Posts from Tuesday Jun 3 2014

The Closer


– The novel accounting of greenhouse gas regulationsRead more

Cars on the road in the US are still pretty old

Chart from the BLS, which adds:

The average age of households’ cars, vans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and trucks increased from 10.1 years in 2007 to just over 11.3 years in 2012. Chart 2 shows that the share of newer vehicles (those manufactured less than 5 years earlier than the year shown) dropped by nearly 33 percent from 2007 to 2012 while the share of vehicles 11–20 years old grew by 25 percent over the same timeframe.

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Guest post: About that UK property bubble…

From Tomas Hirst, editorial director of Pieria, commissioning editor at the World Economic Forum and sometime playwright…

Commentators have been huffing and puffing themselves breathless with warnings of an imminent market correction in Britain’s property market. Even the European Commission has got in on the act warning policymakers of the risk of “excessive house price rises and increases in mortgage indebtedness”.

What there is no disagreement over is that prices have been rising strongly. According to the Nationwide House Price Index the average UK house price sold for a record £186,512 in May pushing annual pace of price growth up to 11.1 per cent:

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BurnLounge is a pyramid scheme, while 9th Circuit leaves Herbalife debate unresolved

The US Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Monday upheld a district court ruling that BurnLounge was a pyramid scheme. A closely watched case — the first appeal court judgement on pyramid law in almost two decades — the judgement affirmed the existing case law and paves the way for the Federal Trade Commission to clarify the way it interprets that law.

However, the court didn’t need to answer one of the most contentious legal questions to resolve the case, so it didn’t. It also said that there is no basis in the case law to assume a simple definition of what constitutes a customer, a blow for those in favour of a clear cut pyramid rule that leaves room to argue the status quo is fine.

So, the ruling can be seen as positive for Herbalife (which has claimed validation), even if it is far from conclusive. What it emphasises is that proving a pyramid case remains fact specific, where legitimacy turns on the structure of a multi-level compensation plan and the motivations of those involved. The FTC investigation into Herbalife, which rumbles on with the company’s co-operation, remains the best chance of resolving whether widespread industry practices are legitimate. Read more

Markets Live: Tuesday, 3rd June, 2014

Live markets commentary from 

The (early) Lunch Wrap

Good morning New York,


Buy some things in May and go where you will

Here’s your risk adjusted returns for May, from Barclays:

Apparently the first May since 2009 that global equity markets managed a positive return too. Not that it was overly exciting, according to Barc no macro asset moved more than 1.5 standard deviations and measures of macro volatility remained near multi-year lowsRead more

Further reading

Elsewhere on Tuesday,

– Countdown to the Mechanical Hound.

– Tyrie and the IMF on austerity.

– Let the Great Wen get greater stillRead more

The 6am London Cut

Camp Alphaville, a wonk in the park. July 2nd in London. Details here.

Markets: Asia-Pacific markets rallied in response to a series of supportive data releases pointing to growth around the region. Japan’s Nikkei 225 led gains, rising 0.8 per cent to reclaim the 15,000 mark for the first time in two months. It is on pace for a third weekly gain, after climbing 2.1 per cent on Monday. Equities were aided by a 0.6 per cent weakening in the yen against the US dollar overnight, to about Y102.37, which supports Tokyo’s export stocks. The stock market was also lifted by domestic media reports speculating on the possibility of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announcing an early cut to the corporate tax rate, which at nearly 36 per cent is among the highest in the world. (FT’s Global Market OverviewRead more