🏠 I'm back. Much love to everyone who sent me things to do in Lisbon. My favorites were Ze da Mouraria, Bifanas do Afonso, Pasteis de Belem and visiting the city of Sintra, home to the Castelo dos Mouros. Special thanks to readers Mark P. and Bill A., who sent me an encyclopedic level of recommendation lists.
Situational Awareness: President Trump tweeted this morning that he would restore steel and aluminum tariffs on goods imported from Argentina and Brazil in response to the weakening of their currencies.
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"Victory belongs to the most persevering." Who said it and why it matters is at the bottom.
More Americans say they are worried about a recession next year and are getting more cautious about their spending habits and debt, but that didn't slow down their holiday shopping.
Driving the news: Data from Adobe Analytics shows Black Friday spending increased by nearly 20% this year over 2018, rising to $7.4 billion, even as fewer retailers offered big in-store discounts. Brick-and-mortar stores saw an overall 6% decline in sales, according to preliminary data from ShopperTrak.
What it means: The big boost in spending, particularly online, is diametrically opposed to the worry and apprehension seen in surveys leading up to the holidays.
A study from credit reporting company Experian showed U.S. consumers similarly unenthusiastic about the holidays, based on their survey of 1,159 consumers. The year-over-year drop in the number of people who said they felt "thoughtful" was the largest in the history of the company's survey.
Watch this space: Despite the changes in how they planned to pay, Experian found consumers expected to spend an average of $1,649 during the holiday season, a "whopping" 75% increase over 2018.
India's GDP growth fell to a six-year low of 4.5% in the third quarter, the sixth consecutive quarter that growth has slowed and a far cry from the 8.1% growth in the first quarter of 2018. (FT)
Bank of England governor Mark Carney will become the UN's special envoy for climate action and finance when his BOE term ends on Jan. 31. (BBC)
“We still feel that we’re on the right side of this, in the sense that we’re quite miserable with regard to the economic outlook,” said James Athey, a London-based portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. (Bloomberg)
The financially focused arm of China's Global Times newspaper this weekend posted a number of new details on Twitter about how Chinese negotiators are positioned in trade discussions.
What they're saying, per The Business Source's twitter feed: A former Chinese vice minister of commerce says he expects the "phase one" trade deal will be signed before Chinese New Year, which begins Jan. 25, but that "[r]olling back tariffs levied by the US is a must."
Why it matters: Global Times is affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party and is therefore considered to have a direct line to top policymakers and reflect the party's thinking.
The ISM's manufacturing report will be released today and will provide important insight on whether things are bottoming out or getting worse in the U.S. manufacturing industry.
Of note: China's manufacturing data has been steadily improving with a private and a government survey both showing the sector growing more than expected last month. This was after six straight months of the government's metric showing contraction.
The big picture: The most important piece of U.S. manufacturing data will likely not be the ISM's reading on Monday — it will be the Labor Department's November U.S. nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.
My recent trip to Lisbon made it crystal clear why Facebook and a number of central banks see a need for digital currencies.
What happened: Before I went on vacation, I made sure to transfer money into my Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account. The account offers no ATM or foreign transaction fees, which is the entire reason I got it. I made the transfer on Thursday, Nov. 12, in anticipation of landing in Lisbon on Sunday, Nov. 14.
I got two surprises. First, Santander charged me $6 (six!!!!) to use the ATM because Santander Portugal is not connected to Santander U.S.
Second, Schwab said my money would not be available for five (5!!!) business days, meaning I wouldn't be able to access it until the following Thursday.
Between the lines: Many vendors in Lisbon, even fairly large restaurants and bars, don't accept credit/debit cards.
Watch out: Some ATMs in Lisbon offered an absurd "fixed" exchange rate that was $0.12 per euro more than the market exchange rate. That's significantly higher than even the airport foreign exchange places charge. On top of this, the Euronet ATMs charge you nearly 5 euros per transaction.
Why it matters: Digital currencies administered by central banks could potentially cut the banking sector out of foreign exchange transactions and make this process significantly easier and less expensive.
On this day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor of France at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a position he would hold for 10 years.
Unrelated: Lisbon is the strangest city I have ever visited. It's simultaneously a very historical, classical city and also outrageous and modern. It's sleepy and quaint but also giant and daunting. Truly beautiful, though.
Even more unrelated: I made it down to Texas for Thanksgiving and my Auntie Denise still makes the best greens.