A Tale of Two Bros and Two Boroughs


October 12, 2016
This article picks up on a fascinating Bloomberg feature about two orthodox Jewish kids from Brooklyn who became rich and debauched by ruthlessly ripping off everyone they could find – especially their own kith and kin. What makes mainstream yeshiva boys turn into cruel monsters – and why do big Wall Street firms want to do the same disgusting things, but on a much bigger scale?

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September 19, 2016

Bottom line: The current account surplus slipped for the fourth consecutive quarter — according to revised data using new methodology. However, at $2.66bn it is still comfortably large, with the surplus on trade in services still growing steadily. The deficit on trade in goods jumped by one-third from the first to the second quarter, but the latest trade data make clear that this deterioration is reversing in the third quarter.

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Trade data for August and for January-August 2016

September 13, 2016

Bottom line: The tentative signs of improvement in the trade deficit, apparent in the previous month or two, continued to develop in August. These are a) a sharp slowdown in the rate of increase in imports, with some groups now contracting; b) a more mixed picture in exports, with some groups expanding while others are contracting more slowly. This is positive as far as it goes — but it doesn’t go very far…

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Budget data for August and for January-August 2016

September 11, 2016

Bottom lines:
FISCAL POLICY: Clouds have appeared in what has, since mid-2015, been a clear blue sky. Although the January-August data show that the budget performance is still strong and fiscal policy is very comfortable, the figures for August — at least on the revenue side — indicate that a change for the worse seems to be underway. One month’s data is not sufficient to draw firm conclusions, but an orange light has gone on — for the first time in quite a while.

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