Archive | November 2015

O Pais do Futuro


Charles de Gaulle (photo below)—imperious, disdainful, utterly French (and venerated for it in France)—noted 50 years ago that “Brazil was the country of the future.” With more than 200 million people and encompassing nearly 3.3 million square miles (about the size of the United States), Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by population and area, and the 9th largest economy. It would seem that the future for Brazil has arrived. Unfortunately, it is more like back to the future. Brazil is in the midst of a classic balance of payments problem. It’s growth in the past decade had been Read More

Under My Thumb


As Mick Jagger sang (screeched?) 50 years ago. The song was about turning the tables on a domineering woman (The girl who once had me down). A bit sexist, to be sure, but the song came to mind when looking at this week’s government bond auctions around the world (isn’t my life fascinating?). Our clients have been complaining about the low yields they are earning (as if I controlled that), and my response has been: count your blessings. You can lend the US government money for a year and earn half of a percent (50 cents per $100), or extend Read More

Fairy Tales


The technology bubble of the late 1990s is a distant memory for most investors, and an ignorance for the rest. But back then, companies were raising huge sums of private capital on business plans made of fairy dust, which is precisely what all that money turned into. Over a span of a little more than a year (4Q 1999 to 4Q 2000), well over $100 billion was funneled to private companies. Very little of it was ever returned to investors. Over this past year, just over $50 billion has been invested in private companies, the most since the bubble era, Read More