David Fickling (for Info only, not official)

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David Fickling

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    ...At the same time, it captures a worthwhile nugget of wisdom about where bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will head now they’ve had sign-off from US derivatives regulators to begin integrating with the world’s futures and options markets. That’s because to date, the logistical difficulties of investing in bitcoin have represented a barrier to entry that’s tended to keep matters firmly skewed toward buyers. For the most part, those prepared to look past day-long transaction times and risks of a Mt. ...

    Live Mint on Dec. 4, 2017, 10:09 a.m.

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    ...Reuters Six weeks can be a long time in the world of bitcoin. Last month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive officer Jamie Dimon staked out a position for himself as one of the financial market’s most prominent bitcoin sceptics, saying he’d fire any trader who dealt in it. “I could care less what bitcoin trades for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it,” he told a conference in Washington. “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.” How times change. No less an institution than, um, JPMorgan is gauging client demand and the potential risks of facilitating client trades in CME Group Inc.’s planned bitcoin futures contracts, a person with knowledge of the situation told Hugh Son of Bloomberg News Tuesday. There are obviously a couple of distinctions you might want to draw here. Bitcoin futures aren’t the same thing as bitcoin, and facilitating trades isn’t the same thing as trading. ...

    Live Mint on Nov. 22, 2017, 12:57 p.m.

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    ...To judge by the government’s response to a spike in onion prices this year, you’d say the former. The crop was suffering through an 18-month slump in mid-July when word began to creep out of harvest failures in Karnataka state and the collapse of an agricultural-purchase program in Madhya Pradesh, hitting supply from two of the three biggest producing regions. Prices went vertical, rising from Rs400 per 40 kilogramme lot on 19 July, to Rs1,200 three weeks later. Blame quickly shifted to speculators, with the income tax department raiding the offices and premises of seven traders accused of hoarding product around Nashik, the hub of the country’s onion trade northeast of Mumbai in Maharashtra. India’s agriculture ministry has since demanded that Maharashtra investigate whether a cartel was operating in the onion market, the Indian Express reported last month. ...

    Live Mint on Oct. 9, 2017, 9:03 a.m.

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    ...It wasn’t about electric batteries, but catalytic converters. Introduced in the mid-1970s in the US to remove carbon monoxide and toxic hydrocarbons from car exhausts, their most important ingredients were some of the rarest elements on earth: platinum and palladium. The so-called platinum group metals occur in large quantities in only four places. Then and now, about 90% of output comes from what were then apartheid South Africa and the Soviet Union. With technology moving toward widespread adoption of catalytic converters in the late 1960s, metallurgists began to worry supply would simply be insufficient. Dealer prices of platinum, which had run as low as $98 an ounce in 1964, hit $230 an ounce by 1967, and then $300 an ounce the following year; palladium rose from $24 an ounce to $56 an ounce over the same period. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 27, 2017, 11:37 a.m.

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    ...As Gadfly has argued before, the car market that’s soon to be the world’s third-biggest is almost impregnable to new entrants thanks to the power of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and, to a lesser extent, Hyundai Motor Co. Within the past four months alone, two of the world’s largest auto companies, Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co., decided the competition was too tough and backed away from India. There are, however, two weak points in Maruti Suzuki’s formidable armour: SUVs, and electric vehicles. On both fronts, Mahindra is a natural ally. It’s the country’s original builder of all-terrain vehicles. Mahindra has been making Jeeps since 1945, decades before the brand’s current association with Chrysler-owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Its Thar SUV is a Jeep in all but name, and the TUV300 has a distinctly Jeepish look about it. In utility vehicles, it’s traditionally had a market share approaching 50%. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 19, 2017, 12:34 p.m.

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    ...The world’s slow drift toward electric cars is about to enter full flood. China, one-third of the world’s car market, is working on a timetable to end sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles, the country’s vice-minister of industry and information technology, Xin Guobin, told an industry forum in Tianjin on Saturday. That would probably see the country join Norway, France and the UK in switching to a wholly electric fleet within the lifetime of most current drivers. The announcement is important because the most influential players in the global auto market have always been not companies, but governments. Diesel cars make up about half of the market in the European Union (EU) and less than a percentage point in the US, largely because of different fuel-taxation and emissions regimes. Carburetors have been regulated out of most developed markets as fuel injection—originally a more costly technology—results in less tailpipe pollution. ...

    Live Mint on Sept. 12, 2017, 12:39 a.m.

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    ...In the space of a few months, India’s dominant carmaker has seen off two of the world’s biggest automobile companies and tempted another into a sort-of-alliance where it holds most of the cards. In May, General Motors Co. announced it would scrap a $1 billion investment in the country and halt sales of Chevrolet models there. Then Thursday, Volkswagen AG called off an alliance with Tata Motors Ltd. after concluding that “the strategic benefits for both parties are below the threshold levels.” Toyota Motor Corp. is following a different strategy, announcing an alliance with Maruti’s controlling shareholder Suzuki Motor Corp. that appears intended to trade its technological and R&D expertise for exposure to the Indian company’s volumes. Maruti Suzuki market share It’s easy to see why invaders are wary of tangling with chairman R.C. Bhargava’s armies. Maruti Suzuki has 47% of India’s auto market to itself. ...

    Live Mint on Aug. 11, 2017, 3:05 p.m.

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    ...Since overtaking Ford Motor Co.’s sales in 1931—not that long after the last Model T rolled off the production line—General Motors Co. was the undisputed global market leader for the best part of eight decades. In 2008, Toyota Motor Corp. pulled ahead, before itself being usurped by Volkswagen AG in 2016. The Germans’ reign looks set to be brief, however. Buoyed by the integration of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. last year, the Renault-Nissan Alliance sold 5.27 million vehicles in the first six months of the year, putting it on track to join the 10 million cars-a-year club as 2017’s market leader, barring a second-half slump. Before Carlos Ghosn starts spraying the champagne, it’s worth considering where that 77 years of sales dominance left GM: just six months away from one of the biggest bankruptcies in US history. It’s a cliche of the industry that automobiles are a volume business. ...

    Live Mint on Aug. 2, 2017, 11:09 a.m.