Economic Trend

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Smith's Q3 2020 Index

"The American Dream Mall was a nightmare to begin with and it is never going to work in the new normal," according to a senior portfolio manager in Boston. Indeed. The American Dream Mall is the poster child for what went wrong during the last bull market in high-yield municipal bond: Excessive amounts of debt; Bloated feasibility studies; Revenue streams that are thin and tenuous. Moreover, there is a case being made that retail shopping centers and malls were never going to work. "If there is any lesson from the COVID-19 crisis it's that people are shifting to shopping on the internet," a portfolio manager from New York said. "Amazon is doing a record business."

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Life in Times of Coronavirus: Under Pressure Food Supplies

Summary: Since the global outbreak of coronavirus in early 2020, there has been a move to stockpile food, increase prices, and in some cases, impose export restrictions. In the U.S., as the numbers of those infected and dying rises and unemployment rapidly rockets upwards, consumer behavior has turned more cautious and food distribution centers are swamped by hungry families. This situation is not helped by the closure of restaurants and concerns over distribution systems and the health of drivers who transport food and other household items. There are also increasing questions over food cultivation and the labor needed to bring crops to harvest. Although it is too early to be sounding the alarm regarding a food security crisis, the seeds for such a development are possibly being planted, which could lead to social turmoil. The risk is the creation of a food crisis when there really isn’t one – yet. This issue is likely to become more significant if the pandemic continues through the summer, dimming hopes of economic revival and raising the specter of food shortages.

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