Almost two years ago to the day we wrote about a return of animal spirits, the LBO of Heinz by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G, and the significant role debt had to play in the transaction. Yesterday Heinz announced that it is to merge with Kraft Foods to create the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world. The transaction will see Berkshire Hathaway and 3G invest an additional $10bn in t…Read the article
For years the Western world mocked Japan’s attempts to recover from its spectacular debt-fuelled boom and bust, blaming the Bank of Japan for doing far too little and far too late, and lamenting Japanese fiscal stimulus as extreme recklessness, where the only achievement has been to propel Japan’s debt levels into the stratosphere.
Now, seven years after much of the developed world’s own debt …Read the article
The spectre of deflation currently haunts central bankers around the world, though many of us would question whether the true effects of falling prices are being felt in the real economy and more importantly in consumers’ wallets.
According to the results of the M&G YouGov Inflation Expectations Survey over the past two years, European consumers often believe that inflation in one and five year…Read the article
As the old adage goes, markets don’t like uncertainty. And yet in just under two months we have a UK election, about which the only degree of confidence that anybody has is that the UK will have a second successive hung parliament – the key question is whether the UK ends up hung to the left, or to the right, or we get a potentially painful outcome somewhere in between.
So we thought it worthwh…Read the article
I am just back from a fascinating investor trip to the Middle-East, where I spent a week meeting with corporate and government bond issuers as well as market participants in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We spoke at length about Islamic finance, the oil price impact and geopolitical risk.
When I asked the question of the oil price impact on the region to corporate issuers and government offic…Read the article
The declining unemployment rate in the US has renewed the debate on the timing and pace of monetary tightening by the Fed. While wage pressures have been muted thus far, the risk is rising that further declines of unemployment will lower the rate below non-inflationary (NAIRU) levels and prompt the Fed to start hiking.
For emerging markets, one of the main transmission mechanisms is through wea…Read the article
Today, the War Loan issued in 1917 to help finance Britain in World War 1 is finally redeemed. We’ve written about it repeatedly over the years as it has always fascinated us. Was its coupon cut in 1932 a form of default from the UK government? Does George Osborne’s claim that it is being redeemed this year as a result of a tight grip on the public finances ring true?
To commemorate this most i…Read the article
Have you seen the film The Day After Tomorrow? The one where U.N. officials foolishly ignore climate scientist Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid) and a super-storm plunges New York into a new Ice Age? Well it was colder than that last week when Mike and I made a research visit over there. With wind-chill it was a billion below. I was only able to survive by laughing at Mike forgetting to wear a hat and g…Read the article
The Fed has basically used three major themes in response to the financial crisis from a monetary point of view:
- Lower short term rates
- Quantitative easing
- Operation twist – an attempt to flatten the yield curve
The Fed has communicated that it now expects the first move in normalising rates as the economy recovers will be to increase short term rates. Personally I think there are other alter…Read the article
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