Coming up on the show today: What is the merge in crypto, a look at the impact of the world's energy crisis, your favorite automaker is now making NFTs, the mainstreaming of crypto, a new low cost MRI - it's a game changer - plus, our health and wellness segment with my wife, Jean Edelman.
It is The Truth About Your Future, and one of the biggest truths we're all dealing with these days is the cost of electricity. This is a global crisis, particularly in Europe, where the cost of electricity is up 10X from a year ago. No, not 10% - 10X - which means what used to cost $10 is now $100. People who used to be spending $100 a month on their energy bill are now paying $1,000. The European Commission is trying to solve this dilemma. Energy prices are based on oil and natural gas prices, and we don't have enough oil or natural gas flowing into Europe, and it's all because of the war. The Russian government has shut down the oil pipeline there, strictly reducing the amount of natural gas that they're allowing to flow into Europe. And what they are providing, they're selling for too high a price. The CEO of Shell says Europe is going to have to ration energy for years to come. This is a huge issue, way more expensive than the decade long average in line with a 14 fold increase in the cost of gasoline.
And the irony of all this - the horrifying part - is that Moscow is now making more money from oil than it did before the war. Russia's pumping almost as much oil as before and selling it for higher prices. Who are the buyers? Pakistan, India, and China predominantly. Russia has earned $20 billion a month this year selling its oil versus $15 billion before the war started. And they've got new markets: the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the UAE, and Egypt. They're all buying in addition to India, Pakistan, China, and Turkey. India, in fact, is now Russia's biggest customer. Russian exporters are often labeling their oil as coming from Iran or Venezuela to fool buyers who really don't want to support Russian oil exports. It's becoming a really big problem, and it's contributed to the fact that the Euro has fallen 15% in the past year. It fell to a 20 year low in August, and now investors are saying it's going to fall in value even more. Most contracts in the options market are against the Euro than at any time since the start of the pandemic back in March of 2020. In other words, most investors are betting that the Euro is going to fall even further than where it is now. And this is all because of the energy problem, which is sharply contributing to the inflation problem in Europe - the Euro inflation is running at 9%. So what are the countries around the world trying to do about it?
Guess who has launched an NFT collection? The car company Kia. They've launched 10,100 NFTs, and they're not the only car company to have done that. Lamborghini, Mercedes, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Porsche, Bentley - all of them have launched NFTs. At Alfa Romeo, if you buy a car, you get an NFT. It records the vehicle's data and serves as proof that you've maintained the car properly, which improves its value.
I mentioned on a previous program that one of the most popular investment products out in the marketplace today are annuities. They've hit a new record - $74 billion have been invested in these things in just the last three months. Why are so many people throwing so much money at annuities? Well, it's pretty obvious, isn't it? Annuities offer a guaranteed return. Compare that to the stock market, which not only isn't guaranteed, has been losing double digits this year. Bonds are down double digits this year. Crypto is down double digits this year. Real estate is beginning to fall in value. So increasingly, investors want a safe guaranteed return and they're turning to annuities to get them.
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