Links 13 December 2019

Global Macro / Markets / Investing:





Leith van Onselen
Latest posts by Leith van Onselen (see all)


    • somehow less car being sold worldwide is presented as a bad news while in reality is probably the best news of last few years
      total car passenger capacity in most of countries is 3 or even more times higher than number of people
      In Australia we have 20m registered cars, 25m residents and less than 20 million people over 16 (and no self driving cars) – just ridiculous

      • So much of the global economy and employment is tied up in this…would like to read more about it.

  1. Spain declared the World’s healthiest country – Independent
    Spain has officially been named the healthiest country in the world, beating nations such as Italy and Iceland to clinch the top spot.

    Previous research has found that following a Mediterranean diet, consisting of foods such as olive oil and fish, can have health benefits, such as reduced risk of mortality in elderly people.

    in 2016 Spain was the largest consumer of pork in EU 55kg/person more than Germany at 52 or Austria at 50kg
    they are also close to the top when it comes to egg, salt, countries in EU (per capita)

    what the article doesn’t mention is that sugar intake in Spain is among the lowest in EU (51g vs. 100g in UK and 130g in Netherlands)

    • I find it hard to believe, I had a hard time finding good healthy food in local restaurants in Spain. Yes of course there was good places but also lots of junk food too.

      • pork and spuds. Much of their cuisine is terrible.
        bread, olives, jamon, those are good things 🙂

        • Well I’m approaching 40 and don’t have a gut (got a 6 pack :)) unlike a lot of people my age. Fit as a fiddle. I eat mostly whole foods, grains, fruit, veg, protein, carbs etc.. very little refined sugar in my diet and no soft drinks, no dairy etc.. I was a dedicated gym junkie for years. Used to read Arnie’s book on bodybuilding I would hope I have an idea as to what constitutes as healthy.

          The markets in Spain were good, but there was still a lot of junk to be found.

    • What is wrong with pork, eggs and salt? Are you allowed to have doctor in your username if you are not a doctor on this weblog.

      • No, they check all user names with AHPRA (

        You are not allowed to claim you are an MB doctor without AHPRA accreditation.

        Curiously, nurses aren’t covered by the same legislation. Luckily there are no MB nurses.

      • I did not say that that pork is bad, neither I questioned that Spaniards are healthiest in Europe, quite the opposite I questioned the theory that health comes from what mainstream considers healthy food (less fat, less salt …)

        one thing that is quite characteristic for healthy countries’ diets is high content of salt and low content of sugar (Spain, Iceland, Japan, Italy, …). High salt intake is almost the only common theme and definitely mandatory aspect of these diets

        • I’m always amazed when role talk about healthy Japanese food.
          I cook it a lot, and there is a lot of sugar in it( look up the recipe for sushi rice if you don’t believe me).
          According to family who’ve visited, what l cook is pretty similiar to what they got in Japan, including quantity.
          Don’t quite understand it.
          Will agree with the high salt thing though- I cook right through the Mediterranean, Middle East, and north and South Asia- all enormous salt loads. Tastes pretty good actually😊


    It’s time to make Dallas a premier engine of upward mobility … (Comment) Cullum Clark … Dallas Business Journal

    … concluding …

    … Third, DFW leaders must address the region’s growing housing affordability challenge. Maintaining affordability is essential for upward mobility. Attainable housing near thriving areas creates access to job opportunities. Also, families spending a high share of their income on housing generally can’t build savings.

    While DFW still has an affordability edge against coastal cities, the region’s advantage is shrinking as home prices and rents rise. According to Demographia research, median home prices are now 3.9 times median income, well above the 3.0 level considered sustainable for families. But the metro-area level masks the extent of the challenge for Dallas County, where the price-to-income ratio is 5.2. Smaller cities like Plano, Frisco, and Allen hold down the average with ratios around 3.

    In the city of Dallas, the home ownership rate has fallen over the past decade to just over 40 percent. A third of owner-occupier families and more than half of renters are housing cost-burdened based on federal standards, roughly the average level for large cities.

    The answer: increase housing supply, as the City of Dallas’s 2018 housing policy recognizes. Supply has failed to keep up with DFW’s booming population, especially over the last three years.

    Dallas should revamp its zoning code and become a more welcoming city for affordable housing developers. For starters, the city can experiment with community land trusts and other innovative mechanisms for expanding the supply of cheap land for affordable housing, particularly in land-rich Southern Dallas. Dallas can also loosen outdated parking requirements for new multifamily developments to hold down construction costs. Fast-growing smaller cities in the region, meanwhile, should thoughtfully permit greater density in walkable central areas.
    … Excessive housing costs are a recent problem for Dallas …

    All Editions – Demographia International Housing Affordability Sutvey

  3. Tories have just won the UK election – for almost identical reasons as Australia. UK Labour have moved too far to the left, a leader who is an ideologue, want to appeal to the Liberal Elite.

    Wonderful result. Brexit done.

  4. Goodbye Middle Classes, Goodbye NHS, Goodbye their largest trading partner. Hello toxic chicken, poor healthcare, and mutant crops. Woohoo Wonderbar.

    Interesting, but I’m inclined to say they’re searching for simple answers to a complex problem.
    There was a period from about 2008 till 2014 when students got higher ATAR’s by choosing simpler subjects (especially wrt subjects like Math where choosing General Math often resulted in those students attaining a higher ATAR than they would have had they chosen the more academically rigorous 2 unit or 3 unit Math.
    But an Individual Students subject choices is also just part of the ATAR equation, it matters not just how well the student does but also how well his/her class mates do. So imagine 5 students in a rural school attempt to do 3 unit math (currently known as Extension 1) well maybe one does well and the other 4 are completely out of their depth and attain very ordinary results. This pulls down the final ATAR of the one student who does well (using an undisclosed equalization algorithm) , so in the end the bright student that belongs in 3 unit Math is often better off choosing a Math HSC level that is closer to the abilities of the rest of his/her class. With this in mind, it is easy to imagine a situation where encouraging students at disadvantaged schools to attempt more academically difficult subjects could result in these students attaining much lower ATAR’s than they would today.
    Talk about a F’ed up system…but it’s the system that we’ve got.