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Posts posted by dryrot

  1. 21 hours ago, Saving For a Space Ship said:

    If China's economy keeps stumbling, it won't just take down Beijing — the whole world will collapse with it  


    An interesting take from Wolfstreet - China is covered with empty flats, bought in anticipation of capital growth, and prices are now falling... (how many london flats have been bought for similar reasons...) Anyway


    "And by late 2018, 87% of home purchases were by people who already owned at least one home. They were buying to speculate in real estate.

    The numbers are just gigantic. There were about 1.6 million acres of residential floor space under construction at the end of 2020, according to government data, cited by the Wall Street Journal. That would equate to tens of thousands of apartment towers.

    I did a little math. The average apartment size in China is said to be 60 square meters, according to the internet. That’s 646 square feet. New construction may be larger on average, but we’ll run with that number.

    So 1.6 million acres of floor space under construction, at 646 square feet per apartment on average, would mean that there are 108 million apartments under construction.

    Let that sink in for a moment: 108 million apartments under construction, when urban homeownership is already 90% and when the working-age population has been declining for nearly a decade.

    So this has been the business model: Build it and they will buy because apartments have become financialized investment products purchased for capital gains, and not yield, since relatively few of these apartments were rented out.

    But there are carrying costs for apartments. If they’re not rented out, and if they’re dropping in prices, investors get into a very sour mood very quickly, and they’ll go demonstrating in the streets, at which point the government starts thinking about bailouts to avoid a social explosion.

    But even bailouts cannot revive the old business model that led to all this. It doesn’t come at a surprise. The warnings have been sounded for years. What’s surprising is that it took so long.

    Total sales among China’s 100 largest property developers plunged by 36% in September from a year earlier, according the Wall Street Journal. Sales by the 10 biggest developers, including Evergrande, collapsed by 44%.

    Developers resorted to discounts to dump apartments, and those discounts hit prices in the overall market.

    Home prices dropped in 16 out of 31 divisions – that’s the 23 provinces and the cities that are administered by the central government. This was the first time since March 2015 that home prices dropped in a majority of the 31 divisions, according to official data. "

  2. HPC in China!



    Home prices fell for the first time in six years as the property slump deepens in the world’s second-largest economy. New-home prices in 70 cities, excluding state-subsidized housing, slid 0.08% in September from August, the first drop since April 2015. Values in the secondary market declined 0.19%...


  3. 1 hour ago, Kosmin said:

    It is disingenuous to suggest that people have a problem with carbon dioxide emissions*. The prevailing view is that carbon dioxide emissions above a certain level lead to increased temperatures, rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather (this might be incorrect, but that's no reason for you to misrepresent this view).


    I'm still worried about Global Cooling...


  4. On 05/10/2021 at 11:16, Si1 said:

    China have a ten year window to invade Taiwan. After this their ageing population is against them. This is why they are developing aircraft carriers as fast as possible. As I understand in my amateur opinion!?

    I am interested in the result of the One-Child Policy. Abolishing the family for two generations, every child a singleton....

    I dont trust the stats from China, but the baby bust is extraordinary.

    I wonder if the CCP has wrecked the Chinese breeding process?

  5. 51 minutes ago, rollover said:

    Brexit paves the way for gene-edited crops

    The UK government is to relax the regulation of gene-edited crops to enable commercial growing in England. The changes are possible because the UK no longer has to follow European Union regulations, which are the strictest in the world.

    Dr Helen Wallace described the changes as "People won't be fooled. GM crops are GM crops."

    The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments will get to decide whether to adopt or opt out of the changes.

    In the longer term, ministers will review England's approach to regulation covering all genetically modified organisms. This includes changes that might allow the commercial development and farming of gene-edited and genetically modified animals.



    Another fantastic win for Brexit. Gene-edited crops are a huge benefit. Disease-resistant grain will help poor people worldwide. I find it sad that so many want to hurt poor people and deny them these benefits.

  6. Hi,

    What we've known on here for years, of course. But now the lead article in this week's Spectator. "Assetocracy"  


    "To understand how the Tories ended up in such a muddle about who they are and what they stand for, take a walk down any of the nicer streets in Boris Johnson’s constituency. North Hillingdon is as idyllic now as it was a generation ago: spacious houses, with large drives, built before the war. The houses were, once, more or less affordable. One property on Parkway, for example, was bought for £175,000 just over 20 years ago. It’s now valued at £1 million. And what’s true in Hillingdon is true of the rest of the country too.

    The asset boom that started at the turn of the century has transformed the finances of families across the country, turning modest-income retirees into unexpected millionaires: a new ‘assetocracy’. Homeowners have to sell to access the money, but their children can expect to inherit life-changing amounts — just as long as their parents don’t end up needing long-term care, in which case the costs can gobble up the inheritance.

    ‘My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care,’ said Boris Johnson after becoming prime minister two years ago. This was quite a statement. But to do it would cost billions and the Prime Minister had also promised, in his manifesto, not to raise taxes. So what to do? Should he keep his promise to the voters, or create a safety net for the asset-rich? It’s telling that he chose to protect the assetocracy.

    The emergence of this new class in the space of the past two decades has changed politics more than any party likes to admit. Wealth has become concentrated in a group of people who now decide British elections. Before the crash, 7 per cent of British pensioners were millionaires, as measured by household wealth. Now, it’s 25 per cent — some three million people. A further three million are half-millionaires, with £500,000. That’s one out of every eight people eligible to vote.

    At each election, parties compete to bribe this demographic. Labour’s ‘winter fuel payments’ and pension rises were the start, followed by the Tory triple-lock pension. The next step: to guarantee that no one would have to sell their house to pay for care, no matter how rich they are. This prospect was dangled in front of homeowners by Blair, Brown and Cameron, but none of them went through with it. They baulked not only at the expense but also at what it would mean. The traditional logic of the welfare state — that those with power and money help those with less of it — would be being turned on its head.

    Wealth has become concentrated in a group of people with the power to decide British elections

    After minimal consultation with his cabinet, let alone his party and the country, Johnson has now completed this inversion, with a £12 billion tax funding a new deal. Some of the money will at first be used to help clear an NHS backlog. Some will help families who can in no sense be described as rich.

    But after the NHS waiting list has begun to ease, the tax becomes a care home insurance scheme, and the refusal to impose any means-testing has big implications. No one, no matter how rich, will have to pay more than £86,000 for their care in old age.

    This raises tricky political questions: how can you justify increasing taxes on the working poor to safeguard the assets of the stonkingly rich? What, morally, is the problem with someone selling their house — or any other asset — to pay for care? Isn’t Toryism about providing equal opportunities, a ladder for everyone to climb? Why then would any Tory want to make life even easier for those already at the top of the ladder, at the expense of people on the lower rungs?

    To understand, you need to do the electoral arithmetic. Age, not social class, has become the new dividing line between Labour and the Tories. The under-25s broke three to one for Labour in the last election — but this was no problem for Team Boris because the over-65s chose him by four to one. His gamble now is that the political backlash from tax rises will be balanced out by gratitude from affluent homeowners.

    To the Tory MPs trying to make sense of this twist in their party’s mission, this is what’s baffling. Surely, with the political power his election win bought him, Johnson should have found a way to help the less well off, who are already paying too much for shoddy care? Under the old system, there was a (pretty low) floor: no one would pay for their care if it meant reducing their assets below £14,250. And there was — still is — an urgent need for social care reform. But this isn’t about ‘fixing’ the system, though it’s a nightmare to navigate and entirely failed to protect care-home residents against Covid. What we have now is an asset pledge. No reform at all.

    The Tories have posed as the party of a property-owning democracy since Noel Skelton introduced the phrase in The Spectator in 1923. To Margaret Thatcher, owning property wasn’t about getting rich; it was about the chance to take control, to claim a stake in a growing economy. The idea was that homeownership would promote what Shirley Letwin called the ‘vigorous virtues’. A home-owner starts to see society in a different way and to feel that they have more agency, more power to change their life story. How, Thatcher asked, could popular capitalism work if people did not have capital?

    This week the Prime Minister called groups of backbenchers to No. 10 to explain his plan, but they left more confused than ever. He tried to sum up his thinking by saying in private what he no longer says in public: that it’s about the assets. ‘It stands for something very conservative,’ Johnson said to one of the groups of MPs he’d invited to No. 10 — ‘the right to pass on money’.

    Is this really the Boris Johnson definition of conservatism: a protection racket, where the tools of the state are used to extract money from minimum-wage workers and pass it on to the better off?

    I’ve spoken to many Tories who are worried by all this, but as much as they dislike it, hardly any decided to vote against it. The depressing truth is they don’t have a better idea, and they agree about the realpolitik.

    When Theresa May called a snap election in 2017, and was predicted a landslide majority, she felt confident enough to say she would not subsidise those who could easily afford to meet their own care costs. She was attacked for proposing a ‘dementia tax’ and her campaign imploded. Tory MPs still talk about the furious reaction on the doorstep from voters worried about losing their homes. Rightly or wrongly, the Conservative conclusion was that no one can win power by confronting the asset-owning classes.

    But even in political terms, the current plan is just a short-term solution. And it doesn’t just accept but actually deepens the already stark divide between those with assets and those without. The latest round of quantitative easing will further fuel the asset boom (cheap money always does), meaning more wealth for the richest. The division, inequality and subsequent resentment mean that the legacy of this self-interested approach could well be social unrest and a dramatic Tory defeat.

    A more confident Tory party could have a broader conversation. They could ask if anyone, rich or poor, wants to live in a country where the best chance of acquiring serious wealth is being born into (or marrying into) the right family. This was the theme of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century: that the system is rigged and that work can never pay as much as owning capital, so huge wealth taxes are needed. The Tory response, eight years ago, was to say that the asset boom was a freak and taxes on low-paid work would be cut.

    It’s harder to make that claim now that the Tories are quite literally increasing the tax on care-home workers on minimum wage to better insulate the wealth of the people they care for. An analysis by Policy in Practice puts a figure on it: a carer on the minimum wage of £8.91 an hour will end up paying £112 more in tax a year. Added to the coming reduction in welfare, they’ll soon be £1,082 a year worse off.

    ‘In every situation, we seem to shaft the young in favour of the old,’ says one of the newer MPs. ‘That’s what we did in the pandemic. Then afterwards, rather than repair the damage, we shaft them again. And until they start voting, that’s not going to change. We’ll get away with it because, no matter how bad we are, Labour is worse.’

    It’s a fair point. An energetic and eloquent Labour leader would be in a very strong position. He or she would be able to hammer the Tories for breaking their tax promises, or point out that this 1.25 percentage point rise in tax on salary is actually a 2.5 percentage point rise, as it’s paid by both the employer and the employee. They could and should attack the PM on the grounds that it will depress future wages. They could point out that the Tories are undermining trust in politics, and that trust in politics is vital. And all because no one bothered to think of alternatives.

    [more at link; emphs mine]


  7. As a change from moaning about Ireland...


    From Bloomberg https://finance.yahoo.com/news/u-k-scrap-post-brexit-165837854.html 

    "The U.K. government said it will scrap a piece of planned red tape on wine imports. a move it said would save 10 pence ($0.14) on each bottle imported into Britain. From 2022, wine shipped to the U.K. from the EU, or about 55% of all wine consumed in Britain, was due to require a so-called VI-1 certificate, which requires laboratory analysis of the wine to prove it meets certain regulations. The wine and spirits industry had warned this paperwork would have pushed up prices. 


    Yes!  Tim Worstall's take https://www.expunct.com/business/brexit-brings-us-cheap-wine/ 

    As Tim states, this is good news, but only a good start. Lots more EU bumf to scrap!

  8. The answer is "yes", of course :) 

    Good (long) article on the current mess by one Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford.

    "So, while they may talk of wanting to make housing more affordable, they may also realise that doing so could be politically and personally disastrous for them and their children"


  9. 11 hours ago, Confusion of VIs said:

    It's a good time to visit London.

    Much more pleasant without the normal crowds, trains etc are very quiet outside of the rush hour and you can actually get into exhibitions/events/restaurants that would previously have to be booked weeks or months in advance.

    Agree. Just back in fact,: trains nearly empty (and you can easily avoid wearing a mask - self-exemption) National Gallery pleasantly quiet too. I look forward to being able to buy a beer at the bar tho.

  10. 13 hours ago, 24gray24 said:

    The north got the dole. But not much else. It annoyed the Tories that it didn't depopulate. 

    I'm not sure governments can afford to do that now long term. The debts are so much bigger and so are the failing areas. Not enough germans to pay for the south every year. (Thatcher used the revenue from oil). 

    And how do you fix italy? It's not really infrastructure. It's government and banks and tax avoidance and a whole culture of corruption. And a masterful resistance to change. And the baleful effect of the euro on a country that likes to devalue its currency by overspending. 

    I just can't see Brussels fixing it easily or quickly when even the judges are complicit. 

    The Euro has been a catastrophe - and typically a  manmade one. No-one knows how to fix it. My 2c? Either Germany/frugal countries agree to subsidise southern europe for ever, or Germany/frugal countries leave the Euro and allow then others to devalue.

  11. 13 minutes ago, slawek said:

    The cost would probably go up from 9.5bln to around 10-15bln. mostly because of losing the rebate (this is on you).

    It would still be significantly less than the cost of Brexit, which is around 100bln. 

    Why not say the cost of Brexit is £500trillion? You just make these figures up - Remember Project Fear predictions in 2016? 😀

    Whereas EU country contributions are real money...

  12. 2 hours ago, slawek said:

    That is another lie. Can you guys check your sources? 

    They are increasing a limit to 2%, not actual GNI-based contributions.

    The increase from 1.4% to 2% is for guarantees of Covif bonds, it means no additional payments from members to the EU.

    Thx for the info. So the increase is to 2% - but only guarantee of a loan. (Germanys contribution will go up 42% - Merkels parting gift :)  https://www.dw.com/en/germany-eu-coronavirus-budget-increase/a-53806800 )

    Wrt the guarantee for the Covid loan, I can see there is no upfront cost. It will only be imposed if those who lent the Euro750Bn want their money back.

    >>> Will you guarantee a £1m loan for my next BTL purchase?  after all, your not putting any real money in!

  13. 10 hours ago, pig said:

    I'm getting to the point where I don't  believe that Leavers and their leaders themselves believe what they are saying - so I'm wondering if this act has a limited shelf life. 

    That said, given the hole they've put themselves in, what is their alternative now ?

    Rejoin the EU and pay £40bn + per annum for the privilege?

    (Its like shooting fish in a barrel! :) )

  14. 54 minutes ago, spyguy said:

    Equally, the tax payer didnt ask to to pay for them.


    The headline was "'I've got £4 in the bank': Mum-of-six forced to sleep on sofa in crowded two-bed home"

    If you last till the end of the article you find:

    "A North Star spokesman said: “Due to Ms Mohammed recent change of circumstances, she has applied for a four bedroomed property. "Unfortunately, we do not have any houses, of a suitable size, in the areas where Ms Mohammed would like to live." 

  15. 8 hours ago, Confusion of VIs said:

    The Treasury has accepted the OBRs forecast that Brexit will cost 6% of GDP.

    So, leaving aside that a large amount of that 2% would come back to the UK, we are 4% down.

    On your calc that's an £80bn loss. Any idea where we will find it? 

    More fantasy figures from the Remainers. Are you suggesting that UK GDP will fall by 4%? - of course not. That's project fear idiocy again - the figure is some projected fall from what it might have grown to. As all project fear figures, it's nonsense. But EU contribs are real money

  16. 4 minutes ago, debtlessmanc said:

    Gap is continuing to trade on line. It's is the move to online that is affecting the whole retail industry, everywhere 

    And Gap is closing stores all over Europe - not just Brexir Britain 

    What would the UK contribution be to the EU when the increase to 2% of GDP is introduced? 2%od £2trillion I think - £40bn per annum. 

    How smart we were to leave!


  17. 3 hours ago, yelims said:

    I shouldn't take you seriously, I know... Irish corp tax rates must rise, EU contribs up to 2% GDP, Irish PM not consulted over Section 16/vaccines - and all you can find is:

    'Customers of O2 have been told they will be billed £3.50 for every gigabyte (GB) of data used above a new limit of 25GB, from August."

    Over 25GB... Scarcely an imposition 😀

  18. 35 minutes ago, slawek said:

    As far as I can see there are only four polls 2003-2014 (it could few more for Remain at the end but it is hard to read exact time). Two for Remain and two for Leave, each with a few percent margin. It is virtual tie.  

    I don't deny that people can change their minds but even in 70s and 80s, a quite voliatile period,  this concerned no more than around 10% of the population.  

    It is impossible to draw any conclusions how variations of views across different age groups contributed to change of the overall sentiment to the EU over time based on the graph you are referring to. We don't have age breakdown.  

    Using support for Labour as a proxy it is clear that divide between young and old has become much bigger since around 2015. You won't see then much change in the support for the EU due to the generational shift in the earlier historical data (before 2015).  It is a new phenomenon. 


    [graph deleted]

    I agree this age-group stuff us hard to decipher. The hard-right-over50sBrexiteers were all 18-y-o revolutionaries in the 1960s? :)

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