Media Worth Consuming – May 2023

Interesting and under the radar media on finance, economics, politics and society
Jonathan Rochford

Narrow Road Capital

Top Six Articles

America’s federal government debt is on an unsustainable path, with the cause primarily moral not economic.

Governments encouraged interest rate setters to rig Libor during the Financial Crisis, whilst prosecuting traders for the same actions.

Jim Chalmers is spruiking jobs growth for migrants as a great success of the Labor Government.

An investor was arrested at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting after he proposed ending donations to the Gates Foundation for its social justice advocacy and links to Jeffrey Epstein.

The Durham report detailed how the FBI shut down an investigation in the Clinton Foundation despite clear evidence of illegal activities whilst it launched an investigation into the Trump campaign based on bogus evidence.

A growing number of medical experts and recovering addicts are warning of the dangers of caffeine addiction.


Hindenburg Research released a short report on Icahn Enterprises, alleging the company inflated its asset valuations and used stock sales to pay outsized dividends. 28% of ASX listed companies have negative cashflow, a higher percentage than any other major stock exchange.

Recent audits from KPMG gave First Republic Bank, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank a clean bill of health. JP Morgan is pretty happy about the deal it got buying most of First Republic’s assets and liabilities. By asset size, the American banking collapse of 2023 is bigger than 2008. A neat visual showing the asset and liability breakdowns for US banks. Following interest rate increases and bank failures, American money market funds are making a comeback.

JP Morgan is fighting back against the US Virgin Islands in a lawsuit over the bank’s dealings with Jeffrey Epstein, pointing out that the government openly tolerated Epstein’s crimes and happily accepted his money. A hedge fund manager has been awarded $203 million in damages in a defamation case after his neighbour spent more than $15 million hiring dozens of people to promote false accusations against him. The SEC has paid out $279 million to a whistleblower for information related to Ericsson’s bribery in developing nations.

Seven large US corporates filed for bankruptcy over a single weekend, in a sign that the credit crunch is hitting home. How Bed Bath and Beyond ended up in bankruptcy. Harley Davidson is struggling to repossess bikes from buyers who don’t make their repayments, with the unique buyer base, low payments to repo firms and the ease of making a motorcycle disappear among the key issues.

Providing some hope for zeroed hybrid holders pursuing legal action, Credit Suisse disputed the regulator’s argument that a viability event was required, stating that it only needed liquidity not capital to remain solvent. Greece is on the verge of being upgraded to an investment grade credit rating, but its debt to GDP ratio remains very high.

Politics & culture

The primary failure of Brexit is that British politicians have not capitalised on the opportunities outside of the EU. Since China took control of Hong Kong, the territory has fallen well behind Singapore. Chinese cities undergoing debt restructurings are having to implement deep spending cuts and tax increases. A Chinese comedy group has been fined $3 million for making a joke about the Chinese military.

The European data regulator has fined Facebook €1.2 billion for data transfer breaches, which equates to 17 days of pre-tax income. Money laundering laws often do more harm than good. A quick summary of the 11 ongoing legal cases against Donald Trump.

Economics & work

UK core CPI jumped by 1.3% in May. Whilst global inflation is high, some sectors are likely to experience deflation. Intellectuals dislike capitalism because it rewards the work and the inventions of others but not their idealistic visions.


Finland’s newly opened nuclear power plant has had its output throttled after power prices slumped. A baby has been born in the UK with DNA from three people, with 0.1% of the baby’s DNA from a third person that was inserted to remove mitochondrial diseases from the two parents. New York and California legalised the sale of marijuana, but their high tax rates and excessive regulation mean illegal sales are still far larger than legal sales.

Self-checkouts in America are asking customers to tip despite no human interaction and no explanation of where the money goes. At least seven people died after a boat in Malawi was sunk by a hippo. Orcas are attacking sailboats travelling around Spain and Portugal, sinking three boats this year. After being defeated by a prison debating team in 2015, Harvard University scored a close win in a rematch

This article has been prepared for educational purposes and is in no way meant to be a substitute for professional and tailored financial advice. It contains information derived and sourced from a broad list of third parties and has been prepared on the basis that this third party information is accurate. This article expresses the views of the author at a point in time, and such views may change in the future with no obligation on Narrow Road Capital or the author to publicly update these views. Narrow Road Capital advises on and invests in a wide range of securities, including securities linked to the performance of various companies and financial institutions.

Jonathan Rochford
Portfolio Manager
Narrow Road Capital

Narrow Road Capital is a credit manager with a track record of higher returns and lower fees on Australian credit investments. Clients include institutions, not for profits and family offices.

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