Global Investing

Emerging Policy: Rate cuts proliferate

October 11, 2012

Emerging market central banks have clearly taken to heart the recent IMF warning that there is “an alarmingly high risk”  of a deeper global growth slump.

Weekly Radar: Q3 earnings; China GDP; EU summit; US debate

October 11, 2012

Markets have turned glum again as October gets underway and the northern winter looms, weighed down by a relentless grind of negative commentary even if there’s been little really new information to digest. The net loss on MSCI’s world stock market index over the past seven days is a fairly restrained 1.5%, though we are now back down to early September levels. Debt markets have been better behaved. The likes of Spain’s 10-year yields are virtually unchanged over the past week amid all the rolling huff and puff from euroland. The official argument that Spain doesn’t need a bailout at these yield levels is backed up by analysis that shows even at the peak of the latest crisis in July average Spanish sovereign borrowing costs were still lower than pre-crisis days of 2006.  But with ratings downgrades still in the mix, it looks like a bit of a cat-and-mouse game for some time yet. Ten-year US Treasury yields, meantime, have nudged back higher again after the strong September US employment report and are hardly a sign of suddenly cratering world growth. What’s more, oil’s back up above $115 per barrel, with the broader CRB commodities index actually up over the past week. This contains no good news for the world, but if there are genuinely new worries about aggregate world demand, then not everyone in the commodity world has been let in on the ‘secret’ yet.

Drought for some, green grass for others

By Reuters Staff
October 10, 2012

The British National Farmers Union has just announced that this year’s  wheat yields will be the lowest since the 1980s.  Already,  corn and soybean prices are at record highs as the worst drought in more than 50 years in the United States has added to supply worries caused by drought in Russia.

Winners, losers and the decline of fear

October 10, 2012

Lipper has released its monthly look at fund flow trends in Europe, and as ever, it throws up some intriguing results.

Euro emigration – safety valve or worker drain?

October 9, 2012

Four years of relentless austerity in many of the euro zone’s most debt-hobbled countries have forced many of their youngest and sometimes brightest workers to grab the plane, train or boat and emigrate in search of work. For countries with a long history of emigration, such as Ireland, this is depressingly familar — coming just 20 years after the country’s last debt crisis and national belt-tightening in the 1980s crescendoed, with the exit of some 40,ooo a year in 1989/90 from a population of just 3-1/2 million people.

Fears of collateral drought questioned

October 8, 2012

Have fears of global shortage of high-grade collateral been exaggerated?

As the world braces for several more years of painful deleveraging from the pre-2007 credit excesses, one big fear has been that a shrinking pool of top-rated or AAA assets — due varioulsy to sovereign credit rating downgrades, deteriorating mortgage quality, Basel III banking regulations, central bank reserve accumulation and central clearing of OTC derivatives — has exaggerated the ongoing credit crunch. Along with interbank mistrust, the resulting shortage of high-quality collateral available to be pledged and re-pledged between banks and asset managers,  it has been argued, meant the overall amount of credit being generating in the system has been shrinking,  pushing up the cost and lowering the availability of borrowing in the real economy. Quantitative easing and bond buying by the world’s major central banks, some economists warned, was only exaggerating that shortage by removing the highest quality collateral from the banking system.

Election test for Venezuela bond fans

October 5, 2012

Investors who have been buying up Venezuelan bonds in hopes of an opposition victory in this weekend’s presidential election will be heartened by the results of a poll from Consultores 21 which shows Henrique Capriles having the edge on incumbent Hugo Chavez.  The survey shows the pro-market Capriles with 51.8 percent support among likely voters, an increase of 5.6 percentage points since a mid-September poll.

Wages wag the tail of the DAX

By Reuters Staff
October 5, 2012

This week, Germany celebrated its Tag der deutschen Einheit (Day of German Unity) marking twenty-two years since the wall was torn down between East and West.

Funds will find a chill Wind in the Willows: Lipper

October 5, 2012

“Asset managers are emerging from their comfortable burrow to face a battery of lights.”

Is the rouble overhyped?

October 4, 2012

For many months now the Russian rouble has been everyone’s favourite currency. Thanks to all the interest it rose 4 percent against the dollar during the July-September quarter. How long can the love affair last?