Global Macro


Is Bernanke blowing another bubble?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke mounted a spirited defense of quantitative easing on Tuesday in his semiannual monetary policy report to Congress, arguing that it’s effects were little different to conventional monetary policy: Large-scale purchases of longer-term securities are a less familiar means of providing monetary policy stimulus than reducing the federal funds rate, but the


The next domino

Predicting economic outcomes is hard. Predicting economic outcomes in conjunction with political unrest is impossible. Especially if that unrest is at the centre of global energy production. At least, that is the conclusion one should draw from last night’s US selloff. Rumours of Saudi unrest are flying, without much substantiation. Ongoing protests are planned in


Is gold the new global reserve?

Someone else has finally noticed that a sea change has transpired in forex markets during the oil crisis. As this blogger noted last week, the $US has not enjoyed its traditional safe haven role on the flight to safety trade. Sovereign Man picks up the theme today to argue that this is the end for


A new “flation”

The sudden rise of the oil price has thrown a cat amongst the monetary pidgeons. Very respectable and noteworthy watchers of the global economy are at complete loggerheads about where we now are in the business cycle. The various “flations” – in, re, de, dis – are being bandied about but nobody, so far as


Crazy Korean Banking

Yesterday I posted about the silent Korean bank run. Today I note that the issue that never existed is fading away. The turmoil in the savings bank industry seems have stabilized for now, but that hasn’t stopped participants from finger pointing over the cause of the crisis. After the Financial Services Commission announced its decision


Geopolitical risk: don’t forget China

Investors are nervously watching the situation in Libya unfold this week as fears grow that the unrest could spread to larger neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, disrupting the supply of oil.  Oil rose above $100 a barrel in New York today, while one investment bank predicted that if Libya and Algeria alone were to halt


Bad news is good news

It may feel like chaos today, but at least according to markets, it isn’t. There is a pattern to what is going on. It isn’t all that reassuring but it isn’t running for the hills, either. The markets that are getting hammered the most are those that have run the farthest: S&P500, copper, iron ore.


ANZ dodges Korean bullet

A few weeks ago the The Age reported that Koreans were roasting Mike Smith for his lack of business finesse in the Asian market. ANZ has not just stumbled in its attempt to strengthen its footing in Asia but also has spoiled its image, being trumped by Kim Seung-yu, chairman of Hana Financial, which has


1989 redux

In 1989 a wave of populist uprisings threw communism out of Eastern Europe and, ultimately, Russia. Today, we have a similar situation developing across the Middle East. The cultures and political systems differ, but what seems to have been similar to date is that the roots of discontent have been popular enough. Different nations are


Gordon Gekko is driving the Death Star

Here we go again. The “US is in trouble because of its soaring debt.” An oldie but a goodie. My estimable fellow bloggers are wringing their hands over the apparent vulnerability of the American economy as all those wicked Chinese buy up US Treasuries.  All very worrying, except that it doesn’t matter. Why? Because what does


Will Ben print again?

With June and the end of Federal Reserve bond purchases fast approaching, the question that must surely be growing in the minds of global traders, policy-makers concerned about food inflation or anyone that gives a hoot about Australia’s non-resource exports is ‘will Ben do it again?’ By that, this blogger means Ben Bernanke and the


Neocon’s revenge II

History, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. You may recall that September 11, 2001 marked the rise in the US of a new breed of foreign policy hawk: The Neoconservatives. The stated goal of the ‘Neocons’ was a “Project for a New American Century”. Their principles were laid out in 1997 in


Guest post: La Niña, the black swan

This week’s disastrous floods in Queensland have tragically claimed many lives in addition to leaving thousands homeless and without businesses to return to, but the biggest cost economically may be felt abroad. I’m not talking about reinsurance here – though that is indeed an issue considering the estimated $5 billion damages bill – but about


Uh oh, euro

Yes, that pattern could be seen as a nice head and shoulders top for the euro. No surprise, really, with Europe’s bail-ins rolling inexorably toward Portugal. As FT Alphaville illustrated so nicely overnight: …it took Greece and Ireland less than a month to request EU/IMF aid after their 10-year bond yields breached that all-important 7


Delusion everywhere.

Looks like the bears are back into hibernation for the short term, Europe’s banking fairy tale seems to have gone down well, (let us all ignore Hungary for a while ) and has done the same delusional good work that the US banking fairy tale did. Lets hope those central banks keep their pedal on


If you are going to make up a story… Make it a good one.

The world seems utterly unconvinced by Europe’s fairy tale that their banks will live happily ever. European regulators found that seven banks need to raise a combined 3.5 billion euros ($4.5 billion) of capital, underwhelming analysts who said the stress tests may not have been strict enough. “The amount of capital needed is much lower