Shane's Feed
Nov 13, 2013
via Counterparties

Lifeline guarantee

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Swiss voters will soon take up the question of whether the country’s citizens should have a guaranteed basic income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per year, after a grassroots campaign came up with the 100,000 signatures required to hold a nationwide referendum. Annie Lowrey reports that this idea — giving every living adult a check every month regardless of their employment situation — is gaining popularity, even in the United States. “Certain wonks on the libertarian right and liberal left have come to a strange convergence around the idea,” she writes.

Nov 13, 2013
via Data Dive

Europe’s battle against deflation, the market impact

Last week, Counterparties rounded-up the growing fears of deflation in Europe, as the European Central Bank’s surprise rate cut to stave off that threat.  Today, Reuters has more:

The threat of deflation in the euro zone could reverse a major investment trend of 2013, drawing funds out of stocks and into government bonds and cash.

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
via Counterparties

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
via Counterparties

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
via Counterparties

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.