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2020-01-24

Kristalina Georgieva, head of IMF, said there are disturbing signs of an asset bubble

and acknowledged that the side-effects of ultra-low interest rates and quantitative easing are becoming more treacherous. 

Mrs Georgieva said global debt has mushroomed to $188 trillion but even this has still failed to lift the major economies from the deflationary danger zone. 

Much of the stimulus has leaked out into asset markets and fed an indiscriminate hunt for yield. 

Ambrose 24 January 2020

ECB: We Cannot Resolve the Next Financial Crisis! Central Banks Are TRAPPED.





2020-01-23

How and why economics forgot Keynes’ warnings on panics

In a new paper (hat-tip to the University of Washington’s Fabio Ghironi for drawing our attention to it), Nobel Prize winning economist George Akerlof does a brilliant job of explaining how and why, in the decades before the financial crash, macroeconomists failed to include any meaningful role of the financial system in their economic models.

John Maynard Keynes’ “beauty contest” theory of market behaviour, which helps explain why asset prices become unmoored from economic fundamentals due to people allocating their wealth partly based on what they think others will value, rather than what they themselves do. 

FT Alphaville 5 November 2019

What They Were Thinking Then:
The Consequences for Macroeconomics during the Past 60 Years


Negative Rates - ECB “missed the exit” when growth was stronger.

2020-01-22

Wuhan: The London-sized city where the virus began


Wuhan may not be a well-known Chinese mega-city like Beijing or Shanghai.
But the place where the coronavirus outbreak emerged is, in fact, a crowded metropolis with connections to every part of the globe.
According to UN data from 2018, 8.9 million people live in the central Chinese city - making it slightly smaller than London, but much bigger than Washington DC.

BBC 22 January 2020


2020-01-20

Eventually we will reach The Great Reset, and it won’t just be another recession or even a depression. It will be a true, world-shaking, generational crisis

Humans have an amazing ability to postpone the inevitable and—when the subject is debt—a financial incentive to do so. That’s true for both borrowers and lenders.

Hyman Minsky showed how stability leads to instability. Humans have a way of reinterpreting stable periods that seemingly redefines words like reasonable, manageable, and prudent. That’s why we continue chasing yield and risk until we go too far.

John Mauldin 10 January 2020

Minsky





Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena An 8% coupon is expensive for the world’s oldest bank

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA took another big step in its long path to redemption last week by selling subordinated debt for the second time in six months. 

An 8% coupon is expensive for the world’s oldest bank, but it can hardly complain given its years of troubles.

Bloomberg 20 Januaruy 2020

A 336-page ECB staff document offers much-needed guidance on the best way forward

ECB’s worst policy mistakes: the decision to raise rates twice in 2011, when the euro zone economy was slowing at the start of the sovereign debt crisis. 

Ferdinando Giugliano Bloomberg 20 januari 2020 




2020-01-17

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) satsar på fast växelkurs.

West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) are hoping to see a new common currency in place this year.

The six anglophone countries in the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) want to adopt the new currency on a slower timetable and as a new currency for the whole region, not just as a replacement for the CFA franc.

CFA franc is pegged at a fixed exchange rate to the euro, and the existing agreement maintains this arrangement for the eco,

CNBC 17 January 2020

The Federal Reserve is the cause of the bubble in everything

If debts are not to be reneged upon, they must either be repaid or somehow refinanced. 

However, not only is much of the new debt taken on since the 2008 financial crisis unlikely to be paid back but, more worryingly, it is compounding ever higher. Our latest estimates suggest that world debt levels now exceed $250tn, equivalent to a whopping 320 per cent of world gross domestic produc

We know from experience that liquidity-fuelled asset markets usually end badly

So remember what former Citigroup chief Chuck Prince said about “still dancing”, on the eve of the 2008 crash. Enjoy the party, yes. But dance near the door.



“As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance.”



2020-01-14

What is the jet stream and how does it affect the weather?

Utrikesminister Ann Linde varnade för de förödande effekterna av Rysslands annektering av Krim

”Varje gång någon uttrycker att vi borde lämna Krimfrågan bakom oss, måste vi fråga: vill vi verkligen ha prejudikatet att ’den som annekterar en del av ett annat land, får under några år utstå sanktioner och fördömanden, men sedan blir allt som förut’? Vad innebär det för vår egen säkerhet?”

Tove Lifvendahl SvD 14 januari 2020

Farligt om Sverige rustar mot gårdagens hot

Elisabeth Braw liknar den traditionella hotbilden vid en mugg med uppvärmd soppa. Den är trygg och bekväm att hålla fast vid i en snabbt föränderlig värld.

- Det är lättare att förlita sig på det som man redan känner till och fortsätta räkna på antalet ryska korvetter.


The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany are to meet next month for the first time in more than three years in an effort to revive the stalled international effort to end the conflict in Ukraine, according to Paris and Kyiv. 


Crimean War


Charge of the Light Brigade

The futility of the action and its reckless bravery prompted the French Marshal Pierre Bosquet to state: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre." ("It is magnificent, but it is not war.") He continued, in a rarely quoted phrase: "C'est de la folie" — "It is madness."





2020-01-13

After a year that involved one of the biggest U-turns in recent monetary-policy history, central banks are now hoping for peace and quiet in 2020.

This dramatic policy turnaround was particularly curious in two ways. 

First, it materialized despite growing discomfort – both within and outside central banks – about the collateral damage and unintended consequences of prolonged reliance on ultra-loose monetary policy. 

Second, the dramatic reversal was not a response to a collapse in global growth, let alone a recession. 

Rather than acting on clear economic signals, the major central banks once again succumbed to pressure from financial markets.

Mohamed A. El-Erian, Project Syndicate 9 January 2020


The policy classes of the rich democracies know that central banks are near exhaustion, but they retain a touching faith in fiscal stimulus.

The new orthodoxy is that spending à l’outrance can step into the breach without insidious consequences.

What is more enticing than the notion that highly-indebted G7 states can defeat secular stagnation – or the “long-dragging conditions of semi-slump”, as Keynes described the 1930s – by borrowing unlimited sums in perpetuity at near-zero cost? 

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard Telegraph 13 January 2020



The point is not to show that the IMF is a bad forecaster. It is, rather, to illustrate that even teams of very good economists can get forecasts of macroeconomic variables grossly wrong under certain conditions. 

The idea that confidence can be a driver of growth, and that a lack of confidence can throw a country into crisis, played a key role in the origins of macroeconomics. John Maynard Keynes famously wrote about “animal spirits” in chapter 12 of his General Theory.

https://www.ft.com/content/998cc79c-d8c5-4401-a3f9-7f13673952fd




Italy emerges as biggest obstacle to eurozone banking union

In 2012 eurozone leaders vowed to break the “doom loop” by which national governments and their banking systems could drag each other down in a financial crisis. 

This began the long journey towards a banking union in which taxpayers would no longer be on the hook for failing banks.

Had the leaders fully understood what they were signing up for, they may not even have started. 

Rome wants a ‘package deal’ that includes common deposit insurance scheme

Martin Sandbu FT 13 January 2020