Covering Finance

The U.S. has its own ‘oil curse’
The term “oil curse” — coined to describe petro-rich developing countries where the “black gold” came with the heavy price of economic and political instability — is now being adapted for use in the U.S., where “petrostates” and cities are seeing shrinking tax revenues, budget deficits, negative credit ratings, rising unemployment and even outright recession as oil prices have fallen.
Published on MarketWatch, June 30, 2015

The next Greece may be in the U.S.
When Chicago Public Schools announced on June 24 that it would borrow $1 billion to make a $600 million-plus pension payment due June 30 an eerie feeling spread across bond investors and taxpayers alike.
Published on MarketWatch, June 30, 2015

The Next Financial Catastrophe You Haven’t Heard About Yet: Puerto Rico
Until recently, Puerto Rico was an investors’ tax heaven, renowned for its sandy beaches and killer rum. But the island is in dire financial condition and thousands of U.S. mom-and-pop investors may lose a big part of their savings if the small territory goes bankrupt.
Growing demand for assets that typically serve as hedges against inflation suggest that the market is positioning for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again, market watchers say.
Published on MarketWatch, Mar. 11, 2016

Here’s why companies may have to cut dividends soon
Companies that pay hefty dividends have seen a spike in popularity in 2016, boosted by investors seeking some stability in their portfolios after the worst 10-day start to a year in history.
Published on MarketWatch, Mar. 23, 2016

LA, Chicago Listen Up: Clock Is Ticking For Cities Sitting on Costly Swaps
Dozens of American cities are sitting on financial time bombs that have already cost them millions in payments to Wall Street banks. Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia and Chicago are among the municipalities racing against the clock to unwind costly interest-rate swaps.
Published in Forbes Magazine, Sept. 16, 2014
The former finance minister who signed the deal to keep Greece in the eurozone believes a renegotiation of his country’s debt is the key to the future of its economy.
Published on MarketWatch, Sept 15, 2015
Puerto Rico celebrated selling USD 3.5bn general obligation bonds with a 8.727% interest rate on 11 March. This indicated that Puerto Rico placated the market and led the way for its future bond sales.
Published in Debtwire and Alternative Emerging Investor, Apr. 14, 2014

Stockton Pensions Dodge Bankruptcy Bullet, But Future Retirees Beware
The thought of cutting pensions in a city bankruptcy used to bring up only one response: “no way.” That is because pensions are protected in most states by constitutions or statutory law, and as a result placed on an untouchable pedestal in the realm of debt restructuring.
Published in Forbes Magazine, Nov. 7, 2014

The federal criminal probe against UBS for its activities in Puerto Ricowill likely produce evidence in the public domain that can be used to further advance the class actions against the investment bank, said lawyers involved in the matter.
Published in Debtwire, July 30, 2014

Stockton’s case will soon be over but California’s pension problem will not
Most of Stockton’s confirmation hearing, which ended on 5 June, focused on the value of the collateral of Franklin Templeton Investments, the city’s only dissenting creditor. But the question that is most important from a public policy perspective is whether Stockton can exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy without impairing pensions.
Published in Debtwire, June 9, 2014

Puerto Rico’s pension problem treated on a cash-flow basis

After pensions dominated the Puerto Rico news cycle for a good part of the past two years, the FY13 audited financial statements came out and showed that none of the commonwealth’s retirement system funded ratios improved.
Published in Debtwire, July 25, 2014