Global Investing

McCainonomics

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has admitted in the past that economics is not his strong suit. In an interview with Reuters this week, he expressed a desire for a Treasury secretary who inspires confidence and trust if he should win the White House. rtx92vl.jpgMcCain also aid he could balance the budget by 2013 if the economy gets going and if nothing is done to harm growth.Nothing worrying about any of that.

But the odd eyebrow may have been raised when the Arizona senator got onto the dollar, which he wants to bolster, and China. “The first step that has to be taken is obviously we have to stop mortgaging our economy to China … and asking them to finance our debt,” he said. This sounds like he wants China to stop buying U.S. Treasuries.

“That I think would have the most salutary effect in the short term,” McCain added.

China owned $518.7 billion of Treasuries at last count, or 19 percent of all foreign-owned U.S. government debt. Its purchases month after month have gone a long way to keep borrowing costs down for Americans and keeping the dollar up.  Economics 101 would tell you that if China did stop, rates would soar and the dollar would dive.

Trading Obama and McCain contracts

Which one to bet?Politicians are busy blaming betting in financial markets for the recent market turmoil, with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of euro zone finance ministers, urging investors to stop playing a “casino game” with their shares this week.

But dare-devil operators in financial markets have shown no sign of halting their innovation in financial instruments, which are enabling investors to bet on everything from Academy Award winners to space travelling.

One of the most traded contracts on trading platform Intrade is the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election, due in just over a month.

What about the Whigs?

pols.jpgAs Democrats and Republicans kick off the final countdown to the Nov. 4 election, strategists at U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers have done some interesting data mining.

Figures looking back economic conditions in 1948-2007 show the economy under Democrats enjoyed a higher GDP growth rate (4.2 percent vs 2.8 percent for Republican adminsitrations) and a lower average unemployment rate (5.1 percent vs 5.9 percent).

Looking at a longer timeframe since 1828, however, Lehman strategists found that government and corporate bonds fared better when a Republican occupied the White  House (it excluded Whigs).