Wednesday , February 20 2019
Home / Wolf Street
The author Wolf Richter
Wolf Richter
Founder, Wolf Street Corp. In his cynical, tongue-in-cheek manner, he muses on WOLF STREET about economic, business, and financial issues, Wall Street shenanigans, complex entanglements, and other things, debacles, and opportunities that catch his eye in the US, Europe, Japan, and occasionally China.

Wolf Street

What Trucking & Freight Just Said About the Goods-Based Economy in the US

Something has to give. Starting to be a fascinating phenomenon: Rates charged by trucking companies and other transportation providers continue to surge on a year-over-year basis even as the volume of shipments has dropped below where it had been a year ago, while the “capacity squeeze” of 2018 has disappeared, and as the price of fuel is down year-over-year. Freight shipment volume across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in January ticked down (-0.3%) from...

Read More »

London Housing Meltdown Spreads as Pre-Brexit Angst Batters Market Sentiment

“If you are looking to buy a house in Q1 you will have the market to yourself.” By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. In some places, in particular prime markets in London and the south-east, house prices have been tumbling. According to London-based estate agency LonRes, average “achieved” prices: In Prime Central London: -6% in Q4 2018; and -14% from their 2014 peak. In slightly cheaper Prime London districts: -5% in 2018. In Prime Fringe districts, i.e....

Read More »

Why WOLF STREET is Still Free and Not Behind a Paywall Though You Have to Put Up with Ads and I Make (Maybe) Less Money

A no-brainer gets rejected. This is likely my last gig, and I want to do what I love doing. But the advertising-based model is teetering. Many readers have suggested to me that they would be willing to pay a reasonable annual subscription fee, and that I should put the content or some of the content behind a paywall. The reasons most often given for it fall broadly into two categories, with the first being far more common: “I’m tired of the ads, they’re distracting, and I would rather...

Read More »

THE WOLF STREET REPORT

What’s Causing the Subprime Auto-Loan Fiasco? Serious auto-loan delinquencies are now on par with Q2 2009 when millions of people had lost their jobs and when the economy was in free-fall. But today unemployment is low and the economy appears to be humming. What gives? (13 minutes) But then there’s the “average transaction price.” Read… Reverse Sticker Shock? No Inflation for New Vehicles for 22 Years, Says Consumer Price Index, as Taurus Prices Soared 55%    Would...

Read More »

Next Chapter in Bankruptcy & Restructuring Saga of European and Asian Airlines

The fate of the A380 is sealed. By MC01, a frequent commenter, for WOLF STREET: On February 5, German low-cost carrier Germania announced it has filed for insolvency in Berlin and that all flights will be suspended indefinitely. According to the press release, this was due to unfulfilled “short-term liquidity needs,” meaning the company was struggling to raise the cash needed to pay for obligations coming due in the short term, such as fuel bills/hedging, landing fees, maintenance...

Read More »

I Was Asked About J.P. Morgan’s Blockchain-Based “JPM Coin.” I Ruthlessly Expand it to Other Payment Systems

Are banks trying to send credit-card-processing fee-gougers Visa, MasterCard et al. the way of Friendster? The crypto world went into a tizzy when J.P. Morgan announced “JPM Coin.” They thought that the bank had switched sides finally, after CEO Jamie Dimon had blasted cryptocurrencies as “fraud.” Given my own blistering rants about cryptocurrencies – such as Bitcoin Plunges to $3,738; Whole Crypto Scam Melts Down, Hedge Funds Stuck – I was asked what I thought about JPM Coin. And so I...

Read More »

This Retailer Bankruptcy Will Lead to the Largest Liquidation by Store Count in the US. Liquidation Sales to Start Next Week

Brick-and-Mortar Meltdown for its new shareholders: All of them PE Firms. By store count, this is likely the largest retailer liquidation in the US: Payless ShoeSource is planning to file for bankruptcy again later in this month – just 18 months after having emerged from its first bankruptcy. And this time, it will shutter all its remaining 2,300 or so stores in the US and Puerto Rico, let everyone go at those stores, and be done with it in the US. Its stores in Canada and Latin...

Read More »

Just How Huge Are Mexico’s Auto Export to the US? How Fast Have they Grown?

GM’s Mexico vehicles now are 23% of its US sales. And the Japanese have massively discovered Mexico’s cheap labor. By Don Quijones, Spain, UK, & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET. The total number of new vehicles exported from Mexico to the US in January rose 9.1% from a year ago to 191,072 vehicles, according to figures compiled by the vehicle manufacturers association AIMA and released by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI). In the year 2018, total new...

Read More »

Worried about Costs & Slowdown? Amazon Scuttles HQ2 Altogether, Plunges NY City Real Estate Industry “Into Despair”

Prudent cost-cutting move artfully dressed up as response to local politicians that had railed against the $3-billion corporate welfare package. Amazon scuttled plans to build its HQ2 in New York City today, citing opposition by some “state and local politicians.” They’d been railing against the $3-billion taxpayer-funded price tag to induce Amazon to set up shop in Long Island City, Queens. The incentives included tax credits and an outright capital grant. A week ago — even as one of...

Read More »

Why I’m Not in Panic Just Yet over the “Dreadful” Retail Sales that “Fell Most Since 2009,” But Nervously Look at the Trend

Consumer exuberance maxed out last summer and has since changed direction. The headlines today were all about retail sales that “fell most since 2009,” or as the WSJ put it, “at Fastest Pace since 2009,” or as CNBC put it, “so bad it’s either suspect data or a recession warning.” So let’s see. Total retail sales, including food services sales such as at restaurants, rose 2.3% in December from December 2017. For the year 2018, retails sales rose 5.0% to $6.04 trillion. Excluding sales...

Read More »