Sunday, 18 January 2015

Who is rigging the market now?

In the run up to the credit crunch the market manipulations perpetrated by the world’s largest investment banks are now well known to us.  The banks rigged many of the important markets required for the global economy – proprietary trading held sway, credit and other derivative products were miss-sold, reference interest rates (Libor and others) were fixed and so it goes on.  Fortunately for us governments around the globe and their central bankers have been on a mission to sort out these market abuses.  The Wolves of Wall Street have been tamed by the Gnomes from Zurich, the ECB and the Fed – all very reassuring.  That is until one looks closely at the market manipulation now being pushed through by Central Banks culminating in the completely unexpected decision of the Swiss National Bank (SNB) to remove the 1.20 floor on the Swiss franc against the Euro.

Anything the banks can do .....

As Gavyn Davies tells us this was “one of the biggest currency shocks since the collapse of the Bretton Woods system in 1971. The decision has been heavily criticised, both for its tactical handling of the foreign exchange market, and for the collapse of the centrepiece of its monetary strategy, without (apparently) any overriding cause. The credibility of a central bank that has traditionally been hugely respected by the markets has clearly been dented.”

Monday, 5 January 2015

Demand for the old normal

For the last six years the developed world has been suffering from a chronic shortage of demand: demand for goods, demand and services, demand for investment.  The need to deleverage personal, corporate and government debt has meant that there has been massive excess capacity and a huge shortfall in aggregate demand.  This lack of demand has been driving up unemployment and driving down prices.  All this has been complicated by the fact that we in the West are at the zero bound of interest rates this nasty cocktail has been characterised as secular stagnation.  Over the last six years wages in all normal income groups have flat-lined and living standards will now be lower at the end of this economic cycle than they were in 2008 – this is extraordinary, almost unheard of in the developed world.  Or is it?  Thomas Piketty, the French Rock Star Economist (is that an oxymoron as the French have no rock stars?) would have us all believe that we are now returning to a more normal state of affairs, where vast pools of wealth lie idle in the hands of a financial elite and the rest of us jog along at a steady but uninspiring rate.
A French Rock Star??

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon