has yet to take any serious action or impose significant legislation.

Critics of payday loans have regularly argued that these small-dollar loans tend to negatively impact low- and middle-income Australians who rely on these alternative financial products. They say that payday loans online place them at a disadvantage and send them into an endless cycle of debt.

On the other hand, proponents aver that the banking industry does not extend traditional forms of credit to the impecunious, adding that many Australians are either unbanked or underbanked. This has been a common theme across North America and Europe: if you’re not a part of the system, or a regular participant, then you will turn to an array of alternative pecuniary options, like payday loans, check cashing services and prepaid cards.

Dalian Wanda Buys Dick Clark Productions in $1 Billion Deal


China’s richest man Wang Jianlin is stepping up his spending spree in the American entertainment industry after sealing a deal to buy the company behind the Golden Globes awards.

In an announcement on Thursday, Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group said it has finalized a deal to buy Dick Clark Productions for $1 billion.

The acquisition adds to the growing list of Hollywood acquisitions be China’s biggest property developer, which has set sight elsewhere for growth as a result of a weakening market in its home countries. It also marked the Chinese company’s first foray into the television production industry.

“Obtaining top television production rights brings about complementary and coordinated development for Wanda’s current focus on the film, tourisms and sports industries,” Wanda said in a statement.

Dick Clark Productions is the brain behind the Golden Globes, one of the most high-profile award events in the film and television industry. It also runs the American Music Awards and the “Miss America” beauty pageant.

The Chinese conglomerate already owns AMC Theatres, the US’s second-biggest cinema chain, which it bought for $650 million in July. In January, it acquired Legendary Entertainment, maker of hits such as The Dark Knight Rises, in a $3.5 billion deal.

Wanda also made public a movie partnership with Sony Pictures in September.

Dick Clark Productions, named for renowned U.S. television host Dick Clark, was acquired in 2012 by a consortium, which included investment firm Guggenheim Partners.

The American entertainment industry has readily welcomed investment from companies of Chinese origin in recently years. Direct investment by these firms was estimated at $4 billion in the period from 2000 to 2015 by Rhodium Group.

Total direct investment by Chinese corporations in the U.S. entertainment industry rose sharply at the beginning of this year when Wanda bought Legendary.

The real estate company considers entertainment a major potential driver of growth in the months ahead, as it battles with slowing market in China. However, concerns have been raised in America over the intrusion into the country’s entertainment industry by a conglomerate which has expressed support for control of Western imports in its home country.

Earlier in the year, Wanda opened a theme park named Wanda World to compete with the new attraction opened by Disney in Shanghai.

U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns over creative freedom as well as possible use of acquired American companies for promotion of Chinese propaganda.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has been asked by a group of legislators to look closely into takeovers by Chinese companies. Some Congress members questioned Wanda’s actions late September, describing it as a “state champion” for China’s government.

Wang, the richest man in China by many measures, boasts of net worth estimated at more than $32 billion. He has described himself as an “angel” investor who is interested in helping U.S. companies to benefit from the enormous market in China, according to The Guardian.

Wanda said in its release that Dick Clark Productions will remain completely under the control of its existing management. It revealed it “has signed a long-term operation target agreement with the management.”