Dramatic ending to Greek tragedy

September 16, 2011

Greece is in the danger zone. Even as the country’s finance minister sought to reassure his euro zone counterparts at a meeting in Poland, Greek credit default swaps were pricing in a more than 90 percent chance of default, according to Reuters calculations of Markit data. Economists in a Reuters poll see a 65 percent chance of that happening, probably within a year.

New twist in Hungary’s Swiss debt saga. Banks beware.

September 9, 2011

A fresh twist in Hungary’s Swiss franc debt saga. The ruling party, Fidesz, is proposing to offer mortgage holders the opportunity to repay their franc-denominated loans in one fell swoop at an exchange rate to be  fixed well below the market rate.  This is a deviation from the existing plan, agreed in June, which allows households to repay mortgage installments at a fixed rate of 180 forints per Swiss franc (well below the current 230 rate). Households would repay the difference, with interest, after 2015.

from Global Investing:

Emerging consumers’ pain to spell gains for stocks in staples

September 1, 2011

Food and electricity bills are high. The cost of filling up at the petrol station isn't coming down much either. The U.S. economy is in trouble and suddenly the job isn't as secure as it seemed. Maybe that designer handbag and new car aren't such good ideas after all.

Don’t fight the Turkish central bank

August 18, 2011

Stop fighting the Turkish central bank. Since a shock interest rate cut earlier this month, the front end of Turkey’s bond yield curve has collapsed over 80 basis points, with two-year yields hitting seven-month lows of 7.84 percent. The curve is flattening as the 10-year sector starts feeling the heat as well. Whether it reflects investors’ faith in the central bank’s ability to safeguard economic growth while bringing down a record wide current account gap is another matter altogether. Bond investors have in fact been uneasy with the central bank’s experiments, fearing that overly loose monetary policy will cause an inflation shock down the road. But with more rate cuts clearly on the cards, investors are finding that Turkish rates, especially at the front end, are too attractive to miss. Especially as the central bank is shoring up the lira with daily dollar sales.

from Global Investing:

Counting the costs of Hungary’s Swiss franc debt

August 11, 2011

The debt crises in the euro zone and United States are claiming some innocent bystanders. Investors fleeing for the safety of the Swiss franc have ratcheted up pressure on Hungary, where thousands of households have watched with horror as the  franc surges to successive record highs against their own forint currency. In the boom years before 2008,  mortgages and car loans in Swiss francs seemed like a good idea --after all the forint was strong and Swiss interest rates, unlike those in Hungary, were low.  But the forint then was worth 155-160 per franc. Now it is at a record low 260 -- and falling -- making it increasingly painful to keep up repayments. Swiss franc debt exposure amounts to almost a fifth of Hungary's GDP. And that is before counting loans taken out by companies and municipalities.

Greek firewall looks porous

July 25, 2011

The second Greek bailout was aimed at ring-fencing euro zone contagion, but could unleash it instead.

from Davos Notebook:

Will Goldman’s new BRICwork stand up?

January 17, 2011

RTXWLHHJim O'Neill, the Goldman Sachs economist who coined the term BRICs back in 2001, is adding four new countries to the elite club of emerging market economies. But does his new edifice have the same solid foundations?

from Reuters Investigates:

Let’s be ethical, economists say

January 3, 2011

Last month's special report “For some professors, disclosure is academic” has been making waves in the academic world, as this story shows:

Banking on a Portuguese bailout?

November 30, 2010

portgualprotest.jpgReuters polls of economists over the last few weeks have come up with some pretty firm conclusions about both Ireland and Portugal needing a bailout from the European Union.

Champagne for “bailout boys” in Dublin?

November 19, 2010

T2Doom and gloom is in no shortage in Ireland this week with “bailout boys” from the IMF descending on the capital and newspaper editorials mourning the end of Irish independence.