1 June 2019 FT — Articles to Read

1 June 2019


Question: according to MSN: News, what is the average length of stay in jail?


Slowdown fears rise on Trump threat to hit Mexico with tariffs – Pg. 1

–          The president’s decision to subject Mexican imports to a 5% levy on June 10, with potential increases to follow, threatened to sap economic momentum and corporate confidence in the US and worldwide, coming on top of worsening trade relations between the US and China

–          Global stock markets slid on the news, compounding the biggest pullback since the market volatility of last year that was seen them shed more than 6% in May

–          The Mexican peso dropped as much as 3.3% as recession fears rose in a country that sends 80% of its exports to its northern neighbor.  As investors sought safety in government bonds, Germany’s benchmark 10-year Bund yield fell as much as 2.6bps to minus 0.020% – its lowest level since German reunification in 1990,…

–          In a further sign of the trade tensions, China announced it would establish a list of foreign companies that harm the “legitimate rights and interests” of Chinese groups

–          The US economy grew at a 3.1% annualized pace in the first quarter, but was set to slow in the second quarter


Crowding prompts anger over Everest management – Pg. 2

–          While UK-based Jagged Globe charges upwards of 45,490 (sterling) per person for an Everest expedition, new, mainly Nepalese groups have undercut the market in the past five years, charging as little as $25,000 to take dozens to the top at a time

–          Some operators have clients who only learn how to use their equipment at the foot of the mountain

–          Currently, almost anyone can climb Everest.  A permit costs $11,000, there is no limit on how many are issued and no mountaineering experience is required

–          (Prof Note: I proudly summited Kilimanjaro.  I believe the price, 10 years in the past, was $5,000.  The peak is about 10,000 feet below Everest and Kilimanjaro’s peak is a hair under 20,000 feet.  Personally, I have felt the altitude at Lake Titicaca (12,500 feet) and, while I was slothy, navigated Cuzco and Machu Picchu without much difficulty.  If you are healthy, I highly recommend Kilimanjaro, if for nothing else, to experience the limits of one’s own body.  I remember resting at Stella Point which is 600’ from Uhuru peak (summit of Kilimanjaro).  I sat down to rest.  When it was time to get up I realized I could not get up.  The Porter asked if I wanted to forgo Uhuru Peak (the summit).  No way I was not making it to the summit.  With ZERO loss of pride, I started to crawl.  The porter helped me up and I realized I could only raise my foot, i.e. could not create forward motion.  For the next 600’ I would raise one foot and the porter pushed me forward upon it creating forward motion.  I raised the other foot and we continued this way for 600’, finally making the summit.  It is absolutely a life experience worth having.  For me, less so for the accomplishment of the summit (though that is wonderfully prideful) but more so to understand human limits.)


Fed nominee hits at bank’s Soviet-style market power –Pg. 4

–          Judy Shelton….has attacked the central bank for wielding undemocratic, Soviet-style powers over markets and suggested it should not even be in the business of setting interest rates

–          Ms Shelton did postdoctoral research on the Soviet economy at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution

–          …possible nomination suggests that Mr Trump is in no mood for a less controversial pick for the US central bank, and wants a disruptive candidate to argue for unorthodox policies within the Fed

–          She said the Fed should continue to reduce its balance sheet below the $3.5tn target set by Jay Powell, …

–          She also said the Fed had become so influential that it unnaturally drove investment decisions and affected financial markets

–          Ms Shelton has long been sympathetic to the gold standard, which the US abandoned in the 1970s in favour of a flexible exchange rate for the dollar

–          Her bit dream is a new Bretton Woods-style conference….to reset the international monetary system, replacing the current regime, mostly based on floating currencies


Brazil and Mexico contract as low commodity prices take toll – Pg. 4

–          Latin America’s two biggest economies contracted in the first quarter of 2019, setting the stage for a gloomy year in a region trying to recover from low commodity prices and weak productivity

–          Brazil’s GDP fell 0.2% in the first three months….

–          In Mexico, the region’s second-biggest economy, a weak service sector dragged growth down, also by 0.2%

–          …Venezuela falling deeper into one of the biggest slumps in Latin American history as US sanctions and a collapse in oil production bite, ….

–          Brazil’s contraction raised fears that Latin America’s biggest economy could return to recession less than three years after emerging from a deep downturn


US anti-abortion laws test CEOs’ activist reputation – Pg. 12

–          Georgia’s Republican governor on May 7 signed into law a ban on abortions after a doctor can detect a foetal heartbeat, which can be about six weeks into a pregnancy.  Critics have argued that women are often unaware they are pregnant at that stage.  The law would take effect in 2020 if it survives court challenges

–          (Prof Note: I have attempted to have two discussions with two highly intellectual groups/people on this subject.  The result of both attempts was that this is a highly emotionally charged issue and that it was safer that I simply have no opinion.  I am saddened by this.  The question I have posed to both sets (note: I posed a question; I did NOT take a position) is, “If the woman has the right to abort, why does the man not have the right to financially “abort” his financial responsibility in cases of consensual intimacy?  Would this not create a truer equality for both sexes on this issue?”  I want to be clear, I have NOT stated a position, I know it is best for me not to have one (and safer), but I really would like to better understand the issue my question raises.  Again, stated with complete fear and do not wish any reprisals, I am NOT stating any personal position, but am stating an intellectual curiousity.)


Investors take flight from riskier US corporate debt as trade war fears grow – Pg. 15

–          The average yield premium, or spread, above Treasuries on high-yield bonds has soared 68bps to 4.5% in May, reflecting rising perceptions of risk.  The US junk bond market is on course for its first month of negative returns this year


Answer: 25 days