New Zealand banning foreign buyers, Turkey’s crisis building for years, unaffordable healthcare

I wasn’t able to get a daily off yesterday nor will I be able to a full-fledged one today. But I will post today. Just a reminder: next week, I am on holiday. And so I don’t know how much writing I will do, if any.

Let me start today more of a links post. Here’s what I saw that may be of interest.

  1. New Zealand bans foreigners from buying homes – FT:  “The law follows a 60 per cent surge in house prices during the past decade that has driven local home ownership levels down to their lowest in almost 70 years. Immigration, a shortage of affordable homes and high rents are also contributing to a housing crisis, which has placed the issue at the top of the political agenda.”
  2. Turkey’s Crisis Was Years in the Making – Matt Klein, Barron’s: “At the start of 2010, the Turkish private sector and public banks owed about $175 billion in external debt, almost all of which was denominated in either dollars or euros. As of the first quarter of this year, those sectors now owe about $375 billion in foreign-currency debt, of which $125 billion is short-term. Using exchange rates from earlier this year, those obligations were worth about 44% of Turkey’s annual economic output. At current exchange rates, those external debts are closer to 80%.”

  3. Botched CIA Communications System Helped Blow Cover of Chinese Agents – Foreign Policy:  “It was considered one of the CIA’s worst failures in decades: Over a two-year period starting in late 2010, Chinese authorities systematically dismantled the agency’s network of agents across the country, executing dozens of suspected U.S. spies. But since then, a question has loomed over the entire debacle. How were the Chinese able to roll up the network?”

  4. From May: Medical Mystery: Something Happened to U.S. Health Spending After 1980 – NYTimes: “The United States devotes a lot more of its economic resources to health care than any other nation, and yet its health care outcomes aren’t better for it. That hasn’t always been the case. America was in the realm of other countries in per-capita health spending through about 1980. Then it diverged. It’s the same story with health spending as a fraction of gross domestic product. Likewise, life expectancy. In 1980, the U.S. was right in the middle of the pack of peer nations in life expectancy at birth. But by the mid-2000s, we were at the bottom of the pack.”
  5. US bosses now earn 312 times the average worker’s wage, figures show – The Guardian: “The rise came after the bosses of America’s largest companies got an average pay rise of 17.6% in 2017, taking home an average of $18.9m in compensation while their employees’ wages stalled, rising just 0.3% over the year. The pay gap has risen dramatically, with some fluctuations, since the 1990s. In 1965 the ratio of CEO to worker pay was 20 to one; that figure had risen to 58 to one by in 1989 and peaked in 2000 when CEOs earned 344 times the wage of their average worker.”

  6. Uber narrows loss but is a long way from finding profit – Reuters: “Uber’s net loss narrowed to $891 million in its second quarter ending June 30 from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $614 million, down from $773 million a year earlier…“I remain unimpressed,” said Brent Goldfarb, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland. Improving losses by cutting “the lowest hanging fruit doesn’t mean the underlying model is profitable.””

  7. Payment seen unlikely on $1.1 billion in maturing Venezuela bonds – Reuters: “The government of President Nicolas Maduro has halted almost all foreign debt payments, leaving Venezuela, which has a debt load of around $60 billion in direct and subsidiary foreign bonds, in default.”

Happy Friday!

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