Global Macro


Deepening crisis

Houses and Holes defined the growing Western policy chaos this morning and right on cue the new IMF boss Christine Lagarde has thrown her two cents worth into the mess that is Europe with comments this afternoon that the “IMF hasn’t yet discussed New Greek aid details with EU, nothing should be taken for granted


Western policy chaos

Look, I’m not a bear by nature. And frankly, I’m a bit tired with the grim macro outlook. But it is what it is and today it’s most definitely taken a turn for the worse. Contagion is now rampant in ten and two year bonds at the core of Europe. Here are the charts: Italy


Mama mia

I’m a long way from the action sitting here in Newcastle but markets were off a little earlier this morning on news stories that the chances of a Greek default had rocketed up the ratings again. It seems that like any rational human being, European politicians are rethinking their stance on default given the ratings


Blame the lenders

Exclusively from Michael Pettis’ newsletter: Over the past two years we have become pretty used to the spectacle of Chinese government officials warning the US about its responsibility to maintain the value of the huge amount of US treasury bonds the PBoC has accumulated. More recently we have been hearing complaints in Germany about the


Is Trichet jawboning for a full union?

In light of the ECB rate rise yesterday the Wall Street Journal has a great article on the current perceived contradictory position held by the European Central Bank. The European Central Bank is trying to rescue the euro and keep a lid on inflation. It will find it can do one of these, but not both.


Europe slowing – Italy joins watch list

From the AFP Private sector activity in the eurozone was weaker than forecast in June, hitting 20-month low level with recoveries slowing in Germany and France, a key growth indicator showed on Tuesday. The data showed that output fell in Italy and Spain while Ireland continued to record a “very modest” pace of expansion, according


S&P – It’s a default

This morning I said we were waiting for ratings, and I said on my later post that it all hinges on the rating agencies. Tonight they have spoken and it would seem that the Greek crisis is far from over. Two rollover proposals being touted for Greek debt would amount to a selective default, ratings


Pencil in September

As I have been talking about this for months now, nothing is actually being fixed in Europe. Until the less productive countries actually default or Europe creates itself a real fiscal/monetary union then the “debt show” will roll on. The Wall street Journal reports today that the next act for Greece begins in September. Euro-zone


Saul Eslake on commodity prices

Saul Eslake, Director of Productivity Growth Program at the Grattan Institute, yesterday presented a paper at the International Conference of Commercial Bank Economists in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on some of the longer term demand and supply factors shaping the behaviour of commodity prices, over the past decade and over the next 5-15 years. The full paper is below and


Has Greece asked Argentina?

As my readers would know I have been discussing Europe’s financial issues for quite some time. I have stated many times that Greece’s issues are far bigger than just internal fiscal policy, and that I consider Greece’s default an inevitability due to its macro-economic position within the European marketplace. Overnight PIMCO added their voice to


Sell the rallies

So, the Dow and euro are up as the latest debt crisis passes, again. I wish it were so. We have had a stonking sell-off and I suspect it’s time for a technical bounce, with some evidence beginning to flow through that lower commodities are boosting US purchasing power, and Bernanke likely to offer QE2.5


Greece: End of days ?

Another day, another episode in the soap opera that is European economics. It seems more detached from reality the longer it goes on. From Reuters: Euro zone finance ministers postponed a final decision on extending 12 billion euros ($17 billion) in emergency loans to Greece, saying Athens would first have to introduce harsh austerity measures.


Four dark clouds

The Dow went up a bit last night. Hooray! But if you think this correction is over, think again. This is the correction we have to have. Think about it. There are four big economies in the world: Japan, EU, China and the US. A dark cloud hangs over each. Japan is far worse than


The debt that killed the UK economy

Back in April, Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich from the Centre for Independent Studies wrote an article in Fairfax on the worrying parallels between the UK and Australian economies and housing markets. The current mood in Australia triggers eerie memories for me. I feel as if I have experienced this scenario before – not in Australia


Goosing the stockmarket

Regular readers will know that I am confident that QE3 is on the way sometime after markets get their swoon on. There are a number of reasons why I’ve formed that judgement. First, it’s because, in my view, the US economy is driven by markets, not the other way around. As Alan Greenspan argued in


Ups and Dow

As the US market starts to look rocky it is worth remembering that the rise over the last couple of years has been strong. The report by Prudential to which I referred on the weekend had some interesting insights into share valuations in America. It is not being driven by sentiment, it is being driven


Boozing with central banks

In mid to late 2007, I had a couple of beers with a very impressive individual who had just returned from a rather important US Federal Reserve conference. Apparently, the conference had been abuzz with discussion and dark rumour of an ensuing economic accident. My drinking partner told me that there was a distinct possibility


Avant garde economics

My esteemed co-blogger Deep T made the comment that too little attention is being paid on MacroBusiness to creative solutions to the problems that are documented in great detail on MacroBusiness. I would go a step further. Economic analysis generally suffers from a deep flaw. Because it is a quasi-science (although in no respect truly


Commodities crash brewing

So, the game of QE3 is afoot. Let’s begin with an excerpt from John Hilsenrath of the WSJ: Federal Reserve officials are in no hurry to respond to recent indications U.S. economic growth has hit another soft patch, despite chatter in financial markets that the Fed might start a new program of U.S. Treasury-bond purchases


QE3 chicken

Breaking news! Last night, Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, announced he is pregnant.  A glowing Bernanke told a packed press conference that the child was neither a girl nor a boy. It was, in fact, a third round of quantitative easing. The child is expected to be born before the year is out. Don’t say


Greece’s inevitable default

While browsing Bloomberg the other night I noticed two stories about Europe in the top stories list, one under the other. Greece’s Cabinet Approves Asset Sales German Construction, Exports Drove First Quarter When I saw them together I laughed out loud and wondered to myself how many people would see those two stories and understand


Risa and rise of the yuan

There is a changing of the guard going on in currency leadership that not many people are watching nor commenting on. It is similar in nature to what is happening with the leadership in global growth and the drivers of the economy and it is why Anthony Bolton of Fidelity moved from the UK to


Time to buy?

I really don’t think so. There are some fair reasons to think we might bounce in the short term. From the FT: Equities and commodities continued to stabilise following the risk sell-off seen at the start of this week, although nagging worries over eurozone sovereign debt kept anxiety levels among investors high. The latest concerns


Solon’s ghost: Greek default scenarios

The latest this morning is that the EU is trying to shoehorn Greek government asset sales. This could provide both the opportunity to pay down some public debt and boost productivity, helping the rest of the economy better handle the debt left over. However, I’m not yet reassured by these measures. It’s not at all


King dollar

FT Alphaville today catches up to reality with an explanation of movements in the $US: Take everything you ever thought you knew about foreign exchange and bin it. According to HSBC’s stellar FX guru David Bloom, currency markets are trading through the looking glass, and will continue to do so for some while. As he noted


Is Greece Lehman II?

Over the weekend came this news from the WSJ: French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde signaled Paris might support a rescheduling of Greek debt, warning that Greece is at risk of default if it doesn’t do more to bring its public finances into order. The comments mark a shift in France’s position in a debate that


Emerging vs developed: the great divergence

Perhaps an underappreciated consequence of the 2008 global financial crisis has been a great divergence in the fortunes of developed economies and those of emerging markets. In its May “Secular Outlook“, the bond fund manager PIMCO has some very nice charts that illustrate this process well. First, while the debt levels of G20 advanced economies


Is QE setting markets up for a crash?

As highlighted today by my colleague Houses and Holes, a growing number of commentators — most recently Richard “Balance Sheet Recession” Koo — are weighing in on on the folly of quantitative easing and the risk that it poses for asset prices. The main charge is as follows. As The Bernank himself has hinted at


Richard Koo on QE3

Mr ‘balance sheet recession’ himself holds forth on the follies of QE. Highly recommended reading… As I spoke with investors in London and Geneva last week, markets were rocked by a resurgence of fiscal problems in Greece and a steep drop in the price of silver andother commodities.In London there was talk in the market that the drop in commodity