What You Missed…

sunset

 

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Here’s an excerpt of this weeks’ email newsletter:

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Lower Home Sales Portend Slowing Economy in Peru

Peru’s explosive housing market is showing a decline as inventory increases. As I’ve mentioned in these pages before, the amount of debt in dollars is weighing on the marketplace, and the overbuilt market is screaming “bubble.” Furthermore, as many new units are set to come on the market in the next year, expect declines in prices as builders realize that they have to sell something in order to keep up with debt service. The construction sector has been a big employer in recent years both through construction jobs & all of the ancillary services and products related to housing. As construction slows, so will the overall economy.

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More Uncertainty for the Peruvian Economy

 

Depending on who you talk to or read these days, the Peruvian economy is robust, or slowing. While officials remain upbeat & expect economic growth to be close to 5%, they missed the mark by nearly half last year. (see Why the Peruvian Economy Matters to the World) While the continued decline of the Sol vs the USD is supportive of export growth, the fact that 50% of all debt in Peru is denominated in dollars will offset any gains from a lower national currency.

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Why the Peruvian Economy Matters to the World

Machu Picchu Peru

 

As I first began to think about this post I imagined that the line “Why the Peruvian economy matters to the world,” would be considered by some in high finance circles to be somewhat comedic relief, maybe like a night out at the improv comedy club for Keynesian economists and bankers.

It’s not to say that Peru’s economy is so large or anything like that, being just 51st in nominal GDP worldwide,  (source) but rather that its run to glory is so typical of what has happened to little countries all over the world since 2008. As the “free” Federal Reserve dollars sloshed around the planet searching for anywhere to grow faster, faster, those same dollars found a happy home in many emerging and smaller nations. Peru by itself is just one of the many, but the sum total of debt between all those “little” emerging nations is a significant sum that could easily cripple the banking system.

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Holiday Reads: Some Great Links, Year in Review

Christmas 2014

Ahhh, 2014 is quickly coming to an end, and once again I wonder what happened to the year. It went by so fast.

Between watching world & financial events with open eyes & shuttling back and forth to Peru, I managed to accomplish a personal first, successfully importing over 3,600 pounds of specialty grade Peruvian coffee from the Chanchamayo region.

Now that really isn’t that much in the coffee world where the goal is to fill containers for shipping, each weighing 42,000 pounds, but for me it was quite an accomplishment to wade through the maze of customs regulations, not only in the US, but in Peru as well. It took quite a bit of time, and the jury is still out on how profitable it will be (if at all.)

It’s a little (actually a lot) of fear to overcome before moving ahead into the unknown. For years I had  been thinking that it would be an interesting business, that is providing high quality imported stuff to what I imagined to be eager buyers in the US. The problem was always that the sense of being generally clueless kept me at bay. I always thought about doing my taxes when I thought of Customs. Up there with getting a root canal.

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Will the Hot Money Leave Peru?

With emerging markets showing signs of stress after the end of QE, will Peru also see foreign money leaving the economy? With around 50% of all loans denominated in dollars, a sudden exit could leave Peru vulnerable.
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After They Take Your Pension, Will They Come for Your Healthcare Too?

In it’s ever growing more obvious disregard for the middle class & even the rule of law itself, Congress last week voted to retroactively allow for pension benefits to be reduced in the future. While the media focused on the Torture Report (another blatant disregard for morality & the rule of law,) Congress overturned nearly 40 years of Pension law and opened the door for future reductions of retiree benefits once guaranteed by law.

From an article on Naked Capitalism:

Cromnibus Pension Provisions Gut Forty Years of Policy, Allow Existing Pensions to Be Slashed

           Under the bill, trustees would be enabled to cut pension benefits to current retirees, reversing a 40-year bond with workers who earned their retirement packages.

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