Shane's Feed
Nov 11, 2013
via Counterparties

Growing pains

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At the IMF’s research conference last week, three Fed economists examined America’s economic wounds. A paper, by Dave Reifschneider, William Wascher, and David Wilcox, studied whether the economy has been permanently damaged by the effects of the financial crisis. Economists call it “hysteresis”, a concept coined in 1986 by Larry Summers and Oliver Blanchard, in a seminal work on the European labor market.

Nov 11, 2013
via Data Dive

Super typhoon Haiyan in charts, part 2

Reuters reports on the destruction in the Philippines after super typhoon Haiyan hit over the weekend:

Rescue workers struggled to reach ravaged towns and villages in the central Philippines on Monday as they tried to deliver aid to survivors of a powerful typhoon that killed an estimated 10,000 people and displaced more than 600,000.

Nov 8, 2013
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Sugar high

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Mexico recently overtook the United States as the world’s most obese nation, with 70% of its population classified overweight and 32.8% classified obese. Mexicans also drink more Coca-Cola per capita than any other country in the world, according to Quartz. One of the Mexican government’s solutions is an 8% tax on junk food that passed this week — with a debate still going on about an additional 8% tax on “sugary soda”.

Nov 6, 2013
via Data Dive

Planned layoffs jump in October

The number of planned layoffs in the US was up 13.5% in October from the previous month, Reuters writes. However, there is some good news:

For the first time in five months, the October figure was lower than the year-ago tally, which came in at 47,724. For 2013 so far, employers have announced 433,114 cuts, close to the 433,725 seen in the first ten months of last year.

Nov 4, 2013
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Aging bull

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The S&P 500 is up 23% since the beginning of the year in what Bloomberg calls “the broadest equity rally on record”. Are we in a bubble?

Nov 1, 2013
via Data Dive

Bubbles and the global housing market

“Fast-rising property markets are haunting the global economy again, five years after the U.S. subprime mortgage bubble burst and triggered the worst financial crisis since the 1930s,” Reuters reports. Still, ”the warning signals are flashing amber, not red, and several countries have acted to cool overheating markets,” Alan Wheatley and Tim Reid report.

The US housing market has been held back by tight mortgage standards, an unemployment rate of 7.2% and stagnant wages. In Canada, however, home price-to-income ratios are at the highest levels in 10 years, and many European countries have higher than average price-to-income ratios.

Oct 31, 2013
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Affordable Care Ack

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The rollout of healthcare.gov has been a disaster. But what about the rest of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? There are a couple of sticking points, many of them related to the way in which the individual insurance market has been overhauled.

Oct 30, 2013
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America’s own sovereign debt crisis

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A Puerto Rican bond crisis is approaching. The territory (suzerainty, actually) is “one of the municipal bond market’s most prolific debt issuers, with around $70 billion in debt outstanding” according to the WSJ, and its bonds are just barely holding on to investment grade ratings. In September, the territory drastically cut down on its borrowing through the end of 2013 after yields on its outstanding bonds rose higher than Greece’s. Its 5-year CDS mid-spread is over 700 basis points, and S&P gives it a 78% probability of defaulting. Simone Foxman points out that yields on its municipal bonds have doubled in the past year.

Oct 30, 2013
via Data Dive

The problem with moving away from coal power

On Tuesday, the US government announced it would stop investing coal power plants around the world in an effort to combat climate change. Here are the details from Reuters:

The U.S. Treasury said it would only support funding for coal plants in the world’s poorest countries if they have no other efficient or economical alternative for their energy needs.

Oct 29, 2013
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Apple’s billions

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Apple’s earnings came out yesterday, and the headline figures featured higher sales and lower margins, with reactions ranging from “meh” to generally pleased.