The Great Debate

Volcker Rule unexpectedly revived by Dodd bill

March 16, 2010

Paul Volcker’s proposed ban on banks’ proprietary trading or owning hedge funds or private equity funds has been unexpectedly revived in the financial regulation bill published by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd yesterday.

Sluggish investment will hamper recovery

February 2, 2010

– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Unable to rely on the wounded consumer, the outlook for U.S. growth in the next three years depends on business investment and exports to take up the slack when stimulus programmes wind down.
Ultra-low interest rates will help. But with the economy struggling to work off a huge overhang of unused real estate assets, and not much sign of investment elsewhere, investment spending is set to remain sluggish, condemning the economy to a weak recovery in the medium term.

Obama bank plan is good policy, good politics

January 22, 2010

– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

President Barack Obama’s proposed curbs on bank size and proprietary risk-taking will be criticised for being vague, hard to implement, and focusing on issues that were only part of the cause of the recent crisis.

Senate retirements narrow cap-trade window

January 6, 2010

– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

kemp
LONDON – Yesterday’s announcement by Senator Byron Dorgan (Democrat, North Dakota) that he would not seek a fourth term in November, coupled with today’s expected announcement by Senator Chris Dodd (Democrat, Connecticut) that he won’t seek a sixth term, will remove two veterans, once secure legislators from the Democratic caucus.
It highlights the mounting problems confronting congressional Democrats facing voters in November’s midterms amid high unemployment, a relatively unpopular agenda led by the administration, and concerns about the party’s capture by special interests.

Households face power-pricing revolution

December 3, 2009

John Kemp– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own —

Households in the United States and the United Kingdom are about to experience a revolution in the way they pay for electricity.

Buffett uses BNSF to bet on coal

November 3, 2009

John Kemp(John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own)

Warren Buffett’s acquisition of the remaining 77.4 percent of Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad his Berkshire Hathaway does not already own looks like a strategic bet that America’s future energy needs will be met, in large part, through a massive expansion in coal-fired power generation coupled with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Reflections on Iran

June 26, 2009

John Kemp– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own —

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of much western comment on the unfolding crisis in Iran has been its over-simplification and lack of historical awareness. Perspectives are shaped by a single issue (western concerns about whether Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program) and the desire to draw a simple Manichean distinction between good guys (liberal-democrats) and bad ones (clerical-authoritarians).

Writing history – the Panic of 2008

June 22, 2009

John Kemp Great Debate– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Economic history is the only field of human endeavor where the past changes as much if not more than the present and the future. Policymakers and practitioners struggle to define and write a “narrative” of the past as a means to control how policy responds to current and future problems.

Inventory-driven U.S. recovery may be delayed

June 8, 2009

John Kemp Great Debate– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

Steady improvement in manufacturing surveys, payroll data and freight movements all indicate the U.S. economy is approaching the low point in the business cycle and should hit the bottom within the next one to four months. But that does not necessarily imply a strong and sustained expansion is about to get underway.

Doing the contango

May 15, 2009

John Kemp Great Debate– John Kemp is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

The current contango structure in crude oil futures and most other commodity markets — with future prices significantly above the spot market — is providing a strong incentive to buy and store record quantities of raw materials, with most of the cost borne by retail investors in exchange-traded funds and institutional investors in long-only commodity indices.