Newfound comet likely an ‘interstellar visitor,’ scientists say

Newfound comet likely an 'interstellar visitor,' scientists say Newfound comet likely an ‘interstellar visitor,’ scientists say

By Joey Roulette

(Reuters) – A newly discovered comet hurtling toward the orbit of Mars has scientists scurrying to confirm whether it came from outside the solar system, a likely prospect that would make it the second such interstellar object observed in our planetary neighborhood.

The trajectory of the comet, first detected by Crimean astronomer Gennady Borisov, follows a highly curved path barreling in the sun’s direction at unusually high speeds, evidence that it originated beyond the solar system.

“On our team we’ve been scrambling here at the University of Hawaii to get observations to make position measurements,” said Karen Meech, an astronomer at the university whose team concluded that the object’s size and tail of gas classify it as a comet.

“Every time a new comet is discovered, everybody starts to try and get data so that you can get the orbit,” Meech told Reuters, adding that her researchers “all are 100 percent convinced that this really, truly is interstellar.”

The comet, an apparent amalgam of ice and dust, is expected to make its closest approach to the sun on Dec. 8, putting it 190 million miles (300 million km) from Earth, on a route believed unique to such objects of interstellar origin.

Once confirmed interstellar, the comet – dubbed C/2019 Q4 by astronomers – would become only the second such body ever observed by scientists.

The first was a cigar-shaped comet dubbed ‘Oumuamua – a name of Hawaiian origin meaning a messenger from afar arriving first – that sailed into our planetary neighborhood in 2017, prompting initial speculation that it may have been an alien spacecraft. Astronomers soon reached a consensus that it was not.

Unlike ‘Oumuamua, which visited the solar system for only a week, the newfound comet will linger near Mars’ orbit for almost a year, giving scientists ample time to characterize its chemical signatures and seek further clues about its origin. 

“The high velocity indicates not only that the object likely originated from outside our solar system, but also that it will leave and head back to interstellar space,” said Davide Farnocchia, an astronomer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. 

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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EUR/USD likely to edge lower in coming weeks – SocGen

SocGen on the euro

Societe Generale Research flags a scope for EUR/USD and GBP/JPY to edge lower lower over the coming weeks.

“We don’t think the market is short enough of euros to prevent yet another new, marginal low in this move and it’s worth re-emphasising that thanks to the weakness of the yuan and sterling this summer, the trade-weighted euro is reached its best level of the year a week ago.

Given recent economic data and likely ECB moves, it seems likely, in fact,that we will see EUR/USD edge lower in the weeks ahead, unless we get clear signals of further Fed easing or clear signals of European fiscal easing. And if we get the former, we w much rather be long the yen than the euro, thanks,” SocGen notes. 

“More Brexit noise is likely too as Europe ‘responds’ to PM Johnson’s demands. GBP/JPY looks more likely to fall to 125 than rise to 130,” SocGen adds.

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Australia’s Central Bank Looks Likely to Cut Rates ⁠— From the Outback

© Reuters.  Australia’s Central Bank Looks Likely to Cut Rates ⁠— From the Outback © Reuters. Australia’s Central Bank Looks Likely to Cut Rates ⁠— From the Outback

(Bloomberg) — The Reserve Bank of Australia’s policy decision on Tuesday is more unusual than most.

Not only could Governor Philip Lowe and his board deliver a second consecutive interest-rate cut –- the last time the RBA did that was in 2012 — it’s also the first time they will meet in Darwin in more than 50 years.

A city closer to Jakarta than Sydney, Darwin is a symbolic trip for the policy makers. Lowe will deliver a speech on his rates policy to community leaders and then plans to travel to East Arnhem Land to meet with indigenous groups and pay respects to the RBA’s first governor, the legendary H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs, half of whose ashes lie in the area.

The last time the RBA’s board met in Darwin it adjusted policy to encourage saving. Fifty-one years later, Lowe and his colleagues return with the aim of spurring Australians to spend.

The central bank is striving to revive an economy that’s just clocked 28 years without recession, yet is on track for its weakest fiscal year since 1991. Markets are pricing in a 70% chance that the RBA will take rates to a record 1% on Tuesday, while 21 of 32 economists in a Bloomberg survey expect them to move.

Lowe and his board have a number of risks to balance: domestically there’s a sagging property market making consumers hesitant, and a government infrastructure boost coming; globally, a U.S.-China trade truce for now won’t do much to halt a slowdown in China and the world economy.

The RBA chief must sometimes wish he had the levers available to Coombs. At the June 1968 board meeting a shortage of liquidity led the RBA to lift the bank deposit rate in order to spur saving. Lowe, in contrast, is regularly inundated with letters from savers — often older Australians — complaining his rate cuts are eroding their income.

The RBA’s 1968 Darwin meeting was actually the mid-point in an Outback odyssey that saw the board fly through Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia to look at new mines that were springing up. It was a different era: these days Lowe and his deputy, Guy Debelle, aren’t supposed to be in a plane together, let alone the whole board.

Community Engagement

The RBA’s return to Darwin five decades on is more coincidence than design. Officials say board members find the community engagement aspect of trips outside Sydney useful to help understand sentiment. Having recently journeyed to Hobart, Darwin was the obvious next choice. Once that visit was decided, it was suggested the RBA try to rekindle the relationship with the people of East Arnhem Land.

Coombs’s ties with the region dated back to a dispute over copyright on the artwork on the A$ 1 bill by artist David Malangi. In 1967, Coombs met Malangi and resolved the issue, and also began an association that would stretch through until Coombs’s death in 1997 at age 91. (Half of his ashes were scattered at the Australian National University and the other half in East Arnhem Land).

In his final nine months as governor through 1968, Coombs was also chairman of the Council of Aboriginal Affairs and an early proponent of reconciliation. He would take up the cause of Arnhem Land’s people in their fight against a bauxite mine constructed in the area; this involved the famous bark petition protest that is now on display in parliament house.

Despite his extensive contacts in government, Coombs was unable to halt the mine. But he would make contact with a young Galarrwuy Yunupingu, who would go on to be a leader of the Australian indigenous community and older brother to Mandawuy, late front man of rock group Yothu Yindi.

It is this history Lowe is seeking to reconnect the RBA with. Together with Catherine Tanna, a board member and managing director of EnergyAustralia; Susan Moylan-Coombs, a broadcaster and granddaughter to Nugget who was also a member of the Stolen Generation; Philip Gaetjens, Secretary to the Treasury who sits on the central bank board; and Anthony Dickman, secretary at the RBA.

If rates are cut and all goes well, it will at the very least give the governor a day free of letters from angry pensioners.

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Yanks’ Andujar to have shoulder surgery, likely out for season

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are losing Miguel Andujar, probably for the season, after the third baseman decided to have the injured labrum in his right shoulder surgically repaired, the team announced Wednesday.

Andujar, a 24-year-old who has played in only 12 games this season because of two stints on the injured list related to the ailment, will have the operation Monday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Christopher Ahmad will perform the procedure.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the recovery would “probably” end the third-year player’s season. The New York Post quoted Dr. Steven Struhl, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, as calling surgery “the most reliable option. With an elite athlete, there’s at least a 75-80 percent chance he comes back to his previous level, and I believe he will. The fact he’s young is a good thing.”

Stuhl said Andujar could need from six to 12 months to recover. He said Andujar could have held off on the surgery, but that while there would have been “no harm in rehabbing more … you’re pushing back his return if you wind up performing surgery.”

Andujar hit .128 with no homers and one RBI this year. In 2018, Andujar hit .297 with 27 home runs and 92 RBIs in 149 games, and he finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting.

Andujar, who sustained a partial tear of the labrum in his right shoulder when he dived into third base in the third game of the season on March 31, returned from his first stint on the injured list on May 4 and played nine games before going back on the IL.

Boone said Tuesday the latest MRI exam on Andujar’s shoulder looked “about identical” to the image after his original injury.

The injury likely means continued playing time for fourth-year infielder Gio Urshela, who is hitting .330 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 94 at-bats in filling in for Andujar.

–Field Level Media

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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Goldman Sachs: UK is likely to leave EU with modified version of current withdrawal agreement

The firm maintains their view on the way Brexit will play out

Brexit
  • The politics of Brexit have become more protracted
  • As a result, the side-effects on Brexit on the UK economy have intensified
  • Capex by businesses have been particularly subdued

All you have to know here is that sentiment remains that a no-deal Brexit is still seen as unlikely for the time being. As for a deal, we’ve been at this crossroads for many a time now over the past few months. Until something gets done, it’s more likely there will be another extension than there will be a Brexit deal that the UK parliament can get behind.

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China central bank likely to pause reserve cuts, but policy easing on track: sources

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: China Development Forum in Beijing © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: China Development Forum in Beijing

By Kevin Yao

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank is likely to pause to assess economic conditions before making any further moves to ease lenders’ reserve requirements, after better-than-expected growth data reduced the urgency for action, policy insiders said.

Although the central bank’s easing bias remains unchanged, it sees less room this year for cutting reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) – the share of cash banks must hold as reserves – as fiscal stimulus plays a bigger role in spurring growth, according to government advisers involved in internal policy discussions.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) is also worried that pumping too much cash into the economy could reignite bubbles over time, the policy insiders said, and wants to save some of its policy ammunition.

“In the short term, it’s not necessary to use RRR cuts to boost economic growth,” one policy adviser told Reuters. “Monetary policy should leave some room – if economic uncertainties rise or economic conditions deteriorate, the central bank could ease policy.”

The chance of a cut in benchmark interest rates, meanwhile, has further diminished, as the central bank focuses on reforming its interest rate regime this year, the policy insiders said.

LESS ROOM FOR RRR CUTS

China’s economy grew a steady 6.4 percent in the first quarter, defying expectations of a further slowdown, with factory output, retail sales and investment in March all growing faster than expected following a raft of expansion-boosting measures in recent months.

Still, economists do not expect a sharp recovery in the world’s second-largest economy, as many private firms grapple with high funding costs, while external demand may weaken in the coming months as the world economy loses steam.

Optimism is rising, however, that China and the United States will reach a trade deal in coming weeks.

“The possibility of seeing big policy changes is not big. We may maintain the strength of policy support but it could become more structural,” said a second policy source.

The PBOC did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

The PBOC has cut RRRs five times since the start of 2018, lowering the ratio to 13.5 percent for big banks and 11.5 percent for small-to medium-sized lenders.

Central bank Governor Yi Gang said in March that there was still some room to cut RRRs, but less so than a few years ago.

The PBOC is likely to cut RRRs for small banks to encourage more lending to small and private firms – which are vital for economic growth and job creation – said the policy insiders, who have penciled in at least one such “targeted” RRR cut this year.

“Monetary policy will maintain counter-cyclical adjustments and keep liquidity ample as interest rates should go lower for the real economy,” said one of the policy insiders.

A Reuters poll, conducted before the first-quarter data release on April 17, showed economists expected the central bank to deliver three more RRR cuts of 50 basis points in each of the remaining three quarters of 2019.

But the stronger-than-expected growth data compelled some economists to trim their forecasts for RRR cuts. UBS now expects another 100 bps cuts this year, with the next one likely in June-July, instead of the 200 bps it had forecast earlier.

ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTIES LINGER

A statement on Friday from the Politburo, a key decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, said China would maintain policy support for the economy, which still faced “downward pressure” and difficulties.

Authorities would strike a balance between stabilizing economic growth, promoting reforms, controlling risks and improving livelihoods, the Politburo said, adding that China would move forward with structural efforts to control debt levels and prevent speculation in the property market.

First-quarter economic growth was backed by record new bank loans of 5.81 trillion yuan ($ 865.61 billion) and local government special bond issuance of 717.2 billion yuan, which rocketed ninefold from a year earlier.

Beijing has ramped up fiscal stimulus, unveiling tax and fee cuts amounting to 2 trillion yuan to ease burdens on firms, while allowing local governments to issue 2.15 trillion yuan of special bonds to fund infrastructure projects.

Chinese leaders have pledged to ensure economic stability in a year that will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, while vowing not to adopt “flood-like” stimulus that could worsen debt and structural risks.

The government’s target range for 2019 growth is 6-6.5 percent but growth of about 6.2 percent is seen needed this year and the next to meet the party’s longstanding goal of doubling GDP and incomes in the decade to 2020.

China’s growth slowed to a 28-year low of 6.6 percent last year, and further cooling is expected this year.

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