Breakingviews

Hadas: Central banks play with monetary absurdity

September 23, 2016

Monetary authorities have taken recourse in increasingly empty promises. The Bank of Japan's Haruhiko Kuroda has taken this verbal drama to a new and ultimately dangerous level. Central banks could rely on deeds, not words, if their tools and targets were more realistic.

Chancellor: Lessons from the Mississippi Bubble

March 23, 2016

This year marks the 300th anniversary of the start of John Law’s ambitious, and ultimately failed, economic experiment. Much like today’s central bankers, Law thought printing banknotes and forcing interest rates lower would solve all of France’s problems. He was so very wrong.

Negative yielding bond world favours the agile

March 1, 2016

German 10-year bond yields are in sight of last year’s record low, 0.05 percent. There’s no reason why they can’t fall lower than this given Japan just auctioned comparable debt at a sub-zero yield. Investors need to be nimble to make money in this world of negatives.

Argentina and Elliott give peace a chance in 2016

December 21, 2015

There may never be a better time for Latin America’s No. 3 economy and the hedge fund to end a 14-year spat over defaulted bonds. New President Macri needs access to global debt markets; another defiant Peronist could succeed him if he fails. Stalemate is looking pointless.

Hadas: The world would be better off without debt

October 22, 2015

Why do governments borrow instead of just creating money? Mostly because they always have. Why do companies feel the need to take on leverage? Foolish tradition. If the financial world were designed for today’s economy, fixed-rate reimbursable debt wouldn’t be created.

Bond turmoil signals new era of return-free risk

May 15, 2015

Forget the risk-free rate - investment safe havens are in short supply. Cash can be costly. Gold is a dollar proxy. And recent gyrations in the largest debt markets have undermined the concept of risk-free returns. When this last compass fails, investors are really at sea.

Elliott emits ray of pragmatism in Argentina feud

March 23, 2015

The hedge fund and a U.S. judge say Citi can process two of the country’s bond payments, despite a court-ordered block. It’s a concession to cover the bank’s back, not a broader shift in holdout creditors’ intractable spat with Argentina. But it may qualify as progress.

New Greek debt deal will mean more brinkmanship

January 27, 2015

Markets are relaxed that the anti-bail out Syriza government can cut a new deal with creditors. But pressure points lie ahead, with 6.6 bln euros due in the middle of the year. Getting over the hump will need quick progress on tackling Greece’s big, long-term challenges.

Euro zone’s biggest problem is debt, not slow growth

August 7, 2014

Growth is stumbling in Italy, Germany and elsewhere. That in itself would not be a huge problem – except that the sovereign debt mountain has kept growing even in “austere” years. This means states cannot spend their way out of trouble, and another crisis remains a real risk.

Argentine opportunity cost is reason to cut deal

July 29, 2014

Another default arguably might not make things immediately worse. But it would set back recent efforts to curry favor with international financiers. With maybe $300 bln needed to develop shale oil and gas alone, swallowing national pride and ponying up $15 bln look worth it.