MasterFeeds: January 2014

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January 25, 2014

It's not just the locals taking advantage of the exchange controls in #Venezuela

Venezuela's Currency Controls propel those in the know to the top |

"the price of the dollar on the black market rose to 12.5 times the official rate, making common scams taking advantage of the differential between the exchange rates even more lucrative. Some business visitors here are paid expenses in US dollars at the official rate even though they obtain their local currency on the black market. One young European business consultant, who asked not to be named, was able to pay off his entire student loan after a month's work in Venezuela. Those with foreign health insurance plans that pay out in foreign currency are able to make a more than ten-fold profit on claims. For example, a visit to the doctor can turn a profit of $115. This is because an appointment costs around 800 Bolívares, which is noted on the claim form. The insurance company then converts this at the official rate and pays out $127. But, if the patient had initially converted US dollars on the black market to pay for the appointment, the actual cost of the vist would have been around $13. Similarly, with such arbitrage, an MRI scan can net a profit of around $500. A week-long stay in the hospital can be even more lucrative, bringing in more than $10,000. This has turned a few foreigners here into hypochondriacs."

Read more: Venezuela's Currency Controls propel those in the know to the top |

January 20, 2014

How can the gov't & the media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? @ZeroHedge

If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. November and December retail sales account for 20% to 40% of annual retail sales for most retailers. The number of visits to retail stores has plummeted by 50% since 2010. Please note this was during a supposed economic recovery. Also note consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. Also note credit card debt outstanding is 7% lower than its level in 2010 and 16% below its peak in 2008. Retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack and Barnes & Noble continue to report appalling sales and profit results, along with listings of store closings. Even the heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target continue to report negative comp store sales. How can the government and mainstream media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? The answer is that 99% of America has not had an economic recovery. Only Bernanke’s 1% owner class have benefited from his QE/ZIRP induced stock market levitation.

 See the whole article on zerohedge here:

The Retail Death Rattle | Zero Hedge

January 9, 2014

All Norwegians become crown millionaires, in oil saving landmark

The fund is a success in the sense that parliament has managed to put aside money for the future. There are many examples of countries that have not managed that
All Norwegians become crown millionaires, in oil saving landmark | Reuters

January 8, 2014

@JPMorgan Almost Put $1.32Bn in #Madoff's Ponzi Scheme, increases litigation reserves by $400mm

On Tuesday, JPMorgan agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement on two counts of fraud and $2.6 billion in total fines. The bank, which has already reserved $23 billion for its disparate legal exposures from the housing meltdown, trading losses and LIBOR-related investigations, said in a Tuesday filing it will boost its litigation reserves by $400 million. Since Tuesday's settlement is not tax-deductible, JPMorgan forecasts a $850 million reduction against its fourth quarter net income.

JPMorgan Almost Put $1.32 Billion in Bernie Madoff's Ponzi Scheme - TheStreet

January 2, 2014

What to look out for in 2014 at the office: After the famine @Economist

What to look out for in 2014 at the office.

After the famine

Prepare for a feast of fads

Lucy Kellaway: columnist, Financial Times

Corporate life in 2014 will be a bit like the late 1940s in Britain. Rationing was coming to an end, but even though things were much easier, no one forgot how hard they had been.
And so it will be in the offices of big companies. The managers who survived successive rounds of layoffs will feel more confident as growth takes hold and will be triumphant to have made it through. But the new spirit of optimism will not be unfettered. Budgets will be there to be bid for; the winners will be those who take the most cautious risks.
Women will never have had it so good. The smart, self-assured (but not brash) young females who joined the workforce during the past decade will fit the new corporate mood exactly. They will be promoted, not just out of a craven desire to hit diversity targets, but more as a matter of course.

"That doesn’t mean that working life in 2014 is going to be comfortable—or uncompetitive. Who is up and who is down will be decided less by Machiavellian scheming than by data. Companies will start assessing people according to how well they do on social networks. Nobody will be interested in simple statistics such as numbers of followers or moronic clicking on “like” buttons. Instead, a host of sophisticated algorithmic tools with ill-spelt names like Klout and Kred will increasingly be taken seriously. Everyone will learn to understand new maps that plot the extent of their social influence."


"The year ahead will witness another large stride towards the paperless office. The under-30s, who never understood the point of paper anyway, will convert the stragglers. Anyone who insists on turning up to meetings with hard copies will look laughably yesterday. As everyone converts to tablets and the devices go on getting smaller, communications will become briefer. Jargon will still be managers’ language of choice, of course, but each helping of it will be smaller."

"The two words that will be on everyone’s lips in 2014 will be “curator” and “intrapreneur”. Even the dullest corporate manager will claim that he has become both, on the basis that retweeting a few blogs makes him a curator of ideas and suggesting the odd idea to his boss turns him into an intrapreneur. This will be vaguely tiresome.

The phrase that we will hardly hear ever again is work-life balance. ...Complaining about a lack of balance will be tantamount to admitting that you can’t cope. Having it all is on the way back in.

Two old-fashioned things will make a big comeback in offices. The first is business clothes. ... most of his employees at Facebook and others who work in Silicon Valley will have tired of coming to work looking as if they’ve just been doing the gardening. Jackets and dresses and proper shoes will be back in.

Read the whole piece online here: Business: After the famine | The Economist
From The World In 2014 print edition

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