Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Covid related deaths to accelerate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a dire warning about what is to come for the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its latest ensemble projections.

The agency believes that as many as 92,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 in the next three weeks despite the rollout of the vaccine. This represents a 25% increase in total COVID-related deaths, which have now topped over 384,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The CDC’s forecast also suggests that total COVID deaths will reach up to 477,000 by Feb. 6.

FDI and the Pandemic

by Joseph Joyce

FDI and the Pandemic

The fluctuations in portfolio capital flows to emerging markets over the past year have been well documented. But foreign direct investment (FDI) has also plunged in those countries as well as in the advanced economies. Moreover, FDI faces more long-term challenges than other forms of capital flows.

In October the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported FDI data for the first half of the year. The OECD found that global FDI flows fell by half in the first six months as compared to the second half of 2019. Inflows to the OECD area countries fell by 74%, driven by lower flows to the U.S. and reverse flows from Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Outflows fell by 43%. FDI inflows to the non-OECD members of the Group of Twenty (G20) decreased by 30% and outflows decreased by 60%.

These declines followed a period of reduced FDI flows (see here and here). The OECD had reported in April that FDI flows in 2019 were below the levels recorded between 2010 and 2017. U.S.-based firms were reassessing their foreign operations in the wake of changes in the U.S. tax regulations governing the taxation of foreign profits. The tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Chinese goods affected multinational activities in that country, while Chinese acquisitions of U.S. firms came under much stricter government scrutiny. Similarly, the vote in favor of Brexit forced firms to reconsider supply chains that linked the U.K. with the rest of Europe.

How is the distribution of the covid 19 vaccines going in your neighborhood?

Having just had an operation at Mass General earlier this week, I was pleased to hear that the nurses I met had their first vaccination. But then I checked the Boston Globe and Med Page Today on our local progress in relation to my own turn. Worth a discussion and feedback on your own locality.


This is a manufactured problem. The CDC, states, and hospitals should have distinguished frontline COVID-19 workers from everyone who has a job connected to healthcare. As University of Iowa immunologist and CDC committee member Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, told the New York Times, the CDC never intended to include workers who don’t interact with patients, like administrators and graduate students, in the first tier of priority vaccinations. Yet weeks after the FDA authorized the life-saving vaccine, hospitals like Brigham & Women’s Hospitals, Massachusetts General Hospital, Columbia, and Vanderbilt raced to give the vaccine to young non-patient-facing students and staff. Many of those staff now realize the injustice in their allocation and admit they feel terrible displacing a vulnerable American in the vaccine line. Hospital leaders: this is a disgrace to our great profession. You should have known better.

Weekly Indicators for December 21 – 25 at Seeking Alpha

 by New Deal democrat

Weekly Indicators for December 21 – 25 at Seeking Alpha

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.

While there have been some signs of softening in a few of the high profile metrics, overall the economy continues to remain surprisingly resilient.

As usual, clicking over and reading should bring you up to the moment, and put a little coin jingle in my pocket.

Are we headed to fresh water shortages?

(Dan here…I lifted reader Michael Smith piece on water use in open thread Dec. 22. The topic is well worth writing about…AB used to discuss this issue regularly starting in 2008 during the severe drought in the US when the southeast was contemplating court action amongst themselves to ensure their own supplies.. Search “water” in AB for a sample)

Michael Smith writes:

I should probably write a longer piece on this but I’ll try to summarize the best I can.

Had lunch with a prominent client scientist in my region that frankly scared the crap out of me. The hydrologic cycle is being seriously disrupted.

Here is what we know:

The Powell 100th meridian has moved east, by a lot.

Approximately 85% of our produce comes from drought areas (Mexico, California, etc)

Approx. 50% of water usage is due to agriculture and most of that happens in western states. My farm is in cow town, Texas and we have very poor surface water and rain patterns, so we pump from the aquifer.

Major municipalities are being forced to stop pumping from aquifers. City of Houston vs. Dow Chemical Co. is and interesting case where the fight over land to impound water is being fought over.

Weekly Indicators for December 15 – 19 at Seeking Alpha

 by New Deal democrat 

Weekly Indicators for December 15 – 19 at Seeking Alpha

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha.

Even with deterioration in a few noteworthy items like new jobless claims, the overall tenor of both the forecast and the nowcast remains positive.

As usual, clicking over and reading should be educational for you and remunerative for me to the tune of a penny or two in my pocket.