• Jan, 2022
  • Jan 21, 2022
  • Market sell off has been a few days now

    Shortage of buyers.

    Big tech stocks seem to analysts like they're trying to go back down to pre-pandemic levels. Amazon was down over 5% today. Netflix, a $250b company, was down 22%.

    Questions about margin calls.

    Everything was red, though. Growth and value. Tech, energy, and reopening trades.

    People are talking about 'what price to buy stocks at.' They had been saying over the past year that multiple and actual value seem to not matter, and that there was so much retail investment, and no one cared about looking at actual business value, it was possible to say you should buy stocks without considering value.

    Buffet is now up. Berkshire over the past months has been one of the best stocks. Kathy Wood's Ark is down.
    The market was up 25% in the past year.

    Monetary and fiscal and economic uncertainty, which is expected to get worse in the upcoming months.

  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 18, 2022
  • Berkshire one of the best stocks this year

    After taking some flack during the bounceback in 2019 for not being on board with new stocks.

    Kathy Wood's Ark Invest is down.

    It has "everything you could want in this environment." Cash to take advantage of opportunities, real estate exposure, industrial, railroad (which is charging record rates), financial exposure, energy, utilities.

    Buffet was like the last man standing after the dot com bubble too. He was ridiculed in the 90s for not understanding the appeal of the tech thing.

  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 16, 2022
  • Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna will make pre-tax profits of $34 billion this year from vaccines

    $93.5 million a day.

    Moderna delivered 0.2% of their total vaccine supply to low-income countries. Pfizer/BioNTech delivered less than 1%, according to People's Vaccine Alliance.

  • Jan, 2022
  • Jan 02, 2022
  • 2022, the world's largest trade is in arms, followed by the drug trade, still

    $500b yearly, controlled by criminal networks.

    Opium in Asia.Central Asia, Golden Triangle, Golden Crescent. Cannabis resin in Morocco. Cocaine mainly from Colombia. Biggest consumers are US and Europe. Transport over sea and air.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 30, 2021
  • Bulgarians and Greeks are buying a lot of goods in Turkey for the low prices.

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 17, 2021
  • "US is one of the few demographic countries with a tailwind" - Tom Lee

    Most other countries are going the other way.

    "Most major companies are founded by people in their 20s or 30s. Costco, Blackstone, Bloomberg. ... So if you have more people age 30, you're gonna have more innovation. ... There's a correlation between people age 30-50 and the number of patents filed."

    "If we were just relying on demographics that would mean that we have a bull market through 2029."

    China, Japan, Europe don't have this demographic optimism.
  • "You don't need capitalism anymore" - Tom Lee

    "... Because now there's so much saver capital you don't need an economy," meaning there's enough capital around already.

    "It's like oil. Imagine if we have the reserves. We don't have to import oil anymore."

    "The US essentially could be a supplier of capital to the rest of the world now. ... The capital that's accumulated now will be used to generate returns anywhere in the world."

  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 07, 2021
  • Global debt trap?

    Perhaps, as debt in the world is 4x the underlying economy (in about 25 countries debt to GDP exceeds 300%, whereas before it was just Japan). At this level, an increase in interest rates could cause the system to shake, and this might be a reason long-term interest rates have a problem going up, despite the entire consensus calling for this move. According to Ruchir Sharma
  • Dec, 2021
  • Dec 06, 2021
  • Bitcoin tumble

    It went down about 20% in an hour or something, amidst it's few-day drop and small rebound to $42k. It was around $57 before I think.

    The whole market dropped significantly several days last week, on news headlines about a new strain of the virus. Rebound today for most stocks.

    On bitcoin though: 'These cycles will continue to play out for three reasons. The first of which is there's higher volatility in crypto; there aren't circuit-breakers that we have in traditional finance, so nothing that can keep a floor after things start going down really fast; and the market never closes, so there's not really an opportunity for information to be digested once this cascading effect takes hold.' - Frank Chaparro

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 30, 2021
  • Twitter only up 2% since it went public

    Or maybe it's currently below it's opening price in 2013. Social media public companies are up around 200% (Global X social media ETF) (Facebook is up like 600%).

    Does only $3 or 4b a year, and pays it's owners et all pretty well, is the loudest social media voice there is. Politicians and journalists.

    Dorsey stepped down as CEO today. Some commented they expect more censorship on it now.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 29, 2021
  • $207m loan default makes Uganda lose only international airport to China, possibly

    Chinese debt trap success if true, but Ugandan and Chinese authorities have denied reports.

    The loan, signed in 2015 between the Ugandan govt and China's Exim (export-import) bank, had a 20 year maturity period and 7 year grace period.

    Uganda's largest commercial and military airport. Entebbe airport.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 25, 2021
  • "Bonds are basically paying for the pandemic response" - Some investor said
  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 05, 2021
  • Oil and gas companies perhaps not welcom at COP26 summit

    This was raised by Steve Sedgwick at CNBC. He asked the COP president at a press meeting, but the pres, Alok Sharma, avoided answering it.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 02, 2021
  • Lots of talk of 'tops' and that things we're seeing are indicative

    Read the following couple stories. Investors have been reminded of the dot com bubble when saying your company had a 'website' made it rise.
  • Talking about your company having something to do with EV makes it rise

    Avis up 100% after saying they were going to rent EVs. (No deal or anything with an EV company, just said something about it.) According to Karen Finerman.

    Investors aren't allowed to short these things--the reddit crowd--they've been told not to. So these moves are left to just go up. Reportedly.

  • Squid Game crypto

    Went up like 2800% before, most assume, the owners of the scam converted their holdings into other currency.

    Buyers were not able to sell. There was an element of this where they said they were going to make a video game, or something.

    Fun fact: Devs, on the website, had profile photos from ThisPersonDoesNotExist, it's thought.
  • John Deere reached a tentative 6-year deal with United Auto Workers

    Covers 10k workers. Wage increases, signing bonuses, if workers vote approval.

    DE was up like 5% (on a day of many stocks being up).

    Ag economy and food safety tailwinds appear favorable to Deere. Supply chain issue is causing more national production of goods (at higher prices). Corn, wheat prices are way up.

    Although this means higher labor costs, it also means clarity and a fixed employee cost for 6 years. If we do see what most people seem to be talking about now--persistent inflation--what Deere is going to pay may seem not high after all. If Deere can raise prices on tractors, they can actually expand margin. And they might just be first-movers on this one, where in 3 or 4 years other companies might have to pay a lot more.

    Also, currently there is a trend or shift to thinking about more than just profits. Ie about workers.

  • Nov, 2021
  • Nov 01, 2021
  • "Apple and Google is a giant piggybank for everything else" - Michael Batnick

    "The bubble inside the stock market is funding bubbles elsewhere" - Josh Brown
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 27, 2021
  • "The way finance works in 2021 is that things are not valuable based on their cash flow, but on their proximity to Elon Musk"

    - Patrick Boyle

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 26, 2021
  • Early retirement boom

    Might be a secular trend. For decades older workers were not retiring but kept working.

    Now there's millions more retiring than expected.
    We don't know what, but it's expected the course for the US has been altered by the Pandemic.
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 25, 2021
  • Hertz orders 100k Model 3s

    HTZZ up 10%, TSLA up 12.5% for the day. TSLA's stock is at $1000 now, and the company is worth $1t, I think.

    Worth $4.2b in revenue for Tesla, the largest EV order ever.

    Projections for how many Telsas are going to be produced in 2030 are up in numbers quite a bit.

    Investors didn't see this coming really. Many were shorting TSLA. Tesla passed through periods where no one knew if they'd be able to fund themselves. Tesla traded on hype or something, but it's now starting to trade on fundamentals.

    They only have like 1 or 2% of market share in countries they sell to.

    UPDATE days later. Tesla is up a lot more. Someone asked Musk about if he was selling to Hertz at a discount, and Musk tweeted Tesla had more demand than supply, and wasn't selling to Hertz at a discount, and so the agreement (he stressed nothing had been signed) meant nothing to Tesla's economics. TSLA was down like 4% on a day when basically everything was down.

    "Lead sales are ugly sales," is something you hear people say sometimes. Automakers are selling fleet versions (often base models with maybe a few extras added on) in large numbers at a discount, and it's of course good for auto-makers but not that good.

    However, other things come into play. Hertz would have to invest in infrastructure and it would create a lock-in effect with buying and servicing Teslas.
  • Investing mainstream started to realize physical stores are good

    ... Simeon Siegel of BMO was talking to Kelly on CNBC and said they just finished a 6-month study, and all the big retailers who disrupted traditional stores with their e-commerce model are now growing profits through moving to physical stores (in addition to e-commerce. The term is 'omni'). Also realized that the middle man has value. He talked about 'surprises,' such as physical stores allowing you to own the brand and own the customer. It doesn't keep you at a certain threshold like e-commerce does.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 24, 2021
  • "When did this happen to us? When did housing turn into a commodity? Why is housing being traded on the stock market? How is it that a public good is being used to make such astronomical profits?"

    -Said by a Berlin resident who didn't move out of an apartment building, although they want him to move out (as every other tenant already has) to make room for them to demolish the building and build new apartments. He received threats and had his car set on fire, reportedly.

    Rents have skyrocketed as global investments have poured into Berlin real estate.

    A recent large referendum had 57% vote in favor of (who? the State? the city?) buying out companies who hold more than 3000 units. ("The most successful referendum in Berlin's history")

    There's a line in Article 15 in the German Constitution that says property can be expropriated when it's for the public good. (There are lots of other options to fix the problem besides expropriation, however.)

    It's a pattern that exists in most European cities. Demolishing old buildings and building new ones. Prices rising. Long term residents left with not much choice but to move elsewhere.

    How can we contrast 'a public good being turned into a commodity' with having enough money to satisfy the market and the possibility of lack of such money being treated as sufficient excuse to seize property without consent (which, you could argue, is frequently done by governments during land development)?

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 20, 2021
  • Bitcoin ETF

    The first one the SEC let pass. Gensler hinted he's more comfortable with trading on an regulated futures exchanges like NYSE (where the Bitcoin ETF 'Proshares,' BITO, owned by ProFunds Group [$58b under management] is listed) than on Binance and that type of exchange.

    BITO is not based on actual Bitcoin, but rather on futures contracts, and filed under mutual funds rules that provide significant investor protections, according to SEC. The product already exists, and this is just a repackaging, and if something goes wrong the SEC knows how to deal with it and knows how to intervene.

    The futures in BITO are a bet on the price of bitcoin, without having to actually store bitcoin, so there's no risk of theft of coins or loss of passwords. If bitcoin goes down in price, your money goes to pay those who took the other side of the bet.

    The risk is taken by the arbitrageur who holds bitcoins he buys for full price plus a margin of 1/3rd. Ie a bitcoin which costs $60k means $80k for him. They do this because they charge for this service.

    The return for you of buying BITO is less than buying Bitcoin. It will tend to trade about 8% above the price of bitcoin. (Right now this premium is about 15%.) The ETF's management fee is about 1%.

    So why is this product even necessary? Some experts say 'institutional money.' Boomer investors who will never get a crypto wallet even if it's easy to do, but who have money to invest and want to put it in bitcoin. Josh Brown recently said Chicago investment culture is such that they would approve an ETF for anything as long as they thought people would put their money into it, or something like that.

    Bitcoin up steadily over the past months from it's 25k low (or 30 I forget) and is now at $55k (up several percent since BITO dropped).

  • Some restaurants using robots because they can't get workers

    In the US, 75 or 80% percent of restaurants are understaffed.


    Flippy-2 robot makes deep fried wings. The restaurants are looking at unlocking capacity: faster food for guests. Doing less desirable, more dangerous tasks. Costs now about $3000 per month (I don't know what that means exactly).

    Matri-D by Richtech delivers plates of food to tables. It's basically a robotic food tray. Costs up to $20k. Can serve more tables, customers get food faster, no tips.

    An Australian delivery robot delivers food from a mall to houses within a half a mile.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 17, 2021
  • 6% increase in social security benefits

    Highest increase in 40 years.

    Based on cost of living adjustment (COLA), based on actual government-reported inflation numbers. Retirees need the increase. The average check is going up about $100. Most people receive about $1200 a month on this.

    Ie, inflation. A 2% increase is considered to be high.

    6% is a non-sustainable number.

  • Several sectors in US seeing worker strikes

    Entertainment, health care, UAW.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 11, 2021
  • Used fast fashion, low quality, doesn't find a market when it arrives in Africa

    15m items of used clothing arrive in just Ghana every week, sent from the first world. Lots of people go through this clothing to sell it in used clothing stores. More and more of what arrives is 'fast fashion,' which is low quality and doesn't last long.

    There are fields of garbage that include a lot of this clothing (estimated 40% of used clothing that arrives in Ghana goes there).

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 08, 2021
  • "The global financial system needs legally stable tax-neutral jurisdictions in order to facilitate international business transactions, which in no way dodge any taxes." - Patrick Boyle, talking about offshore tax havens like BVI and Caymans, in light of the Pandora Papers.

    Governments like the US gov also use them, for investment like in the TARP program, which helped bring liquidity to the markets after the Global Financial Crisis.
  • India's coal

    Coal is 70% of India's energy mix (most mined domestically).

    India keeps adding lower and middle class energy consumers, who are buying goods like fans, lights, and TVs.

    Mines were flooded recently by monsoon rains.

    There is only a few days of coal stores. But it doesn't look like there will be a power outage.

    It's more a fear for businesses than homes.

    India has some solar, but solar outputs are reportedly declining.

  • Energy crisis in Europe?

    Some (especially Northwestern like Austria and Germany) nations keep low stocks of natgas, buying is on spot. These will drive the price up.

    This is based on capacity and ability to stock up over the past summer.

    Exposure to spot market rates.

    Asia is winning bidding wars with Europe for cargos.

    There is a question whether Russia really can deliver as much as it says it will. Russia is also looking to fill up its own storage.

    Spain suggested to the EU a shared reserve of energy for emergencies.

  • At some point, Chinese crackdown on companies will be more or less finished, and from that point there will be a more stable operating environment for a lot of companies.

    The next catalyst for Chinese stocks.

    CCP wants to see 'no further monopolistic behavior.'

  • Fantasia, a second big Chinese real estate firm, missed a big key payment
  • China power crunch

    As China came out of the pandemic, the economy recovered fast, which led to energy demand, which led to really rapid production of coal, which led to some mining examples. As a result, the gov put some safetly regulations on, which constrained coal mining production this year. Prices went up.

    Over the summer, local officials were really conscious of these issues and tried to coordinate with power companies to make sure power supply and demand would be balanced. But in September, demand was higher than expected.

    Also, wind and hydro were lower than expected in some areas.

    In some areas also, local officals were not meeting their energy intensity targets.

    This led to the CCP unilaterally deciding to cut power supply to certain sectors of the economy.

    At the heart of it is really 'local officials' decisions,' it was said.

    (Coal has been the best performing commodity this year price wise.)

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 06, 2021
  • Putin assured EU he has all the natgas they want

    Europeans pay 5x what Americans pay for natgas.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 05, 2021
  • Stagflation?

    CEOs are planning for supply chain disruptions in 2022 also, which means they are starting to worry about maintaining output levels even though demand is there (ie profits lost not just deferred).
  • People now seeing inflation as not going down. US, UK, Germany.
  • "Companies feel more confident to increase prices because prices are going up everywhere."

    Mohamed El-Erian, on inflation being seen now as not so transitory.
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 30, 2021
  • Threat of attack on international money transfers cited by investor

    I forget who it was.
  • China banned crypto, nomatter where trading takes place

    US regulators are also looking at doing something. Notably DeFi (Gensler).

    China is experiencing energy shortages (Goldman downgraded China's growth forecast for this), and it might last months.

    Still, any Chinese with a wallet could trade on permissionless decentralized exchanges where there is no KYC.

    There are also VPNs and many Chinese live and work overseas where it could be impossible to prevent their trading crypto.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 28, 2021
  • US home sales have turned negative

    Tight supply pushed prices up. Sales of homes under $250k fell compared with a year ago, although those over $1m rose 40%.

    First time buyers are having a hard time with higher prices. Home prices are up 20% over the past year. Median price is $356k (I think). First time home buyers are half the percentage of the market they used to be. Sticker shock?

    Fed is doing this, according to Josh Brown, with 'mindless asset purchases,' like mortgage bonds of $40b a month, harming the first time buyer.

    If rates rise further, which is speculated, it might slow home buying even more. Some experts think this will affect second house buys and more expensive house buys, rather than first home buys, because Americans still seem to like the idea of owning a home and putting their money into this investment, whereas people who already have a house will be less likely to buy a different one.
  • About 100 OnlyFans accounts made over $1m each, reportedly

    What is missing in the societies where the clients come from?

    Users pay $5 for a monthly subscription to any given account, and pay tips up to I think $100, in order to sort of be friends with an attractive person. Accounts make content and personalized content.

    The UK company is worth about $10b, it's estimated.

  • Jack Ma's companies lost like $800b in a year, reportedly

  • US economy start of October

    Wages going higher, lots of jobs offered (11m openings), savings still high, retail sales very strong, resurgence (V-shaped) in manufacturing which is barely below pre-pandemic.

    General mills expects 7-8% inflation for fiscal 2022.

    Investor confidence high. Yield curve steepening.
    Preparing for tapering and rate increases.

    Labor and supply chain issues have both worsened. No one knows when supply chain issues will be fixed. But they will eventually (after 2022?) be fixed, although wages are 70% of company costs, so it might be different there. Wages and rent.

    The economy is very strong. Profits are high and growing. Profits get recycled into capital expenditure and hiring. The Fed is still acomodative.
    It's considered likely the US will get infrastructure.

    Manufacturers (like Ford) saying US needs to start making chips and minerals like cobalt locally. A local supply chain that's circular.

    Consumer confidence is lowest since Feb.

    Real yields are rising, which is typically a sign of real growth.
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 24, 2021
  • China told local governments to prepare for fallout from Evergrande

    They're tasked with things like preparing to take over and continue building projects, monitoring civilian protests, and paying migrant worker salaries who are working on Evergrande projects.
  • Way more $ going to investing into startups recently

    Usually in a recession businesses are shut down, and don't open.

    Startups have tons of money now, hundreds of millions or billions, and this can be contrasted to startups in previous decades which had a million or a few million. Well capitalized, competing warchests of cash.
    Thousands of companies, in competition with each other, who are in no rush to turn profitable. They can try 5 or 6 things before they need to have a success.
  • Retail sales, which are 30% of GDP, down

    Economic optimism in a recent survey went down 14% in a month (considered significant for a month over month).

    Retail sales in July were 17% above Feb 2020. Growing 3x their normal rate, because govt spending all this money, and now that is over.

    The consumer is 70% of GDP.

  • Fed whispered the word 'taper' this week.

    Investing talkers seem to be wanting a taper already. Just throwing money at people.
  • Bonds are being sold just on stability

    No longer stability and growth. No longer a source of income.

    People are kind of scared.

    - Jenny Harrington
  • "The next recession will be caused by the stock market"

    "That happened in 2000. There was nothing else. It was the stock market."

    "The economy is no longer big enough to offset whatever the Fed is doing and whatever the stock market is doing."

    - Josh Brown on The Compound, Sept 24 2021

  • Rayban changes leading design into 'waycreepers'?

    It's been reported Rayban has licensed or partnered or something with fb to put camera's in their most iconic line.

    So now are we going to be looking for this design to spot people creeping on public locations?

    The last time a large glasses-camera attempt was made was a few years ago. It was Google Glass. What ended it was when a wearer (you might imagine that people interested in buying these products correlate somewhat with people who don't respect the public privacy of others) was punched for wearing them somewhere. Whether for the pr or whatever that might follow this, the project was turned down or off. Will we see the same thing here, to end the current movement towards spying on all public life?

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 20, 2021
  • Evergrande crisis causes global markets to drop a bit

    China's second largest property developer (and world's most indebted one, with $300b in liabilities after years of borrowing for funding of rapid growth amid recent real estate frenzy). Seems the company is insolvent. But some analysits say it might be 'too big to fail' because a failure would undermine the CCP's stability.

    Evergrande's been trying to sell properties for 25% off to deleverage. So much property on the market to sell off quickly is maybe not great for the Chinese property market. There are other companies in the same position as Evergrande as well.

    CCP signaling there won't be a bailout, but as mentioned above this might not be possible because the company accounts for something like 2-3% of China's GDP. Because the majority of financial institutions involved are state-owned, China might use these to do a bailout without appearing to do so directly. However, the CCP seems to want to change the problem they have in their housing market: for years, people have bought homes as investments, and just left them empty, not even renting them out, to keep their quality for some future resell at at a profit, because values have gone up so much in recent years and were expected to continue. This means that the economy gets no real value from the production of these homes. So the CCP wants to move away from unproductive growth to real growth. You might see here why the CCP might be willing to let Evergrande fail so that the traditional moral hazard in the market is reduced. However, real growth alone wouldn't be enough to generate the economic activity for China to hit its GDP growth targets. The way China hits its targets is malinvestment by the real estate sector and local governments building unnecessary infrastructure. The government does more malinvestment when the economy slows down and reduces it at other times. It fills the gap.

    (Malinvestment refers to ... from the 90s until mid-2000s, Chinese debt funded necessary and productive investment, which means the return on these investments grew faster than the debt did. The investments boosted the economy more than the cost of the debt. After the mid-2000s, debt began to rise faster than GDP, ie the cost of the debt was greater than the returns on investing it.)

    People referring to the Lehman collapse (filed for bankruptcy Sept 2008), but China has the advantage of having seen America go through that and how the AIG bailout was unfair to the taxpayer.

    Evergrande also is different in that it has wealth management unit, so depositors are earning interest, but now Evergrande is trying to offer them property (not good property, but things like parking spaces in ghost cities, since all the good stuff they had which could be sold has been sold or pledged against specific debts) if they want.

    In China, some protests on the streets. Some are by employees who haven't been paid.

    Investing experts have said that although this is just now a big global story moving markets, it's been known for a long time. Commodities were ahead, with iron ore halving since July, for example. China's share of commodities consumption globally is somewhere between 40 and 70% of global supply (20% of global supply just to Chinese real estate).

    $310b in obligations globally owed by Evergrande. They have a crucial payment on their offshore bonds in a few days, and people think they might miss it. This debt is held in large amounts by Ashmore Group, BlackRock, UBS, and HSBC, among others, lots in bonds held in vehicles that focus on riskier EM or Asian credits.

    A risk is that if all these property owners cut their prices, it will affect also mortgages, and could cause a chain reaction. Late payments of this size could trigger cross-defaults.

    Evergrande also has a business model where it relies on customers paying for properties before construction (which this finances). Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have put down downpayments for things that possibly might not now be built.

    Real estate is responsible for 30% of China's economic output.

    Real estate investment is a large part of investment for Chinese people, due to the expectation values will continue to rise as dramatically as they have done in the past decades. It's been reported that houses costs about 45x average annual income, which is very high globally. Part of the interest in investing in property is due to lack of options in that country, where there tend to be significant levels of scams, and Chinese businesses haven't panned out as great places to invest either. There's also a social pressure to own a house in China. Chinese men reportedly can't get find a wife without having a house.

    If Evergrande isn't bailed out and Chinese are caused by their government to rethink property values, it would change the values of loans on the books currently, since they were all (last 30 years of loans) based on assumptions about how the government support them rather than on the borrowers ability to pay back.

    Most of Evergrande's debt is held in China which people think can absorb the loss, and the overseas debt is trading currently at about 30c on the dollar (US denominated debt at around 80c). Some think the CCP might cause Evergrande to pay back Chinese lenders first (there will just be more political will to pay the small wealth management investors in China than foreign lenders, regardless of seniority and capital structure), but that would cause an interesting situation where Chinese companies seeking outside investors going forward might not have as easy a time.

    S&P was down like 1.5% the day the news hit.

    Another issue is that while the Chinese have allowed the CCP to rule authoritarianly, they may be less likely to support the CCP if the country is no longer growing and making people all more wealthy. Combined with slowing population growth. Also, while Chinese exports continue to increase, this is due not to genuine productive potential, but rather to the price growth of commodities, it has been said.

  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 11, 2021
  • EU fined WhatsApp (FB) $270m for privacy violations

    Someone commented that until it's over a billion or double-digit billions FB will view these fines as costs of doing business, and that the EU is using the company as an ATM.

    #BigTech #EU #Law
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 30, 2021
  • Luxury brand loss, China

    45% of luxury spending is by the Chinese consumer, ahead of the US.

    More purchases are within China than before and this trend is expected to continue (rather than go abroad to buy them cheaper).

    The government may be making it sort of culturally taboo to flaunt wealth with luxury purchases. China is cracking down on wealthy spenders.

    4 big luxury stocks, LVMH, Richemont, Kering and Hermes, have lost $85b together in last 2 weeks. Arnot was the world's richest man at the beginning of this month, but his $200b went down $22b and he's now 3rd.

  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 19, 2021
  • Chip shortage touches Toyota

    Inventory reaching limits (it is suspected the reason), Toyota is cutting N America production from 150k to 90k.
  • 60% of Americans paid no federal income tax last year (2020)

    107m households paid none. So around 20m households paid, ti looks like. For reference to a normal year, in 2019 76m households didn't pay any -- it's been around this number for the last decade.

    Tax credits and higher unemployment during the pandemic is the reason. An example is a household that almost reached the income rate where they would pay taxes, but then received a few stimulus payments, which put them into the category of nonpayers.

    Fed income taxes don't include payroll taxes. 80% of households paid at least payroll taxes in 2020.

    The number is expected to go down this year just a few percent (to 57%) and then return to around 40% in 2022, as long as the economy recovers. However, Congress made some changes for 2021 which will have less households paying, such as an increased child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and child and dependent care tax credit (affects millions of families).

    The country is undecided how to deal with tax revenue. In 2020 80% of fed income taxes were paid by the top 20% of earners (30% of fed income taxes were paid by the top 1%, which is up from 25% in 2019). Democrats want high earners to pay more, while Republicans say they already pay quite a bit.

    CNBC: 61% of Americans paid no federal income taxes in 2020, Tax Policy Center says   
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 12, 2021
  • China economics, summer 2021

    We have got more info from the CCP on which sectors they really want to promote, as opposed to those whose recent growth has been seen to cause them problems (as usual for closed, authoritarian governments, this includes industries that control information).

    EV, clean energy, and industrial upgrading have policy tailwinds, according to JPM's Julia Wang.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 31, 2021
  • Breakfast economics

    In the past year, bacon went up 10%, fruit 6%, and just 0.2 and 0.3 for cereal and for coffee (but sugar is up over 3% because its ocean-freight transported). Consumer price index went up 4.2% yoy in April.

    Corn is up 50%, which is 96% of what farmed animals eat in the US, which exports to the world. China is importing a ton to try to build up its hog supply again, while other countries like Brazil and Argentina have recently had drought (which also narrows rivers and reduces transport ability). Also, 10% of US gas is ethanol. Shipping costs are up, too, because of the labor issue. As you see, a lot of the costs in these products involve labor costs.

    Restaurant meals are up 4% in cost. Takeout trays are yet another part of this--prices went up after a Texas storm took out a factory.

    Some economists talk about 'wage price spirals,' where both wages and prices go up in a relationship. It was an issue in the 70s. The Fed says inflation is transitory.

    This was an idea from Wall Street Journal.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 22, 2021
  • Economic concerns raised by former Wells Fargo CEO

    ... Kevin Kovacevich: Inflation (2-3% increase in salary for average worker, and 4-5% inflation on just the basics like food, gas, consumer goods); trillion dollar deficits already and trillion more if Biden admin gets budget passed.

    Markets at all time high. Kovacevich's idea is that the market is priced alright based on where rates are now, but once that changes in the coming year or years the market will look differently.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 19, 2021
  • Tigray war may cost $2.5b according to estimates

    TPLF has conquered most of the north and south of Tigray.

    Ethiopia is one of Africa's largest aid recipients. The US alone contributed a billion in 2020, and therefore has some leverage. Investing in Ethiopia right now comes with significant reputational risks, making companies more reluctant to submit massive investment bids.

    Ethiopia is finishing their dam and stressing tensions with Egypt and Sudan. The dam fits in with Abiy's plan to lift Ethiopians into a higher economic class. Sudan might benefit from a huge energy production facility on it's border for it's own energy needs.

    Getting ahead of things, but if Egypt was to take up a campaign against Ethiopia, due to the huge distance, it would have to use Sudan.

  • OPEC reached a deal to increase 400k barrels per day to production

    Oil was down about 2.5% (although the Dow was down 2% on inflation, stagflation, and Delta variant concerns) and oil company stocks more than that. Natural gas was up less than a percent.

    However, projections have it that demand will want 1m or more barrels more per day next year, assuming no more lockdowns.

    US producers could surge new production and crash the market. But no one wants to invest in new exploration. Most companies are hedged at a $50 range.

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 09, 2021
  • Alibaba wants to compete with Amazon in shipping

    Arguably, this is the one real strength Amazon currently has, as it's catalog seems less and less impressive.

    Alibaba already has good warehousing and distribution, as shown in how it handles China's 'Singles' Day.'

    Ali also has a payment company and other businesses that help speed up shipping.

    For delivery, Ali depends on partnerships with airlines and ground-based delivery co's (DHL).

    Ali wants to expand the products it offers to its 190 countries and charge $3 per year for fast (like 2-day) shipping. Amazon currently charges between $13 and $130 per year, depending on location (India, UK).

    Ali's product prices are comparatively cheaper than Amazon, because Ali has direct access to the Chinese producers.

    Ali sells a lot of alleged counterfeits, though, which hurts the real companies. Amazon also has faced these criticisms, but less so.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 29, 2021
  • Americans overwhelmingly don't want to go back to their jobs this year

    A recent poll found almost 100% of people don't want to return to the office after being in their homes over the past year. They prefer the life of spending more time with friends and family. They're considering finding a new job.

    There are also more jobs available then ever. 9.3m jobs in April.

    People are asking whether the stimulus so far or the stimulus expected in the future have contributed to people not wanting to get jobs, but data doesn't seem convincing one way or another.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 27, 2021
  • China industrial profits slowing, reportedly

    Their numbers are still growing, but according to analysts the growth is slowing, comparing the same month in different years. China's economy is still projected to grow 8% in 2021: strong growth.

    Also, small company profits are growing less than those of bigger companies.

    Rising commodity prices are squeezing profits for downstream companies, accounting for some of the slowdown in profits.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 16, 2021
  • Tech subsidies ending, but damage might already be done

    For years, maybe since around 2012 people were not paying the 'true price' for tech commodities, but now that the tech subsidies are ending, they might have already killed all their competition, leaving consumers with higher prices and less selection.

    The most commonly cited example is Uber. Years ago, you could get an Uber for less than a yellow cab. Real businesses can't compete with artificially low prices, so many of the taxis have gone out of business, and now there's just Uber and only a few cabs in some areas, but at Uber prices double or triple what they were when Uber was 'competing' with its competitors.

  • Nord Stream 2 almost finished, despite US sanctions along the way

    The U.S. will have a hard time competing with Russian gas anyway, in serving Europe. Russian gas is cheaper and is said to be greener.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 14, 2021
  • Lordstown Motors CEO and CFO have resigned

    ... amid shortselling investigation, but having more to do perhaps with the company saying they had 'substantial doubt' they could continue next year. Shares were down 10%.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 13, 2021
  • Turkey has approved development of a new canal beside the Bosporus

    The Bosporus is Turkey's, but due to the 1936 Montreux Convention it can't allow non-Black Sea State navy ships to pass through, and it can't charge for the passage of civilian vessels during peacetime. The new Istanbul Canal would not have such restrictions.

    It is expected to be around 45km long, 21m deep, and 360-275m wide (top and bottom) and cost $15b. It will sit around 30km west of the Bosporus Straight, and will be spanned by 6 bridges, all high enough to clear the largest ships (which will cost another $1.4b).

    Currently, ships have to wait around 14 hours to enter the Black Sea due to congestion of the Bosporus. Estimates have it that revenue from the canal could amount to $8b per year eventually, if vessels decide to pay, which it is uncertain they will. Turkey will also be able to send dangerous cargo on a route further away from the city center.

    Istanbul citizens polled in 2020 opposed the project (80% opposed) due to environmental and other effects they will be faced with. It's also opposed by Russia which sees the potential ability of US and NATO warships to enter the Black Sea as a national security threat. 104 former Turkish naval officers also publicly opposed the project (the next day 10 were arrested).

  • Between 2019 and 2020, toy sales were up 16%, and figures appear to be up even more for the current year.

    Hasbro, as the biggest maker of board games, stood out because they saw a lift to their entire business, as did the makers of Lego.
  • Lots of talk about billionaires not paying taxes

    No one knows how the journalists at ProPublica got hold of tax records for several years for some of the richest Americans.

    Bezos, Musk, Soros, Buffet, etc., paid what appear to be small dollar figures in income tax for certain years (some years $0, some years around $70k were the most quoted figures, dating back to the year 2011). This is because they don't generally make income (particularly when you're talking about each year). Instead, they hold assets. Their largest asset is generally company stock, which is only taxed if it is sold (capital gains). Some years, they need to raise cash and so they take loans against their assets. This is not taxable.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 12, 2021
  • El Salvador adopts Bitcoin

    The country doesn't have their own currency and uses USD. This means they can't print money, and that can be an issue when you're a net importer like El Salvador is (they could run out of dollars without the ability to print).

    They also have high unemployment, and 70% of the population doesn't have a bank account, and many Salvadoreans receive money from relatives working in more prosperous countries (about 25% of Salvadoreans live outside the country, and the money they send accounts for 20% of El Salvador's GDP). Money transfers are always a challenge with conventional institutions, and can involve high fees for each transfer (sometimes as high as 10%, which is of course good for banks).

    The bill passed Congress (62 out of 84 votes) to make El Salvador first country to accept crypto as an official method of payment ('unrestricted legal tender') beside the USD.

  • May, 2021
  • May 20, 2021
  • Bitcoin drops 30%

    Basically all crypto dropped significantly, after months of increased speculative buying.

    Other factors in the drop: further talk of regulation, ESG (energy use) concerns regarding mining, and China cracking down on crypto.

    In somewhat related crypto news, Bitmix reportedly ceased operations, not long after the tentative conclusion of the DarkSide pipeline hack. Bitmix was a crypto money laundering service used by ransomware hackers.

    Musk tweeted a "diamond hands" image, signifying he wasn't selling.

    About a month later, Musk tweeted a more positive comment on energy concerns with crypto mining, causing Bitcoin to rise from around $35k to around 40k.

  • May, 2021
  • May 08, 2021
  • Corn, soy, wheat prices up

    The reasons include China buying more because the country is rebuilding its hog herd after major losses in 2019 and last winter (African Swine Fever); draught in Brazil and ongoing dry conditions in the U.S (two major suppliers); and traders trying to hedge inflationary risks.

    The robust Chinese demand is expected to continue for 2-4 years. Additionally, rising incomes in developing countries could keep food prices moving upward.

    There isn't much alternative (such as rice and wheat) to feeding livestock good grains (corn and soy beans) when a livestock economy is focused on maximizing gains and quality, as China's is.

    Offsetting factors to inflation in food prices have started to be seen in more elastic demand factors, such as Chinese animal protein demand, where indications are consumers are starting to pull back due to prices. Also, the supply side, if robust enough, could put downward pressure on prices. We'll see how robust U.S. production turns out to be this year in the June Acerage Report, as the U.S. is still planting this years crops.

    Rice prices aren't up in the same way because stocks have been built up over the past few years.

    USDA Acreage Reports

Show More

Show Less