In 1714, an Englishman called Bernard Mandeville published his poem entitled “The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Public Benefits”. The satire was about a hive of prosperous bees that were living a life of luxury. One day, some of the bees began to grumble that their lifestyle lacked virtue and the bees subsequently turn away from greed and extravagance. This leads to a rapid loss of prosp…Read the article
I’ve finally got round to reading Nate Silver’s The Signal and the Noise. It’s a brilliant analysis of why forecasts are often so poor, from the man who called every state correctly in the 2012 US presidential election. In short, predictions are often poor because they are too precise (asserting an absolute outcome rather than assigning probabilities to outcomes); there’s often a bias to overwe…Read the article
Are investors still compensated adequately for investing in peripheral rather than core European debt, or has the on-going convergence eroded debt valuation differentials altogether? In his latest blog entry, James highlighted five signs indicating that the bond markets consider the Eurozone crisis resolved. Inter alia, James pointed out that risk premiums for peripheral vs. core European high …Read the article
With many expecting a ‘great rotation’ out of fixed interest assets in 2013, bond investors will, in the main, have experienced a better year than some had predicted 12 months ago. It might not always have felt like it at the time – indeed, over the summer when markets were sent into a spin by the prospect of the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) cutting its supply of liquidity earlier than expected…Read the article
Back in January I wrote about why we loved the US dollar and worry about EM currencies, and did an update on EM in June (see EM debt funds hit by record daily outflow – is this a tremor, or is this ‘The Big One’?). Another EM piece will follow soon (the short version is that while it was ‘just’ a tremor, I’m increasingly worried that ‘The Big One’ is coming).
The US Dollar was strong through …Read the article
Italian politics has been in the international news, again. Markets tend to fear instability and Italy is always a creative and boundless source of uncertainty. We Italians have a wonderful ability to put ourselves into trouble. The good news is that markets in recent weeks have held up more than in the past.
1 – Political life in the peninsula
In the last few weeks, research from many well-kn…Read the article
Ever since the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Asian economies have generally engaged in a policy of maintaining artificially cheap currencies in order to generate export-led growth. This led to substantial political pressure being placed on Asian countries, primarily from the US, to allow their currencies to appreciate.
The problem facing export dependent Asia is that this growth model has now…Read the article
Any blog that begins with the words “Smaug the dragon is typically viewed as a fiscal phenomenon…” has immediately got my attention. Please read The Macroeconomics of Middle Earth by Frances Woolley. Woolley compares the size of the dragon’s hoard with a picture of the gold reserves at the Bank of England – although it is likely that Smaug is the beneficial owner of his gold, rather than a cust…Read the article
In my last blog, about the many positive signals for US housing and the massive potential for that to drive US growth over the next couple of years (see here). I mentioned that I’d met recently with George Trefgarne, the author of a Centre for Policy Studies booklet called Metroboom. In it he pointed out how important housing construction had been in the UK’s recovery from the “slump” of the 19…Read the article
Jim recently discussed the merits of officially cancelling the gilts bought back through QE, so I thought I would discuss another option that maintains the status quo through the Bank of England (BoE) simply rolling over the QE gilts into new gilts at maturity.
In order to understand the results of this process it is useful to re-examine how QE works.
Simply, QE is the willing exchange of gilts…Read the article