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Russia, Oil, China and the Dollar

Russia, Oil, China and the Dollar

By Marc Chandler As the year winds down, a Gordian knot tying Russia, oil prices and China together is receiving a great deal of attention.  Let’s see if we can unravel some of the confusing twists and turns. We turn first to China’s offer of assistance to Russia.  The idea that Russia could activate its CNY150 bln (~$24 bln) currency […]

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A Brave New World

A Brave New World

By Niels Jensen The Absolute Return Letter, December 2014 “The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” Aldous HuxleyIn the the last two Absolute Return Letters I have argued why one should expect global GDP growth to be below average over the next decade or so, why interest rates should, as a consequence, remain low […]

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My reading of the FT on China’s “turning away from the dollar”

My reading of the FT on China’s “turning away from the dollar”

By Michael Pettis The Financial Times ran a very interesting article last week called “China: Turning away from the dollar”. It got a lot of attention, at least among China analysts, and I was asked several times by friends and clients for my response. The authors, James Kynge and Josh Noble, begin their article by noting that we are going […]

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How might a China slowdown affect the world?

How might a China slowdown affect the world?

By Michael Pettis Two years ago it was hard to find analysts who expected average GDP growth over the rest of this decade to be less than 8%. The current consensus seems to have dropped to between 6% and 7% on average. I don’t think Beijing disagrees. After assuring us Tuesday that China’s economy – which is growing a little […]

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Consumption taxes, inflation and low wage growth in Japan lead to recession

Consumption taxes, inflation and low wage growth in Japan lead to recession

If wages in Japan are stagnant, how is increasing inflation going to help wage earners afford a better stream of good and services? It won’t. Ultimately, what we need to see are policies which maintain wages for median and lower-income wage earners with the greatest marginal propensity to spend. Without this, in a demographically challenged and indebted private sector, so-called secular stagnation is almost a certainty.

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Central banks, inflation, currency wars and the Japanese experiment

Central banks, inflation, currency wars and the Japanese experiment

This is going to be a relatively short note focused on what is going on in Japan because of the news that Japan has ramped up its program of quantitative easing to new heights. Coming on the heels of the US Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would stop expanding its balance sheet with large scale asset purchases, the Bank of Japan’s announcement was music to the ears of Japanese equities investors. And shares in Japan promptly rose 4.8% on the news. The larger question, however, is whether QE is effective either at shaping future inflation or inflation expectations or at increasing nominal and real GDP. The evidence is equivocal. And so Japan presents a unique opportunity to see the limits of monetary policy tested.

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Banks, Japanese trade, the currency wars and deflation

Banks, Japanese trade, the currency wars and deflation

There are no big themes dominating the news today. So it is a perfect time to hit a couple of themes with an economic and market theme approach. Let’s talk banks, Japanese trade, the currency wars and deflation.

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Abenomics 2.0 – Just What Are They Trying To Achieve?

Abenomics 2.0 – Just What Are They Trying To Achieve?

By Edward Hugh The recent move by the Bank of Japan to take further measures to accelerate the rate at which it ramps up its balance sheet took almost everyone – market watchers included – completely by surprise. The consequence was reasonably predictable – the yen has once more fallen strongly against almost all major currencies – and most notably […]

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Zero rates, resource misallocation, and shale oil

Zero rates, resource misallocation, and shale oil

The following is an abbreviated excerpt of a post from 16 Oct from Credit Writedowns Pro The nexus of zero rates, resource misallocation, and risk on has favoured shale oil. But the drop in oil prices will call many of these projects into question precipitating a high yield energy funding crisis and a panic dash for the exits. There will […]

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China, Europe, and optimal currency zones

China, Europe, and optimal currency zones

Although I think China is clearly much more integrated as an optimal currency zone than Europe is today, it is probably less integrated than the US (I will use the US and Europe as the two extreme cases between which China falls). China of course does not have the problems of multiple sovereignty and taxation that Europe does, but there are still important frictional costs among provinces and regions that exceed those among US states and regions and that may make an adjustment to slower growth bumpier than expected.

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Snail Trail Vortex

Snail Trail Vortex

The Absolute Return Letter, November 2014 “The single most robust and striking fact about cross-national growth is regression to the mean.”  -Lawrence Summers and Lant Pritchett Low growth is printed on the wall When financial markets capitulate, many investors lose the ability to keep things in perspective. That is a fact of life. Instead the little things take over and […]

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Home prices since 1870: No price like home

Home prices since 1870: No price like home

House price fluctuations take centre stage in recent macroeconomic debates, but little is known about their long-run evolution. This column presents new house price indices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. Real house prices display a pronounced hockey-stick pattern over the past 140 years. They stayed constant from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose strongly in the second half of the 20th century. Sharply increasing land prices, not construction costs, were the key driver of this trend.

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