Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads, our Saturday morning summary of interesting things we’re reading this week. The links are mostly market related, but there will be some other interesting subjects covered as well.  The links are in no particular order.  We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

Blunt elbows (The Economist)

While retail banking in Manhattan sure might look competitive, when accounting for who owns which firms, things start to look much more like a cartel. [Link]

Why Lending Club has shunned securitizations by Kadhim Shubber (FT Alphaville)

New “peer-to-peer” lending platforms are often held up as a way to disintermediate banks, but many are forced to use old techniques to get their loans funded; Lending Club breaks from the crowd in its refusal to do so, but there’s no noble purpose behind the decision. [Link, registration required]

A short history of the Bowie Bond by Dan McCrum (FT Alphaville)

David Bowie passed away this week, and he’ll be remembered for more than his music as we learn in this post looking at the early days of asset backed security markets. [Link, registration required]

Solar and Wind Just Did the Unthinkable by Tom Randall (Bloomberg)

Despite crashing prices for energy delivered from fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil), renewable energy set another record-breaking year of installed capacity and total investment spend.

Renewable Energy Is a ‘Bubble’, Says Financier by Tanzeel Akhtar (WSJ)

A Danish financier alleges subsidies are driving a financial asset bubble in clean energy. [Link, paywall]

The Dubious Logic Of Stock-Market Circuit Breakers by Paul Kedrosky (The New Yorker)

Friend-of-the-firm Paul Kedrosky takes a look at the painful zig-zagging in policy regulating Chinese equity markets; the ultimate conclusion, which we agree with, is that market trading halts simply don’t work in high volatility markets like China’s.

China Wants a Reserve Currency and Control, But Can’t Have Both (Bloomberg)

There is no way for the yuan to become more internationalized without the powers that be in China significantly loosening their grip on the reins of the currency. [Link]

Questions About the Offshore renminbi (yuan) by Guan Yang (Ello)

Some simple questions with unclear answers about CNH, the offshore version of the yuan that is traded in Hong Kong. [Link]

Outlook for 2016: Adult Swim Only by Henry H. McVey (KKR)

A very, very long walk-through of KKR’s macro views, loaded with charts and commentary on multiple economies and financial markets. [Link]

Global Malaise Spurs U.S. Growth Worries by Josh Zumbrun (WSJ)

A balanced view at the weak and strong points for the American economy. [Link, paywall]

Are We Headed For Another Recession? by Ben Casselman (538)

Recessions don’t die of old age, and the US economy has limited exposure to the rest of the world, but there’s still plenty to fret over. [Link]

Fundamental Disagreement: How Much and Why? By Richard Crump and Stefano Eusepi (NY Fed Liberty Street Economics)

In a fun but quantitative post, the NY Fed staff try to see how much – and why – forecasters disagree over the path of economic data. [Link]

Private Investment Behavior around the Great Recession (St. Louis Fed On The Economy)

Contrary to popular belief, economic data started to roll over long before the recession hit in late 2007; the St. Louis Fed focuses on private residential investment in this post. [Link]

Global Output Gaps & Inflation by Duncan Weldon (Medium)

Former BBC Newsnight Economic Correspondent Duncan Weldon (now head of research at Resolution Group) has thoughts (and good ones too!) about the rising importance of the global economy’s state of affairs in determining inflation in national economies. [Link]

Do demographics dictate lower returns to capital and faster inflation? by Matt Klein (FT Alphaville)

A sprawling rebuttal of theories that demographics are a useful way to think about the future of economic growth and asset markets. [Link, registration required]

Is It Lights Out for Trudeau’s ‘Sunny’ Economic Ways In Canada? by Josh Wingrove (Bloomberg)

With USDCAD higher a record 12 days in a row (weaker CAD) and oil continuing to collapse, newly-elected Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau faces a raft of economic challenges; this one has some extremely amusing anecdotes. [Link]

COLUMN-Drilling downturn hits U.S. oil consumption: Kemp by John Kemp (Reuters/CNBC)

Commodity price increases often beget more price increases as new resource extraction often requires more resource consumption; this is the case in the US as a decline in shale output is reducing demand for diesel. [Link]

A big-shot venture capitalist says we need inequality. What do economists say? By Jim Tankersly (Washington Post)

A survey of the economic literature and theory behind the idea that inequality is a necessary function of capitalism and actually helps the economy grow when constrained to reasonable levels. [Link]

Ski Patrols Seek to Unionize U.S. Slopes as Wealth Gap Grows by Lauren Etter (Bloomberg)

A great story that deals with the possible rise in bargaining power of labor through a lovely seasonal lens. [Link]

Republicans and Democrats Agree: We Hate Wall Street by Anupreeta Das and Emily Glazer (WSJ)

Both sides of the aisle are rolling up their shirtsleeves and going after bankers this year, with complaints about bailouts, unfair deals, abused of the common man, and every other imaginable angle. [Link, paywall]

JPM looks to pull the plug on Bloomberg terminals by Kevin Dugan (NY Post)

Many have tried, very few have succeeded, but that’s not stopping Jamie Dimon from trying to remove thousands of JPM’s Bloomberg terminals in a cost-saving measure. [Link]

Here’s What Morgan Stanley Is Telling Its Wealthiest Clients About Uber by Julie Verhage (Bloomberg)

New details emerge as Uber unleashes a new round of fund raising with a valuation of $62.5 billion, drawn from high net worth clients of Wall Street firms. [Link]

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