Links August 14

Global Macro:

  • As the world looks at Iran, the Niger Delta remains an oily, dangerous mess. The Economist
  • Facebook’s not the only silicon superstar to struggle: Groupon staff fell the heat. Wall Street Journal
  • Tired of burgernomics or the lipstick index? Meet the vixen index. Investment Postcards


  • Egypt’s president replaces army heads, asserts authority. Al Jazeera. Backlash to come?
  • Chinese warships in the Mediterranean. MK Bhadrkumar. Keeping the Russians company or just paying a visit?

United States:

  • Does it matter that nobody knows who Paul Ryan is? Washington Post
  • The Democrats certainly know him… and they’re very happy. New York Times


  • Euro crisis becomes generational conflict. Spiegel Online
  • Breaking up the euro area: Angela Merkel’s Plan B. The Economist. Must read.
  • German tax authorities set their sites on Singapore. Spiegel Online. I remember hearing from some Swiss private bank friends that all the good jobs moved from Zurich to Singapore a long time ago…


  • Legal redress from Chongqing ‘victims’ will be legacy of Bo’s downfall. Reuters. As they say, be careful of throwing stones in glass houses and be careful of befriending your enemy’s enemies.
  • Kaifeng’s $15.7bn contribution to stimulus: the recreation of a song-dynasty downtown. China Daily. Maybe there are lessons here for Greece’s economy- just rebuild the acropolis and all will be well.
  • Social security’s contribution to stimulus. The Economist. But still so much further to go…
  • Indonesian bonds go from region’s worst to best. Jakarta Globe
  • And Southeast Asian multinationals now flex their muscles abroad. Wall Street Journal
  • Meanwhile in India, is an obsession with gold to blame for current account problems? Economic Times
  • Communalism rears its ugly head in Mumbai/Bombay. Financial Times. Will be interesting see if the Shiv Sena and RSS/BJP use this as an excuse to ramp anti-Muslim sentiment into anti-Congress sentiment heading into Independence Day.
  • Chinese fugitive killer, described as ‘Rambo style’ on the microblogs, is on the loose. China Daily
  • Watch for Sinocism later today for more China links


  • The moral bankruptcy of our ruling classes. Alan Kohler
  • Aussie sub-prime scandal grows. 7:30 Report. See Leith van Onselen today for more.
  • Has Lachlan Partners’ Scott Dixon discovered the magic Buffett metric? Barrie Dunstan
  • Chinese inequality a myth of statistics. AFR. Wish I could believe that.
  • Now this: Chinese slowdown a myth of headlines. Michael Pascoe.
  • New dawn for BlueScope. Adele Ferguson
  • BCA calls for lift in dole payments. The Australian. Surprising.
  • Full report from the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. DPMC


  • Third time lucky: George Soros is getting married again. Reuters
  • The microeconomics of complaining: how to stop compensation claims. The Economist
  • Rebuilding the Buddha Pakistan’s Taliban failed to destroy. Al Jazeera
  • Saudi Arabia plans a new city… for women only. The Guardian


  1. The Pascometer is glowing bright red with this:

    Main driver

    But enough on exports. Despite the rhetoric of some trade sabre-rattlers, they are not China’s main economic growth driver anyway.

    That title belongs to construction and infrastructure investment – the sort of stuff that is indicated by China’s investment growth which remained steady last month at a remarkable 20.4 per cent.

    Pascoe correctly identifies China’s manic construction boom as the main driver of growth, but there are two problems with this:

    1. Double-digit investment growth is clearly unsustainable if China is ever to transition to a consumer-led economy.

    2. Patrick Chovanec who is on the ground in China, and has been for many years, reckons investment growth is close to zero.

    Whether Chovanec is correct now or not, he will be soon enough. It seems to me the China boosters are becoming increasingly shrill in their defense of their China-will-grow-forever ideology.