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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Fear of change will decide UK vote on EU

Forty years on from Britain’s vote to stay in the EEC in 1975, FT editor Lionel Barber and political commentator Janan Ganesh discuss what is most likely to decide the outcome of the UK referendum on EU membership.

 

A doom scenario for the EU | FT Comment

 

The drugs don't work and Fed's fumble

The Guardian reported in recent days [that until this week most of us had never heard of Daraprim, a drug that fights toxoplasmosis. But after the decision of the drug’s new owner, Turing Pharmaceuticals, to boost its cost per pill from $13.50 to a whopping $750, we’re all unlikely to forget its name or the name of Turing’s owner, 32-year-old Martin Shkreli.

Shkreli became one of the most hated men in America last week, Hillary Clinton called for reforms in the drug market, social media tore him to shreds, a punk label he bankrolled severed ties with him and even Donald Trump weighed in, calling him a “spoiled brat.”

He’s now pledged to cut the price – he hasn’t said by how much or when – but the outrage over the astronomical hike in a life-saving drug has opened the doors to a fast-moving and furious debate about the soaring costs of prescription medications in the United States – one that is long overdue.] More

After a week when world growth fears deepened, John Authers of the FT points out that stock markets are becoming more discriminating: US

 

After months of waiting for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates, China stocks and hard landing worries have put a spanner in the works.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Japan's Yakuza: Inside the syndicate

In 2011 a Belgian photographer was allowed entry into one of Japan’s Yakuza families. Over two years, he captured the lives of those living in the underworld.

 

The Financial Times said last week that they are renowned for their strict code of conduct, full-body tattoos and occasionally operatic violence, but a split in Japan’s largest group of yakuza gangsters has confirmed their rapid decline as a force in Japanese life.

It emerged that thousands of the Yamaguchi-gumi — a group accounting for one yakuza in every two — have broken away to form their own gang based in the city of Kobe. Similar splits have led to violence in the past, but rather than showing the profitability of the yakuza gangs as before, analysts said the current divisions show the groups are struggling to survive.

It is estimated that a hundred-man yakuza operation today might clear about $1m a month after costs — enough to generate a modest living for its members, but nothing like the riches of old, helping to explain the fall in yakuza membership from 80,900 in 2009 to 53,500 at the end of 2014.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Falls in emerging market currencies Jan-Aug 2015


The falls in emerging market currencies in the period Jan-Aug 2015 range from China's renminbi at 2.4% to the Brazilian real's plunge of 30.9%.

Which countries are most exposed to China?