For some months now, we have been warning of the stresses building in China’s credit structure and warning that, if unaddressed, they would lead to pain in asset markets and potentially to weakness out in the real economy. Here, we lay out the arguments in detail.
A theme which frequently pops up in current financial and economic commentary is that of the burgeoning levels of outstanding debt under which all too many nations are said to groan. Typically, reference will be made to the percentage of GDP which this mountain of obligations entails, usually by way of putting it into a context which is deliberately slanted to be alarming. But how valid is this comparison?Continue reading …
Are equities ‘overpriced’ and if so, by how much? What about bonds or that largely forgotten asset-class, commodities? How do the three of them inter-relate and can we take advantage of such behaviour in order to build a better, more macro-resilient portfolio?
We take a detailed look, here, in the presentation found by clicking on the link:
Does it make sense to plot multi-decade asset prices on a linear scale? How reliable are macro ‘profit’ estimates? Why is the curve flattening and what will a reduction in Central Bank reserve balances mean for assets?
Some readers may be interested in putting a voice – and even a face – to the author. Below are links to three recent audio-visual publications in which I discuss US & Chinese macro as well as the interrelations between the three great asset classes of stocks, bonds, an commodities. Following on is a wider sampling of my views. Continue reading …
A little over 10 years ago, a hitherto obscure German institution called IKB – majority-owned by an arm of the German government – suddenly made headlines around the world.
On the last day of July 2007, a company which ironically had its origins in a foredoomed effort to ‘stimulate’ the German economy in the aftermath of the Weimar Republic’s disastrous by financing small businesses, but also by partaking of the contemporary, pre-Depression boom in real estate, revealed that, once again, it had been seduced by the lure of a property bubble. [A version of this article appeared as part of the inaugural edition of ETF Stream] Continue reading …
Birmingham statistician and financial forecaster Arthur H. Gibson’s so-called ‘paradox’ came about from his detailed empirical findings that the level of bond yields (as measured by the price of British Consols) tended to follow – with a lag of around a year – the price of wholesale commodities (a measure he adopted, as he himself explained, as a proxy for what he thought was the real crux of the issue, the cost of consumable necessities for which no comparable data existed). Argument has abounded as to the phenomenon’s true explanation, ever since.
As world stock markets have continued to climb to cyclical – if not all-time – highs, it has become almost the norm for industry Talking Heads to season their smatterings of media insight with a brief, talismanic expression of scepticism, uttered partly to appease the ever-jealous God of the Markets but mainly so as to be on record as ‘having foreseen the crash’ as and when one eventually occurs.
Certain schools of thought – among them the so-called ‘Market Monetarists’, as well as George Selgin’s Fractional Free Bankers – believe – in line with the thinking of the later Hayek – that the Fed would be better off effecting policy with regard to the maintenance of a steady rate of growth of nominal GDP.
Consciously or otherwise, we would argue that this is largely what it has done, over the years, and that this insight helps us tie together developments in the PMI, in business income streams, and in the Fed funds rate.
In her recent set-piece testimony before Congress, Janet Yellen made clear that she is determined to repeat the sort of ‘gradualism’ in raising rates that proved so disastrous after the Tech bust. In other words, that she will not so much boil the frog slowly as encourage him to go out and make a further raft of foredoomed, highly-leveraged investment decisions before he realises he’s been cooked.