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Category Archives: Currency Markets
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 6, 2012
The markets have been transfixed by the ECB’s plan for unlimited purchases of bonds - or outright monetary transactions, as they are to be called. But the ECB’s implicit deal with Germany, to link any bond purchases to the European rescue funds’ strict fiscal conditions, has tied its hands. Saving the euro now depends on proud nations like Spain and Italy being willing to kowtow to their new masters in Berlin. Judging by the mood of the Spanish people, it’s more likely that Spain will call Germany’s bluff and threaten to leave the euro forthwith, unless it is given unconditional support.
By Martin Fluck | Published: August 14, 2012
There’s an air of unreality in the financial markets right now. Discreetly, behind the scenes, various market actors are preparing for a collapse in the euro, even though no-one wants to publicly admit that the Germans are about to pull the plug on Greece, and probably the whole shebang. Similarly, investors are putting off reckoning with the day of reckoning by purposefully ignoring the signs of an impending global recession – in the belief that central banks will bail them out.
By Martin Fluck | Published: April 20, 2012
Germany has been viewed as a safe haven by investors, until now. After all, its export sector has been booming. But investors are beginning to bet against Germany and its manufacturing firms, as a break-up of the euro-zone creeps ever closer. This is because the cost of failure for Germany is growing fast, and the Bundesbank may be trying to force the government’s hand before it digs itself a deeper hole.
By Martin Fluck | Published: May 31, 2011
Prices in commodity markets now seem divorced from the forces of supply and demand; set instead by extreme speculation and financing activities. As awareness of this market failure mounts, the whole sector is setting itself up for a massive fall. For once global regulators react - as they must do eventually – retail 'investors' who have helped to fund the over-investment though products like index trackers are going to discover just how risky being a speculator can be.
By Martin Fluck | Published: November 16, 2010
Expect currency debasement and inflation is what the US can expect if it maintains its present course, warn 23 economists and political analysts in an open letter to the Wall Street Journal, on 15 November. This nicely summarises the differences between the Fed and the opponents of its quantitative easing programme.
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 18, 2010
A lot has already been written about the risk to municipal bond holders in the U.S., as a growing number of states face severe fiscal problems. But local government debt is an even bigger threat in Europe - where it could force governments to assume the debt, putting further pressure on sovereign bond spreads.
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 10, 2010
A rare column arguing that the peripheral countries of the monetary bloc should simply leave the eurozone by decree, has been published in the Institutional Investor. Vincent J. Truglia, Managing Director of Global Economic Research at Granite Springs Asset Management, writes that the flawed structure of the eurozone - which was built for political rather than economic reasons - leaves only two questions: 1) How do you handle the shrinking or dismantling of the Eurozone? and 2) What is the timing of such changes? As the tensions tearing the euro apart will only grow, it's likely that we'll see a lot more articles like this one in the future.
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 9, 2010
It’s surprising that the banking crises facing Ireland and Portugal, and the wider European banking sector - have not been more contagious. While the risk of Ireland and Portugal defaulting soars, other Europe sovereign bond yields remained fairly flat in the third quarter, and Greece even enjoyed a rally of 140bp to 775bp. This calm is not likely to last long though, before more questions are asked of the banks which own the dodgiest euro-zone debt.
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 2, 2010
The weak pound is the UK’s saving grace. Investment is recovering, and before long so will manufacturing. That's the game plan anyway. The biggest questions remain. What effect will budget cuts have on overall employment? And can the private sector make up the difference? So far, Sterling's weakness, and the UK's underrated capabilities as a trading nation, have helped cushion the economy. But as Mayor of London Boris Johnson has warned, there are stormy political and economic waters for the UK to navigate before the ship of state can be steadied on a new and prosperous course. And there are signs it's getting rougher out there. Still, it wouldn't be wise to bet against the UK's manufacturing and export sectors riding out the turbulence, and continuing the recovery they've started.
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 14, 2010
You’d think, given the critical role global imbalances played in building up the systemic risk that caused the Great Recession that addressing them would be an urgent issue. China’s everyday flouting of World Trade Organisation trade rules would be bad enough in normal circumstances. But now when Beijing clearly stands in the way of economic recovery, Paul Krugman is right to be exasperated that the Chinese have been allowed to keep taxing imports while subsidizing exports.