Saturday, 28 March 2009

New Service - Adgitize

Here is another ad network. It is not one of the typical advertisement agencies with an established business model. It is one of the new era advertisement / social network / bloggers network community.
The concept is interesting. I am putting it to test.
The network accepts bloggers. Bloggers earn points for certain activities which include blog postings, visiting other blogs, viewing and clicking ads, and so on. Naturally, the amount of these activities is limited to avoid excess hyper-activity. For example, clicking ads is limited per one a day.
Accumulated points are translated into cash at the end of each month. The final amount depends on the funds earned by Adgitize and distributed to all who earned points that month. The funds can be transferred via PayPal (minimum amount $10) or via check (minimum amount $50, of which $10 are fees).
As I said, I am putting it to test and will post more in April after the stats are calculated for this month. Then I'll be able to evaluate the scope of this network.

Remittances Slow for Eastern Europe

RGE - Remittances to Eastern Europe to slow dramatically

Remittances are one of the key components of the GDP for Eastern European countries. Millions of migrants moved from Eastern to Western Europe to find work. Over the past several years they were sending the remittances back home. This amounted to up to 5% of GDP in their home countries. Now, with Western European countries entering recession and depression, and currencies devaluating, the flow of funds to Eastern Europe will slow dramatically.
Not to mention already disappeared foreign investments and international aid.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Serbia Economic Outlook

$4.1billion IMF Loan Agreed, Sharp Spending Cuts Ahead

  • March 26: The IMF reached a preliminary agreement with
    Serbia on a 3 billion euro ($4.1 billion) stand-by loan to help the Balkan
    nation shore up its finances during the global financial crisis. The new
    agreement will replace a $520 million stand-by loan approved in Jan 2009

  • The IMF deal calls for drastic cuts in public spending, a
    freeze in wages, pensions and hiring in the state sector, and the introduction
    of an additional 6% tax on salaries and pensions to contain the 2009 deficit to
    3% of GDP 
Source:RGE Monitor

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Bosnian GDP Growth Forecast Cut to 0%

Bosnia’s GDP Growth Forecast Cut to 0% ::

Bosnian economy's growth forecast has been cut from 5% to 0%. Industrial production fell 11.1% in Federation (FBiH) and 5.6% in Republic of Srpska (RS). Commercial loans have been reduced by 16% in FBiH and 24% in RS. Help from IMF will be required soon.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Business Spectator - Most likely to succeed - Q&A by James Frost

A quantitative report from Citi has placed Australia at the top of the pile in relation to global markets. 

Business Spectator - Most likely to succeed - Q&A by James Frost

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Forex eBooks in PDF

Forex eBooks | Forex Trading | Forex Strategy | Forex Market

Looking for a description of a narrowing pendant, which is how an EURAUD chart looks at the moment, I came across the above site. It contains loads of books related to Forex.

Peer Lending in Australia

Peer lending has taken off a few years ago, learning from micro loans industry in poorer countries. Now almost anyone can become a lender through peer lending programmes. Some sites offering the peer lending service are listed below.
I have not (yet) tried any of these services but will adjust this post if I do.

There seems to be an issue with peer lending in Australia since none of the above web sites are actually operational. They are all in beta testing or initial phases of operation.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

First Paid Post

Using PayPerPost I have done the test with the first submitted paid post. The advertiser on the site asked for a post of 100 words on the topic of real estate. They are a realestate agent in the US and wanted to have the link to their site in the post. So, having not written anything about realestate for a while, this was a nice opportunity without a conflict of interest. I refreshed the view on realestate generally and included a link to their web site in the post. The post is here.
After submitting it, the initial response from was a denial of the post submission because my blog did not include a disclosure policy. After creating and posting one (here), the post was approved. I am still waiting for the payment and will post after it arrives. The payout is after 28 days. When that happens, this method of online earnings will become proven.
Check my page on Online Business to see more on my experiment of finding whether the online business stories are a myth or not.

Rally Goes On for the 2nd Day

"Wall St: Dow Jones up 3.46%, S&P up 4.07%" - These are the current titles. Based on a small downgrade for GE and retail spending that fell less than expected, the stock market rally is continuing.
Now, the question is which analysts to believe. As usual, the time will only tell. If Roubini is right, this is just another bear market rally that might even go on for several months. The push comes from government interventions but, ultimately, the markets will go back down because the world is in a bad shape.
On the other side of the coin, miss the initial recovery and miss the most of it. In the last two to three days the markets are up about 10% already.
It is sad, though, to see the spectacular numbers on the upwards and know that the real amounts are only a fraction of the losses sustained earlier. Ten percent rise today was only a 8-9% fall yesterday.

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 11 March 2009

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

JPMorgan CEO sees "modest signs" of recovery

JPMorgan CEO sees modest signs of recovery | U.S. | Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday he sees "modest signs" of an economic recovery and endorsed a plan to create a U.S. systemic risk regulator.

Rally, Growth, etc.

Fed chief Ben Bernanke sees recession over this year | The Australian

Right after my last post about the current market rally (see chart below to get the sense of it) the news confirm how a rally develops. If the good news keep coming, including the euphoria that comes along, it is very easy to visualize how markets may rush on the upside just as easy as they did in the downside.

Now, in the news linked above, Ben Bernanke, the US Fed chief, states that if the US banking system stabilizes the recession should end later this year and fairly strong growth should return in 2010!
He also added that he does not expect deflation. The real work is now on fixing the international financial markets and regulations so that a similar collapse does not repeat in the future.
The statements above were given in his speech given at the Council of Foreign Relations. As we can see, the focus slowly shifts to fixing the financial system, meaning that a lot of what needed to be done has been done. Now we are to look into the results. And the most amazing thing is that not only we can see the forecasts of the end of the current recession but also comeback of growth.

Market Rally Staging

Australian Stock Market Charts - NetQuote
There's a new (bear) market rally going. In the past couple of days there have been predictions of one. Mr.Roubini said there is a large bear market (suckers) rally coming that might extend over several months. The stimulus packages are bound to lift the market up, although artificially. There is a lot of cash on the sides. Cash rates are closing on zero worldwide and that makes cash owners uneasy. Markets are at a depressed state and there are different views on the bottom of the current markets. Whichever way we look at, the worst predictions are that we are about a 25% away from the bottom. The more optimistic views have been all beaten recently, of course.
It is possible that markets are bound to go up from this point. There is a lot of talk about the future of the financial markets worldwide and that will really decide on whether there are conditions for the real growth to come from. Enormous amounts of government debt created recently plus enormous amounts of corporate and private debt that has to be cleared soon still pose a huge question mark on the real economic recovery.
Well, it is very hard to distinguish between the "noise" - the news that just state the obvious - and the ones that are actually saying something about the future.
If you're market superstitious - this is March, the month in which a huge turnarounds happen. So, let's wait and see.
I save/invest in small bits and pieces, as described in my investment tips for the bear market.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Property Market

I haven't examined property markets in a while, except the one in Serbia. But, property is getting more and more attractive investment option in Australia at the moment, too. This probably is true globally. The reasoning behind getting into the property market now is that
  • interest rates are lower for paying off the property loan, and attractive rates can be fixed for some time,
  • interest rates on savings are lower making savings less attractive,
  • stock markets are in free-fall, making them a no-no at the moment
  • property offers a cash-flow, which provides some security in the economic downturn
  • property prices are lower than they were a few months ago
All these reasons make sense. The thing that makes this option work is to find a property that lost more of its value than other, similar ones. Either locking the current interest rate or waiting a few months to see whether the rates will go lower also adds the benefits.

In Australia, the First Home-owner Grant Bonus is still valid. This means that the Government is giving away A$21,000 to first-time home owners instead of standard A$14,000. It is a significant boost in case you do not have a property ownership already. Many have used this opportunity in the past few months, which was indicated in the statistics of the number of grants issued recently.

I reckon the situation in the U.S. is much more drastic than in other areas. Some properties are being advertised on eBay for as low as $1. Now, that is an investment. Of course, such a property requires travel, most probably. Maybe some renovation. But, it can also be sold through agents without ever seeing the property live. If looking for an agent in the U.S., check Real Property Management.

Although one of my primary goals is to own a home, no matter how small, it appears to be very hard to reach it. So, for the moment, it remains a dream, still. :)

Finance - Current Cash Rates

Foreign Currency Exchange page now displays official cash rates set by central banks. Initially, I posted European Central Bank and Reserve Bank of Australia rates.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Credit and Growth

In Business Spectator - Living on borrowed stock - Alan Kohler states:
As we are now learning for the umpteenth time, the lending of money – AKA the credit creation process – is necessary for economic growth.

We know that because credit creation has now stopped because too much money had been lent simply to buy land instead of productive assets, thereby temporarily and artificially inflating the price of land and then dissolving bank capital as prices fell. As a result, economic activity has now stopped as well.

A simple, but effective, description of the current economic environment.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Bonus Payments Coming Up

Tax Office to start making tax bonus payments from April

Australian Tax Office is starting to send bonus payments to taxpayers starting early April. Payments of $900 will be sent to taxpayers who submitted their 2007-2008 tax return. This is a part of financial stimulus pushed by the Government.
Now, since there is only short time left to update financial details, the bank account update process is done by phone. The deadline for information update is mid-March, which is the end of next week. Address can be updated online, through a form. Link to that form is available at the link above.

Now, I tried to update my bank account details through the phone system. ATO will use whichever way was submitted with the tax return. So I wanted to switch from one bank to another and happily called 1300 686 636 after I found out it was an automated system. Thought everything is going to be done quickly since it's only numeric data I need to update. Hence, no worries - it is a great idea to have it updated over the phone.
But NO! The phone system is a voice recognition one. Oh, my God. Shivers went down my spine. But, alright, I thought, it must be good since they are going live with it. And so it started... Blah blah blah, I was saying my details for check-up and then one of the digits was recognized wrongly. At validation I said "No" but the system went on as if everything was alright. So I hung up and called again. This time I decided to keep the mouth shut and use the phone digits to type in the number. I found about this option only after the system could not understand what I said previously. Cool. Finally some stupid-old mechanical system that actually works.
Now, everything went well while it was only numerical details I needed to check. But, whoa, the system asked for my name. !#!#%@#%@#$% My last name is not even pronounceable in English. So the fun started. I never even got to my last name. The system could not recognize even my first name - which is Alen. It spelled Glen, Hellen, and these other names on and on. After a while the system got tired of me and put me through to a live person. Finally, everything was done within two minutes. Amen.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Economic Indicators

I have gathered some key economic indicators that help in analyzing the current state of affairs in the world economy. The indicators include Baltic Dry Index, VIX (the fear indicator), Oil price, Gold price. There are additional links to Libor rate and the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, where the additional indicators are available for the US.

The indicators are very valuable and the page is accessible from the index page of the Finance Site or from the link below:

Economic Indicators

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Aid Denied for Eastern Europe

RGE writes:
At a March 1 EU summit, leaders made a new commitment to the single market - a response to concerns that any protectionist moves to prop up national industries would undermine EU unity - suggested a joint plan to deal with toxic assets is working and pledged support to CEE/SEE countries on a case-by-case basis but rejected pleas for a 180b euros ($230b) aid package for eastern Europe.
As the economy tanks further the development of events is getting more and more interesting to watch.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Australian skilled workers to lose jobs: survey

The research, conducted by KPMG Econtech for specialist employment services group Clarius, forecasts the Australian unemployment to reach 6.1% by mid-2010. Oversupply of skilled workers could be between 35,000 and 50,000.

Australian federal government expects unemployment to rise to 7% by mid next year (2010) from 4.8% in February 2009.

The demand is uneven across industries. In the December quarter last year there was 39,000 unfilled professional positions in building and engineering, accounting and auditing, healthcare and computing and 60,000 in trades such as construction, automotive trades and metalworkers..

Business Spectator - Skilled workers to lose jobs: survey

Novi Sad Real Estate Prices in January 2009

The article (in Serbian) about the house prices in Novi Sad, Serbia. Published in January 2009. States that the residential real estate prices are 10% lower compared to prices at the end of November 2008. The following prices are as of 2009-01-21 and compare to the prices from 2008-11-23, given in parenthesis.

Centar, Bulevar oslobodenja - 1367 EUR/m2 (1516 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 20 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 43.35m2)

Grbavica, ul. Brace Ribnikar  - 1358 EUR/m2 (1472 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 21 stan, prosecna kvadratura stana: 42m2)

Sajmište,ul. Cara Dušana - 1208,24 EUR/m2 (1378 EUR/m2)

(uzorak od 26 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 42m2)

Nova Detelinara - 1208,46 EUR/m2 (1314 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 36 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 40m2)

Salajka,Podbara - 1208,28 EUR/m2 (1321 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 21 stan, prosecna kvadratura stana: 40.2m2)

Liman - 1291 EUR/m2 (1452EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 14 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 43.60m2)

Novo Naselje - 1190 EUR/m2 (1256 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 12 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 46.4m2)

┼Żeleznicka stanica - 1150 EUR/m2 (1327 EUR/m2)
(uzorak od 12 stanova, prosecna kvadratura stana: 43m2)

Cene | Investgrad