July 02, 2008

HousingPANIC is shuttin' it down (for five days). You're on your own.


And you know what usually happens when I go incommunicado... Oh, crap.

I'll be in Russia for a bit, anyone have any Moscow advice chime in. Gonna go try to figure out how THAT city of all cities became the most expensive one in the world.

To think, just a few years back their currency was worthless, their leader an incompetent buffoon, and their economy in shambles. You know, like the USA today.


I hope to pop into an internet cafe to do comments, but that'll be about it

Have a good 4th, hunker down, and we'll be back at it next week

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. Don't take a taxi cab at the airport, it's too expensive.
2. Don't argue with a policeman.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Get ur popcorn out, things are about to get really interesting here...
JDF

bearmaster said...

Enjoy your vacation Keith!

keith said...

I'm loaded up on RSX so gonna see what the locals think about that wall of oil money heading Russia's way

Medvedev said he's gonna try to NOT spend it internally, knowing if he does it'll send inflation to the moon. So that means investing it externally I think

Imagine Russia buying up American companies? Coming soon to a reality near you.

Mark in San Diego said...

Never been to Russia - have fun. . .when you come back we can start - GM Watch. . .let's guess the date they file Chapter 11. . .or the Chinese buy them.

Anonymous said...

Watch out for scams, pickpockets, muggers and what you post on tne internet. Even the cops steal you id.

Glenna said...

Russia took over the oil wealth from the private sector because they could then help drive the cost of oil up and use it as leverage to pull their economy out of the duldrums. Mission successful. Now, I suspect hedge funds and troubled lenders, investment banks and the down-right wealthy are also speculating about the prices of oil and getting rich too. They know that Bush is going to take the U.S. into Iran and are just waiting to accumulate more wealth from their oil stocks as they go up and don't care that America is going to crumble from this or that it will be a military and foreign relations nightmare.

keith said...

I've queued up some posts to run in my absence the next few days - cool new feature on blogger that you can do that

but unfortunately comments will be lagging

still add your 2c, and who knows, maybe since russia is swimming in it now internet won't be a hassle

Batman said...

You're going to be away when GM gets a stop trade order called on it. Too bad.

Anonymous said...

Keith have a great trip. Here is some music for your trip!

http://tinyurl.com/5opokw

Anonymous said...

I had my honeymoon in Moscow and St Pete 4 yrs ago. Facinating!

It was more the spectacle than anything else in Moscow. Hire a tour guide and driver for next to nothing.

As an airline pilot I was taken by their space museum. I expected something like our Air and Space Museum. No. It was at the entrance to a trash filled park. The entrance to the museum was obscured with dumptsters.

The tour guide told us that the greatest crime threat was the police.

Enjoy

Anonymous said...

not so many internet cafes in Moscow - be aware

hotels are really very expensive. If you have a place to live already (friend, etc.) then it's not too bad

--vk

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith,

I am certain the market is going to tank again tommorow.

It never fails when you leave for awhile.

Maybe you can say hello to comrade Bernanke and Andrew Hack!!!!

HP will be having a bang up 4th of July.

ICEMAN

Anonymous said...

Never trust a Russian.

Russia has no leadership, just oil crooks. Drive 1/2 hr outside Moscow to see the truth.

David said...

Try CoffeeMania - it's a great restaurant next to the Music Conservatory, and the absolute best place to see supermodel-quality hot Russian women hanging out, hoping to be picked up by musicians. The food is about as good as you're going to get in Moscow - try the "Duck Shooting Salad" with a Furstenburg beer - great eating.

This place is walking distance from the Kremlin - about 1/2 way between Red Square and Pushkin Park.

Oh, and Moscow is the most expensive city in the world because the rest of the country is still dirt poor. It's filtering down, little by little now, as the gov't actually tries to figure out ways to unclench the oligarchies death-grip on the wealth of the country. It's not an easy battle - but hey, at least they're trying.

More than you can say about the U.S. these days...

Anonymous said...

Keith,

Better get out of Appl before its too late.

Anonymous said...

coal, GM and the financial including gold all went down today.

I dont think there was any green anywhere in the markets.

Steve said...

Ok, I'm sick of popcorn. Where's the show??

Anonymous said...

I was in moscow in 1990 as a student, what a strange place and time. I remember restuffing Kosmos cigarettes with weed with some local dude with an Elvis shirt in Cyrillic. Then we went to Leningrad and drank lemon vodka all white night long with some incredibly ugly russian girls. I bought an entire russian military officer uniform for $5; the dude stripped right there. There was a line around the block for shampoo. I slipped a few nice kids an american dollar here and there and their whole family came back the next day and thanked me. Crazy times. Hope it doesn't get that bad here.

james said...

"Even the cops steal you id."

Xerox your passport. If a cop asks for you pasport, give them the xreox. They like to take them and hit you up for cash to get it back, especailly around the tourist areas.

formosan80 said...

Q: How Moscow became expensive?
A: The Russian mofia.

Anonymous said...

Keith,

You are a closet commie. Going to the USSR during Independendce Day?!?!?!?!?! Tell you what, if you are even an American, just stay the hell in London.

I too would like to visit Moscow, however, I would never do this during the 4th of July. Stay out of the USA, we no longer need your kind here. Please feel free to censor this comment as you like to censor others. I hope you die with that andrew hac f*ck benedict arnold. Go on and vote for your "al-cayda" barrack osama, prick.

panicearly said...

Beware of Russian women. good looking and cunning.

Anonymous said...

Japan's key Nikkei stock index fell Thursday for the 11th straight trading session in the longest losing streak in more than half a century on worries over the U.S. economy ahead of the release of key U.S. jobs data.

keith said...

I left the funny comment about be being a commie up just because ignorance needs to be pointed to and mocked

Someone get my back, Ok?

My only response is this. Expats are America's ambassadors, and some of its greatest assets. And we pay American taxes on our worldwide incomes regardless of where we live, and yet don't use American services.

And oh, I found a source for imported American groceries. Sure missed those heinz hamburger dills and stubbs BBQ sauce. Got hooked up now.

I'm leaving heathrow now so peace out - have a good 4th everyone, no matter where you are

Anonymous said...

I visit Moscow often, and I just returned to the US. You will probably have a good time.
But English will not get you far in many places.

Anonymous said...

Keight Have a good one,

Now TSHTF!

Beignet

Area51 said...

So I guess if we destroy the press freedoms, assassinate dissidents, jail billionaires and commandeer their corporations, withhold petroleum from neighbors, we'll end up the most expensive country in the world....
Then we'd be back on track I suppose......
I knew you were a f*cking commie.

Anonymous said...

Actually you get (if you qualify) a foreign earned income exclusion of $85,700, so you do not pay any US taxes on this amount. Bluh! Say hello to Stalin.

Anonymous said...

GO TO UKRAINE AND SEE ALL THE BEAUTIES THERE THAT WERE IN THE "SEND FOR A RUSSIAN BRIDE" BOOKS AND FILMS I WAS SENT ABOUT THE TIME I WENT BROKE AND THOUGHT I MIGHJ BE BETTER IF I KEPT BRIDES ABOUT AS FDAR AWAY AS THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD...WHICH HAS PROVEN TO BE A LONG RUNNING MISTAKE, ,, AND IM STILL ABOUT BROKE...

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to all the crap about Police taking your papers - the police pick on the rich, not tourists in Moscow.
Moscow's the most expensive because millions of young russians come here as theres no future in their villages. Its just demand & supply. Also, they used real estate to prop up their dying economy, just like the USA.
Remember to cross main streets in Moscow via under-road walkways!!

k.w. - Southern Ca. said...

This won't seem so far-fetched as we proceed further through the year:
http://tinyurl.com/2gmljp

Home/house owner, house debter, renter - makes no difference, we're in for some really hard times.

Anonymous said...

word panicearly, word...

Anonymous said...

You do realize that AAPL uses only Nvidia cards on its most popular items, like the MacBook Pro laptop, right? Enjoy:

Nvidia (NVDA) shares slumped almost 30% in early trade after warning late Wednesday that current-quarter sales won't meet forecasts due to slower global demand. The graphics chipmaker also said its gross margin - a key measure of profitability - won't meet forecasts.

shterenta said...

Hey Keith,

great blog, one of the best out there. Moscow on absolute terms actually is NOT the most expensive city, that is Oslo:

http://tinyurl.com/5thmqv

This is speaking in nominal terms. However, when speaking using the New York City as benchmark, Moscow comes out more expensive based on a 'lifestyle' that the study measures. So in other words, if you simply compare item for item Oslo, London, etc are more expensive, but if you compare a lifestyle of Western expectations, Moscow comes out more expensive.

The main reason behind this is rent. Moscow, along with a number of other Russian / Ukraine cities still has a very low number relatively speaking of western renovated apartments so the rents are actually much higher in cities like Moscow than Oslo, Zurich, etc.

After you're done with Moscow, consider Ukraine. Kiev and Odessa are great cities. Odessa is wonderful in July / August, all coastal, lots of character. Kiev is a capital, similar to Moscow in some ways, but much less expensive. Also, Ukraine is the LAST European country that still has its currency pegged to a dollar and because of this the inflation is out of control (which actually is exactly the same in US, but the difference is that the government there actually tells you how it is, vs. bernanke's goons telling you that your annual raise of 4% is more than enough to cover the inflation).

If you come to Kiev or Odessa, check out http://wwww.kievapts.com and http://www.odessaapts.com for apartments and tourist information in both cities. Once you come, you may never want to leave :-) a lot cheaper than London too, and much better veiws :-)

Anonymous said...

buy some oil while you're there

Anonymous said...

Keith, Ignore the trolls!

There are many FBs and unemployed 6%ers who will say or do anything and blame everyone for their own problems.

Enjoy your trip. We are Americans 24/7 and not just on July 4th.

Happy Independence Day to all!

Anonymous said...

The Nikkei has lost more than eight percent of its value over the 12-day fall, which is the longest losing streak since the index stumbled for 15 straight trading days starting April 28, 1954.

bobby jones said...

I went to the USSR when it was still communist and enjoyed the place a lot; the bolshoi orchastra was amaznig and I'll probably never experience anything like it again.

Anonymous said...

Keith take a good look at what communists did to Russia over 70 years. This is what will happen if your boy Obama gets in this fall. When government runs everything, it runs nothing well. Yet you liberal tools still can't grasp this.

Eric said...

I was in Moscow in the fall of 2006 and was there for about 10 days. It's a grim, incredibly crowded city. The traffic is the worst I've ever seen and I've traveled all over the world. They park and drive on the sidewalks there. It's also a very corrupt and dangerous place. Do carry your papers with you. The police cannot be trusted - everyone is on the take. The mob runs everything. We were at an event hall -- brand new -- that was barely being utilized. There was a luxury mall next door with the highest end goods imaginable and virtually no one shopping. The Mayor's wife apparently owns the largest construction company so they build things on tax dollars for the good of the elites.

On the positive side, we did meet some friendly Russians. We did have some great food. The Kremlin tour and a visit to Red Square is worth it. The Souvenirs there are great. The tour of Lenin's tomb is surreal. Hope you enjoy the trip. It's a glimpse into a very strange economy indeed.

keith said...

- 30 minute taxi ride - $100
- Minibar bottle of coke - $13
- Realizing that the US dollar is nearly worthless in a former communist country that recently defaulted on its debt - Priceless..

Interesting city, beautiful sights, amazing metro, history galore, that crazy Moscow.

And they say the ruble is 20% undervalued.

Makes you go hmmm...

Andrew from Russia said...

> And they say the ruble is 20% undervalued.
> Makes you go hmmm...

Whatever they say, Russia increases its broad money supply by 20% in 8 months time, and if the rouble is still "undervalued" by then, then that's quite a big "hmmm"! There's clearly no economic expansion that large to warrant a 33% YoY increase in M2, so it mostly trickles down into consumer price-wage spiral (and the stupid consumer credit boom), while the accumulation of USD reserves by the Central Bank depresses the dollar's exchange rate. My guess is that, in the end, it all hinges up on whether the $145 oil is a bubble or not. Anyway, I'm in a liquidation mode for roubles these days - it's all too good to be true.

None said...

you got ripped off on that cab ride. sounds like the airport taxi mafia to me.

keith said...

Oh, dinner for 2: $400 one place, $100 similar place

Train to the airport $7

Coke from a newsstand: $1.20

Breakfast at hotel: $60. Breakfast on the street: $2

Strangest city - some prices were insane, others were dirt cheap. It's not set up for tourism - which is nice. Not a lot of english to be found, no english newspapers for sale. And only got shaken down once for a passport - no bribe taken.

Didn't get a sense of housing prices though since there were no estate agents to be seen (unlike England where they're everywhere), and the ads I saw didn't list the price

Strange, strange city, but should be seen. Bring lots of money.