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Will the AIIB ever matter?

By Michael Pettis When Isaac, an editor at Foreign Policy, sent me an email two weeks ago asking if I could write a piece on the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), I quickly wrote back promising 1,200 words within a few days. I thought it would be pretty easy to come up with the points I wanted to make, […]

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The ‘Perfect Storm’

The ‘Perfect Storm’

Going forward, equity markets are likely to have a much bigger impact on the economy than has been the case in the past. This is a simple conclusion derived from the fact that total equity market value today is 1.2x GDP. 35 years ago, when we entered the great bull market, total equity market value was only 0.4x GDP (the numbers are U.S.). No wonder the financial collapse in 2008 had such a dramatic effect on the economy.

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Spain may not be Greece, but it is Not the Opposite Either

The important point is that returning to growth after the crisis may not be sufficient to facilitate political stability. The damage to the middle class is serious and Rajoy does not appear to appreciate that. The economic cost of austerity is still being calculated. There will be a political price in some countries and Spain is one of them. It is not Greece, but it is not the poster child of success that the ordo-liberals in Berlin and Brussels would have it either.

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Is Greece’s Debt Odious?

There is a legal concept called “odious debts.” It can be traced back more than a century. The US helped create a precedent for it by denying Cuba’s responsibility for the debt incurred under Spanish colonial rule. The concept took on added significance in the post-colonial era more broadly. The issue here is the continuity of legal obligations from one regime to another especially as it pertains to the debt acquired.

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Is Finland’s Economy Suffering From Secular Stagnation?

Is Finland’s Economy Suffering From Secular Stagnation?

Finnish society, like many other European ones, is in the throes of a major transition. More debate needs to be held on what to do to facilitate the transition, and in the meantime deficit spending to make investments in future productivity improvements seems not to be a bad idea. Running deficits in order not to change, in contrast, would be.

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AIIB Prelude to SDR Decision

AIIB Prelude to SDR Decision

In what can only be seen an unexpected Chinese success, several US allies have agreed to participate in China and India’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The frustration with the US on this issue is palpable. There is another issue at stake that head of China’s central bank Zhou Xiaochuan made clear at a forum yesterday. On a panel with the IMF’s Lagarde, Zhou pushed for the yuan to be included as a reserve asset and in the SDR basket.

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Repeat after me: sectoral balances must sum to zero

Repeat after me: sectoral balances must sum to zero

By Frances Coppola I do like sectoral net lending charts. This one is from the OBR’s latest Economic Forecast: The thing to remember about sectoral balances is they must sum to zero. It is not possible to have a negative external balance, as the UK does, with concurrent surpluses in the public, household and corporate sectors. If the UK is […]

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Greek default

Greek default

This post was originally written for Credit Writedowns Pro on 11 Mar. Two things I have written recently stand out as I contemplate what will happen in Greece. The first is that the institutions formerly known as the Troika had accepted Greece’s reform list sooner than I expected and that was positive. The second is that Greece could default before […]

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Front-running the Fed on interest rate hikes

Front-running the Fed on interest rate hikes

Written this morning for Credit Writedowns Pro The biggest takeaway from the latest Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting was the reduction in the ‘normal’ rate of unemployment from the 5.2-5.5% range to a 5.0-5.2% range. While the Fed did remove its ‘patient’ language regarding rate hikes, the lower unemployment levels give the Fed more room to stay accommodative. Some […]

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Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Currency wars, the Swiss franc, policy divergence and Fed rate hikes

Edward here. I wrote the following post with the anodyne title, “The Swiss National Bank turns to negative rates” for Credit Writedowns Pro on 18 Dec 2014, almost three months ago.. But I am now putting it on the blog site because the Fed is poised to reveal tomorrow whether or not they actually will move to a full-on tightening […]

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Wolfgang Schaeuble the Salesman

Wolfgang Schaeuble the Salesman

When the Greek bailout extension deal got done, I mentioned that in the press conference that followed, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble made it clear he was looking to ‘sell’ the deal to the German parliament. And while he has been successful in doing so, recent evidence suggests that indeed he did have to work to make the deal viable. For me, this highlights the political constraints we are working under and reinforces my view that writedowns are not politically viable in Germany.

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Five Investing Themes That Need Further Examination

Five Investing Themes That Need Further Examination

Tiger 5 – Grexit is inevitable

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