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Commodities Chaos

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Welcome to another episode of Kaizen. My name’s Aaron Schere, and my goal is to guide you to financial solvency.

On today’s show, we’ll be joined by Sasha Bart from the New United to discuss the current economic landscape, which has been volatile since the passing of the Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative last month. Hang tight for her thoughts on what’s going on.

But, before that, let’s do a quick Market Breakdown.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Neither Schere, Kaizen nor Farnes Media Partners guarantees any specific outcome or profit. Before acting on information in this program, you should strongly consider seeking advice from your own financial or investment adviser.

Let’s start with the DevCo Group. CEO Terrence Naban continues to turn heads with his aggressive acquisition of distressed securities. This week, the investment group made waves by acquiring a majority stake in Titus Tools, the failing construction equipment manufacturer. Naban assuaged concerns that mass layoffs were imminent at their Selene-based production facilities by promising the company would operate normally until DevCo completed a thorough review of the enterprise. Still, he stopped short of making any promises about what would happen once their review was done.

Titus Tools joins a growing list of distressed companies that DevCo Group has acquired over the past few years. In particular, Naban seems to covet companies with prominent Empire-wide name recognition, seeing them as cheaper to relaunch with a streamlined marketing strategy. This was made apparent when DevCo Group partnered with numerous independent investors to purchase the Tumbril brand, which had been dormant since 2862. Now, with Titus Tools, it looks like Naban seems willing to continue testing this theory.

Next, Storm Securities is in hot water once again. The Advocacy raided their corporate headquarters in New Junction, with a warrant relating to Maurice Vano, the failed assassin who made an attempt on Imperator Costigan’s life in May. Shortly after the raid, a report by the Terra Gazette alleged that Storm Securities over the previous few months had made several payments to a shell company owned by Vano.

A statement released by Storm Securities said the payments were solely for “contract security services provided.” The company also claimed that it would be improper to elaborate on the matter due to the ongoing investigation and out of respect for the privacy of their clients. The statement did go on to strongly condemn the actions taken by Vano and vehemently deny any foreknowledge of them.

Now, it’s time to switch gears. Here to discuss the current state of the UEE economy is our old friend, Sasha Bart. She’s been an economic correspondent for the New United for years and is a frequent guest on this show.

As always, it’s a pleasure to have you here.

Sasha Bart: Thanks for having me back.

A lot has happened since you were last on the show. Besides the absolutely shocking attempt on Imperator Costigan’s life, the other big story has been the Senate narrowly passing the Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative. How has HuXa, as it’s commonly called, affected the current economic landscape?

Sasha Bart: It’s shaken things up, that’s for sure. This is the largest trade deal passed in my lifetime, and it’s been fascinating to see it turn from a topic of debate among economists and scholars into a reality.

What’s that reality looking like?

Sasha Bart: Across the board, there’s been a noticeable spike in traffic passing through UEE systems connected to the Xi’an Empire. Most systems were prepared for the influx, but long lines still plague the Baker System. Some shipping concerns are recommending that their haulers avoid Baker, if at all possible, until the situation improves.

How likely is it that things will improve anytime soon in Baker? Certain aspects of HuXa aren’t even in place yet, with many provisions being phased in over the next few months. I feel like traffic through the system will only increase as those come online.

Sasha Bart: There’s been rumblings in the Senate about providing extra funding for Baker’s Customs Bureau, but it appears unlikely to happen anytime soon. Many Senators that opposed HuXa are refusing to even bring the matter up for debate, claiming that it’s illogical to discuss providing additional funds to an initiative that still isn’t fully implemented.

Complicating matters, the budget is already stretched thin with the war against the Vanduul, Synthworld construction and the Empire’s many other financial responsibilities. I get the sense that right now it’ll be hard for anything HuXa related to receive further funding until it proves it can generate revenue to offset the cost.

So, the Baker System and haulers caught in long customs lines are struggling to deal with HuXa. Who’s benefiting from it?

Sasha Bart: Here’s an interesting one — the Bevic Group.

The food and drink conglomerate?

Sasha Bart: That’s right. This is one of those things I never would’ve expected, but makes complete sense. With the influx of Human haulers into Xi’an space, there’s also an increased demand for food that’s … well, not completely foreign to the Human palate.

I spoke with a representative for Bevic Group the other day, who seemed just as surprised as me by this turn of events. Their business relationship with the Xi’an-owned Jysho Corporation has certainly paid off, as they are now providing food and drink vending machines to CTR stations all across the Xi’an Empire. The Jysho Corporation apparently wants a diverse range of Human food at all their CTR Stations to attract business from Human haulers on the other side of the border.

It makes a lot of sense for CTR to provide similar services and amenities no matter which Empire they’re in.

Sasha Bart: Absolutely.

Now, let’s pivot to your latest column for the New United, which was titled “Commodities Chaos.” Anyone who’s been watching the commodities markets knows that their prices have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. You did some digging around on this. What’s happening?

Sasha Bart: Two words — rampant speculation. HuXa required the establishment of a special TDD commodities commission that would be staffed by both Human and Xi’an economists. Its purpose is to ensure, among many other things, that commodities dumping doesn’t occur. The last thing the UEE wants is for, say, cheap Xi’an metals to completely undercut and cripple the industry here, or vice-versa.

According to your article, the uncertainty of when this will all happen and how it’ll subsequently affect commodity prices are what’s fueling all this recent speculation.

Sasha Bart: Precisely. No one knows exactly what’s going to happen, but everyone is hoping to exploit these arbitrage opportunities.

For example, I highlighted this in my article by profiling two investors with large stakes in praseodymium. One of the investors is absolutely convinced, after conducting extensive research, that the price of praseodymium will plummet once HuXa is fully implemented. Meanwhile, Yussef, the other investor, firmly believes the price will skyrocket. Both are convinced that they’re right, and have strong arguments to back their claims. It’s convictions like these that are driving the speculation across various commodities.

We need to take a quick commercial break, but don’t go anywhere. Sasha Bart for the New United will be back with us to discuss how the mining industry is preparing itself for increased competition from Xi’an markets. That and more when Kaizen returns.

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