Posts from Wednesday Sep 11 2013

The Closer


– On the meaning of inflation, and economic history, a benchmark revisionRead more

When Latinas attack: perhaps the strongest anti-Herbalife letter yet

There have been several letters this year to the FTC urging it to investigate claims that Herbalife is a dastardly pryamid scheme, from consumer groups, congress people and others. Most have leant on the arguments made by short seller Bill Ackman, but today’s from MANA, a National Latina Organisation, has some of the strongest and most specific language we have seen.

Herbalife claims it is both a product company and a business opportunity, but clearly this is a deceptive claim since the majority of Herbalife distributors make little or no income. According to Herbalife’s own 2012 data, 88 percent of their participants received no payments from the company at all.

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Italian bank funding more fragile that it looks

The Italian government has not collapsed in a flurry of post-bunga bunga recrimination, at least not yet.

With the ECB standing ready, the debt markets are calm, and investors in the banks are feeling good about improvements in asset quality and the direction of earnings. Read more

Markets Live: Wednesday, 11th September, 2013

Live markets commentary from 

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Verizon set for biggest-ever debt sale || Apple introduced two new handsets at the same time || Barclays faces $10bn damages claim from Saudi businessman || Private Swiss bank says it is under investigation in US || Tesco to dispose of Fresh & Easy chain || Intel unveils tiny quark chips for wearable devices || Europe’s plan for FTT tax hit a wall || Ivan Glasenberg shows the ‘Glencore way’ to cut Xstrata ‘fat’ || Uralkali billionaire in talks to sell stake || China’s broadest new credit measure doubles || Markets Read more

Alphachat podcast: Diane Coyle, Tyler Cowen, and the econ books of the year

The new Alphachat, featuring Diane Coyle and Tyler Cowen on the economics books of the year, is long on diversity of ideas and vigorous conversation, short on thematic coherence.

Longtime readers will know that FT Alphaville loves this combination. Read more

Is China’s urbanisation really the answer?

Last week we ran a guest post from Yukon Huang of the Carnegie Foundation, which argued that China’s high rate of investment to GDP (which exceeds levels ever reached by obvious comparisons such as Japan and South Korea) is a consequence of China’s economic rise, not a problem in itself.

The imbalance, says Huang, merely reflects the urbanisation-industrialisation process — income rises and output grows as newly-urbanised workers earn more, but the proportion of their income spent on consumption falls for a time. Read more

Digging into dealer inventories

There’s an oft-quoted number in the debate raging over liquidity in the bond market.*

It is, depending on the week, 75-78 per cent — the amount by which dealer banks’ inventories of corporate bonds are said to have declined since their peak of $235bn in 2007, according to Federal Reserve dataRead more

Immigration and Abenomics revisited

Cardiff has already written a long’un on this and we hate to keep banging on about such a muddy topic but Credit Suisse have a handy reminder out about the immigration issue in Japan which is worth a read:

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Further reading

Elsewhere on Wednesday,

– It’s the bargaining power, stupid.

– A tale of elusive Romanian gold.

– On scoops about the earnings of private or pre-IPO companies. Read more

The 6am London Cut

Markets: Most Asian stocks rose as President Barack Obama pulled the U.S. from the brink of a military strike against Syria. Energy producers led declines. (Bloomberg) (Financial Times)

Barack Obama has asked Congress to delay a vote authorising a strike on Syria while the US and its allies pursue a diplomatic initiative with Russia at the UN to force Damascus to give up its chemical weapons. He gave no indication of how long he would wait for a diplomatic solution to be worked out, with negotiations possibly being drawn out for weeks if not months, besides the difficulties of securing and removing Syria’s chemical weapons. (Financial TimesRead more