April 19, 2017

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Naked capitalism – It’s Time to Regulate the Gig Economy – Yves Smith 4/18

  • “Depicting work in the platform economy as a mere ‘sharing of favors’ conveys an image of the gig economy as a sort of parallel dimension, where chores are amateurishly carried out as a form of leisure, with no relation to ‘work’. The reality, however, is different. For most workers, platform-based work is an essential source of income. The ILO recently surveyed workers on two important micro-task platforms: Amazon Mechanical Turk and Crowdflower. Forty percent of respondents answered that crowdwork constituted their principle source of income. Workers averaged 30 hours a week on the platform.”

Markets / Economy

FT – IMF says debt binge leaves US corporate assets exposed – Shawn Donnan and Gemma Tetlow 4/19

  • “A debt binge has left a quarter of US corporate assets vulnerable to a sudden increase in interest rates with the ability of companies to cover interest payments at its weakest since the 2008 financial crisis by one measure, the International Monetary Fund has warned.”

Finance

FT – The fearless market ignores perils ahead – Robin Wigglesworth 4/18

  • “The big mystery of the year has been the disconnect between the chaos in Washington and the calmness in markets.” – Adam Sender, head of Sender Company and Partners, a hedge fund.
  • “In part, Vix (Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index) has been becalmed because the US stock market has been remarkably placid. The S&P 500 recently enjoyed its longest run of avoiding big drops of more than 1% in over two decades. But the evaporation of volatility also reflects profound structural changes that have taken place since the financial crisis, such as the primacy of central banks and the big shift into exchange traded funds.”

China

FT – China’s capital controls dent inbound investment – Don Weinland 4/18

  • “China’s restraints on capital outflows have started to discourage inbound investment into the country, the opposite of the intended effect of the measures.”
  • “Last year, Beijing began cracking down on outbound investments and stopping companies from remitting capital offshore in an attempt to preserve its rapidly deteriorating foreign reserves, which dipped below $3tn in January for the first time in five years.”

FT – Wang Jianlin confirms China blocked Wanda’s US TV deal – Lionel Barber and Charles Clover 4/18

  • China’s richest person, Wang Jianlin, confirmed that new regulations scuttled his planned $1bn acquisition of Dick Clark Productions.

NYT – As Zeal for China Dims, Global Companies Complain More Boldly – Sui-Lee Wee 4/19

Other Links

FT – Fifa struggles to win backers for Russia World Cup – Murad Ahmed and Max Seddon 4/18

  • “World football’s governing body lost several major sponsor, including Sony and Emirates, when their deals ended at the end of the last tournament in 2014. For the 2018 tournament in Russia, Fifa has 10 companies signed up as sponsors, but before the last tournament in Brazil, the organization had 20 corporate partners on board.”

Reuters – U.S. soda sales drops for 12th straight year – Sruthi Ramakrishnan 4/19

  • “Sales of soda drinks decreased about 1.2% in the United States in 2016, falling for the 12th  year in a row, a report by trade publication Beverage Digest showed, as demand was hit by consumers choosing healthier options and a slew of sugar taxes aimed at stemming obesity and diabetes.”
  • “However, total sales dollars increased 2% to $80.6 billion as soft drinks makers aggressively pushed smaller packs at higher prices per ounce, while lowering emphasis on large discount packs, the Beverage Digest said.”

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