Brazil

US Trade Deficit In 2016 Was The Biggest In Four Years

While the good news is that for December the US trade deficit narrowed modestly to $44.3 billion, better than expected, the bad news is that for all of 2016, the goods and services deficit was $502.3 billion, up $1.9 billion from $500.4 billion in 2015, and the biggest deficit going back to 2012.

India Is Not The Next China

"Intellectuals should engage in some self-reflection on why they have been consistently wrong about India... There is no point in holding out much hope for India. Rather, it is ever easier to conclude that it is on the way to becoming the next banana republic, similar to neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar or Nepal."

As Brazil Unemployment Hits Record High, Rio's Murder Rate Soars

The homicide rate in Rio de Janeiro climbed by 20% in 2016 from the previous year, as violence soared in the Brazilian metropolis amid rising unemployment and sharp cuts in public security budgets. Worse even than Chicago, 5,033 people were murdered in Rio, during the year, up from 4,200 in 2015 and unfortunately it is set to get even worse.

A Time For Caution

"We have argued the current monetary regime is in its evanescence, and that the Fed is trying to raise rates to attract global wealth to dollars and dollar-denominated assets as global leverage, demand and output growth declines. If we are right, then we should not expect other economies to sit by idly... which keep us cautious on equities, bullish on Treasuries and gold, and negative on credit:"

Frontrunning: January 30

  • Trump aides call travel ban success despite broad criticism (Reuters)
  • Trump’s Immigration Ban Promises Constitutional Showdown (BBG)
  • Trump Team Kept Plan for Travel Ban Quiet (WSJ)
  • Trump Era May Mean Fireworks on Fed Days (BBG)
  • Bannon Seizes a Security Role From Generals (NYT)
  • Don't let Trump embarrass our queen, say a million Britons (Reuters)

Frontrunning: January 27

  • Mexico Dispute Could Overshadow May’s Free-Trade Message (BBG)
  • NATO, Russia and trade top the agenda for Trump talks with Britain's May (Reuters)
  • Trump's plan for import tax worsens crisis with Mexico (Reuters)
  • Nafta’s U.S. Impact is Modest (WSJ)
  • Republicans Are Making Little Progress on Their Obamacare Repeal Strategy (BBG)

Obama Bequeaths A More Dangerous World

The world that President Obama bequeaths to President Trump may not have all the same dangers that Bush left to Obama but the post-Obama world has hazards that Obama did more to create than to resolve - and some of the new risks may be even scarier.

"Exceptional" USA Only 18th In World For Transparency

After coming out of a 2016 Presidential election cycle in which one candidate was the subject of multiple federal investigations related to illegal pay-to-play activities as well as the illegal destruction of federal records subject to a Congressional subpoena, perhaps it shouldn't be so shocking that the United States ranks 18th on Transparency International's 2016 "Corruption Perceptions Index."

Feds Seize $20 Million In Ponzi Scheme Cash Hidden In A Box Spring

The FBI has seized $20 million dollars of cash, literally stuffed in a mattress in Westborough, Massachusetts, linked to the infamous TelexFree pyramid scheme that reportedly raised over $1 billion from gullible participants between January 2012 and March 2014.