C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

205 articles in list

Ghana Reach for Yield

With the U.S. Federal Reserve Board announcement that it is pausing rate increases and will soon stop shrinking its balance sheet, investors’ reach for yield could continue unabated.  A huge over-subscription for Ghana’s just-issued 30-year bond, now the longest-maturity bond…

Read More

Uzbekistan Opens Up

New leadership in Uzbekistan, a historically closed country and economy in Central Asia, is taking up a series of economic reforms, including simplifying the country’s tax codes, liberalizing cross-border trading, and allowing the country’s currency to float.  Given entrenched interests,…

Read More

South Africa’s Sad State

We visited South Africa three years ago to better understand the country and visit with a number of companies. We were hoping the country understood and would rectify its problems.  Despite finally forcing Jacob Zuma out as president, the country’s prospects have declined further…

Read More

Better Balance in Brazil’s Economy

While we were in Brazil last month, almost everyone we talked with was optimistic that the country’s economy was going to improve in 2019.  The country has made progress tackling corruption as part of Operation Car Wash, but new president…

Read More

Diverging Pasts and Futures

Governments matter.  Over the last 30 years, countries with respect for property rights, the rule of law, and free markets have dramatically outperformed their neighbors.  Chile has been a remarkable success story, and more recently Peru has made great strides. …

Read More

Will Argentina Stay the Course?

Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who came to office three years ago with a reformer’s agenda and a clear mandate, has seen his support erode thanks to the choppy economic conditions that were to be expected given the austerity reforms he…

Read More

An Upstart Retailer in India

DMart, a small, local retail chain in India, has found success that has eluded multinational players.  It is too early to know if the company’s growth will continue, but the population and per capita income growth that will happen in…

Read More

4G Transformation in India

Late last year and early this year, we shared two C&B Notes about the emerging internet user in developing economies and their apps/tools of choice, with a particular focus on India.  The delivery of a near-seamless internet experience on slow…

Read More

Africa’s Population is Exploding

From 2018 to 2035, the UN predicts that the world’s 10 fastest growing cities will be African.  Many people on the continent will simultaneously rise out of poverty.  Big structural issues remain, however, and Africa’s rate of progress on poverty…

Read More

Top-Down Trash

This article highlights the significant shortcomings of broad-brush investing in emerging markets.  Using index funds or ETFs to invest top-down in these geographies typically means committing capital largely to commodity producers and financials.  Sorting the treasure from the trash takes…

Read More

Another Leap Forward?

Blackstone’s Byron Wien summarizes his primarily optimistic views about China.  The questions for foreign investors are ultimately less about underlying growth and more about structural and geopolitical considerations that will impact how foreign capital is treated and who will benefit…

Read More

Brazil’s Massive Traffic Jam

A truckers’ strike in Brazil has shut down large swaths of the country’s already under-built and overburdened infrastructure, negatively impacting a wide range of companies and killing an estimated 64 million chickens. This story also highlights the ease with which…

Read More