Wolf Richter

Chain Restaurants Are Conquering France

And so is obesity. Good food and leisurely meals bien arrosé are considered the glue that keeps families, and French society, together. And yet, chain restaurants have elbowed their way in and now control 20% of the total restaurant market.

Importing Fiasco

$373.6 billion got vacuumed out of the USA in just six months. And was replaced by debt.

Tsunami Broke off Giant Icebergs in Antarctica

The horrific tsunami from the earthquake off the coast of Japan made it all the way across the Pacific to the Antarctica and caused the calving of huge icebergs. The event was captured by satellite images. And refreshingly, for once, no one tried to force-link it to global warming.

Germany, Model Economy Du Jour

All Tax And No Play. But they still can’t balance their budget or bail out Italy.
While we’re having all the fun.

Red-Hot Inflation Blows across the Pacific

Chinese inflation numbers just came out, and they’re sizzling. But those are the official numbers, and even officials admit that actual inflation is much higher still. Labor costs are spiraling out of control. And it’s all blowing our way. Exactly what we need.

Downgrades Don’t Matter

… if you can print money and are in control of the credit markets. Look at Japan. That doesn’t mean the underlying problems don’t matter.

The Bailout Continues

Fannie Mae—you already forgot all about it, didn’t you?—well, it just reared its ugly head again with its Q2 earnings report. Here is the most important number:
$5.1 billion in new bailout money from the U.S. Treasury—the eleventh quarter in a row it has received bailout money. That brings the total bailout money it received so far to $104.8 billion, with no end in sight.

US Gross National Debt jumps $238 billion in one day, now above 100% of GDP

As reported in Le Figaro, the French business daily, and in other foreign media, but curiously not in the major US media, the US Gross National Debt jumped by $238 billion to $14.580 trillion the day after the debt-ceiling deal was signed. 

Hatchet Jobs

The litany of layoffs among the largest banks continues. And it’s ugly. After announcements and rumors from Wall Street, the first European banks have come out to air their dirty laundry. And now, per the Financial Times, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is adding 2,000 layoffs to the list. 63,000 by eight European banks so far. Something big is afoot.

Your Dollar—up to no Good

In case you didn’t stay up all night watching the spectacle, and tearing out your hair: Your very own… … your favorite one, the one you worked so hard to earn and even harder to save, yes, the ever shrinking one, well, it dropped to a new all-time low against the Japanese yen in Tokyo. And…