The year 2017 has cryptocurrencies written all over it as investors celebrate 12 months of jaw-dropping disbelief with the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple outperforming all other established and traditional asset classes – with more than a thousand-fold return year to date. Leading the crypto-pack is Bitcoin that smashed the US$16,000 barrier recently extending its stratospheric escalation to new records – this after coming into 2017 at US$725 in mid-January. With the exponential surge of virtual currencies, we are now bound to ask if anything about its surreal meteoric rise has the vestige of a bubble surrounding it.
It is a tumultuous and turbulent time in the Middle East. The consolidation of power to a newly appointed [apparently modernist] crown prince in Saudi Arabia together with heightened conflict from Yemen’s Houthi rebels and hostile rhetoric against Lebanon and Iran is taking the Arab world towards a significant tectonic shift.
The ascent of Xi Jinping to what 'maybe' perpetual power culminated at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party in late October. His winning mantra 'Xi Jinping Thought' or expanded upon, 'Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era' has now been embodied in the Chinese Constitution.
Will we shortly bid our local bank goodbye now that financial transactions are increasingly done online with an app on a smartphone, - not with banks but by technology-driven companies?
Many had hoped that when India gained independence from British rule 70 years ago, its local leaders would carry on in the forward-thinking direction that their colonial masters had instituted – one that should have ushered in a new era of development as a free nation. But 70 years later, we continue to witness a country that is progressing in a fashion, but nevertheless persistently in conflict with a multitude of societal problems, enormous ingrained poverty and shocking economic disparity – and a sense now of degenerating back to its tribal and irrational past that predates its founding
So far in 2017 alone, about 60 new nuclear reactors are being constructed in 14 countries. Global nuclear power capacities are projected to increase from 380 Gigawatts in 2015 to over 480 Gigawatts in 2030, which is 10 Gigawatts more in 15 years. Likewise, uranium demand is projected to grow more than 60% from 190 million pounds of U308 in 2016 to 300 million pounds of U308 by 2030.