March 31, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

There’s nothing like a nice cup of reality first thing on Monday morning.

If you’ve been a reader for any length of time, you know one of the things I periodically do is scan headlines for phrases like “record high” or “all time high”.

The results can often given an interesting big picture perspective of what’s happening in the world.

1) President Obama’s disapproval rating hits a record HIGH of 59 per cent

No surprise here, especially given the latest crash of the Obamacare website this weekend, just before the signup deadline.

2) “Frozen” enters the record books as highest-grossing animated film of all time

This weekend, Toy Story 3 was eclipsed by Frozen as the top grossing animated movie of all time.

2010’s Toy Story 3 had $1.063 billion in total revenue. Frozen just hit $1.072 billion.

Curiously, the average movie ticket price in the Land of the Free was $7.89 in 2010 according to NATO (no, not that NATO. This is the ‘National Association of Theater Owners.)

Today it’s $8.38. This obviously has had an impact. And it doesn’t even account for the rapid inflation in movie ticket prices outside of the United States, which is even more critical given that nearly 2/3 of movie revenue comes from outside the US.

3) Property Tax Revenue Reaches a Record High

Great news– in the Land of the Free, state and local governments are taking more of your money than ever before. This is, of course, in addition to tax increases at the federal level.

4) Corporate Profits Hit A New Record High Last Year

Wages are stagnating. Median household income levels are well below where they were in 1996 when adjusted for inflation. But corporate profits are at a record high.

If you’ve ever wondered where all that money goes that is printed by the central bank, now you have at least a partial answer.

5) S&P 500 falters after nearing record high

The US stock market ended February at a record high and has continually flirted with new record territory throughout the month of March. Now you have another part of the answer to the question above– ‘where does all that printed money go?’

6) French Unemployment At Record High

As it turns out, raising taxes, overregulation of everything, and chasing away your most productive citizens is NOT the path to prosperity. What a shocker.

7) Pricier beef ‘here to stay’ as food costs seen higher: USDA

Beef prices are at/near their all-time high. Not that there’s any inflation. Blame the weather.

8) RMB enjoys record-high activity on global markets in February

The use of the renminbi in worldwide financial transactions as tracked by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) has increased to a record amount. And it’s growing.

The renminbi has already overtaken the Hong Kong dollar, Singapore dollar, and Swiss Franc in terms of its percentage of worldwide financial activity.

And while it’s still embryonic, compared to the dollar, the rise of the renminbi as a potential reserve currency is a trend that cannot be ignored.

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black