Numlock News: June 7, 2021 • Street Value, Olympics, Cocoa

By Walt Hickey

Welcome back!


Ghana produces a fifth of global cocoa exports, the raw material fueling the $130 billion global chocolate industry. However, because they’re just in the raw material export business and not the refining, manufacturing or marketing business, less than $2 billion goes to Ghana for their cocoa annually. At absolute most, farmers get 7 percent of the chocolate value chain, with 80 percent going to those who make, market and sell it, and those companies tend to be in rich countries. That’s one reason Ghana’s set its sights on developing a domestic manufacturing industry capable of converting the cocoa into bars suitable for export. The challenges are formidable — Ghana doesn’t have a significant dairy industry, power costs are volatile and high, and its infrastructure lags that of established players — but if they pull it off, it’d ensure a serious chunk of the value produced from one of their most important exports.

David Pilling, Financial Times


Bicycles are big business, with the $3.742 billion U.S. new bike sales in 2017 rising to $4.004 billion by 2019, and then significantly expanding in 2020 to $4.8 billion. Higher prices for bicycles are the result of higher demand, increasing raw materials prices, and a supply chain still reeling from the pandemic. It’s not just new bikes seeing the market expand significantly: the $1.2 billion market for used bikes in 2017 hit $1.7 billion last year, and the $1.988 billion market for bicycle parts and accessories four years ago hit $2.343 billion last year.

Justin Blum, Bloomberg


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It beat expectations and made $24 million in the domestic market this past weekend, beating out A Quiet Place Part II, and for the first time in a year bringing a bona fide sense of competition to the weekly box office rankings yet again. The film — the third in the Conjuring series — actually managed to make more in its inaugural weekend than the most recent Annabelle film, a spinoff of the franchise released in summer 2019 to $20 million.

Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter


It’s a great year if you’re a teenager who wants a job, with the percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds who work now up to 33.2 percent, the highest level since 2008. Two industries that are serious employers of teenagers — leisure and hospitality, which employed 40 percent of working teens last year, and retail, which employed 25 percent — are also hard up for workers. As of the end of March, there were 1.2 million open hospitality jobs and 734,000 open retail jobs. This could be huge for commodities and industries that cater to the newly-flush teens, which primarily include trendy apparel stores that are visually and sonically heinous to those over age 24, certified pre-owned automobile lots, independent sellers of mids and schwag, and the manga section of Barnes & Noble.

Patrick Thomas, The Wall Street Journal

Quit Playing Games

A new poll of 1,000 Japanese adults finds just 17 percent believe the Tokyo Summer Olympics should be held as scheduled, down from 25 percent who thought as much when the same survey was held in mid-March. As of the most recent poll, 45 percent of respondents believe the games should be straight-up cancelled — up from 38 percent in March — while 26 percent think they should be postponed again. Only 2.7 percent of Japanese have completed their inoculations to COVID-19.

Alex Silverman, Morning Consult

Street Value

Across the 20 most populous counties in the United States — which, given their urban nature, are incidentally home to some of the most expensive housing in the country — a new study has put a hard number on the fraction of land handed over simply to streets, which across the counties averaged 55 feet wide. All told, in these counties 18 percent of the total land area was forked over to roads. In Brooklyn, that hit a high of 30 percent of land. The value of those streets in those 20 counties, had they been zoned instead for single-family homes, would be worth $959 billion. Naturally, lots of that value is forked over for free to vehicle users without much of a second thought, but following pandemic-era measures to get more use out of streets for local residents and pedestrians, that could change.

Laura Bliss, CityLab

Jupiter’s Legacy

Last month, Jupiter’s Legacy, an adaptation of a Millarworld comic by Netflix, debuted and hit the top of Nielsen’s new attempt to rank streaming shows. In the just-released numbers from May 3 to 9, an estimated 696 million minutes of Jupiter’s Legacy was streamed over the course of the week, edging out The Handmaid’s Tale with 690 million minutes, Selena: The Series with 639 million, and Shadow and Bone with 555 million minutes. That evidently wasn’t enough to punch its ticket to a second season, as a day after the numbers came out Netflix announced it was releasing the Jupiter’s Legacy cast from its contracts rather than booking a second season. The range of values for the cost of the first season was $130 million to $200 million, so it’s a costly miss even for a company accustomed to $17 billion annual content budgets.

Andrew Wallenstein, Variety

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