FIG Topics of Interest

 

06/20/17

House Speaker Paul Ryan is warning against watering down the sweeping overhaul of the nation's tax code he laid out a year ago and will call on Washington to enact permanent reforms this year.

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06/19/17

Expect more consolidation in agriculture, whether it’s family farms, big agribusinesses or food manufacturers and retailers. 
That’s according to speakers at a Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City forum Thursday, who said low commodity prices may persist, and businesses will respond by consolidating. Larger family-owned farms — those with more than $1 million in gross cash income — are better-positioned to be profitable through economies of scale. They also have the resources to invest in technology, better manage their finances and to develop relationships with customers who’ll pay more for specialty products, speakers said.
The Fed’s two-day 2017 Agricultural Symposium includes farmers, agribusiness lenders, bank regulators, university professors and agribusiness executives. They’re exploring what’s causing consolidation, and what it will mean for business, consumers and rural communities. 
Farm profits are in their fourth year of declines since peaking in 2013, and while worldwide demand for ag products is high, so is supply, keeping commodity prices low and income “subdued,” said Nathan Kauffman, Omaha branch executive.

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06/16/17

At $31 billion, GE’s pension shortfall is the biggest among S&P 500 companies and 50 percent greater than any other corporation in the U.S. It’s a deficit that has swelled in recent years as Immelt spent more than $45 billion on share buybacks to win over Wall Street and pacify activists like Nelson Peltz.

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06/15/17

Urgent care clinics have become one of the fastest-growing segments of the medical-care industry, and more are showing up in neighborhood retail centers, providing a boost to flagging occupancy levels. While they may not be a cure to what ails the shopping center industry, they are offering some relief. 

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06/14/17

If a single ship can capture the current state of the global oil market, it’s the supertanker Saiq, floating idly about 850 kilometers (530 miles) south of the Canary Islands.

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06/13/17

The Trump administration has a backup plan to keep the government from defaulting on its financial obligations even if Congress misses an August deadline to raise the debt limit, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a congressional panel Monday.

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06/12/17

On the surface, China's insurers seem to be enjoying a golden age. Over the past two years, premium revenue has risen by 88 percent and total assets by 49 percent, while claims are up only 43 percent. The industry now manages some $2.4 trillion in assets. 
In a country with an aging population and high savings rate, it's a good business. The continual inflow of premium income along with predictable claims appeal to China's many aspiring investment moguls. It's no coincidence that the face of Warren Buffett -- who of course made his fortune in insurance -- adorns Cherry Coke cans in China. 
Look beneath the surface, though, and dangers are lurking everywhere. In a business where risk management is fundamental, China's insurers lack the basic actuarial manpower and data tools necessary to make informed decisions. A recent survey found that 47 percent of Chinese insurance firms "haven't developed any methods at all" to conduct risk and solvency analysis. Many lack even rudimentary internal controls.

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06/09/17

The MBA analysis looks at commercial/multifamily delinquency rates for five of the largest investor-groups: commercial banks and thrifts, commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS), life insurance companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Together the MBA said these groups hold more than 80% of commercial/multifamily mortgage debt outstanding.
Based on its analysis of the unpaid principal balance of loans, the MBA reported delinquency rates for each group at the end of the first quarter were as follows: 
Banks and thrifts: a decrease of 0.04 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2016, (90 or more days delinquent or in non-accrual); 
Life company portfolios: a decrease of 0.02 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2016; (60 or more days delinquent) 
Fannie Mae (60 or more days delinquent): 0.05%, unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2016. 
Freddie Mac: unchanged from third quarter of 2016; (60 or more days delinquent), and 
CMBS: a decrease of 0.08 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2016, (30 or more days delinquent or in REO).

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06/08/17

The occupation expected to grow the most over the next several years isn’t for the faint of heart. Jobs for wind turbine technicians—the people who install, maintain and repair wind turbines—are expected to increase 108 percent by 2024, more than any other profession. But it’s still a small industry overall. Hundreds of thousands of new health care jobs dominate the list of 25 occupations with the biggest expected employment growth.

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06/07/17

Americans’ spending on residential construction projects -- from the pouring of foundations to home improvement -- just hammered out its strongest three-month period since 1994.

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