April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Real Estate

FT – Chinese buyers fuel Brooklyn real estate boom – Rana Foroohar 4/16

  • “…World property markets have become totally disconnected from national economies. There has been a massive housing recovery in the US since 2008, but over half of all the gains have accrued to a handful of coastal and wealthy inland markets.”

NYT – Is American Retail at a Historic Tipping Point? – Michael Corkery 4/15

  • “Between 2010 and 2014, e-commerce grew by an average of $30 billion annually. Over the past three years, average annual growth has increased to $40 billion.”
  • “’That is the tipping point, right there,’ said Barbara Denham, a senior economist at Reis, a real estate data and analytics firm. ‘It’s like the Doppler effect. The change is coming at you so fast, it feels like it is accelerating.'”
  • “This transformation is hollowing out suburban shopping malls, bankrupting longtime brands and leading to staggering job losses.”
  • “More workers in general merchandise stores have been laid off since October, about 89,000 Americans. That is more than all of the people employed in the United States coal industry, which President Trump championed during the campaign as a prime example of the workers who have been left behind in the economic recovery.”
  • “The job losses in retail could have unexpected social and political consequences, as huge numbers of low-wage retail employees become economically unhinged, just as manufacturing workers did in recent decades. About one out of every 10 Americans works in retail.”
  • “The current torrent of closures comes as consumer confidence is strong and unemployment is low, suggesting that a permanent restructuring is underway, rather than a dip in the normal business cycle. In short, traditional retail may never recover.”
  • “There is a rolling crisis that has emerged in the last couple of years as store closings are being announced.  People are losing their jobs and have no other place to go. Theoretically this is the marketplace rationalizing itself, but in the interim how do people survive?” – Mark Cohen, Columbia University

China

FT – Detention of China regulator heralds clampdown on insurers – Emily Feng 4/14

Middle East

Reuters – Exclusive: Saudi to shelve, reform billions of dollars of unfinished projects – Marwa Rashad 4/16

South America

Reuters – Brazil’s Odebrecht paid $3.3 billion in bribes over a decade – Paulo Prada 4/15

  • “Odebrecht SA, the Brazilian engineering company at the center of a historic corruption scandal, paid out a total of about $3.3 billion in bribes in the nine years through 2014, according to testimony cited by local media on Saturday.”
  • “Through a department specifically established to pay politicians and other recipients for public works contracts, Odebrecht paid as much as $730 million annually in both 2012 and 2013, the years when bribe payments peaked, according to a spreadsheet that a former executive reportedly gave investigators as part of a plea deal.”

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