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Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement

Federal Reserve issues FOMC statement
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Reliance Plans To Boost Capacity Of World’s Biggest Oil Refinery

India’s Reliance Industries—which operates the world’s biggest refining complex—is planning a major capacity expansion of the site to increase crude oil processing capacity to around 2 million bpd, from the current 1.2-million-bpd capacity, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two sources. According to the sources, who had seen a company presentation on the plans to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Reliance Industries is considering expanding the capacity of its dual refinery complex in Jamnagar by 30 million…

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Fed leaves dot plot unchanged – USD rises – live coverage

The Fed was widely expected to announce the beginning of Quantitative Tightening – beginning the reduction of its balance sheet. More importantly, markets are focused on the timing of the next rate hike. Will it happen in December? Here is the full preview: window to short the dollar and two other scenarios. Here is a live […]

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Prosecutors Demand 2-Year Prison Sentence For Anthony Weiner

After being widely blamed by Hillary Clinton supporters – and even the candidate herself – for inadvertently prompting the FBI to reopen its investigation into whether the candidate mishandled classified information, it looks like Anthony Weiner, once believed to be a strong contender for Mayor of New York City, is going to prison.

The Associated Press reports that federal prosecutors are asking that the former Congressman be sentenced to about two years in prison for engaging in sexting with a 15-year-old girl. Prosecutors filed paper in Manhattan Federal Court on Wednesday in advance of Weiner’s sentencing, which is scheduled for Monday. In their paperwork, the prosecutors asked that the judge use the sentencing as an opportunity to send a message to other perverted pols.

The 53-year-old said in a submission last week that he’s undergoing treatment and is profoundly sorry for subjecting the North Carolina high school student to what his lawyers described as his “deep sickness.” Prosecutors say this isn’t the first time Weiner has promised to reform himself.

Weiner’s lawyers portrayed the girl as an aggressor, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election, according to the AP.

As part of his plea bargain, Weiner has agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months. His sentencing will take place almost exactly a year after the New York Post published a story about Weiner sexting with another woman who wasn’t his wife. Weiner said he would plead guilty in May after prosecutors brought charges following revelations that he also sexted with the 15-year-old, whom he met over Skype. Both the girl and her father told the Daily Mail that Weiner knew she was underaged when they were corresponding.

Weiner pled guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor after turning himself in to the FBI.

The description of Weiner’s conduct that his victim provided to investigators was truly sickening.

“He had some rape fantasies. It would just be him showing up at my house when my dad was out of town,” the girl told the Mail. “And just start undressing me, being forceful, asking me if I want to be dominated, strange questions.”

Weiner reportedly once told the girl, “I would bust that tight p–y so hard and so often that you would leak and limp for a week,” and sent her bare-chested pictures of himself.

His Congressional career imploded back in 2011 when he accidentally tweeted a picture of his bulging erection. He had meant to direct message it to a woman who wasn’t his wife. Speaking of Weiner’s wife, top Clinton lieutenant Huma Abedin announced her separation from the Congressman a year ago.

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“Today, The Music Stops…”

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,
Today’s the day.

After months of preparing financial markets for this news, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce that it will finally begin shrinking its $4.5 trillion balance sheet.
I…

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Facial recognition debuts at China’s banks

JINAN — At the Agricultural Bank of China’s (ABC) three outlets in Jinan city, cards are no longer needed to withdraw money. A quick scan of the face will do. “One of the best things about facial recognition technology is…

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Russia’s Kurdish Pipeline Gamble

Rarely does one see such a multi-faceted move as Rosneft declaring it will build a $1 billion pipeline bringing gas from Iraqi Kurdistan to Turkey. The 30 BCm/year pipeline would not only allow the ever-expanding Rosneft to fortify its position in Kurdistan and nip into the Turkish gas market, but it could also challenge the export monopolist Gazprom, as the heavy lobbying effort to liberalize access to gas exports failed on the domestic market, it seems it might work out in Turkey. Rosneft-Kurdistan relations intensify by the minute. In February,…

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How Did Toys “R” Us Implode So Fast? The CEO Explains

Reviewing first day motions from a company’s chapter 11 docket, and more specifically the CEO’s declaration, can be a great way to learn exactly what happened in the days/weeks leading up to a bankruptcy filing.  The company spends millions of dollars every month on expensive lawyers (Kirkland & Ellis in the case of Toys “R” Us), investment bankers (Lazard), turnaround advisors (Alvarez & Marsal), claims administrators, etc., who all spend many sleepless nights in the days leading up to a filing trying to make sure the first day motions are as informative as possible.

With those high expectations, you can imagine our surprise when we opened the Toys “R” Us CEO’s declaration to find this “preliminary statement”:

 

Yes, Kirkland & Ellis was paid $800 an hour (ish) to type up the Toys “R” Us jingle in a court filing.  Bravo!

In any event, once you get beyond the amateur-hour antics, CEO David Brandon explains why Toys “R” Us was forced to file for bankruptcy in such a hurry.  While debt service on a excessively levered capital structure was a big part of it, Brandon explains that media speculation over a potential bankruptcy filing led to a rapid tightening of trade terms just as the company was trying to build inventory ahead of the holiday season.  Here are the details:

1.  Debt – Apparently spending the majority of your FCF on debt service while ignoring capital improvements and store remodels is a bad long-term business strategy for a bricks-and-mortar retailer.

Toys “R” Us, however, has been operating for more than a decade with significant leverage, necessitating the use of substantial amounts of cash each year (approximately $400 million) to service the more than $5.0 billion of funded indebtedness.  But these substantial debt service obligations impair the Company’s ability to invest in its business and future.  As a result, the Company has fallen behind some of its primary competitors on various fronts, including with regard to general upkeep and the condition of our stores, our inability to provide expedited shipping options, and our lack of a subscription-based delivery service.

2. Vendors – Media speculation of an imminent bankruptcy filing starting on September 6th caused 40% of vendors to restrict shipments and demand “cash on delivery” for new inventory purchases which would have required $1 billion incremental liquidity.

More recently, the Company’s need for a comprehensive solution to its capital structure issues caused widespread “bankruptcy” speculation in the media, leading to a severe constriction in the Company’s trade terms.  More specifically, in late July the Company hired Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Alvarez & Marsal North America, LLC, complementing its retention of Lazard, to consider restructuring and capital structure solutions.

 

A news story published on September 6, 2017, reporting that the Debtors were considering a chapter 11 filing, started a dangerous game of dominos: within a week of its publication, nearly 40 percent of the Company’s domestic and international product vendors refused to ship product without cash on delivery, cash in advance, or, in some cases, payment of all outstanding obligations.  Further, many of the credit insurers and factoring parties that support critical Toys “R” Us vendors withdrew support.  Given the Company’s historic average of 60-day trade terms, payment of cash on delivery would require the Debtors to immediately obtain a significant amount—over $1.0 billion—of new liquidity.

3.  Holiday Inventory Build – Finally, this all came at the exact moment that the company was trying to build inventory for the holiday selling season.

The timing of all of this could not have been worse, as the Company is in the process of building holiday inventory.  While birthdays, new game releases, and other special events drive year-round sales, the holiday season is the most important for annual results.  In the fourth quarter (the weeks prior to Christmas), the Company generates approximately 40% of its annual revenue.

 

To prepare for the holiday season, Toys “R” Us significantly increases inventory in September to fill store shelves with the selection and variety of products our customers expect.  Accordingly, I believe it is critical that the Company reopen its supply chain immediately to ensure a successful holiday season.

Toy

 

Given that, it’s somewhat ironic that Bloomberg notes this morning how important Toys “R” Us is to vendors and how Mattel and Hasbro couldn’t possibly allow the company to liquidate.

Rest easy, kids. Toys “R” Us Inc. isn’t going anywhere, at least not if the makers of Barbie and Transformers have their way.

 

Yet, the company, which operates about 1,600 stores globally, will likely survive because manufacturers such as Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc. and closely held MGA Entertainment Inc. need the last remaining toy chain. These vendors are eager for whatever remaining leverage they have against the might of Amazon and Wal-Mart, the bane of all companies focused on a single category of shopping.

 

“Oh my God, they are very important, and people don’t understand,” Isaac Larian, founder and chief executive officer of MGA, said of the toy chain. “That’s the only place where kids can go and just buy toys. There is no toy business without Toys ‘R’ Us.”

 

In many respects, suppliers have been propping up Toys “R” Us for years, according to Moody’s Corp. analyst Charlie O’Shea; they give the chain exclusive products during the holidays and funds for promotions to help it compete with the general merchandisers. The manufacturers offer this support because they want a place to sell toys at full price, year round. Major brands have also been funding an overhaul of Toys “R” Us stores by adding more featured areas for top brands such as Mattel’s American Girl dolls.

 

In the toy business, the incentive is particularly powerful. Last year, Toys “R” Us accounted for 11 percent of sales at Mattel and 9 percent at Hasbro — the second most at both companies after Wal-Mart.

Meanwhile, many have speculated this week over how/why TOY bonds traded off 75 points on the company’s filing?  How could they be so wrong?  While the timing of the filing was probably somewhat of a surprise, we can’t help but wonder whether this simplistic org structure might have contributed in some small way?

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