Tag: Shipping

January 26, 2018


statista – Is Airbnb Really Cheaper Than A Hotel Room? – Niall McCarthy 1/24

Visual Capitalist: TitleMax – A Decade of Grocery Prices for 30 Common Items – Jeff Desjardins 1/24

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

Bloomberg – Dalio Says Bonds Face Biggest Bear Market in Almost 40 Years – Nishant Kumar and Erik Schatzker 1/24

CNNMoney – Here’s how much money Americans think you need to be wealthy in 10 major US cities – Kathleen Elkins 1/24

Economist – Why armed intervention is Venezuela is a bad idea – Bello 1/18

NYT – Apple Can’t Resist Playing by China’s Rules – Chen Guangcheng 1/23

  • This is in regard to providing its users’ (in China) data to Big Brother.

WSJ – GE Looks Ugly in Its Underwear – Spencer Jakab 1/24

  • “GE’s new transparency is welcome, but a focus on cash shows the company is probably no bargain even after its swoon.”

Markets / Economy

WSJ – Daily Shot: Central Bank Net Asset Purchases 1/25

WSJ – A Shortage of Trucks Is Forcing Companies to Cut Shipments or Pay Up – Jennifer Smith 1/25


CNBC – Ratings firm issues first grades on cryptocurrencies, sparking outrage online and a cyberattack – Evelyn Cheng 1/24

WSJ – Hedge Funds Grow Wary of Cryptocurrency Mania – Gregor Stuart Hunter and Laurence Fletcher 1/24


FT – Germany threatens curbs on Facebook’s data use – Guy Chazan 1/24

  • “Antitrust investigation puts social network’s business model under scrutiny.”

Environment / Science

Economist – How China cut its air pollution 1/25

  • “The biggest polluters are state-owned, so government efforts to reduce concentrations of the smallest polluting particles have been effective.”

Health / Medicine

Economist – Obesity: not just a rich-world problem 1/24

  • YouTube video


WSJ – A Brief History of Shipping – Costas Paris, Thomas Di Fonzo, and Liliana Llamas 1/24

  • Video


FT – ‘Sixty per cent of older buy-to-let loans will become loss making’ – James Pickford 1/24

  • “Tax relief changes will have a huge impact on landlords’ mortgages, report finds.”


Economist – China is getting tougher on Taiwan – Banyan 1/18

South America

WSJ – Daily Shot: Buenos Aires Stock Exchange Merval Index 1/24

  • Reforms in Argentina have been working.

January 9, 2018

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

GMO – Bracing Yourself for a Possible Near-Term Melt-Up – Jeremy Grantham 1/3

LinkedIn: Why Bitcoin is the largest Ponzi scheme in human history – Vivek Wadhwa 12/29

Vanity Fair: “Oh My God, This is so F—ed Up”: Inside Silicon Valley’s Secretive, Orgiastic Dark Side – Emily Chang – Feb. 2018

Markets / Economy

Bloomberg – Electric Car Drivers Are Too Smart to Own Electric Cars – Kyle Stock 1/3

  • “U.S. drivers now lease almost 80% of battery electric vehicles and 55% of plug-in hybrids, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The lease rate for the country’s entire fleet hovers around 30%. (There’s one blank spot in the data: Tesla does not divulge how many of its vehicles are leased, and since it sells its cars directly rather than through dealerships, the company doesn’t have to.)”
  • “The lopsided consumer preference for leases is fueled by the meager demand for battery-powered vehicles on the used market. Partly this is a consequence of public policy meant to spur electric vehicle adoptions: buyers of pre-owned cars can’t grab thousands of dollars in federal and state incentives.”
  • “The high lease rate is also fueled by the bet Jablansky (Jeffrey Jablansky – car journalist) and others like him are making that upcoming models will far exceed today’s in value and capabilities. ‘When there’s new technology coming out, and it’s coming out so rapidly, and you’re improving on it so constantly, typically people only want to lease it,’ Steve Center, a vice president of American Honda Motor Co., said in an interview at the 2017 New York Auto Show. The hydrogen fuel cell version of the Honda Clarity isn’t available for purchase; it can only be leased. ‘Think of your cell phone,’ Center explained.”
  • “Perhaps electric vehicles will truly arrive when they are no longer compared to smartphones, which become obsolete after three years.”
  • “The bet on fast-paced improvements makes sense. In the past five years, battery prices have fallen by an annual average of 20%, according to BNEF, as factories scale up and engineers perfect the packaging of cells. ‘If you look at what can happen across the lifetime of a lease, you’re really talking about doubling the range of these vehicles,’ said Edmunds analyst Jeremy Acevedo.”
  • “Not surprisingly, a dated plug-in car is a pariah. Electric compact cars that were sold in 2014 are now worth only 23% of their original sticker price, compared with 41% for comparable combustion vehicles, according to Black Book, an auto analytics firm.”
  • “Part of the problem is that nobody—including auto engineers—really knows how well the first wave of these plug-in cars will age.”
  • “There are strong arguments to be made for a secondhand electric car. For one, a used plug-in should be far more reliable than a gas-fueled car because plug-ins have fewer moving parts and aren’t powered by small explosions. Consumer prices for electricity are far more stable than for gasoline, and even older models can have their efficiency enhanced through remote software updates.”
  • “Car companies aren’t overly worried about cultivating a secondary market for electric cars, particularly when the market for new models remains so lackluster. Sales of new models are all that matter when it comes to hitting fleetwide efficiency mandates. That’s one of the reasons most automakers are less than forthcoming about the cost of replacing a battery.”
  • “If there is a tipping point in which the electric car market stops behaving like the market for flat-screen televisions, it likely won’t be for two more years. The first Chevy Bolts will come off lease in 2020—roughly 12,000 of them—and analysts expect those cars still to be capable of going about 200 miles on a charge. The market will also start being seeded by a rash of new models: The Tesla Model 3 will be on the road in larger numbers by then, as will the Volkswagen e-Golf and Hyundai Ioniq.”

Business Insider – The Chevy Bolt is crushing the Tesla Model 3 – Matthew DeBord 1/3

Real Estate

FT – US retail’s turbulent relationship with private equity – Eric Platt and Anna Nicolaou 12/29

  • “More than half of the largest leveraged retail buyouts completed since 2007 have either defaulted, gone bankrupt or are in distress, according to a Financial Times analysis.”
  • “At least 50 US retailers — including Toys R Us, children’s retailer Gymboree, shoe store Payless and jean maker True Religion — have filed for bankruptcy this year, the most in six years, with analysts describing it as a ‘day of reckoning’, for companies that rolled over their debt refinancing for years. Observers warn that the distress is likely to accelerate in 2018 with nearly $6bn in high-yield retail debt set to mature.”
  • “Among the private equity owned retailers who have fallen into distress over the past decade are luxury goods brands including Barneys and Neiman Marcus, specialty apparel retailers such as J Crew and Claire’s, and the country’s largest pet suppliers, Petsmart and Petco.”
  • “The FT analysis focused on 31 deals with a price tag of more than $500m. In total, 19 leveraged buyouts worth a combined $43bn have run into trouble. While private equity groups have had success with a number of retailers since 2007, including Dollar General, Party City and BJ’s Wholesale Club, the majority struggled with the debt levels assumed in their buyouts. Investors in their bonds and loans have been dealt billions of dollars in losses.”
  • “’We are at historic highs [for distress], and we are not even in a recession,’ says Charlie O’Shea, retail analyst at Moody’s. ‘If you’re a CAA rated retailer [a deep-junk rating by Moody’s], you have no flexibility at all. If you’re highly leveraged with a product mix that goes head to head against Walmart and Amazon, and you are looking to refinance right now, what reception do you think you’re going to get? It’s tough out there’.”
  • “Mr O’Shea says he is looking to the first quarter of 2018 to see which ‘shoes are going to drop next’.”
  • “Neiman Marcus, the luxury department store that owns Bergdorf Goodman, is also on his radar. The Texas-based company was one of many buyout deals struck at the top-of-the-market. Neiman was taken private by TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus for $5.1bn in 2005, and eight years later was sold to private equity firm Ares Management and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $6bn.”
  • “But after weathering the recession better than other retailers, Neiman has succumbed to the explosive secular shifts that are wreaking havoc in bricks and mortar stores. Like-for-like sales have dropped for eight of the past nine quarters. This year Neiman scrapped both an IPO and a possible sale to rival Hudson’s Bay. With $4.9bn in debt, which S&P calls ‘unsustainable’, investors have grown nervous. Bonds sold by Neiman have tumbled below 60 cents on the dollar, from 80 cents a year ago.”


WSJ – Daily Shot: Investing.com – Bitcoin & Ripple 1/8


Bloomberg – How a Melting Arctic Changes Everything – Eric Roston 12/29

Other Interesting Links

WSJ – Daily Shot: Pal, bro, buddy, fella, or dude? 1/8

November 27, 2017


NYT – The Typical American Lives Only 18 Miles From Mom – Quoctrung Bui and Claire Cain Miller 12/23/15

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

NYT – Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, at Last – Thomas Friedman 11/23

NYT – Where Brexit Hurts: The Nurses and Doctors Leaving London – Katrin Bennhold 11/21

Vanity Fair – The End of the Social Era Can’t Come Soon Enough – Nick Bilton 11/23

Real Estate

Investment News – Nontraded REITs to post worst sales since 2002 – Bruce Kelly 11/21

  • “Sales of nontraded real estate investment trusts are headed for their worst year since 2002, with the industry on track to raise just $4.4 billion in equity in 2017, about $100,000 less than a year earlier, according to data from Robert A. Stanger & Co.”
  • “Making matters worse for the industry is that one newcomer to selling nontraded REITs, The Blackstone Group, has the highest sales for the year to date through September. Blackstone had almost $1.4 billion in sales with its new REIT, the Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, over the first nine months of the year, according to Stanger.”
  • “That means traditional nontraded REIT managers – including Griffin Capital Co., Carter/Validus Advisors, Cole Capital and others – will likely raise about $3 billion this year, about one third less than the 2016 total. And independent broker-dealers are struggling without the lucrative commissions formerly generated by product sales.”
  • “In 2002, $3.8 billion worth of nontraded REITs were sold. Nontraded REIT sales were $11.5 billion in 2007, according to Stanger, just as the real estate crash was beginning. Sales of nontraded REITs hit their peak in 2013, when independent broker-dealers sold $19.6 billion of the products.”
  • In addition to an accounting scandal at industry behemoth, American Realty Capital (ARC), new securities rules have hurt sales.
  • “New securities industry rules and regulations, including the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, have hurt sales of high commission products like nontraded REITs. The fiduciary rule has flattened the levels of commissions that brokers charge clients for products such as mutual funds.”
  • “The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority also recently put into place a new rule, known as 15-02, that makes pricing of illiquid securities like nontraded REITs more transparent to investors. In the past, client account statements showed illiquid securities like REITs at the value they were bought by the client and did not subtract commissions, which were high.”
  • “With the DOL fiduciary rule flattening commissions, many REIT managers began selling T shares, which cut the upfront load by more than half. After initially paying a 3% commission, the broker is then paid up to 7% over several years. An annual commission of 80 basis points is paid from the return generated by the REIT manager.”


Investment News – Nontraded BDC (Business Development Companies) sales in worst year since 2010 – Bruce Kelly 11/22

  • “The illiquid product’s three-year decline is partially due to new regulations and poor performance.”

WSJ – A Decade After the Crisis, King Dollar Is the World’s Tyrant – Jon Sindreu and Mike Bird 11/26

  • “Many economists have long predicted an end to the dollar reign that was established after World War II, especially after President Richard Nixon unpegged the greenback from gold in 1971. The creation of the euro in 1999 and the breakneck growth of the Chinese economy led many analysts to say the dollar would need to share the limelight.”
  • “But the euro became politically unpopular during the European debt crisis, and Chinese capital controls to peg the yuan are anathema to global investors. Meanwhile, the share of official reserves held in dollars recently stopped its multiyear decline, and in the second quarter of 2017, foreign-country dollar-denominated debt rose to an all-time high of $8.6 trillion, according to the BIS.
  • “’The dollar’s downward trend of the last 40 years is over,’ said Paresh Upadhyaya, fund manager at Amundi Pioneer, Europe’s largest asset manager.”
  • “A one-currency dominance challenges economic models that see global financial markets as a flat surface where, on average, investors shouldn’t be better or worse off depending on which currency they trade.”
  • “Reality tends to show something else.”

Fortune – Nearly 4 Million Bitcoins Lost Forever, New Study Says – Jeff John Roberts and Nicolas Rapp 11/25

NYT – Warning Signs About Another Giant Bitcoin Exchange – Nathaniel Popper 11/21


Visual Capitalist: MarineTraffic – Visualizing Every Ship at Sea in Real-Time – Jeff Desjardins 11/23


FT – The UK’s hidden one-child-per-family university policy – Martin Lewis 11/23

  • “Supporting two children studying at university could cost much more than you think.”


The Guardian – Chinese bike share graveyard a monument to industry’s ‘arrogance’ – Benjamin Haas 11/24

South America

FT – Surge in cargo theft hits the bottom line in Rio de Janeiro – Andres Schipani and Joe Leahy 11/21

  • “The thefts — which occur on average more than once an hour and are often staged by scores of criminals carrying assault rifles — have reportedly forced the national postal service to stop street deliveries in some neighborhoods of Rio, while supermarkets have raised their prices by up to 20 per cent to pay for the losses.”
  • “Recession-induced budget crises across governments in Latin America’s largest economy have led to the spike in crime, analysts say. One state — Espírito Santo — recorded 128 murders during eight days of uncontrolled street crime in February when police went on strike after budget cuts.”
  • “Cargo theft in Rio de Janeiro, whose greater metropolitan area has a population of 12m people, has increased sharply from 5,890 incidents in 2014 at the start of the economic downturn to a record 9,862 last year, says the local industry association Firjan. The state is on track to top a similar number this year, with food, beverages, electronic appliances and cigarettes among the preferred targets.”
  • According to a 2017 report by the Inter-American Development Bank, crime and the efforts to combat it cost Brazil some $120bn a year, three times the toll on Mexico, which is ravaged by drug-cartel violence.
  • Is this what happens when a society becomes too unequal? Politicians play their hand at their ability to regulate with intent to collect personal payoffs – graft becomes endemic – the people go on a corruption hunt – political infrastructure suffers – basic services decline – theft and looting become common place. I would imagine that the walls around the wealthy compounds are getting higher with more armed guards.

October 12, 2017


Business Insider – Trump’s net approval rating has dropped dramatically in every state – Allan Smith 10/10

Brookings – White, still: The American upper middle class – Richard Reeves and Nathan Joo 10/4

Economist – A new study details the wealth hidden in tax havens 10/7

  • “…A new study by Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman, three economists, (using Bank for International Settlements data) concludes that tax havens hoard wealth equivalent to about 10% of global GDP. This average masks big variations. Russian assets worth 50% of GDP are held offshore; countries such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates climb into the 60-70% range. Britain and continental Europe come in at 15%, but Scandinavia at only a few per cent.”
  • “One conclusion is that high tax rates, like those in Denmark or Sweden, do not drive people offshore. Rather, higher offshore wealth is correlated with factors such as political and economic instability and an abundance of natural resources.”
  • “Accounting for offshore holdings suggests wealth inequality is even greater than was thought. In Britain, France, and Spain the top 0.01% of households stash 30-40% of their wealth in tax havens. In Russia, most of it goes there. In America, the share of wealth held by the richest 0.01% is as high today as in early 20th-century Europe. Including offshore data increases the wealth share of the super-rich.”
  • “Yet plenty of data are still missing. A few big centers, including Panama and Singapore, still do not disclose these statistics. The BIS data also cover only bank deposits, not the securities in which most offshore wealth is held. Researchers made estimates to plug the gap, but their figures are likely to be conservative.”

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

NYT – How Israel Caught Russian Hackers Scouring the World for U.S. Secrets – Nicole Perlroth and Scott Shane 10/10

Economist – The bull market in everything – Leaders 10/7

Economist – A deathly silence: After the massacre in Las Vegas, nothing is set to change – Leaders 10/5

Economist – Politicians choosing voters: The Supreme Court ponders whether gerrymandering has gone too far 10/7

Economist – Chiang Kai-shek’s former homes are open to tourists 10/5

Markets / Economy

Economist – From Uber to kinder 10/7

Economist – American public pensions suffer from a gaping hole 10/5

  • “Schools in Pennsylvania ought to be celebrating. The state gave them a $125m budget increase for 2017-18—enough for plenty of extra books and equipment. But John Callahan of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association says all the increase and more will be eaten up by pension costs, which will rise by $164m this year. The same happened in each of the previous five years; cumulatively the shortfall adds up to $586m. The pupil-teacher ratio is higher than in 2010. Nearly 85% of the state’s school boards said pensions were their biggest source of budget pressure.”
  • “A similar squeeze is happening all over America. Sarah Anzia, at the University of California, Berkeley, examined 219 cities between 2005 and 2014 and found that the mean increase in their real pension costs was 69%; higher pension costs in those cities were associated with falls in public-sector employment and capital spending.”
  • “The problem is likely to get worse. Moody’s, a rating agency, puts the total shortfall of American public-sector pension plans at around $4trn. That gap does not have to be closed at once, but it does mean that contributions by employers (and hence taxpayers) will increase even more than they already have (see chart).”
  • “Higher costs are the result of improved longevity, poor investment returns and inadequate past contributions.”
  • As to making plans…
  • “Experts can differ, it seems. But small changes in assumptions can make a huge difference to the amount employers need to contribute. According to the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, cutting the return assumption by a quarter of a percentage point increases the required contribution rate (as a proportion of payroll) by two to three points.”
  • “In consequence, it is in no one’s interest to make more realistic assumptions about future returns. Workers (and their unions) fear it might generate calls for their benefits to be cut; states worry it would require them to raise taxes. Don Boyd, the director of fiscal studies at the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a think-tank, reckons that with a 5% assumed rate of return, states would have to stump up an extra $120bn a year just to tread water—i.e., to fund their pensions without making any progress on closing the deficit. So the game of ‘extend and pretend’ continues.”
  • “As years go by, voters and legislators across the country will have to make a trade-off. They can pay more taxes and cut services; or they can reduce the benefits they pay people who teach their children, police their streets and rescue them from fires. There will be no easy answers.”

Real Estate

WSJ – Daily Shot: John Burns RE Consulting – Home Refinancing 10/11

Health / Medicine

FT – Global childhood obesity rises 10-fold in 40 years – Clive Cookson 10/10

  • “The number of obese children and teenagers across the world has increased 10-fold over the past four decades and is about to overtake the number who are underweight, according to the most extensive analysis of body weight ever undertaken.”
  • “The study, led by Imperial College London and the World Health Organization, used data on 31.5m children and adolescents worldwide to estimate trends in body mass index (BMI) from 1975 to 2016. The results are published in the Lancet.” 
  • “Over this period the number of obese girls, aged 5 to 19, rose from 5m to 50m, while the total for boys increased from 6m to 74m.”
  • “The world’s highest childhood obesity levels are in the Pacific islands of Polynesia and Micronesia. Nauru has the highest prevalence for girls and the Cook Islands for boys: both above 33%.”
  • “Among wealthy countries, the US has the highest obesity rates for girls and boys of about 20%. Levels in most of western Europe are in the 7% to 10% range.” 
  • “A further 213m children are overweight but not sufficiently so to meet the WHO’s obesity criteria, which vary by age. Forty years ago, 0.8% of the world’s children were obese; now the prevalence is close to 7%.” 
  • “The study also looked at adult obesity, which increased from 100m people in 1975 to 671m in 2016. A further 1.3bn adults were overweight (with a BMI above 25) but below the threshold for obesity (BMI above 30).” 
  • “But the authors are most concerned about the findings about childhood obesity, because of their implications for public health many decades into the future.”


WSJ – Daily Shot: NFIB Labor Quality 10/10

  • “Anecdotal evidence suggests that in some areas of the country, finding workers who can pass a drug test has been challenging.”

WSJ – Daily Shot: John Burns RE Consulting – Builder Labor Shortages 10/11

  • “Skilled (and drug-free) worker shortages in construction are especially acute.”

  • This will only get tighter in the continental U.S. as natural disasters continue to rack up, resulting in acute demand for labor in the affected areas. Harvey, Irma, Maria, Nate, and now wildfires in Northern California. Of course, this will have effects on the neighboring regional labor pools.


Economist – How protectionism sank America’s entire merchant fleet 10/5

  • “In April 1956 the world’s first container ship—the Ideal X—set sail from New Jersey. A year later in Seattle the world’s first commercially successful airliner, Boeing’s 707, made its maiden flight. Both developments slashed the cost of moving cargo and people. Boeing still makes half the world’s airliners. But America’s shipping fleet, 17% of the global total in 1960, accounts for just 0.4% today.”
  • “Blame a 1920 law known as the Jones Act, which decrees that trade between domestic ports be carried by American-flagged and -built ships, at least 75% owned and crewed by American citizens. After Hurricane Irma, a shortage of Jones-Act ships led President Donald Trump on September 28th to waive the rules for ten days to resupply Puerto Rico. This fueled calls to repeal the law completely.”
  • Like most forms of protectionism, the Jones Act hits consumers hard. A lack of foreign competition drives up the cost of coastal transport. Building a cargo ship in America can cost five times as much as in China or Korea, says Basil Karatzas, a shipping consultant. And the cost of operating an American-flagged and -crewed vessel is double that of foreign ones, reckons America’s Department of Transportation.”
  • “Inflated sea-freight rates push most cargo onto lorries, trains and aircraft, even though these are pricier and produce up to 145 times as many carbon emissions. So whereas 40% of Europe’s domestic freight goes by sea, just 2% does in America. Lacking overland routes, Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico are hardest hit. Hawaiian cattle ranchers, for instance, regularly fly their animals to mainland America. A recent report by the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico found that the Jones Act inflated transport costs for imports to twice the level of nearby islands.”
  • “Jones-Act shipowners retort that the rules are to help producers, not consumers. Rail firms lobbied for the 1920 law, out of fear that an excess of foreign ships from the first world war was flooding the market. National security was also cited. German submarine warfare, it was argued, showed the need for a merchant fleet built and crewed by Americans. But the law has virtually wiped out American shipping. Between 2000 and 2016 the fleet of private-sector Jones-Act ships fell from 193 to 91. Britain binned its Jones-Act equivalent in 1849. Its fleet today has over three times the tonnage of America’s. Marc Levinson, an economic historian (and former journalist at The Economist ) notes that the laws also made American container lines less able to compete on international routes. Drawn by profits at home they underinvested in their foreign operations, and fell behind their foreign rivals because they lacked the same scale.”
  • “Recognizing the harm to their domestic fleets, countries from Australia to China are loosening the rules protecting their fleets. Not America.”


Economist – The birthplaces of African leaders receive an awful lot of aid 10/7

  • “Scholars have long had a hunch that Chinese aid could be more easily manipulated than the Western sort, which often comes with strings attached. A Chinese white paper in 2014 stated that the government would not impose any ‘political conditions’ on countries asking for help. The commerce ministry, China’s lead aid agency, says most projects are initiated by recipient states. This approach makes aid more vulnerable to misuse by local leaders, say critics.”
  • “In a working paper, the pundits show that China’s official transfers to a leader’s birth region nearly triple after he or she assumes power. Even when using a stricter definition of aid provided by the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, an increase of 75% was found. They got similar results when looking at the birthplaces of presidential spouses. Crucially, they found no such effect with aid doled out by the World Bank, their benchmark for Western assistance. ‘We believe Chinese aid is special,’ says Andreas Fuchs, a co-author of the study.”
  • “China’s approach to aid has other side-effects. In a paper released earlier this year, Diego Hernandez, an economist, showed that China’s rise as a development financier has increased competition between donors. This, in turn, has strengthened recipients’ bargaining power, says Mr Hernandez. Traditional donors have responded by lowering conditionality, or the number of strings attached to aid. Using data from 1980 to 2013, he finds that African countries have received 15% fewer conditions from the World Bank for every 1% increase in Chinese aid.”

September 19, 2017

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

FT – Big Tech makes vast gains at our expense – Rana Foroohar 9/17

  • “Data-driven companies have a license to print money, with few restrictions.”

Bloomberg – The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever – 9/13

Markets / Economy

WSJ – New Data Shows Retirees Are on the Move, But Young Folks Are a Different Story  – Andrew Van Dam and Paul Overberg 9/15

Health / Medicine

BuzzFeed – Harvey Damaged 13 Toxic Waste Sites. It Could Take Years to Know The True Health Risks. – Nidhi Subbaraman and Peter Aldhous 9/3


FT – Container shipping: surf’s up – Lex 9/17

  • “If only investors in shipping had the equivalent of a mariner’s tide tables. They can see where the low water mark in share prices lies, but must divine for themselves how high the waters might now rise.”
  • “In this particular cycle, the ebb lasted a long time after container lines ordered too many ships and then struggled to fill them. The low point was probably last autumn, when Korean line Hanjin filed for bankruptcy.”
  • “The market has improved markedly since then. Industry volume growth is expected to hit 5% this year, from 3.8% last year. Scrapping rates have picked up, while new capacity on order is finally falling. Such newfound discipline might last longer than in previous cycles because consolidation has increased the market share of the top six operators to almost two-thirds, from two-fifths in 2013. Four alliances have become three. In other industries — airlines, for instance — concentration of this sort led to greater self-control.”
  • “Such developments have not gone unnoticed. Antitrust regulators have raised concerns about the shrinking number of alliances and their control over certain routes. And the Dax global shipping index has risen 15% (in dollar terms) since January.”

September 14, 2017


WSJ – Daily Shot: US Census Bureau, Piper Jaffray – Construction & GDP Correlation 9/13

WSJ – Daily Shot: Moody’s – Impact of Irma on Southwest US 9/13

FT – Chart of the day, offshore tax haven market-share edition – Cardiff Garcia 9/11

  • “In all the micro-data we have access to, offshore wealth turns out to be extremely concentrated: the top 0.1% richest households own about 80% of it, and the top 0.01% about 50%.” – Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

WSJ – There’s a Speeding Mass of Space Junk Orbiting Earth, Smashing Into Things – Robert Lee Hotz 9/12

Economist – The lessons of fidget spinners 9/9

  • “Sales might have peaked, but they have changed toys.”

Economist – Mobile technology is revamping loyalty schemes 9/7

  • “If you want loyalty, get big data.”
  • “When Caesars Entertainment, a casino group, went bankrupt in 2015, auditors valued its loyalty database at $1bn, more even than its property on the Las Vegas strip.”

Markets / Economy

WSJ – Daily Shot: US Real Household Median Income (2016) 9/13

WSJ – Daily Shot: US Real Household Income by selected income percentiles 9/13

WSJ – Daily Shot: US Real Household Income by ethnicity 9/13

WSJ – Daily Shot: BMO Wealth Management – Bloomberg – Declining Corporate R&D 9/13


WSJ – Daily Shot: Bloomberg – Retail Gasoline Price Spike 9/13

  • Never waste a good crisis…

FT – Nigeria to resist cuts to its oil output, minister says – Anjli Raval 9/12


VC – Comparing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Other Cryptos – Jeff Desjardins 9/11


WSJ – Daily Shot: Baltic Dry Index 9/11

  • “The Baltic Dry shipping index hit the highest level in a couple of years amid better demand for iron ore.”


FT – Life sentences, $290m fine for Ponzi scheme in China – Edward White 9/11

  • “The two men who led a massive Chinese lending scam were sentenced to life behind bars by a Beijing court on Tuesday.”
  • “Ding Ning, the 35-year-old founder of Ezubao, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being charged with fraud, smuggling precious metals, illegal procession of firearms and illegally crossing China’s border. The company’s former chairman Ding Dian was also sentenced to life.”
  • “Ezubao was established in 2014 and became one of China’s highest-profile peer-to-peer lending sites, promising investors annual returns of up to 15%, write Edward White and Xinning Liu. According to the official Xinhua news agency, the Ponzi scheme raised more than Rmb50bn ($7.6bn) from 900,000 investors before arrests were made in early 2016.”
  • “The Beijing Intermediate Court issued fines of Rmb1.9bn (US$290m), which one Chinese lawyer said could mark a new precedent for fraud cases in China. Another 24 people linked to the scam, were handed sentences ranging from three to 15 years.”
  • “Ezubao’s risk controller was quoted by Xinhua in 2016 as saying ‘95% of [our] projects are fake’.”


Economist – Panipat, the global center for recycling textiles, is fading 9/7

  • A lesson of what happens when companies fade away when they don’t innovate, invest in R&D, and squeeze their capital and labor.

August 22, 2017


WSJ – Daily Shot: Business Insider – Most Popular Food Restaurants by State 8/21

Bloomberg – How Far Does $1 Million Go in Retirement – Suzanne Woolley 8/21

Bloomberg View – Trump-Friendly Idaho Doesn’t Put America First – Matthew Winkler 8/18

Worthy Insights / Opinion Pieces / Advice

The Registry – McNellis: Hollowing out the Museum – John McNellis 8/21

  • “(Housing) Density is like heaven: everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.”

FT – Will China buy Saudi Aramco – Nick Butler 8/20

Markets / Economy

FT – More companies sell bonds to fund pension obligations – Eric Platt 8/20

  • “This is a Goldilocks moment for companies who want to fund their pensions given the hunger for yield and attractive returns today.” – Owais Rana, Conning (an investment management company)

Real Estate

Bloomberg – Manhattan Gets $20,000-a-Month Homes for New Breed of Seniors – Oshrat Carmiel 8/21


WSJ – Daily Shot: Baltic Dry Index 8/18

  • Enough consolidation has occurred to the point that shipping costs are back up.