Global Investing

Home is where the heartache is…

January 17, 2012

On a recent trip home to Singapore, I was startled to learn just how much housing prices in the city-state have risen in my absence.

Hungary’s Orban and his central banker

December 21, 2011

“Will no one rid me of this turbulent central banker?”  Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban may not have voiced this sentiment but since he took power last year he is likely to have thought it more than once.  Increasingly, the spat between Orban’s government and central bank governor Andras Simor brings to memory the quarrel England’s Henry II had with his Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, over the rights and privileges of the Church almost 900 years ago. Simor stands accused of undermining economic growth by holding interest rates too high and resisting government demands for monetary stimulus.  The government’s efforts to sideline Simor are viewed as infringing on the central bank’s independence.

Can Eastern Europe “sweat” it?

December 20, 2011

Interesting to see that Poland wants to squeeze out more income from its state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector in the face of slowing economic growth and financing pressures.

Are global investors slow to move on euro break-up risk?

November 9, 2011

No longer an idle “what if” game, investors are actively debating the chance of a breakup of the euro as a creditor strike  in the zone’s largest government bond market sends  Italian debt yields into the stratosphere — or at least beyond the circa 7% levels where government funding is seen as sustainable over time.  Emergency funding for Italy, along the lines of bailouts for Greece, Ireland and Portugal over the past two years, may now be needed but no one’s sure there’s enough money available — in large part due to Germany’s refusal to contemplate either a bigger bailout fund or open-ended debt purchases from the European Central Bank as a lender of last resort.

Shock! Emerging capital controls may just be working

July 30, 2010

Do capital controls work?  After years of telling us that they do not, the IMF and World Bank reluctantly conceded last year they may not be all that bad and indeed in some cases they may actually help keep away some of the speculators who have in recent years been pouring into emerging markets.

from MacroScope:

Scams from Abuja to Reykjavik

March 4, 2010

It suffered the collapse of its currency, economy and banking system so being invoked in a version of the notorious Nigerian email scam is one of the smaller humiliations endured by Iceland.

Iceland: slipping again?

February 2, 2010

Just when you thought it was all over, Iceland looks like it’s in trouble again.  The cost of insuring Iceland’s debt against restructuring or default has risen this week to 720 basis points in the five-year credit default swap market, its highest since mid-2009.  That means it costs 720,000 euros a year for five years to insure 10 million euros of Icelandic debt against default.

from MacroScope:

Small credit for big depression

April 15, 2009

It took some time, and a lot of downward corrections to IMF GDP forecasts, before the current global economic downturn won the title of 'worst since the Great Depression'.

from MacroScope:

SDR bonds from the IMF?

April 2, 2009

Analysts are starting to wonder if the International Monetary Fund will issue bonds denominated in its currency, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), to boost the international lender’s capital.