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American Express Reports Most Spending Categories ‘Fully Recovered,’ Save Large Corporate T&E




American Express reported “particularly strong” spending on travel and entertainment across its customer types in the fourth quarter, CFO Jeff Campbell said on a conference call Friday.

Total travel and travel expenses for American Express products were $25 billion in the fourth quarter, up 44 percent year-over-year and down 9 percent from 2019. Total spending was roughly flat compared to the previous quarter and up a percentage point on the recovery.

T&E spending by large U.S. and global corporate customers grew 86 percent year over year but remained at two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels in the quarter. T&E spending by small and medium-sized Amex customers increased 30 percent year-on-year and 14 percent above fourth quarter 2019 levels.

T&E spending by international customers on Amex products, which includes both consumer and business spending, totaled $21 billion in the quarter, up 53 percent year-on-year and 7 percent above 2019 levels .

In terms of total spending on travel and travel by category, only airline spending in the fourth quarter was below 2019 levels, down 6 percent but up 67 percent year-on-year. Lodging spending increased 35 percent year-over-year and 3 percent compared to 2019, and dining spending increased 24 percent year-over-year and 37 percent compared to 2019.


“On a dollar basis, most of our spending categories have fully recovered, so I would expect more stable growth rates this year,” Campbell said, noting that T&E would likely be an exception due to the ongoing impact of the Omicron Covid in the first quarter-19 variant in the first quarter of 2022.

Amex reported total revenue of $14.2 billion in the fourth quarter, up 17 percent year over year, and both higher spending and higher net interest income drove growth. The company’s net income for the quarter was $1.6 billion compared to $1.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2021.


American Express Q3 results



Private jet flights in Europe soar to record levels, stoking climate fears




A private jet lands over the snowy mountains of St. Moritz, Switzerland. Emissions from private jets, which have a disproportionate impact on the environment, more than doubled in Europe in 2022.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

The private jet aviation boom shows no signs of slowing down.

Analysis released on Thursday by environmental campaigning group Greenpeace showed that the number of private jet flights in Europe rose a whopping 64% last year to a record high of 572,806.


Emissions from private jets, which have a disproportionate impact on the environment, were found to have more than doubled in Europe in 2022, exceeding the annual per capita CO2 emissions of 550,000 European Union residents.

More than half (55%) of private jet flights in Europe last year were ultra-short trips under 750 kilometers (466 miles), Greenpeace said, noting that they were trips that would have taken the train or ferry instead can be undertaken.

It comes at a time when Europe is in the grip of one severe winter drought and shortly after the region driest summer in at least 500 years. scientist warned At the end of January, that groundwater shortages across the continent meant that the water situation was now “very precarious”.

“The alarming increase in private jet flights is in complete contradiction to all climate science, which advises us to cut CO2 emissions immediately to avert total disaster,” said Klara Maria Schenk, transport activist for Greenpeace’s Mobility for All campaign.

“Immediate reduction in oil-fueled transport is a no-brainer, starting with a ban on energy-wasting, extremely polluting private jets that bring no value to people but pollute them with harmful emissions, toxic microparticles, noise and harm our climate, environment and health.” said Schenk.


The analysis found that the countries with the most private jet flights in Europe last year were the UK, France and Germany.

The most popular destinations for private jet flights in Europe in 2022 were the French Riviera city of Nice, the French capital Paris and Switzerland’s second most populous city, Geneva.

Rising demand

Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion, Scientist Rebellion and Last Generation block the entrance to the airport facility of fixed base operator “Milano Linate Prime” in Milan on November 10, 2022, demanding a ban on private jets, taxing frequent flyers and introducing a tax on most polluters.

Piero Cruciatti | AFP | Getty Images

Emissions from private jets have grown faster than commercial aviation in Europe in recent years.

Data from the non-governmental organization Transport & Environment shows that private jets are up to 14 times more polluting per passenger than commercial airplanes and up to 50 times more polluting than trains.


Because in just one hour, a single private jet can emit two tons of carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, the average person in the EU emits 8.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalent over the course of a whole year.

Earlier this month, the world’s leading climate scientists released a “Survival Guide for Humanity,” calls for deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

This temperature threshold relates to the intended target of the landmark Paris Agreement.

It is widely viewed as a crucial global goal, as so-called tipping points beyond this level of global warming become more likely. Tipping points are thresholds where small changes can lead to dramatic changes in the entire life support system of the earth.

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Adidas ends its war with Black Lives Matter over a trademark




Adidas Withdraws its challenge to a Black Lives Matter trademark application with three parallel stripes, two days aCentre County Reporter contesting the image with the US Trademark Office.

Adidas filed a notice of opposition with the bureau on Monday, saying in the filing that it challenges the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation’s request to trademark the use of three parallel yellow stripes on various items, such as clothing and bags.

The company said it felt that allowing Black Lives Matter to use the stripes would be “confusingly similar” to using a three-stripe mark, which it has used on its own merchandise since at least 1952.

On Wednesday, Adidas said it had changed its mind.

“Adidas will withdraw its opposition to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation trademark application as soon as possible,” the German sporting goods manufacturer said in a prepared statement.


She did not provide any further information on the reasons for the withdrawal of the application.

Adidas has been vocal in protecting its three-stripe trademark for years. In January, fashion designer Thom Browne emerged from a New York courthouse victorious over Adidas in a lawsuit Battle for the characteristic stripes. In this case, Adidas had similarly argued that the striped designs used by Thom Browne Inc. were too similar to their own three stripes. The Manhattan federal court jury sided with Browne.

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A $3 Trillion Threat to Global Financial Markets Looms in Japan




(Bloomberg) — Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda changed the course of global markets when he unleashed a $3.4 trillion hose of Japanese money on the investment world. Now, Kazuo Ueda is likely to dismantle his legacy and set the stage for a trend reversal that could send shockwaves through the global economy.

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A little over a week before a significant leadership change at the BOJ, investors are bracing for the seemingly inevitable end to a decade of ultra-low interest rates that has punished domestic savers and sent a wall of money abroad. The exodus accelerated after Kuroda began depressing bond yields in 2016, culminating in a mountain of offshore investments that accounted for more than two-thirds of Japan’s economy.

All of this threatens to unravel under new Governor Ueda, who may have no choice but to end the world’s boldest experiment in easy money, while rising interest rates elsewhere are already shaking the international banking sector and threatening financial stability. The stakes are high: Japanese investors are the largest foreign holders of US Treasuries, owning everything from Brazilian debt to European power plants to pools of risky state loans.

A rise in Japan’s borrowing costs threatens to exacerbate volatility in global bond markets, which have been rocked by the Federal Reserve’s years-long campaign to fight inflation and the new threat of a credit crunch. Against this backdrop, the BOJ’s tightening of monetary policy following the recent banking turmoil in the US and Europe is likely to intensify scrutiny of their country’s lenders.


A policy change in Japan is “an additional force that goes unappreciated,” and “all G-3 economies will, one way or another, reduce their balance sheets and tighten their policies,” said Jean Boivin, Japan’s head of the BlackRock Investment Institute and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada. “When you control a price and loosen the grip, it can be challenging and messy. We think it’s a big deal what happens next.”

The flow reversal is already underway. Japanese investors sold a record amount of foreign debt last year as local yields rose on speculation that the BOJ would normalize policy.

Kuroda added fuel to the fire last December when he eased the central bank’s grip on yields by a fraction. In just a few hours, Japanese government bonds collapsed and the yen soared, rocking everything from Treasuries to the Australian dollar.

“You’ve already seen this money being repatriated to Japan,” said Jeffrey Atherton, portfolio manager at Man GLG, part of Man Group, the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund. “It would be logical for them to bring the money home and not take the exchange rate risk,” said Atherton, who manages the Japan CoreAlpha Equity Fund, which has beaten about 94% of its peers over the past year.


Return home

Bets on a change in BOJ policy have faded in recent days as the upheaval in the banking sector raises the prospect that policymakers may prioritize financial stability. Investor scrutiny of Japanese lenders’ balance sheets has increased amid concerns they may reflect some of the strains that have crushed several US regional banks.

But market participants expect chatter about BoJ adjustments to resume as tensions ease.

Why Japanese banks are well positioned to withstand the banking crisis

Ueda, the first-ever academic to lead the BOJ, is expected to accelerate the pace of policy tightening later this year. Part of this could include further easing the central bank’s control over yields and unwinding a gargantuan bond-buying program aimed at lowering borrowing costs and boosting Japan’s ailing economy.


The BOJ has bought 465 trillion yen ($3.55 trillion) worth of Japanese government bonds since Kuroda introduced quantitative easing a decade ago, according to central bank data, which has depressed yields and fueled unprecedented distortions in the government bond market. As a result, local funds sold 206 trillion yen worth of securities during the period to seek better returns elsewhere.

So massive was the shift that Japanese investors became the largest holders of government bonds outside the US, as well as owners of about 10% of Australia’s debt and Dutch bonds. They also own 8% of New Zealand’s securities and 7% of Brazil’s debt, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The reach extends to equities as well, with Japanese investors having invested 54.1 trillion yen in global equities since April 2013. Their stock holdings represent between 1% and 2% of stock markets in the US, Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK.

Japan’s ultra-low interest rates were a big reason the yen fell to a 32-year low last year, and it’s been a top option for profit-seeking carry traders to fund purchases of currencies ranging from the Brazilian real to the US$ Indonesian rupiah.

“It has almost certainly contributed to a significant decline in the yen and massive dysfunction in the Japanese bond market,” said Jim O’Neill, a former UK government minister and chief economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., of Kuroda’s policies. “Much of what happened in Kuroda’s time will be partially or fully reversed,” should his successor pursue policy normalization, although the banking crisis may prompt authorities to tread more cautiously, he added.


The currency has retreated from last year’s lows, helped by the view that normalization is inevitable.

Add last year’s historic global bond losses to that equation, and Japanese investors have even more reason to flock home, according to Akira Takei, a 36-year market veteran and money manager at Asset Management One Co.

“Japanese bond investors have had bad experiences outside the country over the past year because a significant jump in yields has forced them to cut their losses, so many of them don’t even want to see foreign bonds,” said Takei, whose Tokyo-based firm manages 460 Billion dollars. “They now think that not all funds have to be invested abroad, but can be invested locally.”

The new president of Dai-ichi Life Holdings Inc., one of Japan’s largest institutional investors, confirmed it was shifting more money from foreign securities to domestic bonds after aggressive US interest rate hikes made hedging against currency risk costly.

Certainly few are willing to put their faith in Ueda rocking the boat once he takes office.


A recent poll by Bloomberg found that 41% of BOJ watchers expect a tightening move in June, up from 26% in February, while former Japanese Deputy Finance Minister Eisuke Sakakibara said the BOJ could hike rates by October.

A summary of opinion from the March 9-10 meeting of the BOJ showed that the central bank remains cautious about conducting a policy shift before hitting its inflation target. This was even after Japan’s inflation accelerated to over 4% and hit a new four-decade high.

The next central bank meeting, the first of Ueda, is scheduled to take place on April 27-28.

Richard Clarida, who served as vice president of the Federal Reserve from 2018 to 2022, arguably has more insight than most, having known “straight shooter” Kuroda for years and weighing Japan’s influence on US and global monetary policy.

“Markets expect yield curve control to be phased out fairly early under Ueda,” said Clarida, now global economic adviser at Pacific Investment Management Co. “It’s not for day one,” he said, adding Japan’s tightening would be a “historic moment” for markets, although it may not be a “driver for global bonds”.


Gradual shift

Some other market watchers have more modest expectations of what will happen if the BOJ rolls back its stimulus plan.

Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd., sees the US-Japan interest rate differential persisting to some extent as the Fed is unlikely to make large rate cuts if inflation remains high and the BOJ is unlikely to make any significant ones rate hikes in the near future.

“It is important to assess all the adjustments and prospects of the entire BOJ monetary policy package when considering their impact on cross-border money flows,” she said.

Ryosuke Oshima, deputy general manager of the product promotion group at Mitsubishi UFJ Kokusai Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, sees yield levels as a potential trigger for a shift in flows.


“There might be some appetite for bond funds when rates go up, like 1% for the 10-year yield,” he said. “But if you look at the data, they’re unlikely to suddenly reverse all their investments at home.”

For others like 36-year-old stock market veteran Rajeev De Mello, it’s probably only a matter of time before Ueda has to act and the consequences could have global repercussions.

“I totally agree with the consensus that the BOJ is tightening – they will want to end this policy as soon as possible,” said De Mello, asset manager at GAMA Asset Management in Geneva. “It depends on the credibility of the central bank, it matters that inflation conditions are increasingly met now – normalization will come to Japan.”

–Featuring Winnie Hsu, Ayai Tomisawa, Hideyuki Sano, Yumi Teso, Emily Cadman and Jane Pong.

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