25 March 2019 FT — Articles to Read

25 March 2019


Question: According to MSN: Money, what is the average student debt?


Fed shift underpins flight to safety and raises prospects for Hong Kong dollar – Pg. 8

–          Dovish tones from central banks, amid fading prospects for economic growth, are nudging investors towards the safety of government bonds

–          The market is now going a step further, seeing a rate cut in 2019 as increasingly likely

–          …dramatic contraction in German manufacturing and a slump in the French manufacturing and service sectors added to investors’ nerves

–          There has been a decline in the number of primary dealers in 15 EU countries over the past three years, …While some say low government debt issuance is the core of the problem, depriving banks of opportunities to make money by trading them, another culprit may be investors’ growing tendency to hold on to their bonds

–          The Hong Kong Monetary Authority found itself battling investors again this week as the Hong Kong dollar pushed towards the weak end of the band it is allowed to trade against the US dollar

–          The narrow banks of HK$7.75 to KH$7.85 to the US dollar has been protected without fail since 2005 but often at a high cost to the HKMA, which has spent nearly $1.5bn so far in March in defending it

–          …primary culprit [depreciation of Hong Kong dollar] is probably the usual suspect: spreads between the Hong Kong interbank offered rate and Libor, which sets the cost of the US dollar.  A differential between those two rates, in which Hibor lags behind Libor, gives currency traders a chance to sell Hong Kong dollars for higher yielding US dollars


US economy – Pg. 15

–          Just under half of Iowa’s meatpacking jobs were held by immigrants in 2018, ….

–          The labour squeeze will worsen at the US poultry industry adds seven plants nationally in the next two years…

–          To sell more $4.99 rotisserie chickens, the retailer Costco Wholesale is hiring 800 workers to dispatch 2m birds a week at a new complex west of Iowa in Nebraska…

–          American mean consumption will average 220.8lb per person in 2019, nearing a peak reached 15 years ago

–          Meat is in a class of its own for lack of career appeal

–          Production employees must “constantly reach”, “constantly bend” and “constantly stand on concrete” for up to 12 hours a day…

–          The working week is often six days long…

–          Employers are thus scraping the bottom of the labour pool

–          ….manual labour remains crucial

–          Starting pay for production work is about $16/hour, better than Iowa’s minimum wage of $7.25

–          Meatpacking, requiring no English language skills and based in far-flung towns, is an option for recent immigrants who are mobile, …

–          Yet the foreign labour supply is not increasing

–          The state department issued 534,000 immigrant visas to people outside the US in fiscal year 2018, down from a recent peak of 618,000, and fewer still have been issued in 2019

–          The 10.7m illegal immigrants in the US in 2016 was the lowest figure in more than a decade, …


Philanthropy must shift its focus to the global education crisis – Pg. 17

–          Educational inequity is a global crisis.  60% of primary children in low and middle-income countries leave school unable to read and write

–          There’s no equivalent in education to one-shot vaccines where the effects can be measured quickly

–          Rather, progress requires changing behavior over time

–          First, invest in outputs such as research, data and tools that can be used in multiple countries.  Then, invest in efforts to strengthen local leaders’ ability to understand and implement innovation and translate this knowledge into practice.  Lastly, build networks that let individuals and organizations learn from each other and address problems together


Answer: $32,731