Risk Par(i)ty

One of the truisms of the current market is that volatility – both historical and implied –  is historically low, but just how extreme is it? How does this manifest itself in the bond, as opposed to the stock, market? What does it tell us about the risks we may be running by maintaining naked exposures?

Please follow the link to find a brief, but instructive overview of this most burning of  issues:-

17-10-18 Vol

The Eternal Triangle

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:

17-10-18 Assets

Shifting Sands

There are signs that not only is money beginning to circulate more rapidly through cash registers everywhere, but that Corporate America is beginning to make good some of its recent, much-cited lack of physical investment and, conversely, is starting to eschew some of its contemporary over-indulgence in financial engineering.

It may be early days to be jumping to overly grand conclusions, but the last few quarters’ trend nonetheless bears watching. Continue reading

A recent miscellany

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?

S0me recent short snaps from my LinkedIn & Twitter feeds plus you can watch my latest update ‘China: Unbalanced’  here, on YouTube Continue reading

Once through with feeling

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

Ten Years After

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 StreamContinue reading

Dreams of Gerontius

At the end of last month, the Mighty Oz’s and Grand Panjandrums of central banking descended upon the rural splendours of Wyoming in order to engage in a very public display of navel gazing and to enact a ritual, group reinforcement of confirmation bias.
There, we heard much nonsense talked about low – even negative -‘natural interest rates’ and of the seeming impossibility of triggering an alchemically meaningful dose of price inflation with which to restore the balance of the humours in the global economy.

It was most timely, then, for the ever-mischievous BIS to publish a paper first presented last year by Charles Goodhart & Manoj Pradhan which challenged much of the received wisdom of our monetary overlords and which broadly affirmed arguments I, too, have long been offering against their approach.

Please click the link to read more:-

17-08-24 Gerontius

Doleful dollar boosts the Base

[An edited version of the following appeared in Moneyweek under the title, ‘What’s unsettling the US Dollar?‘]

Dollar makes worst start to the year since 1985,’  screamed the headlines a few weeks ago in a classic click-bait attempt to get people to read about what they already should know by using a somewhat artificial statistic – after all, since when did the world revolve around what happened specifically between Dec 31st and July 31st?

Continue reading

China: Turn of the Tide?

In an earlier Monitor, we alluded to a possible monetary reason for suspecting that the past year’s spectacular (and inflationary) bounce in Chinese revenues and earnings might have reached its high-water mark.

Here we take a more detailed look at the situation in the Middle Kingdom:-

17-08-21 China

The Mephisto Polka

[This article appeared in edited form in the Epoch Times and also in the Daily Telegraph]

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.

Continue reading