Will More Companies Seek Bankruptcy As Opening Up Continues?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the U.S. vs China trade war, JIT (Just in Time) or also known as the Lean Manufacturing method was the way to finish up production of a product line that is fast to bring the products to the market. JIT was made popular by Toyota in the 1930’s “The Toyota Way” production method. This method allows any company not to stock up raw materials and be overburdened with materials and parts in the production chain inventory, but instead, any company that uses JIT can just rely on an overseas or local third party to quickly deliver whatever stuff that a company needs to finish up production of a product line. JIT saves time, cost, and improves the efficiency of manufacturing. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit in early 2020 led to the shutdown of most parts of the world, and JIT isn’t viable as before. Shipping became more difficult, and shipping costs were rising tremendously. Furthermore, companies rather cut costs and shored up cash to protect the business during the uncertainty of the pandemic COVID-19. This pushed the JIT supply chain to the brink of collapse since companies weren’t ordered raw materials and whatever parts so freely as before.

The U.S. vs China trade war is still an ongoing thing, and JIT won’t be taken up favorably by the United States. The United States doesn’t want to be overly dependent on China for crucial and mission-critical materials and parts. One perfect example of this is rare earth minerals. China has cornered the rare earth mineral market, and with such influence, China could always use its power to subdue the United States to China’s demand by not selling rare earth minerals to the United States. Rare earth minerals, although the market isn’t big, these minerals are the absolute must for most electronic stuff that every country needs. To produce an electronic vehicle, smart TV, or just about any other electronic thing — rare earth materials must be present for such a thing to be successfully made. JIT is all about relying on a third partner/country to provide the raw materials and parts, but this could become a security nightmare for the United States in the rare earth mineral example. The pandemic has had only increased the divide between the United States and China in regards to how a global supply chain should be reformed onward.

As the United States and China try to promote different supply chain routes and methods for the globe, locally located companies aren’t yet weaning off the crisis of shortage of materials and parts such as microchip shortage — due to shipping difficulty and countries’ shutdowns across the globe — due to the pandemic is still an ongoing thing since many countries have yet to adequately allow the populations to be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines. While the shortages of everything are on the menu, companies are trying to alleviate many shortages as possible by hoarding raw materials and parts. Some companies are trying to overproduce the finished products as these companies have seen the demands of goods rising to an unseen level since the pandemic hit. Thus, rising demands produce rising inflationary prices of finished goods. Shortages of raw materials also push the prices of raw materials to be more expensive such as lumbers. As raw materials get expensive, the expense would pass on to the customers in the finished goods. In general, finished goods are more costly as the demands are high and raw materials’ shortage. With high demands come shrewd business sense, and so companies would go overdrive in producing more finished goods, The question is then when the COVID-19 pandemic slowly goes away and the world is opening up again just like how it was in 2019, services will come back to life, and customers would spend less on goods but more on services — how are the demand bubbles of physical goods would fare in such a scenario?

I think as the opening up roaring back, the inflation would collapse into deflation in how physical goods are being priced — while innovation would continue to drive the costs down of stuff such as electronic — and so many companies that overly produce the finished goods will face the glut of inventory. This could be so inefficient that these companies may wish JIT would become fashionable again. Thus, I think the future earnings of such companies will be way less impressive than most investors would have liked to see. The service sector may pick up again, but companies that are in this sector may still have to face bankruptcy since these companies borrowed a lot of debts during the pandemic COVID-19 service shutdown across the globe. Thus, I don’t think we will see the normal as how we had gotten used to before 2020. Companies with heavy debts should be valued less even if these companies fall into the value investing category. This could be an opportunity or a value trap kind of thing. We could not know an overly burdened indebted company is a bargain or a value trap since such a company could file bankruptcy easily.

Can China’s CBDC Replace The Dollar?

As the United States and China continue to develop a more hostile relationship since both countries are trying to out-compete against one another on the global stage. The United States is the current superpower, and China is the upcoming (emergent) superpower. Both countries can spend a lot of money to improve their military strength in terms of troops, hardware, and technology. Both countries are worrying that the opponent would do so well in terms of global trade, influence, and everything else that it would outstrip the home country’s advantage on the global scale! Imagine that one day China could be so influential that it would prevent most countries around the world speak up and side with the United States to prevent China from invading Taiwan out of fear that China would stop trading and even worse will start a military campaign against the outspoken country in a near future. In reverse, China wouldn’t want the United States to continue to dominate the globe since China is now stronger and would become a huge boulder that could block the United States’ global domination.

We all know that the United States Dollar is the dominant reserve currency in which even China itself is holding a large number of dollars just to allow home companies and home local governments to transact with countries that are only wanting to trade in dollars on a global scale. As the United States is getting more hostile toward China for obvious reasons such as wanting to prevent China from dominating the world with its technical standards and influence and whatever else, China knows that it could not rely on the United States’ goodwill in the long run. As the United States sanctions Iran and North Korea and few other countries from conducting dollars on the global scale, China knows that it could be sanctioned by the United States if both countries are going to get even more hostile toward each other shortly. This is why China has been creating a different global transactional path known as CIPS which allows China to conduct trades on a global stage without relying on the SWIFT system in which the Dollar is dominated.

Instead of just being satisfied with what CIPS has to offer for China in terms of conducting trades with countries that are friendly to China on the global stage such as Iran, China is taking one step further by pushing for CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency). As we speak, it’s estimated that roughly 83% of the world’s central banks are looking at creating their own CBDC version. China’s CBDC is the only digital currency in which has already being pushed to use by its citizens, and this means China’s CBDC has progressed the most out of all CBDC projects out there in the world. As we speak, Canada, Sweden, and few other countries are further along but behind China in terms of making progress in creating a CBDC system. The United States is unfortunately way behind many other countries in creating its CBDC system.

As China makes progress in creating and promoting and updating its CBDC system, the unintentional or intentional, depending on who you’re asking the question, advantages that come with the creation of this CBDC system is that many countries who are signed up to be a member of BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) may adopt China’s CBDC sooner than we could have imagined for trades on the global stage. How come? Perhaps, using China’s CBDC for conducting trades could cut down the costs of transactional fees, and the digitalization of the logistic application such as clearing customs and so on could be done on the blockchain (which underpins China’s CBDC) smoothly. For example, country A bought huge containers of China’s export for its own import need could just open up an app and with a few clicks here and there — the logistical digitalization through the usage of CBDC — and can order many huge containers of products to be imported without needing to file paper works online or offline for clearing customs and paying huge currency conversion fee and whatnot — meanwhile, the app would show when and where the products have been moved and when will the product arrive on the doorstep of country A.

After watching the video right after the break, you might as well be as educated on the topic of digital currency as I am since the information I’ve shared in the post was learned from the video itself. I have no affiliation with the people in the video right after the break, and I’m sharing the video since it got so much important information about our future. For example, the speakers in the video mention that through Alipay and Wechat, Chinese people become cashless society but China’s CBDC won’t replace Alipay and Wechat but rely on these two platforms to get popular. Another example is that the speakers mention how the digitalization of currency could do away with overdraft protection fees in which the poor are most likely being affected — as we speak 30 billion dollars of overdraft protection fees could have been conducted annually if my understanding of what the speakers have conveyed is correct.

In summary, I think China’s CBDC may displace the dollars on the global stage but won’t replace the dollars on the global stage. To the best of my understanding from watching the video, I could understand that China’s CBDC will allow countries to use CBDC to cut costs and time in conducting trades with China on the global stage. Since China has been pushing for closer ties with BRI members, I could see BRI members will rather use China’s CBDC over the dollars in the longer term. This means China’s CBDC will displace the dollars on global trade but the Dollar will still be a reserve currency for some countries that want to do trade in dollars on the global stage. The dollar won’t go away but the Dollar may lose influence to China’s CBDC over a longer period. This is why the United States too may have to push hard on creating its CBDC system to compete against China’s more progressive and developed CBDC system as we speak. If the United States doesn’t do so, I fear the United States will be way behind in competing against China in terms of trades and currency influence on the global stage.

Will Humans Go The Way of The Horses?

I just watched this video, and it’s an old video from the year 2018. We’re now on the second day of the year 2021, and I really can’t imagine how even more efficient in speed and the level of automation has had occurred in the factory in which the video right after the break reveals. The question is, will humans go the way of the horses in the future? Hmm… I think that we can automate pretty much everything except for human intuition and creativity. Well, just maybe not yet!

Nano Dimension Leads The Way of 3D Printing Electronics Through Additive Manufacturing Electronics

I don’t know much about the manufacturing process of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) and other electronic devices. I know that doing the 3D printing of complicated layers for electronic devices from just a sophisticated 2D blueprint is rather complicated. Luckily, I’ve come across some information that enlightens me on this whole shebang.

CEO of Nano Dimension, Yoav Stern, suggests that currently, the process of unsophisticated 3D printing of electronic devices can only print 2D electronic layers on any 3D devices. Yoav Stern suggests that the 3D printed technology using the Additive Manufacturing Electronics method patented by Nano Dimension can do better. According to Yoav Stern, Nano Dimension can allow any company to print complicated electronic devices such as PCBs easily from sophisticated 2D blueprints (i.e., blueprints generated by computer software). It means that these 3D printers made by Nano Dimension can deploy as sophisticated prototype 3D printers.

The benefits of using in-house prototype 3D printers to print electronic prototypes are plenty. For example, IP (Intellectual Property) can be kept in-house secretly since the company doesn’t have to send out the IP to a third party to work on the prototypes. Moreover, these 3D printers from Nano Dimension can also be used as backup manufacturing machines for electronic devices such as PCBs. When the needs arise, any company can switch on the 3d printers to start doing the sophisticated 3D printing of electronic devices.

Honestly, I’d purchased shares of Nano Dimension’s stock, and so I’m glad to be able to get more details on this company through the video right after the break. In the video, Yoav Stern goes into detail on why Nano Dimension’s Additive Manufacturing Electronics technology (3D printers) can outdo their competitors.

Ain’t Gonna Leave The Airport Forever! Airport Terminal is Forever!

It’s fascinating to know that there are people who could be stuck in limbo for the longest time in the airport terminal. In the video after the break, a man refused to acknowledge his true identity. He took up a new identity as Sir Alfred. Instead of leaving the airport to go to a destination, he took up residence in France’s airport terminal for 18 years, surviving only on McDonald meals.

Is There A Disconnect Between The Reality and The Stock Market?

Investing can be fun, but it can also be bloody scary. I guess it all comes down to your temperament when bad things hit the fan. For example, I notice that I tend to sell a stock too early. By selling a stock too early, I had experienced missing out on huge gains. Also, whenever I get greedy in playing stock options, I would get slaughtered. Sometimes, the stock I invest in heavily would go way down. I tend to get slaughter when I buy puts of stock in thinking that stock would go down.

2020 is the year in which I think the stock market is acting incredibly weird. Out of nowhere, the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the globe, causing the weirdness of the stock market to go on steroids. For example, in March of 2020, everything was going way down. In November of 2020, everything seems to be skyrocketed and unstoppable. Now, in December, somehow, I feel the stock market is somewhat sluggish. Still, the weirdness has yet to go away because I notice that a lot of retail investors push the valuation of newly minted SPACs out of proportion. For example, QuantumScape won’t produce solid-state batteries until 2024, and yet the market cap for this company is now above 20 billion dollars.

I feel like we’re revisiting 1999 when the Dot-com bubble burst. Nonetheless, this time I think it’s somewhat different since many SPACs are trying to merge with private companies that do have decent revenues. There always will be exceptions, and Nikola is one of these exceptions. Nikola has yet to produce a functional vehicle for the mass, but the retail investors at one point pushed Nikola stock over the moon. In September of 2020, a short seller known as Hindenburg Research targeted Nikola with a ghastly bashing report and got Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, fired. Nikola stock is now plunging steadily down.

As we speak, the interest rates are all-time low, the gold price is way high (around $1,800 plus), and the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging. President Trump is about to step down to allow president elected Biden to take over the administration in 2021. The dollar is slipping in strength. Unemployment is way high! Parts of the United States are in a lockdown state so people could have a social distance to fight the pandemic. Vaccines that could take on the COVID-19 pandemic is about to roll out soon. Things seem to be in limbo, and it could get worse. Somehow, the stock market is shooting way up! Is there a disconnect?

In the video right after the break, Deadnsyde Youtuber mentions that MicroStrategy’s stock price plunged so hard in 1999 might had been the reason that the Dot-com bubble popped in the first place. The surging of unfounded stock valuations of today’s stocks could also be the catalyst in which it may take only one over-valuated, well known stock such as Tesla to pop that could lead the bubble of today’s stock market to pop hard.

What do you think?