Welcome to your Weekly Digest!
First up this week…travel to Europe appears to be back on the agenda.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that the fast pace of vaccinations in the U.S., along with advanced talks between the U.S. government and European Union over vaccination certificates, could see trans-Atlantic leisure travel restored this summer.
According to von der Leyen, “all 27 member states [of the EU] will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA [European Medicines Agency].” The EMA, it should be noted, has already approved all three vaccines currently in use in the U.S.
As I write this, there is still no exact timeline on a resumption of travel with Europe. However, my two cents of on-the-ground analysis is that this happens sooner rather than later.
Greece, Spain, Italy, Croatia…there’s a host of EU countries that are economically dependent on tourism, and the political pressure to admit vaccinated travelers is powerful and growing.
Plus, it seems my countrymen and women are pretty eager to get back to Europe’s sunny climes. In the days following von der Leyen’s announcement, the travel app Hopper, a truly excellent app you should check when looking for flights, reported a 47% spike in airfare searches from the U.S. to Europe, a spokeswoman for the company said.
On a personal level, I understand this excitement. I have a laundry list of European destinations I’ve been daydreaming about exploring during our COVID-imposed isolation. Top of the agenda for me are Croatia (there’s a new night train from Prague directly to Split, on the Croatian coast) and the Albanian Riviera (sort of a love-child mashup of Greece and southern Italy).
And of course, if you’ve been waiting for the pandemic to end before making a full-time move to Europe, this is probably a good time to start exploring your options and getting your ducks in a row.
In this regard, I’ll be speaking at International Living’s upcoming, online Best of Europe Private Screening to share my insights on key aspects of relocating such as visas, finances, and so forth. I hope to see you there.
You’ll hear a lot of fanfare, if you haven’t already, about a new linkup between PayPal and Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S.
Under the new Buy With PayPal feature, Coinbase users can use PayPal to buy up to $25,000 in crypto daily.
The appeal of this feature is that you only need your PayPal login to set it up, so you don’t have to go through the rigmarole of linking your debit card or bank account to your Coinbase.
The disadvantage, and this is the kicker, is that you’ll pay a mountain in fees.
Buying through PayPal will cost you transaction fees of 3.99%, one of the highest fees that Coinbase charges (and Coinbase is already on the high side in this regard). Moreover, there’s a 2.5% levy for depositing U.S. dollars from PayPal into Coinbase.
My advice: Set up an account at a cryptocurrency exchange (I like Binance.US or Crypto.com) and link your bank account by ACH. Sure, it takes a little bit of time to set up, but it’s safe, secure, and you’ll pay significantly lower fees for your crypto.
What do Pampers diapers, Cheerios, and Scott toilet paper have in common?
They are the latest products soon to increase in price as inflation starts to deepen its grip on the U.S. and the global economy.
This inflationary pressure has been building for some time.
The reason it’s now starting to bite is that during the earlier stages of the pandemic, producers were absorbing the price increases rather than passing them on to consumers. Even though costs have been going up throughout much of the pandemic, the majority of manufacturers figured that the optics of raising prices on, say, diapers amid the COVID crisis would have been problematic, to say the least.
Now that the economy is reopening, however, they’re no longer willing to foot the bill. The government’s stimulus checks have also been helpful to them in this regard, giving them more cover to raise prices since people have more dollars in their wallets.
I’ve been ringing the inflation alarm bell for some time. And I’m going to continue doing so…because as boring as this topic is (and I get it, it’s dreary) it’s going to impact our wallets significantly.
My advice: Own inflationary hedges like gold. Own commodity stocks. And check out the recommendation in the May issue of the Global Intelligence Letter. That will do particularly well as the high-inflationary environment takes hold.
That brings me to the conclusion of this edition of the Weekly Digest. As always, if you have any feedback or questions, send me an email any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy your Sunday!