Zero Hedge

And The Country With The 'Most Expensive' Plate Of Food Is...

A report from the World Food Programme (WFP) analyzed the glaring gap in food costs around the world. The report points out that people living in poor countries have to spend the bulk of their wages on basic nourishment. The research measured the proportion of daily income that people spent on ingredients for a basic bean stew in different countries last year before retro-projecting the ratio on to a resident of New York State. An average person living in New York State would spend about 0.6% of his or her daily income on ingredients for a bean stew, approximately $1.20. Someone living in South Sudan would have to work for a day and a half to afford a basic meal with the cost of the ingredients 155% of daily income. The real price of a plate of bean stew in South Sudan would be $321.70, so many of the country's inhabitants are struggling to feed themselves.

China Proposes Unprecedented Nationalization Of Insolvent Companies: Banks Will Equitize Non-Performing Loans

China is preparing for an unprecedented overhaul in how it treats its trillions in non-performing loans. They officially amount to $614 billion but are realistically anywhere between 8% and 20% of China's total $35 trillion in bank assets. It is the unknown treatment of these NPLs that has been the greatest threat to China's just as vast deposit base amounting to well over $20 trillion, which has been the fundamental catalyst behind China's record capital flight as depositors have been eager to move their savings as far from China's domestic banks as possible. As a result, China is reportedly preparing regulations that would allow commercial banks to swap non-performing loans of companies for stakes in those firms.

Nassim "Black Swan" Taleb On The Real Financial Risks Of 2016

Nassim Nicholas Taleb says financial institutions today are less fragile than they were a few years ago. This isn’t because they got better at understanding risk but because, since 2009, banks have been shedding their exposures to extreme events. Monetary policy made itself ineffective with low interest rates. There’s no evidence that “zero” interest rates are better than, say, 2% or 3%, as the Federal Reserve may be realizing. Low interest rates invite speculation in assets such as junk bonds, real estate and emerging market securities. We also need to focus on risks in the physical world. Terrorism is a problem we’re managing, but epidemics such as Ebola are patently not. Finally, climate volatility will produce some nonlinear effects, and these will be compounded in our interconnected world.

The World's Strangest Currencies

For centuries, humans from all around the world have tried to use different things as money. Some forms, which most people are familiar with today, have been effective catalysts for trade over thousands of years. Other currencies, from squirrel pelts to parmesan cheese, have had their time or place in human history, but were ultimately unsuccessful or made obsolete. The path to finding the best money has been long and riddled with trial and error. Here are just some of the world’s strangest currencies that we discovered in our research.

With Just $10 "You're Wealthier Than 25% Of Americans"

Last week Credit Suisse released its annual Global Wealth Report. Their analysis shows that the top 1% of people now own 50% of the world’s wealth. However, the report had another finding that was even more astonishing and largely overlooked. What they found was that, as a percentage of the world’s population, there are now more poor people in the United States and Europe than there are in China. 10% and 20% of the world’s poorest are in North America and Europe. Here, they define poor as lacking ‘wealth’, i.e. taking into account assets and liabilities like cash and debt. Credit Suisse estimates that half of the world has a net worth less than $3,210. And a large chunk of Americans and Europeans can’t make that cut because their net worth is negative.

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