A Quick Note on Ecopetrol’s Upcoming Dividend

Colombian oil major Ecopetrol(EC) will pay its 2nd dividend payment for the year later this month. The Ex-Dividend Date for the ADR is June 24th and the dividend will be paid on July 3rd. The Dividend amount is 3,120 Colombian pesos per DR. So at today’s exchange rate this would amount to $0.805 per DR. Of course, the actual amount paid will vary based on the exchange rate on July 3rd.

Currently there is no dividend withholding taxes charged by Colombia. So the dividend received will be the full amount for US investors. Ecopetrol closed at $12.30 on Friday and is mostly flat for the year. At the current share price the dividend yield is over 13% for 2024. This included the 1st payment of the same amount paid in April this year.

The following chart shows the YTD price returns of Ecopetrol vs. a few other oil majors:

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Source: Google Finance


Disclosure: Long EC

The Periodic Table of Commodities Returns 2023: Chart

U.S. Global Investors published updated version of The Periodic Table of Commodities Returns chart with 2023 data earlier this year. Gold was the top performer last year with a return of over 13%. The worst performer was Lithium with a loss of about 82% as the craze for EV demand cooled last year.

Copper prices are soaring so far this year. The metal is up by about 25% YTD. It remains to be seen if Copper would end up as the best performing metal this year. Last year it had the second best return as shown in the chart below:

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Source: U.S. Global Investors

For an interactive version of the above chart go here.

elated ETFs and companies:

  • Barclays Bank iPath Pure Beta Crude Oil ETN Exp 18 Apr 2041 (OIL)
  • Albemarle Corporation (ALB)
  • Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (SQM)
  • SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)

Disclosure: No positions

Government Debt-to-GDP vs. Interest Payments to Govt. Revenues for Select Countries: Chart

Many investors worry about the debt-to-GDP ratio when evaluating a country’s economy. For example, the US national debt is over $34.5 Trillion according to the US Treasury. The debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 124.7 % of the nominal GDP in March 2024. The record low was at 31.8%. The cost service the debt amounted to 2.4% of the GDP in 2023. In terms of dollars, total net interest payments was $658 billion in 2023. This figure is indeed small when compared to other countries. The key point is ability to service the debt and not the total debt outstanding. I came across the below chart that compared the debt-to-GDP ratio against the interest payments to government revenues for select countries in 2023:

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Source: The demographic wave: The tide is going out, Franklin Templeton Institute

For many developing and frontier countries, the debt-to-GDP is not only high but the servicing cost of the debt is also high. For instance, Angola spent 24% of its revenue to service its 85% debt-to-GDP ratio. Or to put it another way, nearly one-fourth of its revenue went to interest payments. For Italy on the other hand, debt servicing cost was just 8%. So this gives the country the ability to access further credit unlike Angola. For India and Mexico, servicing cost was over 27% and 23% respectively in 2023.

Fast Food is No Longer Cheap in the US: Chart

Fast food used to cheap in the US many years ago. That is no longer the case. Fast food which is basically “junk” and unhealthy food has become incredibly expensive in the past few years especially since the pandemic. Multiple factors have led to menu prices soaring. These include higher labor costs, inflation, rising food costs, increasing commercial rents, insurance costs, etc. I came across the following chart that shows how fast food prices have outpaced inflation since 2014:

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Source: @MichaelAArouet via syz Group

Higher food prices have not led to a significant decrease in sales among the major chains. However due to rising consumer backlash McDonald’s for instance is launching a $5 meal in June for a month. Burger King is also joining the battle with a $5 meal.

In terms of stock returns, Chipotle Mexican Grill(CMG) is the best performer YTD and also in the past 5 years as the charts below show:

Select fast-food restaurant stock returns YTD as of May 24, 2024:

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Select fast-food restaurant stocks 5-returns as of May 24, 2024:

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Source: Google Finance

Related Companies:

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG)
  • McDonald’s Corporation (MCD)
  • Restaurant Brands International Inc.(QSR)
  • Wendy’s Company (The) (WEN)
  • Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM)

Disclosure: No positions

Islamic Sects – Major Schools and Notable Branches: Infographic

Islam is the second largest religion in the world after Christianity. Around 1.8 billion people are followers of Islam. Indonesia has the largest number of followers followed by Pakistan and India. Similar to other religions, Islam also has multiple sects and sub-sects with Shia and Sunni being the major sects. Recently I came across the below infographic that shows many interesting details about Islam:

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Source: Information is Beautiful