Super Cars – Our Best Reads of the Week
Is something rotten in the state of markets? This week, we take a deep dive into what’s wrong (and right) with the global economy, from the trouble brewing in Treasuries to the hope that a savings glut may rescue global growth. We visit Amazon workers seeking to unionize, meet the man whose collapsing empire could cost thousands of jobs and head to the pub to hear the woes of Britain’s most polarizing bar chain.
Check out the price of a beachfront mansion by Mar-a-Lago, learn why supercars are such a questionable investment and see why what was once ranked as the world’s freest economy no longer makes the list. We show how vaccine success ripples through drug supply chains, meet refugees seeking a better life in America and end with surprisingly simple recipes for shortbread and buttered crab. Enjoy! —Adrian Kennedy
In Bessemer, Alabama, 5,800 Amazon workers are voting on whether to unionize in what’s widely considered a once-in-a-generation opportunity to breach the defenses of the world’s largest online retailer. A union could help protect workers, but some are unconvinced: The $15-per-hour starting wage already goes a long way in a town where a fixer-upper house costs less than a new car.
Lex Greensill founded his financial empire a decade ago, enjoying frenzied growth, backers like SoftBank and advice from ex-British leader David Cameron. Now, Greensill Capital is filing for insolvency and its German bank has been shut. We look at the rapid rise and faster fall of a firm that could trigger thousands of job losses among clients.
When the UK. locked down last March, Wetherspoons founder Tim Martin made what he termed “loose” comments to the 43,000 staff pulling pints at his pubs across the country. Already controversial for a pro-Brexit stance, the backlash fueled use of a “Neverspoons” app and criticism of his low-wage approach. Now, Britain’s most-loved and most-loathed pub chain is fighting for its life.
The $21 trillion U.S. Treasury market is meant to be the bedrock of global finance, so recent jarring moves have raised fears that it’s becoming more volatile. The events “are a stark reminder what happens when liquidity suddenly vanishes in the deepest, largest bond market,” said Ben Emons of Medley Global Advisors. You can listen to a discussion of the issue in our latest Odd Lots podcast with Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal.
Money’s tight for many of the millions who have lost jobs or loved ones in the pandemic. But better-off households in the U.S., China, UK., Japan and biggest euro-area nations have socked away an extra $2.9 trillion in savings during lockdowns. A shopping spree as economies reopen could fuel a fast-paced recovery from the pandemic recession.
A Lamborghini Countach or Ferrari F40 may attract a roll of the eyes in a traffic jam, but for their wealthy owners, they’re a real source of pride. As an investment, they’re ho-hum, with high running costs and pricey parts. If you bought a $7,000 Mercedes-Benz 300SL (pictured) in 1954 and kept it well, it would fetch roughly $1.4 million today. Believe it or not, the Dow Jones Index had better returns.
So where do people put their money? Real estate, which is why home prices are surging from Melbourne to Montreal. A Donald Trump-linked firm is selling a beachfront mansion by Mar-a-Lago for $49 million, though Toronto’s “Schitt’s Creek” mansion looks a better bargain at $15.7 million. Even rentals come with sticker shock: Check out this $2 million-a-year house on Hong Kong’s Peak.
President Joe Biden last week ditched his predecessor’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, opening the door to hundreds of people seeking asylum in America. They include Francisco Caal, who fled Guatemala with his wife, Jeannethe Trujillo, after getting death threats and a bullet in the gut. Caal says he has no money and doesn’t know what he’ll do or where he’ll go. “But we’re in the United States of America, finally, and that’s really all that matters.”
The Heritage Foundation has long been a fan of Hong Kong, which the conservative think tank ranked as the world’s freest economy for 25 years. So the city was shocked when it was dropped altogether from the list, due to China’s increasing sway. “They must have been clouded by their ideological inclination and political bias,” Financial Secretary Paul Chan complained.
The speedy development of messenger-RNA vaccines is helping the world beat Covid-19. Those drugs make their way into cells via tiny lipid spheres, which are now in short supply. BioNTech needs to buy in bulk, and that’s good news for the likes of Merck and Evonik, which produce lipids and other supplies for vaccine developers.
Magnus Nilsson shut his legendary Swedish restaurant Faviken in 2019 to focus on other projects, including a new book with recipes epitomizing a simple but satisfying style, like shortbread cookies with jam. And British chef Will Bowlby shared his buttered garlic crab secrets with Bloomberg’s Richard Vines, who made an impressive attempt at the recipe.
Super Cars – Our Best Reads of the Week
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