Morning Toast 5 December


With increasing optimism about a "soft landing" for the economy, investors are stepping into the week with confidence akin to Gardner Minshew. The S&P 500 concluded Friday at its peak for 2023, the VIX (Wall Street’s fear indicator) has reached its lowest point in almost four years, and December stands as the third-best month for the S&P since 1928. Even the crypto market is experiencing a surge, with bitcoin surpassing $40,000 for the first time since May 2022.

SpotifyStock Spotlight

SPOTIFY: Navigating Slower Growth

Spotify, the music streaming giant, is streamlining its workforce by 17%, as announced by CEO Daniel Ek on Monday. This strategic move is in response to the company's efforts to optimise costs and adjust to a period of decelerated growth.

In a communication to employees, Ek elaborated on the necessity of aligning expenses with current requirements. He acknowledged the substantial team expansion during 2020 and 2021, a period marked by abundant funding and robust staff growth among tech firms.

This latest reduction is expected to affect approximately 1,500 positions, according to a source cited by CNBC.

Earlier this year, Spotify implemented price hikes for its subscription services and diversified its offerings into new realms such as podcasts and audiobooks.

These recent layoffs constitute part of a broader initiative to cut costs at Spotify. Like many tech companies oriented towards growth, Spotify has had to recalibrate its expenses in response to escalating interest rates and a challenging macroeconomic environment over the past year.

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Gold & BitcoinStock Spotlight

GOLD & BITCOIN: Soaring Amidst Rate Anticipation

The anticipation of interest rate decreases in early 2024 has propelled gold prices to unprecedented highs, defying the Federal Reserve's attempts to temper such optimism. The surge in gold prices, which commenced in October, was initially fueled by its role as a safe-haven asset during geopolitical tensions. The momentum further intensified due to a decline in the dollar's value and Treasury yields following a speech by Fed Chair Powell on Friday.

Simultaneously, Bitcoin has witnessed a notable upswing, recently exceeding $41,000. Its recovery this year has been influenced in part by the expectation of rate cuts and optimism surrounding the launch of spot ETFs. It's worth noting that if the Federal Reserve opts for an unexpected rate hike, it could prove unfavorable for both assets.

Despite a stringent U.S. regulatory clampdown following the 2022 cryptocurrency crash, Bitcoin's resurgence has demonstrated resilience. This crackdown led to the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried on fraud charges related to FTX, and prominent crypto exchange Binance and its founder, Changpeng Zhao, faced substantial fines and legal challenges.

Bitcoin proponents argue that the enforcement actions against dubious activities, coupled with the anticipated introduction of a spot ETF, signify a maturing crypto sector. They believe these developments could open the doors for more investors to participate in the market.

PhilippinesSustainable News

Rockefeller Foundation and Monetary Authority of Singapore Launch Pioneering “Coal-to-Clean” Carbon Credits Program at COP28

The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI), supported by global experts, gains high-level endorsement from ACEN in the Philippines for the world's inaugural coal-to-clean pilot project, bolstered by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

CCCI actively engages with sovereign buyers under the Paris Agreement, backed by COP28 Presidency.

CCCI submits draft methodology for "transition credits" ahead of public consultation starting December 4, 2023, after five stakeholder consultations.

The draft aims to use carbon market funding to expedite a just coal-to-clean energy transition in emerging economies, operationalising the Paris Agreement.

The Coal to Clean Credit Initiative (CCCI), backed by The Rockefeller Foundation, announces a collaboration with ACEN Corporation to explore a groundbreaking pilot project in the Philippines. This project, a first-of-its-kind, aims to leverage carbon finance to phase out a coal-fired power plant and replace it with renewable energy, supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable communities. CCCI and ACEN partner with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to advance this potential project.

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, emphasises the urgency of breaking the world's overreliance on coal. The innovative CCCI agreement aims to pilot a coal-to-clean credit methodology in the Philippines, a critical step toward building a sustainable future.

The project, the South Luzon Thermal Energy Corporation (SLTEC) coal plant, could become the world's first to leverage carbon credits for early decommissioning. While financial tools exist to support early retirement and replacement of coal-fired power plants, deploying these in emerging markets poses challenges. The partners explore the viability of early retirement and repurposing the plant toward cleaner energy options by 2030, a decade ahead of its current retirement date.

Quote Of The Day

"I believe that carbon credits can play a valuable role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, we need to make sure that they are used in a way that is transparent, accountable, and effective." - Al Gore

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